When it comes to SEO, strategizing is key, and this includes keywords. While it’s likely that you aren’t looking to rank on all of your competitors’ keywords, there’s likely some overlap. It can be difficult to decipher which competitors you should be watching and which of their keywords you should be targeting. Fortunately, the digital marketing team at The Web Guys has answers.

Use Basic Tools

Many businesses utilize online tools that help them get a feel for their competitors’ ranking keywords. These can include SEMrush, KeywordSpy, Ahrefs, Spyfu, and the like. While this is a great place to start, there’s more to it than simply identifying the keywords that are working for your competitors. Knowing what to do with this information is the next step.

Where Do I Go from Here?

You’ve cracked the code and have your competitors keywords in front of you, but now what? Which of these keywords should you pursue, and how should you prioritize your efforts? Let’s take a closer look.

Start at the Very Beginning

The classic keyword funnel begins with customers who are buying your widgets down at the bottom of the funnel and potential customers who are typing in specific keywords on their devices up at the top of the funnel. The trick is turning those potential customers into actual customers who just can’t get enough of your widgets.

Figuring out what distinguishes potential customers who make the leap to actual customers from those who don’t is obviously critical. Tracing keywords back to determine which are most closely associated with converting customers from potential to actual is the goal here. This is where prioritizing comes in. If your top competitor has ten keywords that are driving traffic, that’s great to know, but it’s unlikely that you’ll want to – or should – target each and every one of these keywords. You’re going for conversions here.

Because there’s an exception to every rule, it’s important to point out that if you are playing a numbers game and are looking for raw traffic, you should prioritize differently. If you’re in advertising, for example, or if you have a surefire way to convert the nonbelievers via a retargeting campaign, go for it. The important thing here is to identify your priorities and proceed accordingly.

Know Your Audience

When you are looking at keywords, it’s critical that you identify which competitors you want to target. For instance, if you sell really cool widgets to really cool people, you should be concentrating on competitors who do something similar. If, however, you’re looking at a competitor who sells more generic widgets to a far broader customer base, you should probably take a pass on their keyword collection. You’re looking for a competitor whose business space is as close to your own as you can find, and if they’re more successful at it, all the better. Let that business be your virtual mentor.

If you aren’t sure who your most worthy online opponent is, there’s a tool for that. Although they can be pricey, there are powerful online tools out there, such as SimilarWeb, that can help you identify shared domain space and audience overlap.

Following the Rules

There are some basic rules that apply to targeting keywords that you should know, understand, and practice in equal measure. These include:

Go with What You Know

Sometimes keyword targeting seems like a no-brainer for the simple reason that it is. If there are certain keywords that you know will pull rank, use them. It can be tough to get traction with SEO, and without early progress, it can be very difficult for your campaign to nail down a budget-friendly buy-in. This isn’t the time to set your sights on your fiercest competitors but an opportunity to strike when you like your odds.

Pay Attention to What’s Working

As you get to know your business’s funnel better, you can extend your reach. Your Google Ads account is just waiting for this opportunity. Take a look at those keywords that are trending and at where your best conversions are coming from – the intersection of these two spaces is where you should be focusing. If your widget company, for example, is doing well with “midcentury widgets” as a keyword and “vintage widgets” is seeing some serious action on Google Ads, you may want to hit that.

Check for Level of Difficulty

When it comes to keywords, high volume is the name of the game, but the higher the volume, the harder it is to rank your site or ad for that query. Sometimes recalibrating for difficulty is the way to go. Don’t make perfect the enemy of the good on this one. Instead, make reaching the attainable your goal – for now.

Lay off That Brand

It generally isn’t a good idea to go after a brand name that you don’t actually carry. If you do carry the same brand as your competitor, however, then, by all means, knock yourself out. If Hipster widgets are exclusive to your competitor, for example, you should probably walk away. There is – of course – an exception to this policy. Sometimes branded names are also generic terms for a kind of product, and when this is the case, they are fair game. For example, industrial widgets obviously refers to a kind of widget, but your competitor may have exclusive rights to the Industrial Widgets brand. In this case, nothing should stop you from moving forward with the industrial widget keywords if you think they will serve you well.

Yes, You Should Be Targeting Those Keywords, and a Digital Marketing Specialist Can Help

Your competitors are your competitors for a reason, and strategically targeting their keywords is a good idea. Allow the digital marketing maestros at The Web Guys to help you with those strategies. The web marches on, and so should you. We’re here to help you out, so please contact us or give us a call at 317-805-4933 to learn more today.