Market Samurai Bootcamp – Your SEOCompetition Module Guide

by Alex on September 22, 2011

market samurai seoc module training guide

The SEO Competition for any Keyword is one of the most important factors in the whole equation, because not only does it decide whether a keyword is worth trying to rank for, it also provides us with invaluable information to do so (rank) – should we be given that green light in the first place

The Competition is NOT about the Number of Competing Pages!

One of the most common ‘Newbie’ mistakes relates to what the ‘SEO Competition’ actually is – because contrary to popular belief, the number of pages competing for your keyword is really not a very good indication of the competition at all. What’s worse – the information is misleading and actually not that relevant to your situation anyway!

Let’s take a look at why… (I will continue with the Keyword I started the MS Bootcamp series with: Online Dating Advice)

If I was to go to Google and type in “Online Dating Advice” in quotations as is the formal method then Google tells me there are 23,100,000 pages that ‘mention the keyword somewhere in the descriptions and/or tags. 23 million!!? (At this point all the ‘books’ tell me this is too many and to “try another keyword”) But this figure is not even valid  because:

  • How many sites out there would have the words somewhere on the page but not directly be trying to compete for it? A lot I’d imagine.
  • How many sites initially optimised themselves for the phrase and then simply gave up or stopped trying? Again, I’d say a lot! And finally…
  • How many of those pages that ARE genuinely competing for the phrase are building links with automated tools and shitty content? Yep -A lot!

The point is – the amount of competing pages is not an adequate measure of the true competition because it is 1: Based on irrelevant information and 2; it fails to give us the Most Important piece of the SEO competition Puzze: The Top 10.

Your SEO Competition is the Top 10 Ranked Sites.

It doesn’t matter whether there are 23million competing pages, or 1125 – if the 10 sites holding firm on page one of Google are all authority sites with high Pagerank then your chances of ranking alongside them range from ‘Highly Unlikely’ through to ‘Yeah, You Wish’.
The Top 10 ranking sites can also provide us with a lot more information that is relevant to our cause – and it is here that Market Samurai earns it’s reputation (and you see where your money went) because what it can uncover in seconds would take you hours to find yourself.

Using the Market Samurai SEO Competition Module.

The SEO Competition Module is really (really) easy to use – but almost impossible to truly understand. The secret to getting the most out of it simply comes down to accepting this and never (EVER) trying to understand it. Just work with what you know (which in a moment will be a lot) and forget about the statistical anomalies and contextual hyperbolas.

Market samurai SEO_Competition_Module explained

Allow me to translate exactly what is going on here:

The SEO Competition you are looking at here is always going to be that of the keyword you are investigating. If you want to find out the competition on a different keyword then you will need to add this yourself first.

To get this page to look like the above screenshot, simply choose the options (I recommend leaving everything as it is be default for starters) and then click the ‘Generate Results’ Button.

Market Samurai SEO Competition Module Options

By default I think all of the elements are included (boxes are all check marked) but there are only a few columns that we are really interested in:

  • PR
    The Pagerank of the competing domains is always a highly relevant piece of information, regardless of what stage of ‘Research’ you are at.
  • BLP
    This indicates the number of Page Backlinks pointing to the URL in question
  • BLD
    This indicates the number of Domain Backlinks pointing to the URL in question
  • BLEG
    This indicates the number of  Backlinks pointing to the URL in question that come from .edu and .gov domains

These 4 pieces of information provide a very good outline of the strength of any particular site, and looking at the example above you can clearly see that 23 million competing pages or not – there is a definite green light on this particular keyword!

Now Let’s dig right into the SEO Competition Module and find out what Market Samurai has to say.

analysing competitors backlinks with Market Samurai


When you are given the resulting pages you have the ability to drill even further into the results and get even more relevant information regarding their backlinks. The little diagonal up arrows next to every single numerical result will take you to Majestic SEO, the service that provides much of the data to Market Samurai. As an example, I have attached a couple of screenshots of the sort of information Majestic SEO can provide.

In this case I have clicked on the arrows next to the BLD or Backlinks to Domain figure:

Majestic_SEO_results with Market SamuraiYou will need to create a (free) account with them before most of this data will appear

Now in order to truly see the competition for what it is – and in order to get the biggest possible picture, it is advisable to rely on numerous sources of SEO Competition data. The data provided above – although broad, can still give us a very good ‘big picture’ scenario. Eg: if you look at the External Backlink Data provided by Majestic SEO you can see that of the 14,686 indexed backlinks:

  • 8,528 are No Follow, and
  • 1,955 backlinks come from Images.

This data alone is already giving us some fairly good insight into the link building strategy I need to apply.

Now let’s move onto the nitty gritty of the Market Samurai SEO Competition Module

If I could draw your attention to the small down arrow next to each of the top 10 URLs. See it. Click it! (go on, you know you want to :) )

market samurai seoc review

After clicking on it you will have the option to further drill into their backlinks with either a PR Analysis or an Anchor Text Analysis.( See above screenshot)

SEO Competition Module – Anchor Text Analysis



After clicking the Anchor Text Analysis you are taken to the screen similar to the above screenshot. On the left is a list of all the words used as anchor text in the backlinks pointing to the site and on the right is a detailed list of where those backlinks are actually coming from.

Once I have this information I simply click the Export List to File button in the bottom right and the whole thing becomes an excel file that I can look at later, or now… or like, whatever.

SEO Competition Module – PR Analysis

The only difference here is that the incoming links are tallied by their PageRank as apposed to the anchor text being used. I find this data far less relevant in the big scheme of things so tend not to use this function.
Generally, regardless of what method you use – you will ultimately end up with the same link data.

how to use the seo competition module pr analysis tool“you will ultimately end up with the same link data”

I had to repeat that last line because it is something that we need to keep in mind when analysing our SEO competition. Because of this it is important to utilise other tools and services (namely Google and Yahoo) to gain even more understanding of the competing pages as well as the backlinks it has indexed*

*No matter how accurate something appears to be – it isn’t!
You can do the same research on the same page and each tool you use will bring back completely different links and sometimes even conflicting results! This is normal so relax..

Bonus SEO Competition Analysis Tip.

I have taken you through most of the important elements of the SEO competition module, and shown you how to dig down further into the information presented. But there is one more ‘button’ we have yet to explore, and even though at first glance it may appear random and unhelpful – it is actually very very useful indeed.

Next to the PageRank (PR) in the Market Samurai field is the IC field or Index Count. If you click on the little arrow next to the Index Count it will direct you to Google where it has already presearched for site:www.competingdomain.. thus bringing up a list of every single page that is currently indexed.

So what? That’s what I thought at first – and I quickly ignored it. But then one day I needed optimised content… (see where I am going with this? ;) )

By looking through the indexed pages, you not only get a broader understanding of what type of content Google likes on this particular site, you also get to see what that actual content is!

Now that we live in a Post Panda world of quality content and social media – isn’t understanding your SEO Competitions Content structure just as important, if not more so than learning where the physical backlinks are coming from?!


Now What?

market samurai seo competition data. Now what?

Now that we have extrapolated a ridiculous amount of information it is time to actually makes sense of it. This is a process that I like to approach in two parts -

  • The Big Picture – looking at the overall linking structure, including types of and number of links
  • The Finer Details – actually analysing the links themselves and seeing how (if) I can acquire similar links myself.

This of course is going to require a few more tools and a whole shedload of words and images. Stay tuned for SEO Competition Module Training Part 2, or was it Bootcamp? whatever.



Alex Newell September 23, 2011 at 3:00 AM

I love market samurai now but it took me a good while to get used to it. I am still sceptical about BLEG, IC and a number of the other columns too. I think the anchor text analysis is the best feature of the SEO module.

Alex September 23, 2011 at 9:33 PM

Hey Alex,

I know what you mean – sometimes I look at ALL the results and I’m sceptical! LOL

Daniel Roach - Blog to Business September 24, 2011 at 1:58 AM

True story. I quickly had to turn off some of those columns because the information was just too distracting to do me any good.

Cristina Ansbjerg September 23, 2011 at 3:33 AM


Great and easy to understand explanation of the SEO Competition module. Looking forward to the second part :D


Alex September 23, 2011 at 9:32 PM

Cheers Cristina :) (I suppose I better start writing it now…GAWD… ;) )

Steve Scott September 23, 2011 at 3:38 AM


Damn man, selling out all the good MS secrets. How are we supposed to keep making money when you give away all the good secrets.

I was trying to find something important about the competition module you missed… I just can’t find anything.

Nice work.


Alex September 23, 2011 at 9:29 PM

haha Cheers Steve!

If you can’t find anything then I definitely covered all the bases! Phew :)

Stephan Hilson September 23, 2011 at 2:00 PM

I would love to try the Market Samurai soon. But I have to save some money since it wasn’t for free I guess. It would be nice to see all the SEO tips and backlinks of a certain website especially the competitive site. Thanks for the nice review of the Market samurai, which I will love to try and apply.

Alex September 23, 2011 at 9:29 PM

Pleasure Stephan,

My only advice is to buy it sooner rather than later – namely because of the time it will save you in the long run – especially in the early stages of your IM career ;)

sam @ goa carnival September 23, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Thanks for sharing,

Nice way to get much response with the help of this very useful tool.

Beside that this very great tips to do lots of new things in SEO services.

Joe September 24, 2011 at 3:48 AM

Very in-depth. I’ve not used MS but have tried SECockpit which I love. How do you compare the two?

Eugene September 24, 2011 at 12:38 PM

First of all…awesome as always. They seriously need to hire you. You can create some great training videos for them (I know they’re into that sort of thing :) ).

And second of all….you totally freaked me out with that picture in the post. I thought I reached an emergency exit mid-post :) .

Alex September 25, 2011 at 12:55 AM

Thanks mate! You are too kind :)

Second of all — hahahahhaahha nice memory man

WordPress Hosting September 24, 2011 at 1:05 PM

great competition…and i agree with eugene, you can really provide some really comprehensive tips

Jane | Tech Buzz Online September 25, 2011 at 9:49 PM

Wonderful Alex, you’re over-delivering. It’s already so much detail for a single post. Kudos.

Web Traffic September 28, 2011 at 6:13 AM

DEFINITELY, a great guide, Alex.

I’ve owned MS for a while and only recently decided to actually study how to use it. LOL

It’s even better than I thought it was!

facebook marketing September 29, 2011 at 12:39 AM

Great Seo article.It describe strategies very clearly.I think Keyword selection is the main task for any successful SEO campaign.Pleasure to read your article here.It help me lot.

Duy Nguyen October 1, 2011 at 1:00 AM

Impressive guide on checking competition with Market Samurai Alex :) I agree with you that the number of ‘competing pages’ has nothing to do with competition analysis. I think it just shows us how many pages that has some of the words in our query being indexed by Google. Not all of them are real competitors. Looking at the top 10 and study their statistics is a more accurate way.

And you know what, you made me reconsider about owning a copy of MS. It’s better than I though before!

Nice work as always man :)


Helga October 3, 2011 at 4:14 PM

Very helpful post, especially for me…Thanks a lot!!

Robin October 7, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Hi…I am not really familiar with this and this is the first time I have heard of the post…Anyway, I hope this will serve as a help for me then…

Alaine October 8, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Thank you for the information you have provided us here…I know a lot of people will read this and tell that it is a help for them…Congratulations for the nice post!!

Keira October 10, 2011 at 5:17 PM

These tips might be helpful for me but I am not sure for others…Thanks anyway!!

Xyra October 17, 2011 at 6:49 PM

The tips are all helpful…Thanks for being generous…

Adz @ african mango fruit for sale October 19, 2011 at 10:12 PM

I have been using Market Sam For a very long time now, and although it has its moments, over all it is a very good tool that helps you save time when doing keyword research. I love the SEO Feature it has that lets you spy on your comp :) very helpful for backlinks…..


Adz @ Super Quick Weight Loss

Gaye October 21, 2011 at 5:24 PM

I agree that the SEO Competition for any Keyword is one of the most important factors in the whole equation…Thanks for the realizations…

Alex October 23, 2011 at 9:25 PM

Pleasure Gaye.
FYI – the title of your last post is a typo and NOT good for your SEO… unless you want to rank for FIST and FISH? LOL (no, I am NOT going there… my mind is already a gutter dweller as it is LOL)

Fresy October 24, 2011 at 5:01 PM

Hi…Thanks for some of the things you have mentioned here and I hope it will work for most people…

Louis February 2, 2012 at 10:20 PM

I see you are into Market Samurai nowadays. I was heavy into MS SEO Competition module in the past. Extremely useful when Yahoo Explorer was the source of the data. Some parts of MS is becoming paid now. One other tool you should do a review on is SEMRush. Overall good review on SEO Competition. Cheers :)

Bibiano Wenceslao February 21, 2012 at 7:07 PM

Hi Alex,

Your Market Samurai BootCamp IMHO has been the most sensible stuff I’ve read after googling about how to use MS and understanding the provided data. It’s a bit dated (there have been new tools similar to, as well as changes applied in MS) but still this is a great resource especially for those new to MS like me.

By the way, did anyone notice that MS is pulling data for its SEO Competition fields (on the Keyword Research module) from Bing’s index and not from Google? Anyways, I’ve honestly been skeptical about some part those data since I started using the software. Also, I’m looking forward to start using the SEO Competition module (I’ve been using MS for PPC advertising purposes).

Thanks for coming up with this guide.


Alex February 29, 2012 at 11:53 PM

Thanks for the feedback Bibiano, reminds me that I need to update it since so many changes have taken place at Noble Samurai HQ.

lawn sweepers March 4, 2012 at 4:06 PM

I found your website doing a search for MS SEOV, I wanted to know how accurate the commercial value of a keyword was, I guess somebody would have to post their personal views based on their own results. I would be that for example if the SEOV was $2000 it would at least half or more of that number and that would be on the more conservative end. It’s funny I saw you made a reference to stephen hawkins, I just bought his SEOLR, between that and MS, plus using a spinner is a good start for IMer’s, I am new myself, but quickly learning. Cool site, thanks for the useful info. Good Luck to everybody playing the game.

Steve@Change Your Life March 12, 2012 at 5:31 AM

So one could have gone forward with that particular keyword for which you did the research in Market Samurai ?

Ben September 14, 2012 at 6:04 AM

I have been working on SEO for my site and have found marketsamurai o be a great tool love finding my rivals!

Jim October 15, 2012 at 5:12 PM

I tried this marketsamurai before and it really helps me a lot but that was just being borrowed to me so I guess I need to pay some fee inorder to have one again.

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: