Competitors Keywords

How to Spy on Competitors Keywords

A little business competition is healthy – in fact, having numerous competitors means that your product or service is in demand or popular. Competition is also what propels us to work harder and find innovative ways to make our brand to stand out. 

You do need to know what these competing brands are doing, however, and in this digital age, it’s all about using the right keywords to increase traffic and attract relevant customers!

In this blog we’ll explain exactly what keywords are, where and how they are used, why they’re so important and how you can run a quick competitor keywords analysis to help identify opportunities to improve your search engine results pages (SERPs) ranking using keywords. 

What are keywords?

Keywords are specific topics, words and phrases that potential customers search for when looking for your product, service or information. Keywords are always about the customer and their needs, not about the language or words your brand would like to use. This is why understanding your audience’s needs, wants and preferences is still such an important step in our strategic marketing planning. 

There are two types of keywords – broad or general and specific. Broad keywords could be ‘hairdresser’ and ‘skincare’ while more specific keywords would be ‘hairdresser in Richmond’ or ‘eco-friendly skincare made in Melbourne’. 

While broad keywords will get lots of search queries, they are also highly competitive as they’re commonly used by a variety of businesses. You’re most likely already using these words anyway, so, it’s preferable to include specific or niche keywords to result in more targeted search results and therefore more relevant visitors. 

How are keywords used?

Keywords are found throughout your website in the headings, subheading and copy, in your blogs, meta descriptions and image captions. Search engines like Google regularly ‘crawl’ or scan your website looking at and assessing these keywords in order to determine if and when to display your business in search results. 

Note: there’s no need to over-use or repeat keywords, search engines are sophisticated enough to pick and up make links between words and content.  

Why is ranking highly for keywords so important?

Keywords are used by Google to determine the relevance, trustworthiness and credibility of your business. Your content is assessed and compared to similar sites and then shown in search results in a certain order. The order is given based on the keywords and some other SEO factors such as links, loading speed and more. 

The higher in the search your business appears the better it will be, as it will lead to increased traffic and ultimately more sales, bookings or enquires. 

What benefits will I get from spying on my competitors keywords?

It’s about being able to make informed decisions. Monitoring your competitors’ keywords is a great way to keep an eye on trends and what’s happening more generally in the industry, but it will also allow you to identify if you are missing any vital keywords.

Understanding your competitors’ keyword rankings, will enable you to make educated decisions about your digital marketing activities and content strategy using on real data rather than guessing. 

You may decide to change some of your keywords or add keywords. Your competitor keyword analysis may even provide inspiration or ideas for creating new organic content and advertising too!

When should I check on my competitors’ keywords?

Do it today if you haven’t already. Things can change fast and frequently online, so, we also recommend checking in and monitoring your competitors’ activities regularly – at least every 3 – 6 months to stay up to date and make sure your current strategy is still working.  

How do I spy on competitor keywords?

There are a number or manual options, including simply using Google search to type in a keyword and see where your competitor is ranking, but this takes time. The good news is, there’s also a number of handy online tools available to help you check on your competitors such as Semrush, SpyFu and Ahrefs. 

Right now, we use Ahrefs, which offers a range of functions and data outputs including the ability to – find out what keywords your customers are searching, audit and optimise your website keywords, and track your keyword rankings and progress. 

You will need to sign up and pay for an Ahrefs account (just $99 per year for the small businesses package) then you simply follow these five steps:

  1. Open ahrefs and enter your website domain into the query box.
  2. A list of top 10 competitors will be automatically displayed.
  3. Export your list of competitors – selecting your relevant country (Australia) 
  4. Import the data into a Google doc / excel. 
  5. Open the tab titled – Keywords Bucked by Page to view the results.

For each unique URL listed, you will be able to clearly see: 

  • the specific keywords that are ranked on that page, 
  • the average number of Googles search queries for each of those keywords,
  • the total estimated traffic numbers acquired by each keyword and, 
  • the keyword difficulty ranking – with 1 being easy (mostly broad keywords) and 100 being difficult (for certain combinations of words or specific phrases) to achieve a high ranking. The lower the difficulty ranking the faster you will be able to get results by using that keyword.  

Compare these results to your own keywords and look for opportunities to remove keywords that are not performing well and replace them with keywords that may be ranking highly for other businesses like yours. 

Can my competitor spy on me too?

Yes of course they can, and it’s highly likely they already are. Reverse engineering your competitors’ keywords is standard and common practice – offering both a marketing short-cut and a way to check in on the industry as a whole. 
Three top tips to finish:

  • Use incognito mode when Google searching competitor keywords, so you are not assisting their ranking results. 
  • Make sure your IP address is located in the same place you’re searching. Use a VPN if you have an overseas IP address. 
  • Be realistic – select a competitor that’s only slightly bigger. Really large companies will have more resources and budget available making it almost impossible to compete with them. 

If you need help with setting up and running your SEO keywords campaign, contact us today for the free 60-minute consultation and advice session

This blog was originally published on Sentius Digital (View here).

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Written by Sentius Digital

Sentius is a full-service consulting agency, providing in-house marketing strategy, design, complete agency services, and digital solutions.

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