It’s very easy to underestimate the importance of keyword research, but it is the blueprint for your online marketing effort. The results of this research drive every content marketing decision you make because they increase your keyword intelligence—which, in turn, allows you to select better keywords and create truly engaging content.
SEMRush is widely regarded as one of the most effective tools for quick and professional keyword research because it has all tools you need to manage a successful organic online marketing campaign.
Sound interesting? Read on to learn how to use this tool to maximize your keyword research.
What is SEMRush?
SEMRush is a paid subscription keyword research tool. One of its biggest advantages is that it gives you a unique perspective on competitors’ SEO. Many marketers consider it one of the best tools in the business because it provides comprehensive data that meets all your market research needs.
You can get a free trial for 30 days, but the functionality of the tool is significantly limited in that version. I recommend that you upgrade to the paid version so you can use all of the features.
How to use the free version of SEMRush for keyword research
Once you’ve created a free account and logged in, you’ll see the SEMRush dashboard. The section that interests us the most at this point is Keyword Analytics, located in the left side column menu.
Click on the Overview subsection. At this point, the platform will not display any results because we haven’t entered any data for the analysis, so don’t worry if you don’t see anything in the main window area.
Now, we’ll move on to keyword research. The search box offers a number of options for analysis, domain overview, traffic analytics, and backlinks. Click on Keyword Overview to begin your research.
As an example, let’s type “WordPress themes” as a keyword for the analysis. After you hit the Search button, the tool will display an overview of various data on the keywords we entered. Just below the search bar, there is a function that allows you to specify a particular region that you want to see results from. Here are the findings for our example:
In the screenshot above, you can see the overview of the keyword “WordPress themes” and useful information to inform your keyword strategy. SEMRush gives you trending data in various subsections, including Organic Search, Paid Search, CPC Distribution, Trends, Phrase Match Keywords, Related Keywords, Organic Search Results, and Ads Copies.
Let’s review what all these subsections mean:
Organic Search shows data related to organic traffic. In this subsection, you can see how many monthly searches are made using this keyword. The number of results here indicates how many websites you’re competing with for “WordPress themes.”
Trend displays the monthly distribution of search volume for the keyword. Experienced marketers use this information to plan keyword seasonality.
Paid Search shows competitor density and CPC (cost per click).
The following two subsections are the most important:
Related Keywords presents various keywords related to the keyword you entered.
Phrase Match Keywords provides variations of the keyword that Internet users might use to search for a product or service.
Given that these two subsections are the most relevant to your keyword research, let’s discuss them a bit more in depth. To do that, we have to view full reports on each of them. This is done by clicking on the corresponding button in each subsection.
After that, we land on the page that shows the list of relevant and important keywords that have considerable search volumes.
Many marketers use this list as their primary method of keyword research. “It helps to find the keyword density data (KD), the suggested CPC, the number of Google results, and the competitive density (PPC),” says Damian Peterson, a marketer from ProWriting.
Now, we have to view the full report of the related keywords. After clicking on the corresponding button within the subsection, we arrive at the page below that contains the list of keywords related to “WordPress themes.”
As you can see, all of them are related to the keyword you entered in one or another way. Some of them are typos (there are some great keyword typo suggestion tools and generators out there), because, well, people often make mistakes when typing them into a search bar. This report is especially helpful when you’re attempting to bring a larger audience to your website.
One last thing: pay attention to KD
The main purpose of keyword research is to look at search volumes and assess the difficulty of ranking for specific keywords. Keyword difficulty (KD) is something you need pay attention to on SEMRush, because it defines whether a keyword is worth using. Aim for a KD of at least 80 for the best results.