5 Ways to Benchmark Your Organic and Paid Keyword Strategies Against the Competition

Getting in front of enough qualified prospects to satisfy your company’s full potential has been an age-old challenge for marketers, from barkers standing on soap-boxes, to retailers sending out reams of catalogs, to companies sponsoring daytime TV shows, to direct mail specialists hyper-targeting residents with craftily-written mailings.

Most of us don’t use soap-boxes or focus on direct mail much today, but getting in front of searchers using Google (or the other search engines) who are looking to find information, pricing, and tutorials about relevant products or services is one of the keys to growing a business today.

Getting visibility via search engines can be accomplished organically (via content marketing or SEO) or via pay-per-click advertising (PPC). The specific keywords targeted (and the topics covered) serves as a foundation for the work.

In this article, we’ll discuss 5 ways that you can use the Competitor Keyword Matrix to do the following:

  • Competitive keyword benchmarking for up to 10 sites
  • Discover new, high value paid or organic keyword opportunities
  • Find keyword gaps to be address via content, SEO or PPC

find content ideas tour

See Organic and Paid Keywords via the Competitor Keyword Matrix

To allow you to see the big picture as well as to quickly do a variety of analyses on your industry keyword situation, we’ve added the ability to see both organic and paid keywords for up to ten sites in the Competitor Keyword Matrix (this tool is available in our Alexa Advanced Plan – start a 7-day trial here). This shows you how well the ten sites are ranking organically for various industry keywords as well as how they’re targeting those keywords via PPC advertising campaigns.

organic and paid keyword results

Use pre-configured “Use Cases” to quickly get insights

In order to run the more detailed analyses more easily, we’ve added one-touch “Use Cases”, which allow you to apply a combination of filters to narrow the large lists of keywords that are generated using these ten sites. Each Use Case provides smaller and more targeted sets of keywords – each one providing unique insights into your competitors’ strategies. Other analyses can be easily run using the filters once you’re familiar with how they work. Below are five formulas you can use to quickly run a website keyword analysis on your competitors to analyze their strategies in detail.

find keyword opportunities with alexa use cases

Five Use Cases for Discovering High Opportunity Keywords

Here are five formulas accessible via our Use Cases or simple combinations of filter settings in the Competitor Keyword Matrix. First, input up to 10 sites (including yours) into the Competitor Keyword Matrix. You can use the Audience Overlap Tool if you need some ideas about which sites to enter. Then, you can unearth new keyword opportunities using the approaches described below.

1. Find Valuable Buyer Keywords for Your Industry

Buyer Keywords are those phrases that indicate that a searcher is close to making a purchase. Combining these “high buyer intent” keywords with Alexa’s Popularity and Paid Competition data, this Use Case shows keywords that are likely to be good for attracting buyers, have strong traffic, and that companies are willing to advertise for. To use these settings, click the “Use Cases” button and navigate to the “Find Valuable Buyer Keywords” Use Case and click “Apply Use Case”.

benchmark keyword strategies and find buyer keywords

The table below will then be narrowed to a much smaller list of “buyer keywords”. If you’re not ranking organically for these phrases, you can test them out with PPC advertising to measure the conversion rate. If the conversion rates are high, you could consider longer-term Content or SEO efforts in order to try to rank for these terms in the search engines.

2. Identify Your Company’s Organic and Paid Keyword Gaps

Next, you can analyze your site’s gaps against all of the competitors across organic and paid keywords. To do this, go to the filters (see the filter icon next to “Use Cases”). Once in the filter area, go to the “Keyword Gaps (Organic)” or “Keyword Gaps (Paid)” section and select your site. At the bottom of the filters, click the “Apply Filter” button.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll see all the sites for which we show no (or low) organic or paid presence for your site. You can look for certain topics where your coverage is low. Maybe your content team hasn’t covered certain areas that other sites have? Are there terms that most other sites are targeting that your site isn’t? Are there any high popularity keywords that are critical to your business that you’re not focusing on from an organic or paid perspective? Use this analysis to find weaknesses in your organic or paid strategies.

benchmark keyword strategies and find keyword gaps

3. Analyze Keywords with High Organic and Paid Overlap

In addition to the gaps and buyer keywords, it can be very informative to see the keywords that generate traffic to the sites from both an organic and a paid perspective. These keywords are important enough that companies are getting organic traffic, but some are also paying for them as well. To see these, click the “Use Cases” button and find the “See the Overlap of Organic and Paid Keywords” option.

benchmark keyword strategies and find overlap

After activating it, analyze these keywords to see where you’re comparatively weak, even though you may have some organic or paid presence. Are there areas to shore up on the organic side by optimizing your pages or creating more content? Are there areas that you can invest in from a paid perspective? Are there areas that your competitors don’t seem to be focused on that much, but where you see opportunity (and hence, you should invest more in)?

4. Find Long Tail Organic Keywords for Your Industry

Sometimes the biggest untapped opportunities will be in the long tail – more specialized or low competition keywords that get fewer searches. Showing up for them in search can help you grow your footprint and it can allow you to target specific segments (as the longer tail keywords may focus on particular types of customers). Using the Long Tail Organic Keywords Use Case, you can quickly get to these keywords that are less popular but that can trigger new ideas for your content or lead generation teams.

find long tail keyword opportunities

5. Uncover the Top Paid Keywords for Your Industry

In the Keyword Matrix, if you see the orange “Paid Impression Scores” for some of the keywords, that means sites on your list are using PPC advertising to get in front of searchers. In this case, you can see what the top paid keywords are very easily with the “See the Top Paid Keywords Use Case”. This will show you keywords that companies are paying for and that have at least a Popularity Score and Paid Competition Score of 10 (so they’re not longer tail keywords). This list is very handy for determining your own PPC or content strategy and it gives you insight into which keywords the competition thinks are valuable because they’re willing to spend money on them.

Benchmark Your Site’s Keywords to Find Opportunities

Try these approaches to get a feel for how the Use Cases and filters in the Competitor Keyword Matrix work. Make sure you document any insights by saving the keywords to your Workspace, taking notes or downloading the keywords and marking the ones with opportunity. The insights you get by looking at the organic and paid presence across the competitors for your industry keywords will definitely give you a leg up!

What types of keyword opportunities are you typically looking for? Let us know in the comments.

find content ideas tour

Ready to give your keyword strategy a boost?

Get access to Alexa’s Marketing Stack for all the SEO and competitive analysis tools you need to get valuable insights about your competitors’ strategies and discover new opportunities to grow your traffic. Sign up for Alexa’s Advanced plan to find high-intent buyer keywords, identify gaps in your keyword strategy, and reveal top industry trends. Your first 7 days are completely free.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *