Recent and Dramatic Changes in Google Keyword Competition Levels

Google has recently made a number of changes to its search engine algorithms in order to improve upon how fairly websites are ranked within the search engine results. This event presents new mysteries for search engine optimization firms and SEO experts to unravel in the quest to help our clients become successful in their online industry niches.

  One of the outcomes of these rule changes is a very significant change in search engine result competition levels. Across a broad spectrum of search terms and keyword phrases, the number of competing websites that appears on the right side of the results bar has decreased dramatically. A few search terms investigated showed no or little change, yet the vast majority of keyword phrases searched for resulted in substantial differences from the results obtained just a month or two ago.

  Two obvious questions arise for both search engine optimization (SEO) professionals and internet business owners: ‘How do I interpret these new Google competition levels?’ and, ‘What does this mean for my (or my client’s) website?’ Although only Google knows the inner workings of the new algorithms and what they are intended to accomplish, we can take a look at what’s happening and make some basic observations.

  First of all, it seems that most Google competition levels have dropped to a mere fraction (most often less than 10%) of the results shown just a couple of months ago. Check out the following keyword phrases for an example of what has occurred with this rule change:

  Internet Press Release:
Nov 07 level: 145,000,000
Jan 08 level: 14,000,000

  Connecticut Night Life:
Nov 07 level: 3,200,000
Jan 08 level: 227,000

  In both of the above cases the current competing website levels are less than a tenth of what they were in November. What does this mean for your business and for your online competition?

  A major goal of Google’s in revamping their algorithms was to eliminate the ‘dead wood’ from the search engine results. The new rules exclude a great many websites that formerly were listed in the results, but were either barely or not at all relevant for the keywords being searched for.

  Your online competition hasn’t become smaller; it has become more accurately represented. The websites that now result when searching ‘Internet Press Release’ are much more likely to be real competitors for the business. The overall quality of the search engine results, and the corresponding competition, is much higher than before the Google algorithm change.

Search engine optimization professionals and their clients will need to take these new Google competition considerations into account when determining the relative difficulty and time frame for optimizing in different keyword or industry niches. SEO staff, our clients, and their marketing personnel need a clear understanding about these recent changes and how they apply to the internet marketplace. The frame of reference for what are considered low, average, and high keyword competition levels has changed dramatically and the quality of each business’s internet competitors will need to be analyzed more closely.
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