Understanding which keywords competitors prioritize is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge in search engine rankings. While everyone aims to secure the top spot in SERPs, it’s essential to recognize the intense competition, acknowledging that only one can occupy that coveted position.

With over a decade of experience in digital marketing, a refined approach ensures website pages consistently rank within the top five on Google Search. This accomplishment owes much to the meticulous competitor keyword analysis.

Through this guide, valuable insights into the realm of keyword analysis are offered. Together, we’ll navigate through the intricacies of the process, explore various methodologies, and familiarize ourselves with the indispensable tools required to excel in this aspect of digital marketing. Let’s embark on this journey together.

 What Is Competitor Keyword Analysis?

Competitor keyword research involves analyzing the webpages of competitors in your niche to identify the keywords they use and rank highly for. The objective is to leverage this information to develop content that surpasses theirs, leading to higher rankings on search engines for relevant topics. 

Below is an illustration of effective keyword usage resulting in top rankings on Google Search results.

The Significance Of Competitive Keyword Analysis

Understanding your competitors’ keyword usage is crucial for crafting effective content that surpasses theirs.

Outranking competitors is essential, as research indicates that only a small fraction of users go beyond the first page of Google Search results. Securing a place on the first page is vital for your website’s success.

Selecting the right keywords is paramount. While targeting your own keywords and optimizing content is a valid approach, it often involves trial and error. Choosing keywords with low search volume can lead to minimal organic traffic.

Conducting SEO competitor analysis provides valuable insights. By identifying successful strategies employed by competitors, you can refine your approach and avoid costly mistakes. Instead of relying solely on your chosen keywords, conducting a comprehensive competitive keyword analysis reveals lucrative opportunities proven by your rivals.

Analyzing competitors is essential for shaping your SEO strategy. It helps identify priorities and understand the resources required to surpass them.

Now, let’s explore how to effectively conduct competitor keyword research.

Also Read: 35+ Best Free SEO Tools to Boost Your Rankings

 How To Analyze Competitor’s Keywords?

When analyzing competitors’ keywords, it’s important to take note of a few key steps.

  1. Define Your Niche And Competitors

Before considering outranking competitors, it’s crucial to clearly identify who they are. For instance, in the realm of e-commerce, major players such as Amazon and eBay may come to mind. Recognizing the immense resources and longstanding presence of such industry giants, it’s impractical for small businesses to directly compete. They possess substantial experience, financial investments in their platforms, and established domain authority.

A more strategic approach involves targeting smaller competitors and niche-specific keywords. Conducting a Google search using desired keywords can unveil key players within your niche.

For example, suppose you’re interested in Instagram trends.

Instagram trends

Begin by entering relevant terms into Google Search and examining the top results. These websites are likely to dominate both organic and paid rankings. If you have a new website with relatively low domain authority, it may not be advisable to target them. Instead, focus on identifying softer target competitors.

Tools like Semrush can assist in identifying potential competitors. Enter your domain name and navigate to the “Organic Competitors” section.

Organic Competitors

Click on the “View Full Report” button to reveal the websites you are competing against.

View Full Report

SimilarWeb and Alexa are other tools that serve the same purpose.

Next, analyze key metrics for each competitor, including domain authority and inbound link profile. Consider the number of domains linking to a competitor’s website and the rate of new domain linkages monthly.

Also, assess factors like competition level, website traffic, and common keywords during keyword research. Moz provides a report combining these metrics, offering a comprehensive view of your competitor’s website. This data is crucial in understanding your competition and determining the necessary resources for surpassing them. 

Evaluate whether pursuing a competitor is viable based on available resources. Moz suggests using a Google Sheets Competitor Analysis Template to compile and compare SEO competitor analysis data.

After selecting competitors to outrank, delve into their SEO strategies for a closer examination.

  1. Identify The Keywords Used By Competitors

Now that you’ve gained insights into your competitors, it’s time to dive into competitor keyword research. This process is key to uncovering those valuable keywords your competitors are targeting, which often translate to high returns on investment (ROI). Even the most exceptional content can struggle to attract traffic without targeting the right keywords. That’s why keyword research is fundamental to SEO success.

There are a couple of paths you can take when it comes to keyword research. Firstly, you can utilize tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to explore potential keyword ideas. Let’s take a quick example using the search term “SEO” on Google Keyword Planner. However, it’s essential to recognize that merely selecting keywords and integrating them into your content won’t automatically lead to desired outcomes. Each keyword needs validation by assessing its competitiveness within your niche.

This brings us to the second method – competitor keyword analysis. The beauty of this approach lies in its ability to unveil the keywords driving success for your competitors already. By incorporating these strategically, you gain access to a treasure trove of high ROI keyword opportunities. Competitive keyword analysis involves several stages, including identifying your competitors’ keywords and evaluating their efficacy.

By the end of this process, you’ll be armed with a collection of high-ROI organic keywords proven to drive success. Let’s delve into the specific steps involved in competitor keyword analysis. Utilizing tools like Semrush streamlines the process of identifying these keywords. 

Navigate to the “Keyword Gap” section on the left-hand side, where you can input your domain along with those of four other competitors you’ve already researched. This will generate a comprehensive list of keywords from both your domain and your competitors. You can also refine your search by filtering for specific keywords.

Identify The Keywords Used By Competitors

Identifying weak keywords highlights areas where your domain falls short compared to competitors, which should become a priority for improvement.

  1. Analyze And Organize Keywords

Once you’ve filtered out unwanted keywords, it’s time to proceed with exporting the data. Export options are available in PDF, CSV, or CSV semicolon file formats.

Analyze And Organize Keywords

Now, to organize the information systematically, consider the following key steps for keyword organization on your website:

  • Firstly, verify and remove any irrelevant keywords that may have been utilized by competitors. This ensures that your content remains focused and tailored to your audience’s needs.
  • Secondly, prioritize keywords with higher domain authority. By doing so, you can enhance your website’s long-term content ranking potential, as these keywords typically carry more weight in search engine algorithms.
  • Lastly, it’s essential to exclude keywords with significant competition, particularly if your website is relatively new. Ranking well becomes more challenging in such scenarios, so focusing on less competitive keywords can help establish your website’s presence more effectively.

How To Utilize Competitor Keywords Effectively For Your Benefit

Simply possessing an extensive list of keywords employed by your competitors lacks significance unless you understand how to effectively utilize them. Allow us to outline how you can leverage the keywords you’ve compiled.

Compose Content Utilizing The Specified Keywords

Creating an article solely based on keywords borrowed from a competitor typically leads to content duplication. This strategy needs to be more original and provide unique value to readers. For new websites, relying solely on this approach is unlikely to yield the desired outcomes. Instead, it’s crucial to focus on developing original content that resonates with your target audience.

Established websites boasting organic traffic hold greater authority. Over time, they have built credibility and trust with both users and search engines. Consequently, even well-crafted posts from newer sites may struggle to outrank counterparts on high-authority sites. This competitive landscape underscores the importance of developing a comprehensive content strategy that goes beyond keyword borrowing.

However, this reality shouldn’t deter content creation efforts using similar keywords. While it’s essential to be aware of the competitive landscape, it’s equally important to differentiate your content through unique perspectives and insights. By consistently producing engaging content and incorporating relevant primary and secondary keywords, coupled with regular article updates, your website can gradually accrue authority.

Effective backlinking further enhances this process, ultimately resulting in noticeable increases in organic traffic over time. Backlinks from reputable websites signal to search engines the relevance and credibility of your content. Building a robust backlink profile requires strategic outreach and relationship-building within your industry or niche. As your website gains authority and visibility, organic traffic will likely increase, contributing to sustained growth and success.

Utilize Keyword Clusters

You’ll encounter numerous generic categorical keywords like “fine-dining restaurants,” “beauty salons,” and “wellness spas.” Ranking organically for broader keywords presents significant challenges and may not yield satisfactory results. This difficulty stems from the high competitiveness associated with these keywords, as they usually represent specific niches or categories.

To gain a competitive advantage and increase your likelihood of ranking well, focus on utilizing more specific keyword clusters. These clusters not only offer a better chance of ranking but also attract a higher collective search volume. For instance, instead of targeting “fine-dining restaurants,” aim for “fine-dining restaurants in Chicago,” “beauty salons in Brooklyn,” and “wellness spas in Manhattan.”

Utilize tools like Semrush’s Keyword Magic to identify relevant keywords and construct effective keyword clusters.

Examine Paid Keywords

Many website owners often overlook a crucial step in keyword research: analyzing paid keywords. Some competitors may heavily invest in paid search ads, targeting expensive keywords. If you lack the budget for costly PPC campaigns, it’s wise to focus on organic targeting.

Organic search results typically carry more credibility compared to paid ones, potentially giving you an advantage over competitors. Paid search terms can be easily identified using tools like Semrush. In the Organic Research section, after inputting domains, a column displays paid keywords under “Organic Competitors.”

Clicking on any of these leads to the paid keyword dashboard of the selected domain, where you can view paid search positions, including ranking, CPC, traffic, and URL.

Implement Competitor Ranking Changes

Utilizing keywords effectively entails monitoring your competitors’ keyword rankings for any declines. By using tools like Semrush’s “Organic Research” feature, you can identify your competitors’ keywords and track changes in their rankings by accessing the “Position Changes” tab. This enables you to visualize fluctuations in their rankings and capitalize on opportunities where they lose ground.

If one of their keywords drops in ranking, consider creating content optimized with that keyword to potentially surpass them. Additionally, if you already have content targeting the same keyword, use an on-page SEO checker to optimize and enhance its performance further. This ensures that your content remains competitive and relevant in search engine results.

Moreover, analyzing your competitors’ keyword strategies can provide valuable insights into emerging trends and opportunities within your industry. By understanding which keywords are driving traffic to their sites, you can identify gaps in your content strategy and tailor your approach accordingly. This proactive approach enables you to stay ahead of the curve and maintain a strong presence in search engine rankings.

Furthermore, regularly monitoring your competitors’ keyword rankings allows you to adapt your SEO strategy in real time. By staying informed about changes in their rankings and the keywords they are targeting, you can adjust your own keyword targeting and content creation efforts accordingly. This agility is crucial in the fast-paced world of digital marketing, where staying ahead of the competition can make all the difference.

Effective keyword utilization involves continuous monitoring of your competitor’s keyword rankings and strategic adaptation of your SEO efforts. By leveraging tools like Semrush and employing proactive strategies such as content optimization and trend analysis, you can stay competitive in search engine results and drive more traffic to your website. 

Stay vigilant, stay adaptable, and always be ready to capitalize on new opportunities in the ever-evolving landscape of online marketing.

Also Read: 5 Major SEO Mistakes You’re Probably Making

How To Performing Competitor Keyword Gap Analysis

Analyzing keywords extends beyond simply compiling a list of search queries for organic targeting. It offers valuable insights into competitors’ weaknesses, which can be exploited to your advantage.

Once you’ve finalized your keyword list, conduct a Google search for each term. Evaluate the top results based on:

  1. Domain Authority: Higher authority indicates stronger competition.
  2. Link Profile: Quality backlinks positively influence search rankings.
  3. Content Relevance and Quality: Content should align with user intent and be unique, clear, and error-free, with seamless keyword integration.
  4. User Experience: Positive ranking factors include mobile responsiveness, fast loading times, and user-friendly design.
  5. Site Architecture and Meta Tagging: A well-structured architecture and relevant meta tags assist in indexing and ranking.

Identifying gaps in competitors’ metrics reveals new opportunities. For instance, a lack of mobile responsiveness among top results suggests the potential for higher rankings with a mobile-friendly site.

Google may prioritize average sites due to a scarcity of credible options. A mobile-friendly website can capitalize on this and rise in the SERP rankings.

Competitor keyword analysis informs organic keyword selection, but success depends on crafting high-quality content. Assess competitors’ content quality to pinpoint areas for enhancement.

Thin, uninteresting, or error-filled content creates an opportunity for surpassing competitors. Creating engaging content requires additional effort to outrank competitors. Observe competitors’ use of media, social engagement, and unexplored content opportunities to gain a competitive edge.

Backlink Gap Analysis

When examining SEO competitors, website owners often prioritize keyword analysis while overlooking link-building opportunities revealed through SEO competitor analysis.

Despite maintaining high-quality content, your website’s performance may still suffer from a deficient backlink profile. Thus, it’s imperative to bridge any disparities between your competitors’ inbound link profile and your own.

The initial step involves identifying websites already linking to your competitors, facilitated by tools like Moz Link Explorer. By entering a competitor’s domain name and accessing the “Linking Domains” section, you can download the file for analysis. Repeat this process for all competitors. This report furnishes details about websites linking to competitors, including their domain authority.

From this data, pinpoint the websites linking to your competitors but not to you. These are the backlinks you should target to surpass your competitors, particularly advantageous for newer websites struggling to secure backlinks from high-authority sources.

Exercise caution when emulating a competitor’s backlink profile. Beware of link spam; if a competitor employs black hat techniques to purchase backlinks, it’s advisable to avoid imitating them. Such practices jeopardize long-term rankings and may lead to search engine penalties.

Implementing Offline SEO Competitor Analysis

After conducting competitor keyword analysis and backlink gap analysis, you’re well-prepared to strategically engage in SEO tactics against your competitors. However, it’s equally important to assess the offline marketing strategies employed by these competitors.

This is crucial because offline advertising contributes to an increase in branded searches, subsequently bolstering a website’s search engine ranking. Offline marketing methods encompass various channels such as radio ads, television commercials, print ads, direct mail, and others.

Stay vigilant by monitoring newspapers, magazines, and platforms like YouTube to stay abreast of your competitors’ latest marketing endeavors. Consider ways to replicate any enticing offers or trends they’re currently promoting.

Discover The Top 5 Tools For Identifying Competitors’s Keywords

Now that you have the perfect guide to analyzing and utilizing competitor keywords, it’s time to acquire the right tools. All the knowledge in the world won’t mean much without the correct tools. Here are the top five tools for finding competitor keywords.

  1. Discover Competitor’s Keywords Using Semrush

Semrush is a prominent SEO tool widely recognized in the market, which we actively employ and endorse for SEO endeavors.

To conduct competitor research via Semrush, follow these steps:

  • Begin by setting up an account if you haven’t already. If you’re hesitant about commitment, fret not. Avail of a 14-day free trial of their Pro Plan by clicking here.
  • Navigate to the “Organic Research” dashboard and input the competitor’s domain URL.
  • Upon initiating the search, you’ll access the Organic Research dashboard. There, peruse through or directly access the positions tab to view keywords and their corresponding rankings.
Organic Competitors

Alternatively, leverage Semrush’s “Keyword Gap” tool. This tool enables you to input your domain along with four others to identify related keywords and compare their rankings against yours.

Semrush's "Keyword Gap" tool
  1. Discover Competitor’s Keywords Through Ahrefs

Ahrefs holds a prominent position among the array of SEO tools available, often regarded as a formidable competitor to Semrush. In the pursuit of uncovering competitor keywords using Ahrefs, the initial step entails setting up an account on the platform. With the Lite Plan, which is priced at $99, users gain access to all the essential tools necessary for this particular task.

Once logged in, users can navigate to Ahrefs’ “Site Explorer” tool, which serves as a gateway to extensive data analysis.

Discover Competitor's Keywords Through Ahrefs

Inputting the domain of the competitor of interest initiates the process. Subsequently, users can click on “organic keywords” located on the left-hand side of the interface to delve into the wealth of information available regarding the competitor’s keyword strategies.

  1. Discover Competitors’ Keywords Through Moz

Moz serves as your reliable sidekick in elevating your website’s online visibility. Packed with a variety of tools and features, it tirelessly works to enhance your site’s performance and ensure it stands out on search engines.

To begin exploring competitor analysis using Moz, follow these straightforward steps:

  1. Sign up for a Moz account: Begin by creating a Moz account, where you can enjoy a 30-day trial to get acquainted.
  2. Access the keyword research tool: Once logged in, navigate to the keyword research tool located conveniently on the left-hand side within Moz Pro.
  3. Enter competitor’s domain URL: Input your competitor’s domain URL and observe as Moz reveals the keywords they’re targeting. For a comprehensive comparison, input your domain URL first, followed by those of your competitors.
  4. Review keyword insights: Quickly gather a useful list of keywords along with their rankings, perfect for informing your strategic planning.

Feeling uncertain about which SEO tool to choose? Don’t fret!

  • Semrush, Ahrefs, and Moz are all excellent options, each offering a unique array of features and strengths.
  • Select the one that best aligns with your SEO requirements. Remember, you likely only need one of these tools to work wonders for your optimization efforts.
  1. Discover Competitors’s Keywords Utilizing Spyfu

When it comes to finding a reliable and free SEO tool, Spyfu stands out as a top recommendation. What sets Spyfu apart is its willingness to offer its keyword research tool without any cost, despite having paid versions available. To leverage this tool effectively, follow these simple steps:

  1. Start by visiting spyfu.com, the official website of Spyfu.
  2. Input the domain of a competitor you wish to analyze.
  3. On the left-hand side of the interface, locate the “Top Keywords” option.
  4. Click on it to access a wealth of information about the top-performing keywords within your competitor’s domain.

By following these steps, you can utilize Spyfu’s free keyword research tool to gain valuable insights into the keywords driving your competitors’ success. This knowledge will enable you to identify lucrative opportunities to enhance your SEO strategies and maintain a competitive edge in the digital landscape.

  1. Discover competitors’ keywords by utilizing Google Keyword Planner

As a business owner, it’s essential to utilize Google’s Keyword Planner to analyze competitor keywords and enhance your online presence. This tool is specifically designed for businesses and provides valuable insights into competitor strategies.

Discover competitors' keywords by utilizing Google Keyword Planner

To maximize its effectiveness, access the expert mode and ensure you have an active Google Business account. Once set up, navigate to the Keyword Planner dashboard and select the “Discover New Keywords” option.

Discover New Keywords

Next, use the “Start with a Website” feature to input your competitor’s URL and generate keyword suggestions based on their tactics and content.

Discover new keyword

Clicking the “Get Results” button will initiate the analysis, revealing a wealth of data on the keywords driving your competitors’ digital success.

Armed with this information, refine your SEO and digital marketing strategies accordingly. Treat it as a roadmap derived from the experiences of successful competitors.

Take action now and leverage the Google Keyword Planner to navigate the competitive landscape of online business effectively.


In conclusion, the Competitor Keyword Analysis Guide serves as a powerful tool for gaining insights into competitors’ strategies, identifying valuable keywords, and optimizing one’s own content and marketing efforts. By thoroughly analyzing competitors’ keyword usage, search rankings, and overall SEO performance, businesses can refine their approaches, improve visibility, and stay ahead in the digital landscape.

 Embracing a data-driven approach and continuously refining strategies based on competitor analysis will ultimately lead to enhanced search engine rankings, increased organic traffic, and improved competitiveness in the online market.


How do I identify my competitors for keyword analysis?

Identify your direct competitors by searching for businesses or websites offering similar products or services in your industry. You can also use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to discover competitors based on keyword overlap or domain similarities.

How do I conduct keyword research on my competitors?

Start by compiling a list of your competitors’ websites. Then, use keyword research tools to identify the keywords they’re targeting in their content, PPC campaigns, and organic search. Look for high-volume, relevant keywords that you may not be targeting yet.

What factors should I consider when analyzing competitor keywords?

Consider factors such as search volume, keyword difficulty, relevance to your business, and the intent behind the keywords. Also, analyze how your competitors are using these keywords in their content and whether they’re ranking well for them.

What tools can I use for competitor keyword analysis?

Some popular tools for competitor keyword analysis include SEMrush, Ahrefs, SpyFu, Moz’s Keyword Explorer, and Google Keyword Planner.

How can I leverage competitor keyword analysis to improve my SEO strategy?

Use competitor keyword analysis to identify gaps in your keyword strategy, discover new keyword opportunities, and refine your content to better target valuable keywords. Additionally, analyze your competitors’ backlink profiles to uncover potential link-building opportunities.

How often should I conduct competitor keyword analysis?

It’s recommended to conduct competitor keyword analysis regularly, ideally at least once every few months or whenever there are significant changes in your industry or competitive landscape.


Navneet Kaushal is the Editor-in-Chief of PageTraffic Buzz. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet is also the CEO of SEO Services company PageTraffic which is one of the leading search marketing company in Asia.