We all know that analyzing the competition is critical if you want to get ranked in Google but what most people don’t tell you is that looking at the anchor text backlinks for your target phrase is the most important part of this type of analysis!
I know you may have been taught to search for your keyword phrase in quotes and see how many pages come up and then only target those keywords with less than 30,000 or 50,000 results, but doing this does not give you a full representation of your actual competition. It merely shows how many pages have that phrase on them, not how many pages are really targeting that phrase with SEO efforts.
If you depend on this method of analyzing your competition you could be targeting the wrong keywords! You might be trying to rank for ones that are better optimized and too competitive, or, even worse, you could be bypassing keywords where the competition is not using proper SEO and which could be really easy to rank for.
The thing to remember is that not all pages that contain a keyword phrase are being optimized for it and that’s why searching for your keyword phrase in quotes is not the best way to determine competition.
If a page has anchor text backlinks with the keyword phrase, on the other hand, then you can bet that someone is using SEO to get that page ranked. Therefore, focusing on only those pages that have the anchor text phrase that you are targeting is the best way to find out what your real competition is.
Whether they want you to know it or not, anchor text is actually a huge part of what Google decides to rank a site for. I’m sure you’ve heard about pages ranking for a term even though there is no on page SEO for that term at all. Heck, for years Adobe ranked #1 for the term “click here” even though that term was not in their url or anywhere on the page. That’s how powerful the anchor text is.
Google even provides an operator so you can check what sites have anchor text backlinks for your target keyword phrase. You can use it by typing the following into the Google search bar:
Allinanchor:”your keyword phrase”
What comes up is all the pages that have anchor text backlinks with “your keyword phrase” in it. That’s your true competition for that phrase.
Here’s an example of why this is important.
At the time of this writing, when I search for “how to get rid of skin tags at home” in quotes I get 114,000 results:
Now, based on what you have probably been taught, you would pass this phrase up because it has over 100,000 results, right?
This means that a page that has equal on-page SEO plus just a few anchor text backlinks with the target phrase will have an easy time to make it onto page 1 and probably to the #1 spot!
(NOTE: by the time you read this, that phrase will probably have some pages showing for the allinanchor operator due to the people reading this and seeing that it is an easy phrase to rank for)
Here’s a video that shows you a technique you can use to find good keywords using the allinanchor operator:
Of course this can be pretty time consuming and tedious if you have a big list of keywords (if you need more information on finding the keywords to use in this list, see my keyword research section). Thankfully, someone made a tool that goes through all your keywords for you automatically – here’s a video on how to use that:
CLICK HERE if you want to buy the tool – it’s only $17 but can save you hours of time and will help you dig out the keywords that will make you money faster – that’s a pretty good deal if you ask me!