Thursday, January 19, 2012

Market Samurai - SEO Competition

Continuing where we left off on yesterday's post, by using Market Samurai we determined that we were going to try and target the term "clearance baby clothes" as our primary keyword phrase for our new site and as a backup we have "vintage baby clothes".  What we want to do now is size up the competition and see what we're up against.  We will be able to see at a quick glance whether or not we can compete for that phrase, or if we're better off trying another keyword phrase. 

If you followed along with the last post and installed the 12 day free trial of Market Samurai, great!  You're all set to continue on with this module.  If not, go here and put in your name and email address to get a link to download the software.  You should receive an email right away.  As a reminder, the software is available for both Mac and PC.  Click the link in your email, follow the instructions to download/install the software and then double click the Market Samurai icon and we're ready to get started.

I won't re-post all the screen shots from yesterdays post.  You can either go through the steps there, or follow the 2 minute video walkthrough that I will re-post below.  You can go through those steps for both "clearance baby clothes" and "vintage baby clothes" separately as your keyword search term.  Once you're at the results screen at the end of the video, all you need to do is click on the SEO Competition section on the left hand side of the screen and then click the Generate Results button.




I have the SEO Competition results screens for both phrases below.  The results show the top 10 sites ranking for those keyword phrases.  Those are the sites that show up on the first page of Google when you search for that particular keyword phrase and that is our direct competition, since the first page is where we want to be.  That is because 95-98% of all traffic for a particular keyword search phrase goes to the first page of results on Google. 

There are basically two separate categories of items in the SEO Competition charts.  On page and off pageOn page items are exactly that, making sure you have your keyword phrase on your main page in your blog/site title, description, URL and header tags.  All items you have control over and can easily modify/keep in mind up-front.  The off page items are things like links to your main site or individual pages from other websites, the age of your domain name and your site being listed in the DMOZ or Yahoo directory.  I'll get into more details on those items below.  

The first several items below are all off site items.

Clearance Baby Clothes results

The first column in the chart is DA, or Domain Age.  That is how many years that site has existed.  If it's 2 years or less you will usually see a - instead of a number.  The older the domain name the better.  The only way to compete on Domain Age is to purchase a preexisting domain name rather than registering a new one.  That can be far more costly and it's not something I would do just starting out. 

The second field is PR, or Page Rank.  Everything in that chart factors into the Page Rank.  The higher the Page Rank, the better and the scale is from 0 to 10.  No on knows for sure exactly what weighting each item on this page gets as far as calculating the overall Page Rank, but I will provide some tips along the way.

The next category is IC, or Index Count.  That is the number of pages from that site that are indexed by Google.  Basically the amount of individual posts or pages you have on your site.  The more quality content the better.

The next 4 categories are all inter-related RDD, RDP, BLP and BLD.  They are Referring Domains-Domains, Referring Domains-Pages, Backlink-Pages, Backlink-Domains.  My interpretation of those items are that the first two, RDD and RDP are links to your site from the main page of another site to either your main domain name or a specific page.  BLP and BLD would be individual pages on those sites linking to your domain or individual pages on your domain I believe.  The semantics of each aren't of major importance in my opinion, but the overall importance of these 4 items is.  The more links you have to your site/pages from other sites, preferably popular/high ranking sites, the higher the value that Google will rank your site over time.  So, do what you can to get links back to your site, whether it is from creating amazing posts that people just can't help but link to, commenting on other blogs/forums on sites that allow your name to contain an active link to your site, having others add your blog/site to their blog roll, etc.

BLEG is an acronym for backlinks from a government (.gov) or educational institution (.edu) domain.  Google places value on having a link to your site or individual pages from .gov or .edu sites.  That is most likely because .gov and .edu sites do not typically provide an easy mechanism to get a link to your site, such as through a forum or comment post.  So if you can, get a link to your side from a site that ends in .edu or .gov and the more the better.

DMOZ and Yahoo Directory are two internet directory listings of sites that are or were maintained by humans manually entering sites to their directory.  These came about because companies or website owners were frustrated back in the day that their sites took forever to appear in search engine results and no one could ever find their sites.  This was an attempt to get around that and they still exist today and Google places value on having your site listed on those two directories.  You can submit to have your site added to DMOZ for free at that link, it can take 6-8 weeks or more.  I just added this blog to that site on 1/14/2012 and will report back if/when it gets added.  Yahoo now charges $299 to be added to their directory.  Not worth it for me right now, but if you are interested here is a link for that.

That ends the off site category of items.  The following are on site categories that you can control yourself if you have your own domain name.  They are Title, URL, Desc and Head.  That just means that you want to have your Blog name/keywords in your Title field, in the domain name, Description and Header tags on your main site page.

For Blogger, you go into your Template and first click the Backup/Restore button and then Download Full Template and save it to your PC as a backup.  Then click Edit HTML, click Proceed and then Expand Widget Templates and search for <head>.  Directly after the head tag, paste the following code, replacing the words in CAPS with your own relevant information:

<b:if cond='data:blog.url == &quot;YOUR SITE HERE&quot;'>
<meta content='YOUR BLOG DESCRIPTION' name='description'/>
<meta content='YOUR KEYWORDS' name='keywords'/>

For example, here is my exact info:

<b:if cond='data:blog.url == &quot;http://www.thepathtoriches.com&quot;'>
<meta content='The Path To Riches blog is a journey towards achieving financial freedom through the generation of passive income.' name='description'/>
<meta content='the path to riches, passive income, information products, information product, lifestyle design, blogging, internet marketing, affiliate marketing, audio, video, financial freedom' name='keywords'/></b:if>

That takes care of the Title and Description items and also gives you some keyword goodness as well.  For Wordpress, the All in One SEO Pack plugin is the way to go. 

For the URL field, if you don't already have a domain name for your site, you want to try and pick a name with your keyword phrase in it with the least number of extra characters.  For my blog, the title and domain name are the same, so that is a 100% match and will help me rank for the phrase "the path to riches" and I currently rank number #1 for that keyword phrase on Google.    

The Head, or Header item, refers to whether your keywords appear in <h1> <h2> <h3> tags within your main site.  The way I accomplished that one was to go into the Blogger layout page and I added a Text widget to the bottom of my blog that has the blog title within an <h3>The Path To Riches</h3> tag.  Easy enough!  You can see that all the way at the bottom of my blog. 

Now that you have an idea of what the SEO Competition items are all about, let's check out our results for clearance baby clothes and vintage baby clothes.  You'll probably have to click the images so that you can see the results in more detail.  However, you can tell from the color coding that there is a pretty good amount of red boxes on both, with clearance baby clothes having slightly more.  Red means that it will be difficult to compete in those categories.   


Clearance Baby Clothes results

If you look closer at the particular sites that rank in the top 10 for clearance baby clothes, you will see Kohls, Overstock.com, Walmart, JCPenney, Carters, ToysRUs, Target and Big Lots.  I'm pretty sure you realize that competing for a spot on the top page of Google would be pretty close to impossible with those retail powerhouses at the top of the list.  However, I do find it interesting that at the time I ran this query, the site that is ranked #2 is a particular page from www.buybuybaby.com  I'm not up on my clearance baby clothes knowledge, but it seems that a smaller, much lesser known company was able to break into the top 10 as well as www.babymallonline.com at the #10 spot, but again, these are big retail sites.

Based on the keyword term clearance baby clothes, we would probably expect that.  So, despite the good results from our keyword research, clearance baby clothes is not a phrase we would want to target, since the overall goal is to have a reasonable chance to rank in the top 10.

Vintage Baby Clothes results

Looking closer at the vintage baby clothes output, we see a similar amount of red boxes, but not a lot of big name retailers.  We do have eBay, Etsy and Amazon in the rankings, but we have several other lesser known names as well.  There are also several sites that do not have an outrageous number of pages/backlinks and several page rank 0 sites.  If it were me and I had a serious passion for vintage baby clothes and was determined to setup a highly successful niche site on the topic, I would attempt to go after either the #1, #5, #8 or the #10 spots.  Those sites have the least number of web pages (IC) and backlinks.  And if you look closely, only the #1 ranked site has the words vintage baby in it.  None of the sites have our actual keyword phrase vintage baby clothes in the domain name.

Clicking over to the Domains module very quickly and typing in vintage baby clothes and clicking Find Domains, you see that as of this posting, evintagebabyclothes.com is the best choice and it is available or you could also go with myvintagebabyclothes.net  Those two sites right there would cause you to rank higher in Google for vintage baby clothes than even the top site in the list, since it includes all 3 keywords in order with minimal additional characters.  Of course that's only one factor in the whole ranking process, but you'd be off to a great start!




If that topic happens to interest you, feel free to take my example and run with it.  You should have a decent chance of success once you have a good amount of solid, original content and backlinks to your site from other high ranking sites.  If you do take the idea, stop back and drop us a comment/email and let us know how it worked out for you.  I've love to hear it was a huge success!

That is just one example of the entire process from start to finish on how you can come up with an idea, identify relevant/profitable keyword phrases to target, size up your competition to see if it is possible to compete and pick a great domain name to go along with your phrase.  All through just one product, Market Samurai.  You have seen that not only does Market Samurai set you up with an excellent chance of success, but if you do the full analysis as we just did, you are also setting yourself up with a much smaller chance of failure from either trying to enter an over-saturated market or targetting keywords that you cannot compete against.  That right there is priceless.

If you have your own idea and have followed along and would now like to register a domain name, sign up for a web host and setup your own site/blog, my next post will provide the specifics on how to do all that.  In addition, I will do a future post on how to utilize Market Samurai to dig deeper into each of your top 10 competitors to find out where their backlinks are originating from.  Once you have some excellent content published, that will provide you a road map on exactly where you can go to start building your own backlinks to duplicate their success. 

In full disclosure, I receive an affiliate commission if you decide to purchase the Market Samurai software, at no additional cost to you.  You will also be eligible for a 35% discount if you sign-up during the first 6 days of your free trial, which is exactly what I did when I purchased the software myself. 

2 comments:

Jen said...

That software does seem very in depth and seems to work great. Lots of good info. Just one comment on the clearance baby clothes (because I am fully engrossed in that topic). Although buybuybaby isn't as large as some of those companies, it is owned by bed, bath and beyond and I would still consider it a really big, big box baby retailer.

Chris said...

Ah, so yeah, that definitely confirms clearance baby clothes is not the phrase to target. Thanks for the 'insider info'.

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