seo competitive analysis pictureIn the online market space, it is important to know what your competitive landscape looks like. This is especially crucial for SEO. If you are going to target particular phrases and keywords that you want your site to show up for, you need to know who is already showing up for them and how good of a job they are doing. Let’s face it, if you are a new shoe store that only sells Nike shoes, you probably don’t have much of a shot at ranking well for the term “Nike.” That is where keyword research comes in, but that is a topic for another post. Ok, so how do we analyze your competitive landscape?

Let’s say you are in the online clothing store business and you want to see how competitive “online clothing store,” is online. First let’s just type in the query “online clothing store” into google.

online clothing store results screenshot

google online clothing store results screenshot

Here you can see that that there are quite a lot of sites showing up for this phrase, 2,840,000 to be exact. In SEO, the title tag is considered to have the most weight, so let’s see how many of our competitors are actively using the phrase “online clothing store” in their title tag. This will give us an idea of how man “real” competitors we have.

To do this type: intitle:online clothing store

UPDATED, Use: allintitle:online clothing store for more relevant results

online clothing store google results screenshot

google results screen shot

Notice how the amount of sites that use “online clothing store” in their title tag has dropped significantly to around 347,000. You can repeat this query using quotation marks around your desired keyword phrase and this will give you an estimate of how many sites are showing up for this EXACT phrase. Searching without the quotation marks just means that the words needs to be located in the title tag but the phrase doesn’t have to match. Let’s see what happens when we use the EXACT match approach.

To do this type: intitle:”online clothing store”

UPDATED, Use: allintitle:”online clothing store” for more relevant results

results page screen shot from google for

google results screen shot for

Now we can see that the number of competing sites has decreased even further. We went from roughly 3,000,000 to around 25,000. These 25,000 sites are using the exact phrase “online clothing store” in their title tag, this means that these sites are really gunning for this phrase.

Anchor text is also very valuable in SEO. The anchor text is the actual text you click on to go to that desired link. So let’s take a look at how many of of the sites out there are being linked to with the phrase “online clothing store.”

To do this type: inanchor:”online clothing store”

screen shot for google results for inanchor online clothing store

google screen shot for inanchor online clothing store

Here we can see that there are around 213 sites that are being linked to with the exact text “online clothing store.” Removing the quotation marks will give you a much higher result because that means that the words can appear in the anchor text in any order and the phrase doesn’t need to be an EXACT match. Removing the quotation marks should give you around 2,500,000 results.

So now that we know how many sites are using the phrase in their title tag and how many are being linked to with our phrase. Let’s find out how many sites are BOTH: using “online clothing store” in their title tag and are being linked to with “online clothing store.” This will give us a good idea of how many competitors are out there, really gunning for these terms and actually using onpage (title tags) and offpage (links) SEO to rank for them.

To do this type: Intitle:”online clothing store” inanchor:”online clothing store”

google screen shot results for inanchor and intitle

google results screeen shot for intitle and inanchor online clothing store

Here we can see that the rough number of sites out there competing for “online clothing store” in both onpage and offpage SEO is 108. Keep in mind that this is a very rough number. There are many other factors that still go into ranking a site. You still need to outrank 2,840,000 pages to be number one. This gives us an idea of how large your competitive landscape is. Many of the rankings sites are not really gunning for “online clothing store,” and may in fact be ranking for them on accident, this mean that it shouldn’t be to outrank many of your competitors if your pursue aggressive and smart SEO.

I hope this brief competitive landscape tutorial has helped, please give me your thoughts/comments.

Thanks for reading everyone!