Among over 40 different tools, the Keyword Research toolkit of Semrush is one of the most used ones.
Semrush Keyword Research consists of different tools and thus distinct ways of finding keywords for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
In this guide, I will show how to use Semrush for keyword research in 2023.
- Related keywords research
- Keyword Magic Tool
- Organic Traffic Insights
- Competitor Analysis
- Keyword Gap Analysis
- SEO Content Template
- SEO Writing Assistant
- How to use Semrush for keyword research (best practices)
- Is Semrush all you need for keyword research?
- Final words on using Semrush Keyword Research Tool
Related keywords research
Find keyword variations
Enter your seed keyword into the Semrush search box, and you will be given related keywords.
Keyword Magic Tool
Find keyword ideas based on the category
Type your main keyword in the search box and select the relevant keyword database. (United States, Google is set by default)
Keywords will be categorized mainly by the number of keywords and search volume. Use sub-categories to filter each keyword variation.
Organic Traffic Insights
Find keywords not provided in Google Analytics.
Connect your Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts with Semrush and find not provided and not set keywords along with session data like bounce rate and goal completion percentage for each keyword.
Find keywords used by competitor websites
Enter the URL of a website in the Semrush search box.
Click the ‘View details‘ button under the top organic keywords section to see all the ranking keywords of a website.
Find keywords based on URL
Enter the competitor’s URL on the Semrush search box. Ensure that the ‘Exact URL‘ is selected.
Click on the ‘View all organic keywords‘ button or the Positions tab at the top.
Keyword Gap Analysis
Find keywords used by your competitors but not you
One of the better ways of using Semrush for keyword research is identifying keywords that your competition used but you. Keyword Gap (or Content Gap) tool enables you to find which content is missing from your content marketing campaigns.
Domain vs Domain
Go to the Semrush Keyword Gap tool, enter your domain name and specify up to four competitor websites.
The following keyword report will contain keywords of your site and competitors. And they are grouped into six groups:
URL vs URL
Find which keywords a particular page of your site is missing by comparing it with another page.
Learn more about the Semrush Keyword Gap Analysis tool.
SEO Content Template
Find keywords based on the top 10 rivals on Google SERP for a given keyword and audience targeting.
Go to the SEO Content Template section and enter your seed keyword.
In the Semrush SEO Content Templates recommendation report, go to the Key Recommendations section and look for keywords to include.
Learn more about Semrush SEO Content Template.
SEO Writing Assistant
Find keyword ideas based on your written content
SEO Writing Assistant is a content optimization tool by Semrush. You can use it on your WordPress site, Google Docs, or Semrush. Learn more details in this beginner’s guide to Semrush SEO Writing Assistant.
Look for recommended keywords under the SEO section of Semrush’s SEO Writing Assistant.
How to use Semrush for keyword research (best practices)
In a recent Semrush review, I shared several ways of using the Semrush platform to grow a business online. Here are several ways to properly use the Semrush Keyword Research tool.
Finding related Keywords (Vertically Grow)
If you already have a list of keywords but are unsure which ones to include, use ‘Bulk Analysis‘ of the Semrush Keyword Research tool.
Add those keywords to your Keyword Manager.
You can also add new keywords (up to 1,000 per keyword list, depending on your Semrush subscription plan) on this page.
In Keywords Manager, you can get a snapshot of top competitors in Google, SERP features, Competitive Density (for Google Ads), Keyword Difficulty, Search Volume, and Click Potential.
Once you find a set of keywords worth writing content, head to the Keyword Magic Tool and find topic ideas.
Keywords like “funny email subject lines” have got a decent global search volume with a medium (possible-to-rank) Keyword Difficulty score. I do not trust KD or any SEO tool because it tends to promote inaccurate results. Instead, what I recommend is checking the Golden Keyword ratio with a tool like WriterZen. Learn more.
Once found a decent keyword idea, check SERP for the particular keyword by entering it on the Keyword Overview tool. Also, you can use keyword variations, question-based keywords, and related search terms too.
Finding competitors keywords
Previously I shared a couple of articles about doing competitive keyword research in Semrush. Read them below:
If you want to get traffic that your competitors are receiving, you should start by conducting a Keyword Gap Analysis in Semrush.
Start by ranking for low-hanging fruits. (i.e., less competitive keywords of competitors)
- KD: Easy
- Position: Competitors in the Top 10
The logic is if a competitor site is ranking for a lower competitive keyword, you have a chance of ranking for it too.
Finding Question Keywords
One quickest way to rank in Google SERP is by writing useful content around question-based keywords.
You can also use those questions in FAQ sections on your site (with Schema markups) to rank for FAQ sections on Google.
However, I would like to see a relevance score for related keywords to the main keyword phrase because using irrelevant keywords will be harmful.
Optimizing existing content
Another use of using Semrush for blogging and content marketing is that you can unlock not provided keywords with Organic Traffic Insights and use the data given to optimize existing content. If not, maybe your content is penalized by Google. Visit Google Search Console and see any alerts like usability issues.
Here are a few tips:
- Start SERP positions tracking campaign in Semrush to monitor the ranking of important keywords to your business. Set up a trigger whenever a keyword leaves the first page on Google.
If the keyword rank is dropped, perhaps a competitor came up with better content, or someone acquired backlinks. Check Google SERP for the particular keyword and analyze competitors’ content.
- Improve existing content with the Semrush SEO Writing Assistant tool. Use On-page SEO Checker or Semrush SWA WordPress plugin to analyze content and optimize.
Writing SEO-friendly content
Now you found how to use Semrush for keyword research using the main tools. The next step is creating an SEO content template for the piece of content. It will basically:
- Help you determine which content to add based on the top 10 rivals on Google SERP
- Provide an estimated length of word count and readability score to balance your content
Use semantically related words to build content outlines.
Is Semrush all you need for keyword research?
By looking at the data, Semrush is by far the biggest when it comes to keyword research. It consists of billions of keywords and competitive analysis data. However, it does not mean Semrush keyword suggestions will surely help rank top on search engines.
Personally, I use multiple keyword research tools because of this. Semrush is doing a better job when it comes to recommendations of related keywords than Semrush competitors. I import those keywords into WriterZen to calculate the Golden Keyword Ratio.
Fundamentally, GKR is a metric that selects keywords based on content scarcity and the profitability of ranking on Google. Although Semrush provides metrics like CPC and Click Potential, they do not really tell the bigger picture of a keyword. However, WriterZen organizes keywords based on Golden Filter in two ways:
- By Ranking Probability: If your website is new, this would be the best option to find low-hanging fruits
- By Potential Value: Keywords sorted by commercial potential yet low in competition. Perfect if your site is established.
- Extensivity of keywords
- Historical data
- Keyword filter options
- Competitor analysis & insights
- Generate SEO content templates
- Find underused keyword ideas
- Provide a better value compared with other tools price-wise.
- Does not provide a keyword relevance score
Final words on using Semrush Keyword Research Tool
Using Semrush for keyword research is a primary reason why many marketers, especially small business owners like bloggers, content writers, and freelancers, use the Semrush platform. However, not many of them utilize Semrush Keyword Research to its fullest potential.
In this guide, you learned how to use Semrush for keyword research in seven different ways and best practices. As I described, you need to do your own research as well – Do not trust the data of any SEO tool. Verify data and predict the revenue from ranking for a keyword on Google with tools like WriterZen.
So, how do you use Semrush keyword research features in your business? Share your thoughts below.