Keyword Competition 101 – Preparing to Win the Race to the First Page

What Is Keyword Competition?

We all hear about keyword competition and ranking for specific search terms while doing SEO. But what does the term Keyword Competition really mean?

Google will determine the competitive nature of a keyword based on the amount of sites trying to rank for that keyword – and the on-site & off-site items of the webpage that is ranking for a specific term.

Who is My Competition When Trying to Rank for a Keyword?

So, if there are 6 million search results for a search query (keyword), but only 20 pages have good backlinks, current on-page SEO implemented, informative content, well written meta tags, are shared socially, have digital PR behind them, Google will base what is shown in each position based on the result being the most relevant for that specific user based on their age, demographic, location, past search history, interests, etc.

This means that only those 20 pages that are properly constructed are your competition. And based on how well they’re constructed and the other elements mentioned above, the percentage ranking is determined.

How Is Keyword Competition Determined by Search Engines?

If you’re trying to rank for a long-tail keyword that isn’t mentioned on many sites – or is related to an extremely specific niche without much other content on the web, the competition will be low.

If you’re trying to rank for a product or service with a one or two-word search term that is being sold by thousands of businesses nationwide and quite a few businesses locally, including small, medium, and large businesses and big box stores who actively are keeping up with Google’s quality standards, it’s going to be much more competitive – and take MUCH more effort to get first page ranking for those terms.

What Industries are the Most Competitive in Google Search?

Accounting is a very competitive industry online. The top industries are anything to do with healthcare, insurance, taxes & accounting, anything technology & technology services, real estate.

Any industry that has massive amounts of SEO enabled content being regularly indexed by search engines will be tougher to compete in trying to rank for specific terms.

How Do I Rank First Page for Specific Terms on Google?

  1. Research the competitive nature of your target keywords by doing keyword research.
  2. Next, locate your competition on these terms and see what your competition is doing to rank for them.
  3. Create a plan to rank for these search terms based on doing more than your competition is doing.

When doing research, look for keyword opportunities that include:

  • Medium to High Monthly Average Searches
  • Medium to Low Competition

…and try ranking for these terms while ranking for the tougher keywords. The ultimate find is a keyword with low to no competition and high monthly searches that fits your target audience. This is the SEO equivalent of seeing a unicorn or Bigfoot.

Am I Too Late to Even Try to Rank for Certain Keywords?

Be cognizant that ranking for terms in your vertical isn’t a one-and-done proposition. Depending on how strong the competition is your up against, it could be a process that takes a year or longer.

Some of your competition may have been doing SEO for years before you’re coming into the space, including investing large budgets to get the traffic you want. Without proper planning, ranking for very competitive terms can be frustrating.

Choose where and how you want to compete wisely. Understand that if the foundation of research is done intensively and properly, the long-term benefits can be amazing.