How to Get Competitive Keywords for SEO?
Don’t Forget Your Keywords.
With all of the distractions these days, it is easy to forget the basics. People use keyword terms to find things on Google. Because, as of right now, search engines still rule the internet, we must be keenly aware of the importance keywords play. We have compiled these articles to assist you in making your articles for your website better and easily found by the search engines like Google.
Keyword research is the foundation upon which all good search marketing campaigns are built. Targeting relevant, high-intent keywords, structuring campaigns into logical, relevant ad groups, and eliminating wasteful negative keywords are all steps advertisers should take to build strong PPC campaigns. It would help if you also did keyword research to inform your content marketing efforts and drive organic traffic.
Sometimes, though, you really need to figure out what your competitors are up to. What keywords are my competitors using?
A competitive keyword analysis is one of the most effective ways to compete in a crowded space and gain a crucial advantage over other businesses in your industry. So how do you actually find those keywords that your competitors target in their paid and organic search campaigns?
Here are eight competitor keyword research tools and tactics you can use to find competitor keywords so that you can keep up with the Joneses (or leave them in the dust).
Before targeting a new keyword vertical, it’s imperative to evaluate the difficulty of the market. This is done by analyzing keyword competition.
What is keyword competition? Keyword competition is the measure of how difficult it will be to rank for a particular keyword. The competition for a keyword can vary depending on how popular the keyword is and industry competition.
Search marketers estimate how much time and effort it may take to achieve top rankings for particular keywords or search terms. But the question is, how do you judge keyword competitiveness? What are the factors involved in competitive keyword analysis? Is there a specific keyword tool you can use to analyze keyword competition effectively? Look no further for our in-depth SEO guide.
The following feedback for determining keyword competitiveness was provided by our panel of 35 search marketing experts. We asked them each a single question, “What is your best tip or trick for determining keyword competition?” and aggregated their answers into one comprehensive guide for competitive keyword analysis.
When considering entering a new market with a new website: I look at the search results with SEO for Firefox turned on. That gives me lots of data about site age, links to the ranking pages and sites if people are leveraging domain names, site traffic estimates, and much brand strength in the market. That last bit mostly comes from knowing the web pretty well and understanding the markets you operate in well. And if an area is new and you are uncertain of how strong it is, then clicking on some background information links can help give you more information and insights.
When considering a new keyword set for an established website: Sometimes, it is easy to publish content and see how well you rank for it. Even better so long as you optimize page titles to capture relevant longer tail keyword variations, even if you don’t rank for the core/root keyword, you can still make some good money by rankings for keyword variations. And keep in mind the content does not have to be sales-oriented, perfect content to test the market…look at the crap eHow publishes profitably…you could make a new blog post and test. Then from there, for areas where you get good results, you could always choose to make higher-quality, sales-oriented content targeting those keywords more from the conversion perspective.
We’re actually in the process of designing a new version of our Keyword Difficulty Tool. I’ve attached a screenshot of some wireframes.
The tool can serve as a keyword competition checker and help you analyze keyword competition by running a Google keyword difficulty check. Our process is to get the top ranking pages for a particular query (the top 10 is usually sufficient since any results after that receive very little traffic), then run analysis on the domain and page authority metrics. Since these numbers are directly tied to the ranking models for Google’s ordering of search results, we’ve found that the data is especially accurate for running a Google keyword difficulty check, predicting the relative difficulty of ranking on page 1 for a particular search.
We’re also looking to give the keyword competition tool the ability to detect and report vertical search results in the SERPs to quantify the impact of an image, local, video, business news, blog, real-time, etc., on the rankings.
- # of results for a given keyphrase
- # of results in quotes
- # of results using all in title
- PageRank of the top-ranking pages/sites
- # of links pointing to the top-ranking pages/sites
- Maximum bid price in the paid search results
- # of ads showing for a given query
However, these were all poor proxies for the actual data of how competitive and difficult it is to unseat the top results might be. We’re pretty bullish on the new process, and the new Google keyword competition research tool is a significant upgrade to our previous second-order measurements.
Michael Gray (Graywolf’s SEO Blog)
Take the top 5 results, do a whois for the domains and see when the original registration date is for each domain. If all or most of the domains have been registered for more than 5 years, you’re going to need a trusted domain to rank.
Does domain age mean better results in the SERPS? Domain age really isn’t what you’re looking for, but the trusted links that have come from being around and publishing that long. If you’re on a new domain, you’ve got a 5-year link-building hole to try and overcome.
David Harry (Huomah SEO Blog and SEO Dojo)
Well, as with most things I do, it is a combination of data points. At the end of the day, it is part of the art — analyzing the competition for keywords. Getting intimate with a query space is the way to go, and there is nothing like digging in and looking through the top 10-20 listings to see where there may be holes.
It is worth mentioning that it is also a balancing act. Just because a space isn’t competitive doesn’t mean we want it. So it’s not exactly seeking non-competitive spaces, but ones where we can get a foot in the door or with the volume to chase the big dogs.
- So, we can start with the usual suspects (Google keyword competition research tools mentioned already)
- Then cross-reference some PPC data, always a reasonable gage of value/competitiveness
- Juxtapose data from straight search, exact match, all-in title, all-in URL
- Just for fun, have a peek at Trends/Insights…
I’ve never worked in a search vertical that wasn’t super competitive, nor have I ever had the good fortune of inheriting an old, trusted domain. So I’ve always operated under the assumption that every keyword I target will be hard and that the competition of keywords will be high. And rather than developing my own formulas for measuring keyword competition, I take a slightly different, iterative approach to competitive keyword research.
For organic search, it looks like this:
- Publish something – It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just something quick to get a read on how difficult it is for your site to rank on a particular term. Who knows? You might get lucky, and your content might rank well immediately. Or it may only require minor optimization to rank better.
- If you got lucky, then mission accomplished. Move on to the next keyword targets.
- If you can’t find your page in the SERPS, then try moving to an adjacent, longer-tail variation of the word. Or, work on finding related yet less competitive keywords so that you could avoid hypercompetitive niches and uncover less competitive and potentially more profitable keyword niches.
In paid search, it’s more or less the same idea:
- Start by trying out bidding on head terms
- If the ROI meets your target objective, mission accomplished – Move on to next keyword targets.
- If ROI is terrible, adjust to target long-tail keywords, which are likely to be less competitive and better value, particularly if you do a good job grouping relevant keywords and being relevant with your ad-text creation and landing page.
So, in summary, I guess my tip for determining keyword competitiveness boils down to two key points:
- Don’t get hung up in estimating keyword competition
- Perform a quick test to ascertain true keyword competitiveness for your website or paid search account, then iterate on those results
And finally, a Bonus Tip: Stop thinking of keyword competitiveness as something to apply to individual keywords. A site like WordStream generates millions of visits through search every year through millions of different search queries. Trying to figure out keyword competitiveness for each one is a path to madness. Instead, we’ve organized our keyword taxonomy into around 500 groupings of similar keywords and look at the competitive landscape on a per-keyword grouping basis.
Jill Whalen (High Rankings SEO Consulting)
My quick and dirty trick is to find the most relevant keyword phrases that have decent search counts, then do an Allintitle: “keyword phrase” check-in Google on them. If you put them in a spreadsheet with the number of searches and the ALT, you get a clear picture of those with a high number of searches vs. low Allintitles, and your “keyword gems” become clear.
How to find these keywords: First, brainstorm what people might search for before they become aware of their problem or your solution.
What search terms will they use to find content that appeals to their personal interests?
These search queries will be more generic and have a higher search volume. Think of the keywords that correspond to content like:
- Ultimate guides – These are long-form pieces of content that cover a specific topic extensively.
- Thought leadership articles – Thought leadership means leading with authority. This type of content gives insight to your target audience on a specific topic based on your beliefs, values, and experience.
- Expert interviews – This is where you tap into authority or thought leader expertise in your industry.
- Edutainment content – This is designed to educate your audience and does so with an entertainment factor.
Next, think about the problems that your product solves. What search terms will prospects use to find a solution?
These terms will likely begin with question words, active verbs, or modifying words.
Here are some activators to come up with your search phrases:
- Increase …
- Make my …
- How to…
- How do I …
- Fastest way to …
- Why is my …
- I need to …
- What can I …
- Fix for…
- Best way to…
- Easiest way to…
- Tools for …
Consideration – At this stage, prospects are aware of their pain points and the potential solutions to their problem. They’ll be doing one of two things:
- Considering your product
- Conducting product comparisons
This is where they’ll be using navigational keywords and search queries for product comparisons and reviews.
Note that as the customer advances through the buying cycle, the keywords become increasingly more competitive.
How to find low competition keywords
This is the easy part. At least it is when using Alexa’s keyword difficulty tool.
Our keyword suggestion tool helps you find long-tail keywords based on:
- Relevance to the seed word or phrase you input
- Keyword competitiveness concerning your site’s Competitive Power
As you browse the list of keyword ideas, you’ll find similar keywords that you would not have thought of, that are low competition and prime opportunities.
The emphasis on relevance means the signal-to-noise ratio is high. Other keyword research tools spit out results that aren’t that similar to your seed query–leaving you to sift out many irrelevant options. So you’ll save time by focusing only on keyword ideas that are truly in line with what you are looking for.
As you find the most suitable keyword opportunities, you can check keyword difficulty compared to your site’s ability to compete–its Competitive Power. Just look for the lightning bolt. That means the competition score is at or below your site’s Competitive Power. Add those to your Favorites as you pull together a shortlist of the best keyword opportunities.
Don’t you love when the most important thing is also the easy thing?
Alexa’s keyword difficulty tool makes it easy to discover keywords with low competition.
Sign up for a free trial of an Advanced plan, and take the first step toward SEO success.
While you can do this manually, it’ll take a lot of time and effort. Rather than go down this path, here are three tools that can provide the assistance you require:
Like many, you probably use this tool to find keywords to target your website and in your content. But guess what? You can also use it to spy on your competition.
Once you log in, take these steps:
- Select “search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category.”
- Enter your competitor’s URL and click “get ideas.”
- Review the list of competitor keywords
Not only is the Google Keyword Planner tool easy to use, but it’s also free. This is probably the best place to start.
The name says it all. It won’t be long before you have a complete overview of your competitors’ keywords with this tool.
Although you can do a lot with SpyFu, it’s the keyword spy tool that attracts the most attention.
Getting started is as simple as entering your competitor’s URL into the search box. From there, you can download their keywords and decide how to use the data to your advantage.
One thing you’ll notice is the depth of the data provided by SpyFu. You get more than a list of keywords. You’re also presented with data such as:
- Estimated monthly SEO clicks
- Paid keywords
- Top organic competitors
If you’re going to use SpyFu, make sure you set aside enough time in your schedule to really dig into the finer details of the results.
Skip the number crunching and get straight to keywords that are proven to work.
With Long Tail Pro, all it takes is a single seed keyword to get up to 400 long-tail keywords within seconds. But sometimes, the best way to do keyword research is to let your competitors do all the work.
By switching to Long Tail Pro’s Competitor Keywords mode, you start with a competitor’s URL and watch as Long Tail Pro extracts its keyword strategy.
KeywordSpy continues to grow in popularity thanks to its straightforward approach, accurate data, and easy-to-understand interface.
Once you run a search, the tool provides data on keywords, other competitors, PPC statistics, and organic campaign strategies (to name a few).
KeywordSpy isn’t as robust as SpyFu or LongTailPro, but the results can provide you with good insight into your competitor’s marketing strategy.
The above tools help you write better articles, but remember, write for your reader and not the search engines!
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