An Introduction to Competitor Research
SEO is a competitive field, and even the most specified niche blog or website is bound to have at least a few competitors. Getting ahead of the game when it comes to SEO is always a challenge, but a little effort and research pay off in the long run. One of the most effective SEO tactics you can adopt is regularly researching the keywords that competitors use to achieve a higher ranking in search engine results.
The simplest way to determine what competitors are doing right in their SEO efforts is to read their content. On-page SEO is even more valuable now than ever before after the massive overhaul in the way search engines rank sites, including the Panda updates. Look for commonly used keywords. Try to determine whether your competitors generally rank for long-tail or short-tail keywords, or if they use a combination of both.
Tools to Analyze Competitor Keyword Use
There are many free online tools available to those looking to gain the upper edge in SEO. Some of these tools even let you enter a URL to determine which long-tail and short-tail keywords are in use on competitor websites. SEOmoz, Google Keyword, SEMRush and Keyword Spy are just a few of the tools available in this category.
Determining which keywords your competitors are using to achieve their rank in search engines is only the beginning. With the above tools, you can also see how much traffic each keyword brings your competitors on average, and even how much they spend on advertising. Such tactics may seem questionable to the uninitiated, but the world of SEO competition is fierce, and there is no better way to learn good SEO strategy than to learn by example.
Competitor Search Ranking
Competitor keywords are important as a result of the search rankings they bring competitor sites and blogs. When doing competitor keyword research, always consider ranking. First, determine which competitors in your field are at the very top of search results, then look at their specialities. Try to model your own keyword strategy after competitors who rank highly in search engines and cater to your audience.
For example, if you run a blog or website about planting techniques, you should research successful competitor blogs that discuss gardening in general. However, you should also target those competitors that share your specific area of focus. Compile a list of keywords from both types of websites to ensure that your keyword strategy has both broad and niche appeal.
Beyond Keywords and Rankings
It is easy to get caught up in competitor keyword and ranking research and forget the purpose behind it all. By learning from your competitors and adopting the strategies that work for them, you save yourself time and effort in the long run. When it comes to SEO, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel. There are enough lessons to learn when managing a website beyond getting to the top of the search results. Competitor keyword research simply eliminates unnecessary trial and error.
About the Author
Hayley is a IT graduate that writes content for Search Factory as a part-time job. Search Factory is an online marketing company that offers quality digital marketing services for a variety of businesses.