spy on competitors research strategy

Spy On Your Competitions Keyword Strategy

Have you ever wondered what your local competitors are going after, regarding their website and keyword targeting strategy? Believe it or not, there is a whole host of services out there just waiting to help you find the answer! In this episode we’ll go over some of these tools, and how you can use them to spy on the competition and get new keyword ideas.

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  • Discover who your main online competitors are
  • Find out which keywords your competition is targeting
  • Best practices to study what is working for competitors
  • How to research other markets to find trends
  • Online tools and resources for spying on the competition
  • How to discover niches your competitors are ignoring

Thanks for Listening!

Here is a preview of the transcription from Episode 10 – Spy On Your Competitors Keyword Strategy With Keyword Research Tools;

Jesse: What’s your competition doing? What’s working? How are they dominating and what are their strategies? Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics. Jesse Dolan and Bob Brennan here, bringing you actionable items that you can execute each week to help increase the rankings on your website and dominate the search engines. We’re going to talk more again today about keywords.

Last episode we were talking about what are keywords? How do I find the right keywords I should be going after and a whole lot of stuff on that. If you haven’t checked that episode out yet, go back, check that one out first before this, ’cause we’re going to kind of build on that here. Today we’re going to talk about what your competition is doing. By now, you should have an understanding of what you’re doing, what you’re going after, what your customers ar looking for.

Now, what’s your competition doing? What’s working? How are they dominating and what are their strategies? There’s a lot of different ways that you can go about this. One, just do it manually. You can go out there and you can just plug in your keywords that you wanted to be found for, see who’s ranking. If you find a competitor that’s outranking you consistently, it’s nice to peek under the hood and see what they’re doing. One bit of caution on that, I wouldn’t go after people that are just kind of one and dones. If there’s one turn they’re ranking for but really not showing up anywhere for anything else.

You’re going to want to do a few different searches for some relatively similar phrases, and find out who’s consistently outranking you, and who’s consistently dominating. Whatever they’re doing, they’re doing it right, so lots of different factors come into play for what makes a good webpage and how do you dominate and rank. One of them is just the overall gravity of your website. There’s not going to be a website that just remains super dominant in any industry or niche for long, if they’re not having a certain scale or mass.

Sometimes what you need to do is find out what your competition is going after to again, uncover those niches that you may be ignorant to right now, or just not aware that you need to be marketing in those areas. Definitely do some searches, compile a manual list of what competitors are ranking really good and write them down, ’cause then you can go to some different third party services and really peek under the hood for what those competitors are doing.
Bob: I would throw out too Jess is sometimes if you’re in a smaller market, you can look at your competition in your market, but I would actually go maybe to another big market or a nearby market.

Jesse: Absolutely.

Bob: See what they’re doing because that’s very competitive and you’ve got to be super sharp to hold those positions in those major markets. That’s one other thing I’d take a look at as well.

Jesse: I think that’s a great tip, even if you don’t “need” to. That’s just great to do so you’re not blinded by what’s happening in your local market. There maybe somebody on the other side of the country that’s just killing it.

Bob: Yeah.

Jesse: Doing things that nobody in your market’s doing. That’s excellent pro tip there. All the other things that we’re going to be talking about really for the rest of this episode, just keep that in mind. This is going to apply to any market anywhere, not just in your own backyard. Definitely, a great tip. What you’re going to want to do is compile a list of these competitors. Not just their names, you need their websites, and even better if there’s particular pages that you’re really impressed with that are dominating. Maybe they have a certain page, one of your competitors that’s dominating for multiple keywords. Just like us, no matter what I type in, these pages come up number one.

You’re going to want to save the actual webpage. Copy and paste that entire link into a spreadsheet or something or write it down, whatever you got to do. Not just the company name, not just their homepage, but any individual pages that they’re highly ranking for as well. Compile a list of those. Then you can go out to a bunch of different tools and do some research on those. There’s a few of them. There’s like Long Tail Pro. If you just Google that, you’re going to find that. There’s Sem Rush, which S-E-M Rush, and that stands for Search Engine Marketing. Then there’s one that we use mostly, it’s called Spyfu, S-P-Y-F-U.com.

All of them operate very similarly, and there’s probably hundreds of others. It’s really pick your poison. We have no horse in the race for what you use, just what we’re comfortable with. All of them are going to provide some of the same basic utilities for you. All the services we just mentioned are all paid services. I’m pretty sure in all you can download for maybe seven or 30 days, no risk. Really to get this kind of information we’re going to be talking about, it’s going to have to be a paid service. We haven’t tried any free services that have really been worth latching on to, just because it costs money to get the kind of data that we’re going to be accessing. There’s just not any company that provides good quality data in this arena for free.

Bob: Yeah, these are pretty good tools. What are we spending and more importantly just what’s a individual business going to have to spend a month or a budget for some of these tools. Then I’ll throw this out there too, how does our own free tool come into play with any of these? Does it help?

Jesse: Yeah, great question, absolutely. Most products out there are going to maybe on the low end be 19.99 a month, 29.99 a month, somewhere in there, and then you can spend upwards of a hundred dollars or more per month for this. Most of it’s going to be volume driven so how many searches are you doing. There’s other features that they’ll provide, which I’ll get into in just a second. But also I’ll kind of provide their pricing tiers. It’s really about at the end of the day, how much are you going to use it. How much are you going to lean on it.

Yeah, you can get into it for 20 bucks a month, I would say for most local service businesses, start there. Don’t worry about jumping into a higher plan right off the bet, unless there’s some particular feature that the medium or top in plan provides there. Start with the basic plan, and really start with the free demo if they have one, take advantage of it to find out which one of these suits your style. Again, they all kind of provide the same basic services. They got different interfaces and different specialties or maybe graphics, how they portray it.

Find the one that’s right for you. We’re going to be talking about Spyfu. Some of the main things that you can do with that is again, you can spy in your competition. If you just take the web address of one of your competitors, you plug it in, they’re going to show, what keywords are they ranking for, addresses to those pages, search volumes, how long has that competitor maybe been ranking, and then kind of a trend line if they go on up and down, or how dominant are they or not, which is again, great information because Google’s results are dynamic. What works today may not work there tomorrow, which is kind of the crux of this podcast, is to stay there and dominate, you have to do all of these things.

If somebody is ranking high today, maybe they’re just a flash in the pan, they might be gone tomorrow. It’s important to look at these tools and say, “Okay, here’s somebody that I think was dominant, and yeah, they’ve been holding this position for nine months. Before that, they were still on second or third spot.” If you see a trend like that, versus somebody who’s just up and down, all over the board, that’s going to maybe influence what set of data you’re going to look at and, which one you’re going to really dig into. They’re going to show you things about what keywords these pages are ranking for. They’re going to give the actual URL of the pages. Again, so you can go and visit those pages.

You can make some assumptions if you’re impressed with these companies that if they’re ranking high and being dominant for these keywords, they’re also putting some energy into the conversion on their pages. Definitely evaluate their pages, see if they’re talking about things, maybe using certain styles or images or call to actions that are attractive. Again, if you get inspired by their ideas, great. If you’re listening to this podcast, pretty fair that you didn’t go to school for marketing, graphic design, and things of that nature. This is your class. This is how you get educated, just finding out what’s working out there right now, and deconstructing it, and reverse engineering it, and putting it to use for yourself.

You’re not doing anything deceitful, that’s why these products exist. That’s why this industry has a lot of niche here. You’re not doing anything that your competitors aren’t already doing, so don’t be bashful about it. Yeah, so you’re going to want to get inspired by what they do and all of the details that you’re going to be provided in these tools like Spyfu are valuable. Can likely say on the upside, don’t get overwhelmed. You don’t have to take it all then digest all of it. Make sure you’re looking for a certain thing. Yeah, I want to find out what keywords they’re going after, what I’m probably missing. I might be missing a certain segment of the market. I might be missing that particular brand of furnaces that I’m not currently trying to get found for service on.

What are their pages saying for call to actions, things like that. They’re also going to show and also these tools, what they’re doing for their paid advertising, which means or why do we even care about that, that’s not what the show is about, we don’t talk about paid stuff, we’re trying to rank naturally. Well, if they’re paying for something, there’s a good reason for it, right?

Bob: Yeah, there’s money there. There’s also a couple of strategies, you can go, I think it’s called the Art of War, this book, it’s a really good book, I’ve only read part of it. There’s this one part that kind of sticks out and it really is if your enemy is much bigger than you, don’t go fight them head on. If you can compete in a pay per click deal, great. If you can’t, this tool will help you see where the holes are in their strategy, where you can kind of exploit that.

Jesse: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, you can go either end of the spectrum, what’s the super popular stuff that cost a lot, for pay per click, ’cause it will show you, most of these tools will show you not just what they’re going after for pay per click.

Because of how sophisticated they are in their data collections, they can tell you where these companies are ranking in the pay per click, how long they’ve been ranking there for, and then they also know what it takes, how much each click costs. If they know competitor A is in the first spot and it’s $20 per click to be in that spot and they’ve been there for six months, they can kind of project how much they’ve actually been spending, right.


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