Tutorial: Find Out How Competitive Your Keywords Really Are

Filed in Blog, Tutorials by on May 7, 2014 11 Comments

Just received another email/update from Link-Assistant. Last month they introduced the great new feature in SEO-Spyglass that allowed us to check which of our backlinks were doing more harm than good. I wrote a SEO Spyglass tutorial on that right here:


It was a great new feature, and this time they have done it again with a really cool Keyword Difficulty tool 🙂

What you will learn:

  • How to find the ranking difficulty of any keyword
  • How to use Rank Tracker for Keyword Research
  • How to find ‘golden’ keywords with low competition


How competitive is my keyword??

One of the most important factors you should consider when it comes to SEO is ‘Keyword Research’. Selecting the right Keywords to target can be the making or the breaking of your site or blog!

Aim for a keyword that is ‘too’ competitive and you many find yourself fighting a losing battle. Knowing just how much work you would need to put in to rank for a keyword would certainly be a good start….

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a tool that would instantly give us a ‘difficulty’ score for all of our keywords!!

Well now we can with Rank Tracker





To be honest, I have been using the Rank Tracker software for a few years now. Whenever I start a new site or work on a clients site I set up a new campaign and track all of the keywords I am aiming for.

Obviously this is really helpful as we can quickly see our progress with a few clicks of the mouse……

But that was about the only thing I used it for….. Until today.

So What Is The Keyword Difficulty Tool

This new feature is based on a number of different metrics and the software produces a score according to the difficulty to rank  for the particular keyword you are searching for.

It gives you a figure between 1-100, well I presume it only goes up to 100 from what I have seen so far…… Low = easy and High = Difficult.

When you select a keyword, Rank Tracker will analyse the top 10 results for your chosen search engine (That’ll be Google then!!)

It basis it’s results on a number of factors including, Page rank, Alexa rank, domain rank, social signals, age, and number of backlinks.

Here is an example of what the results look like:

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 10.00.21


What Are The Advantages Of Using This

Discovering the ranking difficulty of keywords can give us a massive advantage! Here are some of the benefits listed on the Rank Tracker site:

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 21.40.17



As you can see, having this kind of information at your disposal is golden! When you are doing keyword research for your next project you can quickly and easily see which keywords will be easier to rank for.

You can actually come across a lot of profitable keywords that are relatively untapped!

Another great benefit to this tool is the time it will save you. Discovering a really tough keyword could save you a LOT of time trying to rank for it, when really you don’t have a cat in hells chance of grabbing top spot!


Ok, Enough Of The Good Stuff, Lets Put This To The Test

I have a few old site campaigns knocking about in my Rank Tracker software, so I’ll open that up and select one of the sites to test this….


Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 09.57.52



The site is about evening primrose oils and other different kind of oils as you may have guessed.

For this test I’ll just use the first keyword in my list, and that is ‘Benefits of Evening Primrose Oil’ 

Step 1 – Highlight the keyword by clicking on it once

Step 2 – Scroll down until you see these tabs….


Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 09.58.50



Step 3 – Click the ‘Keyword Difficulty tab and then click ‘Update’.


Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 09.59.02




Step 4 – The tool will now analyse the top 10 results in your chosen search engine. Here are the results from my test….


Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 10.00.21

Click to Enlarge

As you can see. The tool has calculated this to be a medium strength keyword, with a keyword difficulty in the 40’s. So ranking for this keyword would require quite a bit of work!!

Difficulty – The first column shows us the difficulty score for each site. As you can see, the site at number 1 has a score of 59.7 which is the highest.

Page PR – This shows us the Google PR of the actual page that is ranking

Domain PR – This column shows us the sites ‘Page Rank’. Most of them have a high page rank which tells me that they are probably authority sites in the health niche.

Sites Linking to page  – This tells us how many sites link to this particular page that is ranked. Now as you can see, the top ranked page has 0 back links, so this tells me that it is ranked purely on the strength of the domain, although I wouldn’t take too much from this as a lot of back link checkers are inaccurate.

For a more detailed look I would use Ahrefs! https://ahrefs.com/

Sites linking to domain – As these are all high pr and high authority sites, we can expect a lot of back links pointing to them, and this is the case as you can see from the results. The number 1 ranked site has almost 2 million links!!!

Content optimisation rate – This is something you can make sure is better than your competitors, and thats your content. This tool gives your content an optimisation rate. All of the results here are pretty similar. Make sure you fully optimise your page correctly. Check out this guide; http://doseoyourself.com/step-1-on-page-factors/

Alexa rank – I don’t really pay much attention to this because the sites on page 1 are obviously going to have a better Alexa rank than you already because they are getting the organic traffic!!

# Social signals – This shows us the number of social signals each ranked page has. Not overly important but something you can beat quite easily.

Domain age – There isn’t much you can do about this unless you are thinking of purchasing an expired domain.

Here is a full guide on buying expired domains:



So, taking into account the data that we now have, It is apparent that the site ranked number 1 is going to be difficult to beat. It’s a high authority health site with a PR 7. Even the actual page that is ranking has a PR5.

Although the tool tells us some useful info there are a couple of things that I wished it would include, and that is the DA and PA. I know its easy to check ourselves but it would have been a nice feature to add to the software (Hope you are listening Link-Assistant)

If you want to check the DA and PA yourself just go to:


Here are the results of the site ranked number in our test:


Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 10.45.23




This is a massive authority site and we have no chance of outranking this!! To put in perspective, Amazon has a DA of 99 PA of 97


So could We Rank For This Keyword On Page 1?

Yes it is possible to rank on page 1 with some good authority links and quality content, although I don’t think we could reach the top 3 due to the power of the sites already ranked their!!

You also need to calculate if it’s really worth spending the time and effort trying to rank the keyword. It’s no good spending a ton of time trying to rank for this keyword if it’s not going to make any money!

I think a good PBN package and some quality guest posts would get you on page 1 for this keyword


Another cool feature

Now that we have established that it could be quite difficult trying to reach number for this keyword it’s time to start looking at other potential keywords. Luckily, Rank Tracker has a great built in feature called suggestion.

Check this out….

Highlight the keyword again in the main menu screen. Now click the ‘Suggest’ button in the top left corner

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 10.56.37




This will now give you a list of suggested keywords along with the difficulty, number of searches and estimated clicks, take a look at this……….


Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 10.06.21


This is brilliant! it provides us with some great information. Look at keywords number 3 and 4. They have a low difficulty score but they provide decent traffic. You can simply tick the boxes next to the keywords you would like to use and it will automatically add them to your campaign!

I think targeting the keyword ‘evening primrose oil benefits for skin‘ maybe a more viable option. You can even go back and run the keyword difficulty tool on this keyword to analyse the top 10 results!!


Considering this software was meant for tracking your rankings, it does a very good job of doing keyword research!!

I’ll be providing a more detailed tutorial of Rank Tracker in the future where I will cover absolutely everything that it does. but for now I hope that you have enjoyed this short tutorial….

…. and please remember to share it on Twitter and Facebook



Rank Tracker










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Comments (11)

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  1. Marc says:

    Jason, thanks for this article. Do you find the keywords suggestions from Rank Tracker to be better than other SEO tools? Obviously, having the extra data along with the keyword suggestions is pretty useful.


    Jason Chesters

    Jason Chesters Reply:

    I’ve not fully tested it yet but so far so good. I’ll see how I get on with it in the next few weeks


  2. paul says:

    I like the way it gives PageRank metrics.

    I heard of this one http://allinscraper.com/ too.


  3. paul says:

    BTW what’s you thoughts on targeting less competitive long tail keywords? I think it’s vital for small clients who just aren’t going to see a return on going after short tails any time soon.

    I find going after long tailors a shore fire way to see month-on-month gains in organic traffic.


    Jason Chesters

    Jason Chesters Reply:

    Absolutely agree Paul


  4. George says:

    Another cool article Jason! By the way I hope you find the time to write a review about this tool since it seems to be pretty useful.


    Jason Chesters

    Jason Chesters Reply:

    Thanks George, I sure will… I’ll do a review of the whole Rank Tracker software!!


  5. Hello Jason,

    Nice article thank you.

    Just a question, have you ever tried “Long Tail Pro”? Because there is also a kind of “score” with long tail. I want to know which one is more valuable.

    Thanks for your answer.



    Jason Chesters

    Jason Chesters Reply:

    Good question! I have used it but Im not subscribed to it at the minute, but when I do I will do a comparison!!


  6. Emmett Moore says:

    I have Rank Tracker. PR is WORTHLESS. I have a bunch of old PR5’s you can buy today! Cheap!


    Jason Chesters

    Jason Chesters Reply:

    Yes, I agree that pr does not carry the value that it used to and this is why I would like to see DA and PA included within the software!!


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