You have plenty to worry about with your own business. Why should you care which keywords your competitors are using?
Here’s why. They may rank ahead of you with keywords that you should be ranking highest for. Also, simply knowing what the competition is up to helps you better distinguish your business from theirs.
Competitor keyword analysis doesn’t have to be inordinately difficult. Plenty of free tools exist to help you.
Search engines are the number one sources that match consumers with businesses. Competitor keyword analysis increases the chances that consumers will search and find your business.
Benefits of Competitor Keyword Analysis
Here are a few of the benefits you can expect from performing a competitor keyword analysis.
- Avoidance of complacency
- Potential identification of new long-tail keywords
- A more focused direction for your business or department
- A better understanding of the broader market
You’ll benefit most if you define “competitors” more broadly than just the business down the street that does the same thing as you. Indirect and replacement competitors matter too.
Indirect competitors rank for similar keywords as your business, but they may be in other markets. Replacement competitors address the same issues as your business, but they do so in a different way. For example, if you’re a travel agent, booking apps could be considered replacement competitors.
How to Do Keyword Research
The first step in competitor keyword analysis is to identify your competitors. If, for example, you have a carpet cleaning company, an obvious competitor is another carpet cleaning company in your city. But don’t forget about indirect and replacement competitors.
The second step to doing competitor keyword research is to learn what your own top keywords are. Companies like SEMrush and Ahrefs make this easy with their domain analysis tools.
Now you know your competitors and you know your own top keywords. It’s time to find out your competitors’ top keywords.
Again, tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs can help. Instead of plugging your domain name into their tools, plug in your competitors’ domain names one at a time.
When you do this for all your competitors, you should end up with a list of important competitor keywords.
Don’t Worry About Ranking for All of Them
You don’t have to immediately start writing content in an attempt to rank for all the keywords you identify. Further research will help you focus on a handful of keywords.
Generally, you’ll choose to focus on keywords that indicate better opportunities. These would be keywords that have a reasonably high number of searches but don’t have too much competition.
Keyword analysis tools can tell you how often a given keyword phrase is searched every month. They also usually tell you how competitive the keywords are.
Super-competitive keywords may be too hard to rank for. Keywords without much competition may be easy to rank for, but may not draw many searches.
Your sweet spot is keywords that get plenty of search traffic but aren’t that hard to rank for. The definitions of “a lot of search traffic” and “hard to rank for” are relative terms that depend on your business.
Choose three to five competitive keywords that look good. Specifically, look for keywords that
- Your competitor ranks for, but you don’t
- Aren’t great matches for competitor content
- Your competitors pay for, but you could rank for organically
Even if this research only yields a couple of good target keywords, you can still use them to improve your SEO efforts.
What to Do Next
Now it’s time to use the keywords you identified. You may elect to use them in
- Static web pages
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Paid search ads
- Your Google Business Profile
Static web pages could be existing web pages that you can edit using the new keywords. Or they may be new pages on your site if such pages don’t already exist.
An entire blog post optimized for one of the keywords is another good tactic for gaining traction with the new keyword.
Social media posts can link to your new (or newly edited) static web pages or blog posts. Paid search ads using your new keywords may help them appear in front of a more enthusiastic audience.
You can optimize your Google Business Profile with new keywords in several ways. You could edit the static parts of your Google Business Profile with the new keywords, or use them in new posts to your Profile.
A comprehensive approach that uses newly identified keywords in multiple places will help your search ranking more than using them in only one type of content.
It May Take Time to See Results
You could see better paid search ad results quickly. However, the SEO you use on your website, Google Business Profile, social media, and blog may take longer to show improvement.
Usually, paid search changes get results more quickly than organic search changes. It’s nothing to worry about.
It is important, however, that you monitor your overall website analytics regularly. If you didn’t do it before, start monitoring analytics (Using Google Analytics or analytics provided by other tools) immediately after identifying competitor keywords, and then regularly thereafter.
You can also reuse domain tools to check how you’re ranking compared to your competitors on various keywords. Doing this regularly can help you identify trends, hopefully including an upward trajectory in your own ranking for your new keywords.
“But I Don’t Have Time for This!”
It’s understandable. You would rather be talking to potential clients about the insurance policies you offer or the type of carpet cleaning service that is best for their home.
You could schedule a call with our team to learn about the services we offer. Not only do we build SEO-enriched websites from the ground up, but we also have digital marketing experts who can make your emails, search ads, and social media ads perform better.
Whether you need an entirely new website, a refresh of your existing website, or advice on digital marketing tactics that work best with your existing website and social media properties, we can help. With a website that performs, it’s much easier for your business to perform at its peak.