Performing competitor keyword research is one of the best ways to boost your search optimization game. If you can figure out your competitor’s keywords, you can use that insight to guide your own SEO strategy and potentially gain a competitive edge in the search results.
What is Competitor Keyword Research?
When we talk about a competitor’s keywords, we’re typically referring to both the keywords that your competitor ranks well for in search results, as well as the keywords your competitor is targeting but has failed to rank well for. Both categories can inform your SEO keyword strategy.
4 Ways to Use Competitor Keyword Research:
- Steal your competitor’s keywords to compete for rankings in the same search results.
- Find and begin targeting keywords that have not yet been targeted by competitors.
- Discover broad terms used by your target market that you hadn’t thought of yourself.
- Find out why your competitor’s website ranks above yours for broad keywords.
How to Find Competitors’ Keywords
Before searching for a convenient tool that generates a list of competitor keywords with a few clicks, stop. Competitor keyword research just isn’t that simple. You’ll have to do a little manual digging to compile a list of your competitor’s keywords.
Don’t let the effort required discourage you though. While there isn’t a single one-click tool to perform competitor keyword research, there are a few different tools available to smooth out and speed up your research process.
Top 3 Tools for Figuring Out Your Competitors’ Keywords:
1. The HTML Page Source of Your Competitor’s Website
In your Internet browser, go to your competitor’s website and choose a page to look for keywords in. Then, right-click on the page to open the “page source”. A window should pop up displaying the HTML source code of the page. Look in the code for the keywords in the title tag, the meta description, the optional keywords tag, and any image title tags or alt tags. (Not all websites use the keywords tag, but it’s worth checking.)
2. Screaming Frog Spider
Use the Screaming Frog Spider software to perform a simple SEO audit on your competitor’s site. Just download the software to your PC and use it to crawl your competitor’s website the way a search engine does. You’ll get lots of information on the website, including meta data, image alt text, anchor text, heading text, and much more. All of these components point to the keywords your competitor is targeting. Go crazy with competitor keyword research using Screaming Frog.
3. Google Keyword Planner Tool
All you need is a free Google account to access the Google Keyword Planner Tool in the Google AdWords interface.
Log into AdWords, navigate to the Keyword Planner, and locate the “Find new keywords” option.
Then, select “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category”.
Once you’ve opened the form, click on the text field under “Your landing page” and enter your competitor’s URL, and then click “Get ideas”.
Google will now take a moment to crawl that 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 the “Keyword ideas” tab below the graph to see your list of competitor keywords.
More Tools for Competitor Keyword Research
Different online tools will provide a list of your competitor’s PPC keywords (for AdWords, Bing Ads, etc.) with just a quick search. Our preferred search tools are SpyFu (free or premium) and SEMRush (free or premium). Additional tools are listed below.
- FeedtheBot SEO Overview Tool (free)
- Ahrefs Keyword Explorer
- BuzzSumo (free or premium)
- Moz Open Site Explorer (free or premium)
- Moz Keyword Difficulty and SERP Analysis Tool (premium with free 30-day trial)
Taking Advantage of Competitor Keyword Research
If this sounds like too much of a chore or you’re not sure what to do with your competitor’s keywords once you’ve discovered them, Volume Nine can help you make the most out of the research process via content optimization or development. Contact us today with questions, or leave your thoughts below in the comment section. And if you have any other ways to perform competitor keyword research, please share them!