• http://freeleadshq.com/ Mitchell Wright

    There are a few tools that will do much of this process for you based on an individual keywords. I know that SEOmoz recently released a keyword competition tool, although it seems that it takes a while generally for results to get back.

    I have used and been very happy with http://serpiq.com/. The results come quick, and it even goes through all the on-page elements for each site ranking in the top 10 and allows you to compare your own URL to those in the top 10.

  • http://www.portentinteractive.com Thomas M. Schmitz

    Aye Mitchell, there are tools that simplify and automate the process. I think these are good for an overview, the beginner SEO or people who have to do SEO as a portion of their job. For the dedicated SEO, however, any tool that takes a multi-variable analysis and boils it down to one number may be fast, but automation skips observation. And that observation is important for understanding why a niche is competitive or finding opportunities others may miss.

  • http://freeleadshq.com/ Mitchell Wright

    Well, if you are using only the number given by the tool, then I do agree you are probably missing out. Generally I will use a tool to narrow down a list of potential keywords, and then deep dive on that list in order to find the easiest SERPs to rank in first.

    Also, I don’t know about the SEOmoz tool but I know serpIQ aggregates all of the data that you mention, including SEOmoz’s domain and page authority, as well as some other relevant statistics such as domain age and social factors such as number of tweets and Facebook shares. Overall, it speeds up the data collection process and is a more efficient use of time than manually gathering all of this information.

    In short, I agree that manually digging through the top 10 results is still something that needs to happen, but some of these tools can help automate the gathering of relevant information.

  • http://www.boom-online.co.uk/ Katie Saxon

    Excellent guide Tom, the on page optimisation of the top 10 is the one area that I could do with paying more attention to. Have you tried the SEOMoz on page grader? Just wondering what your thoughts are on it?

    As you say, you should still look at the pages yourself, but I have found that it’s a useful guide – and it picks up on some of the nittty gritty that I’m not sure I’d spot.

  • ptraychev

    Absolutely great stuff. I was wondering how to estimate competition and this is truly of help. I would suggest to also include top 10 sites’ anchor text links profile in the equation. For example, the first most used anchor text after the brand (it is a common case) tells me that they optimize for this (and related) term. What do you guys think?