Monthly Archives: January 2010

Online Competitor Analysis

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First up, keep in mind that competition is your friend – it means there’s demand for a product! With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the KEY components of how to perform an Online Competitor Analysis.

Check your Google Results; the number of listings returned by Google is an estimate only. Quantity of listings is one thing, however for most search terms you will find that many of the results will contain little to no SEO (low quality). Market Samurai provides an awesome insight into the top listings for terms and their associated onsite and offsite SEO – very handy for performing this sort of analysis. Poor SEO sites can easily be trumped with your own tuned sites to gain high credibility organic traffic!

Use the google results figures as indicator only for competition in that term (ideally under 1 million results), then use Google Keyword Research tool to gauge market interest.

Check for competitors who have your keyword phrase in their title by entering into Google “title:keyword“. Anything less than 5,000 results will give you a decent chance of ranking well for such a term. Keep in mind that Phrase matched terms will tend to rank higher than broad matched terms!

allinanchor:”keyword” – This is a powerful reason for ensuring you use effective internal linking in your site designs! Anchor texts provide Google with insights into search term / key word candidates for sites (both internally and externally). Searching based on anchor text will ignore page titles in favour of returning sites which contain the anchor text you are looking for, when contained in a website link.

Examine the Page Rank (PR) of top ranking site for your keyword. The google toolbar offers this information, or alternatively Market Samurai does an excellent job with this also. Focus specifically on non-optimised (on-site / offsite SEO) sites to see what elements can be improved upon in your own site. If your search results return a lot of PR 5+ sites with lots of backlinks, these will be very difficult to compete with. If you are considering competing with such sites, you will want to get lots of high credibility backlinks from othersuch high PR sites such as the following;

DirectoryPRAlexa
1 Knol.google.com71
2 Ezinearticles.com6197
3 GoArticles.com64337
4 Isnare.com614727
5 Buzzle.com51918
6 ArticleDashBoard.com56426
7 ArticleAlley.com56809
8 ArticleCity.com517015
9 ArticleClick.com518728
10 Article-Buzz.com524310
11 Amazines.com47727
12 Free-Articles-Zone.com420113
13 ArticlesFactory.com423857
14 ArticleBlotter.com427514
15 ArticlePool.com429013
16 1888Articles.com430829
17 ArticleClub.com445098
18 Artcle99.com445098
19 Content-Articles.com4154100
20 ArticleBiz.com319106

… you can do this either by providing comments on existing articles or submitting your own. You can also google top PR sites to see what ranks well atm. One site I discovered on this was; Top 1000 Google Page Rank Sites.

Domain age; are the domains old? Older domains tend to rank better in search engines. Tools such as Market Samurai will give you this information fairly easily.

Search Volumes; is anybody actually searching on that keyword? Some keywords have too much competition to justify the traffic. Use the Google Keyword Research Tool to find out approximate traffic vs competition volumes. A popular methodology on doing this is to use the following “Money Word Matrix” for assessing keyword candidates to use.

When used in conjunction with a Google Search and Google’s Keyword Research tool, the matrix provides a good indicator for keyword “sweet spots”, where the ratio of competition to searches is more (or less) favourable for focusing your Search Engine Optimisation efforts. There’s an excellent video offered by Niche Profit Classroom which explains all this in more detail.

The moral of this story being that instead of trying to compete head on for “big ticket” key terms, it is often easier to rank well for more peripheral terms or possibly even micro-niche phrases, which collectively may provide just as much traffic as those big-ticket search phrases. These long-tail key phrases may even be more profitable as they may more closely target your intended market. By example; “Learn to play guitar”, than just “play guitar”.

Is there money in the market? Or rather, is this a keyword or keyword phrase which has commerciability? If there’s a keyword which seems to be good to be true (that there aren’t any paid advertisers for a particular term), then maybe it’s just not a term people will pay for as the traffic it offers isn’t the type to convert into sales. Once again, Market Samurai offers a very comprehensive insight into this information, allowing you to see how much people are willing to pay for certain terms. Here’s a video on how you can do this if you’re already own this;

And finally, something else to keep in mind when performing online competitor analysis, is the regional variations when searching in Google. For instance, you will find that results from www.google.com.au vs www.google.com will vary in the results sets returned. Likewise when you specify “search pages within Australia”, the result set will vary again. You can force Google to use a non-geographic specific search by using www.google.com/ncr – which is handy when checking how you rank generically in the online market.

Niche Internet Marketing

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Let’s recap on lessons learnt over the past few months endeavours. In what I will only attribute to my “youthful exuberance”, I have come to learn two rather expensive and ultimately fatal (amateur) mistakes of niche internet marketing.

Referring (in the below example) to the niche of Bonsai tree care – which I discovered using Google Products which provides insights into what products people are searching for right now; I did my competitor analysis to discover 393,000 competitors / pages were returned in Google, most of which not well Search Engine Optimised, with not many paid
advertisers. Using Google trends, I also learnt which demographics were searching for information on this, from where, and when they were searching for this through the course of a year – overall, things looked fairly promising!

And so then it began. I jumped immediately onto oDesk to log jobs for the creation of the ultimate ebook on Bonsai tree care, along with 7 unique articles which I could later use for article marketing. Total cost, $120USD.

I purchased a domain name (approx $15USD) and set out on creating a high quality score website, templating the layout and content structure from established IM gurus’ sites such as Frank Kern’s Email Tricks site – for which I logged another job for this website design ($50USD). With the jobs logged, I set off to research what information my niche would want to know about – this later formed the outline to my ebook.

So things were progressing very well, or so I had thought. As it turned out, my Internet Marketing friend who had also been pursuing a number of different niches at the same time (he was doing this full time whereas I was only doing this part-time around my full time job), discovered that of the 5 information products developed and launched using this same methodology, 4 of these had failed to commercialize – even though the initial online competitor analysis proved favourable!

So we had to go back to the drawing board. Where did we go so wrong? Discovering niche markets was fairly easy. Assessing the number and quality of competitors was also fairly straight forward, especially when using such tools as Market Samurai which provides insights into not only competition on differing keyword terms but also adwords advertisers (I highly recommend this application to anyone interested in Internet Marketing)! So conditions appeared favourable, but then why weren’t we rich yet??

This brings us to current day and a couple of very unfortunate realisations that ultimately led to us kulling 95% of our niche marketing ideas as potential (viable) candidates. We ended up developing a niche marketing checklist, or flowchart rather, including a fairly comprehensive test plan that we’re expecting will drastically reduce our strike out rate.

Referring specifically to my Bonsai tree care niche specifically, this failed on 2 criteria;

1. it doesn’t solve any immediate problems,
2. alternatives were too readily available, and worse yet, FREE!

… we had failed on two aspects of classical marketing which we had overlooked while we had our Internet Marketing blinkers on. The following isn’t a comprehensive listing, but for those who don’t want to sign up for the full checklist, I’d STRONGLY RECOMMEND asking yourself the following 3 questions before throwing yourself into a prospective niche market to attack;

1. Is my prospect experiencing pain & urgency or irrational passion?
2. Is my prospect proactively searching for a solution?
3. Does my prospect have no or few perceived options?

So in conclusion, my Online Marketing income is now officially in the red, but valuable lessons have been learnt along the way. It will be interesting to see how these new discoveries will translate into profitable niches for our future endevours.

Those on my mailing list will receive the complete Niche Marketing Checklist / Flowchart shortly 😉

As a final BONUS for my readers, I found the following two video posts very informative on the subject of Niche Marketing. The first is a post by Frank Kern on the subject of “Finding something to sell” – Frank Kern is definitely one of the industry’s experts in Niche Internet Marketing. He’s also got a lot of very informative other posts on his site which may also be of interest to you.

The 2nd bonus video is by Steven Clayton and Mark Ling, who talk in depth about keyword research and competitor analysis. They go into a great deal of details, however the important things to note here is the information on the money word matrix – the video’s quite long, so it may take a little while to load. Enjoy!

And so the quest continues! All the best till next time! 😀







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