• How are your competitors marketing their products ?
  • Where should you start when you want to launch new promotion ?

I had to broaden my keyword research tools a lot this last year.

If you use Google’s Keyword Planner you’ve probably noticed that they’re now limiting the search volumes they display. The range is quite broad with, for example, searches shown as between 1K and 30K.

So here’s a routine that you can use to get an idea of what’s successful for your competition and a feel for what the valuable keyword phrases are in your business area.


Locate websites & businesses that are marketing in your niche and are getting some good exposure.

There are a couple of ways to do this.

  •  Search in Google for your product and service and pick a couple of the larger looking businesses on page one ( main search results or the ads ).
  • Use www.similarsites.com to find some large websites that are similar to yours. Enter a domain name ( your own if you have a good amount of text on your website about your products ) then scroll to the bottom to look at Similar by Topics.


Get an idea of what’s successful & working for these sites.

  • Which keywords those businesses are targeting that would likely be getting them good results.
  • What ads they’re running.

There are a number of services available.

I find it’s good to use several of them one after-the-other to double-check the data, especially if you’re using the free accounts which limit the data you get ( I’ve often paid for accounts, but by the time you subscribe to a few it costs a lot ).

Generally their databases track how long keywords have been bid on by an advertiser and if they are currently bidding on them. If they’ve been bidding on a phrase for a long period of time, then it’s likely that’s a profitable search phrase. And if they’re still bidding on it currently – similar.

Here’s a list of sites to visit and some short notes with each.

Open each up in a separate tab of your browser, which makes it easier to look over all the data for one site.


https://www.spyfu.com : a free account gives the top 5 of everything before you have to upgrade to a paid account.

  • Their domain overview gives you an idea of whether the website is big enough for confidence in the results.
  • Scroll down to the top keywords. Note down the top 5 Paid Keywords.
  • Also look at the Adwords history and get ideas for your own ads from the competitor’s copy from spyFu competitor’s ads.


You’ll need to sign up for https://www.ispionage.com. Then scroll down ( or click the tabs along the top ) and look at their PPC keywords and the ads they’ve been running. They limit you to 5 for the free account, but you can add these to the keywords you get from ahrefs and Search Metrics further on.

  • PPC keywords ( check their KEI column )
  • Ads for ideas to use in your own ads and
  • Top Landing Pages.


( They require you to sign up too for the free account. )

Site Explorerhttps://ahrefs.com/dashboard/metrics

Check on the left under Paid search

  • PPC keywords for keyword phrases,
  • Ads for ideas to use in your own ads and
  • Top Landing Pages.

Keyword Explorerahrefs.com/keywords-explorer

Enter some of the keywords you found in iSpionage and Spyfu.



Particularly good to research interests when starting a Facebook Advert.

Scroll to the Audience Interests at the bottom. Then click on each category to get a list of websites that these people are interested in. You can type these into the Facebook targeting field when you’re defining an audience to display your ad to.

Search Metrics


The PPC research and SEO Research tabs will add some more data to what you have from above.

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