7 Strategies to Identify Key Competitors in your Quest to Improved Keyword Research


Nothing works better than identifying competitors when it comes to keyword research. Unless you are the first one to talk about a topic, it is necessary to keep a close eye on how the competitors are drafting their blogs, to better the approach and make the concerned copy rank atop the Google rankings.

Although you can evaluate a host of factors while closely scrutinizing the competitors, it all comes down to keyword research, which then allows you to identify the valuable and uniquely long and short-tailed keywords for a given topic.

Why keyword research is even important?

Every on and off-page SEO strategy requires you to create a keyword portfolio. Starting from link building to working on that elusive landing page, you would need to fit in the keywords that actually matter and help determine your position on the SERP module. Not just that, identifying the required keywords allows you to determine the semantic and competitor searcher intent for getting the necessary intact.

But then, you simply cannot knock on the doors of your competitors and ask them for the elusive keyword sheet. Instead, you must ask the content agency you are working with to procure the sheet on your behalf as they would be doing the bulk of the copywriting. Regardless, here are some of the most effective strategies for initiating the best competitor research plan, to get hold of a reliable keyword portfolio:

  1. Asses Relevancy

Before you go about identifying the competitors, it is necessary to follow a set method of assessing relevancy to understand the direct and indirect competitors. Firstly, direct competitors are the ones that sell the same set of products or services as you. If studied closely, you can determine that they cater to the same audience base.

Indirect competitors, however, can be segregated into two categories. Firstly, they can be websites selling the same set of products but for a different audience base or market. For instance, you could be selling routers whereas an indirect competitor might be selling portable routers for a more targeted globetrotting audience base.

Also, the indirect competitors could be selling different products altogether but to a similar audience base. This means, if you are into routers, some of the indirect competitors would then be selling modems, to a pretty comparable user base.

However, you also need to account for certain semantic competitors. While they might not be selling any product whatsoever, they do offer a wide range of informative posts to churn out the keywords from. Targeting them can help you reach better to a related audience base and increase the visibility of the offering.

  1. Learn more about Indirect Competitors

While there is nothing like focusing on the direct competition for identifying the most relevant keywords, you can increase the quality of your copies by leaning a bit more towards indirect and even semantic competitors.

Therefore, if you plan on drafting an SEO-rich copy for ranking atop the rankings page, you should try and make the piece highly informative by tapping into the related keywords featured by the indirect sellers. This way, you would have drafted a piece that is probably the best one ever and captures the attention of a more diversified user base.

  1. Take a Leaf out of the Semantic Competitor’s Book

As much as product-specific blogs and articles are important, it is essential to focus on the more niche-specific keywords by tracking the semantic competitors. The idea here should be to keep a close eye on the industry publications, for getting ahead of direct competitors that aren’t offering as much value.

Once you keep a close eye on the semantics, it becomes easier to stay updated with the latest trends, which might interest the readers alongside the actual product. For instance, if you are keen on selling routers, the focus of this approach involves talking about router technologies and including relevant keywords for the search engine to pick up your intent.

Also, the semantic keywords ensure that the recruited content agency can readily follow the keyword trends whilst understanding the searcher queries better over time. You must know that a searcher doesn’t always look for a product and might have several aligned queries to deal with.

Not just that, if the research and analysis bring you to a new semantic competitor, you can tap into their knowledge base and add relevant insights to the created copy, thereby staying updated at all times. In simpler words, semantic competitors tell you exactly what you need to publish to siege the top Google ranking.

  1. Manual Searches are Still Important

If you are serious about keyword analysis, it is necessary to initiate manual searches and find the top-ranking players on the list. Once the website atop the list for the given niche is identified, it becomes easier to assess the ads it is running and the keywords it is ranking for. Also, every website ranks for certain paid keywords to increase the PPC credibility and overall popularity of the same.

You must understand that any given business that pays for specific keyword visibility within the same area as yours, must be regarded as a competitor. Therefore, it is advisable to keep a close eye on the content that they might be creating.

However, you need to be subtle with the search and must handpick certain keywords that you would want to look out for. You need to understand that the concerned website holds the top rank as it is getting in most of the important keywords into the mix and that is what you should aim for, in the long and short run.

While you might already know this, I would still like to iterate that even though you plan on using a similar or better keyword profile, the content shouldn’t be the same and your focus should be on creating better copies with improved segregation of headings, tables, and more. The idea here is to take inspiration from the competitors and simply do the deed better.

  1. Use Social Media

If you really want to focus on identifying the competition, getting social is always a good and reliable approach. Every online business wants to get on social media for added traction and therefore, it is a good way to locate the competition, apart from the manual search.

I would recommend you simply observe the social media approach and take a closer look at the target audience and followers that are in play. Once you can locate a competitor with a sizable social following, you can reverse engineer the process to get a strong foothold.

While Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are supposed to be the most sought-after social platforms, you can also keep a track of platforms like Quora, Reddit, and more to understand the competitor’s approach towards keyword profiling.

  1. Local Pack is Essential

In case you are interested to get your local SEO crusade back on track, the keyword portfolio must be different and you should then be concentrating on local service providers, direct, and especially the indirect local competitors.

However, if you want to start by executing a manual search, the first and foremost term to feed into the SERP search box is the ‘Near Me’ search query. While keywords are of prominence when it comes to ascertaining the local SEO exposure and landscape, it is necessary to consider several other factors like distance and relevance, more than anything else.

Also, the local search positions change differently as compared to the global ones and therefore, the keyword list insight should be dynamic and must be a result of deep analysis. Also, keyword search isn’t only expected to cut it if you are interested in improving the local search results. The real-time opportunities need to be explored and even the links need to be monitored.

In most cases, the competitor who tops the ‘Near Me’ SERP rankings are the big fish here and you should try and better the same to improve the bottom line.

  1. Link Mentions

Now that you have identified the top competitors, it is necessary to track the links they are getting from the popular websites along with the necessary mentions, pertaining to a given keyword. This way it becomes easier for the outreach firm to devise a link-building strategy that works. The idea here is to identify authoritative websites that are providing high-quality links to the concerned website.

Also, once the high DA sites are identified, you can follow the same link back to the competitor’s page and then perform the analysis to build a keyword profile that works. On-page keyword optimization is also necessary as it then offers insights related to content positioning and searcher intent, which might come in handy to you.

Once you follow each one of these strategies with perfection, it becomes easier to get hold of the entire keyword profile that the concerning outreach and content firm must take into account for creating exceptional SEO-rich copies. I would certainly recommend getting hold of seasoned copywriting firms for the tasks as they have the requisite keyword analyzing tools and resources for getting the campaign underway.