Keywords are a crucial part of any SEO strategy. They help you stay focused on what you create and ensure that your audience knows that you have the content they’re looking for.
While keyword research can help you uncover the keywords you should use when creating your business content, it’s also important to have an understanding of how your industry competitors are using these same keywords and the successes they’re achieving with their own strategy.
A way to get this understanding is through competitor keyword analysis. In this post, we’ll define what competitor keyword analysis is, explain how to conduct it, and recommend high-quality tools that you can use to create a successful content strategy.
What is competitor keyword analysis?
Competitor keyword analysis is the process of uncovering the keywords your competitors are ranking highly for in an attempt to create content that outranks them in search results.
The keywords that you conduct competitor analysis for should be relevant to your business and related to the content you already create. For example, if you run a blog about YouTube marketing, you wouldn’t want to write a piece about Instagram marketing as it’s not related to what you’re already doing.
This analysis also helps you understand how difficult it will be to outrank a competitor that is doing better than you in SERPs and pinpoint opportunities for high ROI where it wouldn’t be too difficult to outrank a competitor for a relevant keyword.
How To Do Competitor Keyword Analysis
Competitor keyword analysis is similar too but different than standard keyword analysis. Below we’ll explain the steps that go into the process.
1. Understand your audience.
One of the most important factors of competitive keyword research is to understand your audience and what they’re interested in.
Aim to create well-rounded buyer personas that explain your audience members at all levels of the buyer’s journey, from the awareness to the post-decision stage. This will also help you come up with a wide range of keywords that relate to your business and additional opportunities to outrank your competitors.
For example, if you’re running a software company, you want your site optimized to attract users who are browsing for different software options, but also for those that have purchased your products and want to understand how to further engage with it.
All in all, this first stage will help you stay focused and ensures that you’re attempting to outperform your competitors for business development, not just outranking to outrank.
2. Identify your top competitors.
Once you understand your audience and the keywords that are relevant to them and your business, identify your main competitors. Knowing who your main competition is makes it easier for you to be more targeted with your strategy, and the easiest way to figure out who they are is with an online tool, which we’ll discuss later on.
You can think of it like this: while there are probably a large number of businesses out there that are offering the same products and services, they may not all be viable market competitors that you need to compete against. Some may have more backlinks and a higher domain authority than others, so you should identify key players.
3. Begin keyword research.
Once you’ve identified your top competitors, find the keywords that they rank for and outrank you for, and understand how difficult it would be for you to outshine them. As mentioned above, this work is best done with the help of a tool like the ones discussed below.
Track competitors’ monthly search volume, backlinks, domain authority, and factor all of this information into your plan. If you realize that it will be extremely difficult to outrank for certain keywords, it’s still worth considering making content for them, as you’ll be providing your audience with the information they’re looking for.
As mentioned above, conducting competitor keyword analysis is easier done through the use of a tool. Below we’ll discuss some high-quality options.
Google Alerts is Google’s native keyword tool, which you can use to monitor the web and keep an eye out for content related to your keywords. You can set it up to receive email alerts whenever a keyword you target is mentioned online, and you can even track mentions of your competitors to understand where they get backlinks from.
Social Mention, as the name suggests, monitors social platforms and compiles reports of all the platforms where your keywords are mentioned. Simply type a keyword into the search bar, and you’ll get instant analytics on the number of mentions, users, sentiments of those mentions (positive, negative, or neutral), as well as previews of the mentions that people have made.
Link Explorer functions as a search engine for links, backlinks, and mentions. You can use it to research your competitors’ linking strategy and see how they’re building their web presence. If one of your competitors has a particularly high search ranking, you’ll be able to see exactly how they got there.
The tool requires signup and comes with 10 link queries and 50 rows of data per query every month.
SEMRush offers powerful tools for analyzing keywords, traffic, rankings, and URLs. You’ll get an overview of on-page SEO standing for the links you enter, analyze a domain’s backlink profile, and track your own SERP positions. You’re required to create an account, and there are both free and premium options.
Ahrefs is an all-in-one tool for competitive analysis. You’ll need to make an account, but you have the ability to analyze your competitor’s backlinks and referring domains, organic traffic, and the number of organic keywords they rank for. You can also use the tool to study what your customers are searching for and to conduct general keyword research.
Use competitor keyword analysis to guide your content decisions.
Similar to keyword research, competitor keyword analysis helps you be more focused on your content creation. You’ll know which keywords your audience is looking for, which competitors are creating keywords for that content, and how hard it will be to outrank your competitors when you create competitive content.
Once you’ve completed your competitor analysis, read this post to learn how to create a content strategy that will help you build your authority and dominate the SERPs.
Originally published Apr 6, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated July 19 2021