Staying competitive is crucial, no matter what your industry.
In today’s digital marketplace, how do you effectively scope out the competition and discover how they’re using search optimization to increase traffic?
With a competitor keyword analysis, of course.
By using a specialized tool to view what words and phrases your closest competitors are using, you can capitalize on the same process and adjust your overall strategy to attract the same audience.
This can also be an excellent way to troubleshoot certain SEO issues and make it easier to identify new opportunities.
And, no… it isn’t spying if it is public information.
Let’s dive right into discussing the process and why you need competitive keyword analytics as part of your omnichannel marketing strategy.
What is Competitive Keyword Analysis?
A competitive keyword analysis is simply a process of “reverse engineering” your competitor’s website to determine what keywords or long-tail phrases they rank for.
Usually, these types of reports include multiple data sets to offer insight into how well a specific website is ranking for certain topics.
For example, there might be a section with a backlink profile that details all of the various websites linking to your competitor.
It can also include a list of keywords that they’re ranking for and you aren’t, social media shares, or whether the content they’re publishing actually meets user intent.
By having this information available, you can then make decisions to try to outrank them or simply find holes in your own content strategy that need to be addressed.
The Importance of Competitive Keyword Analysis
Competitive keyword analysis is important in that it provides information that you might not have already had regarding the market you’re in.
For example, maybe you didn’t realize that your closest competitor has a major education section on their website that isn’t linked from the main page, but provides tons of access to content tailored to your shared target customer base and ranks well in the SERPs for specific topics.
Or perhaps you’ve had issues with your own SEO and cannot figure out how the same local competitor regularly ends up pages higher than you do on Google.
A competitive analysis would give you the data necessary to make changes or identify issues in your current campaigns.
However, the main reason to regularly review competitor keywords is that it gives you a pulse of the industry as a whole.
If everyone in your niche is having trouble with traffic, it could be a widespread issue caused by lack of interest, seasonal woes, or just a Google algorithm change.
How Do You Analyze a Competitor’s Keywords?
Generally, analyzing competitor keywords isn’t something you do on your own.
Of course, you can always type in certain words or phrases into Google and see who comes up. But you’ll definitely want more information than that.
Using a special tool like the ones we’ll outline below is generally the best and most efficient manner to handle this process.
They’re specifically designed to make competitor keyword analysis simple and most give you all the information necessary to make solid decisions.
All is fair in keyword analytics…
We add this as a side note to help you remember that your competitors can always scope out your business using the same information we’ve provided in this blog post.
In fact, they might already be doing this if they have a fairly robust strategy or utilize a professional marketing team.
Nothing we’ve included here is any sort of secret. In fact, it is all industry-standard information.
This means that if you’re on the fence about performing a competitor keyword analysis, it is important to realize that they’re likely already doing something similar to you or others in your industry.
The 5 Best Tools for Finding Competitor Keywords
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use tool to help find competitor keywords, our team at Rock Content has you covered.
Here are five of our favorites for you to try out.
When it comes to competitive research, SpyFu is an excellent resource.
This tool is dedicated to just looking at others in your niche and making solid assumptions about how well their marketing is working.
The dashboard provides clear information like keywords, traffic, inbound clicks, weaknesses, and so much more.
You also have the option to find related keywords, making it simple to come up with your own campaigns to do better.
Plus, SpyFu provides information on competitor ad spend, clicks, and monthly search volume.
This can be key information when attempting to outpace another organization for the same keywords.
If you know who your biggest competitors are, then you’ll really like this tool from Ahrefs.
With a click of your mouse, you can add specific keywords and then see information for all of the top pages that rank for that subject.
It also makes it easier to break down the parent topic of a keyword, which gives you specific ideas on how your competitors are attempting to rank for user intent.
This is excellent information to know as you develop your own content marketing strategy.
As a side note, Keyword Explorer is just one of the many awesome SEO tools available from Ahrefs. Be sure to check all of them out, too.
If simple and free is on your radar, then you’ll like TagCrowd’s approach to competitive research.
While there’s no fancy report with tons of data, it does allow you to input a specific web address. From there, the platform creates a tag cloud with the top keywords the site ranks for.
This is excellent for those times in which you just need a couple of extra keywords or are trying to feel out a new competitor.
It’s also great for researching your own content topics and determining what you want to write about.
Another reason to use TagCrowd?
To check your own website to see if specific words or phrases stand out. If they don’t, you can make adjustments to your SEO to ensure they gain more traction in the future.
We can’t give you a comprehensive guide on competitor keyword analysis and how it improves your SEO without mentioning BuzzSumo.
As one of the most widely used analysis tools, it provides very detailed reports about what your competitors are ranking for and various factors that contribute to this.
The best part?
They offer a domain comparison that makes it simple to see how two domains rank in contrast to one another.
This means that you can add your own website as one and your competitor as another for a super in-depth analysis of where you are versus where they are.
This is handy for also seeing the top-performing pieces of content by each website, too.
Once you view this, you can see what articles or blog posts are best performing for both you and the competition.
Just about any hardcore digital marketer you meet is going to tell you that you need SEMrush.
Not only does the app come with tons of great features for improving multiple aspects of your search engine optimization, but it also includes several nifty competitor analysis features, too.
Run reports on how well your keywords stack up to those the competition is using, plus see who is doing it better.
You can also see paid keywords for PPC and determine whether one is too competitive to be worth your ad spend budget.
While SEMRush is sometimes too much for new digital marketers, there are reasons why it is considered an industry-standard must-have tool.
And the competitive research aspect is certainly one of them.
Wrap Up: Competitor Keyword Analysis for Improved SEO
You already know that there are always areas in which you can improve your search engine optimization strategy.
But using your competitor’s own website as a resource is one that you shouldn’t overlook.
Not only does it give you ideas on how to make improvements, but it can also help you overcome hidden flaws in your own approach.
Of course, if you still feel as though you’re having trouble ranking in your niche, we would love to help.
Use our SEO Maturity Assessment tool to determine whether your current strategy is working or whether you still have a ways to go to achieve organic traffic success.