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New! A Competitor Keyword Analysis to Expose Top Keywords

5 minute read

What if you could find the best keywords for your website and uncover competitors’ keywords at the same time?

Now you can with Alexa’s Competitor Keyword Matrix tool.

The brand new tool allows users to run a complete competitor keyword analysis, and identify high opportunity keywords based on gaps with their closest competitors.

Using the Competitor Keyword Matrix

In the tool you can compare up to 10 sites at once (including your own) to see competitors’ keywords that are different from yours.

try alexa's competitor keyword matrix tool free for 7 days

You can sort the matrix list by a variety of criteria like:

  • Sites in Common – how many sites are getting some traffic from the same keyword
  • Competition – an estimate of how hard it is to rank highly for a keyword
  • Popularity – how frequently users search for a keyword (higher popularity = higher traffic)

Using the purple shaded Traffic Scores you can expose the top keywords driving traffic to your competitors. And since the Matrix interface is set up like a heat map, you can quickly hone in on the type of keyword opportunity you’re looking for (more on that below).


Traffic Scores are based on a site’s relative position in search engine results for that keyword, plus the popularity of that keyword (site rank for keyword + keyword popularity). This allows you to compare one site to another when both receive traffic from a single keyword.


Save the keyword opportunities you find in the Matrix during your competitor keyword research and add them to your marketing plans or incorporate them into your SEO content.

Want to analyze a keyword from the Matrix further? Enter it into the Keyword Difficulty tool to find similar keywords and analyze its keyword competition.

Each set of sites you enter into the Competitor Keyword Matrix can be saved and edited later. Just give it a name and we’ll tuck it away until you need it again.

save sets with alexa's competitor keyword matrix tool

When you want to work on one of your saved lists, you can access them easily at the top of the tool.

How to do a Competitor Keyword Analysis with the Matrix

There are a few ways to use Alexa’s Matrix tool for competitor keyword analysis. And each company may choose a different analysis depending on its strategy.

Let’s look at each angle:

1. Bandwagon – Target keywords with many sites in common

One way to approach competitor keyword research with the Matrix tool is to focus on how many sites a keyword has in common. In other words, how many sites are already targeting that keyword and getting traffic for it?

If only 1 or 2 sites in your set are targeting a keyword, this could indicate a good opportunity for you to fill a gap. Take a look at the Popularity of that keyword. Is it reasonably high? If so, this says many people are searching for it and it’s probably a good opportunity. If the popularity is low, this could indicate there isn’t enough interest for the term in search – and maybe one reason your competitors aren’t targeting it. However, if the term is highly relevant to your product or service then the low popularity could make for a great long tail opportunity for you.

If many sites are targeting a keyword, you could assume that there is enough interest in that topic and it’s a viable opportunity. However, check the Competition score. This will help you determine how difficult it would be to rank your content for the term. You can also compare the Competition Score to your Competitive Power to decide if a keyword is a good opportunity for you.


Click to learn how your Competitive Power can help you choose SEO keywords with confidence.


If you determine a keyword is a good opportunity for you, take a look at which competitor(s) in the set are commanding the most traffic for the term. That is, who has the highest traffic score? Then do a search for the term to see what type of content is earning them so much traffic. This will help you understand the true intent behind users’ searches and help you craft the most relevant content that has the best chance of ranking.

2. Borrow – Target keywords your competitors get a lot of traffic from

Another approach is to focus on your competitors’ top keywords – those they are getting a lot of traffic from. To identify these keywords, look for the dark purple boxes in the Matrix with a high Traffic Score.

The great thing about focusing on these keywords is you know there is proven interest in the subject (assuming the Popularity is reasonable), and the audience is relevant. You can use the Keyword Difficulty tool to make sure the Competition score is within your Competitive Power, and if it is…

Search for these keywords to see what type of content your competitor(s) built around them. Then develop your own content that takes their content a step further. This will help boost your competitiveness and increase your chances of ranking above them for the same term. There are a couple of ways to do this:

  1. Improve the depth of their content by elaborating on the topic they discuss.
  2. Fill in gaps where they’ve missed important pieces of information. For example, add to their recommendations or provide new resources.

If a keyword you like has a Competition score that is greater than your Competitive Power, try searching for that keyword in the Keyword Difficulty tool to find similar keywords that may be more niche. These keywords often have lower Popularity scores (i.e. are long-tail), but the search intent is much more specific and the Competition is usually lower. Your chances of ranking will be higher and you won’t waste time writing content that won’t get seen.

3. Pioneer – Target keywords your competitors get no traffic, or very little traffic from

A final approach you could take when doing a competitor keyword analysis is to target keywords that your competitors get little to no traffic from.

In this approach, keywords with light purple or gray boxes and lower Traffic scores represent a new opportunity.

If a site is targeting a keyword but getting little traffic from it (light purple box), you should investigate why they’re failing to get more traffic than they are.

If it’s the content, then produce something better. Should it be more specific? Does it fail to answer the searcher’s intent? Is the content spammy?

If it’s the keyword, consider why. Is the keyword too long tail? Is there not enough search volume? Or, is the keyword actually too competitive? Maybe it’s too broad. In either case, enter the keyword into the Keyword Difficulty tool to find like-keywords that might be better opportunities.

Alexa’s new competitor keyword research tool allows you to quickly find “keyword gaps” with your competitors. No matter the approach you take, you’ll be able to quickly identify new keyword opportunities that can give you a competitive edge in search.

Finding Sites for the Competitor Keyword Analysis

Finally, if you’re not sure who your competitors are, or want to discover similar sites to one you’re interested in, start with our Audience Overlap tool instead.

By inputting your URL (or another), you’ll get a list of other sites that share visitors with that one. The list is sorted by most audience overlap to least.

From there, you can select up to 10 sites and run a competitor keyword analysis in the Matrix to see which keywords the sites rank for in SERPs.

try alexa's audience overlap tool free for 7 days

When you find keywords of competitors, you uncover highly relevant keyword opportunities for yourself that you might not have thought of. You can also rule out keywords that aren’t driving much traffic, instead of wasting time creating content around them.

Want to check competitor keywords? Try Alexa Advanced free for 7 days!

try alexa free for 7 days

12 Comments

  1. bala krishnan July 20, 2016 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    I was struggling to find competitive keywords for my website. I will definitely these tricks from now..

  2. Marijke Blake Gerrits July 19, 2016 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    I’ll definitely will start using this. I’ve got a lot of issues with creating competitve keywords. I’m still learning but this is very useful information

  3. Tony W July 17, 2016 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    I am going to get the keyword tool. I have the base $9.99 product but it seems there is good value with the keyword tool.
    Thanks for the article.

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New! A Competitor Keyword Analysis to Expose Top Keywords