Metric No. 4: Number of Search Results
Search your keyword in Google and you’ll see the approximate number of results at the very top of the page (e.g., About 19,400,000 results when I searched for “cosmetic dentist”). This is how many pages Google found that are relevant for that search phrase. However, all of those pages are not actively optimizing for that keyword.
To find the approximate number of pages that appear to be optimizing for a given keyword, you can use an advanced search command: “allintitle”. Copy and paste the search below into Google:
Google will then show you how many pages online have the keyword, “cosmetic dentist” in the title tag of the page. This is a tell-tale sign that the page is optimized for that keyword and is therefore actual SEO competition.
Treat this as yet one more metric by which to gauge the competitiveness of a keyword. The more pages that appear to be competing for a given keyword, the harder it will be for you to outrank those competitors.
Metric No. 5: Approximate Keyword Value
Another way to determine the competitiveness of a keyword is to literally determine its value. A simple formula can tell you how much you’d need to pay for a top paid position with that keyword. This is how much you would need to pay to advertise, but of course, with SEO you would get this traffic without paying Google for each click.
First, get the keyword’s average monthly search volume from the Google Keyword Planner. Next, multiply that by the average clickthrough rate (CTR) for a top SERP ranking — research by Smart Insights shows the top-position CTR to be around 30 percent. Finally, multiply the product of the volume and CTR by the keyword’s suggested bid in AdWords. The resulting answer tells you the value of a first page ranking in Google.
Metric No. 6: Historic Analytics Data
Have you been working on your SEO strategy for a while? And, if so, have you been using Google Analytics? If so, then you already have a trove of data that could help you make better decisions about which keywords to pursue.
Review your rankings for various queries and which keyword searches deliver your best CTRs. Plus, review your landing pages to see which pages are driving the most conversions, and which have high bounce rates that need to be fixed.
Reviewing these metrics will help you gain more valuable insights from your keyword data. And with those insights, you can make more productive decisions about how to shape your website content in ways that improve your rankings for various search queries — both now and in the future.
Keyword research is a never-ending process in SEO, and over time you’ll build a list of keywords that will be central for your online marketing. And in addition to growing your marketing, good keyword research can even guide you to grow your business.
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