SEMRush – Sizing Up The Competition & Finding Keyword Gems

| July 31, 2011

semrushWhen I first started Internet Marketing a few years ago I eagerly went out and bought multiple domain names with the hopes of profiting by promoting affiliate offers. Initially it seemed like an easy process until something happened…actually nothing happened.

Despite my best efforts there was no traffic to my sites and definitely no sales. Looking back now it is easy to figure out because I had not done proper keyword analysis or determined the quality of the competition in the chosen niche. It was a frustrating experience that is probably shared by many marketers.

Fortunately there are tools available to aid you in performing keyword research while also determining your marketing competition. SEMRush is the leading competitive research and keyword analysis service for both organic and paid traffic.

SEMRush provides a comprehensive database of keywords (over 80 million) and domains (over 42 million) directly from Google which is the leading search engine. By default SEMRush utilizes data from the United States Google database but is also capable of displaying data from several regional versions including the United Kingdom, Russian, German, French and Spanish.

As you can see in the image below (click to enlarge), SEMRush features an easy to use layout that lets you drill down into an variety of search engine data using the following options.

  • Get Google Keywords
  • Get Adwords Keywords
  • See Your Competitors
  • Estimated Search Engine and Adwords Traffic
  • Find Hidden Keywords

Researching Competitor Keywords

I’ll walk you through several of the most popular and powerful features in more detail. Simply enter your keyword, domain name or URL into the search field to get started. SEMRush allows you to view the list of keywords that a domain is using and ranking for in Google. For example, I entered the domain truthaboutabs.com which is a very popular fitness product on Clickbank that many affiliates are promoting. The main report by SEMRush displays the organic keywords, AdWords keywords, Competitors in organic search and any competitors Adwords data.

semrush domain keywords

By clicking into the Organic Keywords link SEMRush will not only return the list of keywords but also the average monthly searches it receives, the Cost Per Click for Adwords, the competition and the number of search results. You can then get further details by drilling down into each individual keywords to uncover the websites that are ranking for them, as well as, the websites that are targeting the keyword using paid Adwords traffic.

The ability to quickly drill-down into the search engine results data is a great time-saver. You can instantly see the keywords that are being targeted by your competition, as well as, the percentage of the organic search engine traffic that your competitors are receiving from those keywords. Just think how beneficial that will be with your marketing campaigns.

SEMRush will typically limit the number of results that is displays to about 100 items and you can navigate through them one page at a time. One very beneficial feature is the ability to export the data into either a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or into a CSV file. I use the export option regularly in order to easily work with and sort large sets of keyword data.

Comparing Domains

SEMRush provides the ability to compare multiple domains for their search engine traffic, number of keywords, number of Adwords ads, Adwords traffic and Adwords traffic price. This data is displayed in easy to read line charts and pie charts. You can compare up to five domains at a time.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is another area in which SEMRush really stands out as it provides you with two very valuable reports – the phrase match report and the related keyword report. I entered the keywords that I use for several of my niche sites to discover additional long tail keywords that I could target which are actively being searched and have little competition. I am currently in the process of having a batch of SEO optimized articles written for those keywords.

Here is another example of how quickly you can uncover potential profitable keywords. I used SEMRush to search for “weight loss” which is a very competitive niche. SEMRush returned 12,532 results in the “phrase match report”. One result that stood out in the top 10 was a search for “Kelly Osbourne weight loss” which currently gets 9,900 searches per month with only 1.5 million results and the competition indicator is only .04 according to SEMRush. The lower the number then the lower the competition. As I looked further down the results for the “weight loss” keyword there were additional searches for Jennifer Hudson weight loss, Khloe Kardashian weight loss, Lea Michele weight loss and Alton Brown weight loss. Who knew so many people were searching for celebrities that lost weight? How about setting up an affiliate site, YouTube channel or maybe a Facebook Fan page dedicated to “celebrity” weight loss.

Keyword Research – Finding Hidden Keywords

You can also use SEMRush to help find “hidden” keywords which are those that may not be so obvious but are searched for nonetheless. These types of keywords are displayed in the “related keywords report”. These keywords can be used whether you are trying to rank for them in the search engine results or for paid Adwords advertising. You can click the link “Find Hidden Keywords” from the main menu of SEMRush. I recently searched for several product names for Cost Per Action (CPA) offers to see if I could find some of those hidden keywords. Here is just one example of the types of keywords that I was able to discover.

I searched for the product “ab circle pro” which is a popular fitness product that is available as a CPA offer which pays up to $70 per lead. There was one hidden keyword result that immediately stood out from the rest as shown in the following image.

Most of the top keywords have millions of search results while the term “abcirclepro” only has 47,000 results plus it has a 5 cent cost per click if you are running an Adwords campaign. To me that is worth checking out. You can take your research a step further by clicking the keyword to examine the competition that is targeting it for organic search traffic. This is very powerful data and just an example of how quickly and easily SEMRush allows you to uncover it.

The benefits of SEMRush become even more obvious as you continue to utilize the service. Since my initial failures that I mentioned at the beginning of this post I have begun to invest more time up front analyzing niche competition and keyword analysis. SEMRush has a very low learning curve with the easy to use layout and intuitive navigation. There are also video tutorials to help get you started.

SEMRush is more than likely being used by your competition. They currently have over 187,000 members that range from major corporations, local businesses and many aspiring Internet marketers. Some of SEMRush’s clients include Forbes.com and Blinds.com. They offer several pricing plans to accommodate most marketing needs with the most popular plan being “Pro” option. Feel free to check out SEMRush to experience for yourself how beneficial the service can be with your marketing efforts.

All The Best! Tim

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