3 Cheeky Ways To Spy On Your Competitor’s Keywords (For Free)

3 Cheeky Ways To Spy On Your Competitor’s Keywords (For Free)

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series SEO Series

Have you ever wanted to know what keywords your competition is using to get their search results?

…Because chances are they’re already spying on YOU.

Well, you can plot your own sweet revenge to see which keywords your competition is frequently using.

But first, let me explain why you might want to even consider spying on your competition in the first place.

Why Should You Take A Peek At Your Competitors Keywords?

“But I don’t have competition,” you may say. Or “I don’t believe in competition.”

Believe what you like but whatever the philosophy you embrace, chances are you have direct or indirect competitors.

Hey, I have an abundance mentality too and I believe there’s more than enough of anything to be shared. But you’re missing the point if you think spying on competitor keywords is only for blood-thirsty, cut-throat businesses or slimy internet marketers.

This is not about “stealing keywords.” It can be but us sassy entrepreneurs would never dream of doing that… would we?

Well, perhaps ;)

Top 3 Reasons You Want To Spy On Competitor Keywords

  1. You just want some broad ideas of what keywords you can optimize your site for
  2. Assess which keywords you’d like to include on your site to obtain better organic search results
  3. Find out why your main competitors have websites that rank above you
  4. Why stop at 3. Yes go and steal your competitor’s keywords…..hehe

So let’s plot our sweet revenge and look at 3 ways to cheekily check what keywords your competitors are using.

#1 View Page Source

This is easy. Click on a competitor’s website or a website that’s similar to yours. You can easily view their keywords following these steps:

  1. In your internet browser,  click on ViewPage Source (Firefox), or ViewSource (Internet Explorer)
  2. The HTML source code of that page then appears
  3. Look for the keywords in the title tag, meta description tag and the keywords tag

You can then read these tags to get keyword ideas for your site

  • Title Tag- this tag is important and Google gives a lot of weight to the keywords listed here so check the keywords
  • Description Tag – this is the snippet that appears under the Title tag on the search engine results page. Google doesn’t use this for ranking purposes but it usually contains many keywords
  • Keywords Tag- not every site will use this tag but it’s still worth checking to see what keywords are listed here


The above image is a screen shot of a HTML source code page for a photography site. I’ve highlighted the title, meta description and keyword tags. You can read the keywords listed for each tag to get keyword ideas. For example, words like NYC Headshot Photographer, New York Headshot, Fashion, Photography, New York City, NYC, NY, Manhattan, Comp Cards, Wedding Photography, Dance Photography etc.

These are words this particular photography site is targeting. Another NY based photographer that competes in the same niche could get keyword ideas for their site or identify similar keywords to target instead.

The source code of a web page is a great way to identify competitor keywords as well as synonyms.

#2 Google Keyword Tool (Website URL)

Most people use the Google Keyword Tool to enter a keyword and check the search volume and competitiveness of that keyword.

There’s also another way to use this tool and herein lies our secret weapon number 2.

Instead of entering a word or phrase, enter the URL of a website where it says Website. Google will then crawl that URL and list the keywords associated with that website.

If you have wellness site or similar, you might be interested in checking out the keywords associated with the site Mind Body Green:


#3 Screaming Frog Spider

Cheeky secret weapon number 3. I came across Screaming Frog recently after reading a Neil Patel article when I was conducting SEO audits.

And what a weapon it is.

This is a free tool you can use to crawl other people’s websites. It’s not really a keyword spy tool but it’s a tool that many people use to carry out search engine optimization diagnostics such as SEO audits.

It’s a free download you install onto your desktop. It suits both MAC and PC and you can use it to crawl your competitor’s websites to find out their meta data such as title tags, meta description, keyword tags and other on-page elements. The main things I check for are the title tags, meta description tags, heading tags and keyword tags to see what keywords they’re targeting.



This isn’t a complete list of keyword tools to use to spy on your competition. There are plenty of other free and paid tools but these will get you off to a good start.

What Say You?

Will you be using any of these tools?

Have you used any of these tools?

I’d love to hear your comments below.

Want the real story about SEO, marketing and web content writing without the jargon-y mumbo jumbo or the macho-man style delivery? You are in the right place.


Series Navigation << How To Choose Keywords For Free To Attract Your Ideal Customers (Without Pulling Your Hair Out) How To Use A Word Cloud To Increase Your Search Engine Ranking >>

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19 Responses to 3 Cheeky Ways To Spy On Your Competitor’s Keywords (For Free)

  1. Chris Bates April 29, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    SEMRush is a great tool too, although a premium tool

    • Shae
      Miss Sassy May 1, 2013 at 11:58 am #

      I have heard good things about SEMRush

  2. Karen Yankovich April 30, 2013 at 9:21 am #

    What a great resource! I’ve been preaching keywords for the past few weeks, I’m going to share this with my tribe. I love that you put it all in one place. Thank you!

    • Shae
      Miss Sassy May 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

      That’s great Karen. I’m sure your tribe will love it too. Super simple tips

  3. Trinidad April 30, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    Ohhh…. sneaky. That google tip is AMAZING. I will be testing that out ASAP.

  4. Mindy Crary April 30, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    Wow, I am totally going to go through these and see what I find! My biggest issue is I am not suite sure who I should consider direct competition, so I tend to get “mind-blocked” when I start to think about SEO…I am really glad you wrote this, because I have been thinking a lot about SEO, and how it’s my next mountain to climb, so this will help me dip my toe in the pool and get started :o )

    • Shae
      Miss Sassy May 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

      Hi Mindy. Many people get mind-blocked when it comes to SEO. Don’t think of it as a mountain to climb. Writing content with SEO in mind should not be a strain. The key is to write as normal as you would and then optimize your content after.

  5. Christie May 1, 2013 at 3:07 am #

    Great tips and resources Shae. Will be trying these out as I work on my SEO!

  6. Reena Tory May 1, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    This info is priceless. thanks for sharing Shae :)

  7. Sue May 1, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    Thanks for the tips. This was very helpful for someone even struggling to figure out keywords and SEO!

  8. claire gillenson May 2, 2013 at 2:05 am #

    oooo! putting this on my to do list Friday. I haven’t heard of screaming frog. so I will try that too! thank you!

  9. Kathie Holmes May 5, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    Wow what a great post. Thank you so much I can’t believe I’ve never noticed the website area in the google keyword tool. Off to do some spying…..

  10. Tracey Munn June 4, 2013 at 1:09 am #

    Fantastic article with great tips! Has not heard of Screaming Frog , have now though and off to try it out! Thanks Miss Sassy, great work :)

  11. Darlington August 4, 2013 at 5:39 am #

    Thanks for sharing these tools, i have never tried Screaming Frog Spider. The tool i usually like to use for this kind of research are Google keyword tool and alexa. I don’t know if you have tried that, it gives you a lot more information about the website. Thanks…

  12. Susan October 11, 2013 at 5:34 am #

    This info is very helpful Shae. Thank you. Hadn’t heard of Screaming Frog until now. Will check it out.

  13. Nick Lawrence November 18, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    Thanks for your great article.

    Will check out using the Keyword Planning tool in the way you suggested. Hadn’t thought of using it in this way so thanks for explaining things so clearly.

  14. Faisal January 2, 2014 at 2:04 am #

    SEMRush, spyfu, and keywordspy also good in order to spy competitor keywrds. Btw, good list. :-)

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