How to Search for Competitors’ Keywords (and 4 Tools I use to spy for FREE)
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:
- getting topic ideas for your next articles
- understanding why they’re ranking better than you are
- 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:
Right on #1 is a blog by www.under30experiences.com 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: DanFlyingSolo.com which, by the way, is an awesome example of a great looking website. 🙂
#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):
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:
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 www.danflyingsolo.com com SEMRush, I got the following 10 main keywords.
(Note that they’re all ranking #1 on SERPs)
>> 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 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:
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.
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
✅ 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?
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