Keyword research is about finding opportunities for your website to provide content that satisfies the needs of common searches in your market. In general, the more specific a keyword search is, the easier it will be to target and effectively bring in organic traffic to your site with SEO. These sought-after keywords are called “long-tail keywords.”
Lucky for you, helping people find those specific long-tail keywords is one of SEMrush’s specialties. So, how do you use SEMrush for keyword research?
Follow this workflow to practice keyword research on SEMrush and build a target keyword list that fits your website.
The website used for this workflow was swimmingpool.com.
The workflow is in 3 main parts: Identifying your competition, finding keyword opportunities in your market, and uncovering long tail keywords for your website.
Identify Your Competition
- Enter your domain name into the Organic Competitors report. Here you will find your domain’s current top competitors based on common organic keyword rankings. (1)
- Review the list and choose up to 4 of the websites listed to use in your comparison. (2)
Find the Keyword Opportunities in Your Market
- Enter your top competitors in the Keyword Gap tool with your domain in the farthest right input field (you’ll see why in step 5) and compare “common keywords” with the venn diagrams between the domains. If the report says “no keywords,” remove one of the competitors from the list until there is a pool of keywords that all of the domains share. Comparing only 3 or 4 websites might work better than 5 for this reason. (3)
- To identify the easiest keywords to target, apply a filter for Keyword Difficulty to only show keywords with a KD score less than 60. The lower the KD score, the easier it would be to target the keyword and successfully rank for it in organic search with your site. (4)
- Identify the keywords that are most relevant to your website with low KD and use the checkbox to add them to your Export.
- Next, change the venn diagram next to your domain from “common keywords” to “unique to first domain.” (6) This will show you keywords that your competitors all rank for but your website has no ranking. Note in the image below that all 3 competitors have positions for the keywords, but our main site, swimmingpool.com has none. Now you can identify any completely new keywords to target.
- Again, add the filter for KD less than 60 and add any keywords that are relevant to your site to the Export Manager with the checkbox (7). Here is how the report should look. Once you’re happy with the keywords you’ve found in this process, export your list to a file to save your research.
Uncover Long Tail Keywords
Once you’ve identified some general topics to target from the Keyword Gap exercise, you can go deeper into keyword research with the Keyword Magic Tool.
- Enter your target keyword as a “seed keyword” here to find more ideas (“small inground pools” for example).
- Apply a filter for KD to find keywords that are easy to target and relevant to your site, and another filter for Word count greater than 4 for finding those long tail phrases with 4 or more words in them.
- Review the long tail keywords from this report and look for any relevant topics to add to your list. If you see a lot of long tail keywords around a single subtopic, it could be a good opportunity for you to target the topic with content on your website. See below all of the long tail keywords about small fiberglass swimming pools.
Now that you have a list of keywords you can use them as the foundation of your SEO strategy. Try the following to start optimizing:
- Add the target keywords to a campaign with your domain in the On Page SEO Checker to gather ideas for optimizing your site for those keywords.
- Enter a target keyword into the SEO Content Template to get a suggested template for writing a webpage that is optimized for the target.
- Add your list of target keywords to a Position Tracking campaign to track your progress as you conduct your efforts.