If you ever run out of content ideas for your website, then this article will be super useful.
By leveraging on similar websites to perform keyword research, you will be able to:
- Build a list of keyword ideas for your future content;
- Be focused on content creation instead of wasting time researching;
- Help your niche site grow faster on Search Engines, thus quicker revenue;
And, you’ll never run out of content ideas.
But first, what are Similar Websites (or “doppelgangers”)?
It is simply competitor sites that compete with your niche site on majority keywords.
Or in case your site is new, then they are competitor sites that you want to compete with, in the near future.
Finding Similar Websites is one of the steps I use to identify a profitable niche for affiliate marketing.
Now, instead of sharing with you several tips and tools on how to find competitors’ keywords, and have you figure it out yourself…
I am going to walk you through the process of actually finding those keywords in the Guitar Niche, for example.
1. Discover the “Right” Similar Sites
Through the process of identifying a profitable niche, you should be able to identify several website Doppelgangers.
But just in case you haven’t identified them yet, here are the steps you need to take (assuming you know your niche):
Step 1: Identify Products and Brands in Your Nice
Research on the products and brands available to your affiliate niche on Google. I would search for keywords like:
|Key phrases Type||Search on Google (Example)|
|“Best products/brands for…”||Best Guitars for Beginners|
|“Top products/brands to [solve a problem]”||Top Microphones for Home Studios|
|“Cheapest products/brands to [solve a problem]”||Cheapest guitar effects to create distortion|
Step 2: Search for Product and Brand Reviews
|Key phrases Type||Search on Google (Example)|
|“[Product Name] review”||Gibson Epiphone Les Paul Special 2 Review|
|“Is [Product Name] good/worth it?”||Is Guitar Tricks Worth it|
Step 3: Search for Product and Brand Reviews
Product and Brand Identification Walk-through
So, let’s say that I am entirely new to the Guitar Niche, but I want to know what are the best guitars, courses, sound effects, etc.
The first thing I will do is to search for the keyword “best online guitar lessons for beginners”.
And then, I will visit the top three to five search results to discover the products and brands in the niche. Here’s what I’ve found:
|Visited Website||Products & Brands Discovered|
|Guitar World||1. Fender Play|
2. True Fire
4. ArtistWorks Guitar
5. Justin Guitar
8. Orange Learn
10. Guitar Tricks
|Music Radar||Overlapping results from Guitar World|
|Equip Board||Overlapping results from Guitar World|
Now that I’ve identified the name of the courses, let’s search for each of their reviews.
|Search Phrase||Unique Sites Found (Top Ranked)|
|Fender Play Review||1. GuitarWorld.com|
|Truefire Guitar Review||6. GuitarSpace.org|
|Yousician Review||9. TheGuitarLesson.com|
|JamPlay Review||13. GuitarDomination.net|
|Jamorama Review||15. GuitarPlayerWorld.com|
Just by performing 5 product review searches on Google, I’ve discovered 18 potential similar websites.
And now, it is time to verify the list of similar sites to determine if they are “right” for our Keyword Research.
Verifying Similar Websites Walkthrough
What I am looking out for are “review sites”, because those are the sites that are targeting the “money keywords”.
“Money Keywords” means Keywords that will generate affiliate revenue; we’ll cover more in-depth below.
But, if you want to understand what makes those keywords generate revenue, you have first to understand the 5 stages of awareness.
So, as I visit each of those sites, I want to see that they are creating lots of product reviews.
And, in those reviews, I want to see that they are including relevant affiliate links.
Take MusicGrotto.com as an example…
I’ve visited it’s “Fender Play Review” article, visited the links…
And, one of the links is a cloaked link:
|Cloaked Link||Redirected Link|
Notice the “Aff_id=1100l188216”, it indicates an affiliate link.
It shows that the person who owns Music Grotto is an affiliate of Fender Play.
So, we’ve identified, verified, and confirmed that MusicGrotto.com is a similar website, it is now classified as a “competitor”.
You can repeat the same steps to identify several more similar sites. The more similar sites you find, the better.
The next step is going to be interesting…
2. Finding Competitors’ Keywords
There are 3 ways to find Competitors’ Keywords:
- Going through Competitors’ Sitemap(s) – Completely Free Method;
- Using Google to Find Competitor Keywords – Completely Free Method;
- Extracting Keywords from Competitor Research Tools – Free and Paid Methods.
We’ll start with the Sitemap Method…
Method #1: Generating Keyword Ideas from Competitors’ Sitemap
Who would have known that the Sitemap will disclose so much information about a website?
And, best of all, this is free information.
To find the Sitemap of a website…
At the end of your competitor’s URL, add either “sitemap.xml” or “sitemap_index.xml” (for sites using the Yoast SEO plugin).
Then, click on the “post-sitemap.xml” and you will see…
From a glance on the Sitemap, you can quickly identify keyword ideas, because webmasters (site owners) who understands SEO, will optimize keywords through post or page URLs.
And, I can immediately spot some “money keywords” to target.
Now, you don’t only want to target the “money keywords”…
You want to target “problem keywords” as well because those are the keywords that help you build authority.
And they are more fun to write about.
Let me put these keywords into 2 categories:
|Money Keywords||Problem Keywords|
|Singorama vs Superior Singing Method||How to sing and play guitar at the same time|
|Singing Lessons for Kids||How to sing country|
|Christina Aguilera Masterclass Review||How to sing raspy|
|Gibson Flying V 120 Classic Review||How to practice singing|
|Best Electronic Drums||Sing louder without straining|
Money keywords are basically keywords that people search for when they have the intention to buy a product or service.
Problem Keywords are phrases people search for when they have a problem to solve.
Method #2: Using Google to Find Competitor Keywords
The second ninja trick to find Competitor keywords is through Google.
If you don’t know, there is this function on Google where you can find any sites’ URLs that are indexed by Google.
All you need to do is to type in Google “site:[competitor’s site URL]” without the http or https. Like this:
As you can see, there are about 260 pages and posts indexed on Google from Musicgrotto.com.
And, as you navigate through the search results, you can immediately see what keywords the site is optimizing for on the Title and the Description. Isn’t it cool? Have fun with it!
Now, even though you have extracted the keywords and content ideas, it is merely enough. You need to do further research on those keywords, which we will discuss in Step number three.
Method #3: Extracting Keywords from Competitor Research Tools
There are dozens of keyword research tools on the market, but here are the few best options. Let’s start with the free ones…
Ahref’s Keyword Generator (Free)
As you click on this link, you will be brought to a page like this:
Type in any keyword and select the platform (Google, Bing, YouTube, Amazon) to fetch the results.
As you can see, Ahrefs will display a list of keywords related to the keyword you have provided.
On top of that, they’ll even provide you with:
- Keyword Difficulty (KD): How difficult it is to rank for this keyword
- Search Volume (Volume): The number of people who’ve searched for that keyword per month
- Updated: When was the data updated
The coolest part is, all these information is delivered to you for free.
An alternative to Ahrefs, you can leverage on this powerful free tool called Ubersuggest by Neil Patel.
To find your competitor keywords, all you need to do is enter the domain name of your competitor, and click “Search”.
On the following page, scroll to the section where it says “SEO Keywords” and click on the “View All SEO Keywords This Domain Ranks For” button, or click on “Keywords” on the left panel.
Ubersuggest will show a list of keywords your competitors are ranking for, together with its search volume, ranking position, and keyword difficulty.
And honestly, Ubersuggest is probably the best free keyword research tool as it delivers more than some other paid tools.
Do you know of any free competitor research tool? Please share it in the comments section below.
Ahrefs Competitor Research Tool (Paid)
I would say Ahrefs is probably the most complete SEO tool on the market.
Not only does it deliver competitor research data, they will track your rankings, on-page SEO analysis, backlink audit, discover backlink opportunities, and many other features.
It is definitely worth the investment, if your budget allows.
But for now, let’s check out how the Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer works…
The only drawback to Ahrefs is the cost. The cheapest plan starts at $99 per month.
They do not have a free trial, but they offer a $7 trial for 7 days. You can check them out here.
SEMRush’s Keyword Magic Tool (Paid)
The SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool works similarly to Ahref’s.
The cheapest plan starts at $99.95 per month.
They have a free 7 days trial as well.
Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer vs SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool
The key difference between these 2 keyword research tools is the algorithm behind their “Keyword Difficulty Rating”.
To spare you all the details so that you can focus on picking the right keywords, here’s what you need to know.
|0 – 10||Easy|
|11 – 30||Medium|
|31 – 70||Hard|
|71 – 100||Super Hard|
So, if you do use Ahrefs, you should target keywords that have scores of lower than 30.
|Below 60%||Low Difficulty|
|60% – 80%||Medium Difficulty|
|Above 80%||High Difficulty|
In case you want to geek out on the Keyword Difficulty Scoring systems:
3. Prioritize and Target the “Right” Keywords
Now, once you’ve extracted keywords using either of the keyword discovery methods above, it is time to rank them by priority.
It is helpful to keep all your keyword ideas and the corresponding data into a spreadsheet for future reference.
Our goal here is to target easier (low competition, but with adequate search volume) keywords first as we are starting our blog or website.
And once our site is more established, we are start targeting more competitive keywords.
Personally, I like to use the data from Ahrefs because…
- you know the data they provide are up to date; and
- they have factored in competitors’ domain authority in the Keyword Difficulty score
So, it saves you a ton of time doing figuring out which are the easy or tough keywords.
To put to practice, let’s refer to the difficulty table from Ahrefs:
|0 – 10||Easy|
|11 – 30||Medium|
|31 – 70||Hard|
|71 – 100||Super Hard|
You will want to group the keywords according to it’s Difficulty Level.
And then, in each level, you want to sort them by the search volume.
We will only be accepting keywords that have at least a volume of 30 searches per month.
If possible, target the keywords in the Easy and Medium Difficulty level.
And once your site has about 100 articles, and you are seeing many of your articles ranking on the first page of Google…
You can start targeting the “Hard” Keywords.
And when your site has a domain authority of more than 40, you can start targeting the “Super Hard” keywords.
You should have a balance of articles targeting both the “Money Keywords” and “Problem Keywords”.
Our objectives are to make money as quickly as possible, and at the same time, build authority in your niche.
I hope that this 3 step process to find competitor keywords is useful to you.
The key for this guide is to help you find content ideas and select the keywords that will get you the best results.
The truth is, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on expensive SEO tools, though they are convenient.
With a little more hard work, you can find extremely profitable keywords.
So, let me wrap up this guide:
- Know who your Doppelgangers are – Find relevant competitor websites
- Find Competitor Keywords (there are 3 methods):
- Generate Keyword Ideas through Competitor’s Sitemap;
- Use Google’s “Site:” Function;
- Extract Keywords from Competitor Research Tools;
- Pick the right keywords and start writing your content
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