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FREE online SEO course: SEMrush SEO Toolkit 

Organic Research

14 lessonsNov 20, 2019


SEMrush Organic Research: Overview

Hi there! Welcome to the first lesson of the SEMrush course for SEO specialists! This is the beginning of the ‘LEARN' module, in which we will learn how to conduct organic research, do keyword, backlink and traffic analysis and much more.

We'll start our journey from learning how to use the Organic Research section. It will help you to perform competitive research and to find the gaps in your competitors' strategies. This knowledge you can use to create a better campaign and outperform your competition.

There are lots of benefits to using these reports - analyzing your competitors' keywords helps you get higher rankings, or you can see where your competitors lose positions that you can aim at. Of course, there are many other functions that you may want to explore on your own.

SEMrush Organic Research Functionality

Now, let's take a look at how it works. All webmasters use Google Search Console and Google Analytics to see their own top performing pages. But when it comes to analyzing your competitors, our Domain Analytics is definitely a good choice. Click the Domain Analytics dropdown arrow on the very top of the left-side menu and then click Overview. Enter your competitor's domain and click the Search button. Then choose your target country.

Overview Report: Your Competitors' SEO Performance

First of all, you'll see the estimated traffic and the keywords trends. The month-to-month dynamics of the traffic volume and the number of keywords over the last 12 months are shown by default. Google updates take place almost every month, and all of them are logged in notes below the trend graphs.

Then, there are the following lists:

  • Top organic keywords
  • Top position changes
  • SERP features
  • Top pages
  • Top subdomains
  • Main organic competitors

All these lists lead to specific reports.

Positions Report: A List of Your Competitors' Keywords

We'll start with the Positions report. Scroll down until you see the Top Organic Keywords list and click View full report.

Now let's analyze the Organic Search Positions table. These are the keywords your competitor is ranking for, sorted by traffic share by default.

You can sort and filter keywords by any parameter you want. Pay attention to such metrics as Volume and Keyword difficulty.

Volume is the monthly average number of searches for a given term.

Keyword difficulty is an estimation of how hard it is to outrank your competitors when targeting for a certain organic keyword.

You can apply more than one filter at once.

For your convenience, we've made the list customizable: you can change the order of the columns and remove them, so that you can focus on the data important to you. This way, you will find the most realistic keywords to rank for, with the highest traffic they could possibly bring.

Position Changes Report: Recent Changes in Your Competitors' Keyword Profiles

If you'd like to dive deeper into your competitor's strategy, take a look at our Position Changes report. It shows your competitor's new keywords as well as those they have lost over time.

You will also be able to see their keyword dynamics, meaning the keywords that they have improved their positions for as well as those keywords that weren't doing a good job.

NB: by sorting the improved or declined keywords list by the ‘diff.' metric, you'll be able to see keywords that improved or decreased their rankings within a given month, accordingly.

Competitors Report: Determining a Domain's Competitors

Let's take a look at the report called Competitors.

There's a list of competitors of the analyzed website based on their common keywords and their overall number of keywords.

Above the list, you can see the competitive positioning map, where the X axis reflects the number of keywords, and the Y axis shows the organic traffic volume. You can see common keywords in more detail by clicking the number of common keywords. You will be brought through to a report called Keyword Gap, which we'll consider in the next lesson.

Pages and Subdomains Reports: Breakdown of Organic Traffic

We'll go directly to the Pages report now. There you will see your competitor's best-performing pages sorted by traffic share. See the keywords that a page is ranking for by clicking on the keywords count. There is a similar report for subdomains, which provides similar information.

Pro SEO Tip: See the Traffic to a Specific Subdomain or URL

In some cases, when your competitor concentrates on promoting a certain URL in organic search, analyzing it could be more insightful than analyzing a domain as a whole. So, select the as URL option to find information on organic keywords, monthly traffic, and estimated traffic cost for a specific URL. This data will unveil your rival's strategy regarding this URL. Like similar reports, this one allows you to apply various filters to refine your research.

A similar report can be pulled for subdomains, you just need to select the appropriate option in the dropdown list to the right of the organic research search bar.

SEMrush Organic Research: Lesson Summary

So let's recap. To perform competitive research and to learn about your competitors' strategies, use the Organic Research section. Remember that practice is the key to your knowledge, so try performing different research on your own. It is crucial to study the Read Further section since it contains more information needed to pass the exam. Refer to our knowledge base and take a look at our blog to learn more.