How to Search for Competitors’ Keywords (and 4 Tools I use to spy for FREE)

How to Search for Competitors' Keywords

Some of us just don’t bother to learn how to search for competitors’ keywords.

Some others think it’s too complicated. So they just avoid thinking about it and keep on doing the things that they’re used to doing.

But, let’s be realistic, if you’re not ranking as well as you wished for, you need to make some changes on your website.

“Accept corrections and you’ll improve and increase.”
– Israelmore Ayivor


The first aspect you need to check is your keyword selection simply because they highly affect Low/High organic rankings.

Why “Spy” On Competitors’ Keywords?

When it comes to thinking of keywords that get tons of traffic and that can potentially be profitable for your website, a great source of insight is your competition.

When you search and find out which keywords your competitors are ranking for, you can benefit by:

  1. getting topic ideas for your next articles
  2. understanding why they’re ranking better than you are
  3. directly adopting the same keywords

Of course that if you decide to use the same keyword as one of your competitors, you’ll create your own unique and quality content. Please, no copying or plagiarizing someone else’s posts.

Looking for Competitors

The starting point in this process is the competition. If you already know who they are, you’re all set.
But what if you don’t have a clue? Where to start looking?

There’s a very simple and efficient way of doing this: Google Search.

Assuming that we’re all affiliate marketers growing our blogs, all you have to do is access Google and type in:

[your niche] + blogs

As an example, inspired by my post on 7 Travel Affiliate Marketing Programs for Bloggers, let’s say I’m a travel blogger.

I would then type on Google: ‘travel blogs’

And here’s what I would get:


Google Search result for 'travel blogs'

Right on #1 is a blog by listing 10 other travel blogs, and tons of other results.

For the sake of this article, I’ll stick with the first option on that list: which, by the way, is an awesome example of a great looking website. 🙂

The following are 4 Tools that you can use to find your competitor's main keywords, for FREE.

#1 – HTML Page Source

All you have to do is access your competitor’s website and click on a post/page of your choice.

Then, you right-click and choose “View Source” (Chrome) or “View the Page Source” (Safari).

>> If you’re using a different internet browser, search for instructions on how to view page source. This should be easy to find.

Anyway, this is what I got for one of DanFlyingSolo’s posts (click the image to access the page source):

Dan's post Page Source

Please don’t let the image scare you. You don’t need to understand every single word that is written here.

This is actually pretty simple. Look for 2 things:

✅ Title tag – check what’s written right after <title>. This is one of those places that we insert keywords if we want our article to get high rankings on the Search Engines Results (SERPs).

✅ Meta description – although this description is NOT used by Google to rank our articles, bloggers tend to include the keywords there.

By the way, do you know what this is used for?

Whatever text is under the Meta description it will appear on SERPs right below the post title. Something like this:

Dan's post SERP

This is really all you need to know.

On this example, here are some keywords we can derive from the title and meta-description:

➡ Top Fiji day tours

➡ Nadi Fiji island

➡ Denarau island Fiji

➡ Fiji tours

➡ Fiji day tours

#2 – SEMRush



SEMRush is an outstanding SEO platform with features that help on keyword research, domain monitoring, site audit and more.

It’s a paid tool but you do get to use it for free on a limited basis, of course.

It gives you 10 searches per day, 10 results per search among other things. To check out everything you get from a free SEMRush account click here.

When I checked com SEMRush, I got the following 10 main keywords.
(Note that they’re all ranking #1 on SERPs)

SEMRush organic search DanFlyingSolo

>> P.S.: These are the main keywords in regard to the entire domain. The previous tool (HTML page source) resulted in keywords related to a specific post.

#3 – Alexa

Alexa Siteinfo


Alexa is a subsidiary of Amazon and it provides websites data and analytics.

It’s also a paid service but you get 5 top keywords from Search Engines, for free.

Here are the results of DanFlyingSolo search:

Alexa's results for DanFlyingSolo

Note that although most of them are similar to SEMRush’s results, they’re not the same.

#4 – SpyFu



SpyFu is a cloud-based tool designed to spy on the competition and bring out valuable insights on keywords, backlinks, organic competitors and much more.

Yes, there are the paid services but I find the free version pretty good and not as limited as the other ones on this list.

SpyFu's keyword results for DanFlyingSolo

These are the most valuable keywords, but they also show:

➡ Newly ranked keywords

➡ Keyword rank gains

➡ Keyword rank losses

➡ Page One keywords

➡ Almost there keywords

➡ Keywords that just made the first page

➡ Keywords that Just Fell Off the First Page

How about that for a free service? And, most importantly, for a competitor’s keyword research?

I highly recommend that you access SpyFu, check all their features, and see how you can use it to improve your website.

Here’s a quick video with its URL Overview tutorial:

>> TIP: Among a huge amount of features, SpyFu offers “Ranking History”. You type in your keywords and SpyFu will track your ranking for free.

Final Step – Conduct a KW Analysis

I’m sure that these 4 tools will give you great keyword ideas that your competitors are already using and you can leverage.

But before you start writing your next post based on them, don’t forget to run a keyword analysis. It’s important to check its metrics because a phrase that works well to one high-authority website will not necessarily work for a beginner one.

Here are some important metrics to examine:

✅ Number of searches per month

✅ Competition

✅ Number of visits you’ll receive when you achieve first page rankings

✅ How likely it is to rank for the keyword on the first page

Do you know what is a good Number of searches for a keyword? And the Competition?

For a beginner website, you should look for the following:

  • 100+ searches/mo
  • <100 competitors

A more authoritative website would be fine with up to 200 competitors.

>> Related Post: How Does a Keyword Search Work?

What KW tool Should you Use?

SpyFu and other tools offer keyword research.

You should choose whichever you like best. Just make sure the results you get are reliable. Otherwise, all your “spying” won’t result in any improvement for your website.

I personally prefer using Jaaxy. It’s a complete keyword research tool that I’ve been using for over 1 year and the results have been great!

It is a paid tool but you get 30 free searches to test. No credit card needed.

Read my complete review on Jaaxy here.

Want to know how to improve not only your keywords rankings but the overall Traffic and Conversions of your website?

Read more about Wealthy Affiliate, the Internet Marketing Platform that offers Top Training, Hosting, Domains, Website building, Support, Community, Jaaxy keyword tool and much more.


Click HERE for more about Wealthy Affiliate

It’s free to join and test. No credit card needed.

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Eliane is a Wife, Mother, Entrepreneur, Laptop Lifestyle Enthusiast, and Internet Marketing Support Coach. Ever since she started her Online Business she works from anywhere and whenever she wants to. This means being closer to her kids as they grow up. And she LOVES it!

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12 Responses

  1. Great information on keywords, and improving websites.

    This is exactly what I need as my websites, and related posts are not ranking nearly as high as I would like.

    I will definitely bookmark this article, and refer to it as I look to improve my rankings.

    Thank you for providing this highly useful information.

    • Eliane says:

      Hey Tom,
      I’m glad you found it useful.

      Here is an article written by a fellow WA member that I think you’ll find insightful:

      P.S.: It’s an intermediate level article but I believe anyone can get useful tips from it. Otherwise, it’s worth bookmarking it for future reference.


  2. vivek says:

    Hi Eliane, great post again!

    +1 on Jaxxy. I love using it and the versatility is great.

    I liked your tip on looking at the HTML of your competitors as well to look at the meta description.

    I haven’t heard of SpyFu but I’ll give it a look.

    • Eliane says:

      I’m glad you liked it! It’s good to see you around again.

      Yes, check SpyFu when you have some spare time. It’s a very resourceful tool that will help you grow your business. And I’m talking about the free version! You’ll just need to invest your time, no money involved unless you decide to upgrade. 🙂

  3. Simon says:

    Hi Elaine, thanks for sharing your knowledge with regards to searching for competitors keywords & using keyword tools and thanks for describing where you look for competitors keywords in the HTML Page Source too. I’ve learnt a wealth of information to help me in my early days of blogging.

    I currently use jaaxy because I’m a Wealthy Affiliate member. Recently they incorporated this keyword tool as part the membership package. What a powerful piece of kit this is.

    As a newbie, I generally check competitors keywords then search jaaxy for minimal competition with a decent amount of monthly traffic meanwhile jaaxy also makes a percentage prediction of your chances of getting on the first page of search engine results with your chosen keywords. I’ve already managed the occasional top spot when predictions of around 98-100% are made. All I do is create the title out of the keywords and place them somewhere in the first paragraph, then write naturally.

    Thanks again for your tips and help,
    All the best,

    • Eliane says:

      Hi Simon,

      Good to know that you use Jaaxy and like it as well.
      It is a powerful tool that is actually a lot more than a regular keyword research tool. For more details, read my complete Jaaxy Review.

      You’re right, the prediction on the chances of getting on the first page for a given keyword is a valuable feature of Jaaxy. And I too take them into consideration when choosing a keyword. I never pick a kw with less than 90%.

      For more tips on SEO good practices, I suggest you read this post “How to Use Keywords on your Website – Best Practices”.

      All the best!

  4. Stefan says:

    Hi, I enjoyed your article about keywords but above that, I liked the big box in heading with specific font and color!

    I just already modified my SEO title and description 🙂

    I think that I will bookmark your page for more info!

    • Eliane says:

      Hey Stefan,

      I’m happy that you found it useful and have taken action based on one of my tips.

      Bookmarking is a great way to come back for future reference.

      Another thing you can do is subscribe to the blog (top hand-right form). This way, you’ll be notified everytime I publish a new article. 🙂

      All the best!

  5. Orion says:

    Excellent article here Eliane – really liked it.
    You give clear and concise information which can make the whole difference between a good ranking website to a non-existent website.
    Glad to learn about SpyFu – and will go to check them out – I think that this is a great addition to my keyword research tools.
    Thank you for all this.
    Wishing you $ucce$$ – Orion

    • Eliane says:

      I’m glad you liked it, Orion.

      I actually included using SpyFu into my list of To-dos regarding each post I publish.

      By the way, there’s an awesome training on how to rank in 21 minutes using simple 7 steps:

      You may want to watch it. It’s A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.! 🙂


  6. Michelle says:

    Hello Eliane,
    Great article. You know the cliche – you learn something new everyday – well, thanks to you, I just did. I did not realize the free tools existed (i.e. the ones you mentioned). I knew about SEMrush, though it does not always work for me so well. The Spyfu sounds interesting and I will check that one out. And what a great idea – spying on the competition…love it. All in good fun.
    Thanks for the tips and I am ‘off to the races’.
    All the best.

    • Eliane says:

      I’m glad you liked it, Michelle.

      I agree we’re always learning. We just need to make sure that we’re focusing on things that are valuable to us in some aspect of our lives, either personal or business.

      On the business side, there are way too many websites and “influencers” promising unrealistic outcomes! Just take a quick look at the competition and you’ll see. You’ve probably seen people say things like “you’ll make $10,000/mo in the first month” if you follow their blueprint. Scam after scam…

      That’s why I started looking for reliable sources of information/training and found Wealthy Affiliate and their step-by-step affiliate marketing guide.

      There are all types of information (good and bad) on the internet. We just need to know where to find the best.


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