When you are starting out your SEO strategy, keyword research can be a daunting task. Which keywords to target, how to shortlist those keywords, how to come up with keywords are some of the challenges every business faces.

One of the quickest way to start off keyword research right off the bat, is to spy on your competitors and find out the keywords your competitors are targeting. This simple strategy will help you get at least 80-100 keywords which you can use to generate more keywords for your business.

 Let us say, you are an online office furniture e-commerce company. And your target market is UK.

 You put the keyword “buy office furniture online” in Google Keyword planner, setting the location to the United Kingdom.



From the result, you can see the average monthly search volume for related keywords.


We can see that the keyword office furniture online has 8100 monthly searches. That is a good number for a seed keyword.


Now let us go to google.co.uk and search using this keyword office furniture online.

google search office furniture online


The ones in Red circle are our direct competitors. I have left Ikea and Homebase as they are big players who deal with lot of other products other than office furniture and therefore it is not the right strategy to identify their keywords. Rather we will focus on direct competitors.

Now, our job is to spy on these competitors to find which keywords are they targeting.

Tools to Find Keywords targeted by Competitors

1. Google Keyword Planner (Free Tool)

Google keyword planner is a great tool to help us get insight into what Google thinks are relevant keywords for a website.


We will give the landing page of the first competitor www.officefurnitureonline.co.ukin the field Your Landing Page and give the product category as office furniture.

officefurnitureonline-Google keyword planner

Click on Get ideas.

keywordideas -competitor 1


As you can see, the Keyword Planner tool throws in keyword ideas based on the landing page and product category you have selected. By default the keywords are sorted by relevance. You also get the monthly search volume for these keywords.


Please note that in the Keywords to include section, I have added  – Include terms: office furniture. This makes the keyword research narrow. You can change this to make the research broader.


Save these keywords in an excel sheet (Lets say Sheet Competitor Keywords). We will keep adding keywords to this sheet.


2. SEMRush (Free + Paid)


This tool helps us unearth some new keywords. Add them to Sheet Competitor Keywords


The free version entitles to 10 keywords. You can get a premium version to get more keywords. In this case, SEMRush can give 48 keywords.



3. Keywordspy (Free + Paid)



Add these new keywords to Sheet Competitor Keywords

The free version entitles to 10 keywords. You can get a premium version to get more keywords.


4. Spyfu (Free + Paid)

Go to spyfu.com. Key in the competitor URL. Click on search. Change the Location to UK and search again. Go to the tab SEO Keywords.


The free version gives only 5 keywords. A Pro plan gives unlimited access to all possible keyword combinations.


By using these 3 tools (and only using the free versions of Keywordspy, Spyfu and SEMRush) we can find the top 30-50 keywords for each competitor. By using premium versions, we can get many more.


Now repeat the steps for your other competitors to get a bigger set of about 100 keywords.


Put these keywords in Google Keyword Planner tool and get Related Keyword Ideas. Select the ones which are relevant to your business. Add them to Sheet Competitor Keywords.


By doing these steps and repeating them, you will have a large set of target keywords relevant for your business. Go ahead and start your SEO now.



Keyword research is the most crucial part of SEO and by spying on your competitors, you will get a good idea of the keywords they are targeting. This will give you a great headstart in your SEO campaign.


What other tools do you use for spying on your competitors? Do let us know below.

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