Analyzing your competitor’s keywords is probably one of the most important steps of an SEO campaign and not doing so can means you are entering the market blind against businesses that are probably quite well established in the industry you are hoping to make a dent in.

You need to know what you are up against and how your competitors are currently faring in the SERPs, this will give you valuable insights into how you can then plan your SEO content & strategies and what keywords to target.

If you are a small business or individual that’s moving into a highly competitive industry then chances are you are going to be competing against companies with very serious SEO clout and if you expect to have any kind of chance then getting hold of as much data as possible needs to be your number one priority.

Analyzing Competitor Keywords With The Right Tools

I’m going to show you several tried and tested tools (both free and paid) that I’ve used myself for many successful SEO campaigns over the years that have allowed me to identify highly valuable,  long tailed, low competition keywords that will start bringing in consistent organic traffic to your site and a foundation that you can build on.

Let’s get started!

Google Adwords Keyword Planner

Website –

This is the best place to start when trying to mine your competitor keyword data. Its totally free and very easy to use and can bring back a treasure trove of useful keyword results to analyze.

The best way to do this to go to Tools > Keyword planner and then select ‘Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category’.

You will then see the following form, in the landing page field instead of entreating your own website put your competitor’s url and you will get back data on keywords matched to their site along with approximate monthly search volumes.

Analyzing Competitor Keywords

Moz Open Site Explorer

Website –

The Open Site Explorer like many premium SEO tools is free for a limited number of uses per day (from a specific ip address) so if you are bootstrapping on a limited budget you can squeeze out a few free searches but at around $80-90 per month its excellent value for money so do consider upgrading to the premium plan!

To use Open Site Explorer for analyzing competitor keywords as well as where they are getting links from simply enter their url into the search field and then choose ‘Anchor text’ on the right, you will then get a list of keywords that the site should be ranking for and if you slick the ‘+’ button for each keyword you will get a list of the top external pages linking back using that keyword as anchor text. Neat!


Website –

SEMrush is another premium tool for SEO and digital marketing campaigns but you can still eek out some valuable data from it once per day.

Simply add your competitor’s url into the search bar on the homepage and then once the dashboard is loaded go to Keyword analytics > Overview in the left sidebar and you will get back the top 10 keywords for that url along with other stats such as monthly search volume as well as how each particular search term has been trending recently.

Not bad for free!



Website –

Spy allows a free limited usage also and has some interesting ways of of segmenting keyword data. After you’ve entered your competitor domain into the search field go to such as Newly Ranked, Keyword gains and losses, page one and almost there keywords so you can get deep insights into what keywords are doing well for them as well as an idea of what they are focusing on.


David Jones on GoogleDavid Jones on LinkedinDavid Jones on Twitter
David Jones
David is a content marketer from the UK based in Bangkok, Thailand.