Keyword Research Part II – Back-engineering Your Competitors

Keyword Research – Back-Engineering Competitors

Welcome to today’s show and in this episode we will be looking at keyword research again.

keyword research tricks

Last time we went through how to come up with an initial list of keywords and how to order them using the Google Keyword Research tool – the Keyword Planner.

Today I’m going to show you how to use the Keyword Planner to back-engineer what your competitors are doing.

So let’s junmp straight in;

When you navigate to the Keyword Planner and log-in you have three main options to choose from;

  • Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category
  • Get search volume data and trends
  • Multiply keyword lists to get new keywords

keyword research with Google

Last time we used the get ‘Search volume data and trends’ to order the keyword list we’d come up with ourselves.

We then used the ‘Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category’ to find related phrases to those we selected in stage 1

Today we are going to put our competitor landing pages into the Keyword Planner to see if we can find new phrases. The fact is that if our competitors have researched keywords then that will save us doing it ourselves.

When you click through to ‘Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category’ there is a field for landing page – put your competitor URLs into here and you will get back a list of keywords that Google considers their page to be relevant for. These will be in both ad groups and by individual keywords.

keyword research local business

Go through these keywords and list any that are relevant to you and have a viable search volume you can then add any new ones into your keyword list.

You can do this for your competitor home pages and their individual service pages to find additional general and specific keywords.

So in the Keyword Planner you can paste in a list of phrases whose search volume you want to check, you can add in a root, or seed, keyword phrase and get a list of relevant and related phrases and you can enter a website URL and get a list of phrases that the page is relevant for.

By using the keyword planner in the way taught in these podcasts you’ll be able to identify your primary keywords that your prospects are using to search Google for products and services like yours.

Now let’s get a bit ninja with your competitors and see what they are really optimising for!

researching competitors online

If you go to a competitors page and right-click your mouse you’ll get a dropdown menu – select ‘view page source’ and you’ll get the HTML code that Google reads when it indexes your website.

researching keywords

You can search this code and identify what your competitors are targeting in their SEO! But be careful – it is likley that many of your competitors are oiptimsiinmg for the wrong keyword, or not optimising at all – however results on the first page for any given search term will generally be optimised to some degree.

You need to pull up the search function by pressing the F3 Function Key, you can then very quickly and easily search through and identify what phrases are in their titles, H1 and other heading tags.

research competition online


Just type in the following and you will get to see exactlty how they are optimising;

  • <title
  • <h1
  • <h2
  • <h3

You can also check their meta-description and sometimes they will fill out the keyword meta-tag – which is completely redundant these days – to give you more clues and info.

So by checking this you can find more keywords and get ideas for your own optimisation from competitors.

Finally you can take your keyword list and go to the tool and put in your primary keywords for each service and see if there are any variations that you do not have yet.

You can probably find a few – and don’t worry if they are not grammatical, there are plenty of valuable search terms out there that mangle the English language – it doesn’t matter as long as people are searching for it!

Now what you’ll want to do with these keywords is to place your primary phrases in URLs and page titles and H1 tags and your secondary keywords in H2 and H3 tags

Other phrases can go in body copy where appropriate, image tags and be used as anchor-text phrases when building links through content syndication.

Action Steps

  • Listen to Part 1 of Keyword Research podcast and build your initial keyword list
  • Identify competitors and enter their landing pages in the Keyword Planner to find further keywords
  • Right click and analyse the page source of competitor pages to find what they are optimsing for and to give you further ideas.
  • Use the tool to find any further phrases that are relevant.