# Keyword Competition Analysis: KEI and Beyond

June 14, 2004

A poster at the ihelpyou forum has an idea for a site but before he launches he wants to determine the competition for his chosen keywords. Dan Thies, a “Super Moderator” at ihelpyou, offers some fantastic advice that applies to those analyzing business model viability or hunting for some less competitive keywords to optimize for.

Dan presumes that the very least your competitors are going to do is to put keywords into their page title. So you want to see if your new turtle ski resort site will have much competition you should do an “allintitle” search like this:

allintitle: turtle ski resort

This will give you a rough idea of the number of pages in competition with the ones you’re planning.

Now if you want to see who’s targeting exact keyword phrases in their page title then you can search this way:

allintitle: “turtle ski resort”

This will deliver a smaller set of sites, but it will show you who’s in more serious competition with you.

Those, as Dan says, are the “on page” factors you can measure with search engine operators. Now lets look at the off page factors – namely, how many links the top ranked sites for those keywords have.

If you’re a wordtracker user, which you should be if you’re serious about your SEO efforts, then you’re familiar with the Keyword Effectiveness Index, or KEI.

According to Wordtracker, “the KEI compares the Count result (number of times a keyword has appeared in our data) with the number of competing web pages to pinpoint exactly which keywords are most effective for your campaign.”

Their formula, which they compute for you in the Wordtracker program, works this way: “Let P denote the popularity of the keyword and C the competitiveness.

“The formula that we have chosen is KEI = (P^2/C), i.e. KEI is the square of the popularity of the keyword and divided by its competitiveness.”

Dan has taken the original KEI formula and tweaked it:

s = matches for “allintitle”
p = popularity (search count)
KEI = p^2/s = p / s * p

He thinks that “Intitle+Inanchor is a better measure of the serious competition.”

According to the Wordtracker site, any KEI of 40 or higher is worth targeting. However, as Dan points out, “KEI is most effective in making the initial selections for an SEO campaign. Over time you want to target any popular search term that’s highly relevant.”

Thanks again to Dan’s SEO Research Labs as well as the ihelpyou forum for an excellent thread.

Garrett French is the editor of iEntry’s eBusiness channel. You can talk to him directly at WebProWorld, the eBusiness Community Forum.