If you are trying to rank a given keyword in search results for an article, website, or other page on the web then knowing how many sites are competing for your keyword phrase can be helpful. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about how to tell just how many competing websites for your keyword there actually are.

Why Searching In Quotes Won’t Tell You

You’ve probably heard that searching for your keyphrase in quotes is a good way to determine the other sites that are aiming for that keyphrase but it really isn’t The thing is that this type of search will return the number of pages that have that keyphrase on it, but just because a page contains the phrase does not mean that the website is optimizing for that keyphrase!

Better Ways To Tell How Many Sites Are Competing For Your Keyword

So, how do you tell how many competing websites are targeting your keyphrase?

In order to do that you have to think about how people optimize when they are targeting a keyword. Normally, you would have the keyword in your title, in your url and you would be backlinked to the page with links that have the keyword phrase in the anchor text of that backlink. Luckily, Google provides you with some search operators that will help. The first is “intitle” and this will show you the pages that have your keyword in the title.

You use it like this: intitle:”your keyphrase”

Now, while it is pretty cool to know the number of pages that have your keyword phrase in the title, that doesn’t necessarily, mean that those sites are competing for your keyword. They may be but then again they may not be. Also, they may not be optimizing the page well or even getting backlinks to it. The next is “inurl” which shows you the pages that have your keyword phrase in the URL.

You use it like this: inurl:”your keyphrase”

Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean those pages are optimizing for your keyword phrase and there might be other pages that are optimizing for it that don’t have the keyword in the url, but are otherwise optimized. Finally, the last, and IMHO best, operator that will help you determine how many sites are competing for your keyword is the “in anchor” operator.

You use it like this: inanchor:”your keyword phrase”

I think this one is the best because it will show you the pages that have links pointing back to them with your keyphrase in the anchor text so the chance that these are your true competition is pretty high. In order to tell the true competing websites for your keyword, you will want to use a combination of all three of these and see which sites come up in common. Then compare those to the results you get when you simply type the keyphrase into Google This would be your real competition.

Searching for Keyword with “insite:” search query.

Another useful search query is “insite:www.adomainname.com put what your searching for here” This will search a that site for what ever your keyword is and return the pages that the keyword is on.

insite:<em>www.adomainname.com put what your searching for here”

TIP: Note that there is a space after the website. You can search for than one keyword.

TIP: Very useful when spying on competitors websites.

Searching for Keyword with Quotes.

Quotes Can be used to create a search for a group of keywords. Example “madden 2012 NFL” only results with this exact phrase will show.

TIP: If you want to know how many pages there a with an exact phrase on them, quotes is how you would search for it.

Notice the different amount of results for each search.

Hope this helps!

Happy keyword hunting!

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