Keyword Research Tools Competitors Hate – Beating The Competition
There is no question, anyone serious about their website and rankings spends the majority of their time doing keyword research. Furthermore, there is going to be many times that you dig into the semantics behind your competition to see what keywords they are ranking for.
The only real question is how to gain access to this type of analysis? After all, the competitor is not going to just come out and make keyword strategy public.
Do not worry, there are endless avenues you can choose to complete your keyword research and competitor research. You only need to know how to get there.
This is going to be the most in depth guide you have read and is sure to show you many, many ways to go about proper keyword research and competitor analysis.
This guide is going to discuss many things, including but not limited to:
- SEO Research
- Pay Per Click Research
- Increasing Your Website Traffic
- Tracking Your Keyword Rankings
- Outranking Your Competitors
- Finding Profitable and Obtainable Keywords
- Eliminating Bad Keywords
- Free and Paid SEO Tools
The 4 Most Popular Free SEO Tools
Open Site Explorer, also known as OSE, is a tool provided by Moz.
One of the biggest reasons you will want to use OSE for keyword research regarding your competitors is anchor text distribution.
What you want to do is log into Moz, go to Open Site Explorer, and click on the Anchor Text Distribution Tab. Once here, enter the competitor’s URL.
You will now be able to see up to 20 of the competitors most used keywords when it comes to the anchor text being used in their backlink profile. Knowing the words they are using for backlinking shows you a pretty good idea of what keywords they are focused on and how much effort they are putting into the campaign by how many links use the word and how many domains are pointing to their website using said keyword anchor text.
Google Keyword Planner Via Adwords
Do not skip this section. Everyone knows about the infamous Google Adwords Keyword Tool. However, are you still using it just by typing in the keyword and letting them suggest more for you?
If so, you have a little to learn here. Google Keyword Planner also can help you do a little surface scratching when it comes to competition keyword research.
Instead of typing in a root word, try typing in your competitor’s website URL. Once you have done that, check the box that says Extracted From Webpage. By doing this, you will see a different list of keywords, this is the list of the particular page you actually typed in. Otherwise, without checking that box, you simply see what comes from the homepage.
The list you now have shows you a good idea list for what they are probably trying to rank in google and other search engines for.
This SEO tool enables you to uncover the top 10 keyword phrases that a particular competitors website is ranking for in the search engines organically.
It will reveal not only the keyword, but also the SERP position, traffic amount, and CPC. Knowing the CPC enables you to make a more educated decision on which keywords are worth your time before investing in SEO just because your competition has chosen to do so.
Additionally, you can even see which page on a website ranks for any particular keyword entered. This way you can view the page yourself and see if anything stands out and diagnose it for yourself on what you may be able to do to outrank them.
You have probably seen Alexa many times before. A lot of people choose to look at the Alexa traffic score to get some ideas on how successful sites are.
However, what many people pass up on with Alexa is its ability to help you in your keyword research of your competitors. You can see Keyword Queries that bring in traffic to the page.
Once in Alexa, go over to the tab labeled Site Info and enter the competitor’s URL of interest. Click Get Details. Now, navigate over to the area labeled Search Analytics. This is going to reveal the top keyword phrases that are being searched in the search engines that are actually bringing a substantial amount of visitors to the website.
Furthermore, it also tells you which keywords are starting to become more profitable (on the rise) and which ones are becoming less profitable (on the decline). This can be very useful if you like to take advantage of keywords before your competitors even see the opportunity.
If you know of a 5th top free seo tool that we should discuss, please drop a comment below so that we may update this to the 5 most popular free seo tools. The more the better as always. Moving on…
Other Keyword Tools Competitors Hate – As Recommended By Kissmetrics
Google Alerts – Monitor Mentions Of Your Competition
Do you want reports of your competitors emailed directly to you? Of course you do! Guess what? Google will take care of that for you themselves! There is no more reliable source of information than the search engine itself when it comes to rankings and keyword research!
This very simple to use tool will let you know EVERY SINGLE INSTANCE that one of your competing websites is mentioned online. Not only that, but it will tell you if the mention comes as a link or just a mention somewhere on the web.
You can use this tool to monitor mentions of a keyword or a website, you choose what is right for you. Either way it will be very useful in the future.
I like to use this tool mainly to monitor keyword mentions, social mentions of my company, and get the source of backlinks to my competitors websites along with what anchor text is being used for said backlink.
Social Mention – Another Mention Monitoring Source
This tools puts alot of really neat features regarding social sites like Facebook and twitter, videos in places like Youtube and Vimeo, and blogs all in one convenient place.
You enter the keyword phrase, you could use your competitors company name or URL, and you will be informed of every single mention be it video, blog, or social media.
To further its use, you can also subscribe to the RSS feed. This would be useful in place of Google Alerts to be told every time and never miss a mention.
I like to use this tool to monitor mentions of a keyword or competing company or competitor website and analyze what people are saying about said phrase or site in all of the big social media networks.
Topsy – Social Media Competitor Research
Twitter, Twitter, and more Twitter. Needless to say, this tool s completely focused on Tweets. You can monitor your competition’s tweets back some 10 years right now.
Using Topsy enables you to view in one place how many tweets a competitor has had in a given time frame, a list of the tweets (so you can see what social keywords they use), and which tweets actually brought traffic to them. The influential tweets are the ones that people shared or re-tweeted so that tells you it must have been a good one. Target that.
Marketing Grader – More Monitoring of Those Online Mentions
I think you are starting to get the point. The world of SEO and online marketing is all about socail media these days.
That being said, using Marketing Grader will give you a score of each competing website. This overall score is based on how active the competitor is on social networks, the success of their blog, amount of effort and success of their search engine optimization, and generating leads.
Mostly, this will show you what is working and what is not in their niche. This enables you to know if you should spend more time on SEO, social networking, or blogging. Knowing what is going to be more productive allows you to be more efficient. Time is money!
This is more so a gadget than it is an actual research tool. You place it on your own website and get information sent to you about your competitor’s websites all in one convenient gadget.
InfiniGraph – Yet Another Great Social Media Tool
This tool can be used to track information on both your own site and your competitors. It s best used to tell you what is trending in your social network. The idea is knowing what your audience, or for purposes of competitors keyword research, what is being talked about by your competitor’s audience. Let the audience tell you what you should focus on.
InstaPaper – Organizational Tool For Keyword Research
This one falls a little lower on the list than the majority of the keyword research tools talked about in this guide. However, organization is important too. Therefore, I have included it.
InstaPaper allows yo to add a bookmarklet to important pages and allows you to easily go back and view/read them later easily from your mobile device, computer, or tablet. It is important to know who your competition is and what they are talking about. Using this tool will allow you to do so with organization.
Monitor Backlinks – The Name Says It All
Fairly new and un-used, this is one of the great keyword research tools competitors either don’t know about or don’t want you to know about.
In my honest opinion, it is Google Alerts on steroids. This tool will email you backlinks from different competitors just like Google Alerts. However, it will also tell you which ones are dofollow and nofollow, and which backlinks come from the highest domains and which come from the lowest.
In addition to that, they give you a dashboard which could be used to compare your results with those of your competitors websites. Mostly though, you will want to use it to monitor backlinks to get keyword ideas, dofollow vs nofollow mix, and ideas for locations you may be able to get backlinks from.
SpyFu – Keyword Research and Ad Monitoring Tool
Now we are talking. Want to know which keywords you should target when it comes to pay per click ads. Not only does this tool tell you which keywords your competitors are using for organic search, but also for Adwords ads.
All you need to do is enter the URL of your competitor page and download a list of keywords.
WooRank Website Review – All In One Research/Analysis Tool
WooRank has WAY TOO MANY options to talk about in this article. Competitor research is just a fraction of what it offers. You can track and optimize your site based on project results, but you can use it for keyword research of your competitors as well.
Mostly popular due to its ease of use, this tool is used for finding which resources belong to one owner. You can find it via Adsense or Analytics code, URL, or even an IP address. Enter your preference and get results.
Simply said, when you type in a domain name, you get a list of IP addresses and a list of all domains that belong to the same IP address.
SimilarWeb – Search Engine Rankings Tool
This tools is going to tell you a competitors website global rank, country rank, category rank, and a list of competitor suggestions to watch. In addition to that, it shows you the amount of traffic they are getting and a breakdown of how that traffic is being directed to the page. You will see if it comes from social, advertising, referrals, and many other sources.
This proves to be very useful in knowing where to spend your time.
Compete Digital Marketing Solutions – Another Web Rankings Tool
This one is, in many ways, very much like SimilarWeb. Type in a domain and instantly get a report of competitve rank along with daily unique’s.
What Runs Where – Ad Monitoring Tool
At first glance, you will likely gather that this company focuses on online media buying. Essentially, they want to help businesses ensure that they are buying ads correctly.
However, I want to focus on how to use What Runs Where for analyzing your competitors. You can use it to get an alert every time the competition starts a new ad. Can be useful for keeping up with trends and where your competition is moving their focus to.
Ahrefs – One of The Best Backlinks Tools
I am sure you have heard of this one before. Ahrefs allows you to see a website’s top pages, IP’s, and external backlinks. This is simply going to tell you ideas of keywords to target and give you a list of opportunities for obtaining new backlinks for yourself.
Simply Measured – Another All-In-One Tool
This one will tell you anything and everything that you need to know about your competition. You can view their traffic, social media activity, conversions, trends, etc.
Majestic SEO – Backlink And Competition Tool
This has been one of my personal favorites for years. Majestic SEO shows you a ton of information from their online platform. Enter the website and click the search button. What you will be taken to is a page showing Trust Flow and Citation Flow.
You can see how many referring IP’s and domains they have. It shows you how many backlinks the competitor’s website has. It even has a graph showing the percentage of each keyword used as anchor text.
There is also a few tabs that show you who the referring domains are and which are new and old and lost. Very useful all the way around. please try it out as there is a free option.
The Search Monitor – Keywords Tool
This tool is not very popular, but I do think it is useful from time to time. It focuses on results derived from Google, Bing, Yahoo, Youtube, Baidue, Blogs, Websites, Forums, Mobile, Shopping, and even News sites.
This keyword tool is best used to monitor affiliates and trademarks in my honest opinion.
iSpionage – Keyword Research Tools
This is yet another keyword monitoring tool that will give you a list of pay per click keywords and organic keywords that a competitor is currently targeting. In addition to that, it also shows you how much they spend on paid search. Very useful for you to determine if you can or should focus on PPC for a particular niche.
Ontolo – Backlinks Tool and Content Marketing Resource
While there are many useful features of Ontolo, those worth mentioning are the ability to get link-building opportunities and how to prioritize your content.
This tool will tell you what authors are linking to you so that you have an idea where you may be able to get a backlink from. Use it by typing in a competitors website and steal their backlinks by writing better content than them and promoting to the author that linked to them.
Link Prospector – Pretty Obvious!
Among the kinds of reports you can choose from are guest posting, links pages, reviews, donations, content, giveaways, and more.
This tool is all about link building. It will give you a list, based on the type of report you request, of places you will likely be able to get a link from by entering your keyword.
Tools and Gadgets For Competitive Keyword Research The SEOBook Way
This one is a toolbar that gives you link details, the size of a particular website, and the site’s age. This is all done by simply installing a toolbar and visiting a competitors site.
This is the same thing, only made for Firefox Browser specifically.
The following tools will help you crawl through all of the competing websites for your niche or keyword of choice.
Xenu link Sleuth – This tool is a download that makes it quick and easy to find link opportunities for your site based on broken links on your site.
ScrapeBox – This is a downloadable desktop based tool for crawling the web and giving you link opportunities.
Deep Crawl – This is one of the most popularly known hosted crawling solutions on the web.
80 Legs – Web based link-building opportunity finder.
Mozenda – Web based link opportunity crawler.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider – Much like Xenu and Netpeak but has a ton of more premium features.
Analyze Your Competitor’s Backlinking Plans
Competition Finder – This is a tool that will show you how many competing pages there are on google that are actually indexed that contain your target keyword or key phrase in their own title or anchor.
Backlink Analyzer – Free software for Windows that allows you to see competitors backlink profiles. Keep in mind it is not the best because it is based on results from Yahoo!
Competitor Display Ad Research and Analysis
Competitions Keyword Strategy Analysis and Research
Keyword Density Analysis Tool – Don’t spend too much time on this, but some people still focus on keyword density. This tool will give you that information of a given URL.
BuzzSumo – Get a list of viral content via social networking sites based on a given keyword or phrase.
General Competitor Keyword Research Tools
Quantcast – Worth noting that you are able to download a list of their top 1 million websites. This tool will show not only the traffic that goes to a website, but also the demographics. The demographics of a website is important when spying on your competition because it allows you to better target your audience.
Google Trends for Websites – This is yet another freebie provided by Google themselves that will show you estimates of traffic, location of a websites visitors, and top 10 related keyword ideas.
URL Profiler – this service is similar to Netpeak but has more sources to pull from
SEOTools for Excel is a free Excel spreadsheet made specifically for SEO’s. You have to download it and see which options you like and which you wish to ignore.
90 DataGrabber – This is another SEO Excel spreadsheet that I am actually a fan of. It coincides with Majestic SEO and SEMRush and draws data from the date provided by whichever progam you use to organize it for you.
Rank Tank – This is a Google Drive collection used for rank checking.
Archive.org allows you to see the age of a site and how they use to look. Seeing what a competitor has went from and to will give you ideas on where to go yourself to beat them. Stay a step ahead of the competition if you wish to beat them.
DomainTools – this one is simply showing you the Whois data if you are interested.
Paid Competition Research Tools
JumpShot – Ever heard of Avast? This tool is owned by them and is pretty much their version of SimilarWeb and Compete.com.
HitWise – A bit like Compete.com but with a much higher cost for its premium use.
KeyCompete – This tool shows you the keywords that the competition is currently buying.
KeywordSpy – Similar to KeyCompete. KeywordSpy shows more date such as cached ads and affiliate marketing data.
SearchMetrics – This is a competitor keyword research tool that will give you ranking and backlink information.
Sistrix is just like SearchMetrics.
GetStat is an enterprise level keyword and competitor research tool.
Trellian Competitive Intelligence is a tool that shows what keywords a competitor ranks for and gets traffic from.
Keyword Research Tools Competitors Hate That Don’t Exist?!
Here is a tool you can use. It actually isn’t a tool at all. But your competitors will hate it. It is called viewing their source code.
Visit your competitor’s website in Google Chrome, right click on the page, click on view page source.
Now hit CTRL+F and type in meta, if they have meta keywords take note. Now type in tags in the search, take note, now look for h1 and take note of what they put in their headings and h2 and h3.
It is important to note that any major website will likely not use tags or meta keywords, but many will put what they are targeting in their h1, h2, and h3 tags along with what is bolded on their page. so also search for <b> and take note of the words between the tags <b> and </b>.
Finding Profitable And Obtainable Keywords While Eliminating Bad Keywords
Now that we have discussed a good bit of keyword research tools competitors hate, lets talk about finding the right keywords to begin with.
We need to eliminate those keywords, phrases, and niches that we either will get no traffic from or that would take decades or millions to rank for. At the same time, we need to be able to quickly locate the keywords that are actually worth while.
SE Cockpit is one of the best tools for the job. SE Cockpit is cloudbased so it provides a ton of information lightning fast. Furthermore, I have used it to find keywords that I could rank for in just a few days. Therefore, it is needless to say, extremely accurate and useful.
SE Cockpit has a nifty way of finding great keywords called Google Suggest. You enter something, say “how to” for instance. Click the box Google Suggest, and it will return an extremely long list of keyword ideas.
Now you can filter the results to only show keyword ideas with a domain available and another filter to only show rank 1-10 competition less then 30. That is what I suggest anyways.
There are many filters and you would have to read our complete SE Cockpit review to get the full grasp of the power of this tool, but it will show you everything you need to know about a keyword. And once you decide to just trust it once, you will never choose another keyword research tool i can promise you that.
This is another good keyword tool brought to my attention by Search Engine Land. The free version limits you to a list of only 100 keywords. However, if used correctly can be a great start. Not as many features as SE Cockpit, but very well.
You can order by adwords competition or search volume.
Keyword Competition Evaluating Yourself
If you have chosen not to spend the money on SE Cockpit to find the profitable and obtainable keywords, then I would like to walk you through analyzing this yourself using Google’s organic search results pages.
First, you need to install both SEQuake and MozBar.
Now, lets look at PageRank and Page Authority. I am sure by now you have heard that the major search engines rank pages, not sites. There is a truth to that, believe it or not.
Sure, Google does take into consideration how authoritive a particular domain is itself and the age and all sorts of things. However, the biggest factor from all dependable research is the individual page’s authority itself.
PageRank, Page Authority, and How To Analyze
The two most important things you can pay attention to to measure this is PageRank and Moz Page Authority.
You can see a pages PageRank using SEOQuake right from the search page. In additon, MozBar will show you the PA, or PageAuthority from the search page as well.
What you are looking for is having a few pages that have low PR and PA. It is not a big deal to have 1-3 pages on the first page of Google for a keyword that have high PR and PA. What you want is more than half the first page results to be low PA/PR. That gives you room to knock a few out of the rankings with better content, which we will talk about later.
Look At Referring Domains
Google is nothing more than a poll organizer. They look at backlinks as votes. The more votes the page has, the higher it tends to rank. I know, people are starting to say that backlinks are playing less of a role in SEO today, but it is still the leading corelation in rankings as of now in most cases. When that changes, this guide will as well.
That being said, a recent study shows that the number of referring domains absolutely corelates with higher rankings.
SEOQuake shows you the number of LD, or Linking domains, right from the search page in its overlay.
You can also use MOzbar, Ahrefs, or many other tools to see linking domains. Whatever you choose, I suggest you use the same tool throughout the process to stay consistent.
Domain Authority, Brand Presence, And It’s Meaning To You
As stated above, these things do come into play in addition to the page’s authority itself. You want to consider this when looking at your top ten competitors. If they are all from MAJOR sites, you can forget it.
You could use OSE for this. Type in the url you want to analyze the backlink profile for. You will want to look at the top 25 links. The majority of the time, you can spot a shady or black hat seo tactic a mile away. You will see many foreign backlinks or alot of comment, article and blog network backlinks.
If you see alot of this in your top ten competitors backlink profile, you can and will beat them. If you see big media mentions lot, you will likely play a tougher time.
The backlinks that make a profile hard to beat will be from editorial links in authorative sites, DMOZ or other large directory links, and major news sites.
On Page SEO Research
I do not have to tell you this, but I will. A bad on-page seo plan will kill your websites chances at ranking in Google. A good one will make it alot easier.
Therefore, look at your competitors. What you are looking for is have they used the Exact Match keyword phrase in their Title Tags in the beginning of the tags? Also, did they use it in the description? Are they using alot of related keywords in the pages content and is it included in their H1 or H2 Tag? Have they put the keyword in their URL and image alt text attributes?
If so, consider it well optimized on page. If not, they will be easy to knock of with good on-page tactics even if they have good domain authority.
Locating The Easy Targets
You can usually simply search for a keyword and instantly spot easy targets once you know what to look for. If you see one of the mentioned easy targets, you should start celebrating now and start attempting to beat them.
A few examples that indicate easy targest are Ezines, Yahoo answers results, Ehow, Buzzle, Squidoo lenses, Hubpages, Ebay, WordPress.com, and press releases. These types of results almost always indicate low competition. If there are numerous of these results, you are guaranteed almost to rank quickly if you have the faintest idea of how to rank a website.
The Role of Quality Content
I stand by the old saying content is king. When doing keyword research and competition analysis, you quickly overlook the role of having quality content on your own site.
If you want to have the slightest chance to rank in Google’s difficult top 10, you have to have top notch articles and information.
The best way to write the best content is to research your competition.
Do a Google Search for the keyword. Visit ALL of the Top 10 websites. Take notes of what type of content is available on each. Is it video? Do they have long written articles? Are there infographics on the page?
Next, take note of all of the bolded text and headers on each page. Now, write your page, make sure it is longer than ALL of your competitors, includes ALL of the information from EACH AND EVERY top ten competitors website with more detail and more information.
If you have followed this guide from the beginning to end, found keywords using the keyword research tools competitors hate provided, did all of the research detailed in this guide, and provided the content as discussed to you website, you will be outranking your competitor in no time.