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Competitor Keyword Analysis: 3 Secrets & 4 Use Cases

Here are some secrets and use cases that you should always pay attention to when carrying out a competitor keyword analysis.

What will you learn?

  • Understand more about competitor keyword analysis
  • An introduction to our favorite competitor keyword analysis tool – RankingGap

Every content needs keywords to rank high on the Search Engine Result Pages. One of the most effective (but easily overlooked!) keyword research strategies is knowing how your SEO competitors rank in search results.

While keyword research can help you uncover the keywords you should use when creating your business content, it’s also essential to understand how your industry competitors use these exact keywords and their successes.

A way to do this easily is through competitor keyword analysis.

Competitive keyword analysis – sometimes called keyword gap analysis – is a process of identifying valuable keywords that your competitors rank highly for, but you don’t.

This article will show you detailed information about competitor keyword analysis, from why we need it to how we do it. Finally, we will also recommend our favorite tool that can help you do the analysis more efficiently – RankingGap.

Why do we need to do Competitor Keyword Analysis?

The first five organic results account for 67.60% of all the clicks on the first page alone. And Google received 360 billion searches in 2021. So if you are not able to rank at least on the first page, you can lose a massive number of visitors.

A competitive keyword analysis is one of the most effective ways to compete in a crowded space and gain a crucial advantage over other businesses in your industry.

What can this work help us with? 

It will reveal what keywords drive your competitor’s successes. Competitor analysis can also tell you what topics you should be focusing on in your content. This insight alone can greatly improve the success of your content marketing and SEO strategy. 

You can also discover which of your competitors’ links you could recreate easily. Or which links you should aim to have as well, even if it means investing a lot of resources into obtaining them.

The benefits of competitive keyword analysis
The benefits of competitive keyword analysis

Competitive keyword analysis helps you discover great keyword ideas with minimal effort. You can use it to find keywords your competitors rank for simply by entering your competitor’s domain or URL.

However, the main reason to regularly review competitor keywords is that it gives you an idea of the industry as a whole. 

What we need to know about Competitor Keyword Analysis 

Doing competitor keyword analysis is critical for SEO success. Now that you are aware of the need to compete for your site traffic. By using competitive keyword research tools, you can make the work so much easier.

With the right tool, you can find out your competitors’ target keywords and what are the gaps/intersections you have with them. You get to learn which of your competitors are also targeting your keyword. 

Through such an in-depth competition analysis, you can even reverse-engineer your competitor strategies to give your site a ranking boost.

There are 3 secrets you should know to get the relevant keywords for analyzing.

  • The keywords should be valuable. You can consider high-volume, related to your business, likely to convert, etc.
  • The keywords should be ones you could rank for or rank for a better position.
  • Comparing two or more competitors often gives you a richer analysis.

How to conduct Competitor Keyword Analysis 

There are 5 standard steps to conduct competitor keyword analysis.

The first two steps of competitive keyword analysis

#1. Understand your audience

Customers are always at the core of every marketing strategy. One of the most important factors of competitive keyword research is understanding your audience and what they’re interested in. You want to know your customers’ pain points, favorites, or needs.

From the get go you need to know your audience to find the keywords that can attract their attention, craft content that answers their needs, and increase their trust in your brand.

You might need to ask yourself some questions as you work to define your target audience:

  • What problems does your product or service solve?
  • What does your audience often search on the SERP?
  • Which psychographic traits impact content consumption?
  • How does your audience prefer to engage with brands similar to yours?

This information will also help you in the process of getting the in-depth report.

#2. Identify your top competitors

The first step towards thorough competition research is identifying your top SEO competitors. When sizing up their competition, one of the businesses’ biggest mistakes is they don’t first establish what qualifies as competition.

Knowing your top competitors is like going to the right sea to catch fish. 

There are two critical qualifying criteria when identifying your competitors:

  • Size of target: You need to know whether you can go after the most prominent players in your niche or should you go after the smaller targets.
  • Nature of competition: You want to identify whether you should target businesses that are direct or indirect competitors. The differences between the two types of competitors can give you different outcomes of data. 

For example: With Pepsi, the direct competitors are Coca-cola, Red Bull or Dr.Pepper. But indirect competitors are some brands like Nestle, Lipton. 

The next three steps of competitive keyword analysis

#3. Begin competitor keyword research

After you understand more about your audience and competitors, you can now start comparing your website with your competitors. This is when you can use a competitor keyword analysis tool.

Basically, you will enter your domain URL and your competitors’ domains (might be 1 or 2). The tool will help you generate data like keywords that your competitors have, position, volume, CPC, or competition. 

When you receive your competitor’s keywords and analyze the search volumes and historical trends, it’s critical to pick the ones you can rank for (which I will be covering next.)

#4. Find keyword gaps and intersections

The data from the competitor keyword analysis tool can help you discover the keywords your competitor is currently winning. The data can also help you to spot any ranking opportunities. 

For example, you can look at the two keywords above, “Building links” ranking at 36 and “writing copy” at 98th position. They have the same search volume; however, the competition and CPC of “Building links” is much lower. In this scenario, which keyword do you think is the better choice to target? (Hint: we want to go for the easier one)

A lot of keywords can have the same search volume, similar ranking, or CPC, what you need to answer is “Is this the keyword my target audience would search for? If yes, can I provide value if I rank for this?”

You have to consider these things when selecting the right gap to fulfill. After all, no business has the resources to focus on every single keyword.

5. Further analyze your competition analysis report:

Most competitor keyword analysis tools will have the option to export your data report. These reports can include multiple data sets to offer insight into how well a specific website is ranking for certain topics.

For example, there might be a section with a backlink profile that details various websites linking to your competitor. The data can provide you with the necessary information to make changes or identify issues in your current marketing campaigns.

Our favorite tool – RankingGap 

After showing you 5 steps to conduct competitor keyword analysis, we want to introduce RankingGap, our favorite competitor analysis tool to help you with the process.

RankingGap is a unique keyword gap analysis tool. It has a simple interface that even newbies can use easily.

Our favorite competitor keyword analysis tool

RankingGap provides four keyword analysis views in one go.

Our favorite competitor keyword analysis tool

These views are Common, Missing, Gap, and Unique keyword views. 

  • Common: These are keywords that both you and your competitors rank for.
  • Missing: Keywords that all your competitors are ranking for, except you.
  • Gap: These are keywords for which some of your competitors are ranking, while you are not.
  • Unique: You can find keywords that only you are ranking for, but all your competitors aren’t.

4 everyday use cases to conduct competitor keyword analysis

Case 1: Find common keywords that you and your competitors rank for

If you want to know what keywords you and your competitors share, this use case is for you.

First, create a project by inserting your and your competitors’ domain. Also, pick your location and choose your language setting. You can add up to 3 competitors at one time.

The first use case in our favorite competitor keyword analysis tool

Once you’ve generated your project, go to the “Common” keyword view, which you are already on by default. In that tab, you will see a list of keywords with your competitors’ ranking positions compared to yours.

What’s displayed here are the keywords that you, including all your competitors, have. The data gives you the idea of who you are competing with for these keywords’ ranking.  

If your ranking is lower than your competitors, you know you have some optimization to do.

Case 2: Know what content is missing from your site

Keywords are essential, but they are also just a tiny part of the building block of SEO. So if you know what keywords you are missing out on, you’ll also be able to discover the content gap between your competitors and your site.

Head to your “Missing” or “Gap” keyword views, and you can find the answer there.

To do this, you need to make sure you have been working on your projects and looking at your competitor’s well-performing content. Make sure that you run the right projects with the right competitors.

After boiling down to the keywords you want to see, that’s where you can dig into the content of those ranking keywords. Just click on the “View URL” of the keyword that attracts you. 

This is one of the most impactful strategies you can use in content marketing by narrowing the content gap between you and your high-performing competitor. 

Now you know what keywords and URLs your competitors are ranking for, so you can create content targeting those exact keywords to “steal” it from them. 

Case 3: Analyze and identify your website’s strengths

Besides learning from the competitors, you also need to know your strengths and weaknesses.

You’re aware of what you’re lacking in and what needs to be improved. But you also need to know what your strengths are as well.

The “Unique” keyword view tells you about your strengths – the things that keep you above all your competitors.

You can sort your keywords by ranking position. If you see that you’re ranking for older keywords like “content management conferences 2018,” that tells you your content is still relevant to the keyword. 

So, check out the content and identify the reason for its continued success.

Case 4: Build keyword map using competitors’ data

It’s obvious that you should use keyword mapping if your website has many pages relying heavily on content, like blogs.

Keyword mapping is a process or practice of listing out relevant keywords and assigning them to each of your pages. Creating a keyword map helps search engines understand your content relevancy to the searcher’s intent and rank it accordingly.

Source: Good to SEO

To begin with keyword mapping, just head to your RankingGap project. Then you choose the “Missing” keyword view which means keywords that you don’t rank, but your competitors do. 

Or even better, discover keywords that most of your competitors don’t have by using keywords in the “Gap” keyword view. 

You can filter the keywords by ranking positions. Remember that you should aim for the keywords with higher ranking but have lesser competitors using, 

If your competitors are doing well on those keywords, you know it’s best to learn from them. Look at how relevant the keywords are to their content and how they write by utilizing the URL feature in each keyword. Then identify how you can assign these keywords to your own. 


Competitor keyword analysis is one of the must-do things that every business has to conduct to ensure its business is going well. 

Targeting competitor keywords helps you appear on the same SERPs and platforms as your competitors. You can also use competitor keyword research to reveal weaknesses, such as valuable keywords they have yet to target. 

It should be a part of the marketing strategy, not an afterthought. It will put you at a great advantage, and you don’t have to be surprised about how your competitors are outsmarting you anymore.

An excellent competitor keyword analysis tool like RankingGap is suitable for processing your work faster and easier.

About Claire Le
A dog lover and a travelholic. Interested in digital marketing and content creating.