Research your Competitors Keywords and Services for free (Guide One)

Competitors teach you SEOHave you found yourself looking at your competitors, trying to see what they provide, are they selling something that you could too?

Is your competitor’s website is much larger than yours? Are you always finding them in search engines more than your own? Maybe they are telling you that business is great but only started to trade six months ago?

Not everyone has a budget for tools or an {{seo}} consultant. Once a month we will be providing simple guides that will help you get your SEO performing better. This month we focus on how to research what keywords your competitors might be using.

Here is a trick that anyone with a computer, basic Excel skills and a spare 10 minutes can use to find out what keywords a website is targeting in Google, find content for your own ideas or merely compare your websites.

Use this data so you can get an overview, tweak your website, do not just copy them, that is theft, not research.

Step One: Find a the Competitor’s Sitemap Most websites will have a will something called a XML sitemap. It is normally located here [website].com/sitemap.xml

Step Two: Copy the Full Sitemap URL from the web browser

Step Three: Open up Excel. Choose ‘Data’ in the menu bar, then ‘From web’

Step Four: Enter the sitemap.xml URL into the popup, then select the sitemap. This will import the URLs into a usable format

Step Five: Extract the MetaData of the pages. One of the many free tools is this website. At the bottom of the page, you will have the option to download a CSV file.

Step Six: Exploit the Data for your Research

Now you will have the competitors data. Use your imagination — there’s a lot that you can do with this information — Find keywords you could convert into traffic, get blog ideas, find special deals you didn’t they offer!

Some quick tricks to sort the data into digestible chunks.

Meta Keywords

  • Some sites still use the meta keywords tag to keep track of keywords, which gives lots keywords in the CSV’s “Meta Keyword” field to work with straight away.
    • No sorting required

Title Tags

  • Title tags are a great place to start looking, they frequently contain keywords that they are targeted for Google search rankings.
  • It’s extremely common for title tags be formatted like this Buy Red Dresses | We’re the #1 Dress Company!
  • You can now split those up into different cells with this spreadsheet formula: =SPLIT(B2,"|")


  • Keywords are normally included in the URL split by dashes in most cases. Arguably a keyword in the page URL is more important than the title tags.
  • Those can be extracted with these formulas:

=REGEXREPLACE(REGEXEXTRACT(A2, "\.com\/(.*)"), "[^a-zA-Z0-9]", " ")
Removes the base URL and replaces all non-alphanumeric characters in the path with spaces:

=REGEXREPLACE(REGEXEXTRACT(A2, "\.com\/(.*)"), "[^a-zA-Z]", " ")

Removes all non-alphabetical (removes numbers as well)

Note: If the domain you downloaded is not a .com (a or other TLD), change the “.com” in either of those to your competitors TLD.

If you don’t know how to add a formula to Excel then simply watch the video below

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