How to Find Your SEO Competitors
So you are looking to start tracking your competitors. You sit down to brainstorm, but after a while, you find that you can’t seem to dream up a single one.
Don’t sweat it. Follow this short guide and we guarantee you’ll find at least(!) one SEO competitor.
But before we go into the process of identifying which domains are your competitors, let's dwell on that word - competitor.
Nov 07, 2022
What is an SEO competitor?
The term competitor in the context of SEO refers to domains competing for your traffic, as opposed to real-life customers. Let’s give an example to illustrate:
If you are a local brick-and-mortar store, the businesses competing for your customers are most likely nearby shops offering similar products. This is because you all want to attract customers from the same geographical area.
if your business is also running a blog, perhaps to keep the public updated on industry trends, your competition gets broadened. A blog is not bound to a specific geographical location and the content becomes relevant to a geographically scattered audience.
This means you are competing with other similar blogs for online traffic, but not real-life customers.
These blogs are your SEO competitors.
How to find your SEO competitors manually
Here is the process of finding keywords that other websites already rank for, using Bruno’s Site Explorer.
- Search for a keyword that is central to your website or business.
- Identify which web pages already dominate the search results.
- Enter them one by one into Bruno’s Site Explorer.
- Bruno gathers all the keywords that the web page ranks for, together with important metrics.
- Export the keywords from Bruno and import them into a spreadsheet.
- Repeat the steps above for all the central keywords in your niche.
- Sift through the keywords to find the ones that are relevant to your website.
Now you should be left with a long list of keywords that are relevant to the content of your website.
The list should by this point contain a substantial share of all useful keywords that are out there.
The truth is, however, that you can always top off the list with more and more keywords. But you have to stop at some point and go on to the next step.
Find Keywords by Specific Attributes
A list of keywords is great to have. But not all keywords are created equal. Some are going to be more valuable to you than others.
First off, which keywords are valuable to you depends on your SEO ambitions as well as the current competition.
But it is generally a good idea to focus on search terms with certain SEO attributes, such as low-competition or long-tail keywords.
Using Site Explorer to find low-competition keywords
Low-competition keywords are great targets if your website lacks a strong backlink profile. They are also a great option if you operate in a high-competition niche.
It might be tempting to go after the keywords with the highest search volume. Or keywords sitting at the bottom of the conversion funnel.
But there is no point in going up against well-established domains if yours is weak. All you can do is take one step at a time and slowly build traffic. Low-competition, low-volume keywords are going to be your way in.
And how do you find those?
You can find low-competition keywords using Bruno’s Site Explorer.
Enter the URL of a page that ranks for a keyword in your niche. (The page should ideally contain a few hundred words of text).
This is going to bring up all sorts of keywords that the page ranks for. Some are going to be high-competition and some low-competition keywords.
Finally, sort by the Keyword Difficulty metric.
At the top of the list should now be search terms that are relatively easy to rank for.
Note that the Keyword Difficulty metric is based solely on the strength of the existing pages’ backlink profiles. A keyword might be competitive based on other things, such as already-existing great content.
Using Site Explorer to find long-tail Keywords
For every topic on Google there is a way to organize the keywords into two (or three if you will) categories:
- Fat-head keywords
- Long-tail keywords
- (Medium-tail keywords)
Let’s focus on the first two.
Fat-head keywords generally have large search volumes individually but only account for a fraction of the topic’s total search volume.
Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are longer and more specific search terms, which together make up the vast majority of searches on Google.
Examples of fat-head keywords are:
Examples of long-tail keywords are:
- screen repair lenovo laptop
- best office chair back pain
- is television advertising worth it
The name long-tail keyword comes from the “long tail” that emerges when you graph keywords of a certain topic based on their search volume.
The tail is made up of keywords with relatively low search volumes. But they often have a clear intent behind them, which greatly facilitates the content-making process and results in a better return on investment.
So how do you find long-tail keywords?
To find long-tail keywords that relate to a main (or seed) keyword, start by entering it into Google.
Then, find a page that ranks highly and covers as many aspects of the topic as possible.
Enter it into Bruno’s Site Explorer.
Use the following filters to extract only the long-tail search terms:
Use the Contains filter in Bruno to find long-tail keywords that derive from the main keyword.
Finally, sort by Volume and watch as a long tail of low-volume, high-value keywords emerges.
If you are willing to put a bit of effort into doing keyword research, then going after long-tail keywords is a great idea. There is a lot of traffic to be gained.
Using Site Explorer to find keywords by search intent
Search intent (also user intent) is another keyword aspect worth considering.
Put simply, it’s the reason why the search was made.
The intent behind a search query largely dictates which search results Google chooses to display. That’s why it is so important to take search intent into consideration when creating content for your website.
Take the following search query for example:
Is the searcher looking for an informative article comparing different apple varieties. Or do they want to compare technical specifications of Apple™ products? (It’s the latter one in this case).
But whatever it is, your web page needs to align with the search intent or it won’t have a chance to rank.
When doing keyword research, it’s a good idea to differentiate between different types of intent. One web page can’t serve them all at the same time.
SEOs usually talk about four types of search intent:
Informational intent means the searcher is looking for information, whether it be quick snippets or in-depth articles. Examples of informational search queries include:
- “tallest man alive”
- “what is SEO”
- “how to grow tomatoes”
Navigational intent means the searcher is looking for a particular website. Examples of navigational queries include:
- “espresso machine amazon”
- “401k irs”
- “elon musk twitter”
Commercial intent means the searcher is in the market for a product or service. They just haven’t decided which brand or model is appropriate for them. Examples of commercial queries include:
- “spotify vs apple music”
- “coffee bean comparison”
- “free rank tracker”
Transactional intent means the searcher is ready to purchase a product. Examples of transactional queries include:
- “cheap flip phone”
- “netflix pricing”
- “espresso house manhattan”
A “modifier” word in a search query can reveal what the searcher is looking for. Here is a chart mapping the modifier keywords to the four categories:
Note that you can’t blindly trust the chart above. Take these two queries for instance:
- “cheap washing machine program”
- “washing machine program comparison”
They clearly reveal an informational intent; you can’t buy a washing machine program.
The searcher is using the modifiers “cheap” and “comparison” when trying to find consumer information.
So how do you find keywords with a specific search intent?
Open Bruno’s Site Explorer. Enter a domain or website that contains information about a topic of your choice.
Bruno will present you with lots of keywords that the website ranks for.
Select the Contains operator and enter a modifier word into the search field.
This should only bring up keywords of the corresponding search intent. See the table above for reference.
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