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How to Find and Use Competitors’ Keywords to Drive Traffic

a keyword research expert using binoculars to find competitors' keywords

We’ll be honest. Without the right keywords, your business is virtually a ghost online.

Online visibility hinges on smart keyword research.

But here’s the kicker: you can’t just hone your skills in a vacuum. True mastery comes from observing the best in the game: your top competitors.

They’ve already charted the course, identified lucrative keywords, and captured the audience you’re after. While you play catch-up, remember there’s wisdom in learning from those who’ve already made it to the top.

This is where competitor keyword research steps into the spotlight. This isn’t just a matter of peeking over the fence; it’s the art of dissecting and understanding the strategies that have propelled your competitors to their current standing.

Competitor keyword search is your backstage pass to SEO strategies that work. It uncovers the keywords your rivals are ranking for and gives you a blueprint to enhance your own SEO game.

In this blog, we’re not just talking theory; we’re teaching you how to find competitors’ keywords and ace the game.

Let’s get down to business!

1. Analyze Your Competitors’ Website and Content

a keyword research expert analyzing a competitor's website

Analyzing your competitors’ website and content is like conducting a detailed reconnaissance mission in the world of SEO.

A comprehensive analysis will help you understand what they do and how they do it and identify opportunities for your strategy.

This deep dive can uncover a wealth of insights into their SEO tactics, content strategy, and user engagement practices.

How can you meticulously comb through your competitors’ digital footprint, and what should you look out for? Let’s show you the way.

1.1. Start with a Broad Overview

Start by visiting your competitors’ websites with an analytical eye.

This initial sweep will help you grasp the essence of your competitor’s digital domain: their brand voice, the user experience they offer, and how they structure their content to captivate their audience.

You’ll get a feel for their online presence as if you were a prospective customer exploring their site for the first time.

Take note of the overall layout, the ease of navigation, and the types of content they prioritize. Are they using a blog to attract traffic? Are they offering resources like eBooks or webinars?

Understanding the structure can give you clues into what attracts and retains their audience. You’ll also pick up on the specific keyword themes that resonate with their brand and audience.

Perhaps their blog titles prominently feature buzzwords like “growth hacking,” “conversion optimization,” or “brand storytelling.” Each of these terms signals areas they’ve invested in and likely rank for.

This broad overview will give you a lens to see which keywords are deemed worthy of front-page real estate.

1.2. Analyze Their SEO Structure

This step moves beyond the surface; it delves into the technical and content-related elements that search engines, and by extension, users, find valuable.

Here’s how you can dissect this vital component of your competitor’s strategy.

  1. Title Tags and Meta Descriptions: These elements are prime real estate for keywords. They act as direct signals to search engines and first impressions for potential visitors.

By scrutinizing the title tags and meta descriptions for your competitor’s key pages, you can infer which keywords they prioritize for different segments of their site.

Observe the patterns. Are they targeting long-tail keywords in their blogs? Do their product pages focus on specific features or broader category terms?

  1. Headings and Subheadings: The hierarchy of content through H1, H2, H3 tags, etc., does more than just organize information; it emphasizes the importance of certain topics and keywords.

A competitor might use H1 tags for category-defining keywords, while subheadings may drill down into niche topics. This structure enhances user experience and guides search engines through the content’s key focuses.

  1. URL Structure: A well-organized URL structure that incorporates keywords can boost a page’s SEO performance.

Examine how your competitors structure their URLs for blogs, product pages, and other key content. Are they using short slugs that include target keywords?

This approach can improve crawlability and, by extension, rankings.

  1. Focus on Keywords: Your competitor’s keyword strategy will begin to crystallize through these elements.

For instance, if a competitor in the health and wellness space consistently uses phrases like “natural weight loss supplements” or “organic energy boosters” in their SEO structure, it’s a clear signal of their target market and keyword focus.

Such insights can help you refine your keyword list. It’s a great way to ensure you’re not just competing on the same playing field but also identifying gaps in their strategy that you can exploit.

  1. Strategic Repetition: Pay attention to the repetition of certain keywords across different SEO elements. If a competitor repeats a specific phrase or variation across title tags, headings, and URLs, it’s a strong indication of their strategic focus on that keyword.

This repetition is a tactic to reinforce the topic’s importance to search engines. It helps boost the relevance and potential ranking of the page for those terms.

  1. Keyword Variations and Synonyms: Observe the use of synonyms or related terms that broaden the reach of their content. This tactic, known as LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords, helps search engines better understand the context of the content and improve rankings for a wider array of search queries.

2. Leverage Keyword Research Tools

a competitor keyword toolkit

In an SEO strategist’s toolkit, keyword research tools are like a hammer: fundamental, powerful, and essential for nailing down your strategy in the vast online construction site.

Yet, in the diverse world of SEO tools, every hammer isn’t built for the same nail. To effectively penetrate the competitive landscape, you need instruments that aren’t just broad in scope but also precise in their capacity to break through the data and reveal valuable insights.

This is where you’ll find Google’s suite of tools and Search Berg’s bespoke tool. These are the tools of choice for businesses looking to lead the pack in the SEO race.

Google, the colossus of the search world, offers tools that are as close to the source as you can get. Google Keyword Planner, part of the Google Ads platform, is a treasure trove for anyone looking to refine their SEO keyword strategy. It allows you to search for keywords related to your business; you can see how often they’re searched and how their search volume changes over time.

This insight is invaluable for understanding keyword trends and making informed decisions about which terms to target for maximum impact.

Additionally, Google Trends provides a bird’s-eye view of keyword popularity over time to help you spot and capitalize on emerging trends. Sweet, right?

Then, there’s Search Berg’s competitor keyword research tool that’s designed specifically for the nuances of the modern SEO battleground. The savvy tool goes beyond basic search volume and competition data. It offers insights into keyword difficulty, SERP features, and even the intent behind searches. This means you can tailor your content to match what people are searching for and align with why they’re searching.

What sets this tool apart? Its ability to offer both macro and micro insights. On a macro level, you can get a sense of broad trends and shifts in consumer behavior. This can guide your overall content strategy and help you allocate resources to the topics and keywords with the highest potential return.

On a micro level, the detailed analytics help you fine-tune your approach to individual pages and posts. You can identify long-tail keywords that offer a higher probability of ranking and uncover gaps in your competitors’ strategies that you can exploit.

The real magic happens when you start to combine competitor keyword insights from both Google and Search Berg. This combination allows you to cross-reference data, validate your findings, and build a keyword strategy that’s both robust and flexible.

You can use Google’s tools to get a broad understanding of keyword trends and then drill down into specific opportunities with Search Berg’s analytics. Your keyword strategy will remain grounded in solid data yet enriched with the nuanced insights that can give you a competitive edge.

Recommended Read: How to Find the Right Keywords for Google Ads

3. Turn to Social Media and Forums

For businesses looking to fine-tune their competitor keyword search, social media and online forums offer a goldmine of insights. They don’t just reveal what competitors are talking about; they also reveal the sort of language they’re using to engage their audience. How can you use these platforms to find competitors’ keywords? Let’s find out.

3.1. Understand the Landscape

Start by identifying where your competitors are most active. Are they leveraging X’s rapid-fire updates, diving deep into topics on Facebook, engaging with professionals on LinkedIn, or tapping into niche communities on Reddit and Quora?

Each platform has its own language and nuances. Understanding where your competitors invest their time can give you clues about their strategy and the keywords they’re prioritizing.

This is where SEO keyword research services will come in handy. Work with keyword research experts to effectively navigate the competitive landscape and develop a targeted approach to keyword optimization.

3.2. Monitor Competitor Content

Pay close attention to the content your competitors post. This process goes beyond a cursory glance at their posts; it involves a deep dive into the content they produce, the reactions it garners, and the underlying themes that emerge.

By scrutinizing the type of content your competitors share, you can glean insights into the keywords they prioritize and how these terms are woven into their narratives to engage and attract their audience.

Pay particular attention to the language used in their posts. Are there specific phrases or terms that recur? These are likely the keywords they target in their SEO and content strategies.

Observe how these terms are integrated into the content. Is it through direct mentions, hashtags, or in response to user comments? This nuanced understanding can reveal the keywords themselves and how your competitors are positioning them to resonate with their audience.

Engagement metrics are also incredibly important. They highlight which content, and by extension, which keywords, are striking a chord with their followers. High levels of likes, shares, comments, or retweets indicate that a particular piece of content is valuable, engaging, or both. Analyzing this content can provide a roadmap to the keywords that can potentially drive engagement and conversions.

Recommended Read: Top 10 Ways to Grow a Small Business Through Facebook

3.3. Hashtag Research

a person tapping an iPad screen displaying a large hashtag

By analyzing the hashtags your competitors use, you can uncover the keywords and topics they’re targeting to engage their audience and boost the visibility of their content.

This research provides insights into the themes and conversations your competitors consider valuable. It allows you to adjust your strategy to either compete directly or identify niche areas they may have overlooked.

Competitors often use a mix of popular, industry-specific, and branded hashtags. Popular hashtags can give you a sense of the broader trends they’re tapping into, while industry-specific hashtags reveal the niche topics they aim to dominate.

Branded hashtags, on the other hand, are unique to the competitor but can offer inspiration for creating your own campaigns that foster community and brand identity.

To conduct effective hashtag research, start by compiling a list of hashtags your competitors frequently use in their posts. Look for patterns in their usage: do they use certain hashtags more often when promoting specific types of content or products? This can indicate the keywords they’re prioritizing for SEO and engagement.

All done? It’s time to explore the content associated with these hashtags to understand the conversations happening around them. This can help you gauge the audience’s interest in these topics and how well your competitors are meeting their needs.

Are there questions or themes that recur in these conversations? Identifying these can help you discover long-tail keywords and content ideas that resonate with your target audience.

Finally, consider the engagement levels on posts with specific hashtags. High engagement rates suggest that the hashtag and, by extension, the associated keywords are valuable to the audience. This insight can guide you in integrating these keywords into your content strategy (whether through social media posts, blogs, or other marketing materials).

Hire keyword research experts to master the hashtag ropes. An experienced keyword research agency will help you identify the most relevant and high-performing hashtags for your industry or niche.

Recommended Read: Top Trending Hashtags for Instagram Reels

3.4. Dive Deep Into Online Forums

online form users engaging with a post

If you’ve ever wanted to become an archaeologist, this is your chance. Well, a digital archaeologist, that is.

This is where you’ll sift through layers of conversations, uncover the relics of user interests, and decode the hieroglyphs of industry jargon.

Forums like Reddit and Quora are where the unfiltered opinions, pain points, and questions of your audience come to life.

How can you mine these platforms for the golden nuggets of keywords that your competitors are using or could be missing? Let’s break it down.

  1. Identify Relevant Threads: Start by honing in on threads and discussions that are directly related to your industry or niche. Look for spaces where your competitors are active or where their products and services are being discussed. This gives you a frontline view of the market’s perception and the language they use to describe these offerings.
  2. Monitor Competitor Interactions: Pay attention to how your competitors engage within these forums. Are they answering questions, providing advice, or sharing content? The terms and phrases they use in these interactions are often packed with targeted keywords. This is a great way to gather insights into their SEO strategies.
  3. Analyze User Queries: The questions and problems users post in these forums are gold mines for keyword research. They reflect the actual language and search queries your target audience uses. Extract common phrases and recurring themes to add to your keyword list.
  4. Spot Industry Trends: Forums are breeding grounds for the latest trends and buzzwords. Keeping an eye on emerging topics can help you anticipate shifts in keyword popularity and adapt your content strategy accordingly.
  5. Engage and Ask: Don’t just observe; participate. Engaging in discussions or asking questions can provide firsthand insight into your target audience’s language and concerns. It’s a direct line to understanding the context in which keywords are used. This process will make your research more nuanced and actionable.
  6. Collect Feedback: User feedback on products or services, including those of your competitors, can reveal the attributes and features that matter most to customers. These discussions are often rich with specific keywords and terms that can enhance your product descriptions and content.

By delving into online forums with a keen eye, you can uncover a wealth of information about your competitors’ keyword strategies and audience preferences. This method allows you to build a keyword strategy that’s deeply connected to your target market’s language and concerns.

Keep in mind that the key to successful SEO isn’t just finding the right keywords but also understanding the context and conversations that give them life.

3.5. User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is like an online open mic night. This is where your audience takes the stage to voice their opinions, experiences, and sometimes, their unsolicited advice (shudder).

When it comes to competitor keyword search, UGC is a goldmine of unfiltered insights. This content, whether in the form of reviews, comments, testimonials, or social media posts, provides a raw look at the language and terms your target market naturally uses.

Exploring the UGC surrounding your competitors offers a unique lens into the keywords that resonate most with their audience. Customer reviews, for instance, are ripe with descriptive language and specific details about what customers love or loathe. These nuggets of feedback often include the keywords and phrases that potential customers use when searching for solutions online.

Taking a deeper dive into the comments section on your competitors’ social media platforms can also be enlightening. You’ll find a lively dialogue filled with casual language, slang, and industry terms that may not appear in formal keyword research tools. These discussions are a direct reflection of your audience’s thoughts and can highlight gaps in your competitor’s strategy (that you can cleverly capitalize on).

Testimonials, while more polished, can still reveal the benefits and features most valued by customers. They provide you with targeted phrases that align with user priorities. Similarly, user-generated posts, especially those tagging your competitor or using related hashtags, are a window into the organic reach and impact of their products or services. They showcase the keywords that truly drive engagement.

Tapping into UGC for keyword research doesn’t just mean you blindly and naively start collecting terms; you must understand your shared target market’s sentiment, preferences, and priorities. This will help you craft a keyword strategy that isn’t just competitive but also deeply connected to and reflective of your audience’s actual language and concerns.

4. Backlink Analysis

a keyword research expert performing backlink analysis

Backlinks are the SEO world’s equivalent of a high-five from the internet’s cool kids. Think of each backlink as a nod of approval, a “you’ve got to check this out” from one site to another.

These digital endorsements tell search engines, “Hey, this content isn’t just good; it’s share-worthy.” It’s like being voted most likely to succeed in the vast yearbook of the web.

The quality, relevance, and sheer number of these back-pats directly boost a site’s street cred with search engines. Subtly peeking into the backlink party your competitors are enjoying can clue you into the keywords that make them the life of the search engine party.

How can you do this? Backlink analysis tools are your best friend here. These tools can help you uncover the specific pages and content types that are garnering the most expert support for your competitors.

You can:

  1. Identify High-Value Linking Domains: Find out which authoritative websites are linking to your competitors and the context of those links. Are industry-leading blogs or news sites citing them as a source? If so, the anchor text and surrounding content can provide clues to the targeted keywords.
  2. Analyze Anchor Text: The clickable text in a hyperlink (anchor text) is a strong indicator of the content’s focus and the targeted keywords. If a competitor consistently receives backlinks with specific anchor text, it’s a clear sign that they’re ranking well for those terms.
  3. Spot Content Types that Attract Links: Figure out which types of content (blogs, infographics, case studies, etc.) are most effective at attracting backlinks for your competitors. This insight can help you create link-worthy material that targets the right keywords.
  4. Identify Linking Patterns and Opportunities: Understanding the types of sites that link to your competitors can reveal new opportunities for your own link building efforts. For example, if competitors receive many backlinks from industry forums, you may consider engaging more actively in those communities or creating content that addresses common questions and topics discussed there.

Backlink analysis for competitors’ keywords is a nuanced affair best left to the seasoned hands of keyword research experts. This isn’t to downplay the capabilities of in-house teams but rather to highlight the intricate layers and subtleties involved in backlink analysis that require a specialized skill set.

Keyword research agencies boast ample experience and a suite of sophisticated tools that can decode the complex web of backlinks more efficiently and effectively than most in-house teams might be equipped to handle.

Keyword research experts are adept at spotting patterns and anomalies in backlink profiles that can impact a site’s ranking and visibility. This level of discernment goes beyond basic analysis; it entails a comprehensive understanding of search engine algorithms and the latest updates in SEO best practices.

Experts can also contextualize backlink data within the broader landscape of competitor keyword research. They don’t just look at who links to your competitors; they also analyze why. They understand the intent behind specific backlinks, the relevance of the linking sites, and how these elements contribute to a competitor’s authority on certain topics or keywords. These insights are critical for developing a strategic approach to match and eventually surpass competitors’ keyword rankings.

Take your time, do your research, and find a trusted agency that can take the reins for you. This decision will give you much-needed peace of mind that a task as complex and critical as backlink analysis is being performed by a team that knows best.

Recommended Read: 10 Types of Backlinks and How to Create Them

5. How to Use Competitors’ Keywords

Awesome, you have your hands on a set of freshly baked competitors’ keywords. But, now what?

Knowing what to do with this newfound wealth is where the real adventure begins. This is where you understand and then slowly master the art of weaving these keywords into your digital strategy in a way that drives traffic, engages your audience, and ultimately boosts your rankings.

You can’t just stuff these terms into your content and call it a day. You must grasp strategic integration and user intent to create a seamless experience that delights both your visitors and search engines.

5.1. Understand User Intent

The first step in smart keyword usage is understanding the intent behind each term. Is the user looking to buy, learn, or simply find a website? Aligning your content with user intent is essential.

For instance, if a keyword is transactional, make sure it’s used in product descriptions or landing pages designed to convert. If it’s informational, weave it into blogs or FAQs.

This alignment ensures that users find exactly what they’re looking for when they land on your page, reducing bounce rates and increasing engagement.

5.2. Quality Over Quantity

When it comes to SEO, this adage isn’t just good advice; it’s gospel.

This principle holds especially true when integrating competitors’ keywords into your content. It’s tempting to throw in as many keywords as possible in the hope of hitting the SEO jackpot. But this isn’t an on-the-whim happy meal. You’re not tossing every ingredient into the pot and hoping for the best; you’re crafting a gourmet dish.

Much like discerning diners, search engines have developed a taste for content that serves up depth, relevance, and value rather than just a keyword buffet. Incorporating competitors’ keywords should feel as natural as a conversation. This means weaving these terms into your content to enhance the narrative, provide answers, and engage the reader (not just search engine crawlers).

Every keyword is an opportunity to connect with your audience, answer a question, solve a problem, or satisfy a curiosity. By focusing on the quality of how these keywords are used, you can ensure that your content attracts and captivates users.

This approach will elevate your SEO game and build a foundation of trust and authority with your audience.

Want to understand how you can go about this? Let’s say you run an online boutique specializing in eco-friendly outdoor gear. Through your competitor keyword search, you’ve discovered that your main competitor ranks highly for “sustainable hiking boots.” Instead of merely stuffing this keyword into every product description and blog you can, you decide to put quality above quantity.

Here’s how you do it.

  1. Product Descriptions: For your product descriptions, you carefully integrate “sustainable hiking boots” into the narrative to highlight the unique features that make your boots eco-friendly. This way, you incorporate the keyword while providing valuable information that addresses your target audience’s specific interests.
  2. Blog Content: You create a comprehensive guide titled “How to Choose Sustainable Hiking Gear,” where you discuss the importance of eco-friendly materials in outdoor products. In this guide, you weave in “sustainable hiking boots” naturally as you offer tips on what to look for in eco-conscious footwear. This positions your store as an authority on sustainable outdoor gear.
  3. Social Media Snippets: You share customer testimonials and photos of happy hikers wearing your boots in the great outdoors on social media. You use “sustainable hiking boots” in your captions. This real-world application of the keyword connects with your audience on a personal level; it shows the practical benefits of choosing eco-friendly gear.

5.3. Content Refresh

a content specialist refreshing content with relevant keywords

Use these insights to refresh existing content and create compelling new pieces. This is kind of like giving your website a strategic makeover.

Start by identifying high-performing pages on your site that could benefit from a refresh. Analyze these pages for opportunities to incorporate relevant competitors’ keywords that you may have overlooked initially. This could mean revising product descriptions to highlight features or benefits that align with these keywords. You could also update blogs to address topics and queries associated with them.

The key is to weave these keywords into your content naturally. Each insertion should feel organic; it must enhance the reader’s experience and provide additional value. For example, if a competitor is ranking well for “eco-friendly packaging solutions,” and your company offers a similar product, update your relevant blogs or product pages to highlight your commitment to sustainability and discuss how your offerings compare.

5.4. Optimize Beyond the Content

Smart usage of competitors’ keywords extends beyond just the body of your articles or product pages. Optimize your meta titles, descriptions, and even your URLs and alt text for images. These elements help search engines understand your page’s relevance to the query; they improve your chances of ranking higher. Compelling meta titles and descriptions will also increase your click-through rates from search results.

5.5. Balance Broad and Long-Tail Keywords

A smart competitor keyword strategy balances both broad and long-tail keywords. Broad keywords are typically one to two words in length, e.g., “hiking boots” or “digital marketing.” They have a high search volume, indicating a significant level of interest, but they also come with fierce competition and lower conversion rates.

Including broad keywords in your content ensures visibility in a wide search landscape. You’ll attract web users who may be in the early stages of the buying cycle or simply seeking information.

Long-tail keywords, which often comprise three or more words, like “waterproof hiking boots for women” or “small business digital marketing strategies,” offer a different set of advantages. They have a lower search volume, which means less competition, but they boast a higher conversion rate. This is because long-tail keywords are more specific; they match the search queries of users who are further along in their decision-making process and closer to a purchase.

By targeting these keywords, you’ll cater to a more defined audience with precise needs and questions.

The art of balancing these two types of keywords lies in understanding your audience’s journey from awareness to decision. Broad keywords are valuable for driving top-of-funnel traffic; they help you cast a wide net to increase brand awareness and engage users just starting their search. As these users refine their needs and preferences, they move down the funnel, where long-tail keywords come into play. These keywords guide users towards conversion with more specific content.

To achieve this balance, start by building a solid foundation with broad keywords to attract a general audience. Then, layer in long-tail keywords throughout your content to capture the interest of users with more defined search queries. This approach will improve your SEO performance across a broader spectrum of search terms and enhance the user experience by providing targeted content at every stage of the customer journey.

Incorporating a mix of broad and long-tail keywords requires regular monitoring and adjustment based on performance data and evolving search trends. By staying attuned to how these keywords perform and how user search behavior changes over time, you can continuously refine your strategy, ensuring your content remains visible and valuable to your target audience.

This dynamic approach to keyword balance is key to maintaining a competitive edge in the ever-changing SEO terrain.

Recommended Read: Real-Time SEO Content Writing: A 7-Step Process for Everyone

Start Working with the Best in Competitor Keyword Search Bottom of Form

You’ve just been handed the map to explore the SEO wilderness, peek into competitors’ secret gardens, and pluck the ripest keywords.

Now, it’s showtime.

But here’s the kicker: turning these insights into a winning game plan isn’t a solo sport. It’s a team effort. And not just any team; think the Avengers of SEO. That’s where the real play begins and why roping in the experts isn’t just smart; it’s essential.

Search Berg is the equivalent of having a superhero squad in your SEO corner. Think of us as your SEO strategists, content wizards, and data analysts all rolled into one powerhouse team.

With Search Berg, you’re not getting cookie-cutter solutions. You’re getting a tailored strategy that fits your brand like a glove. Our keyword research services are designed to help you identify the most relevant and lucrative keywords for your business.

Our job is to optimize your online presence and drive targeted traffic to your website. While others may be content with surface-level keyword suggestions, we dive deep into the data trenches. We crunch the numbers, analyze the trends, and serve up a platter of keywords that are primed for success.

We don’t mess around with guesswork. At Search Berg, it’s a game of strategy: plain and simple.

Are you ready to take these strategies from paper to the digital stage? Let’s turn these insights into your online success story! Sign up for a free consultation today. Our keyword research experts are ready to roll up their sleeves and dive headfirst into turbocharging your online presence!

It's time for a 180-degree transformation, Search Berg style. Rank higher on Google SERPs, build brand credibility, and drive more revenue by signing up with us today!

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