Making progress on your search rankings requires doing plenty of keyword research. That’s not just identifying the keywords to use on your site and in your marketing materials—keeping tabs on what your competitors are using and the level of success they’re experiencing with those keywords is crucial.
Scoping out competitors’ keywords will give you ideas for which ones you should go after yourself. That process is made easier by using a tool like Mangools, which allows you to track the keyword profiles for dozens of competitor websites at an affordable price point.
Crazy Egg’s Favorite Tools for Checking Competitors’ Keywords
Below you’ll find the options for checking competitors’ keywords that we like the most. These tools can handle a wide range of use cases and deliver solid results for an array of needs and requirements.
Mangools helps you research the keywords being used on competitor websites and blogs in a precise manner. You can sign up for a 10-day free trial period with Mangools.
AnswerThePublic lets you research keywords that are trending on Google in general and on websites similar to yours, helping you generate fresh content ideas. Try AnswerThePublic for free before selecting a subscription plan.
Semrush is one of the best-known tools for keyword research and analysis while also able to handle tons of other SEO needs. Get started on Semrush for free for seven days.
More Top Keyword Research Tools
There are a lot of tools out there on the market that can help you with keyword research, with many specializing in specific aspects of that research. These platforms can help you find trending keywords to spark content inspiration, identify where you’re falling behind competitors, and gather important statistics on relevant keywords. Want to see all of the best options? Check out our full post reviewing all of the best keyword research tools and find the best option for your needs.
Step 1 – Get Started with Mangools
Mangools offers a robust suite of SEO tools to help you manage, track, and analyze keywords and your SEO strategy. We’re largely going to focus on its KWFinder tool in this post, but first, let’s run through a few of the other capabilities Mangools extends to its users.
Mangools has two tools that focus on search engine results pages (SERPs), SERPChecker and SERPWatcher. These two work on both halves of monitoring search engine rankings, with the former letting you measure search performance for your competitors and the latter focusing on your site pages’ rankings.
SiteProfiler from Mangools goes a step further than SERPWatcher, measuring your website’s authority on certain topics and keywords. It also helps you find new content ideas that would improve that authority. Last, LinkMiner is Mangools’ backlink analysis tool, checking your backlinks and those of your competitors for quality, health, breakage, and authority.
These tools work well together to create a full-scope SEO monitoring and analysis solution. Best of all, you get access to all of these tools on any Mangools paid plan.
The lowest-priced tier, Basic, limits you to 25 competitor keyword searches per month, while the two higher-priced plans (Premium and Agency) allow for unlimited keyword searches.
You can try Mangools for free on a 10-day free trial period, during which time you can look up 10 competitor keywords. Just head to Mangools’ homepage and click on the 10-Day Free Trial Period button at the top of the page.
After that, enter your email address and a password for the trial before clicking on Create My Mangools Account. You do not have to submit a credit card at this time. You will receive an email confirmation, and you must click the confirmation link before you can start the trial.
Once that’s done, open the Mangools dashboard to see its interface containing each of its five tools. During the free trial period, you have limited access to each of them. For now, focus on KWFinder, which is the primary tool for searching for and measuring your competitors’ strongest keywords.
If you type your website’s domain in the text box in the upper left corner of the main KWFinder screen, you’ll see your site’s most popular keywords listed along the bottom left of the screen. Back in the upper left corner, you’ll also see a list of domains underneath the domain text box. These are other websites KWFinder is suggesting that are similar to your website.
Use this list to help you start your collection of competitor websites to monitor. We’ll discuss how to find additional competitors in the next step.
Step 2 – Identify Competing Sites
Rather than entering a ton of random domain names into the competitor keyword search tool in Mangools, take a bit of time to figure out exactly which competitor sites are most helpful for you to track.
Certainly, when you subscribe to an upper tier of Mangools, you can track an unlimited number of competitor sites. However, if you end up tracking a huge number of sites, you may waste some time on some that actually aren’t relevant competitors of yours. Using your own research to narrow your list to only your closest competing websites helps you save time and focus your efforts.
So, how do you find the sites that are your closest competitors?
Open a fresh Google search page (ideally in Incognito or Private Browsing mode to avoid your search history throwing off results) and run individual, manual searches for 10 to 20 of your site’s most important keywords.
Pay attention only to the first page of search results. Take note of the sites and URLs that appear on that first page and jot them down in the order they appear. Repeat for all of your keywords, then compare sites that showed up across the search results. The ones that appear in all or the majority of these searches are your closest competitors. Take note, also, of any sites that appear in just a few of these searches and log them as secondary competitors of yours.
Then, think about whether you need to focus on competitors who are based near you. If you are trying to rank well as a local business, for example, competitors that are in your area are more important to focus on than remote competitors.
Step 3- Measure Your Competitors’ Keywords in Mangools
With a list of your primary competitors in hand, you are ready to use Mangools and its KWFinder tool to see which keywords are working well for each competing website.
Start by entering a domain name for one of your competitors in the upper left corner to search for keywords. You can search your competitor’s domain’s performance across the entire world or limit the search to a certain country.
That search input will return a list of the keywords for which that domain ranks well in the table in the lower left area of the window.
Mangools’ KWFinder delivers a few different metrics you can dive into for each keyword:
- Pos: This is the highest position for your competitor’s domain in the SERP for that keyword.
- Search: This is the average search volume per month for the exact keyword over the past 12 months.
- EV: This is the estimated visits per month that the competitor’s website receives related to the keyword.
- CPC: The CPC is the average cost per click in PPC (pay per click) advertising for your competitor’s domain for this keyword. If you see N/A listed for this statistic, Mangools hasn’t found any evidence that your competitor is using paid advertising for this keyword.
- PPC: This is the estimated level of competition for this keyword in PPC advertising, with 0 being the easiest competition and 100 being the most difficult competition.
- KD: This is the keyword difficulty ranking. We’ll discuss this more in the next step.
You can switch between viewing organic keywords and paid keywords for your competitors in the paid version of Mangools. You’ll only have access to organic keywords in the free trial version.
Step 4 – Dive Into Keyword Difficulty Ranking
Keyword difficulty is a very useful metric. Measuring the keyword difficulty ranking for your competitors can help you determine keywords on which you may want to focus.
The KD ranking is Mangools’ measurement of the difficulty of reaching the number one spot in SERP for the keyword in question.
In the KD column in Mangools, you’ll see a number ranging from 0 to 100, with the former representing the easiest keyword to rank for and the latter being the most difficult.
Clicking on the number in Mangools shows the SERP results and additional information for the associated keyword. You also can see a graph with trends over several years for search requests for that keyword.
If your competitor is ranking poorly for a particular keyword (based on the number in the Pos column), check the KD column. A low KD shows you an opportunity, meaning it won’t be too difficult to rank high for that keyword and leapfrog your competition. On the other hand, if the KD number is high, it likely isn’t worth your effort to chase that keyword.
Additionally, in the lower right-hand corner of the page, you can see all the domains that rank in the top 10 for that keyword. This gives you another option for finding competitors after the fact if this is a particular keyword where you particularly want to rank well.
Step 5 – Measure the Authority of Your Competitors’ Websites
If you find some keywords where your competitors are outperforming you, you can then use Mangools to determine the authority of your competitor’s site for those keywords.
If your competitor’s site has an extremely high authority ranking, this may explain why it is performing better than you. If you find that the competing site doesn’t have a high authority ranking, though, you may have an easier time outperforming that site by just upgrading your content.
To measure the authority of the competitor’s website, Mangools goes beyond simply measuring keyword usage. It takes measurements of the number of backlinks your competitor has, as well as the quality of those backlinks.
Having a lot of high-quality backlinks gives a website a higher level of authority in search results. If the competitor’s website is lacking high-quality backlinks, you may have a better opportunity to outperform it by securing your own. Mangools also allows you to see the individual webpages for your competitor’s website that rank highly in Facebook shares and in referrals from other domains, too.
You may want to try to compete directly with the keywords and topics that are part of these pages to improve your site’s authority. Just make sure you are creating great content for these topics and properly deploying keywords in it to help with your authority ranking.
Step 6 – Use the Competitors’ Keyword Data You Find
As you are researching the keywords your competitors are using, you’ll collect quite a bit of data. Simply collecting the data is not all that helpful, though. You need to put the data to use to help your site.
Some of the ways to use keyword research from your competitors’ sites to improve your site rankings include:
- Finding new keywords a competitor is targeting but that you are not yet targeting
- Choosing new keywords your competitors are not targeting yet, so you can gain an early jump on those keywords
- Finding keywords a competitor is targeting but is performing poorly in (based on authority score or other metrics), so you can attempt to create better content to gain an edge on those keywords
- Finding reasons why your competitor is outperforming you for certain keywords by studying the specific pages of your competitor’s high-ranking content
- Discovering new options and topics for content that your competitor may be using to target certain keywords
As you search your competitors for keywords that you believe are important to your site, the data may reveal gaps in your site’s content. Perhaps you can find a competitor’s page that is ranking well but where their content seems weak to you. You then can create your own page based on the same topic and keywords that has more authoritative content, hopefully moving up the search rankings quickly.
Mangools has a tool through which you can load and store the most important keywords for your website inside your Mangools account. You then have a list of those keywords readily available any time you want to run some comparisons against your competitors’ websites in Mangools.
You also may want to copy the keywords and some notes into a document to figure out a strategy for how you want to proceed. Developing a strategic plan for creating content based on topics and keywords that you want to target will help you use your time wisely. And knowing how your competitors are treating those topics and keywords delivers key data for your SEO plan.