How to Identify Your Competitors
So how is it possible to know what your competition is doing when you don’t even know who they’re in the first place.
It’s hard. The first step is to know who they’re so that you can get closer to them.
At the basic level, you can find your competitors by entering your main keyword into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, then click on ‘Competing domains’ at the left panel to find your top competing websites:
Alternatively, you can do this manually with a quick Google search. Simply enter your main keyword (e.g., customer onboarding) in the search bar, the top 10 organic results are your strongest competition.
It’s important to bear in mind that in the digital world, competitors are much more diverse since it isn’t only a matter of marketable products, but rather of produced content.
This indicates that identifying the competitors in your industry isn’t a simple task, but neither is it impossible.
The most important thing is to find the relevant criteria for effective classification when you find them. In the digital world, competition transcends market rates and focuses on the type of content that companies are creating/publishing.
In the next section, we’ll dig into the processes involved in finding out the keywords your competitors are targeting -- this alone can save you time and money but in the short and long run.
1. Find Your Competitor’s Best Keywords
One of the most elementary techniques is focused on identifying the keywords for which you, as a company, do not rank for or at least not in the proper way. These are their best keywords (i.e., keyword phrases that drive leads and sales).
That’s to say, spy on your competition to see where they have the upper hand -- and areas where you’re lagging behind in the search.
You can use SEMrush or Ahrefs to carry out this task. Or simply use Moz’s Keyword Explorer tool -- since it gives you the opportunity to compare two or more companies simultaneously.
In this platform, for example, it’s very easy to distinguish which keywords are not used and which are, but not in the proper way.
In the graphic generated, all the external part (the zone that doesn’t intersect) indicates keywords for which you’re not ranking for.
On the other hand, the small space where both diagrams are intercepted (the blue one) indicates one of the main points of focus: these are the keywords that you’re targeting, but are not generating the results you want.
Note: This is the area where you should improve the content you have developed.
2. Find Top Competitor’s Content That Doesn’t Match Query Intent
There’s an important gap between the information available about a topic and the information that users want to find about that topic.
In other words, the use of keywords should not be oriented to the publication of abundant but inapplicable content. It’s not always about quantity, quality matters more.
This means that many pages can be classified for the same keywords, but not all of them have the most appropriate answer or one that actually meets the needs of the audience.
For example, I recently observed that the number #1 ranked web page on Google for the term “customer onboarding banking” doesn’t do a good job at addressing the ‘intent’, it’s a thin page with no relevant information for the user.
As you can see, this is a competitor’s top-ranking page that doesn’t match query intent in the most appropriate way.
So it’s quite easy for you to create better content, target the keyword in the title, build some white-hat links, and outrank that page. It won't happen overnight but it’s doable!
To dive even deeper into this analysis, you can use the tools mentioned earlier -- such as the aforementioned Moz or Ahrefs.
Check your competitor’s top pages to see whether or not they’re useful for users. In most cases, some of the top pages are just ranking out of sheer luck, or maybe the number of inbound links pointing to them.
In reality, there’s no better way to carry this out than putting yourself into a reader’s position and trying to imagine what kind of article could make you feel satisfied for the type of question you are entering in the Google search engine.
Don’t know how to find your competitor’s top-ranking keywords and pages? Would you prefer we do it for you + drive traffic to your website, get in touch with Bloominari, a San Diego Search Marketing Company? We’ll be glad to listen and help you out.
3. Find Keywords That Your Competitors Are Paying For
This is the inverse version of the first strategy.
This time, the objective is to uncover which keywords your competitors are paying money for clicks that you can rank organically. Ask yourself “What is the condition of those keywords within my own content?”
After doing this introspective analysis, you can work on these keywords that represent a problem for the competition and develop them appropriately until they become your main strength and a source of organic traffic (hint: you’re paying $00.00, the big difference).
To collect this type of information on paid keywords you can use a more reliable platform known as SEMrush.
4. Identify Valuable Topics You Can Cover on Your Website
You always need a high-value content idea to grow a successful online venture.
In addition to a content marketing strategy, it has become very common for a company to develop innovative projects that involve a great investment. If a group of keywords can inspire a huge project, then you should pay attention to.
It’s a great strategy to identify which keywords are behind these informative projects.
For example, Choozle’s project was based on the idea of “advertising strategies” which is a high-volume keyword in our space.
With this, you can have an idea of what interests your audience and develop a proven plan to meet their needs.
5. Find Content Improvement Ideas by Viewing Competitor Keyword Overlap
This goes hand in hand with the first strategy and basically focuses on that overlap provided by the graphics (such as those of Moz) on the domains and leveraging the competitors’ keywords.
This information can be interpreted in a simple way: You may already be doing well with your content, but there is still room for improvement.
Complementing this with the second strategy, taking the user's role for a moment will be a good way to think about what they would like to receive from that information and increase the quality of information.
If you use the right tool to get the keywords, you'll get even more than that. You will get a general idea of what really interests people about your topic and you can make all the necessary improvements in your content.
A final recommendation: Analyze all the information found in the organic results for any given keyword. You’ll gain a lot of insights for creating more engaging content.
The success of any marketing strategy, digital or not, depends primarily on the ability to provide just what the user wants.
In this case, it’s the content you put out there that will either make your business to stand out or blend in. In matters of SEO and the use of Keywords, quality must be a priority before a quantity.
In other words, instead of publishing 5 low-quality blog posts that help no one, spend time creating 1 post that will truly help your customer.
When you’re in doubt, you can spy on your competitors to see what type of content they published last week, last month, or even just last night. This should give you an idea.
Caution: Keep in mind that identifying this type of information doesn’t imply that you will imitate/copy your competitors or commit plagiarism either.
All this is only for the purpose of having objective references that give you a better direction when creating your own content that will answer users’ questions, not just their keywords.