All those who own a website have a common goal: increase traffic in order to get more conversions. Bringing internet users to your site requires time and investment in an SEO strategy.
Also, to achieve the top search results, you will inevitably, at some point, have to overtake your competitors. To do this, it is crucial to have information about their SEO techniques.
Analyzing the keywords used by your competitors will allow you to develop your own strategy and identify the resources you will need to surpass them. Let’s now look at the different steps to follow to identify competitive keywords.
What is competitor keyword research?
In the context of SEO, when discussing a competitor’s keywords or a website’s keywords, we typically mean the keywords that enable your competitor to rank well in search results, along with the keywords that your primary competitors focus on but have not achieved high rankings for.
These two categories of keywords can help you develop your SEO strategy.
Four ways to use your competitors’ keyword research:
- Compete for rankings in the same search results by appropriating your competitor’s keywords.
- Identify and focus on keywords that have not been targeted by your competitors.
- Discover long-tail keywords used by your target market that you had not thought of yourself.
- Find out why your competitor’s website ranks above your specific keywords for general search phrases.
Identify your competitors
It goes without saying, there’s no point in embarking on a competitive analysis if you don’t know your competitors. So if you own an e-commerce site, you should consider major brands like Amazon as your competitors.
Start by performing a simple Google search with the keywords you want to rank for. This reveals the brands playing in the same field as you, and you can see their position.
Large companies often dominate the top of the rankings, both in organic results and in paid results. Also, if your domain name doesn’t yet have much authority, it might be more reasonable to target weaker competitors.
SEMrush can also be utilized to recognize your competitors.
To do this, simply enter your URL and scroll down to the “Main Organic Competitors” section. By clicking on “Read the detailed report,” you’ll have access to the entire list of your competitors.
You can notably view the level of competition and the traffic on their websites.
How to find competitor’s keywords?
Competitor keyword research is not simple. While tools can be extremely useful, you’ll need to conduct some manual research to create a thorough list of your competitors’ keywords.
But don’t be discouraged by the effort required. While there is no single tool for performing a one-click organic keyword analysis of your competitors, there are a few different strategies to make your research process easier and faster.
What is involved in analyzing your competitors’ keywords?
Analyzing your competitors’ use of keywords involves examining the phrases they use for SEO, regardless of where they appear in search results. You can improve your SEO approach by becoming familiar with these terms.
The data collected can be used in four different ways:
- To rank for the same terms as your competitor, use similar keywords.
- Look for phrases your rivals haven’t used yet and unlock the key to success.
- Know the common keywords used in your industry that you have not yet identified.
- Identify the reasons why your competitor’s website performs better than yours for generic keywords.
The top 5 tools for understanding your competitors’ SEO keywords
The HTML source of your competitor’s website
To search for keywords on your competitor’s website, open their website in your internet browser and select a page.
Then, right-click on the page to access the “source of the page,” which will display the HTML source code.
Check for keywords in the title tag, meta description, optional keyword tag, and heading tags or image alt tags. (Note that not all websites use the keyword tag, but it’s still worth checking.)
Screaming Frog Spider
Use the Screaming Frog Spider software to perform a simple SEO audit on your competitor’s website. Just download the software to your PC and use it to crawl your competitor’s site like a search engine would.
You will get a lot of information about the website, including metadata, image alt text, anchor text, header text, and much more.
All these elements relate to the keywords targeted by your competitor. Dive into your competitor’s keyword research with Screaming Frog.
Google Keyword Planner Tool
All you need is a free Google account to access the Google Keyword Planner tool within the Google AdWords interface.
Log in to AdWords, navigate to the keyword planner, and find the “Discover new keywords” option.
Next, select “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category”.
Once the form is open, click on the text field under “Your landing page” and enter your competitor’s URL, then click on “Find ideas”.
Google will take a moment to crawl this URL and generate a list of keywords related to both the page and the website as a whole.
When Google finishes and displays your results, click on the “Keyword ideas” tab below the chart to see your competitor’s keyword list.
SEMRush has a fabulous organic keyword research tool that can display ranking terms for any domain.
To find a site’s keywords, simply enter your competitor’s website and look at the list that SEMRush provides.
But in addition to that, SEMRush’s tracker also provides the URL that ranks for each term, allowing you to understand which elements of their content marketing are working particularly well for your competitors.
BuzzSumo adds a very cool touch to the competitive keyword research process for finding a site’s keywords, approaching it from a social and sharing angle. By doing so, it has a way of “flipping” the competitive keyword research process.
Rather than prioritizing your competitors’ keywords, BuzzSumo enables you to begin with the keywords that are significant to you and discover which other entities rank for those phrases. BuzzSumo will show you the most shared, liked, and socially spread content for a given keyword.
By examining successful content, you can investigate these elements to gain a better understanding of the different variations, types, and subtleties of effective keywords. This can also help you identify “new” competitors. That is, other websites that are competing for the ranking terms you are interested in.
Other tools to find keywords by competitors
Several online keyword research tools enable you to promptly acquire a list of your competitors’ PPC keywords (such as AdWords, Bing Ads, etc.) by conducting a search.
Our favorite research tools are SpyFu (free or premium) and SEMRush (free or premium), but below is a comprehensive list of tools and additional options, both free and premium.
- FeedtheBot SEO Overview Tool (free)
- Ahrefs Keyword Explorer
- BuzzSumo (free or paid)
- Moz Open Site Explorer (free or paid)
- Moz Keyword Difficulty and SERP Analysis Tool
Ways to benefit from competitor keyword research
Assuming that you have examined your competitor’s website, utilized a useful keyword research tool, investigated social media success, and generated a comprehensive list of keywords used by your competitors.
What’s the next key step for your business?
There are many ways to use competitive analysis and the Google search information you’ve gathered.
To start putting them into practice, here are some good steps to follow:
- Use the terms for comparison with the competition and to see how you stand. This can be particularly useful over time to see how you’re progressing compared to the competition. Don’t forget to also check your organic competitors’ backlink data.
- Search for any shortcomings in your own content and keyword collection. This can also help you with your social media strategy.
- Allow your competitors’ keywords to inspire you to pursue fresh terms and produce suitable content for them. This is probably the best thing you can do for your website.
- Examine the terms to get an idea of the kind of things that really interest your online audience for your marketing campaigns.
- Find new competitors that you might not have considered. It’s essential to know all your competitors in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Analyzing your competitors’ keywords allows you to know what is genuinely relevant to your target audience. Instead of guessing their queries, you know the searches they are likely to conduct.
Once you have deciphered their way of referencing and the strengths and weaknesses of their SEO, you will be able to make the right decisions to become number 1 on the Internet. Remember that this keyword analysis strategy should be accompanied by an analysis of the marketing strategies deployed by your competitors.
Being well-positioned in Google’s results is crucial for a business. Therefore, before carrying out any SEO strategy, take the time to use the various tools we have presented and, if necessary, hire a high quality SEO agency.