Use Your Competitors' Keywords to Create a Superior SEO Strategy

By Sergey Grybniak,
business.com writer
|
Dec 06, 2019
Image Credit: Urupong / Getty Images

Use these SEO tactics to learn from your competitors and improve your website's rankings.

Many entrepreneurs are hesitant to change their well-established SEO practices for fear of losing hard-earned traction. However, in the dynamic world of digital marketing, standing still means going backward. To excel in the long run, you need to keep up with your competition and stay up to speed on the latest niche trends.  

You don't need to invent effective SEO tactics on your own. It is much more effective to learn from the mistakes of other businesses and leverage their best practices. By following in the footsteps of your thriving competitors and tapping into their success formulas, you can save tons of time and money and avoid the harsh lessons of trial and error. 

Borrowing the most effective tactics and approaches from industry leaders and supplementing them with your own unique solutions can create a powerful mix that sends your website's rankings soaring.  

This article will teach you to select strong keywords while learning from your competitors' experiences. 

How keywords should not be used

Not long ago, website owners went to great lengths to try to trick search engines by overstuffing their pages with popular keywords. They paid little attention to the quality of their content, and rarely cared about the value their content delivered to their target audiences. To discourage keyword stuffing, Google enhanced its search algorithms and introduced penalties for unoriginal, irrelevant and spammy content. 

If you visit the websites of your prosperous competitors, you are sure to find high-end texts with embedded keywords that look natural and fit seamlessly into the text. You should apply the same approach to your website's content. 

Benefits of in-depth keyword research

Here are a few compelling reasons to spend time and effort on thorough keyword research.

  • Skyrocket your rankings. Do you want your website to be featured on page one in search engine results pages (SERP)? It will not happen without powerful niche keywords. They should be used throughout all your pages, and organically embedded in texts, titles, meta tags and URLs. If your website reaches the top of search rankings, your number of clicks, views and conversions will grow, and your profits will greatly increase. 
  • Reach the right people. Advertising your business to everyone on the web means squandering your budget. Duly-selected niche keywords target your promotional campaign to those who are genuinely interested in your products or services and are ready to pay for them. 
  • Increase engagement. Niche keywords are based on topics that your prospective clients are interested in. If you create valuable content that addresses users' problems and makes their lives easier, they will become more engaged with your brand. 
  • Expand your target audience. If you want to discover new directions for growing and developing your business, keywords from adjusted niches will help to extend your scope of activity and gain more clients and sales.
  • Stay tuned to marketing trends. To keep up with your competition, you need to learn the patterns of your average customer's online behavior and identify which marketing trends are most relevant for your business and will yield the best results. 
  • Enhance your online exposure. Thanks to higher positions in SERP, you will become more visible to your prospects, which will positively influence your sales. 
  • Streamline your promotional budget. Keyword optimization is a relatively inexpensive way to attract new customers. PPC ads and other promotional methods are much more costly, and not necessarily more effective. You don't have to spend a lot of money to push your website higher in search and enjoy a boost in traffic in the long run. 

Step-by-step strategy for spying on competitors' keywords

Follow this comprehensive guide to the best keyword optimization practices. 

1. Identify your key competitors.

To rise above the most successful companies in your niche, you need to understand who they are, how they think and which tactics help them excel. Assess the semantic core of your competitors' websites, identify which keywords help them ascend to page one in SERP, distinguish the best SEO practices, and take note of their share of organic and commercial traffic.

2. Assemble your semantic core.

Do not attempt to mimic your competitors without adding your own unique twist to your promotional campaign. What is good for other firms is not necessarily good for you. Prior to adopting the best practices, make sure they match your goals and the specifics of your project. 

Do not rush to embed high-frequency keywords in your content, since they are used extensively by large companies. If you are a smaller business, using mid-frequency queries that accurately reflect your scope of activity can be more effective in bringing your site to the top of search rankings.  

Leverage useful tools like Google AdWords and SEMrush to automate and simplify the process of the semantic core assembly. 

3. Realistically evaluate your chances of winning.

Prior to initiating a trade war with your competitors, carefully evaluate your likelihood of success. If you are not duly prepared, trying to beat a strong and well-established competitor may be a waste of precious time and energy. Remember that slow and steady wins the race. 

Start your path to niche superiority by taking on companies on a par with your own. Once you achieve the desired results, you will be ready to move to the next level. Step by step, you will be ready to take on the strongest competitors in your niche. The extensive knowledge and experience you gained in the earlier stages will prepare you to withstand the pressure of competing with industry giants. 

4. Monitor indexed pages.

Find out which of your competitors' pages are indexed, what content is published on them and how the audience responds to them. Distinguish successful patterns of thriving companies that garner brand recognition and customer loyalty. 

5. Leverage Google Alerts.

If you need an accurate and faithful SEO advisor, Google Alerts is a great option. It will provide you with a pool of useful information on competitors' semantic cores and backlinks, as well as suggest options for compiling your own list of powerful keywords. You can collect various SEO metrics and use them to tailor your next promotional strategy

6. Find the most reputable contributor platforms.

Strong backlinks are vital to high rankings. You may have a brilliant website, but if the web community does not recognize your authority and does not talk about you, your SEO efforts will be thwarted. 

Quality link building should always take precedence above quantity. Posting dozens of spammy backlinks will only bring a fraction of the benefits delivered by a single backlink placed on a reputable platform with high domain authority. 

Scan the web for the resources where your competitors post their backlinks. Enroll in those platforms as a guest writer or an affiliate partner. 

Of course, well-established websites can be rather demanding when it comes to guest posts. They may reject your content or ask you to rewrite your articles. Do not be discouraged. Simply jump through all their hoops to get your content published on their platform.

Creating powerful backlinks requires a lot of time and effort, but your persistence will pay off with increased brand recognition and a position at the top of SERP. 

7. Adopt the best PPC approaches.

In addition to attracting organic traffic with SEO, many large companies launch PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns. Discover which keywords successful firms are paying for and allocate part of your promotional budget to launching PPC ads embedded with these traffic-grabbing signals. 

Utilize a tool like iSpionage that shows you the cost efficiency of different keywords and helps you choose the most powerful ones for your PPC campaign. 

8. Make your company stand out from the crowd. 

Do not try to turn your company into a clone of another successful brand. Trying to outrun the original with an awkward copycat will look ridiculous and alienate customers. 

It is better to blaze your own trail. Offering standardized products of decent quality is not enough to rise to the top in today's competitive market. Focus on delivering positive emotions to your visitors and creating an extraordinary style for your brand. 

Compare the strongest companies in your niche to one another and distinguish which features help them break through the wall of advertising noise to reach prospects with unique solutions. Use this information to create your own unique trademark to make your business stand out from the crowd. 

By offering something unique, you will be able to narrow down the competition and find a target audience that is genuinely interested in your brand. 

9. Scan your competitors' content.

Selecting the strongest keywords is not enough; you also need to find ways to use them effectively. With Google's new algorithms, keyword stuffing is no longer an effective SEO tactic. Today, you need to discreetly embed SEO signals in first-class content that delivers value to your target audience. 

Some entrepreneurs copy their competitors' semantic core and embed keywords in poorly written texts. Prospective customers are directed to the site by search engines, but they quickly leave when they find no useful information. 

To avoid this mistake, pay attention to your content marketing. Identify important topics that are not being addressed by other niche firms and fill the gap by publishing content that meets customers' needs. 

10. Keep weak competitors on your radar.

Weak market players may seem harmless and unworthy of your attention today, but they may push ahead in SERP tomorrow. Do not take your eyes off their SEO metrics and be ready to defend your position when they swiftly progress. 

Turn their weaknesses into your strengths by learning from their mistakes. For example, if you know that your rival provides poor customer support, do your best to create a brilliant customer service desk. 

11. Never stop perfecting your strategy.

Today, almost every market is dynamic and unstable. New ventures are constantly being launched, while old ones fall off the radar. 

The list of your closest rivals and the keywords that help them excel will constantly change. You have to remain flexible and regularly revise your strategy in order to stay competitive. 

Use this comprehensive guide from time to time to upgrade your SEO campaign, stimulate a robust influx of traffic with relevant keywords and escalate your website in search.

Sergey Grybniak is CEO of digital marketing agency Clever-Solution.com, founder of Opporty.com and co-founder of Carvoy.com and Vericost.com — innovative digital marketplaces that help people to promote businesses, lease cars and facilitate travel. Experienced in management, marketing and development. Sergey has helped many small, mid-sized and large companies in both Europe and the United States to digitally cement their reputation. As a technology evangelist, Sergey is passionate about utilizing the power of advanced instruments and tools to help entrepreneurs conduct business more efficiently. He is all about boosting traffic, increasing SERPs, and improving ROI, and is eager to share his vast experience with Business.com readers. Sergey frequently writes about search engine optimization, pay-per-click marketing, content marketing, and website design and development. He is also a great fan of productivity, time management, and motivation.
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