SEO is about doing better than the competition.
Higher rankings and more organic traffic—that’s how you win.
But how do you come up with this kick-ass SEO strategy?
The answer is simple:
Use the insights from your competitors’ keywords.
The keywords your competitors are targeting and ranking for can teach you a lot about what works and what doesn’t work for them.
You can then use those insights to inform your own keyword strategy, and beat them at their own game!
In this article, you’ll learn how you can improve your own SEO just by spying on your competitors’ keywords.
Let’s get started! 🙂
How to Find and Track Competitor Keywords (and Beat Them at SEO)
1. Finding Competitor Keywords
First things first, a quick note:
Before you spend any time analyzing your competitors’ keywords, you should already have your own keyword strategy in place—even if it’s only basic, targeting a handful of key terms for your business.
Now, let’s find those competitors and keywords!
A. Find your competitors
You might already know who your top competitors are.
If not, there are a couple of ways to easily identify them.
First, you can search for a keyword that you’re trying to rank for in Google, and look at who’s already ranking.
Or (and I recommend this way because it will come in handy later when you want to track keywords), you can use the Competitors feature of Monitor Backlinks.
All you have to do is navigate to “Competitors” in the main menu on the left.
Click the “Start Adding Competitors” button, and you’ll see a new box appear for you to enter competitor domains.
The great part here is that you can just click your mouse in the typing field, and Monitor Backlinks will automatically show you a list of your top competitors.
Select as many as you want to track, and then click the “Add New Competitor” button at the bottom to see them on your Competitors dashboard.
(Don’t have a Monitor Backlinks account? Help yourself to a 30-day free trial!)
B. Find their keywords
Now, you want to find the keywords that your competitors are targeting in their SEO strategy.
One of the simplest and most effective ways of doing this is to check their source code.
Start with their homepage, right-click anywhere on the page and select “Inspect.”
Then look for <meta name=”keywords”> in the <head> section. You can use Ctrl-F to quickly search for it.
This shows you all the keywords being used on the page.
2. Tracking Competitor Keywords
Now that you know what keywords your competitors are targeting, you should also carefully monitor those keywords so you can easily see which ones perform well for your competitors (and which ones don’t).
Staying across the “strength” of your competitors’ keywords will help you find new opportunities for building on your SEO strategy and improving your rankings.
It’s also how you’ll get those valuable insights that we’ll talk more about in the next section.
Like with most things, there are several ways to monitor your competitors’ keywords.
For example, you could check their source code every week for any new keywords…
Or, you can search for particular keywords in your browser, and see where your competition is positioned in the SERPs…
But that’s just more work for you, right?
In business, no matter what you’re doing, the best way is to automate as much as possible so you can use your time to focus on more important things.
This is where Monitor Backlinks comes in again.
With your competitors already added from the last step, all you have to do now is add the keywords you want to track, and it will all be done for you!
This time, click on “Keywords” from the main menu.
Then, click on the plus sign at the top-right of your screen to add all your competitors’ keywords that you found.
Once all their keywords are added, scroll down the page to see where exactly they rank for each keyword compared to where you rank for it.
Now Monitor Backlinks will automatically track your keyword rankings and send you regular updates on how you’re doing compared to your competitors.
3. Using Competitor Keyword Insights to Improve Your SEO
As we mentioned above, monitoring your competitors’ keywords will help you to rebuild and improve your SEO strategy—especially when it comes to content strategies, which is what you’d typically use to rank for certain keywords.
Based on your competitor keyword monitoring, you’ll be able to discover opportunities to improve your own content and keyword strategy.
If your competitors have better rankings on certain keywords, that means it’s time to put more work into your content.
Take a look at this example keyword, “how to manage a blog:”
You can see that our example site is not currently ranking for it (in fact, it dropped 95 places from position #25). Our competitors, on the other hand, are ranking in position #9 and #75.
So we need to do some work!
Meanwhile, if your competitors aren’t ranking well for certain keywords, then it’s the best time for you to take advantage of them.
They may not have updated their content in a while, or just aren’t keeping an eye on their rankings.
It’s a good opportunity for you to swoop in and steal their spots!
To boost your rankings above your competitors, you can do some of the below things:
Update your existing content
If you already have content targeting that keyword, you should start there first. Look for ways to improve it and make it better than your competitors’ ranking content.
You could make it longer, add more research, or create a unique infographic to go with it.
Create more content
You can also write more content on the same topic, to cover every possible angle and give you a higher chance of ranking. If you give it some thought, you should be able to come up with 2-5 new blog posts about a topic.
Here’s a tip for finding new angles on a topic: Write the opposite!
For example, if you’ve already done an article on “10 Ways to Improve the Way You Manage a Blog,” you could go the opposite way and write an article on “10 Don’ts of Managing a Blog.”
Build more backlinks
Link building is arguably even more important than the on-site SEO itself.
Your content might be amazing, your pages load fast and you have alt tags on every image, but if other websites don’t link to you, honestly, you just won’t have good results.
You can earn more backlinks to your content with outreach. Look for relevant websites in your industry and let them know about your article.
Or, for a more unique approach to cold outreach, put more time and resources into creating high-quality images and infographics for your blog posts. Then, every few months, do a reverse image search for your images in Google.
This will show you any websites that are using your images and infographics. If you find that any of the websites are using the images without linking back to you, just email the site owners to ask them to credit your image with a backlink.
You can get a lot of free backlinks this way, with very little or no effort!
Keywords are very significant for your website. If you have great keyword rankings, you’ll have great SEO—and the opposite is true, too.
Monitoring your competitors’ keywords will help you build a stronger content marketing strategy and improve your SEO.
So, what are you waiting for?
Let’s find out what your competitors are up to! 🙂
Razvan Girmacea is the CEO and Founder of Competitors App, a monitoring application that will track your competition’s marketing moves. Ex-founder of Monitor Backlinks. Passionate about Start-ups and talking to other entrepreneurs. Connect with him on LinkedIn.