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How to Develop Your SEO Content Strategy Using Competitor’s Keywords

Discover Your Competitor’s SEO Strategy

In the old days, you’d have to take up dumpster diving to see the depth of information that is now available about your competitor’s strategies. Competitive SEO research helps you develop a picture of how your primary competitors are trying to engage with the customers you have in common. By understanding the terms and phrases your competition uses, you will be in a better position to develop your content and SEO strategy.

For example, let’s say I own a used car dealership and I am trying to begin selling cars online. A good first step may be to look at the keywords that a market leader like is using to attract users to their site.

A search for within iSpionage provides:

    – A summary of keywords they currently rank high using – export them all if you like
    – An indication of the search volume associated with those terms – which ones have traffic?
    – An indication of how much that term would have cost were it bid on in Adwords.

Use iSpionage to Understand Your Competitor's SEO Strategy
Simply by sorting this data within iSpionage you can uncover valuable insights. Just by sorting on the Cost-Per-Click column, you can see that bids the most for keywords associated with car donations. Should your company begin to optimize these terms? What may be the benefit to your car dealership of accepting donated cars? Could it be their low trade in value?
Use Sort and Filter to Find Useful Insights
For SEO strategy, and even just to support sound business decisions, it’s important to spend some time learning your competitor’s organic keyword strategy.

    – By knowing what keywords they rank high on organically, you can see their SEO strategy.
    – Then you can learn how they optimize around those keywords.

The Long-Tail

Use the Export link to download all your competitor’s keywords.
Another key benefit of doing SEO research is to help you develop a list of “long tail” keywords. Long-tail keywords are phrases that might not get a lot of search volume, but are likely to convert better than more general keywords. Long tail keywords are the longer, more specific keywords phrases that, though less common, can add up to account for the majority of search-driven traffic.

Those seeking to compete with those with larger search marketing budgets and funds for content development really should focus on optimizing their site for longer-tail phrases because they are less competitive. (They are also less expensive to bid on if you are using PPC as well.) Plus, customers using long-tail search queries are often more highly qualified and more likely to convert.

Use iSpionage and Excel to Explore Your Competitor SEO Strategy
Use Excel’s text filter to explore large keyword data sets efficiently.
By exporting all your competitor’s keywords into Excel you can easily take a look around. Just download the file, and use Excel’s advanced Sorting & Filtering functions to discover additional insights. Even a quick skim of’s data shows a variety of long-tail phrases associated with loans and financing for instance. We find that choosing the Text filter option within Excel allows you quickly uncover useful long tail phrases for your own business, not just to your competitors.


Whether you want to better understand your competition’s SEO strategy from a high level, or climb into the details of the long-tail to uncover converting keywords, competitive SEO research is an important step to take. And iSpionage is here to help you take it.


Chris Sparks, iSpionage Director of Marketing
Chris is an online marketing and content strategist here at iSpionage building awareness and engagement within our target markets.