i spy with my little eye

Lesson 1: I Spy With My Little Eye

This is a simple but often overlooked way to start your SEO campaign — look at your competitors’ keywords. Think of your competitors as a lab experiment (but don’t say it to their face!). They’ve often already researched and figured out the keywords to attract your target audience. Let’s turn their work to your advantage.

Throughout these tips, we will be talking about how you should perform search engine optimization (SEO). The main reason to conduct an SEO campaign is to move up in the Google rankings so that you can get more website visitors, right?

Wrong! Your business doesn’t need website visitors; you need signups for a trial, more customers, or simply a lead. Everything we talk about this next week is about helping you achieve that goal.

Ok, back to our “game.”

To play the kid’s game, a player will say, “I spy with my little eye something beginning with A.” Players take turns to call out guesses until someone gets the correct answer. That’s not what we’re going to do.

We’re going to identify the most popular, easiest to rank for keywords that your target audience uses to find your competitors’ websites.

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To get started, first create a Mangools account. Mangools is a fantastic SEO research tool (5 of them in one, actually) that is simple enough for beginners to use within minutes but powerful enough for seasoned SEO professionals. You can use Mangools for 10 days free of charge — plenty of time to work through our 7 tips in 7 days.

Once you create your account, click on KWFinder, select “Search by Domain,” and type in the website address for one of your competitors ranking well on Google.

Competitors' Keywords

When the results load, you will see the keywords your competitor ranks for on page one of Google plus other vital information. You’ll see: 

  • The actual keywords,
  • your competitor’s rank for the keywords (i.e., Position),
  • the estimated number of visitors websites collectively receive from the keyword (i.e., EV)
  • the average cost per click for the keyword in Google Ads if you were doing paid advertising (i.e., CPC)
  • the level of competition for the keyword in Google Ads if you were running paid advertising (i.e., PPC), and
  • keyword SEO difficulty (i.e., KD).
Competitors' Keywords

Let me explain each of these values and how we’ll spy with your little eye the keywords you want to poach.

The estimated value (EV) indicates how popular the keyword is with Internet users. This number represents the estimated number of visitors all websites get from that specific keyword in a month (combined). The takeaway for you is that the bigger the number, the more potential visitors you can attract to your website from a given keyword. Big numbers good, little numbers less good.

CPC and PPC are essential, even though we’re not looking to run Google ads. You see, we have to match the type of content on a webpage to a Google user’s search intent, or our web pages will never rank well.

When these numbers are larger, advertisers find these keywords more commercial or transactional in nature. The lower numbers are equally valuable, but it informs us that the type of web page content you will need to rank for those terms needs to be more informational.

We’re going to talk all about search intent tomorrow, so for now, just take note of whether a keyword has high or low values in these columns.

Lastly, Keyword SEO Difficulty (KD) tells you how easy or difficult it is to rank on the first page of Google for that keyword. Here’s a chart to help you understand the scoring.

Competitors' Keywords
Mangools Keyword SEO Difficulty Scoring

You want to save and ultimately target every keyword that is easy, still easy, and possible. For now, ignore all of the other keywords (and any keywords containing your competitor’s brand name) because you’re very unlikely to rank for the more difficult keywords, and we’re looking for an immediate increase in traffic, signups, leads, and customers.

Once you’re ranking for the easier and “possible” keywords, you can start to worry about the difficult terms.

To reveal the Keyword SEO Difficulty for a given keyword, click the magnifying glass in each row. If the score is green or yellow, save the keyword by clicking the star to the left of the keyword.

Competitors' Keywords

Now repeat this process for several of your other competitors. The trick is to spy the keywords of companies that sell what you sell that rank well on Google. If you have a business that serves a local market, check Google for companies similar to your business that rank super well in several other cities. You can always copy their keywords too.

“I spy with my little eye….”

Key takeaways

Create a Mangools account that you can use for free over the next 10 days

Save all of your competitors’ keywords that are easy, still easy, and possible. Ignore the rest (for now)

Tim Woda

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scott morton

Scott Morton

Network Designs