Estimating search competition is hard and in many cases it ends up to be a lottery (suddenly your page gets ranked high for a word you would never expect it to). We’ve written and read tons of great articles about evaluating SERPs competition and that’s one of the hardest aspects of search engine marketing (which is usually rightfully outsourced).
However it doesn’t mean there is only complex stuff involved in the process. In fact, some aspects and basics of search competition evaluation are fun and can pretty much be done at home.
The very first step in deciding if you want to dedicate your time and effort to trying to get ranked high for some word or phrase is obvious: just Google for it (and you may want to disable Google personalized results when you do)!
Now just perform these two simple exercises (you will love them, we promise):
1. Identifying the “Impossible” Positions
With many search queries (especially popular ones) there are those results that are impossible to compete with. These usually are:
- Official websites (especially governmental or non-profit organizations). Note: If the top result has sitelinks, it is also impossible to push down.
- Wikipedia pages.
Even if you put plenty of time and energy into competing with those and manage to push them down a bit, that would cost you a lot (usually it’s just not worth it):
Note: If you are just starting your business and looking for a domain name, try this exercise with each domain name you consider. Like it is pointed out in this very old (but still useful) post on checking how good your new domain name might be:
…Search for [domain name] to evaluate how hard that will be for you to manage your brand/reputation. For example, tourwiki.com looks nice if you are planning a nice site on traveling but cannot be branded effectively just because if you search for ‘tour wiki‘, you see en.wikipedia.org on top – can you compete with it? Probably, not.
2. Identifying the Brand Presence
If there’s a strong brand name behind your keyword you’d like to try, it doesn’t mean you cannot compete. But if Google gave that brand name the benefit of “stacked” treatment, it is almost impossible to compete with (especially being a newcomer).
What is “domain stacking” or “brand stacking”?
Domain stacking is a recent change in Google’s algorithm in which branded search queries result in multiple pages from the same domain:
Note: Search Cloudlet addon for FireFox could be a great help identifying obvious brand stacking (click through SITES button):
Are there any other “easy-to-implement-exercises to identify “impossible” search positions? Please share them in the comments!
This article is courtesy of Jack Demers, the search and marketing blogger for VIP Reality, premiere Dallas real estate company.