Do you ever get the feeling that everyone knows something that you don’t? That maybe someone knows a secret and won’t let you in on it?
SEO can be a bit like this. Do your competitors know some super profitable keyword you haven’t thought of? Are they building authority and branding by targeting a term you didn’t know your audience was using?
Knowing what keywords your competitors are targeting is a big part of SEO. These keywords will tell you:
- What’s products are most valuable to their business
- What they think they do really well
- What sets them apart
- Their plans for the future
So this can be really valuable.
But, we’re talking about their keywords. How can you figure out which ones their targeting?
That’s the beauty of SEO. Websites are out in the open for any person, or bot, to view and analyze. There’s no reason why, with a little bit of digging and right clicking, you can’t find these keywords for yourself.
Do an SEO Audit
All the things you find on your own pages via SEO audit, you can find on a competitors’ site. Have you audited your site with a Project from WooRank yet? If so, great news! You can add up to three competitors in order to analyze their on-page SEO to find their keywords.
SEO audits contain a lot of information, so here’s where you should look first:
Meta tags, specifically the titles and descriptions, are used by search engines when determining relevance to a search query. They’re two of the most important places for you to be using your keywords.
So these bad boys are the first place to look for your competitors’ keywords.
Their homepages’ titles will be the place they put their most important, and most valuable, keyword, and generally won’t have other words.
What about those internal pages? Those can be a bit trickier, but with some common sense you can figure it out. This page’s title, for example, is "How Do I Find My Competitors’ Keywords?" You can probably read that and figure we’re not targeting “How Do” or “Find” with this piece.
The same idea idea applies to descriptions. Look for the words in common with the title, and their synonyms. These what your competitors are targeting as keywords.
HTML headers, particularly the <H1> headers, are the first place you should look when auditing a competitor’s on-page SEO. This content is important for search engines looking to determine topic and relevance to a search query. It’s even more important when it comes to getting featured snippets and answer box optimization.
Think of this as the title for the article or video (or whatever’s on the page). Note that these will often be very similar, or the same, as title tags, but not always.
Again, compare the words in the <H1> to the meta tags.
Actually, there’s no need for you to do that. Because WooRank does that for you.
Words that appear frequently, and at each level of the page, are most likely the words you competitor is targeting with that page.
Alright, so now we get to the page content. By now, you’ve probably got a pretty good idea of what keywords your competitors are targeting with a particular page. But you’ve still got the ability to dig a bit deeper to find the other, related, keywords that they are targeting.
Do this by looking at their internal linking structure.
Your competitors will be using these internal links to help search engines, and users, find their other valuable pages. The content used in the anchor text will help you determine what keywords they’re targeting with those pages. Search engines do look at internal link anchor text, just like they do for external links.
Looking at internal link anchor text gives you the added bonus of how your competitors group their products/services together. Maybe two products sell together particularly well, or they’re trying to upsell product accessories.
What Do I Do with all these Keywords?
Why, you track them with Keyword Tool of course!
Just the other week, we published a bit on why you should continue to track keywords. And, if you recall, competitor research was one of the benefits of tracking your keywords.
Just think of it this way: if you had the ability to monitor how many people went into your competitors’ stores, wouldn’t you do it? It’s the same with keyword tracking.
With Keyword Tool, you’ll be able to see how well the competition is targeting their audience and how well they’re doing compared to you.
Tracking keyword rankings over time provides even more benefit. See where you’re gaining ground, in which direction you’re trending and if the gaps between you are widening.
Extra Bonus Information!
Tracking the keywords of competitors you’re already researching is great. As we’ve covered, it tells you what they’re up to, where’re you’re winning, and where you need to improve. However, there are some other, sneakier, benefits to tracking competitor keywords and rankings.
Find New Opportunities
Not all keywords are created equal. Some drive more traffic, others drive more conversions. These keywords will have a lot more competition. The SERPs for these keywords generally don’t change much, so it’s really hard to move up the rankings.
However, if you click over to the Ranking Table in Keyword Tool, you can see the first page in Google for the keyword. This helps you establish how competitive a keyword is.
How is this a new opportunity?
Well, if you’re checking the ranking table each week as part you’re normal SEO activities, you’ll be able to identify keywords with a lot of churn in the SERP. These are golden opportunities to take high positions, since it’s likely the other results either aren’t targeting the keyword, or aren’t doing it very well.
This can be a particularly valuable opportunity for targeting long tail keywords and those with high transactional intent.
Find New Competitors
Think you’re up to date on all the movers and shakers in your niche? The world moves fast, so there’s a good chance you could be missing some new upstart. However, checking in on your competitors’ keywords and rankings will give you an opportunity to see new faces and name you’ve never encountered before.
In the end, finding the right keywords for yourself is really important for SEO. You can’t do marketing well without them. However, almost as important is finding the keywords your competitors find do well for them. This will give you the opportunity to beat them, avoid them or go around them to improve your business performance.
Now Beat Your Competitors
Now that you've learned what keywords your competitors are targeting with their websites, it's time to look closer.
Analyze these 10 things on your competition's websites to learn how to beat them at their own game.