Iíve read the justification for Word Tracker using the exact match form of a keyword for competition reports but it just doesnít make sense to me after I go check the actual SERPs. When you guys use Word Tracker to find out the competitiveness of a keyword, do you use the exact match or normal version of the keyword phrases and why?
My own opinion is that using quotes (as wordtracker does) is not valid since that is not the search the endusers will use. Also the results can be totally different - e.g. in one case I just checked going from about 5 competing to 83,000 competing - hence surely the 5 competing must be bogus
If I had to choose one method for competition then I would choose quotes over non-quotes. This is because Google and other search engines give nice relevancy points to pages that have exact matches of the word on them (this is true even on searches conducted without quotes). Exact matches get enough of a relevancy bonus that one could argue that someone without an exact match of your keyword is not really competition (unless of course they can trump you by having massively more back link anchor text and/or PageRank than you do). I remember joining in a related discussion about this a while back. The title of the thread was: Is WordTracker's exact match reasoning flawed? [webmasterworld.com].