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How to Determine Your Competitors’ Keyword Effectiveness

One of the most important factors in search marketing is selecting the correct keywords. Usually you start by using a keyword research tool or Google Adwords Keyword Planner to build keyword lists. The most logical keywords to use describe your product or service.

After you develop a thorough keyword list, typically you group these keywords into ad groups, write your ads, set your bids, and go live to start gathering data. Once you have a minimum of 10 to 1000 clicks on a keyword (depending on what you consider statistically significant), you try to see which ones perform well and which keywords you should eliminate immediately before wasting too much PPC budget.

What if you could see which keywords are working for your competition?

Here at iSpionage we’re excited to announce a new and improved algorithm to calculate PPC Advertiser’s KEI (Keyword Effectiveness Index). The goal of the KEI metric (measured form 0 to 100), is to help you identify exactly which keywords are working so you can shorten the time to profitability.

KEI example IfByPhone call tracking keywords

In the screen shot above, we can see that has eight keywords with a KEI over 93 including “tracking calls,” “phone calls tracking,” and “dynamic call tracking”. On the right, I can filter the keywords by CPC, Search Volume, Avg Position, days seen, first seen, and last seen date. Depending on what I’m looking for, this helps me narrow the results and quickly find the keywords I want to research.

How is the keyword effectiveness calculated?

KEI is based on several factors including the number of days the ad has been seen, the last seen date, and the average position for the keyword. The accuracy of this algorithm assumes the advertisers is tracking conversions and only continue advertising for keywords that are working. But believe it or not, there are still advertisers that don’t track conversion so you have to analyze other factors as well.

Keywords with a KEI score of 80 or higher are keyword opportunities you should evaluate. In the example below, after entering the website URL, I can quickly see several keywords with higher than a 93.74 KEI score.  What’s interesting with this keyword list is that there are three and five keyword phrases not just one and two word big hitter keywords.  This can help you uncover long tail keywords that may perform really well.

winebasket KEI



Identifying profitable keywords is usually done by looking at your Adwords keyword conversion data and Google Analytics. If you get a large percentage of your conversions from calls, you should be using a 3rd party call analytics vendor or recently announced FREE call conversion tracking from Google. Outside of your own analytics, however, the only other place to look for profitable keywords is your competition.

Use iSpionage to find the keywords that are working for your competitors and execute these 4 strategies:

  1. Do competitive keyword research and evaluate what might be working for your competition
  2. Filter results to find high KEI keywords that have significant search volume
  3. Test keywords that you haven’t used before to see how they perform
  4. See which ads your competition is using that have a high AEI (Ad Effectiveness Index)
  5. Consider what you can learn from those ads and how you can stand out

Good luck using this new KEI data to dominate your competition and please leave a comment below or let us know what you think.