Checking out what your competitor is ranking for is a great way to get immediate ideas about the types of keywords you can also start going after, but can you find this data for free?
Yes, you can! Huzzah!
There are a few different free tools that will help you uncover this data, but usually they are quite limited. That’s why at the end of this article I’ll also be sharing the cheapest keyword research tool out there, which also happens to be awesome.
But first, let’s look at what tools you can use to uncover your competitor’s keywords for free.
1. Moz: Free Domain SEO Analysis Tool
Moz does some seriously cool stuff, among that cool stuff is their Free Domain Analysis Tool which pull up data like top pages by links (what pages are linked to the most), top ranking keywords (the keywords that are most visible on search) and branded keywords (keywords with the company’s brand name in them).
Here’s how to use it to find your competitor’s keywords.
Step #1: Enter your Competitor’s URL into the Box Provided
Copy & paste your competitor’s homepage link into the search box and click ‘Analyze Domain’. For this example I’ve used Hubspot.
Step #2: Scroll down to Top Ranking Keywords
Check out what the top ranking keywords are for your competitor’s domain. You can also see what keywords bring them the most clicks.
Step #3: Scroll Down to Check out Branded Keywords & Top Featured Snippets
See what keywords your competitor’s site ranks for that trigger a featured snippet (these are things like how-to bullets that show up directly on the search engine results page).
You can also check what branded keywords they’re showing up for to let you get an overview of brand awareness.
Step #4: Check Keyword Ranking Distribution
Get an overview of your competitors keyword ranking distribution (where their keywords are showing up on the search engine results page. #1-3 is the top 3 positions on Google, #11-20 is page #2 of Google etc…)
Ubbersuggest is by far not my favourite SEO tool out there, but for finding your competitor’s keywords for absolutely free, it’s quite handy.
However, you’ll be limited to 3 searches on the free version, so choose wisely.
Step #1: Enter your Competitor’s URL
Enter your competitor’s URL into the search box and also choose what language and country you want to see results in. To be honest, I don’t why they even bother with this. As you can see my results stayed in French (where I’m based) and the keywords could be filtered by country anyway…
Step #2: Check Top Ranking Keywords & Filter by Country
You’ll get access to more of your competitor’s keywords using Ubbersuggest than Moz and you can filter them by country also.
You can then click on ‘see more keywords’ to expand the list, but you won’t get access to much more on the free version.
3. Keywords Everywhere
As you can see from the two examples above, your results are a bit limited so I’m going to suggest a really cheap alternative to the freebies: Keywords Everywhere.
Keywords Everywhere is one of my favourite SEO tools. It’s a free chrome extension that will pull up data like keyword volume, CPC (cost-per-click) and other metrics. However, it’s well worth it to buy some credits to unlock much more keyword data, including your competitor’s keywords.
You can buy credits for just $10 and they will last you a long time ($10 worth of credits literally last me months). So, if you’re at the stage of checking out your competitor’s keywords, then I think it’s safe to say you should be in a position to pay $10 for SEO and keyword research.
Step 1: Download Keywords Everywhere
You can download Keywords Everywhere for both Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. You can find the links to download right on the homepage of Keywords Everywhere.
Step 2: Go to your Competitor’s Website
Go directly to your competitor’s site in the browser.
Step 3: Click the Keywords Everywhere button on your browser.
Once you’ve downloaded Keywords Everywhere, you’ll see a little button on your browser, next to the address bar. Click it once you’re on your competitor’s site.
Step 4: Click “Organic Ranking Keywords (Domain)”
This will pull up a full list of all the keywords the entire website is ranking for (also known as the “root domain”). You can see metrics like;
- Estimated Traffic: how much traffic that website is pulling in for that specific keyword
- SERP Position: (search engine results page) position is where that website is ranking on Google for the keyword (eg SERP position 5 is the fifth result on the search engine results page)
- Volume (global): an estimate for how many searches that keyword gets a month
- CPC (cost-per-click): how much advertisers bid for that keyword (the higher the CPC the more competitive and valuable it is for advertisers)
- Competition: how hard it is to rank for that keyword. This is based on a scale from 0-1 with 1 being the highest, and therefore, the most difficult
- Trend: this data is pulled from Google Trends and shows the search volume trend of the keyword over time
- Trending %: if the keyword’s trend is increasing or decreasing (basically if search volume is increasing or decreasing)
If you just want to see what one specific URL is ranking for (like a specific blog post) then click “organic ranking keywords (URL)” instead. This will pull up data only from that specific URL rather than the whole domain.
Step 5: Export to Excel
To make sure you have a record of your competitor’s keywords you can export them either in PDF, excel or CSV format. I’d suggest exporting these keywords as excel/CSV rather than on a static document like PDF.
That way you can do things like add notes, add any additional data etc.
Final Thoughts on your Competitor’s Keywords
Once you have a list of your competitor’s keywords you can start checking what they’ve done well to rank high organically for those keywords and find opportunities for your own content.
This isn’t about copying your competitors, it’s about respecting the work they’ve done and seeing where you can do even better.
Can you make your piece of content more in-depth and useful? Can you make your post a more multimedia experience with the inclusion of video, infographics etc?
Personally, I love searching for something really broad in Google, clicking on the top 1-3 posts and then using Keywords Everywhere to quickly get a bunch of keyword ideas from those top ranking articles. It saves a lot of brain power having to come up with keyword ideas on your own.
I hope the above tools will be useful to you in your quest for better SEO and higher ranking content. If you’ve got any questions or suggestions, you can drop them in the comments section 👇