Discover competitor SEO keywords

1. Search for your products or services on Google to see which competitors are ranking on the first page.

If you sell to a local market only, search with the location you serve: for example, dentists in New York City.

2. Copy the domains of direct competitors and note them as primary competitors - note indirect competitors as secondary competitors.

Primary competitors are those that do the same thing you do. For example, other dentists are primary competitors, while dental blogs are secondary competitors.

3. Use a keyword research tool like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Google Keyword Planner to find the keywords that your competitors rank for.

You can discover your competitors’ SEO keywords using the Organic Research tool in SEMrush or the Content Gap tool in Ahrefs.

4. Open your keyword research tool and start researching using each of your primary competitor's domains.

For example, if you chose Google Keyword Planner: Open Google Ads, navigate to Tools & Settings > Planning > Keyword Planner, and click on Discover new keywords. Click on Start with a website and type the domain of one of your competitors. Select Use the entire site and click on Get results.

5. Look at the keywords your competitor ranks for and the data, like average monthly searches and competition.

Select the keywords with substantial volume (500+) and click on Download Keyword Ideas.

6. Go through the keywords to remove those that are not relevant to your website and those with too high a competition or difficulty.

For example, email marketing keywords won’t be relevant to a web development company despite your competitor being a web development and digital marketing company. If your domain is still new, or you haven’t had significant SEO results, it’s easier to rank higher for less competitive keywords until your traffic and backlinks have increased.

7. Use the commercial or bottom of the funnel keywords to optimize your home, product, and service pages.

Bottom of funnel keywords are those that relate specifically to the purchasing of your service. For example, dental hygiene would be a top of the funnel keyword, while booking a dentist appointment, New York would be a bottom of the funnel keyword. Mention your keyword in the page’s title tag, H1, URL, and within the first paragraph of your content. Use variations of your keyword, such as synonyms and related phrases, in the body of your content. Use an SEO content tool to find Latent semantic indexing keywords for each of those pages and use them in the content.

8. Create titles based on the non-commercial or middle and top of the funnel keywords and add them to your list of potential articles to write for your blog.

You can write on topics like how to, tips for, ways to, steps for, or this vs that for those keywords. For example, for website migration, an topic could be Steps for completing a website migration. Use an SEO tool like SEMrush topic research tool to find topic ideas for each keyword. Browse your competitors’ blogs to find topic ideas.