How to Discover Your Competitor’s Keywords & Use Them to Your Advantage

Ask any digital marketer and everyone can agree that the choice of keywords is important today as it was a couple of years back. Your website needs it to succeed and to have a place in Google’s search engine ranking.

You understand the importance of keyword research, and you know that it’s necessary to find the right keywords that will drive large quantities of targeted traffic to your website.

But despite it all, never forget the importance of scoping out your competitors’ keywords.

Your competitors’ keywords are crucial armor to your strategies, plus it’s good for gathering backlink information. You not only gain the advantage over the other people in your niche, you also gather crucial intelligence data:

And when it comes to finding your competitors’ keywords, this means:

  • Your competitors are targeting keywords and they aren’t ranking for it yet.
  • Your competitors are getting high rankings on search engine results.

Why do you need to know your competitors’ keywords?

No one likes to spend far too much time focusing their energy and resources on their competition. But when it comes to keywords that you’re both looking to rank for, you would want to stay current with what they’re trying to accomplish.

Here’s how you can make use of competitor keyword research for your advantage:

  • “Steal” your competitor’s keywords to beat them in the search results.
  • Understand how the competition is currently performing in the search engines.
  • Discover new keywords that you may have missed in your previous searches.

Putting it another way, keyword research is your foundation for good search marketing campaigns. You need to target high-intent keywords and relevant ones if you want to build a sound and solid proof digital marketing campaigns and strategies.

Furthermore, competitive keyword analysis is one of the most effective ways that you can compete in a crowded marketplace.

So, this begs the question, how do you go about finding those keywords?

How to Discover Competitors’ Keywords

Finding your competitors’ keywords is a task that requires effort. And admittedly, if you plan to do it purely manually, you’re going to be consuming a lot of important time.

But there are things you can do to make your work easier in addition to manual work. There are tools available on the internet for competitor keyword research.

Step #1: Using Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is great for finding keywords to target on your own website. But how do you use it to spy on the competition? It actually provides you a ton of keyword ideas. And how do you do it?

Immediately after logging in, search for new keywords using a category, a phrase, or a website. The best way to do this is to enter your competitor’s URL and click, “get ideas.”

Image Credit: Shout Me Loud

Review your list of competitors and do this to compile a list of keywords that you can use later.

Step #2: Get a MozBar Extension

MozBar is a web browser extension that’s available for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. It’s a function that provides important metrics about a website right along with its link profile for SEO purposes and of course, for keyword research.


Image Credit: Powered by Search

Step #3: Manual Google Keyword Research

For double-checking purposes, you can cross reference all the keywords you’ve gathered by inputting keywords one-by-one on Google’s search bar. Check their DA and create a list of low DA sites. 5-7 should be good.

Step #4: Using Ahrefs

One of the most widely used tools and read SEO blogs on the web: Ahrefs. It’s also a handy-dandy tool developer and blogger tool for keyword research. It’s not a free tool, but you can still avail of their services. If you do choose to pay though, you get a lot of leg room to explore organic keywords and the popularity of each keyword for every country.

How to Use Competitors’ Keywords to Your Advantage

There was a time in internet history when digital marketers detested competitors. To be fair, it was a universally hated element of search optimization.

Look at it this way. If you worked really hard to get high ranks for a particular keyword, and some of your competitors beat you to the ranks, it’s easy to fall prey to feeling like all that hard work was for nothing after all.

Luckily for us today, the Internet we know now has room for everybody. And on that similar vein, competitors are no longer nasty and plague-like, like they used to be.

So, how do your reap the advantages of researching your competitors’ keywords?

#1 Differentiating your brand

Constant engagement with SEO strategies will eventually urge you to publish loads of content, do a lot of onsite optimization, and interact with your followers on social media frequently. This wealth of information is accessible to the public when you have the right tools, and even without it.

Monitor all of these areas when it comes to your competitor. This way, you get to know their target audience, other niches they’re targeting, their principal strategies, and what they’re not doing.

From there, it would be easier to find ways to set yourself apart. You do what they’re not doing. And if you do it right, you can make your brand more unique and more attractive than your competitor for your shared audience.

#2 Mirroring their links

Manually finding links isn’t the jackpot in the SEO strategy. But there is still value in being selective with your link targeting sources. And you can manually locate those links in some of your competitors’ websites. Knowing that, you can then mimic the type of link profile they have, or adjust your strategy accordingly.

#3 Free content inspiration

Everyone knows how difficult it is to constantly come up with new ideas consistently. That’s even more so apparent if you’ve been consistently running a blog for years. Of course, despite the suggestions put forward here, this doesn’t mean you should go around copying competitors’ content straight up. Plagiarism is a crime, after all.

What you do is list down the content they’ve covered and you haven’t, and use it as inspiration. You can search for a different angle, highlight another main point they failed to cover extensively, and if your topics are the same, make yours more educational and more informative.

#4 Guest posting opportunities

The practice of providing others with relevant content in exchange for relevant and helpful links is not dead.

That means you shouldn’t underestimate the power of working with your competitors directly either. If you’re open to it, propose a guest posting exchange with your competitors. This way, you’ll be helping each other. And in addition, you’re opening doors of opportunities to work in other sources.

The Takeaway

Don’t fear…

There’s nothing blackhat about spying on your competitors. As long as you don’t violate any of Google’s rules, it’s fair game, and you’ll be fine.

In finding competitors’ keywords and implementing what you’ve learned from them, remember to target long-tail keywords, and properly manage your onpage SEO optimization to reap the results.