A common SEO tactic employed in content marketing is competitor keyword analysis. The goal is usually to boost organic traffic through the optimization of your selected keywords for content production and web copy. To achieve this goal, firms typically evaluate the performance of their own company and competitors in order to identify weaknesses and strengths, steal best practices and get ideas for new keywords to target. Additionally, the technique can be used to analyze a list of potential keywords to determine the ones with the biggest potential that will be easiest to rank for on search engines. Let’s explain keyword analysis in more detail here.

What Is Competitor Keyword Analysis And How Does It Work

Basically, there are three types of keyword analysis. An internal analysis is focused on your own company and aims at examining your current SEO performance and how it evolves over time. On the other hand, an external analysis deals with looking at your competition to identify the strongest rivals, their best practices and mistakes. By combining both internal and external analysis, you can benchmark your business against competitors and monitor how your keyword performance improves against theirs. Finally, in a new keyword analysis you can use insights from all your research, brainstorming and other keyword idea-gathering methods to identify what keywords are searched for the most, are the most competitive and are the easiest to rank for.

The Metrics

No matter what type of competitor keyword analysis you’re doing, it’s essential to understand the different metrics used. Here’s a rundown of the most popular ones:

Search Engine Position

When analyzing a company’s keywords, one of the most important things you want to know is how many keywords they actually rank for and where exactly. Keywords that are located on the first page of search engine results are particularly important as people usually don’t click through the latter pages. The search engine position measures a firm’s rank on Google and other engines for a specific keyword. In addition to the current position, a lot of tools also provide information on past locations to let users see how their SEO evolved over time.

Share Of Traffic

This metric is often used for internal and external analysis as it gives insights into what keywords drive the most organic traffic to companies’ websites. Share of traffic is typically displayed in percentage points to demonstrate how much of overall search engine traffic stems from a given keyword.

Search Volume

The search volume is another key metric since it shows how many people search for a particular keyword per month. This can be seen as a keyword’s potential.

Search Results

The metric for search results shows the number of URLs displayed for a certain keyword query. Many people often use it as a rough estimation of a keyword’s competition.

Keyword Difficulty

The keyword difficulty is an estimation of how hard it is to rank for a specific keyword at the top of search results. It is usually displayed in percentage points with a higher number indicating a higher difficulty in ranking well. It is usually more accurate than simply using the search results metric as it often includes other factors such as competitors’ domain authority, backlinks and more for a specific keyword.

Domain Authority

The domain authority estimates how well a website would rank for keywords. It is not to be confused with page authority which describes the strength of one particular page on a website.


Backlinks are a crucial ranking factor on search engines. They show how many websites link to a specific website for given keyword. A high amount of high-quality referring domains to a competitor’s site can make it harder to outrank them for a keyword.

How To Make A Competitor Keyword Analysis

A complete keyword analysis usually consists of four steps:

  1. Analyzing your current and past keyword performance
  2. Analyzing your competitors’ current and past keyword performance
  3. Building a keyword list
  4. Identifying and selecting the optimal keywords for your business


If you want to know more about the exact process of boosting your SEO through improved keywords, you can find more information in our article about applying a competitor analysis framework.