Measuring Local Search Results Competition

by on June 6, 2010 · 4 comments

This post is part 5 of a 10 post series on local website optimization and local search keyword selection by guest author Jeff Howard. A complete list of all posts and links can be found at the bottom of the page.

Here we will touch on how to use a number of metrics in order to finalize local keyword selection for your website. During the last few posts I have reviewed how to generate keyword ideas, and sort them by traffic volume using Google’s Keyword Research Tool.

If you have been following the post series we want narrow our list down to a handful of phrases and then pin-point the best keyword phrase to target.

Remember, the goal is to choose a phrase for optimization of your homepage and the entire website, at the same time setting aside a few additional keywords that will drive relevant traffic as they support your businesses’ alternative locations, or specific products and services.

To gauge the best keyword for homepage optimization we will take a closer look at the level of competition surrounding each word in your short list. The intent is to measure the ratio of traffic potential to competition. Think of this like trying to avoid a traffic jam. Ultimately, you want to find the quickest possible path to your destination (lots of visitors to your website) while avoiding time consuming battles over top positions (spending time performing extra work for a top position).

Steps for Evaluating Keyword Competition

To narrow down our list, we need to select a few keywords that would do a good job of representing your entire website. These selections should accurately embody your business’s location and entire line of products, or services.

Set aside a list of these types of keywords now and use the tips below to evaluate the competition. To start examining the level of competition, open and type in your first phrase.

  • Paid Results: Paid results are the listings that show up on the right and top of a search engine results page. Also known as PPC (Pay Per Click Ads). If your keyword has a lot of paid results this means that the searchers will have more options to click on rather than your organic listing. It also indicates there may be more competition for organic rankings. In other words, the more ads, the more difficulty. On the contrary, a positive outlook is this. Because advertisers are spending money for this keyword one can assume it is profitable to rank highly for that keyword. While the competition may be higher, the certainty of an increase in business is present.
  • Competition Level In Top Ten Results: Probably the biggest factor limiting your ability to move into a top organic position are the number of other sites also targeting your keyword. To rate a keyword’s level of competition, look at the listings and count how many times the same (or similar) keyword you’re searching for is mentioned in the top page’s listing title.
  • Map Listings: By now you may have noticed Google is placing map listings within the results for many of your keyword phrases. This is going to benefit if you if your able to perform well in map listings, however it can take away organic ranking clicks. The end objective will be to hold a map listing along with a top organic listing.
  • Recommended Phrase:Google, Bing & Yahoo almost always provide searchers with recommended phrases while they type in a keyword. These are the words that show up as you type in whatever it is your searching for in the search box. If your phrases are not recommended before you finish typing them this is bad, because it will reduce the likelihood someone else will type your keyword before selecting a recommended keyword.

With this step it’s important to use your discretion. There is not a universal rule of thumb for making a finalized keyword list. However, rest assured you have examined all the angles. The next post will cover how to make a website map in preparation for optimizing your website for the newly selected keywords.

<< Previous Post
Part 4 – Tips for Using Google Keyword Research Tool in a Local Context

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Part 6 – The Importance of Mapping Web Pages for Local Optimization

About the Author

This is a guest post by Jeff Howard. Jeff has delivered SEO results for major consumer oriented websites all the way down to local businesses, and writes a column for Search Engine Guide.

Learn how to create, customize and optimize WordPress Websites for your small business in the Expand2Web Expert Course.

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Jeff has written 21 articles on Expand2Web

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Abdur M June 9, 2010 at 1:51 am

great tips for the local business success..


Small business website marketing December 7, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Some real cool stuff here, im not into seo myself but my team who deal with my clients are, some insights here that il have to discuss with them.

Keep it coming


Barry Mandel January 31, 2011 at 1:48 pm

thank you for this article anyone looking to optimize their site for local search this is a must read.


seo services delhi July 22, 2011 at 10:55 pm

thank you for this article anyone looking to optimize their site for local search this is a must read.


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