SEMrush is decidedly one of the most advanced marketing tools to be had by any blogger.
As bloggers when you approach blogging with SEMrush at your side you have a full suite of tools at your disposal to outwit your competitors, shore up great rankings and generate hundreds of thousands of visitors every month.
In a nutshell, SEMrush allows you to discover and create a vast trove of traffic generating topics by means of keyword research, competitor keyword research and content audit.
Let’s use the tool to first build a seed keyword list. Here’s how to do that.
Organic Keyword Research with SEMrush
Keyword research is done to build a list of terms that are relevant to your blog, on which you can lay the foundation of future content and find topics that can attract and sustain relevant high-converting traffic.
There’s no easy way to compile this list of keywords except by means of spending large number of man-hours manually compiling the data.
Except there is.
Go to semrush.com. In the search column enter a keyword, say “digital marketing”.
Once you do, SEMrush will generate a list organic keywords relevant to the search term divided into two categories— organic and paid.
There are many metrics you can choose to arrange the order of results on but chiefly these two metrics are valuable:
Volume – the searches with the highest monthly volume first followed by searches with decreasing search volume
Competitiveness – The competitiveness represented here is indicative of the advertiser competition for that keyword and not organic competition.
Separate phrase match long tail keywords from the list
In the keyword search report you generated for the term “digital marketing” if you want to separate out a particular phrase and all its long tail variations you can enter the particular term say, “social media” at the top to generate the entire set of keywords that have the phrase social media. These are long tail keywords that include the phrase social media in its different variations, say social media marketing, social media domination and so on.
Why is this important?
Most search engines use Latent Semantic Indexing. In plain language, that means they hunt for multiple ideas in the content that are topically relevant. This is based on the idea that the user has several things in mind when searching for something which is revealed in related keywords he uses to perform his search. Deciphering those keywords is the key to understanding user intent. By creating content that incorporates some of these keywords you stand to gain the upper hand in rankings.
Finally, at the the bottom of this report you will find a list of competitors who are in Google’s top 10 for the particular keyword. You can export that list and use it for finding out keywords they rank for. It’s what we’re going to do next. Do this for as many relevant keywords you feel the need to and find all relevant competitors.
Competitor Keyword research with SEMrush
Go to SEMrush>> Organic Research>> Positions, enter a competitor URL and click on search. When you do this you get a list of keywords that the particular domain ranks for. You can choose between Google or Bing.
This way you can generate an organic search positions report for as many domains as you wish to and export them as excel files. This is a powerful tactic at uncovering the entire keyword strategy of any blog.
Let’s explore the subset of tools available within the pantheon of competitor keyword research tool. The most useful is competition gap analysis tool.
Competitor gap analysis compares your organic rankings with that of two competitors to reveal keywords they rank for but you don’t. In this manner, you arrive at a whole set of highly relevant keywords you can immediately use to pen articles.
You can find either or both of these things below:
- Keywords that competitors rank for but you don’t
- Keywords your competitors sit on the first page for but you do not.
Finding keywords the competition ranks for but you don’t
The data on which keywords your competitors grace the first page of Google is important and will reveal a big list of blog post ideas you can immediately set about creating content on.
Who doesn’t want to steal competitor rankings from right under their carpet?
SEMrush organic competitor’s report shows you the top competitors and keywords you share in common and keywords you don’t share at all.
Here’s how to use the competitor keyword gap tool. Fire up the tool and add one of your competitor urls first. Then add your website in the second column.
Select the option called—”Unique to the first domain’s keywords” that allows you to find keywords they uniquely rank for.
With this option you see the keywords that are unique to them.
To find out keywords that two competitors share in common but ones you don’t rank for here’s what you need to. In the third column enter a second competitor. For this competitor, select the option called “Common Keywords”.
This way you get keywords that are both of your competitors rank for on Google but you don’t.
Discover High-Volume Keywords with Less Competition
There’s no use of creating content with keywords that have too high a competition and where you don’t stand a chance at ranking well.
Only when you achieve a balance between your link building abilities and search volume will you be able to match up to competition.
The keyword competition shown here as mentioned before is advertiser competition.
Here’s how to estimate organic ranking difficulty represented as KD in the report. The process is same for keywords generated in any manner—either through the organic keyword report or through competitor research report.
Estimate Keyword Difficulty
Use the SEMrush Keyword Difficulty tool to estimate the difficulty of organic keywords to rank for. The tool shows the difficulty percentage for up to 100 keywords at a time.
You have to go to each keyword and manually click on the show difficulty button to view it. Difficulty is displayed from 1 to 100% with 1 being the least difficult to rank for and 100 the most difficult.
- Above 80%: These keywords are the most difficult to rank for. This requires quite a few high quality links (think backlinks from sites like Forbes) built over many months to broach Google’s top results. A new blog would never be able to break open these keywords in the first few years.
- From 60-80%: Medium difficulty keywords. These aren’t very easy but much easier than the first group of keywords. You need quality content, with lots of examples and matching user intent followed by sustained link building efforts spanning over a few months to break into top 10.
- Below 60%: Easiest keywords to rank for. The number of such keywords are whittling down by the day. You will have to have some patience hunting down keywords that have good volume but are easy to rank for.
Use the new Topic research tool for content ideas
SEMrush Topic Research
SEMrush has introduced a new topic research tool that helps you find keyword ideas based on trends.
Let’s take an example keyword and hit it up on Semrush to see what kind of analysis and results we get that help us understand our competitors different.
Once you enter the keyword click on the button that says Get content ideas and you will be provided with analysis on the chosen topic.
Clicking on any subtopic given in the generated list of keywords will reveal the following information on that topic:
A set of 10 headlines, sourced from the top 10 ranking pages for the topic will show up. These headlines are arranged in descending order with respect to the number of backlinks each page has.
Questions People Ask on the topic:
Questions people ask is a ripe fodder to inform your content marketing strategy. How tos are an engaging discipline and covering them in the blog post can often get it elevated to the zeroth position— the coveted featured snippet, immediately doubling your search traffic.
When you have a litany of questions people are asking on a certain topic, relevant to your blog post you may want to add these questions as an FAQ section in the blog post.
With the topic research tool you’re handed out hundreds of relevant keywords and ideas for you to use. You may want to work on these immediately. But since that’s not possible you run the risk of forgetting these keywords. The favorite ideas tab comes as a savior where you can save content ideas for the future and check back on them when you are ready.
You can also export these ideas and save an offline copy.
Finally, use the audit tool.
SEMrush content audit tool
The content audit tool is a useful accessory allowing you to understand the performance of the content you have been creating.
The audit tool runs the entire site, each and every page through its system and displays relevant metrics helping you score each page.
Chiefly, the tool would generate the number of social media shares accrued across different popular channels, number of backlinks and also pulls data from Google Analytics like sessions, session duration and bounce rate( if connected).
If a page isn’t performing well, you only need this eliminate those pages.
To access this tool, go to Content Analyzer –> Content Audit, enter your domain and hit ‘Start Audit’. Wait for a few minutes for the data to be gathered.
When you deliver relevant, valuable content consistently for a long time you win hearts, trust and loyalty for life. When blogging, the content you create is your face.
Whatever be your blogging goals you need to be armed with a tool that helps you better your blog posts and gives you suggestions on improving content. A good tool additionally lets you discover insights on what makes your competitors rank well and what they’re doing that gives them plentiful traffic.
The assessment and analysis can be done courtesy of semrush. And help improve the quality of your content.