Now don't get TOO hung up on levels of competition. I'm serious. Providing you follow my methods, it's a lot easier to rank for terms than you think. 
Sure, sometimes you won't rank but the vast majority of the time you'll crush the competition with a one day old website and no backlinks! I've actually had a lot of angry emails from guys claiming I'm using black hat (weird tricks) tactics because they can't understand how the heck I do it.

Highly Competitive Keywords is Not Best for Your Niche

So what's an acceptable level of competition? Well, that depends on the keyword. And because of that, this is an area that many guides leave out, since it's something you'll only really learn from personal experience... 

But I wanted to come up with an exact system that you can use so that you're not at too much of a disadvantage over the more experienced guys. 

But remember that there's no substitute for real experience and you may get it wrong the first couple of times. 

Anyway, here are my `golden' competition guidelines: 

First of all, let's talk about number of competing pages. Now this is probably the most inaccurate way of doing things. I recommend that you follow my other guidelines as well, which involve researching the top results in detail, since that's who you're competing with ­ Not the thousands of guys on pages 2 ­ 50. 

But anyway, it does help to give you an initial `feel' for a keyword. Now, this will vary from keyword to keyword but as a rule look for no more than 30,000 competing websites when you put your keyword in phrase marks. So, if you're keyword was lose weight really fast you would type into Google "lose weight really fast" and see how many pages it identified as a result. (The section where it says displaying 1-10 results out of #number, where #number is the number of competing pages). 

I prefer however, to analyze all the top ranking websites in a bit more detail and try to gauge if I'll be able to outrank them. So here are some tips on that: 

Forum topics: If there's forum topics high up on page one (I don't care how many views and replies they have) it's usually a pretty good sign. Not just because you will outrank them but it shows a general lack of competition for the keyword. 

Other Affiliates: Yes, there are a few of them around and even though we're often spread out you can run into keywords where there's another website competing for it. A great example of this is Clickbank product names. Check out a product name on Google, for example a product I'm currently #1 for "DJK Google Shadow":

Notice the number of marketers heavily targeting the phrase `DJK Google Shadow'. I think that pretty much every result on the page has website domain names like `'. 

The 5th guy even has: 

As his domain name which is just ridiculous. The marketer's repeated the keyword almost three times in the domain name alone! While optimizing your domain name is important, don't take it that far people! 

So, what do you do when there are other Affiliate Marketer anyway? 
Because particularly if you target product names, you will deal with some. 

A quick reminder of what a Affiliate Marketing is: 

It isn't someone who just has the keyword as their page title (every smart SEO marketer will do that). No, it's someone who has basically devoted their whole website to that exact keyword. A telltale sign of a website is if you find the keyword in their domain name. 

And how do you deal with them? Simple: There's room for more than one ­ Remember that there are TEN positions on Google's front page. And if one or two guys are ranking very well (top 5 results) then it's almost good news, it means that website tactics definitely work here, so you'll easily be able to rank too.
Even if there's a whole load of website (like so many that they're completely dominating the first page) I'll often still give it a shot. Since my on page optimization page methods are VERY effective and often I'll to outrank them anyway. 

Authority Sites. Aah... the tricky one. Firstly, an authority site is a website related to the overall niche (weight loss for example) that has many pages, often over 100, all targeting different keywords. They usually have a high page rank and often a short, catchy but related domain name. Not a crappy SEO one with a whole load of hyphens. 

They will usually appear for a variety of different search phrases and there will only be a few in a niche. Now, it's important to distinguish between the real authority sites and wannabe authority sites. 

How do you find that out? Page rank is a pretty good indicator and a PR of 2 or lower is the indication of a wannabe. But I recommend that as beginner you use this fantastic free tool: SEMRush to gauge how big a site is. It will tell you which keywords any website is ranking for, so if you see a whole bunch of what look like high traffic keywords at number one then it's probably real authority site and it will be difficult to outrank. Use the free online tool here:

Note: There are some sites that you will almost never outrank, websites such as Wikipedia. If you see a Wikipedia article on the first page, as well as many websites with a page rank of four or higher, then it's probably too competitive for us to compete. 

If it's a wannabe then judging if you can outrank it or not will be tricky. I'll say that the real authority sites are rare but these wannabe ones are quite frequent. 

You'll need to look at their website as a whole and the page in question. See how focused that page is on the particularly term by analyzing the keyword density and title and description tags. Then use the information to determine whether it's ranking by chance and simply that Google's put that page on page one of the results because it couldn't find a more relevant website. 

A quick indicator of this is whether or not the title tag contains the keyword in question. If it doesn't then the page is probably not ranking for that keyword specifically and it's a good sign that you'll probably be able to outrank it. 

Unfortunately, this is an area that will come with experience, and I still get it wrong today. But keep in mind that with authority sites, there's more than one spot on Google. There are ten in fact.  

So, if there's one real authority site but a whole bunch of crap on the rest of the page, then don't worry about it. The only thing you should be concerned about is if there are like five authority sites on the first page, which is pretty rare for the `long tail' keywords that we are targeting anyway. So, as a closing comment on competition: Take all of these guidelines into account and look out for less than 30,000 competing pages, authority sites.

If there's website and pages like forum topics on the first page of Google's results then it's a good sign. But if you're seeing Wikipedia articles and numerous authority sites with a high page rank then stay clear and find another keyword. 

But remember, that even if there is SOME competition it doesn't mean there's not enough room for you to compete. Because you don't have to be number one.
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