Turning The Tables: How To Reverse Engineer Competitor Keywords For A Killer Content Strategy

Turning The Tables: How To Reverse Engineer Competitor Keywords For A Killer Content Strategy
Summary: Building your target keyword listing is among the first crucial steps in SEO. In this phase, knowing your "enemy" can improve your performance. In this article, we present a guide to reverse engineering competitor keywords and using them to your advantage.

Unleash The Power Of Your Content Strategy By Reverse Engineering Competitor Keywords

Implementing the most common SEO strategies is often not enough in intensely competitive industries. To tackle this issue, companies need to innovate with their SEO techniques to maximize the potential of their content strategy. One of these innovative strategies is to analyze competitors and reverse engineer competitor keywords to your benefit.

In SEO, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. If some keywords work for a competitor that offers similar services to yours, there is a chance that these keywords will be useful to you, too. That is why reverse engineering competitor keywords should be part of the toolbox of any company aiming for SEO success.

In this guide, we will explore the technique of reverse engineering competitor keywords by presenting the process step by step. We will also touch upon related concepts such as SEO software competitor analysis, SEO engineering, and various reverse SEO techniques to help you increase your rankings and organic traffic.

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What Is Competitor Keyword Analysis?

There is a variety of company sizes in every market, and larger enterprises may have dedicated marketing teams working solely on SEO while others lack this capacity. This means that some companies lack the resources to search in depth and discover hidden keyword gems that can provide them with valuable content marketing ideas.

That is where competitor keyword analysis comes into play. To illustrate, it can provide you with valuable insights into what is performing well for your direct competitors in terms of keywords. If your competitors' services match yours, then their targeted keywords are likely to do the same for you. A comprehensive competitor keyword analysis may help you discover valuable keywords in your industry and fill your marketing funnels with potential customers.

It is important to understand that the keywords your competitors are targeting are essential for developing your own content strategy that excels in the industry. If you do competitor keyword analysis right, you can research and analyze the keywords that your competitors are using to generate organic traffic to their websites, meaning you can identify which keywords are working for them, and then find opportunities to enhance your own SEO strategy.

Now that you know the basics around competitor keyword analysis, let's dive into reverse engineering competitor keywords.

Why Reverse Engineering Competitor Keywords Is Crucial

Reverse engineering competitor keywords is crucial because it helps you target the most valuable keywords in your industry. In simple terms, reverse engineering competitor keywords allows you to:

  • Understand competitor SEO strategies. Gain valuable insights into the SEO and content marketing strategies that are performing well for your direct competitors.
  • Identify gaps in your content. Discover keywords and opportunities your competitors are ranking for that you might have missed.
  • Stay competitive in rankings. Keep up with or surpass your competitors in search engine results pages (SERPs).
  • Improve your SEO performance. Enhance your keyword targeting to improve your search engine rankings and increase organic traffic.

Tools For Reverse Engineering Competitor Keywords

There are numerous SEO tools that can help you reverse engineer competitor keywords. These tools can provide you with detailed insights into the keywords your competition is ranking for, as well as help you measure content marketing performance. Here is a list of the most effective tools:

Known for its comprehensive backlink analysis, Ahrefs also offers solid keyword research and competitor analysis features.

This tool provides extensive data on competitor keywords, organic search positions, backlink gaps, and more.

Moz offers keyword analysis and competitive research tools that are user-friendly and highly effective.

This tool specializes in competitor keyword analysis and provides historical data on keyword performance.

A content marketing service that helps you find the most shared content across social media, providing insights into which keywords and topics are trending.

Step-By-Step Guide To Reverse Engineering Competitor Keywords

Now is the time for the main course: the step-by-step guide to successfully reverse engineering competitor keywords. This comprehensive guide takes you through the main processes and common techniques that will fuel your SEO strategy.

Identify Your Competitors

The first thing you need is the appropriate competitive intelligence. Not everyone in your industry is your competitor. Companies offering similar services might target different target audiences, so don't spend resources on the keywords they target.

Instead, you need to identify your main competitors and draw keywords from them at a later stage. These competitors can be:

  • Indirect competitors. Companies targeting the same audience with different products or services. Also, these can be companies that offer similar services but target different audiences.
  • Direct competitors. Businesses offering similar products or services targeting the same audience as you.
  • SEO competitors. Websites from different industries that rank for the same keywords as you. These are considered competitors only from an SEO standpoint.

Collect Competitor Keyword Data

The next step is to collect comprehensive data on the keywords they are ranking for. In this stage, you might want to use the SEO tools mentioned above. For example, using Semrush, you can enter a competitor's URL and see a list of the keywords they rank for, along with metrics such as search volume, keyword difficulty, and traffic potential. The data you collect in this stage is crucial for the next step.

Analyze Competitor Keywords

You have successfully collected valuable data about your competitors' keywords. However, data alone does not tell the full story. It's time to crack the egg, see what's inside, and start cooking. Therefore, the next step is to analyze the data. Here are some things you want to focus on:

  • High-volume keywords. Keywords that have a high search volume and are driving significant organic traffic to your competitors' websites.
  • Low-difficulty keywords. These are keywords that are relatively easy to rank for but are still relevant to your audience. In general, low-difficulty keywords are the low-hanging fruit in SEO with less competition.
  • Content gaps. Topics or keywords your competitors are ranking for that you have not targeted yet with content.

Implement Findings Into Your Content Strategy

After analyzing competitor keywords, you need to implement your findings into your content marketing strategy. This process involves:

  1. Creating high-quality content. Based on the data you gathered, develop content that is better than your competitors'. This content could take the form of engaging blog posts, comprehensive guides, eBooks, or informative videos, webinars, and podcasts.
  2. Optimizing existing content. Your already published content might also hinder valuable potential. Therefore, make sure you update your current content to include the high-volume and low-competition keywords you've identified.
  3. Targeting long-tail keywords. The more specific, the better. Focus on long-tail keywords that are highly specific to your niche. These keywords often have less competition and higher conversion rates.

Advanced Reverse SEO Techniques

Since we have presented the common steps of reverse engineering competitor keywords, here are some advanced techniques you can use to further enhance your competitive SEO strategies.

Competitor Content Analysis

Beyond looking for keywords, analyze your competitors' content to understand what works for them. Look at details like the structure, format, and types of content (e.g., videos, blog posts, and infographics) that are performing well. Use this valuable insight to create similar or better content to rank higher on Google.

Backlink Analysis

Backlinks are crucial to SEO performance. You can use SEO tools like Ahrefs or Semrush to analyze your competitors' backlink profiles and identify high-quality backlinks that you can target for your own website.

If you are interested in outsourcing, some reliable SEO services also offer backlink analysis as part of their overall link building services.

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User Intent And Search Trends

In SEO, understanding user intent behind keywords can go a long way, as it can help you enter the mind of your target audience and reveal hidden opportunities. Use features like Google Trends to see how search queries related to your competitors' keywords can help you achieve this goal. Make sure you align your content strategy with these trends to stay relevant and in the top SERPs.

Reverse SEO Services And Tools

The advanced techniques already mentioned require resources and time. Some companies might not have a dedicated team to reach this potential, yet they still want to rank high on Google. In this case, consider using reverse SEO services and tools that specialize in competitor analysis. These services can provide detailed audits, reports, and actionable insights that you might not be able to obtain on your own.


Reverse engineering competitor keywords is a powerful tactic that can give you a significant advantage in SEO. By understanding what your competitors are doing and leveraging that information to enhance your own content strategy, you can improve your search engine rankings, drive more organic traffic, and ultimately, achieve your business goals.

Certain tools and services can help you gather detailed insights into your competitors' keyword strategies and implement advanced reverse SEO techniques. Whether you're identifying content gaps, analyzing backlinks, or understanding user intent, the key is to continuously monitor and adapt your strategy based on the competition.

Remember, SEO is not a one-time effort but an ongoing process. By regularly conducting competitor keyword analysis and refining your content strategy, you can stay ahead of the competition and accelerate business growth.

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