Day 3: Keyword Traffic and Competition
Posted on 16/07/2010 in Internet Marketing, The Basics, The Challenge

1. Understanding the Phrase/BroadMatch Paradox

Sounds a little technical – but this is a very important distinction in how to interpret the search results (ie the data that tells us what people are searching for on the internet). Google records every search in its database. We can then review this data to assess the potential of a market, niche and micro-niche.

There are three different traffic estimates (using the example “trout fishing”):

Exact Match – people who type in the exact term (eg “trout fishing”)

Phrase Match – people searching for a phrase that includes the words in that order, and with additional words (eg “trout fishing lures”)

Broad Match – people searching for a phrase that includes the words “trout” and “fishing”, in any order and with any other words (eg “fishing for rainbow trout”)

Why is this distinction important?

When Google discovers your website, it will index your site based on the content and the links that point to your site (this is the very simple version of what Google does), and you achieve better rankings over time as your site grows and develops more authority.

What we’ve observed in the past is that you usually obtain Exact match rankings first. Then as you add content and obtain links, you obtain Phrase match rankings. And finally, as your site develops more authority, you obtain Broad match rankings.

So, you can use these different types of searches, as a “crystal ball”!

  • Exact Match = short term traffic potential
  • Phrase Match = medium term traffic potential
  • Broad Match = long term traffic potential

Here’s the take home point:

When evaluating keyword phrases for a niche, USE BROAD MATCH data.

2. Competition

You can get a very crude idea of the level of competition by typing a search term into Google and seeing how many pages are indexed for that term (this is the broad match search).

broad Match Google

Not all of these sites are competing on the term trout fishing – it is just an estimate of the pages that broadly match that term. A better estimate of competition is to do a phrase match search by putting the term into quotation marks:

The take home message from this is:

When examining Competition, use Phrase Match data.


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