Seven Sneaky Ways to Monitor Your Competitors' Keywords

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Seven Sneaky Ways to Monitor Your Competitors' Keywords

Few SEO tools are as important or as effective as keywords can be. By using the ideal keywords and phrases on your web content, you make it easier for the search engines to actually locate your site, display it in the results page, and thereby send visitors to you. The proper use of keywords can literally turn a website around from rather dismal traffic numbers to one that is growing and creating buzz.

Keywords are never just a random selection of words. Rather, they are carefully thought out and even researched words that are then strategically placed in the text throughout your website. There is a lot that goes into picking those “perfect” keywords, and even with all the best research, you may still need to tweak which words you’re using.

Then there is the question of what your competitors are doing. Just like you, they are doing their own research on keywords and deciding which ones are best. Ideally, you want to at least be on par with them, but doing better than them where keywords are concerned is more desirable. So, how can you monitor the keywords they are using without making it obvious? Is there a way it can be done? The good news is that it’s more than possible, and it’s easier than you probably think. Let’s take a closer look.

Custom Google Alerts

Many people turn to the ever-popular Google Alerts tool to keep them informed on their own brand and business. And while that is certainly important, did you know that you can also set up a custom Google Alert that monitors your competition? The way it works is that you can set the Google Alert up to monitor new content, mentions, and developments. You can enter your competitor’s name or even a variation of it, and then search for a particular service or product too.

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What’s great about this tool is that no-one other than yourself will know about it.


There’s no need to wonder what keywords your competitors are using and how they are performing thanks to SpyFu. This handy little tool gives you insight into the most profitable keywords and ads that your competitor sites are making use of. Of course, it’s all done in a quiet way, so your competition will never know you’re conducting your own research.

Besides revealing their keywords, you can also find traditional and online leads through the tool, which means better connections for you and your business.

Semrush Analytics Reports

Then we have Semrush, another fabulous tool that you can start to use. This one provides you with organic research which will give you insights into the best and most effective keywords your competition is using, among other things. You will basically be able to uncover the organic content strategy that your competition has put together.

The way the tool works is that all the searched terms will appear in groups based on its position within Bing and Google. It will then provide an estimated value of each of the keywords. You can also dig deeper and compare the keywords where search volume, traffic, website performance, and more are concerned.

SEO Book Tool

Here’s another effective tool that you can use to research your competition’s keywords. SEO Book offers on-site analysis that provides you with all kinds of information in mere minutes. Of course, it will give you insight on the competitor’s highest performing keywords, but outside of that it also offers link analysis, a rank checker, competitive research, and so more.

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This particular tool is ideal for those who want more than just a list of words; rather, they want real research and in-depth analytics and information.

AdWords’ Auction Insights

While this one may not provide as many details as some of the other tools, the AdWords’ Auction Insights tool is still quite helpful. This one will reveal who your top competition is to start with, and then identify what their ranking is based on. From there you can look at detailed information such as top-of-page rate, overlap rate, average ad position, outranking share, impression share, and more.

HubSpot Marketing Grader

HubSpot is a tool that many businesses are familiar with already but did you know that it can also be used to “spy” on your competition? The Marketing Grader is completely free to use and allows you to score and then categorize results into five different streams. There is mobile, lead generation, blogging, SEO, and social media. The way it works is that you enter in an email address and then a URL, and you’ll be given the scores of your competition’s website.

Not only does this tool help with SEO, but it can let you know where your competitor is out-performing you, so you can respond accordingly.

Ahref’s Keywords Explorer

Here’s a tool that has made quite the name for itself thanks to the fact that Ahref happens to have one of the most popular SEO blogs out there. Ahref himself is the developer of the Keywords Explorer, which is a powerful tool that can accomplish a whole bunch for you. Unlike some of the other tools on here, this one isn’t free to use, but it’s also a whole lot more powerful than many of the other options.

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One of the most-used tools within this offering is the Top Pages, which looks at relevant keywords with a focus on that particular article or page. This is a very different approach since most times it is just the keyword that is being identified rather than taking into consideration the context. What this does is provide you with additional information that can help you that much more in determining which keywords you should be using.

Getting the Information You’re After

Rather than sit there wondering what your competition is doing, how they are using keywords to their advantage, and which ones are offering the best results, why not give these tools a try and shed light on your competition.