This is a guest post by John G., a full-time Content Strategist and expert copywriter in our team.
nFusion Solutions faced a very common challenge when they came to us: their site wasn’t showing up in search results for their relevant keywords.
However, their challenge was actually a lot more unique than that.
This meant I needed to think outside the box to deliver. Here’s the story.
What Happens When SEO Software Can’t Help with Keywords?
Several of the company’s main competitors were showing up for practically every keyword they threw at Google.
Usually, the solution is fairly straightforward. At Express Writers, we use premium software like SEMRush to discover which keywords stand the best chance of bringing our clients lots of traffic. They can’t be too competitive, but they also can’t be too low on monthly searches.
However, nFusion Solutions’ predicament was a first for me.
Even though we knew which phrases would bring up their competitors in Google – and, thus, were relevant keywords – the industry is so niche that these keywords didn’t see enough monthly searches to show up in our premium platforms.
So, there was no simple way of knowing which phrases would be the most valuable to our client.
4 Steps for Using a Competitor to Do Keyword Research
Instead, what I needed was a solution that would tell me which keywords these competitors used most across their entire sites – every single page. It stood to reason that these were the ones having the biggest impact on their rankings.
Once I had that information, I could sift through the results to find the keywords that would put nFusion Solutions on the same page as these competitors.
This involved “pulling apart” the other companies’ websites page-by-page.
Step 1: Finding Every Indexed Page for the Competitors’ Site
The first thing I needed to do was to find every single page of the target competitors’ site.
Sometimes, you can just access the site’s sitemap.
Other times, you might need to use a tool like Rob Hammond’s SEO Crawler, which will scan an entire site and return URLs for each and every page.
If your competitor’s site has more than 300 pages, you’ll probably need a premium tool like Screaming Frog to accomplish this.
Fortunately, nFusion Solutions’ competitors only had around 100 pages apiece.
Once your crawler is done, take the results and put them into an Excel sheet. Here’s what the results look like when I did this for the Express Writers website:
Then, I’d just copy-and-paste the results into an Excel like this:
Step 2: Pulling the Keyword Density for Each Page
Now comes the heavy lifting.
To figure out which keywords showed up the most across all of a single competitor’s site, I needed to conduct a keyword-density report for every one of their 100+ pages.
Again, there are free tools that can do this.
I prefer SEO Centro’s version.
You just enter each of the individual URLs into the tool and it will return the keyword breakdown for each one.
Here are two screenshots of the results from one of the competitor’s main pages:
And for three-word keywords:
As you can see, I was only concerned with keywords that included two or more words.
I left out single-word keywords like “gold” and “silver” because they aren’t nearly specific enough for nFusion Solutions’ purposes.
Step 3: Identifying the Best Keywords
After conducting a keyword-density analysis for each page of each competitor’s sites, I moved the most popular keywords for each page onto an Excel sheet, keeping an ongoing tally of the frequency with which each one was used.
When I was finished, I had an excel sheet that showed which keywords were used the most across all of these sites. It looked like this:
Step 4: Choosing the Right Keywords for My Client’s Pages
The final step was simply choosing which keywords from the list were most important to each of nFusion Solutions’ new pages.
I did this by looking at which keywords the competitors used most often throughout their sites. I also took the time to learn about nFusion Solutions’ market, so I knew which keywords made the most sense for each of their service pages.
Want to hire John to build great content for your brand online? Let us know! You can also request a free 15-minute strategy consultation with him here.
Going the Extra Mile to Find the Best Possible Keywords
While premium SEO software is necessary for online marketing, it might not always be enough.
In the case of nFusion Solutions, I had to get a little creative in order to find which keywords would be most valuable to them.
Fortunately, the above steps are easily replicable. So, if you’re struggling to keep up with your competitors and the software you’re using doesn’t seem to help, you now know how to find what keywords are proving most valuable.
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