Are you aware you need a spy tool?
You need SEO spy tools so you can pay attention to your competitors’ keywords.
You need SEO spy tools so you can rank on Page 1 of Google.
You need SEO spy tools so you can boost your search engine traffic.
Have you ever completed a SWOT analysis?
Have you ever heard of a SWOT analysis?
You should analyze your website’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The threats are your online competitors.
Someone recently observed that we are all trying to get the same piece of the pie. The pie, of course, is Google.
We all want Google traffic. We’ve constructed content around certain keywords. Now we want search engine users to see our posts.
Is that so much to ask? Not anymore.
This tutorial will tell you how to discover competitor keywords so you can try to rank higher on Google than your competitors.
This post covers
- Other Ways to Use SEMRush as a Spy Tool
- SEMRush Pricing
- Alternative SEMRush Spy Tools
- Ubersuggest vs SEMRush
- Alexa vs SEMRush
- SpyFu vs SEMRush
- MozBar vs SEOQuake
- Keywords Everywhere
- SERP Checker
- Wrapping Up: How to Rank for Competitor Keywords Using a Spy Tool
Are you ready to boost your Google traffic by going after competitor keywords?
In this post, you will find both free SEO spy tools as well as premium tools.
Let’s get started and find new keyword spy tools.
What is SEMRush?
SEMRush is a free SEO tool with a variety of features.
For example, you can use SEMRush for domain analysis, as a keyword tool, and for competitor research.
There are several ways to use the SEMRush spy tool to analyze your competitors’ keywords.
How to Use the SEMRush SEO Content Template for Competitive Analysis
To use Semrush’s free SEO Content Template, log in or make a free account.
Enter your keyword where asked.
Make sure your country is selected. Click “Create SEO Template.”
Since I was doing research for this post, I entered my original keyword for this post “SEMRush alternatives.”
SEMRush analyzed my top 10 competitors for the keyword.
When SEMRush asked me if I already had content, I clicked “no.”
Notice SEMRush became an SEO copywriting tool and recommended content for me that would help me beat my online competitors.
After using the SEMRush SEO Content Template, I revamped my content.
If your post is ranking below where you want in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages, update your content with these words, LSI keywords, synonyms for your focus keyword.
Did you notice SEMRush showed me my top online competitors? I can check their articles for word length and number of tips.
Other Ways to Use SEMRush as a Spy Tool
Go to Domain Analytics/Keyword Gap.
Type in your domain and the domains of your competitors to see which keywords you overlap for.
When I did, I found my competitors and I are all trying to compete for the same keyword “how to do blog commenting for traffic.”
Note: The free plan only allows you to generate one report a day.
The keyword we overlap for comes in as a live link. When I click it, I get valuable metrics that enable me to research the keyword.
I can even scroll down to see my competitors’ articles that rank for that keyword:
When I click on the article in Position 1, look what I see:
|how to do blog commenting for traffic||11||0||90||0.30|
|how to build a high traffic blog||7474||0||70||< 0.01|
|comment love blogs||2424||0||20||< 0.01|
|comments on blogs examples||7272||0||20||< 0.01|
|ashtapad overseas||5959||0||30||< 0.01|
|best comments for blogger||6767||0||20||< 0.01|
|comments on blog posts|
I now have more keyword possibilities I could possibly rank for.
Unless you pay for a premium account ($99.00 a month), you only get to use the SEO content template once a month for free.
The free plan allows you 10 free keyword search queries a month.
Alternative SEMRush Spy Tools
Moz and SEMRush have similar features as far as search engine optimization tools go.
When you download the free MozBar, your queries are unlimited.
You get the same perks as SEMRush but without the cost or the limitations on search numbers.
How to Use Moz Spy Tool to Spy on Your Competitors
I went to Google and typed in my new keyword for this post “competitor keywords.”
Google showed me WordStream was in the Position 1 spot.
Using the MozBar, and clicking the page and magnifying glass icon, I am able to see the on-page elements of the article.
How does this help you? First, you should improve on the meta description for the post.
How? Words like “free” and “get” get people’s attention. In contrast to WordStream’s tools, the tools in this post are free. I’ll be sure to put “free” in the headline and meta description.
See this article about how to get people to click your links.
Next, you see the “meta keywords” used in the post.
For more information about how to use Moz for competitive analysis, see this comprehensive tutorial about how to use the MozBar.
2020 Update: Ubersuggest is now a paid tool.
Ubersuggest is blogging guru Neil Patel’s tool.
How to Use Ubersuggest to Discover Competitor Keywords
Go to https://neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/ and enter the domain of your competitor.
Click Keywords to see the keywords driving traffic to your competitor’s site.
This is an analysis of the Top 4 keywords currently driving traffic to my site.
Once you see your competitor’s analysis, you need to decide if you want to compete for the keyword.
Look to the right.
Can you see my blog ranks at Position 3 in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) for the keyword “MeWe review?” Look in the DS Column.
My blog has a DS (Domain Score) of 58. If your Domain Score is higher than that of the people competing to rank for the keyword on Page 1 of the SERPs, try to rank for the term.
Try to compete for the keyword by crafting your content around that keyword and optimizing your post for the keyword.
Note: There are 10 spots on Page 1. You don’t have to beat all of them to still rank on Page 1.
For more information about Ubersuggest and its potential for competitor analysis, see this comprehensive Ubersuggest tutorial.
Ubersuggest vs SEMRush
Both Ubersuggest and SemRush are popular keyword tools. They also both effectively function as a spy tool.
SEMRush pricing: SEMRush is free for up to 10 queries a month.
Ubersuggest pricing: Ubersuggest also lets you see 10 keywords for free. Then, Ubersuggest costs $10. a month.
Although Alexa is more commonly known for its Alexa score that tells you how you rank globally and in the country where your main demographic comes from, this post is about other uses for Alexa.com.
This post will tell you how to discover and compete for your competitor keywords; however, it won’t tell you how to discover your competitors.
I use Alexa.com, a free tool to discover my competitors. (For instructions read my Alexa tutorial.)
How to Use Alexa.com to Discover Competitor Keywords
Go to https://www.alexa.com. Scroll down to Top Sites. Put in your URL. Click Find.
At the top of the screen, you see your competitors, people in your niche writing about similar content.
Look: Alexa recommends keywords that you can easily rank for!
Then, Alexa tells you your “keyword gaps.” Click it and you’ll see keywords your competitors are writing about but you’re not.
Alexa vs SEMRush
I use Alexa.com’s free plan and find it enough for me. Alexa tells me enough metrics that I’m satisfied with the free plan. Would I appreciate more data? Of course, but the free plan provides enough analytics I’m not planning to upgrade.
SEMRush: As indicated, SEMRush only answers 10 queries a month for free. I find these limitations frustrating.
Since I can use the free MozBar to get the features of SEMRush’s paid plan, I would opt to pay for Alexa if I paid for either tool.
SpyFu is a popular keyword tool. 94 million domains use Spyfu. Spyfu’s data updates once a month.
Although there are many ways to use SpyFu for competitor research, this is how I conduct competitor research using SpyFu.
How to Use SpyFu to Research Your Competitor Keywords
Go to https://www.spyfu.com/hq?b=15a / Where it says Enter a Competitor, enter the URL of your online competition.
I entered the URL of BloggingTips.com.
The blogger has two words that just ranked on Page 1 of Google’s SERPs. If you click the number, you can see the keywords. Follow the steps in this post to conduct a competitive analysis to see if you should create content and try to rank for them.
SpyFu vs SEMRush
SpyFu Pricing: For $33 a month. you can access SpyFu’s features without limitation.
SEMRush Pricing: SEMRush Pro starts at $99.00 per month.
Like Spyfu, Hubshout’s metrics do not update in real-time.
How to Use HubShout to Research Your Competitors
Go to http://report.hubshout.com/?p=Research# and enter your URL and the URLs of 3 of your online competitors.
Instead of putting in my competitor’s URL in the Competitor area, I put my competitor’s URL in the “Your URL” area.
Since Alexa.com told me that one of my competitors is the Donna Merrill Tribe blog, I put in Donna Merrill’s URL in the Your URL area.
Looking at these metrics, I can draw conclusions.
First, Donna ranks for keywords about Pinterest. Notice she is in Position 6 for both terms, closer to the bottom of Google’s Page 1.
I’m knowledgeable about Pinterest. If I crafted my content about Pinterest pins, I could potentially outrank Donna.
Note: There are other considerations I’d want to check like the number of tips and word length, both of which impress Google. I would also want to compare our Domain Ratings.
For more comprehensive information about how to use HubShout for SEO research, see this Hubshout tutorial.
SEOQuake is a free Google Chrome extension.
How to Use SEOQuake to Research Competitors
You need to download SEOQuake. For your free download SEOQuake: Click here.
After downloading SEOQuake, put the keyword you’re considering using in the Google search bar at the top of the screen.
Again I see the WordStream article in Position 1 on the first page of Google’s SERPs.
Wouldn’t it be nice if this post held that spot?
Looking at the metrics under the post that SEOQuake provides, I can see beating WordStream for the Number 1 position will be difficult.
WordStream’s metrics beat all of mine. However, I do have one shot at getting to Page 1 and even stealing WordStream’s traffic:
WordStream’s post offers 8 tools. This post offers 9 tools.
If this post can make it anywhere on Page 1, even if the WordStream post is higher than mine, people looking for a spy tool might click on my link instead of the post only offering 8 tools.
With the click of a button, the SEOQuake free download can be yours.
MozBar vs SEOQuake
I find the MozBar more versatile than SEOQuake for these reasons.
However, both are effective keyword tools. Also, neither will slow your website’s loading time since they are both Chrome extensions.
You can’t beat the price on either of these spy tools. They are both free.
Keywords Everywhere is a free Chrome browser extension.
How to Use Keywords Everywhere to Check on Your Rivals’ Keywords
I typed “competitor keywords” into the Google Chrome search bar.
Look at the keyword data Keywords Everywhere presented me.
The keywords are live links. When I click them, Keywords Everywhere takes me to the article where I can use SEOQuake to check the metrics of the blog and compare them against my own.
Read more detailed information about how to use SEOQuake and Keywords Everywhere.
Mangools has many free SEO tools to help you with your SEO.
How to Use SERP Checker to Check on Your Competitors’ Keywords
Go to https://serpchecker.com/. Enter your keyword where asked.
Before finishing this post, I changed the focus keyword to “spy tool.”
Do you see the competitive matrix SERP Checker gives you?
The SERP Checker says the keyword “spy tool” has an easy difficulty level and my metrics beat some of the articles on Google’s Page 1.
My main competition on Page 1 for the term “spy tool” is Neil Patel’s article. He has 17 tools and this post only has 9.
I will be sure to put “free” in the headline and my meta description so people looking for a free spy tool click my link and not his. His tools aren’t free.
Wrapping Up: How to Rank for Competitor Keywords Using a Spy Tool
In closing, this tutorial taught you how to discover your competitor keywords and how to compete for them using an SEO spy tool.
Important note about these SEO strategies: Often, ranking on Page 1 of Google takes time. If your post appears anywhere in the SERPs, in time, you may find your article appearing on Page 1. Moving up can take weeks, months, or even years. You can take certain actions to speed the process like linking back to the post from sites with a high Domain Authority Ranking.
This post taught you how to use a spy tool to outrank your competitors for free.
Step 1: Discover your competitors using tools like Alexa.com
Step 2: Discover your competitor keywords using the tools explained here.
Step 3: If you can beat your competitors’ Domain Scores, try to rank on Page 1 of Google’s SERPs for the term. You do this by crafting your content around the keyword and optimizing your post with the keyword.
This post also answered the question, “How does Alexa compare to SemRush?”
Now that you’ve read this post, you have many SpyFu free alternatives.
Now you know how to check competitors’ keywords.
Readers, please share so website creators who need a spy tool in order to rank higher on Google discover these free tools.
I look forward to your views in the comments section:
Which one is better: SpyFu or SemRush? Is there a spy tool you can recommend? Are you currently using a spy tool now? Which one?
Janice Wald is the founder of MostlyBlogging.com and co-founder of the Mostly Blogging Academy. She is an ebook author, blogger, blogging coach, blogging judge, freelance writer, and speaker. She won the Best Internet Marketer Award and the Best Blogger Award at the 2021 Infinity Blog Awards. Wald was also nominated as 2019 Best Internet Marketer by the Infinity Blog Awards and in 2017 as the Most Informative Blogger by the London Bloggers Bash. She’s been featured on Small Business Trends, the Huffington Post, and Lifehack.