A keyword is normally a word or phrase that highlights a topic or passage of significance within your web content. Searchers use different words or strings of words to collect more information from the internet on the topics of their interest. Keywords basically represent the web content and the way people search for that content. The main purpose of keywords is to increase the value of your content both for Google Search Spiders and people.

You should add keywords naturally in all the content you write, whether it is the body of a new post or meta description, because they represent the theme of your page. A reader will find it easy to consume the naturally inserted keywords just like the rest of your content. On the other hand, you will turn off your reader if the keywords you use are irritating sales pitches or cause the reader to stumble over the rest of the content.

How to Identify and Analyze Keywords Your Competitors Are Using

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In this article, we explore 1) what keywords are not about, 2) why you should spy on your competitors’ keywords, 3) effective techniques for researching and analyzing keywords your competitors are using, 4) important tools for spying on your competitors’ keywords, and 5) conclusion.


One of the biggest mistakes content writers or optimizers make is that they try to mislead or trick both Google Spiders and people with the help of keywords. This means repeating the keywords in your content in an unnatural manner (keyword stuffing), using keywords that don’t describe what your content is about or deploying any other black hat technique. Google is very serious about websites that use these techniques and can penalize you if you do not comply with their policies regarding the proper use of keywords.


Spying on your competitors’ keywords offers you more insights into industry trends in addition to generating more keyword ideas for yourself. It is always better to know who your main competitors are and what they are doing as it will help you get one step ahead of the competition.

In the following lines, I shall explain some benefits of proper keyword research as well as some important tools and techniques to effectively spy on your competitors’ keywords.

Benefits of Proper Keyword Research

Proper keyword research is necessary to propel your online business to new heights of success. Following are some of the benefits of using the right keywords in your content.

  • Higher Search Engine Rankings: If you are looking to optimize your website for search engines, you have to identify proper and powerful keywords. It is essential for you to use the right keywords in all types of web content, whether it is a press release, a new link building campaign or content for your site’s homepage, if you want to improve your search rankings. Ranking on the first page of Google means that you will get hundreds of times more traffic and revenue.
  • Increased Conversion Rate: The biggest advantage of using relevant keywords in relevant content is that they will bring actual customers to your website. You can easily achieve higher conversion rate if the content you provide is useful and meaningful to your visitors. As a matter of fact, using optimized keywords and relevant content dramatically enhances your chances of increasing net profits compared to other methods such as broadcast emailing.
  • Engaged Audience: To engage your audience, you need to produce relevant content. One way to do so is to identify keywords that can drive traffic to your website. Keyword analysis is also important for finding out the topics that are popular among your audience. This will help you to write engaging content around those topics and keep your audience engaged. In fact, your visitors will keep coming back if your content can answer all their questions.
  • Broader Targeted Audience: Targeted traffic is the first requirement for building your online customer base and increasing your profits in the process. It is fairly easy to get information about keywords which can help you reach a broader targeted audience alongside their level of competition and search volume. You need to remember that keyword research is necessary if you want to discover new business avenues.
  • Better Insights into Marketing Trends: Keyword analysis also enables you to get better insights into marketing trends and consumer behavior. It will help you find out what is popular in the market and what you need to do to stay relevant. Keyword research will also reveal the methods your rivals use to rank high in search engines against your targeted keywords.
  • Increased Online Visibility: Keyword research and analysis will help you achieve higher search rankings and in turn, increased online visibility. As mentioned above, you can drive considerably more traffic to your website and increase your profits if you manage to rank on the first page of Google. This enables you to generate more sales simply because your website is visible to more people.
  • Cheap Organic Marketing: The best thing about keyword research is that it does not cost you a dime on most occasions. Compared to pay per click (PPC) and other types of advertisements on Google, organic search engine optimization is not only cheaper but it also helps you to get long-term and sustainable search results.


Following are some of the best techniques to take a look at your competitors and what they are ranking for.

Identify Your Competitors

First and foremost, you have to identify your main competitors and analyze what keywords they are ranking against. This will also help you see the strategies they have put in place for search engine optimization and what their main areas of focus are in terms of paid and organic search results. It is always important to know your competitors in a fast-paced competitive environment, otherwise your chances of success are very remote.

Identify Your Own Keywords

After identifying your competitors and keywords they are using, it is imperative for you to identify and select the keywords that have the potential to drive traffic to your website and generate more sales. My advice to you is always start with less competitive keywords because they are easy to rank for. In this regard, there are many tools you can use to identify keywords for your business, such as Google AdWords and SEMRush.

Determine How Authoritative Your Competitors Are

You would normally have two to three major competitors on your radar. However, you also happen to compete with many other websites about which you have no idea. Therefore, you must identify all the websites you are competing with and determine how authoritative they are. You may not surpass large and well-established websites in Google search results against more competitive keywords in the beginning, making it necessary for you to focus your efforts on less competitive ones.

Track Competitors’ Indexed Pages

You need to get as much information as possible about your competitors’ indexed pages and how powerful they are. This way you will be able to learn what type of content they produce on their pages, what methods they use to get so much public attention and how authoritative their website really is.

Set up Google Alerts

Setting up Google Alerts is one of the best methods to not only spy on your rivals’ keywords, but their backlinks as well. Instead of brand mentions, Google Alerts helps you track your competitors’ keywords in addition to discovering countless other keywords and phrases that may be relevant to your business. You can also measure the performance of different websites using this exceptional tool and base your future SEO campaign on these results.

Check Their Backlinks

Backlinks are the lifeline of any SEO campaign. You can never rank on the first page of Google unless your website has a huge number of quality backlinks. It is important for you to know where your competitors get all those backlinks from because it will help you adopt and generate new ideas for your backlink strategy. It is not very difficult to check your competitors’ backlinks either. You simply have to go through their popular posts, and you will come across many high quality and related backlinks.

Spy on Their SEO and PPC Campaigns

It is of high importance for you to closely monitor all the websites of your rivals that are getting maximum traffic from Google organic search results. These are also the websites with a number of high-quality backlinks, making them extremely important for their ranking. As far as paid traffic is concerned, you have to have maximum information about the keywords they are paying for and what they are doing. I normally use tools like Ispionage to measure how effective a certain keyword is against the cost per click.

What Is Their Unique Selling Proposition?

To survive in today’s extremely competitive online marketplace, you have to have your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). In this regard, you can develop a unique voice for your brand and strong online presence by having a good idea about your competitors’ USP. You have to keep in mind that your visitors may start comparing you with your competitors if you don’t have your own USP, and in some cases they may also start saying that you are even worse.

Compare Your Website with Your Rivals

One of the best methods to compete with your competitors is to compare your website and SEO strategy, including all the potential keywords you want to deploy, with your competitors. This will help you a great deal in selecting the most important keywords and prioritizing them in terms of high demand and low traffic difficulty. There are many other factors you can take into account when choosing keywords, such as relevance, current rankings, page results characteristics, content optimization and domain authority.

Always Target Weak Competitors

As mentioned above, you compete with a lot of competitors at a time. Therefore, it is always wise to target weaker competitors to begin with. In order to accomplish this task successfully, you have to thoroughly analyze their online marketing strategy and identify their strengths and shortcomings, and then exploit those weaknesses as much as possible. Remember, it is extremely difficult to deprive big fish of their share right from the start. You have to be patient and take one step at a time.

Constantly Revise Your Strategy

New competitors enter the market, and old ones disappear on a daily basis. It is imperative for you to constantly revise your list of competitors so that you can discover new competitive keywords and apply them successfully to drive extra traffic to your website. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. You just need to optimize the keywords the way your competitors are optimizing them in addition to producing relevant, creative content.


There are many extremely helpful tools available in the market that can help you research your competitors’ keywords effectively. In fact, it is better to use the above mentioned techniques in combination with these tools for getting optimal results.

  • Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool: Google Keyword Planner or Google Adwords is the best tool to spy on your competitors’ keywords. Although, you have to create an account to access this tool, it is totally free to use. In my opinion, it is a fantastic tool for getting some important stats like keyword difficulty level, average monthly search volume, the average cost per click and much more. Unlike some other tools on the list, this tool focuses more on your website rather than specifically focusing on competitors’ analysis.
  • Open Site Explorer: This tool has to be outstandingly simple because it is from Moz. It is perfect for analyzing the techniques and methods your competitors are deploying to build backlinks. One of the most popular tools with a good reputation in the market nowadays, Open Site Explorer provides you with complete information about the anchor texts they are using as well as the page rank and domain authority of the websites they are receiving backlinks from.
  • SEMRush: I strongly recommend using SEMRush because it is a great tool when it comes to collecting competitors’ data. This very tool provides you with detailed information about all types of keywords other business have deployed in addition to their search ranking and average monthly traffic. The tool is completely free to use and provides all the necessary information in an easy to understand graphic format.
  • Alexa: Alexa is the tool that needs no recognition. Today, it is one of the most advanced and reliable keyword analysis tools, but it has been around for years now. This tool is a must if you are looking to spy on your competitors’ keywords, especially if you are competing at the global stage. It offers detailed information about their link building efforts, keywords, and traffic, etc.
  • Keyword Spy: As the name suggests, Keyword Spy is a brilliant tool to literally spy on your competitors’ keywords. One of the best features of Keyword Spy is Domain Spy Tool. If you want to know the total budget your competitors have specified for PPC, you must make use of this tool. Similarly, it will also help you find out the keywords they are spending the most money on and who their major competitors are.
  • Google Trends: This particular tool is extremely popular among online marketers and other professionals because it is free and does not require any login or sign up. It allows you to observe both short and long term trends in addition to comparing the performance of different keywords. Similarly, the tool also offers weekly updates on your priority keywords.
  • KW Finder: Keyword finder is a relatively new tool but it has become one of my favorites. It receives monthly data both from Google Trends and Google AdWords. You can competitively analyze Top Ten search results for the last month against any keyword in addition to finding out how difficult a certain keyword is to rank against.
  • Majestic SEO: Majestic SEO is not a free tool but one I strongly recommend, especially for competitors’ keyword research. There is a free feature called Backlink History Tool, which allows you to observe patterns in link building. You can find out when your competitors focus most on organic SEO by choosing different settings to monitor the influx of keywords at a certain time of the year.


Remember that you will never be able to claim absolute victory over your competitors in the battle of keyword search and search engine rankings. However, you can remain competitive, relevant and, most importantly, profitable by applying these tips. The world of the online marketplace is constantly expanding and evolving, and if you are unable to adapt and innovate, you will never be successful and same is true with online marketing, especially search engine optimization.

Finally, my advice to all of you is never rest on your laurels. You should keep abreast of the latest developments and trends in your particular niche. Always look for new keyword ideas and never stop spying on your competitors, both strong and weak. In this way, you will be able to rank higher on Google and achieve your goals in both the short and long run.

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