Why run competitive analysis of keywords?

An in-depth analysis on why competitive analysis is pivotal for your SEO strategy

Published by 

Anand Srinivasan


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Competitive keyword analysis is the process of analysing the keywords that your competitor is using to rank for, and then optimizing your site based on those keywords.

It helps you determine who the best players are and what strategies they use to beat their competition.

The goal of competitive keyword analysis is to figure out what you can use as keywords that will rank on Google’s first page for your target keyword and have a high chance of converting into sales.

You can’t simply go in and create a list of keywords that work, because there are so many variables:  

  • What is the average cost per click for those keywords?
  • How many people search for them each month?
  • How many people buy from the sites that rank well for those keywords?
  • How much competition does your keyword have?

 A competitive keyword analysis is an important process for SEO Managers and content marketers alike. It will help you:  

  • Understand what users want from your brand or product page, which will help guide future content creation efforts and even design decisions.
  • Find the right keywords for your website and improve your website’s SEO.
  • Have a better insight into which keywords your competitors are optimizing for and what they’re ranking for.
  • Learn about the competitive landscape and how you can stand out in a seemingly saturated market. It helps you gain insight into what the competition is doing better than you, how to make improvements, and understand what gaps in the market you can fill.

Even if you and your competitor have the same product, your product-market fit may be different.

For example, if you have project management software, you may be targeting a small business audience while your competitor may target a tech startup crowd, and another may target an enterprise crowd.

Competitive analysis not only tells you how your PMF differs from your competition but also gives you an idea of gaps in the market that you can fill.

For example, you could create a new landing page for a subsection of your audience that you hadn’t thought about earlier.  

Content marketing is a pretty lucrative lead acquisition source. If you can find what your smaller competitors are ranking for, then you can produce better content, and outrank them.

For example, let’s say you want to rank for the term “content marketing” in Google, and The Moz Keyword Explorer shows that there are about 1,500 searches per month for this term.

If you were only able to come up with a few hundred keyword ideas that had some amount of search volume and didn’t overlap with other keywords (i.e., no more than 10%), then it would take you years to build a site that ranked for every single one of these keywords.

But if you could find out what your smaller competitors were ranking for — say by checking out their URLs — then you could focus on building content that was better and outranking them on those terms.

The ROI calculation — if you have lower traffic than the competition, but have a lot more content, then a competitive analysis will tell you if you are targeting the wrong keywords, or if you should improve your content to rank higher.

The same goes for pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns — if you are getting a lot of clicks on your ads but not much engagement from those visitors, then it might be time to improve your copy and landing pages.

Competitive analysis can also help you in your content marketing efforts.

If other companies are writing about the same topic as yours, but with great results, then it might be worth trying some of their tactics to reach your target audience faster.

It is a process that helps you determine how well your website is performing in the market.

This type of analysis determines where your business stands in relation to your competition, and how much you can improve upon it.

While doing competitive analysis — do not go just by traffic volume. Because search intent matters. Your competition could have millions of pageviews, but if they are to the wrong keywords, then conversion may be way lower. So, quality > quantity.

How to identify a competitive keyword?

A competitive analysis will help you determine which keywords are most important to your business and which ones should be prioritized in your SEO efforts.

It can also help you identify any gaps where your competitors are outranking you on those terms.

Here’s how to find keywords:

  • Create a list of relevant keywords by using keyword tools like Wordtracker, Google Trends or KeywordTool.io.
  • Use the list of keywords to build a list of related terms (i.e., synonyms).
  • Find high-volume, low-volume and ultra-competitive keywords for each term on your list.
  • Search for similar terms that might appear on top of the SERPs (search engine results pages) based on volume and competitiveness.
  • Analyse the results of these searches with the SEMRush Keyword Difficulty Tool (this tool will give you an idea of how difficult it is to rank for each term).

How to run a good competitive keyword analysis?

Here are some tips:

Identify your target keywords

A list of keywords or phrases (or “keywords” and/or “phrases” or whatever you want to call them) that you want to rank for in search engines.

Analyse your keywords

Once you have a list of relevant keywords, it’s time to conduct an actual analysis of each one by running Google Analytics reports and other tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs. You should look at several metrics across all of your pages, including traffic sources, organic search queries, and mobile searches (if applicable).

Analyze the top 10 results for each keyword. Collect a list of websites that rank for those keywords, along with their page titles. This will be useful later when you’re looking at keyword difficulty scores.

Look at how much traffic each page gets and make a list of those pages that are getting good traffic but aren’t getting any results.

Decide what’s important to you

Once you’ve identified the most important keywords, look at their difficulty level (how many people search for them each month), cost per click (how much it costs per click), ad position (where it appears on the page), and organic traffic (how many visitors they drive each month).

Bank on the past

Gather AdWords data from previous campaigns so you can see which keywords worked best for each campaign.

Go deep into your competitors’ mindset

Accumulate domain knowledge about each website so you know what kind of content they publish and how relevant it is for your business.

It is clear that conducting a competitive analysis of keywords is a beneficial way to understand the competition within your market.

By understanding what keywords your competitors are targeting, you can better adjust your own SEO strategy.

Additionally, by analysing the search volume and difficulty of various keywords, you can identify which ones are more likely to result in conversions.

Ultimately, conducting a competitive analysis of keywords can help you better understand your competition and make strategic decisions to improve your chances of ranking in search engines.

Created by

Anand Srinivasan

Published at 

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