When you are picking keyword phrase to target, using the “AllInTitle” filter can be a good way to assess the level of competition for a keyword. (We have a guide to Search Engine Optimization here ).
How do you decide which keyword phrases you should target with your website? When we do this for a client our first step is to generate ideas based on the products and services they sell. Next, we use tools like the Google Keyword Planner to generate more ideas for keywords. If the client has been running Google Pay-per-click ads for a while then we will look at these too, checking to see which keywords have good search volumes, good click through rates (CTRs) and good conversions (e.g. the percentage of people who register on a landing page after clicking through on an ad).
When you have a long list of candidate keywords, you need to whittle it down. You can only target so many keyword – about 3 phrases per page on your website - so you have to make some choices. We make the selection using 3 filters.
The first filter we use is search volume – how many people typically search for this term month-by-month? Google’s keyword planner can give you a rough indication of search volumes for a keyword phrase. Generally you don’t want to target keywords that have a low volume of search traffic – if not many people search for the term there is no point optimizing your site for it.
The next filter is “relevance” – is the keyword phrase really closely related to what we sell? Is it too generic? Could it be misunderstood as relating to another business? We usually mark each keyword as High, Medium or Low for relevance so we can sort them later.
The next filter is “competition”. This is one of the biggest factors in determining which keywords you should target. If there are tens of thousands of other websites targeting the exact same phrase then it will be really hard for you to get to page one of the search results.
You can use Google’s keyword planner to get an idea of the level of competition for a particular keyword phrase. However, we also do a quick search on the phrase using ‘AllInTitle:keyword phrase’ in Google. The ‘AllInTitle’ modifier tells Google to show you how many pages on the web have a Page Title tag that matches your search phrase. Since most people who are optimizing a page to target a keyword phrase will put that phrase in the Title, then the ‘AllInTitle’ search results give you a pretty good idea of how many people are trying to target the same keyword.
For example, if you enter “allintitle:tomato ketchup” into the Google search box, it will show you the total number of pages it finds with ‘tomato ketchup’ in the Title tag.
Our rule of thumb is that if there are less than 5,000 results using the same phrase in the title then you have a chance to compete for page 1. Between 5,000 and 7,500 is going to be tough, and more than 7,500 other pages will make it very tough.
If you build up a spreadsheet of keywords that includes the search traffic volumes, relevance and the number you get from the ‘AllInTitle’ search then you will start to see which keywords show the most potential. You are looking for keyword phrases with high search, strong relevance and low competition.
If you’d like to learn more about keyword competitor analysis, there’s a great article on the Wordstream blog.
Written by Michael White
Michael White is co-founder and Managing Director of Motarme, the Marketing Automation vendor. You can find him on Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.