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SEO is essential for creating your brand awareness and creating a loyal clientele base. However, it can be a tad overwhelming, not to mention the stiff competition from your competitors. The good news is that you can have the edge over your competitors by perfecting your keyword research skills and learning competitive intelligence. The latter involves reverse-engineering the success of your competitors and identifying their weaknesses to your advantage.
What does competitor keyword research involve?
Competitor keyword research involves creating your SEO strategy based on the highest-ranking keywords from your competitors. It finds keywords that your competition has targeted but has failed to rank on top of the search engines. There are four main ways to use the competitor keyword research to your advantage, and they include:
1. Stealing your competitor’s target keywords and competing for ranking on the search engines
Keyword research is stressful and time-consuming. Not only that, most of the competitive keywords are overly crowded by popular sites, making it impossible to rank high. Keyword spying saves you the time you can spend coming up with better content than your competitors.
2. Learning why keywords from your competitors rank better than your keywords
Sometimes, you may have strong keywords but still, rank lower than your competitors. Spying on your competitor target keywords gives you a glimpse of why your rival is doing better than you. You can then use this newfound knowledge to develop better ideas that will help increase your traffic, leads, and ranking.
For instance, long posts tend to rank better than shorter ones. If your competitor creates 1000 long posts, focus on reaching 1500 words or more. The target may seem daunting, but it’s worth the effort.
3. Looking for long tail keywords from your competitors that you hadn’t thought about before
Long-tail keywords are longer than specific keywords and hard to come up with. They usually consist of words that prospects are likely to type on the search bar when they’re closer to the point of purchase. When spying on your competitors, be sure to get ideas on possible long-tail keywords, and use this info to create some on your niche. These keywords help you rank higher on relevant searches without spending too much on ads.
4. Finding and targeting keywords that your competitor hasn’t used yet
Use competitor analysis as an opportunity to know the keywords your competitor is using to rank and also note missed keywords. You can achieve this by analyzing pages from leading competitors and making a thorough comparison. Highlight the keywords used by one competitor, those missing in the other, and those that you’re missing. Through this kind of comparison, you get to learn about your competitor’s weaknesses and use it to your advantage.
How to find competitor’s target keywords
Now that you understand what competitor keyword targeting is, you may ask yourself, how do I find competitor’s keywords? This part of the post looks at different ways and tools you can use to find keywords that your competitors target.
The first step to competitor keyword targeting is learning who your competitors are. Detailed competitor analysis helps you understand whether a competitor is worth pursuing or not. Start by creating a list of all the competitors you want to pursue and analyze their SEO strategies and success.
Carry out detailed keyword analysis to help you understand the highest-ranking keywords from your competitors. You can do this manually, but it will cost you more time and effort. The manual keyword analysis uses the Keyword Golden Ratio principle, which helps find keywords with high demand but low supply.
To use the Keyword Golden Ration, you start by choosing a keyword in your niche and then using KeywordsEverywhere to find its local monthly search volume. Get the search ratio by dividing the search results with the keyword with the total monthly search volume. The best keyword to use needs to have a Keyword Golden Ratio below 0.25.
Alternatively, you can make use of keyword research tools that simplify the research for you. Some of these tools include:
SEMRush keyword tracker is integrated with an organic keyword tool that displays any term ranking for any domain. The first thing you need to do is create an account with SEMRush using your email address. After email confirmation, you’re prompted to choose your preferred plan, either pro or guru, with both offering seven days free trial. You need to specify your area of interest to help the tool display your competitors and what they’re up to.
Use the Traffic Analytics bar to see where your competitors get most of their traffic in geographic locations. The tool also lists the website that ranks for each term, making it easy for you to understand the best marketing content based on how they perform on your competitor’s websites.
Google Keyword Planner
The Google keyword planner is mostly used to look for target keywords for your website and content. What you may not know is that you can also use the tool to spy on your competitors in three easy steps:
- Login to your account (Google account, you do not need an ads account) and type the keyword phrase in the search bar. Be sure to specify the website you want to search for and the category.
- Type in your competitors URL and click get ideas.
- This will display a list of all keywords used by the competitor.
AHrefs is popular among many SEO experts. It uses the same analysis strategy as SEMRush with an added advantage to get information about their backlink reports. The tool also allows you to track your ranking against your competitors. AHrefs has an audit feature that enables you to analyze your website.
Take advantage of your competitor keyword analysis
After using any of the above tools to spy on your competitors, it’s time to define how you want to use all the intel you’ve gathered. You can use the information for benchmarking purposes, and with time, this information will help you understand how you’re faring against your competitors. Make sure you use the intel to identify gaps in your keyword portfolio and content and use the competitor keywords as an inspiration for new target keywords.