The Foundations of Researching Keywords For Your Content (Using SEMRush) | Express Writers

The Foundations of Researching Keywords For Your Content (Using SEMRush)

by | Dec 18, 2014 | SEO

When Google pulled the plug on displaying the top keyword for websites in 2011, digital marketers were scrambling to find a solution to retrieve that priceless keyword data. The dreaded “not provided” message sent the Internet marketing community into an uproar, with many fists shaking at Google for taking something so valuable right out of reach. It was an unfortunate turn of events for professional SEOs, but it was not exactly surprising. There had been previous predictions on Google eliminating keyword data, but it did not make the blow any less painful.

Today, we are nearly 4 years out from the “not provided” dilemma, and it is clear that this did not end the world of SEO as we know it. The dust has cleared now, and with that, some pretty amazing keyword research tools have come to the forefront.

One of those keyword tools in particular is SEMRush, which is one of the most powerful and accurate research tools we’ve personally found on the market. The top keyword from Google may not be provided, but SEMRush offers a great opportunity to help you create great content. Let’s look at how they do that.

Starting From Scratch: Analyze The Keywords of Your Competitors

If you are on the forefront of your keyword search with SEMRush with a brand new website, one of the logical first steps is researching the keywords of your competitors. SEMRush allows you to research your competitors’ keywords, and they do not block or hide any valuable information from you.


When you log in to SEMRush, you can simply type in your competitor’s website address. SEMRush will generate their top keywords for you with information including volume, cost per click, ranking difficulty, and traffic percentage.

top keywords

Using Petsmart as an example, you can see a green bar under the traffic column. When you hover over the bar, SEMRush estimates that 40 percent of their traffic comes from their brand name. Hypothetically saying that I run another online pet store, this doesn’t help me too much. I am not a fan of piggybacking off of brand names, so I skip until I find service or product related keywords.

This takes me to the keywords of fish tanks and dog kennels. These keywords are closer to what I need, but they might be a bit too competitive for my new online pet store. From there, I click the view full report option to expand all of Petsmart’s keywords.

petsmart keywords

After a bit of sorting, I find a keyword that is a little more realistic to pursue. The keyword volume is 1900 per year with 468,000 results. This keyword is also long tail, which may mean fewer results with higher conversions. Now that I found a keyword that works for my competitor, but is not ridiculously competitive, I can move forward with creating content that centers on that keyword.

Using SEMRush Keywords to Create Unique Content

Now that you have a keyword in mind, the fun part can finally begin. Your long tail keyword is flea and tick prevention for dogs, and it is essential that you keep that keyword exactly in that same wording every time that you use it.

The easiest first step to creating a content campaign around a keyword is writing multiple (or even a series) of blog posts with that particular keyword. With this keyword example, you have the following opportunities for blog topics:

  • 6 Things You Didn’t Know About Flea And Tick Prevention For Dogs
  • 10 Compelling Reasons Why You Need Flea and Tick Prevention For Dogs
  • The Advanced Guide To Flea and Tick Prevention For Dogs
  • Flea and Tick Prevention For Dogs: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
  • How Flea And Tick Prevention Has Improved In The Last 10 Years

And those are just naming a few. You can literally come up with dozens of options for blog topics, just based off of a single keyword from SEMRush. With that said, keep your content valuable and informative as you build around your keyword. You can rank on page one all day long for a particular keyword, but killer content is what truly influences conversions.

SEMRush Keywords For Established Websites

So what if you aren’t exactly starting from scratch with your website, but you still need some keyword ideas to give your content a boost? Although analyzing your competitor’s keywords is almost always a good idea, part of the keyword research process involves analyzing your own site.

To stick with the pet theme, let’s say that I run a successful online pet store called Chewy. I sell a lot of products and my site is popular, but I am looking for new keyword opportunities.

Just as you would enter your competitor’s website in the search bar, type in your own web address and your keyword data will appear.

semrush keywords

Your top keywords here are your brand name. Since you are trying to find new keyword and content opportunities, you need to view the full report and browse through the selection.

pill pockets

Pill pockets for dogs is yet another long tail keyword that you can pursue. For those who don’t know, a pill pocket is an edible pocket that helps dogs take down their medication. It has a yearly search volume of 1600 with 207,000 search results. Since this website is already very well established, it is pretty realistic to rank for this long tail keyword by generating some great content.

Generating New Content From New Keyword Ideas

Getting new content from new ideas pretty much works the same as described above. However, if you are already established, you have the opportunity to see feedback much faster on a social level. You can start with the new blog topics, such as:

  • Why We Love Pill Pockets For Dogs (and you should, too!)
  • 12 Do’s And Don’ts For Using Pill Pockets For Dogs
  • Why Pill Pockets For Dogs Will Make Your Pup Happy
  • How Much Should You Be Spending On Pill Pockets For Dogs

Post your blogs with your new long tail keywords to social media. You can run a few test trials to see how your audiences engages and reacts to your new content; this can serve as an additional decision factor if that keyword is in fact worth pursuing.

More Ways To Find Content Opportunities With SEMRush

Keyword research on SEMRush goes beyond entering a web address. Although that is a perfect starting point if you have no idea what kind of keyword that you are looking for, there are more keyword search options to explore.

dog toys

Let’s say that you have a keyword idea in mind for content, but you want to see if there are any ways that you can expand on it. Simply type in your keyword query into the search bar, and click search. In this example, we’ll go with dog toys.

dog toys report

SEMRush showcases the top 10 most popular key words containing the phrase dog toys. There are several content ideas that you can pull from this list, such as interactive dog toys and kong dog toys. However, your options don’t stop here. You can load the full report for a seemingly endless amount of additional keyword ideas. With literally thousands of keyword opportunities on SEMRush, it is essentially a goldmine for generating new topic and content opportunities.

Advantages of Using SEMRush For Your Keyword Research

Creating new content can be challenging enough, especially when you staring at a blank document and have no direction. Using SEMRush as the foundation for your keyword research is beneficial for content development in several ways, such as:

  • You can evaluate both SEO and keyword value. SEMRush gives useful keyword data pertaining to search volume and competition; this data can help you make a decision if the keyword is worth pursuing. Finding keywords that drives a good amount of traffic will put your content on the forefront of what customers are searching for.
  • Helping you to avoid writer’s block. There are a lot of tools available online that give good ideas for content, but the SEMRush tool helps you get down to the nitty gritty of your best keyword opportunities for content.
  • Providing you with live data information to help you see what is trending. The live data information shows real time results in terms of competition, cost per click, and search volume.
  • Offering a fresh keyword difficulty tool to analyze the competition. SEMRush recently added an in-depth keyword difficulty tool that tells you how difficult it would be to replace or outrank your competitors on a particular keyword.

keyword difficulty

This example shows that the keyword dog toys has a difficulty rate of 76 percent. It is a popular keyword, but it is clear here that the market is oversaturated and it would be very difficult to get your content exposure based on search rank alone.

Express Writers Collaboration with SEMRush

Our COO (Josh McCoy), who has years of experience in SEO and has in turn run his own SEO agencies, did a week’s research over different SEO tools. He compared top tools on the market including Market Samurai, MOZ, and SEMRush, among others, opening free trials and actually setting up campaigns. He found the keyword tools, data, and overall use that SEMRush offers, exceeds the other tools. Not only that, it was easy to use and simple to learn. SEMRush is our SEO tool for the valuable reports and our expert content curation and auditing.

SEMRush is an all-around powerful SEO keyword tool for copywriters, breathing new life into the art of keyword research. One run with SEMRush will have you forgetting about Google’s not provided dilemma, and help you build a solid foundation to a truly powerful content campaign.

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