Getting Started with SEO: How to Do Competitor Research

how to do competitor researchCompetitor research is a vital step in discovering which search engine optimization tactics would suit your business best.

Keep on reading to discover insights from our in-house marketing experts on how to perform competitor research and how it can help your marketing strategy in the future.

What Is Competitor Research?

In the world of SEO, competitor research is analyzing different aspects of your competitors, ranging from their backlink profiles to the search terms they are ranking for to even what keywords they are using in their paid campaigns.

In marketing, competitor research is mainly used for tactics such as:

Getting Started: 4 Tools to Utilize for Competitor Research

At our agency, we love the following online tools because they greatly help with our competitor research process. Check out why our team members swear by them.

Google Ads Keyword Planner

Price: Free
Best used for: PPC

taylor“When I’m doing competitor research and looking for new keywords that I may have missed, I always use the Keyword Planner in Google Ads as a resource. You can input your current list of terms, as well as your website’s URL, and Google will populate a list of related keywords. These are presented with fields such as how much competition the term is expected to have, how high or low the search volume is on a monthly basis and what you may expect a high bid to cost for Google Ads campaigns.

Best of all, it’s free and super easy to use. You can select a handful of keywords and add them to a campaign, instantly export their data to send to clients, and more. I’d definitely recommend Keyword Planner to anybody looking for new tools for their keyword and competitor research.”

  • Taylor Hosey, Sixth City Marketing Strategist

Moz Link Explorer

Price: Paid
Best used for: Link building
“Moz’s Link Explorer is an incredibly valuable tool for us. Not only can we track our own Domain Authority to see the progress our site is making, but we can view the backlink profiles for competitors and unrelated businesses, getting great ideas from each on where to try to gain new links. We’ve really been able to boost our backlink profile because of this tool.”

  • Linton Lewis, Sixth City Marketing Editor and Digital Content Specialist


Price: Paid
Best used for: PPC and SEO
Cleveland Web Design Company
“SpyFu is great for competitor research because it gives you the ability to download the exact keywords that your competitors are targeting on their paid campaign. You can analyze their budget, clicks, and a lot more. Not to mention, it also has the ability to show you other organic keywords coming in that can help you tweak your SEO strategy.”

  • Andrea Ozello, Sixth City Marketing PPC Manager

SE Ranking

Price: Paid
Best used for: Keyword planning, SEO, and link building
“SE Ranking not only is ideal for tracking your keyword positions, but the platform actually has some great tools for competitor research as well. You have the ability to check your SERPs competitors for every keyword you are tracking in different locations and see which competitors are ranking above you, see their Moz DA, and note how many backlinks they have. It’s a solid place to start when you have an idea of what kind of terms you want to rank for, but don’t necessarily know who your competitors are. It can also help show you missed opportunities that you can target in the future!”

  • Sarah Blocksidge, Sixth City Marketing Web Producer

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Sarah Blocksidge

About the Author

Sarah Blocksidge

Sarah is the Marketing Director at Sixth City Marketing and has been with the company since 2016. Her main role is to attract more B2B clients for the company. Over the years, she has been mentioned on HubSpot, Content Marketing Institute, Fast Company, Mashable, and many other notable sites.

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