How do you find the ranking keyword of a competitor?

How do you find the ranking keyword of a competitor

There are two main approaches to finding the ranking keywords of a competitor:

Free methods:

  • Analyze their website content: This involves checking the title tags, meta descriptions, header tags (H1, H2, etc.), and content itself for relevant keywords. While this won’t reveal exact ranking, it can give you a good idea of the keywords they’re targeting.

Analyzing a competitor’s website content is a great free way to get a sense of the keywords they’re targeting, even if it doesn’t provide exact ranking data. Here’s a breakdown of what to look for:

  • Title Tags: These are the headlines you see in search results and browser tabs. They should be clear, concise, and naturally incorporate relevant keywords.
  • Meta Descriptions: While not a direct ranking factor, meta descriptions are the blurbs that appear under website titles in search results. They can indirectly influence click-through rates (CTR) by using relevant keywords to entice users.
  • Header Tags (H1, H2, etc.): These structure the content and act like subheadings. They’re a good place for competitors to include relevant keywords such as iphone 13 to improve readability and signal importance to search engines.
  • Content: Throughout the competitor’s website content, you’ll likely find relevant keywords sprinkled throughout. Look for how they naturally integrate these keywords without keyword stuffing (excessively using keywords that disrupt readability).

By examining these elements, you can build a strong hypothesis about the keywords your competitor is targeting. This can be a springboard for further research using free and paid tools to get a more comprehensive picture of their SEO strategy.

  • Use Google Keyword Planner: This free tool from Google allows you to enter a competitor’s website URL and see related keywords. It won’t reveal exact ranking data, but it will suggest keywords the site likely ranks for based on its content.

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Google Keyword Planner (GKP) is a fantastic free tool for competitor keyword research, even though it doesn’t give away exact ranking details. Here’s a step-by-step approach to using GKP for this purpose:

  1. Access Google Keyword Planner: You’ll need a Google Ads account to use GKP. If you don’t have one, you can create a free account without needing to run any paid advertising campaigns.

  2. Choose the “Discover new keywords” section: Within GKP, there are two main functionalities: “Get search volume & forecasts” and “Discover new keywords.” For competitor research, we’re interested in discovering new keywords.

  3. Enter your competitor’s website URL: In the “Start with a website” section, paste the URL of your competitor’s website. GKP will analyze the website content and suggest related keywords.

  4. Analyze the Keyword Ideas: GKP will generate a list of keywords along with metrics like average monthly searches and competition level. While you won’t see exact ranking data, this gives you valuable insights into the keywords your competitor might be targeting based on their website content.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind when using GKP for competitor research:

  • Limited data: GKP might not provide an exhaustive list of all the keywords a competitor ranks for. It’s a good starting point, but consider it a suggestion list.
  • Focus on relevant keywords: Don’t just blindly copy every keyword GKP suggests. Analyze the list and prioritize keywords that are relevant to your own niche and target audience.
  • Combine with other methods: Use GKP’s insights alongside your website content analysis and consider exploring paid SEO tools for a more comprehensive picture.
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By strategically using Google Keyword Planner, you can gain valuable insights into your competitor’s keyword strategy and use that knowledge to inform your own SEO efforts.

Paid SEO tools:

Several SEO tools offer more comprehensive competitor keyword research capabilities. Here are a few examples:

  • Semrush: Offers a comprehensive organic research tool that reveals keywords a website ranks for, along with estimated ranking positions and traffic data.
  • Ahrefs: Another powerful SEO tool with a similar functionality to Semrush, allowing you to see a competitor’s ranking keywords and analyze their organic traffic.
  • Spyfu: Specializes in competitive intelligence for SEO and PPC. It provides insights into a competitor’s organic keywords, along with their paid advertising history.

Things to consider:

  • Exact ranking data is difficult: While some tools provide estimated rankings, true ranking data for specific keywords is not always publicly available.
  • Focus on relevant keywords: Don’t just blindly copy your competitor’s keywords. Analyze their strategy and target keywords that are relevant to your own niche and audience.
  • Combine with your own research: Competitor research should complement your own keyword research efforts. Use the insights to refine your strategy and identify potential opportunities.

By combining free and paid methods, you can effectively discover the keywords your competitors are ranking for and use this information to inform your SEO strategy.