The Complete Guide to Competitor Keyword Analysis

Competitor Keyword Analysis

Most Digital Marketers feel overwhelmed when confronted with Search Engine Optimization.
This fear seems validated as even the most seasoned SEO specialist may find that they are running out of breath playing catch up with Google’s fast-paced release of algorithm updates.
Add to that the fact that you are literally competing with other webmasters and digital marketers in your industry, and does make it seem like a very daunting task to undertake.

But let’s take a step back and ask: Is SEO really as complicated as we make it to be or are we actually overreacting?
Is getting ranked on Google’s SERP really an uphill climb? Are your competitors really bloodthirsty cutthroats that you should be wary about?

We will address these questions and more, as today we’ll show you how you can leverage the competitive aspect of your website’s SEO and use it to your advantage.

SEO Competitor Analysis: Important Pointers to Keep in Mind

Doing competitor analysis is one of the essential factors that affect your business’ growth. For this reason, you need to have a deep understanding of the aspects within it.

Here are the key pointers you need to keep in mind during this process.

Your Competitors Can Be Your Greatest Allies

Your Competitors Can Be Your Greatest Allies

Well, only if you’ll allow them to be.

You see, the ease of access and connectivity that the internet provides to everyone works in favor of fostering healthy competition for online businesses.
Due to this level of transparency in the online world (most of the time too much transparency), launching smear campaigns against competitors would surely backfire to its source.
With that out of the way, online businesses tend to coexist peacefully and at times even support each other out.

There are two ways your competition can greatly help your online business in the field of SEO:

Your top ranking competition can provide you with insights on what makes their websites better than yours

Reviewing your competition can open up opportunities in areas which they fall short in satisfying their customers needs

Having access to the first one is akin to gaining a complete blueprint for the success of your website in terms of SEO and ranking in Google’s SERP.

While having access to the second one will then allow you to capitalize on these opportunities in order to gain your competitors’ customers for your business.
Know however, that the opposite of this idea applies to your website as well. Your competitors who are below you in ranking would also be looking to you for best practices and improvement opportunities.
But at least the playing field is fair in this essence. This is the beauty of having open and healthy competition.

The next important question is: Who are your competitors?

Business Rival vs. SEO Competitor

Business Rival vs. SEO Competitor

To learn more about your competitors, you first need to know who they are. The first consideration you would need to make though, is to clearly define if they are a business rival or an SEO competitor.

Your Business Rival

In business terms, any company or brand in the same or related industry that offers similar products or services can be considered a business rival.

Having these rival companies or brands may cause the possibility of price reduction for the services and goods being offered due to an increase in supply to gain a larger share of the market.

Your SEO Competitor

The definition of your business rivals may look broad, but they are actually easier to define.
You see, your SEO competitors are not limited to just your business’ rivals. They’re more than that.

In essence, these are websites that rank for the same keywords that you are focusing on. While they can also be business rivals, they may not be gunning for the same customers as you are.

However, by targeting the same focus keywords as you are, they are competing for the same search traffic as your website.
There are times in SEO when websites of a niche that has nothing to do with the niche you’re ranking for appears at the top page.
For example: A news article about certain products suddenly spreading viral, that might usurp your ecommerce site from the top pages.

This is where we would be focusing most of our efforts when we begin looking at the specifics of how your competitors are performing.

Competitive Intelligence: Understanding the Objectives of SEO

Competitive Intelligence

Earlier, I mentioned two key factors that define the importance of analyzing your competitors:

It gives you access to your competitors’ blueprint to their success

It gives you access to opportunities for you to capitalize on based on areas they are underperforming

Now the two actions I indicated relies heavily on the control word I bolded: Access.

Your access to this insightful and highly valuable information is integral to your overall competitive intelligence.
You have to understand that whether you’re an online business owner or a digital marketer, it should be your top priority to gain access to the strategies that work for your competitors so you can then use them to your advantage.

This is more essential in the field of SEO.

Your goal as an online business is to get your website to the top of SERP rankings. There are different methods to do that:

Utilizing Paid Ads

Utilizing Paid Ads

Optimizing your web pages

Optimizing your web pages for Featured Snippets, or

Optimizing your website for search engines

Optimizing your website for search engines in order to rank organically

Out of these three, the third one is the most sought after since the majority of the search traffic goes into organic results.

For you to win in SEO, or in any game for that matter, you’ll need to be clear about the overall objectives of the game. Not just yours.
For that, we’ll need to look at the Gamemaster: Google

It is fortunate for us that Google’s goal is not that difficult to grasp, comprehend, and adhere to:
“...provide an important service to the world-instantly delivering relevant information on virtually any topic.”

That’s how you’ll win in SEO. Keeping that in mind will make sure that you’re on the right path to fulfilling your objectives.
All that’s left now is for you to do it better than the competition.

Understanding Keyword Competition Analysis

As we briefly touched upon earlier, your SEO competitors are online entities that are aiming for the same keywords as you are.
Identifying the keywords you are competing for as well as the domains that are aiming to rank for it is but the first step of this integral process.
Nevertheless, it is important to make sure that you start off your keyword competition analysis the right way.

Here are Several Key Points to Keep In Mind:

Key Points

To start with, It would be ideal that you utilize keyword research tools for this process. These tools would increase the efficiency of gaining results for your research.

However, it is our recommendation that you do not rely too much on the accuracy of the output of these tools, especially in the aspect of how competitive a keyword is. Rather, you should only use the information you gain as insights on how many actual web pages you would need to overtake in order to claim the top spot in SERP.

Second, how you look at your keywords competitiveness should be influenced by two metrics:

Its overall popularity, and

The level of competitiveness within the industry

Now let’s look at some additional benefits that you will gain once you’re done with analyzing your competitors and of course taking action upon your findings.

SEO Competitor Analysis Will

SEO Competitor Analysis Will :

Help grow your traffic exponentially while relying solely on the resources that you currently have available
Help you find keywords that have high search volume and have not been targeted by other websites in your niche
Help you find the right keywords that give your competitors the highest ROI, which you can now use to your advantage
Allow you to aim for keywords that have higher search volume while increasing the success rate for ranking in SERP
Allow you to Rank higher for the keywords that you are already focusing on

We’re now ready to dive into your SEO Competitor Analysis. Suffice it to say, there is no one-size-fits-all guide for the process.
This is due to the consideration that your customers may be in different stages of their buying cycle. Some keywords may fit the bill into addressing their needs, and some may not.
And that is why we will begin with strengthening your Sales Funnel.

Beefing up your Sales Funnel

Your customer’s journey in the buying cycle, represented by your sales funnel is extremely important in terms of dictating which keywords you should focus on.

Here are some benefits you will gain if you strengthen every single part of your sales funnel:

Your Brand’s message would be sharper and more effective

Your Click-through rate would increase

Your Conversion rates would increase

No matter how successful your business is online, you will find yourself converting only a small percentage of all your potential customers.

A huge chunk of their numbers haven’t arrived at the point where they’ll be entering their credit cards on your payment portal.
Who knows, maybe they will. Someday. Or maybe they won’t.

This is why it is of critical importance that you have a strong understanding of how your target customers think when buying products or availing services.
Without it, you’ll end up spinning your wheels doing marketing stunts and sales campaigns here and there without actually capturing customer conversions.
And you know what that means, right? Wasted marketing budget.

What you need to map Keywords to the buying cycle

Whether you’re an Ecommerce business, or a service provider, even if you’re a non-profit organization, you need to have a clear definition of your buying cycle.

Here are important pointers that you need to take note of when defining your Customer Buying Cycle:

The process of defining your sales funnel starts from the end. Your finish line. You already have that. The answer to your customers problems are your products or the services you are providing.

Since we started at the end of the process, we now need to work our way backwards. Your next step is to define solutions from the products you are selling or the services you are providing.

Your message needs to be clear at each step of the way.

Understand what your customers questions are and how they ask it. Also known as your customers’ Search Intent.

Acquiring the last bullet on that list relies on one important aspect: How well do you know your customers?

Creating Customer Personas

Creating Customer Personas

Customer profiles, also known as personas, are semi-fictional representations of your customers.

They contain demographics of your target audience such as age, gender, geographical location, online platforms frequented, professional status, any metric that’s relevant to defining the consumers of your products.

Aside from that, customer personas provide insights on how your customers buy and what considerations they take when they do. If done properly, it would also provide you with a clear picture of when they actually need the solution that your products or services provide.

Here are key points you need to keep in mind when creating your customer personas:

Three to five profiles is enough to be descriptive while at the same time still being general enough to cover all your customers.
You don’t need to make a hundred to target each ‘type’ of customer you have, but you do need clearly defined personas.
Give them names that correspond to their personas. The more familiar you become with them, the better your strategies for targeting your customers through content will become.
Know their pain points: the reasons why they seek your products or services. This is the strongest ‘pull’ that your brand has to your customers.
Be mindful of their response to ads and promotions as well as their interaction level with online contents.
Identify which of your customers' personas are related or connected to each other.

That last bullet merits an example. Here’s how it works:
You have a majority of Gen Y (Millennials) customers who look for trust signals first before they buy.
At the same time, you also have a minority percentage of Gen Z customers who love writing reviews for products.

Armed with this information, you can then provide targeted incentives to your Gen Z customers so they can give your products or services the reviews that will convince your Gen Y customers to buy.

Cool, huh?

Alright, now we’re ready to analyze your keywords based on each stage of your customers’ buying cycle.

Competitor Keyword Mapping: The Customer Journey

Here’s how we’ll go about this process: First we will define which of your focus keywords correspond to each to each stage of your customer’s buying cycle.
Then, we will be gauging the competitiveness of these keywords at each stage in order to filter out the ones that will not be useful to us.

Ready? Let’s begin.

Awareness Stage

Awareness Stage

This is the first stage of your buying process. Awareness has two “meanings” for your potential customers:

They become aware of your products or services or,

They become aware of their need for your products or services

This is also the stage where brands and companies invest the most effort into marketing and advertisements due to one important fact:

The potential of reaching new customers is only limited to how big or small the market is.
During the awareness stage, it is important to be very visible to your customers. Otherwise, there is a huge chance that you’ll be missing out on the opportunity to make your customers aware about your brand.

And the key to becoming visible and placing your brand in front of your customers in SERP is through:

Informational Keywords

These are keywords that customers utilize to find information that would sufficiently answer their questions or solve their problem.
Customers who utilize search engines use informational keywords to find relevant and background data that would help them make a decision on which products or services they should go with.
Depending on your industry and niche, informational keywords may have very high search volume.

However, the intensity of search intent coming from queries looking for information is inversely proportional in relation to its search traffic.
This is due to the fact that most customers who use these keywords aren’t ready to buy yet. They’re still looking for information.
Those pages above you in SERP are outranking you because they know how to use informational keywords properly.

To fully utilize the potential of informational keywords, you need to create high quality content that aims to genuinely help the person searching.

Yep, it’s that simple. Turns out the secret is actually no secret at all, huh?And yet, many marketers stumble upon this phase.

One of the most common mistakes that marketers make is to try converting customers who are at the awareness stage.
Mainly because they want to make their efforts more efficient, or spend less of their ad budget to raise awareness and virtually all of their target audiences’ population is present here.

The result? Their customers feel that they are being ‘too pushy’ and causes their brand to gain negative impressions instead.
And this is why you should never target informational keywords for the goal of gaining conversions.
You should only use these keywords to drive traffic to your site in order to raise awareness. Nothing more, nothing less.

Some of the best content types that you can utilize for targeting informational keywords are:

Ultimate Guides
These types of contents provide you with two awesome benefits:

Drives value into your customers’ impression of your brand. Since you’re helping them by not just answering their questions but also guiding them at every step of the way.

Establishes you, the writer, and your brand as an expert in the subject matter and in extension, of the industry your business belongs to. No amount of ad spend can buy that.

Thought Leadership Articles
The phrase “Thought Leadership” is a buzzword that often raises eyebrows in “Think Tank” communities and platforms.

The reaction it elicits is actually due to its meaning being misconstrued. So let’s define it properly in three bullets:

What it’s not : Thought leadership does not mean ‘fighting the power’ or ‘going against the tide’ of common and accepted knowledge.

What it is : It is the culmination of you and your team’s talents, expertise, experience, and most importantly passion for your business of which you will then employ in order to address your customers’ most pressing issues and concerns.

As a type of content, Thought Leadership means that you will be providing the best in-depth answer to your customers’ biggest issues, in the forms that they can easily consume, and in a way that they will easily understand.

Expert Interviews
Is a type of content that sends a very powerful message to customers. So powerful (not to mention expensive), it tempts marketers to utilize it for conversions.
Which, as I mentioned earlier, is a grave mistake since we are still at the awareness stage.

Expert Interviews helps your brand awareness in two ways:

It provides validation to the idea that your brand represents

It sends powerful trust signals to your customers since the source of these signals are coming from an entity in the position of authority

Entertaining Informative Content
These are contents that usually cause a causality dilemma in content strategy meetings.

That probably made you go ‘huh?’. And for good reason: At first glance, entertaining informative content is easy to interpret: create informative content that’s also entertaining.

Or should it be entertainment that provides information? There we go. That’s where the causality dilemma comes from: Do you prioritize entertainment or do you prioritize delivering information?

The answer to that lies on the topics that revolve around your niche. Are they primarily meant to be entertaining?

Let’s say you’re in the gaming industry. Focus on entertaining your audience first to capture -and keep their attention. Then make your content informative to add value to it.

If you’re in the industry of digital marketing for example, then your primary goal is to provide accurate, robust, and reliable information. Which you will now make easily digestible for your audience through entertaining content media like videos and podcasts.

Whichever type of content you choose to pursue, your main objective at this stage is not to sell, but to make your potential customers aware of your brand and what it represents.

How to Identify Customers who are at this Stage

Informative Keywords, like other search queries can be easily classified by looking at your customers’ search intent.
How they ask their questions and type in their queries on the search bar is a good indicator of their intent.

Here are several words connected to their search strings that would classify their intent to look for information:

“How to”

“How do I”

“What are”

“Who are”

“Where can I”

“Guide to”

“Fastest way to”

“Why is my”

“What can I’

“Fix for”

“Best way to”

“Easiest way to”

As soon as potential customers become aware of your product or service and how it can solve their problem, they move to the next stage in the journey: consideration.



It is not far-fetched to describe this stage as the most critical part of the buying process. This is where the culmination of all the efforts you exerted on the awareness stage come into play.

At this stage, you will find yourself competing not only with other businesses of the industry you belong to, but also against the intensity of your customers’ need.

For this reason, it is essential to provide as much detailed information as you can that will explain how the products or services you are offering will solve their problem better than the competition as well as the benefits they will reap after solving the problem.
This is also the best time for you as a marketer to target your customers’ pain points. Placing these pain points in front of your customers and addressing them directly will intensify your customers’ need for what you are offering.

For this stage of the buying cycle, your products or much more favorably, your brand will be part of your customers’ search queries.
Along with the keywords that will dictate the direction that they are looking at when making comparisons. =

Hence, the classification of these keywords being named as:

Navigational keywords

These are keywords that your customers utilize when they already have a clear search intent towards a particular brand’s website.
They are also referred to as “GO” keywords since they lead your customers directly to your website’s doorstep.

If your customer or their browser already has your website’s URL ‘memorized’ or better yet, bookmarked, then you are in luck. Since at this point, there’s really no way for your competition to enter the scene.
However, there are instances when your customers would key in phrases or search queries that they know will lead them to you as well rather than keying your website’s URL.
This is where it becomes a bit tricky.

You see, when your users search for your brand you will always find that your website and its pages dominating the first page of Google’s SERP.
That is, if your competitors aren’t using Google ads to target your branded keywords.

I tried searching for Asana as an example. Take a look at the results on my SERP:

How to Identify Customers who are at this Stage

These search queries include a variety of brand-specific terms and navigational phrases which may look like these examples:

[Brand name] [Product/service type]

[Product/Services name] Reviews

[Product name] features

[Product name] benefits

[Brand name/product name] versus [Competitor brand/competitor product]

[Brand name/Product name] reviews

Best [Product category]

[Specific product]

Okay, we’ve established that these customers are actually looking for your website and the products or services you offer.

You managed to have them click on your SERP link and now they’re inside your site. Since their intention is already clear, there’s a logical probability here for conversions.
However, at times when that may not be the case, then it is up to you to make sure that their visit to your site is not wasted.
One of the best practices your website could have is having opt-in fields on all web pages that would capture the most desirable contact information you could ever gain from your customers: Their email address.

You can place opt-in fields for a number of different reasons: A contact scenario with a “Get in Touch” call to action, a “Want to know more, contact us” with additional fields that let them enter their questions, or even an incentivized offer of free downloadables in exchange for their email address.
Once you have their email address, then even if they leave your website without buying anything, you can still continue to stay in contact and send them offers, reminders, and special deals for your products or services.

This method is called: Nurture Streams. It allows you to turn one-time visitors of your website to repeat visitors, with each visit having its own probability of conversions.
Now it’s up to you and your website to convince them to convert from visitors into customers.
Especially since at the end of this consideration stage, your potential patrons have totally convinced themselves that they really need to gain a solution for their problems. This could be your brand or your competitors.

Either way, they proceed to the next stage: Intent



This stage is completely offline. That means no matter what you do, you can no longer influence your customer’s decision at this point.

It is at this point that your customers pit competitors against each other in their mind before making a decision. This is where your customers will combine all the information they have acquired during the first two stages to form a compelling reason to make a purchase.

Information like pricing, features, and at times, freebies sway a customer from one option to another. In short: Your customer’s finger is on the trigger, they just don’t know yet who to point their credit card at.

There are instances when customers go back to the consideration phase, but optimally they move on to the next stage: Conversion.



Alright, this stage will see your customer having decided on the product they want to buy. All that’s left now is the purchase.
Identifying customers who are at this stage is easy. As the prospects to make their final purchase decision are visible in their search queries.

We call the keywords they use in their search queries:

Commercial and Transactional Keywords

Your customers are ready “to do” something, to take action. This means your customers’ will fill their search queries with so much buying intent just to get to the pages where they can take action.

How to Identify Customers who are at this Stage

Transactional Keywords may include verbs or sales terms paired with general product names or brands that they are looking to purchase from.

  • Buy
  • Coupons
  • Affordable
  • Price
  • Shipping
  • Investment

Now, even if you’re already at this stage and you have received that confirmation email notifying you of your customers’ purchase, don’t be complacent.

Your job’s not done yet, my friend.
It is essential that you develop and foster an ongoing relationship with your customers. Especially if the products you’re selling and the services you are rendering are ‘renewable’ or will be regularly needed by your customers.

This is the main theme of the fifth and final stage on the buying cycle: Retention and Loyalty

Retention and Loyalty

I mentioned earlier that having your customers finish the purchase process doesn’t end after they virtually ‘swipe’ their credit card on your website’s payment portal.

Here are some quick facts: Most businesses today don’t pay enough attention or exert enough effort into customer retention through fostering loyalty.
They usually relax their efforts or sometimes not exert any effort at all in nurturing their customers after they acquire them.

This is a tremendous mistake on their part. In fact, it becomes a major threat and weakness to the sustainability of their business, which their business rivals will not fail to identify and capitalize on.

Based on a research conducted by Econsultancy in 2014:

40% of companies focus their efforts in acquiring new customers rather than retaining them; only

15% have customer retention as their primary focus; and

45% focus their efforts equally between acquisition and retention

This misallocation on the part of these businesses stems from the misconception that customer retention and acquisition are two different buckets separate from each other. That is not the case in 2020.

Let’s look at some of the keywords we listed down on the conversion stage:

[Product/Services name] Reviews

[Product name] benefits

[Brand name/product name] versus [Competitor brand/competitor product]

[Brand name/Product name] reviews

Best [Product category]

You’re seeing what I’m seeing right? These are aspects about your brand, your product, or your service that your customers can provide input on.

Remember how crucial the consideration stage is in deciding whether your websites would get conversions or not? Your current customers can influence that.
One negative review from a customer dissatisfied with an item he or she paid for has drastic effects to the trust you are trying to build with your new customers. So take care of the current ones you have.

These customers are not only easy to find, you can actually dictate where they could gather.
By setting up a customer support page on your site, like a simple FAQ or even better, a customer support ticketing service, you can have your customers tell you exactly how you can provide after-sales assistance to them.

Now if the idea of setting up a support page for your customers is not a prospect that you would prefer to undertake (I’m not sure why), then you will most likely find your customers frequenting these online spaces:

Facebook Groups relevant to your brand or your industry

Chat logs from webinars or comments on Youtube Videos

Q&A sites like Quora

The comment section of brand/product-related contents like “Top 10 X” or “Best X”

Searches for a specific brand or products online

Once you have found a suitable location to continuously gain insights about your customers’ after-sales needs, you can then set up a system that identifies their top issues about your brand, your products, or your competitors.

Not only will this allow you to build content that would address these problems for your existing customers and provide them exceptional after-sales services, you can also utilize this to attract your competitors customers.

Adding dimensions to your keyword’s data

You’re probably holding a long list of keywords now that you know what keywords to aim for at each stage of your customer’s buying cycle.
Hence it’s worth asking: How many do I focus on? How do I choose which ones I should prioritize?

Let’s answer both of those questions:

How many Keywords Should I Focus On?

How many Keywords Should I Focus On?

The answer to your first question depends on how many pages you will be creating.
This keyword model comes from building landing pages for Paid Ad campaigns in Google Ads which you can utilize as well for your organic efforts.
Let’s say you own an online business that offers technical services for home televisions. You would probably have two major services: Installation and Repair.

Your Installation services would probably have two types: Wall mounting and TV rack installation.
Since repairs needs accurate diagnostics first before you could recommend a course of action, then you’ll probably need one page for that: Repair Diagnostics

By now, you’re looking at four different pages. Each page should have it’s own focus keyword, and each focus keyword should have at least 4 supporting LSI keywords.
So let’s summarize: 4 pages, 4 different focus keyword buckets with 1 focus keyword and 4 LSI keywords each.

Okay, moving on to the second question.

Thousand Keywords

I have a Thousand Keywords on my list. Which Ones do I Prioritize?

The answer to that question depends on a couple of factors that determine the potential of the keywords on your list.
A keyword research tool like Ubersuggest, SEMRush, or Ahrefs can help you in gaining the following metrics.

Let’s take a quick look at each of them:

Average monthly search volume
Like the name states, this metric shows you how many times a keyword has been searched on a monthly average. It is a useful measurement to see how popular a keyword is. However, it does not take into consideration the factor of time in its measurement. The last bullet on this list does.

PPC Competition
This metric is a good indicator of whether you’ll see Ads on the SERP you’re trying to rank on or not. It also tells you how hectic the competition is in terms of paid advertisements.

Average CPC
Another good indicator of the intensity of paid ad competition for your chosen keywords. For example, a higher value means more advertisers are competing for it, which means you might want to steer clear of that keyword and focus on a different one.

Competition Level
Online SEO Tools would usually have two different indicators for competition level. One for organic and one for paid. These metrics take into consideration how many entities are actually competing for a keyword to provide a rating that would give you insights on how easy or difficult it would be for you when you decide to compete for a certain keyword.

Interest over time
While average monthly search volume provides you with insights on how many users are searching for a given keyword, the value is spread evenly throughout the whole year. This is all well and good if the topics you are focusing on your content is meant to be evergreen, but what if it isn’t?

What if your business relies on seasonal trends, like gardening for example. You would need to know when certain gardening related keywords are popular in order for you to plan your content ahead. This is where interest over time comes in.

It gives you insights on the best time to utilize your focus keywords as well as the exact timing for you to publish your content.

Alright, by now you have everything you would need to do SEO Competitor Analysis.

Let’s jump right in.

How To Do Competitive Keyword Analysis

Begin With Data Gathering

Begin With Data Gathering

Like any good strategy, your first step should always be centered around gathering as much information as you can.
The goal here is to acquire as much relevant data as you can that would be necessary for you to have a clear overview of your competitive landscape.

Sizing up your Competition

How effective your efforts will be will depend on how big of a target you’re aiming at, as well as your own capabilities as a business.
Hence it is important that you create an accurate model for the business rivals you are trying to compete with.

Here are several aspects you should be looking at:

Competitor’s Size vs. Your Capacity

Do you have the capability and the resources to go toe to toe with your biggest competitor in your industry’s neighborhood, or would it be better for you to go after medium to smaller sized competition?

Direct vs. Indirect Competition

A direct competitor is a brand that offers similar products or services as the ones you are providing your customers. Indirect Competitors, on the other hand, offers different products or services compared to the one you’re offering but resolves the same problem for your customers.

Finding your direct competitors is an easy task. All you gotta do is search in Google using your products or services as queries. They’ll be the ones dominating the SERP rankings.
Now, for the mid to low range targets, you can use online tools like Similarweb or Alexa. Put your website into these tools and look for the section that says “Similar Sites”.
Okay, you’ve put names to faces so to speak. Now we gather data on what makes them successful and how we can emulate their success.

Metrics You Should Be Looking at:

These indicators are key factors to a website’s success in the field of SEO:

Domain authority

Or DA, is a proprietary rating developed by MOZ meant to predict how well a website’s pages can rank on SERP. The measurement ranges from 1 to 100, and sites with higher scores would have higher probabilities of ranking.

To calculate Domain Authority, multiple factors need evaluation: Linking root domains, number of total links, and link relevance among others. You can then utilize a website’s DA score to compare ranking strength over time.

Link sources or referring domains

You can also utilize the Domain Authority rating to measure links and domains that are referring to your competitors’ websites. This would provide you insights on who these referrers are as well as how credible the reputation they are providing to your competitor.

New referring domains

Aside from domains that are currently sending link traffic to your competitors, you would need to watch out for new websites that are using them as reference.

This is valuable since to you as, new links are equivalent to new content. It may also mean contents being optimized, both of which are opportunities for you to capitalize on in your link building efforts.

Check out Metrics that tell you how your competitors are doing

Aside from the ones mentioned above, there are other key stats that will provide you with a clear picture of how well your competitors are doing in their website’s SEO:

Monthly Average Traffic

Pageviews, Bounce rate, Average Session Duration

Traffic Acquisition by Geographical Location

Traffic Acquisition Sources

Top Referring Channels

Traffic Demographic Classification

Use Your Knowledge of Your Customer’s Journey to Determine How Well Your Competitors are Doing in each Stage

By now, you already have enough insights to even do a very thorough SWOT analysis of your competitors. Which you have the time by the way, is something we highly recommend.

Using that information, and the same process you did for mapping your keywords on your customer’s journey, you will now be able to gain deeper insights on how you can emulate their strengths or capitalize on their weak points.

Let’s discuss that in-depth in the next section.

Capitalizing on Your Competitor’s Keywords

Capitalizing on Your Competitor’s Keywords

Before we can start utilizing your competitors’ keywords for your own benefit, we’ll need to first gather as much as we can.

Once that is done, we can then compare the keywords they are using with the ones you have gathered for your website to identify the gaps that we need to fill.

How to Acquire These Keywords

Using an online SEO Tool that would let you enter domains freely like Ubersuggest, SEMRush, or Alexa, enter your competitor’s website URL and download all the results that show up.

You should be getting a long list of keywords that would include paid, organic, and opportunity keywords along with the metrics that support it such as average search volume, CPC, paid difficulty, and organic search difficulty.

Once you have all these insights, compile them into different tabs on a spreadsheet so they’re easier to view.

Filtering out Keywords

Alright, you now have an organized database filled with your competitor’s keywords, we can now begin analyzing their potential for your benefit.
At this point, we’re looking for low competition keywords so our first goal is to remove keywords that have very high competitiveness.
Use the stats provided by the online SEO tool you used to determine which ones have high search difficulty and which ones do not.
But don’t delete these keywords! You might need them further down the line, so just remove them from the list so they don’t cause confusion.

You can also create a new spreadsheet for you to compile these keywords on.
With this done, you would now have a smaller list of keywords, around 20% of the original ones you had when we started.

Now we look at them one by one.

Gaining Competitor Insights through Keywords

This is where the hard part begins, so gather your resolve.
Start by plugging your keywords one by one on Google Search and take note of the top 3 organic results for each.

Visit each result one by one and use the following questions for your review:

On-page aspects:

  Keeping in mind the intent and as a user who used this keyword to search, how relevant was the page to your query?

  Is the page or the platform you were directed to an established website or forum?

Off-page aspects:

  Enter the page’s URL on an Online SEO Tool and check it’s backlinks. How many links point to the page?

  What are the DA ratings for the source of these links that point to the page?

  Go to the page’s main website and do the same. How many links point to the website?

  What are the DA ratings for the source of these links that point to the domain?

Technical Aspects:

  Did the page load all the copy, images, and features quickly?

  Check the page using a smartphone or a tablet. Is the page mobile friendly?

Once you’re done reviewing all the results, it's now time to decide which keywords you will be focusing on based on your findings.

Identifying the Organic Keywords You’ll be Focusing On

While this decision is not an easy one, I’m afraid no online keyword tool can help you out at this point.This is something that you’ll have to consider for your website manually, so to speak.

You can use the following questions as your guide in choosing the right keywords to focus on:

How advanced is your knowledge and expertise of SEO?

Do you have a team who helps you in optimizing your website or are you doing it solo?

How old is your website? What is it’s domain authority?

Do you already have links pointing to your site and are these high quality links?

Does your site gain links naturally or do you build them yourself through outreach? How easy can you gain links?

Do you create your own content? How high is the quality of the contents you are producing?

Are you outsourcing your content? Do you have enough spending power to increase the frequency of your content production if needed?

Now it is worth stating that the stronger your website’s authority is, the more capable you will be in competing for these keywords.

How quickly and easily you can gain backlinks, how much you can allot for increasing the quality and rate of your content production, as well as how keen your capabilities are in doing SEO will all factor in how high you can rank in SERP and stay on that ranking.

Forming Topic Clusters Using Keywords

Our next step is to create the keyword groups that you will be utilizing for the creation of your contents and the optimization of your pages.

For this process, the Topic Cluster structure is recommended for creating keyword groups due to the following reasons:

Google’s main point of consideration in terms of relevance is how directly and efficiently your page answers the user’s search query

Having the secondary keywords on your groupings provide contextual support to your main keywords will strengthen its impact on the page as a whole

You can use LSI keywords to provide additional contextual strength to your main keywords as well

Having a Topic Clusters opens up opportunities for you to create a pillar page surrounded by cluster pages. These pages would then internally link to each other to support the topics and subtopics that your articles are discussing.

When creating Topic Clusters, don’t group keywords based on relevance. While that seems like the sensible and logical choice, it would make your job harder after forming one or two groups.

If you group your keywords using relevance you’ll end up with topic clusters which are stronger than others. You will also end up having less keyword groups since you will run out of supporting keywords for other clusters.

To do it right, create your topic clusters based on the following considerations:

Common themes that your services have

Estimated organic ROI on search volume, impressions, clicks, or CTR

The correct appearance of these keywords in your customer journey

Now that you have everything you would need to optimize your existing pages and create new contents, it’s time to take advantage of your competition.

Take Action

This is it. We’re fully equipped and we’re ready to rumble. It’s time to put everything you have acquired so far to good use.
All that’s left for you to do now is to present the solutions your content provides to address your customer’s needs through actionable solutions to their queries.

Be mindful of which stage of your customer’s journey you will incorporate these keyword groups.
To do this, it would be best to have a visualization of your customer’s buying cycle akin to a diagram that you and your team can use as reference. This is also referred to as a customer journey map.

Identifying the needs and pain points of your customers will allow you to hone in on specific audiences at specific points on the customer journey map.

The Awareness Stage

What You Will Need:

Your Informational Keywords

A clearly structured conversion funnel

Action Steps Need:

Update the existing content of your website’s pages

Produce new and better content

Drive traffic to your content and capture leads


What You Will Need:

Your Navigational Keywords

Your affiliate websites on your network providing links to your domain and pages

Q&A and review sites and platforms that link to your website

Action Steps Need:

Get your products or services featured on relevant review sites

Have a system to collect proof elements like customer reviews and testimonials

Conduct your own product comparisons on your contents

Mobilize affiliates to bring your website’s authority levels up


What You Will Need:

Your commercial, transactional, and paid keywords

Your products and services page(s)

Your Ad Campaign Plan (if you wish to run Ads)

Action Steps Need:

Improve your product page ranking for the ‘buy keywords’ to get in front of your organic customers during their buying phase

Build a database of all your customers who triggered a conversion opportunity

Capitalize on upsell opportunities during this phase

Get rid of price objections and promote flexibility in your offers

Retention & Loyalty

What You Will Need:

Your Navigational Keywords

Cross-sell offers

FAQ or other customer support

Action Steps Need:

Create content that allows users to get the most out of your product

Go for the cross-sell by offer similar products and services that would go well with their original purchase

Now to make the process easier, especially the rigorous parts, we would like to recommend the following online tools for you to utilize.

The 3 Best Tools for Doing Competitor Keyword Analysis

What Makes it Special

What Makes it Special

SEMRush is one of the most popular online keyword tools out there for you to utilize. It has a comprehensive research tool, domain analytics, backlink tracking, desktop to mobile search comparisons, you name it, SEMRush can do it for you.

You can also create project-based SEO campaign structures. Plus it has a huge database of keyword suggestions and proactive SEO recommendations.

What it lacks

What it lacks

What it has in strength it lacks in organizing it’s huge keyword database. That means it can’t export keywords in an organized manner for you. You’ll have to do it yourself.

While it has innovative tools, most of it is still in beta phase. This is both a liability and a possible future asset once it finally launches.



SEMRush has three main packages for its pricing: Pro, Guru, and Business

Pro: $99.95 per month

For freelancers, startups and in-house marketers with limited budget

Run your SEO, PPC and SMM projects with 40+ advanced tools.

Know your competitors’ traffic sources, rankings, social media results & more.

Guru: $199.95 per month

For SMB and growing marketing agencies

All the Pro features plus:

  • Content Marketing Platform
  • Branded reports
  • Historical Data
  • Extended limits

Business: $399.95 per month

For agencies, E-commerce projects and businesses with extensive web presence

All the Guru features plus:

  • White label reports
  • API access
  • Extended limits and sharing options
  • Google Data Studio Integration

At first glance, it does look like SEMRush is a premium SEO tool since there’s no option to use it for free. Or is there?
New SEMRush accounts start off as either a Pro or a Guru package which you can try out for 7 days.
What most people don’t know is that after the 7-day trial period is done, you have the option of downgrading your SEMRush account to the free version. And it will be free forever.

There are certain limitations to SEMRush’s free version though:

  • 10 Searches Per Day
  • 10 Results Per Search
  • Can’t use the Keyword Magic Tool
  • Can only create and manage one project
  • You can only cawl 100 pages for Site Audit
  • Can only track 10 keywords on the Position Tracking Tool
  • 2 search queries in Topic Research
  • 1 PDF Report

These limitations are okay if you’re just a startup business online. However if you find these limitations hindering your progress, we suggest going with Pro or Guru.

What Makes it Special

What Makes it Special

SEO Powersuite is a “jack of all trades” online tool that has been providing organic insights to businesses on the internet for a long time now.

It boasts four powerful feature tools:

SEO Spyglass:

Which you can utilize for Backlink Research and Analysis


Provides you with access to link-building opportunities

Website Auditor:

Allows you to audit your sites as well as your competitors while providing on-page SEO analysis

Rank Tracker:

Tracks the ranking of your Keywords and your competitors so you can act and react according to how they are trending

In addition, these trackers can also be integrated with other proprietary tools that you are probably using right now:

Google Search Console

Google Analytics

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter

Where It’s Lacking

Where It’s Lacking

SEO Powersuite is not a platform that has all four of it’s main tools integrated into one “Super Tool” unlike other ‘swiss army knife SEO tools’. Due to this, the learning curve required to get familiar with the workflow could be quite intimidating to new users.

The four individual tools that make up SEO PowerSuite are applications that you would need to install on your desktop or laptop computer. That means it would be utilizing your machine’s computing power to crunch data and depending on how geared your rig is, it might prove to be a slow endeavor.



SEO Powersuite comes in three pricing packages:

Unlimited sites and keywords

All SEO features (with volume limitations)

Includes all the Free Features plus:
Save projects with SEO history

Schedule tasks to run on autopilot
Copy data to clipboard
Price: $299 Per Year

Includes all the Free and Professional Features plus:
Export data

White label SEO reports in PDF and HTML
Save, print, deliver reports to clients
Price: $699 Per Year


What Makes it Special

What Makes it Special

BuzzSumo showcases the following features that will help you out with your competitor keyword analysis:

Brand Monitoring

BuzzSumo provides you the capability to keep a close watch on your brand’s reputation as well as how often it is being mentioned on social media channels and other platforms on the internet.

This is a very easy feature to access as well. All you have to do is input the following details: Role, Website, and Name of the Company.
But what really earned BuzzSumo a slot on this list is the fact that if you can do this for your own brand or website, you can do it for you competitors as well and gain insights on how popular they are in the interwebs.

Research Content

Okay, let’s face it. The content you produce on your blogs rely mostly on topics that are currently trending and popular on the internet.
This means in a few months or in a span of weeks, you can consider your blog articles expired.

Don’t you just wish you had the capability to produce evergreen content that would be considered relevant for all eternity? An article that people would go back and reference whenever they come across a certain topic that you are trying to rank for?

BuzzSumo’s content research feature will help you strategize and execute the creation of content that is loved by both your readers and researchers looking for information about that topic.

Most Shared

This feature is very straightforward. Entering a keyword you’re trying to research for will give you how much engagement it has online.
In addition to insights on how many shares your topic may get, it will also give you a pretty good idea on which platforms to target in order for it to prosper.

What it lacks

What it lacks

For all the features that BuzzSumo offers, it does charge a very steep price. This means only huge agencies and established companies can avail of its monthly services. Suffice it to say that it’s not for startups, small businesses, and individually-run enterprises.

BuzzSumo’s keyword recommendation database is relatively smaller compared to the big names in online SEO tools. You would oftentime find yourself lacking options for keywords that you can target and would have to rely on other tools in order to gain what you need.



Like we mentioned above, BuzzSumo does not have a “Forever Free” option like SEO Powersuite. Instead, it has four different packages that you can avail of for a price.

Pro at $99/mo.
Unlimited Searches

5 Alerts and 5,000 mentions of your brand
1 Year of Historical Data
1-5 Users
50 Exports
5 Projects, 1000 URLs
10 Trending Feeds
Content Analysis Report
Domain Reports

Plus at $179/mo.
Unlimited Searches

10 Alerts and 10,000 mentions of your brand
Question (Queries) Analyzer
1 Year of Historical Data
10 Users
150 Exports
10 Projects, 5000 URLs
20 Trending Feeds
Content Analysis Report
Domain Reports
Top Author Search

Large at $299/mo.
Unlimited Searches

30 Alerts and 20,000 mentions of your brand
Question (Queries) Analyzer
Youtube Analyzer
Facebook Analyzer
2 Years of Historical Data
15 Users
200 Exports
30 Projects, 10000 URLs
50 Trending Feeds
Content Analysis Report
Domain Reports
Top Author Search
Advanced Trending Filters

Enterprise at $499+/mo.
Unlimited Searches

50+ Alerts and 20,000 mentions of your brand
Question (Queries) Analyzer
5 Years of Historical Data
Custom Number of Users
Custom Number of Exports
Custom Number of Projects and URLs
Custom Number of Trending Feeds
Content Analysis Report
Domain Reports
Top Author Search
Advanced Trending Filters

16 White-Label Link Building Services
for SEO Consultants Marketer's Center has the best white-label reseller SEO services created specifically for marketing consultants and agencies. Explore our diverse set of packages below: