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Competitive Keyword and Link Research that Works

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Competitive Keyword and Link Research that Works

Having an effective link building strategy is crucial to the success of any SEO campaign.   That being said, a great link building strategy for one client or site, may not not translate to another.  The cookie cutter link building mentality  is where many SEO’s often fail.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s probably not the best idea to implement the same link building practices on the keyword health insurance as the keyword plastic injection molding.  Putting every site you work on under the same umbrella is a recipe for disaster.

It’s important to recognize what you are up against in the vertical you are competing in.  Below I have documented my methods of competitive keyword and link research that has helped me rank various sites in recent months.

For purposes of this post I am going to use a fictional site with site characteristics and statistics I randomly applied.


Domain Age: 2006

Links:  1,300

Targeted Keyword: party supplies

Anchor Text Breakdown:

40% Optimized Anchor Text (party supplies, party decorations, etc)

20% Branding (brand name, URL, etc)

20% Random (click here, read more, editorial endorsements)

10% Image and No-Follow Links

All of this data can be attained by using SEO Moz’s Linkscape Comparison Report or Open Site Explorer back-link analysis tool.

First things first, we need to find out exactly who we are competing against and just how steep of a hill we are going to climb.  Not only will this set the tone for the long road ahead, but give you an idea on how to translate and set expectations for your client.  A simple Google search will reveal who, followed by a Linkscape report how competitive.

(Linkscape analysis of the top 4 sites ranking for ‘party supplies’)

Competitive Keyword and Link Research that Works

As you can see a basic comparison report can give you a wealth of information, from the number links that are actually going to the homepage URL to the amount of trust or authority SEO Moz gives a domain.  These might seem like obvious metrics to the more experienced or seasoned SEO vet, but in the fast paced world that is SEO it is very easy to over look these HUGELY important factors.

So you’ve analyzed the competition, now what? Seek and destroy, dig deeper to find out which of those 15k links are actually passing the most trust and authority for party supplies to Google.  What do the sites beating you have in common besides links? Unique page titles and descriptions? Content strategies? Alt-text on their images?

What’s their presence in social media? I could go on for days.  The point I am trying to make is that generally there is more to the explanation than “building more links.”  As Google’s algorithms become more and more advanced, shady link building practices and black/grey hat tactics will fall by the wayside.  Long term success and sustainability in SEO will run deep with the people and companies who go the extra mile, plan ahead, and execute.


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