How To Reverse Engineer Competitor Keywords For A Higher Ranking

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How To Reverse Engineer Competitor Keywords For A Higher Ranking

If you’re not consistently tracking your competitors and their keywords, you’re doing it wrong.

Every business wishes to rank the highest for their keywords, but the reality is so does every other business in your market.

There’s a secret, though. By conducting keyword competition analysis on your competitors you’ll be able to create a detailed strategy and target keywords that will provide a much more realistic outcome in search rankings.

In this blog post we are going to be using a tool called SpyFu in order to perform a keyword analysis of competitors. SpyFu is a free tool that allows you to search your competition’s domain and view all of the places they appear on Google. Our goal is to identify keywords that we will be able to achieve a high rank in on Google.

With SpyFu, you are able to see every keyword that your competition uses, including keywords they’ve purchased on Google AdWords as well as each organic ranking.

Let’s look at how we can analyze competitor keywords.

Competitor Keywords

1. Search Google For The #1 Keyword

The first step for identifying your competitors’ keywords is to find the top keyword that they’re using and type it into Google.

If you’re not quite sure what keyword this might be, check out our blog post on How To Do Local Business Keyword Research to find the top keyword in your market.

The businesses that show up here are the ones who are ranking the highest for the selected keyword. You can do this with multiple keywords if you’d like.

For example, let’s say we are a mortgage broker in Toronto and want to do keyword analysis on our top competitor. We would then type “Toronto mortgage” into Google and select the business that holds the #1 rank.

In this specific example the #1 rank belongs to

Competitor Keywords

2. Enter The #1 Rank’s Website Into SpyFu

Once you’ve got your competitor keywords and have identified the #1 rank on Google after searching the keyword, take their website’s link and enter it on SpyFu. Then, hit “Enter” or click the icon on the right to search.


This is where you will acquire all of your information on your competitors relating to keywords.

3. Analyze Results

The first thing you will see after searching your competitors’ domain is their organic SEO statistics.

In our example you can see that gets approximately 157 monthly SEO clicks based on their organic keywords. It also shows how long they’ve been ranked by Google and the percentage of organic versus paid clicks.

SpyFu Results

Next, SpyFu will list their top organic competitors. Is your business among the top competitors?

You’ll also have access to competitor keywords that they use the most often; both organic and paid (if they have any). You are able to see where their site ranks in Google searches based on each keyword in addition to how many clicks per month that specific keyword generates.

Once again in our example you can see that ranks #1 for the keyword “mortgage Toronto” and receives 3.28 organic SEO clicks per month for it. While they rank #5 for “mortgage broker Toronto”, they are only getting 1.03 clicks per month for that keyword.

Organic Competitors

Top Keywords

Without registering an account you will be able to see your competitors’ Top 5 organic keywords and their rankings. If you register an account on SpyFu you will have the option to view an entire list of their organic keywords.

You can dig even deeper than this!

Towards the bottom of the results page you will come across your competitors’ organic ranking history. Click on one of their “Top 10 Keywords”. In this example we selected “mortgage Toronto”.

Competitor Keywords

Here, you can study the keyword “mortgage Toronto” in a much deeper viewing. SpyFu will take the keyword and tell you the number of times it is searched both locally and globally, it’s click-through rate, how difficult it is to rank with that specific keyword, and much more.

It will also tell you how often the keyword is included on the homepage of your competitors as well as how many of those competitors include it in their page title and URL. The top competitors are ranked for a clean and simple analysis.

Organic Analysis

In our example the keyword “mortgage Toronto” has a ranking difficulty of 53 – not exactly the easiest keyword to rank in. Rather than potentially waste valuable time trying to rank in a keyword that you may never reach (at least for now), it’s probably a better idea to target a keyword that isn’t as competitive.

You can complete this analysis for all of your top competitors to find which keywords they are successfully ranking in and which ones they are not.

In our next blog post we will talk about how to tell if you can outrank your competition and how much work you’ll need to do to accomplish it. You can subscribe to our email list here and receive a notification when a new blog post is available.

If you want to have us review your website and give you a free 30 minute consultation where we show you how to generate more local customers from your website, click here.

A thriving Canadian entrepreneur. A loving father and husband. A blossoming philanthropist. The CEO of an innovative Digital Marketing Agency. Johnstone has mastered the art of digital marketing on numerous platforms (Facebook, Google, YouTube, Instagram - to name a few) which has given him the unique ability to assist hundreds of loan officers, realtors, lawyers, financial planners, and insurance agents with growing their businesses online. He continues to grow his skills and hone his craft and is ready to bring you up to speed on the latest and greatest in the digital marketing world!

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