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Determining Keyword Complexity in SEO - Part 2

Posted on 5.19.2008

Yesterday we discussed how the number of results in the search results and the number of queries conducted were good ways to determine how complex it will be to garner high rankings at popular search engines. Today let's look at the variables of the website that you will be competing with and how their strength (or lack thereof) plays a role in the difficulty of ranking for specific keywords. Two very important factors are the age of the domains on the SERPs as well as their overall link strength.

Age of the Domains: Gone are the days when registering a new website and appearing a few days later for competitive keywords was possible. Increasingly, the age of domains is playing a significant part in how well (or more precisely how quickly) sites will rank for competitive terms and phrases. If you plan on launching a new site, keep your fingers crossed that your domain (or the domain you are working on) is at least several years old, or that you've been aging domains properly the past few years and that you can leverage one for a specific keyword if necessary. To find out how "aged" the domain you are competing against actually are, use this Whois Domain tool or the Website Magazine Whois Domain Tool and look for "record created on". That will give you a good idea of what you are up against when it comes to keyword difficultly and domain age.

Overall Link Strength: Google has made link building a business in itself. If you didn't know, there are people in the SEO world whose sole function is to acquire links from related properties for the purpose of moving a particular site up in the search results pages. Over time, these link builders realize that the links they build must be of high quality, for example a link from Wikipedia and DMOZ are incredibly valuable. As such, the Google PageRank of websites you are competing against is  an important measuring stick in determining how difficult it will be to generate high rankings. One popular free way to get a handle on the overall link strength of a site is MarketLeap, a free tool that helps web professionals benchmark against other sites when it comes to inbound link popularity.  Website Magazine also has made available a tool to determine overall link popularity at Google, MSN and Yahoo.

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