How To Learn SEO From Your Competitors?

How do you really learn SEO from your competitors? Your competitors are racing against you in order to rank highly on the search engines. Even if you had a big budget, you are still dealing with a massive crowd of people who all want to rank higher than you. What’s more, unless you are at point number one on the Google search engine results pages, then they are winning you. But, all is not lost because you can learn from the competitors that have ranked higher than you through SEO; here is how you do it.

How To Learn SEO From Your Competitors
Image Courtesy of Flickr

Use a phrase/word counter

There are lots of free ones on the Internet, but be wary of some as these sorts of free tools love to hide online attacks within the page. Copy the content of the page, cutting out things such as disclaimers, site map footers, etc. Paste the content into the word/phrase counter and run the tool.

Firstly, look at the single words and see which of them seem to appear quite often. The important looking ones are probably the keywords that the web page is optimized for, and should be added into your keyword profile. Then take a look for the frequency of two word, three word, and four word phrases. These may be the long tailed keywords; look through them to see if any appear to be more than just coincidence. The long-tailed keywords they have optimized for may be very powerful if people are entering that phrase into the search engines.

Look for links in the text itself

Within the text you may see a phrase or a word or two that is a link. It will be the usual blue color and is actually a keyword or key phrase. If that is not there, then look for words that affiliate adverts have highlighted or underlined within the text. These are keywords or key phrases that the webmaster probably wrote the page around.

Check their source code

You can do this with Internet IE. Go to “view” and down to “source” and click. This will show you the source code for the page you are on. Press CTRL+F and it will bring up your search bar. Now you need to search for the keywords that your competitor is using.

Search for “H1” to see their H1 tag. The optimized text within could be usurps and rewritten into usable H1 text for your website. Search for the word “keyword” to see a variety of results. Keep a look out for words that look like their Meta keywords tag. It will have a list of words that are separated with a comma or semi colon. Finally, if you search for “description”, then you can find, steal and rewrite their Meta description.

Check the ALT text for keywords

Do this by going to your Internet options on your browser and turning off the image loading function. It is just a small check box that you have to uncheck. Or, you can check the source code to see what your competitor has written on the ALT text of his/her web page. There is a chance that he/she has not bothered to write ALT text or put keywords in it, but most highly optimized websites will have their ALT text with a keyword or two in it.

Look for words that are in bold fonts

You may notice that one or two of the words of phrases in the web page are in bold. This is because it informs the search engines that the word or phrase is important. If you see them on a page then it is safe to assume that they are trying to optimize for those words. It may sometimes be difficult to see which words they have put into bold, so look at the source code and run a search for the word “bold” to see if they have optimized any text with it.

What are they trying not to duplicate?

You will often see text in the form of images. It may be hidden within the text of the website to look like a fancy graphic. When a web master puts a piece of text into an image, then it means that he/she is trying to avoid duplication penalties from Google. Have a good look at what they have written, as those words may make good keywords for your website. At the very least they will act as anti SEO for your competitor’s website.

Check for mirrored words

It is better to call them mirrored words because calling them duplicate words reminds people of the duplicate content penalties that Google dishes out. Mirrored words are words that seem to occur quite often in the page. Look at the page URL, the page title, its anchor text and the content of the text. Are there any words or phrases that appear in most (if not all) of them? If so, then these/this is/are the keywords the webmaster is optimizing for.


  1. I literally published my own article on this same topic last night… But yours is in much more detail and much more thorough while mine skims the surface!
    What do you think about Open Site Explorer? I’ve read it is a bit slow to pick up new links – AHREFS is apparently more accurate and up to date. Thinking about switching

  2. Nice SEO tips. I ready this article twice and it really great for a newbie like me.
    Thank for the great article


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