One of the best ways to find opportunities for SEO and PPC Advertising is competitor keyword research. By understanding the search engine keywords that are driving your competitor’s value, you can start to position your website better in the search results. In addition, an SEO competitive analysis can help you find backlink gaps and keyword gaps between you and your competitors.
Two major issues that we run into as marketers are finding free competitor keyword tools and finding free competitive analysis tools for SEO. In this article, I will cover some free methods and paid methods to conduct competitive keyword research. You can start by watching the video below or viewing it directly on YouTube.
SEO Competitor Keywords and Competitive Analysis Tutorial
Two Article Notes
- You can do competitive keyword research and competitive analysis with ease using paid tools like SEMRush, SpyFu, or Ahrefs. The method used in this article is a 100% free process.
- I will be doing competitive research for SEO using my website FarmhouseGoals.com throughout this article.
6 Step Free SEO Competitive Analysis Process
The step-by-step process below is helpful when you want to analyze your SEO competitors for free. While you can use paid tools to research your competitors much more efficiently, it’s helpful to know a free method as well.
Step 1 – Find Top Competitors in Search Results
There are a variety of methods to find your top competitors in search results. You will find some ideas below using free resources that are available to you.
Free Tools to Find SEO Competitors
There is more detail below about each tool and exactly how I use them. You can use the free searches and free versions of each tool to find your competitors.
You can use the free version of SEMRush, search for your own website, and view a list of your top 10 organic competitors.
You can use a free search in SpyFu, search for your website, and you can find a list of your top 5 organic competitors.
Another method is to go directly to Google.com, search some of your top organic keywords, and find organic competitors directly in the search results.
In addition to Google, you can also go to Bing.com, search your organic keywords, and find competitors there as well.
One great source is SERanking.com, which will allow you to find a lot of insights about your website with their free version.
Next, you can try SERPStat.com, make an account with the free subscription plan, and do a search for your own website. Unfortunately, you have to upgrade your account to be able to use the search filters.
Alexa.com will give you some of your top website competitors based on audience overlap.
Last but not least, SimilarWeb is a great resource for finding website insights as well as doing competitive analysis.
Step 2 – Make a List of Your Competitors
Use the top competitor listings available through SEMRush, SpyFu, SERanking, SerpStat, Alexa, and SimilarWeb.
Once you go through each tool, you can start making a list of your top competitors. Keep in mind, you should find competitors that have a similar website to yours in terms of size and traffic. You shouldn’t use Amazon.com as a competitor for your niche website, for example.
Below, I have a list of the competitors I found for my website related to Farmhouse Decor. I would recommend creating a list of 5-15 competitors.
Step 3 – Compare Keywords, Traffic, and Backlinks With Competitors
In this step, you can use a free tool like SEMRush to find key statistics for your website and other websites. I prefer to use SEMRush to find their Organic Keywords, Rank, Traffic, Backlinks, Referring Domains, and Keywords in the top 10.
I love to compare my search engine traffic and the number of keywords my website ranks for in Google against my competitors. In addition, backlinks are a vital part of ranking high. By finding keyword gaps and backlink gaps, you not only understand why your competitors rank higher than you, but you can create an actionable strategy.
Step 4 – Find The Top 10 Organic Keywords For Each Competitor
The 10 keywords that send your competitors the most traffic can be very useful when you need new content ideas and keyword ideas.
Step 5 – Find Keyword Gaps Between Your Website and Competitors
A keyword gap would be a keyword that your competitor ranks for that your website does not rank for. You literally want to close the gaps so you can overtake them in total SEO traffic.
You can find keyword gaps by using the Google Keyword Planner, which will give the most relevant keywords for any website that you search for. Then, you need to look for matches or duplicates using Microsoft Excel, remove the duplicates, and focus on the gaps with your content.
Step 6 – List Keyword Gaps and Find Search Volume For Your Keyword Gaps
Once you find keyword gaps for multiple competitors, then you want to put together a huge list of all those keywords. You can use a free tool like SearchVolume.io to rank the keywords by search volume.
5 Competitive Analysis & Keyword Research Tips
An important concept when it comes to SEO is analyzing your competitors, their keywords, and their search engine traffic. After you complete your competitive analysis and competitive keyword research for SEO, the tips below can help you steal organic search traffic from your competition.
Use Free Trials of Premium Competitive Analysis Tools
You can find your competitor’s top shared content, top-ranking pages, top keywords by search volume, backlinks, and more. One great strategy is to use free trials of paid tools, export all of the competitive data you need, and use it to guide your SEO strategy.
For example, SEMRush offers a free 7-day trial when you create a new account.
Focus on Keywords Your Competitors are Ranking For
There are many ways to improve SEO and gain more organic traffic. One way to save your time and money is to analyze your competition’s content and create more comprehensive content around the same topics. You can get hundreds of keyword ideas by finding out what your competition is ranking for and by analyzing their blog posts.
Authentic, informative content is very important for a good search engine position. Take into account the rankings for your keywords and compare those rankings to your competitors.
Understand Why You Don’t Rank For Keywords
With certain keywords, you may be competing against some of the top websites in the world. It can be almost impossible to rank against websites like Amazon and Wikipedia. Massive websites have resources that small websites struggle to compete with. You need to spend your time and resources targeting keywords that you can actually rank for.
Target Low Search Volume Keywords Too
One error that marketers and website owners make is they only optimize for highly competitive, high search volume keywords. However, keywords with less search volume can still drive a significant amount of traffic to your website. Don’t be afraid to invest time into keywords that are less popular as well.
While certain keywords may seem like a waste of time due to overall search volume, adding monthly impressions and monthly clicks to your organic search results will help you get more out of your Search Engine Optimization.
Consistently Create New Content For Your Keywords
If you can publish a new piece of high-quality content every day, then your website will rank higher in search engines for more keywords. It’s similar to planting seeds in that the more seeds you plant the more flowers you can ultimately grow. While focusing on your competitors is important, don’t forget to focus on your own strategy.
In every industry, there are websites and businesses that have very strong content and SEO strategies. While your own website may have high rankings in search engines like Google and Bing, you can still learn a lot from your competitors. By using the competitor analysis strategies above, you can do competitive keyword research and take traffic from the other websites in your industry.