Finding Your Competition with compete.com
Today we’re going to find out how to find your web site or blog competition using a compete.com pro account. There are many stat services out there, but not many have as much data as compete.com, or have as may ways to dissect it. There are quite a few ways to find the competition, but we’re going to try and make it as easy as we can.
This is the second installment of our compete.com review!
You might be surprised about today’s results and what you’re about to read, because sometimes the competition in search results aren’t as great as they appear to be. Being successful in a particular niche is nice, but the one thing a search engine never tells you is how many people are searching for the keywords you type in. No matter what keywords you try and target you still can’t get more traffic that segment is already getting.
What I mean is, if I want to dominate the keywords “red widgets”, but the search engines are only referring 5,000 visitors per month for that keyword phrase – I can never get more than 5K visitors per month on those keywords unless that market segment grows. There are ways to “create a market”, create a buzz, and work viral campaigns, but you can’t count on that. I’ll explain this more as we go…
Finding Competitors through Keywords
First of all you have to have a vague idea of what keword you’re trying to target, otherwise you have nothing to look up. I know I write about “blogging” so I looked that up, but I get massive results and sites like huffington post and things that don’t relate to me. I’m not really looking to compete directly with problogger.net anyway, so I’m probably barking up the wrong alley looking up “blogging”.
I’ve written about niche stores quite a bit, so I’ll punch in “niche store” to see the competition:
Wow! I only got 2 results, and those 2 COMBINED get less than 13,500 search referrals per month! You might say “but google gives 6.9 MILLION results for the keyword phrase ‘niche store'”! Touche! They do. But guess what, we just revealed through compete.com data that 6.9 millions sites are competing for less than 13,500 search referrals per month. Not a very smart plan is it? If you actually “want” to sell lots of niche stores then you need to target keywords that draw in a much larger audience if you want to be really successful.
Let’s check out another keyword phrase I’ve written about in a recent series “wordpress affiliate store”.
Check it out, I only get 5 results! I immediantly discount #2 (seoquake) because those stats are probably skewed by the firefox seoquake extension. The other 4 stats would be MUCH higher if that weren’t the case. Datafeedr is #1 (which I expected), and the 4 remaining results combined get MAYBE 6,000 search referrals per month. Again, google has 403,000 results for that keyword phrase (and I’m #3!). Once again I’ll state – when you are competing for a keyword phrase that doesn’t get many search referrals, how successful can you be? There’s nothing wrong with targeting (and dominating) low volume keywords like this, but don’t bet the success of your web site on dominating just one or two of them.
So far compete.com has shown me my competition for 2 of my main keyword phrases, but more importantly that those 2 keyword phrases are pretty low volume. I would need to have a couple dozen search phrases like that for the kind of traffic I need to be successful. I think I need to research my competing keywords better and rethink my strategy!
More Competitive Keywords
Now that I know that the few keyword phrases I was targeting aren’t good enough to try and draw the traffic I need to be successful, it’s time to think a little bit bigger. There’s no way I’m going to bother competing for the ubiquitos John Chow phrase “make money online”. But if I think about a good general description for my blog – I basically write articles about making money blogging with WordPress the majority of the time.
So, let’s check compete.com for the keywords “make money blogging”:
This seems like a much better keyword phrase to target. The compete.com reports shows 56 domains getting regular traffic from it. It’s actually way higher than that since the blogger results are lumped together (blogspot.com). But with about 4% of 65 million search referrals per month going to “make money blogging” that’s 2.6 million per month just being sent to blogger. I’m sure that’s spread over tens of thousands of blogs though. The number one result is doshdosh.com, because 6% of his search referrals per month come from those keywords (higher than anyone else). The seccond is bloggingexperiment.com and third is stevepavlina.com. Looks like I’ve started to uncover my competition! Compete.com can help you find your competition, but you have to do a bit of investigation to figure out what you’re competing for first (like we just did).
Spying on the Competition
Now that we found a good keyword phrase, it’s time to investigate the top 3 sites that get traffic from it currently to see what we can learn.
The first is doshdosh.com. Through the “site profile” tool I see that this domain gets 198,000 average visits per month on nearly a half million page views.
At the bottom of the profile page we get some quick stats on search and referral analytics:
In this quick view we see 25% of the traffic comes from google, and 6% from twitter, plus some from Sphinn and facebook. The person blogging on this site definitely uses “social media” as a tool to obtain traffic, out of the 357 sources listed for incoming traffic – many of “twitter” tool sites.
What I’m particularly interested in are the keywords that are referring traffic to doshdosh.com to see if I can get any other ideas to investigate. But first I’m going to check Yahoo and see how many backlinks doshdosh has. Compete doesn’t show this, but it’s something we can see free in Yahoo by doing the query linkdomain:doshdosh.com
Wow, I’m glad I did that check! doshdosh.com has an ASTOUNDING 1.2 MILLION backlinks! Are you kidding me? Holy hell, that’s unbelieveable. Let’s do a compete.com keyword report and see if we can figure out why:
Well, it’s no wonder that doshdosh has 1.2 million backlinks anymore, 4 out out of the top 10 keywords are for their “prosense” wordpress theme. They authored a wordpress theme and gave it away for free with their link in the footer, so every site using it has a link back to dosh dosh (apparently over a million pages). Is this a great case for creating your own WordPress theme or what?
Also in the top 10 is the phrase “link building tips”. That might be another good phrase to investigate. Let’s look at the next 10 keyword results for doshdosh.com:
Now we actually see “make money blogging” in spot #19 and it appears to be sending only about 10,000 search referrals a month. But “ways to make money blogging” is sending 5,000, “content monetization strategories” is sending another 5,000, “seo tips building new site” is sending another 5,000, etc. After looking through these keywords I’ve learned that the best thing I can do is take 10 phrases that send 5K or more search referrals per month and target them one by one in articles and posts to build traffic (just like dosh dosh did).
Now it’s time to check out my #2 competitor for make money blogging bloggingexperiment.com:
I looke liks this site was doing better last year and is just starting to come back a bit this month. At this point – I get more traffic here on jtpratt.com per month than they do. That doesn’t mean I can’t learn from them though.
Looking at their search and referral stats briefly this is what I see:
They get 32% of their traffic from google and an impressive 8% from yahoo. Nearly 5% comes from sitepoint.com, which means the owner of this site probably posts a lot in sitepoint forums to build links. 2% of the referrals come from ebay, which seems weird, until you see that the #3 spot is buyingandsellingwebsites.com, which means that they are no doubt selling web sites on eBay.
From the search analyics I see that their domain name is #1 and #2, but “make money blogging” is #3. On to the keyword report, it turns out they only get traffic from 27 main keyword phrases:
In their top 10 search referral phrases I see two additional ones, “make money”, and “how to make money” that might be worth targeting sometime in the future. I checked Yahoo, and bloggingexperiment.com has 8,400 backlinks (about as many as I do).
Now it’s time to check out the third competitor for “make money blogging” stevepavlina.com:
This site appears to be growing pretty consistently, let’s see what the quick search and refferal stats are:
31% of the traffic comes from google 2.5% from google and almost 2% from facebook. 3% is from blogger, which means many other blogges are linking to him. Out of the keyword section though, 4 out of the top 5 keywords appear to be about food. Let’s dig a little deeper…
It appears that stevepavlina.com gets traffic from 835 different keywords. Out of the first 10 most are about food and personal development. So lets take a look at the second set of 10:
Now we start to see more keywords related to our target market like “site build it” (a tool for building web sites), “web traffic”, “make money from blogging”, and “make money blog”. In results 21-30 (not shown here), there’s also “blog income”, “make money blogging”, and “blogging for money”! These all seem great, but the thing to remember her is that stevepavlina.com gets under 200,000 search referrals per month, and the majority of these phrases get less than half of one percent of search referrals per month (less than 1,000). It might be a good idea to use them organically in blog posts or titles, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to target them without futher investigation in compete’s keyword destination tool to see if other sites are getting more referrals for them. I checked Steve Pavlina’s backlinks in Yahoo and he has over 186,000!
What Have We Learned?
- The keywords we targeted don’t get a lot of traffic
- We researched and found a better main keyword phrase
- We reviewed the 3 top competing sites
- We found additional keyword phrases to target over time
- We learned more successful sites get traffic from MANY keyword phrases
- Most sites have similar “branched variations” of the same keyword phrase
- The more backlinks you have the higher you rank for even the simplest keyword phrases
Compete.com has some great tools for discovering your competitor web sites, where they get their traffic, and which keywords are working best for them. The best way to become successful is by watching people that already are successful and learning from them. Viewing the competition’s statistics is also a great way to find out keyword trends that are more popular than what you’re already using. The data that compete.com has available isn’t something that you could dig out of search engines on your own. The information that I’ve gathered so far will help me to plan future posts, pages, meta descriptions, in addition to link building campaigns.