“There is nothing so terrible as activity without insight,” as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe would say.
That’s why keyword research is so important – by doing it, you gain invaluable insight into your competition and market/niche overall.
Keyword research is the foundation of affiliate marketing. If you haven’t built your foundation properly, your business will eventually come crashing down.
However, thorough research can be time-consuming and frustrating – that’s where awesome tools like SEMrush prove to be incredibly helpful.
What makes SEMrush an awesome tool?
I primarily use it for keyword research but there’s a ton of additional features that you can use. It’s a full suite of tools for online marketers and SEO professionals.
There’s a free trial version and there’s a paid version (a monthly or a yearly plan). If you use my affiliate link, here, you can get a 14 Day trial for free. You’ll need to enter your credit card info for the trial, and just be sure to cancel before the 14 days are up.
On the homepage, there’s a quick way to enter a domain name, keyword or URL in the search box. (screenshot at 1:55)
If you prefer watching a video, click here (opens in YouTube).
SEMrush provides data for SEO, advertising, social media, content and PR, and much more.
From the SEO perspective, the most important ones for me are competitive intelligence as well as backlink audit and analytics. (screenshot at 2:23)
The backlink audit and analytics are in my opinion, inferior to Ahrefs and Majestic. Personally, I think that SEMrush’s advantage is the ability to see which keywords your website ranks for and which keywords your competitors are ranking for. This way you can see what works for them and you can implement that on your own website.
How to use SEMrush for keyword research
Let me show you how to use this tool. We’ll use The Wirecutter as an example for the purpose of this demonstration.
Type in The Wirecutter’s domain name and choose the most relevant country for you from the drop-down menu. I’m choosing the US (screenshot at 4:33; 4:38).
We’re now looking at the domain overview, which is showing us that the organic traffic counts for approximately 1.8 million monthly visitors (screenshot at 5:09).
They’re ranking for 800,000 keywords and their traffic cost is estimated at 2.2 million dollars (which they’re not paying for). Their paid search is non-existent.
They have 110,000 backlinks. Most of their organic keywords are US-based (a little over a half).
We’re also able to look at how their traffic changed over time. The website was founded in late 2011 and it’s been growing ever since. Despite a couple of declines, there’s been a steady growth and after The New York Times took over, they were able to build a lot of links.
Now let’s look at some of the key data – top organic keywords and main organic competitors (screenshot at 6:47). Firstly, out of the 800,000 keywords, there are about 30,000 keywords that are ranking in the top 3 and about 94,000 are in the top 10 (screenshot at 7:12; 7:14).
Secondly, if you look at the top organic keywords, you’ll see each keyword’s position, search volume, keyword difficulty (KD), cost per click (CPC) estimate, URL, traffic percentage, cost percentage, results, trend, SERP and the last update for each keyword (screenshot at 8:05).
In the free version of SEMrush you’re only able to see the data for the top 10 keywords but if you have a paid version, you can filter the top organic keywords by typing for example, “best” into the search box (screenshot at 11:23).
The keywords are sorted by traffic percentage and at the time of doing this demonstration, the keyword “hoverboard” was at the top while its position was ranking at 11. If you’re ranked 11th, it means that you’re on the second page of the SERPs and not many people will bother to look at it.
Let’s just focus on the keywords like “standing desk”, for which the website is ranking 1st and has a monthly search volume of 61,500 (screenshot at 9:37).
Keyword difficulty (KD) is an estimate of how difficult it would be to rank for that particular keyword, where the higher the percentage, the more difficult it is to rank for it (screenshot at 9:57). So, based on KD scores, all these keywords are difficult to rank for!
There’s also a URL that links to the page where the keyword is used (screenshot at 10:21; 10:24).
Copy that URL (The Best Standing Desk) and paste it into the search box at the top (screenshot at 12:18). This is especially useful when you’re interested in ranking for a keyword set or a niche.
You’re able to see which keywords this particular URL is ranking for and if you have a paid version of SEMrush, you’re able to see over 2,000 search terms that are ranking in the top 10 for this particular review (screenshot at 13:06).
Finally, after that, you can do additional research with SEOquake, a free keyword research tool.
I’ve done a video demo on it, and you can see it here (on YouTube). Paste the same URL link in the search box as before (screenshot at 13:30). As you can see, there’s information available about the total amount of words in the review – there are 9843 of words, among other things.
With the help of these tools, you’re able to do competitor analysis and gain a lot of insight about your competition.
With SEMrush you can see who’s ranking in the top 10 and find the other niche sites. You can also see which keywords they’re ranking for and this way you might get some ideas for your subheadings or additional content.
After about a month of research, you’ll end up having more than enough keywords to create a website that’s bigger than you could imagine.
With SEOquake you can figure out how long the content should be, how many times you should use the keyword as well as how to write and edit a description.
Your thoughts? Leave a comment and let me know:
- What’s your favorite SEMrush feature and why?
- Do you use any other SEO tools?
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