How to Find Keywords That Your Competitors are Ranking For? (Updated 2024)

As the old saying goes, keep your friends close and your foes closer. Competitor keyword analysis can be your shortcut to dominating the game in your niche. Your competitors can help you find a treasure trove of high-quality keywords to improve your site’s SEO and ramp up your traffic and conversion.

Chances are high that your top-ranking competitors couldn’t have gotten to where they are today if they hadn’t peeked on other sites. It’s only due diligence for you to follow suit. 

However, mimicking your competitor’s keyword strategy doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. 

But with this guide, we’ll save you from guessing games or shooting in the dark. We’ll help you get your approach right as you find competitors’ keywords, with key factors to consider, important tools and resources to use, and how best to make use of your competitor analysis results.

It’s time to level the playing field and reclaim your rightful spot in the SERP spotlight. Let’s dive into the intricacies of successful competitor keyword analysis.

What is Competitor Keyword Research?

You’re probably well aware of what it takes to do traditional keyword research and why that is important. You probably use some guesswork, a lot of legwork, and then try to spread out the keywords in your various posts and pages. And then, you sit back rubbing your palms, waiting for that magic moment where your SEO takes flight.

That’s actually a time-consuming process with no guarantee of positive or high-quality results. However, that doesn’t make the goal any less worthwhile.

You can amp things up with competitor keyword research. With competitor keyword research, you reverse engineer the keywords that your competitors are using to drive results. This presents a perfect opportunity fill content gaps in your SEO strategy.

 

Why Carry Out Competitor Analysis?

I have always heard people complaining about how difficult it is to find keywords that actually work and attract traffic. This is exactly why you should consider competitor analysis.

After all, there is no need to reinvent the keyword research wheel. Just search what has been working for your competitors, and do the same. Just a tad bit better.

Here are some ways to use the competitor keyword analysis for your content strategy.

  • To find new keywords that are working for your competitors and you haven’t thought of yet.
  • To find keywords that drive traffic you are missing. Then create content or update your existing to find and fill the content gaps.
  • To find where the competitors are outranking you.
  • To find which commercial terms your competitors are bidding on for attracting potential customers.
  • To find long-tail keywords with lower competition. You can utilise this opportunity.
  • To find secondary keywords for your topic and expand the organic footprint.
  • To find and pinpoint the topics and keywords that trigger snippets and optimise for that placement.

 

How to Identify Your Competitors?

Before you go ahead and look for competitor keywords, you need to identify competitors you are against. There are two types of competitors – domain and page competitors. Domain-level competitors are the ones that compete with you as a whole website or a brand, whereas page-level competitors are the ones that compete against you for a specific keyword or a topic.

How do you identify domain vs page competitors?

There are two basic ways to find your competitors. You can use Ahrefs tools or simply do a Google search.

For domain-level competitors, visit the site explorer tool , enter your domain, and you will find a list of competitors.

For domain-level competitors, use the Ahrefs keyword explorer tool , enter your main keyword, and you will find a list of competitors that rank for the same keyword or similar topic.

Doing Google search is a very easy and everyday task. Just search for your keyword, and all the websites that rank above you are your competitors.

 

Key Factors to Consider During Competitor Keyword Analysis

Certain factors can make all the difference in formulating a successful SEO strategy with your competitor keyword analysis. Let’s discuss five critical factors to consider.

1. Keyword Volume

Keyword volume refers to the average number of searches a keyword receives within a specific timeframe, usually on a monthly basis. Higher volumes typically indicate greater search demand, but lower-volume keywords may offer niche targeting opportunities with less competition.

2. Keyword Difficulty

This measures how challenging it is to rank for a particular keyword in search engine results pages (SERPs). High difficulty keywords are typically more competitive, requiring substantial resources and effort to rank for, while low-difficulty keywords may offer quicker wins with less competition. Focus on a balance of reasonable search volume and manageable difficulty and places where you can have a competitive advantage or provide unique value to users.

3. Searcher Intent

Understanding searcher intent as you find keywords competitors are using

is fundamental to effective keyword targeting and content optimization. Are users seeking informational content, product reviews, or solutions to specific problems? Ensure that your content aligns with their expectations and provides meaningful answers to their queries.

4. User Engagement Metrics

User engagement metrics, such as bounce rate, time on page, and click-through rate, provide valuable insights into how well competitors are harnessing the traffic potential of a keyword. By understanding how users interact with competitor content, you can refine your approach to create more engaging and compelling experiences for your audience.

Look for patterns or trends in engagement behaviour which may indicate areas to give your content a competitive edge.

By considering these key factors during competitor keyword analysis, you can gain valuable insights into your competitors’ strategies and identify opportunities to enhance your own website’s visibility and performance in search engine rankings.

 

5 Steps for Implementing Competitor Research

Now, you can approach how to find your competitors’ keywords in many ways. Here are five solid steps to do it effectively.

Step 1: Gather Your Resources

This includes your target list of competitors, the appropriate keyword research tool (such as SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Moz), and setting up a spreadsheet or competitor analysis template to organise your data as you find keywords used by competitors.

Step 2: Plug in Your Competitor’s Site

Next, plug your competitor’s website into your chosen keyword research tool. The interface and processes might differ here depending on the tool you use. But at this point, you should be able to see competitors keywords and their metadata. 

Step 3: Copy Their Keywords into a Spreadsheet

Organise your competitors’ keywords in spreadsheet or analysis template using category, relevance, or any other criteria that align with your SEO objectives. 

Step 4: Analyse Key Factors for Each Keyword

Next, analyse the key factors mentioned earlier, such as search volume, keyword difficulty, searcher intent, user engagement metrics, and backlink profile. Gather data on these factors using your chosen keyword research tool and other analytics platforms.

Step 5: Identify Keyword Gaps

Finally, use the insights from your competitor analysis to zero in on potential keyword gaps – juicy competitors’ keywords that you currently don’t rank for.  Even more importantly, competitor research is an ongoing process, so continue to monitor and adapt your strategy based on new insights and changes in the competitive landscape.

Tools to Identify Competitors Keywords

Now, you have a list of competitors, the next step is to find competitors keywords to take benefit from them. You can either do this manually or use SEO tools for your rescue.

1. Google Keyword Planner Tool

You might have used this tool before to find keyword ideas for your website. And if you haven’t used it yet, then you just need a Google account to login and start using.

But do you know, you can also use this tool to spy on your competitors’ links and keywords?

  • Log in to your AdWords account and go to the keyword planner tool to find new keywords.
  • Select “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category”.
  • Now enter your competitor’s URL in the space provided and click on ‘get ideas’.
  • Choose ‘keyword ideas’, and Google will offer you ideas from your competitor’s link.

2. Ahrefs Keyword Explorer 

Keyword Explorer is an amazing tool for keyword ideas (although not free). You already have a list of your competitors, so just enter the URL of your competitor’s website in the tool, and the tool will show you the keywords they rank for.

The tool also shows the volume of traffic they get because of each keyword, which is a bonus. And now, you have a set of new potential keywords and ideas for your next content strategy planning.

3. SpyFu 

As the name suggests, this tool specially is designed to spy on competitors and do competitive research. When you enter the link of your competitor, you will receive a report that suggests the keyword that your competitor ranks for but you haven’t utilised yet. This means SpyFu makes the task even easier for you.

You can sort the report with reference to search volume, keyword difficulty, and exact CPC. You can also see the referring domains to that keyword, which is a plus while looking for the competitors keywords.

4. SEM Rush 

This tool is useful to find competitor keywords by geographical area and country filter. In short, it is an impressive tool if you are looking to market in a certain location. How can you do it? It’s simple.

  • Select the ‘Competitors’ menu from the dashboard.
  • Select the geographical location that you want the results for.
  • Choose between mobile or desktop traffic data.
  • And you will get the report in hand.

5. BuzzSumo 

This is yet another tool that can help with your content strategy and finding a competitor’s keywords. You can use the Domain Comparison tool for comparing your website to the competitors and get a detailed report about everything right from the content type, shares, to keywords. Dig a little bit deeper, and you will find where you are lagging in the content department to rectify it.

 

7 Best Practices to Maximise the Impact of Your Competitor Keyword Analysis

Your competitor analysis might be as good as how you put it to use. Here are expert tips to help you maximise the impact of your competitor keyword analysis:

 1. Use the Keywords to Create a Variety of SEO Content

Once you’ve identified potential keyword gaps, leverage them to create a diverse range of SEO content to widen your audience. This could include blog posts, articles, product descriptions, landing pages, and more. 

 2. Find Keywords Where the Searcher Intent is Not Properly Addressed

This presents an opportunity for you to create content that better satisfies user queries and provides more valuable information. By addressing searcher intent effectively, you can improve your chances of ranking higher in SERPs and attracting qualified traffic to your website.

3. Try Using Related Search Terms with Lower Difficulty to Tap Into Keywords with High Difficulty

If you encounter high difficulty keywords as you keyword research competitors, consider exploring related search terms with lower difficulty that still align with your target audience and business objectives. This allows you to tap into keywords with high search volume and potential traffic without facing intense competition. 

4. Target Paid Keywords That You Can Potentially Rank for Organically

Keep an eye out for paid keywords that your competitors are targeting through paid advertising campaigns. While these keywords may be competitive in paid search, they could also present opportunities for organic ranking. You can potentially rank for them organically and capture valuable traffic without the need for paid advertising.

5. Mark Keywords with Low Traffic Potential but with Potential for Increase Over Time  

As you keyword research competitors, don’t overlook keywords with low current traffic but with potential for growth over time. These keywords may be emerging trends, niche topics, or long-tail phrases that have yet to gain widespread popularity, but are slowly rising. By identifying and targeting these keywords early on, you can establish a strong presence in these areas and capitalise on their increasing popularity as they gain traction over time.

6. Keep an Eye on Seasonal Keywords and Trend-Related Keywords  

Be vigilant in monitoring seasonal keywords and trend-related keywords that may fluctuate in popularity throughout the year. By aligning your content and SEO efforts with these keywords, you can capitalise on seasonal trends and timely topics to attract relevant traffic to your website.

7. Target Bottom of the Funnel Keywords to Boost Your Conversion and Sales  

Focus on targeting bottom-of-the-funnel keywords that indicate high purchase intent and are closer to the conversion stage of the buyer’s journey. Optimising your content and SEO strategy with insights you learn from how to check competitor website keywords with transactional intent helps attract qualified leads, driving conversions and sales for your business.

 

Final Thoughts: A Process to Level-Up to Your Competitors

A competitor keyword research helps you in finding the terms and keywords that are already working for your niche (just you are unaware of them). Whether you are looking to target for informational keywords or commercial ones, quick research on your competitors will help you get a kick start in your strategy without sweating much. So, use these tools and get a proven blueprint to boost your organic traffic and conversions.

About The Author

Ved Prakash

Ved has extensive experience in SEO and Digital marketing and has worked with many domestic and international clients to provide services related to content marketing, blogging, SEO and other digital services.

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