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How to Find What Keywords a Site Ranks For

Julia McCoy
Sunday, 16th Jun 2024
How to Find What Keywords a Site Ranks For

Do you know which keywords are driving traffic to your competitors’ websites?

Knowing what keywords a site ranks for can reveal opportunities to capture new traffic, refine your content, and enhance your overall visibility in search engine results.

In this blog post, you will learn how to find what keywords a site ranks for so you can stay ahead in the SEO game and optimize your content strategy for maximum impact.

Whether you’re an SEO novice or a seasoned professional, these insights will equip you with the knowledge to outsmart your competition and drive more organic traffic to your site.

Table Of Contents:

How to Find What Keywords Your Website Ranks For

Ever wondered what searches drive visitors to your page?

There are three ways to find out.

1. Google Search Console and Google Analytics

With Google Search Console, you’ll get detailed info about these search queries and see where you stand in terms of keyword ranking positions. Plus, it won’t cost a dime.

Google Analytics is also a handy free tool that shows you how people are finding your website. It doesn’t tell you where your site ranks, but it does reveal which search terms bring in the most visitors.

By combining data from these tools, you’ll get a clear picture of which keywords your site ranks for, as well as those of your competitors.

For tracking the queries that drive organic search traffic to a website, I always rely on Google Search Console. It’s free and packed with useful data straight from Google itself. Here’s how you can use it to find your keyword rankings:

  1. Open Google Search Console and select your property.
  2. Click on “Performance” in the left sidebar.
  3. You’ll see a graph of your clicks, impressions, average CTR, and average position. Below that is a table showing the actual search queries.
  4. To see your top performing keywords, click on “Queries” and sort by clicks or impressions.

This will give you a list of the search queries driving the most traffic to your site, along with your average ranking position for each one.

You can adjust the date range to see data over a specific time period and even compare two date ranges to track progress.

While both these tools are great for gathering data, yet there’s a notable distinction between Google Analytics and Google Search Console regarding keyword information.

Google Analytics shows you the keywords users searched to land on your site. But it only includes data for users who clicked through to your site and doesn’t give any info on rankings.

Search Console, on the other hand, shows you all the queries your site is ranking for in Google search results, along with the average position, click-through rate, and number of impressions. So it gives you a more complete picture of your SEO performance.

If you want more detailed information, connect Google Search Console to Google Analytics. Doing this lets you check out both search console data and site metrics in one place.

To set it up, just go to the Admin section in Google Analytics, click “Property Settings”, and then “Adjust Search Console”. From there you can select your verified site to link the two platforms.

This tool allows for a deeper analysis of how different keyword rankings impact things like bounce rate, average time on site pages, and conversion numbers. It’s an excellent method to figure out search intent, helping tailor content that aligns with what users are looking for.

2. Manual Search

Manual search, though less sophisticated than using specialized SEO tools, can still provide valuable insights into the keywords a site ranks for. This method involves using search engines directly to discover which keywords bring a site to the top of search results.

How do you find keywords you are ranking for through manual search?

Start by identifying a list of potential keywords relevant to your industry or niche. These can be terms you think your target audience might use to find your products or services.

Go to Google and type in each keyword to see which sites appear in the top results. Make sure to note the websites that consistently rank well for various keywords, as this indicates they have strong SEO for those terms.

For the keyword “what is content marketing”, here are the top four competitors I found:

how to find what keywords a site ranks for using manual search

When conducting manual searches, make sure you are in incognito mode or private browsing. This ensures that your previous search history, cookies, and personalized search results do not influence the rankings you see.

Incognito mode provides a more neutral perspective of how websites rank for different keywords, offering a clearer picture of the competitive landscape.

Pay attention to the various elements on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). These include organic listings, paid ads, featured snippets, People Also Ask section, and more. Analyzing these features can help you understand the different ways a keyword can drive traffic.

For example, if a site frequently appears in featured snippets or answer boxes, it indicates strong performance for those specific search queries.

3. SEO Tools

There are several powerful SEO tools designed specifically to help you find the keywords a site ranks for. Some of the most popular ones include:

Ahrefs: Enter the website URL in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. Navigate to the “Organic Keywords” report to see a list of keywords the site ranks for, along with their search volume, ranking position, and traffic potential.

Semrush: Similar to Ahrefs, Semrush offers a “Domain Overview” tool where you can input a domain and get a comprehensive list of the top organic keywords, along with their rankings and related metrics.

Moz: Moz’s Keyword Explorer can provide insights into the keywords a site ranks for by entering the domain in the search bar and reviewing the organic ranking keywords report.

Discover Competitor Keywords and Rankings

Finding out which keywords your site ranks for is a big part of nailing your SEO game. But don’t just focus on yourself —checking out what keywords your competitors rank for can give you a serious edge.

The first step in a competitor analysis is identifying who your competitors are. This isn’t limited to businesses that offer the same products or services as you. It also includes any site that ranks for the keywords you want to target.

Using manual search, look for your primary keywords and note which sites appear frequently in the top positions. These are your primary competitors in the digital space.

Using SEO tools, pull detailed reports on your competitors’ keyword rankings, backlinks, and top-performing content.

Once you have a list of your competitors’ keywords, examine which keywords they rank for that you don’t.

Tools like Content Gap from Ahrefs and Keyword Gap from Semrush can help identify these opportunities. Look for keywords that have high search volume but low competition, as these present the best opportunities for you to rank.

Analyze the top-performing pages of your competitors to understand why they rank well. Look at the content structure, keyword usage, meta tags, headers, and the inclusion of multimedia elements like images and videos.

Look into your competitors’ backlink profiles and see which sites are linking to them. Identify high-quality, relevant sites that you can target for backlinks.

I suggest setting up ongoing tracking of your top competitors’ keyword rankings to get regular reports on their ranking progress.

Keeping an eye on your competitors’ SEO efforts can be very useful. If you notice they suddenly rank higher for a new keyword, it might mean they’re pushing out fresh content around that term.

By watching their moves, you can quickly act to protect your position or come up with new content ideas based on the keywords they target.

The trick with competitive keyword research is not simply copying others but using their data for your own game plan.

Focus on the target keywords relevant to you and your audience. Look for ways where you can discuss topics thoroughly while adding more value compared to what’s already out there.

By mixing your keyword ranking data with insights from your competitors’ SEO methods, you can craft content that stands out.

Using Keyword Data to Improve Your SEO Strategy

Once you’ve identified the keywords your site and your competitors are ranking for, you can use this data to optimize your on-page elements for better relevance and visibility.

On-Page Optimization

Getting your site noticed in search results starts with good on-page optimization. By smartly placing target keywords throughout your content, you help search engines understand what your page is about and boost its chances of ranking higher.

However, it’s important to use keywords naturally and avoid overoptimization, which can be seen as spammy by both search engines and users.

Focus on creating content that reads well for humans first, while still including your target keywords in key places like titles, headings, and meta descriptions.

Content Creation

Looking at your keyword data reveals what topics interest your readers most. Websites like Answer the Public or show you related searches and detailed keywords to focus on in new articles. Use this information to brainstorm content ideas aligned with what folks are actually looking up online.

Creating detailed content that directly addresses users’ questions and thoroughly explores a topic can help you rank for more relevant keywords.

The key to a successful SEO campaign is understanding not only what keywords to target but also how to craft content around those keywords.

Internal Linking

Strategic internal linking using your target keywords can boost your site’s relevance and authority for those terms. Identify opportunities to link between related pages on your site using descriptive, keyword-rich anchor text.

Search engines get a better grasp of your content and how it connects when you use internal links. This can help boost the rankings for those keywords. Just be careful not to overdo it; only add links if they genuinely benefit users on your site.

Backlinking Strategy

Your keyword data can also guide your link-building efforts by identifying the most valuable and relevant pages to acquire backlinks for. Focus on securing high-quality, contextual backlinks from authoritative sites in your niche to the pages you want to rank higher for specific keywords.

Guest blogging, broken link building, and creating linkable assets like infographics or research reports are effective tactics to earn keyword-targeted backlinks.

As noted by Backlinko, “Google has confirmed that backlinks remain one of their top 3 search engine ranking factors.”

PPC Advertising

In addition to organic SEO, your keyword rankings data can inform your pay-per-click (PPC) advertising strategy.

By identifying the keywords your site already ranks well for organically, you can prioritize your PPC budget for keywords where you have room for improvement or face strong competition.

Combining organic and paid search efforts can help you dominate the search results page for your target keywords and drive more qualified traffic to your site.

FAQs: How to Find What Keywords a Site Ranks for

How do you find out what keywords a website ranks for?

To use Google Search Console to find the keywords your website ranks for, go to Performance → Search Results → Queries. Here you’ll find the Google Search Console Performance report that shows all the different keywords your site ranks for in Google. You’ll also see the data on total clicks, impressions, average CTR, and position.

How to track keyword rankings?

Utilize rank checker tools such as Google Search Console, Ahrefs, Semrush, Accuranker, Ubersuggest, SearchMetrics, and WebCEO. They monitor your keyword positions over time.

How do I choose keywords to rank?

  • Use Google Keyword Planner to cut down your keyword list.
  • Prioritize low-hanging fruit keywords.
  • Check the monthly search volume (MSV) for keywords you’ve chosen.
  • Factor in SERP features as you choose keywords.
  • Check for a mix of head terms and long-tail keywords in each bucket.


Learning how to find what keywords a site ranks for is a game-changer for any website owner or digital marketer. By leveraging the power of tools like Google Search Console, you can gain invaluable insights into your site’s keyword performance and make data-driven decisions to optimize your content strategy.

Success in boosting your search engine rankings and organic traffic depends on constantly tweaking your keyword strategy. Keep an eye on trends, stay active, and watch how high your website can climb.

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Written by Julia McCoy

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