Web Marketing: Check out the Competition in Your Industry to Find Effective Keywords - dummies

Web Marketing: Check out the Competition in Your Industry to Find Effective Keywords

By John Arnold, Michael Becker, Marty Dickinson, Ian Lurie, Elizabeth Marsten

In web marketing, two very helpful strategies when choosing keywords is to compare your site to the competition and to check your industry to make sure you are advertising what you think you are. These simple tips can help take you to the top of your rankings.

Compare competition and search volume

If you’re facing 200 million other websites that are all vying for the No. 1 spot, you might want to choose a different keyword.

Go to Google and Bing and search for the phrase you’ve chosen. Look at three competitive factors:

  • The number of competing sites: If you find more than 10 million competing pages in the search results, you might be facing an uphill battle.

  • Where you rank: If you’re already on the second page of the results, you might not care how many sites are competing with you.

  • Your ability to compete: If you have a daily newsletter on your site about mixed greens, you might be super competitive, even if a mob of other sites are trying to beat you. You’re adding new, highly relevant content every day, and search engines love that. That steady content growth gives you an advantage.

Always balance competition against search volume. Some terms might offer so many potential visitors that any level of competition is worth it. For example, the phrase wedding dresses gets over one million searches per month. It’s also one of the most competitive phrases on the Internet. But one million searches make wedding dresses so potentially valuable that if you have any chance for success, you have to try.

Your best strategy is to mix your keyword list and optimize for both of the following:

  • High-volume, high-competition keywords that require a long effort on your part before you gain any rankings

  • Low-volume, low-competition keywords that can produce results sooner

This strategy lets you build traffic sooner while still aiming for the home run phrases later.

Check your industry with Google Insights

You can also make sure that the keyword you chose fits your industry. (Are you offering mixed greens or mixed green paint?) You can use Google Insights to double-check your assumptions about your keyword’s relevancy by following these steps:

  1. Go to Google and type your keyword in the text box.

  2. Click the All Categories drop-down list and choose a category your keyword fits in, and then click the Search button.

    Pshew. Looks like mixed greens really is about leafy stuff.

  3. If you’re still worried, select a category you don’t expect your keyword to fall into.

    If you get a result of “Not enough search volume to show graphs,” you know that you’re in good shape.