Keywords selection is an essential part of SEO strategy. Correctly selected keywords largely determine the success of the whole Internet marketing campaign.

So, how do you know whether keywords are right or wrong? Or which of them are better than others? The answer is simple: they require thorough analysis and evaluation with the help of a keyword suggestion tool.

There are a number of programs nowadays that allow doing keyword analysis. The most well-known among them is, probably, Google’s Keyword tool, but it doesn’t give all-around data for search terms. For this purpose, you can make use of Semrush - professional keyword software, created specifically for in-depth keyword research.

How To Select The Best Keywords for Organic Searches?

When looking to analyze keywords you can usually measure them by two key metrics:

  • The search volume (how often the users use such keywords as a search query on the Internet)
  • Level of competition (how many sites are ranked in search results for a particular keyword)

If you have a website for which you are choosing the keywords, the best way to start is to enter the website URL into the Semrush search line and go to the Overview section.

Find the Top 20 Keywords for the Site in Search Results

In the Organic keywords table, you will get the list of keywords for which the website is being currently ranked in the first 20 search results (click “Full Report” to see the list in full). There you will find:

Key metrics of keyword evaluation.

  • Keyword search volume - how many times per month users perform a search on the local search engine version with this keyword (Volume column)
  • the number of search results - how many search results are returned by the local version of the search engine for this particular keyword (Results column)

Additional metrics for keyword assessment:

  • Cost-per-click for an ad for the keyword – this data is always helpful even if you are not going to run a paid marketing campaign; it helps understand the level of competition for the keyword – the higher the price, the more companies want their ads to be shown for it (CPC column)
  • The proportion of customers driven to the site by this keyword – this index gives a better idea of how essential this keyword for your site conversion is (Traffic % column)
  • Level of competition between advertisers for the keyword – another additional index that helps estimate how fierce (or mild) the competition for this keyword on the market; the higher the index value the more tough competition is (Com. column)
  • Keyword frequency trend – you can make sure the keyword is not becoming less popular with people searching on the web and therefore it is worth including in the future SEO strategy (Trend column)

Pick Out Keywords That Have the Biggest Profit Potential but Moderate Competition

To analyze keywords in this way you can use the filter above the table and filter the keywords by their frequency (Volume), number of search results (Results), or any other metric.

Your primary aim here should be to select such keywords which on one hand generate essential and profitable traffic to your site and on the other hand are not too competitive. This way, the money you spend on the promotion for these keywords in organic search results could give a proper return.

You can also do this selection outside Semrush by saving the table to your computer and then filtering the data in the convenient file format. In the end, you should receive a list of keywords that you will use in your marketing campaign.

Expand Your Keyword List by Performing Competitor Analysis

A great way to expand your keyword analysis and find more winning keywords is to study your competitor. For this purpose, you can take advantage of Organic Research. This tool provides you with information about your competitors' keywords, competitive positioning, and more. 

There you will find a list of competitors picked by Semrush according to the keyword they have in common with your site, so these will be sites that are direct competitors of yours in the organic search results.

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Select the Most Successful Competitors in Your Niche

Our advice here would be to evaluate competing sites and choose several for a close study of their keywords. You will be able to assess the sites by the next criteria:

  • the number of keywords that a rival’s site shares with you– after clicking the figure you will see an extremely useful tab where your site and the site of your competitor will be compared by the position in the search results for every keyword they have in common (Common keywords column)
  • the total count of keywords the competing site is ranked in top 20 search results - this will be a direct indicator of how successful the competitor’s site is (SE Keyword column)
  • estimated monthly traffic driven by to the site by top 20 search results – another characteristic calculated in the number of visitors per month which will help you evaluate competitor’s success (SE Traffic column)

Having studied this data, you will have determined several factors which you need to have a closer look at. In the first column, click the competitor’s site you have chosen and view the organic keywords table for this site.

See What Keywords Your Competitors are Using

Organic keyword tables show the same data we talked about earlier when analyzing keywords of your own site. But now, by the same criteria (keyword frequency, number of search results, etc.), you will be able to evaluate the full list of keywords of your competitor.

You can also export these data or process it right in Semrush. Having finished this, you will receive another list of winning keywords that you can use for the future marketing campaign of your site.

Search for More Keyword Ideas

Additionally, you can use keyword analysis to expand your keyword list by looking at keyword suggestions from Semrush. Just type a definite keyword you think really needs to be used for your business and see what variations of this keyword may be and which one of them is the most traffic-drawing.

semrush keyword magic tool screenshot

Discover the Most Searched Queries with Your Keyword

In the Phrase match report you will see a list of users’ searches containing your keyword ranked by the query frequency, cost per click and other criteria. Consider these data and choose those keywords which have good frequency but a moderate number of search results (and not a high ad price).

You can look for even more ideas in the Related keywords report, showing search queries that are synonyms to your keyword – it’s likely you will find profitable keywords which will help grow your business too.

Some tips which might help in your best keywords evaluation.

  • Generally, keywords with 100,000 monthly searches are considered to be very competitive and it is really hard to attain a decent position in search results for it. It depends on the business niche and type of product or service, but as a very general rule, a keyword is valuable if it has at least 100-200 monthly searches
  • Always consider how beneficial and relevant the traffic coming from certain keyword exactly for your business – it might happen that you find a keyword has lots of searches, your competitor receives a lot of traffic from it, but due to some specific features of your business visitors coming from this query will not generate profit for your site – be wary of such cases
  • Make the most of long-tail keywords – usually, there is less competition for them and they are more purposeful, which means a user using such a query is more likely to buy the exact product or service

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Connor LaheyEditor, SEO strategist, and writer. Enjoys monitoring SERP volatility. You can find me reading Tolkien in the far north of Norway.
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