The most time-consuming and difficult challenge in SEO is figuring out the right keywords to use. It requires a lot of patience and dedication. Even then, no matter how much you do, you’ll always have competitors with bigger marketing budgetes than you. What’s a small business to do to compete with the bigger fellows?
Why, you steal from them, of course.
Your competitors, like you, spend money fine-tuning their marketing strategies. This includes keywords. And the bigger the business, the bigger their marketing budget. This means that chances are high they’ve used a good amount of resources to figure out what keywords work for your market. Using the right tools and methods, you can gain access to this information relatively easily. Read on or watch the video to find out how.
Doing your research
When doing the research on what keywords you want to be targeting, you want to organize your keywords into two simple categories:
- The keywords your competitors are targeting, but not yet ranking for
- The keywords your competitors are currently ranking highly for in the search results
The first group is where you’ll want to focus your efforts. But the latter group you’ll want to keep a bead on so that you know what sort of keywords you want to avoid when building your content strategy.
Using the right tools
For analysing competitor keywords, you’ll want to shell out a little money for professional tools. There are free tools, of course, but if you’re making any money at all from your website, a keyword research tool can be invaluable. If you want to learn more, we’ve compared a few of the better ones out there and you can read about them here.
For our competitor research, we’re going to be using KWFinder by Mangools.
KWFinder has always been a great tool for keyword analysation, but Mangools recently added a new feature to it that ramps up its potential when using it for competitor research. It’s the "Search by Domain" tab on the tool’s main page.
To get started, simply enter the domain of one of your competitors, select one of the 18 countries, then click the green arrow.
Let’s say you run a cooking blog and you want to create some new content around baking cakes. You know from previous experience that the domain allrecipes.com consistently ranks high on the first SERP. Using the "Search by Domain" tab, type in allrecipes.com and start a search.
We now have thousands of keywords that allrecipes.com ranks for organically. A tip for sorting the keywords is to click the filter button and set the minimum keyword difficulty to one. Now you can sort the list by keyword difficulty and view all of the keywords that will be easy for you outrank your competitors on.
Another great feature of this tool is that, when you search for one domain, it will generate a list of similar competitors, so you can easily switch through to each one to see what all of your competitors are targeting and ranking for.
Stealing the best keywords
When utilising this method of keyword research, you want to pay close attention to the keywords your competitors are ranking highly for as well as the ones they aren’t. If you’re looking to make new content, focus on the latter sort of keywords.
Using our above example of a cooking blog, let’s take a look at the sort of organic keywords that allrecipes.com is ranking for.
Set a filter with a minimum keyword difficulty of one and then apply it. Once the filter is applied, click the KD title twice to sort by keyword difficulty.
As you can see, there are quite a few keywords with low difficulty that the marketing folks at allrecipes.com. These are potential keywords that you can build content around.
You can see that a lot of these keywords are conversions, but if you scroll down a bit, as of the date of this guide, there’s a keyword ‘strogonoff’ that looks like it could be good. It’s got a very high search volume of over 300,000, a keyword difficulty of 27, and a very consistent search trends over the last 12 months.
This would be a pretty decent keyword to target for website. This is also a short keyword, so if you wanted to take it a step further, you could go over to the keyword search tab, select the autocomplete button, and see what sort of long-tail keywords you could target to improve rankings for both. Chicken strogonoff, anyone?
With the right tools, you can stand on the shoulders of your competitors and save a lot of time and money when coming up with great keywords.
Even more competitor analysis
A great thing about KWFinder is that, when searching by domain, it also shows a list of related competitor domains, so right there from within the tool, you can really get a very good idea about what all of your competitors are targeting, not just a single one.
With KWFinder’s list feature, we can go through all of your competitor’s keyword targets and add the ones with low keyword difficulty to a list. Once you’ve been through a few competitors, common keywords still start to appear, and you’ll soon have a robust list of ideas for new content.
And this is only the beginnig–If you want to get into even more granular keyword analysis, take a look at our guide here.
SEO can be a tough game, but keyword research doesn’t have to be a stab in the dark. With the right tools, you can stand on the shoulders of your competitors and save a lot of time and money when coming up with great keywords.