When, Why and How to Target Your Competitors' Keywords
In the busy world we live in, most consumers will purchase from the first business they come across that sells the services and products they want. This means that you want your consumers to see your business first when they are searching online. There’s a problem, though.
You’re likely not the only business selling your products and services. You have competitors, and they may be ranked higher on Google’s search engine results pages for keywords your consumers use. This means that those consumers see them first, which could also mean lost business.
One of the best ways to solve that problem is through competitor research and targeting keywords they rank well for on Google. If you’re able to rank higher for those keywords, your business ends up being seen first, which boosts your chances of getting those customers.
How to Target Competitors’ Keywords
The first step in targeting your competitors’ keywords is to identify your competitors. The process is as simple as using Google to search for your services and products to see what businesses come up in the search results.
With a list of competitors in hand, you can start to research the keywords they’ve used to make themselves visible to consumers. Many competitor research tools are available to help you do this, such as SpyFu, Ahrefs, and SEMRush. All of these tools can show you what keywords your competitors rank for and the serach volumes of those keywords.
With that keyword list, the real fun can begin — figuring out which keywords you’ll target. The following are the factors you should consider when choosing which competitor keywords to use:
Assess the conversion likelihood of each keyword. Some keywords are used by people simply for information. While those people may end up making a purchase, the chances are lower than targeting keywords that have a high likelihood of conversion.
For example, a keyword phrase such as, “iphone vs. samsung note” is likely used by people researching to make a decision between the two phones. The keyword phrase “used Samsung note for sale” is likely used by someone who is ready to buy one.
Think about the audience your competitors’ keywords are targeting. This has more to do with businesses that sell similar products and services.
If you’re looking for keywords to sell high-end furniture then steer clear of keywords that include “discount” and “cheap” because people searching those phrases are not likely your target audience.
Avoid Competitor’s Brands
You will have an extremely difficult time ranking for another brand. For example, if you’re an orthodontist offering Invisalign. It’s highly unlikely you’ll ever outrank the brand’s website. You may have a better chance ranking for keywords having to do with the brand, such as “benefits of clear braces” or “braces for teenagers.”
Choose the Easiest Ones First
Not only does choosing the easiest ones to rank first boost your confidence, but it helps you build trust with Google. As you rank for certain keywords, you can rank for similar (not so easy to rank for) keywords easier.
Consider Current Keywords
Select keywords that fit into your site structure and are similar to your current keywords. You’re already ranking for certain keywords on your site, and it’s much easier to rank for similar keywords. For example, if your site ranks for “big blankets,” you’ll be more likely to also rank for “big wool blankets.” as opposed to “cotton throws.”
Getting Started with Competitors’ Keywords
Don’t let your competitors reach your consumers first. Identify those competitors, research the keywords they are using, and then analyze those keywords based on conversions, audience, branding, ease of ranking, and current keyword rankings. With this work, you can start to outrank your competitors to drive more traffic and sales.
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Phil is Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is primary creator of Main Street ROI’s marketing training programs. He is an expert in search engine marketing, website analytics, and sales funnel optimization. Phil’s marketing thought leadership has been published on Forbes.com, Inc.com, MSN.com, and many other major business media outlets.
Phil earned his Master of Engineering Management degree from Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees from Dartmouth College. While attending Dartmouth, Phil started every game on the varsity football team as the defensive safety.