Discover how to find what keywords competitors are using
Competitor analysis is an essential part of business maintenance and growth; arming your team with the knowledge of what your competitors are and aren’t doing will enable them to work smarter – either able then to compete directly within the same space, or within your competitor’s gaps in knowledge, experience, products, and/or services. The same ethos, therefore, can and should be applied to any online activity you undertake. So, here, I’ll talk you through how to find what keywords competitors are using.
NB: I will be using the term(s) SERP and SERPs, which refer to Search Engine Page Results.
How to find what keywords competitors are using
Firstly, I feel it’s both important and useful to note that there are multiple paid and free ways you can effectively & quickly find out what keywords competitors are using and, depending on your business needs & priorities, either paid or free – or indeed a mixture of both! – will be most appropriate.
- Google Keyword Planner: I’ve written about Google’s Keyword Planner before and could easily wax lyrical for another 8 articles about just how useful it is. A free tool meant for use in conjunction with Google Ads, Google’s Keyword Planner is a free and surprisingly detailed keyword research tool. It’s exceptionally easy to use, intuitive and, if it’s not a tool you automatically turn to for SEO information & inspiration for your own website, are you even doing SEO (?). However, Google Keyword Planner isn’t just useful for SEO for your own website, it’s also incredibly insightful when monitoring your competitors and what keywords they’re using to rank in SERPs. Once you’re in the Keyword Planner tool, you simply select “start with a website” and insert a competitor’s website to analyse; the keywords that appear will be keywords that your chosen competitor ranks for + keywords Google thinks your competitor should be ranking for.
- SEMRush: SEMRush is an incredibly powerful tool that can help you scope out, analyse and improve so many aspects of your website. It is a paid for tool and it can be expensive, but there is a [limited] free version that allows you to view some information, with access to some functionality. Among some wonderfully insightful and useful features such as site audits, content audits, keyword research & position tracking, and providing practical ideas for improving your content specifically for SEO, SEMRush also provides you with the option to monitor a selection of your competitors; the keywords they rank for and what common keywords you share, the average position they have achieved in SERPs, and so much more. What’s also incredibly useful is the feature that enables you to view your position in SERPs compared to your competitors. If you haven’t heard of SEMRush or haven’t yet signed up for a free account, I absolutely recommend you do so and, if you find it useful, sign up for their free 7 day trial.
- MOZ SEO Tool(s): MOZ offers a range of free and paid for SEO tools that can help you optimise your content, improve & increase your page AND domain authority, and improve your external & internal linking structure. Offered by MOZ are 2 incredibly useful free tools – MOZBar and Keyword Explorer that help you identify how many keywords a website ranks for, the average top positions of keywords; page authority, domain authority, meta keywords used, spam score… and so much more. Simply download the MOZBar for free and search for MOZ Keyword Explorer, enable the MOZBar and visit your competitors’ websites to observe all the information available to you.
Although I may have only listed 3 simple ways to find what keywords competitors are ranking for, these 3 simple ways are also incredibly effective ways to identify what your competitors are ranking for and therefore what your next campaign, blog series or landing pages should include, as well as providing you with a way to identify what your competitors aren’t ranking for and therefore where their gaps & weaknesses are.
Use any, a combination of, or all 3 of these tools and you’ll be well placed to compete with your closest competitors, toe-to-toe.