How to Find Blog Topics with SEMrush

Mike Isaac
How to Find Blog Topics with SEMrush

SEMrush is well known for keyword research and competitive intelligence, but did you know that it can also help you find new blog topics for you? Let's take a look at how to use SEMrush to help you find out what your competitors blog about (so you can blog competitively for the same topics) and what your audience is searching for. 

Take advantage of the organic traffic you can get and give your readers what they want with the help of SEMrush. Here's how to make it happen.

1. Determine What You Rank For

To begin, assess where you currently stand in your SEO efforts. You will want to start by typing your website into SEMrush. Once you have done so, click search and either click the big blue number under Organic Search or use the left-hand sidebar to click on Organic Research.

This will show you all of the keywords your website is currently ranking for within SEMrush, using the Organic Positions Report. Based on the keywords we have in our system, we will tell you where you are currently ranking. For more information about how we get our data, please see this blog post.

Here you will see the position you are ranking for your keywords, analytical data including search volume, traffic %, cost %, competition level and much more. Now that you know where you stand, you will want to look at what your competitors are ranking for. You can simply enter your competitor into the search bar at the top and go to the same report to see this data. If you do not know who your blog or content website's competitors are, you can go to the Organic Research Competitors report. This will tell you based on commonly ranking keywords, who you should consider as a competitor. Once you find this information, you can then go to that domain’s Organic Positions report.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 4.04.04 PM

Now that you have found your competitor’s Organic Positions report, you can now see what their top performing keywords are. By sorting this by Traffic %, you can see what keywords are driving the most traffic to their website.

Take a close look at this report:

  • Do any of these keywords relate to your website?
  • Are there any keywords listed in this report that you are not currently ranking for?

This will shed some light on certain target areas that you may want to focus on in your blogging efforts.

Once you get to these keywords, you want to keep in mind what is in your target range. Based on the competition level of the keywords as well as the search volume of the keyword, some words may be out of your reach. However, find a keyword that best fits your website. Once you find that keyword, click the keyword to be taken to the Keyword Overview report. This will tell us everything we need to know about the keyword including average monthly search volume, number of results that show up for the keyword as well as the trend the keyword has been experiencing over the last 12 months.

bose headphones (by organic) - SEMrush overview for keyword

Now that you have narrowed your results down to a particular keyword, you can try to break it down further. Two reports that will assist you with this process are the Phrase Match and Related Keywords reports. If we choose the Related Keywords report, we will simply see related keywords to the keyword we searched. This may reveal keywords that are lower in search volume and that fit more in your target range. You can use the Phrase Match report to find longer tailed keywords. This will give you easier keywords to rank for and might even give you a more specific idea for a blog post.

2. Look at Branded Keywords

Another venue to explore is branded keywords. Depending on your blog and what your focus is, there may come a time where you want to focus on a branded keyword. For example, there may come a time when you are writing a review. Let’s say we are reviewing headphones made by the company Bose. So, naturally, we would want to look into the keyword “bose headphones.” If we enter this same information into SEMrush, we can determine if this is a keyword we would want to target in our SEO/PPC efforts.

If we want to look from an Organic standpoint, we can use the Keyword Difficulty tool to measure the Organic Difficulty % of the keyword. And as we can see, "bose headphones" has an Organic Difficulty % of 93.59 (out of 100%) making this a very hard keyword to rank for. So we will want to target a different keyword instead – this one is too hard.

This is a great time to use the Phrase Match report. We can now get more specific with what kind of “bose headphones” we would like to target in our blog post. If we move further down this list, we can find a keyword such as “bose studio headphones”. This now gives us a keyword more in our target range with an organic difficulty % of 82.20. Although this is somewhat high, we are at a more reasonable difficulty level.

3. Use the SEMrush SEO Ideas Tool

The SEO Ideas tool is another extremely powerful tool for bloggers. Feeding off both your Position Tracking and Site Audit data, the SEO Ideas tool will give you related words to include in your content based on who is ranking for the keyword you are targeting. Here is an example: Amazon is targeting the keyword “fiction.”

Based on the data found in SEO Ideas, we will determine based on who is ranking for this keyword organically, what changes can be made to Amazon’s landing page.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 3.54.26 PM

As you can see, based on who is currently ranking for the keyword “fiction,” SEMrush has found a few related words that can help improve their ranking from 4. We can see keywords to include such as “word fiction,” “dictionary,” “translation” and “english” among others. Based on competitive intelligence, SEMrush can tell you how you can improve your webpage and leap over your competition in ranking.

4. Blog Around Your Keywords

Once you know what keywords you can and should rank for, you'll want to create your blog posts around those keywords. In the past, keyword density (how often a keyword appeared in a blog post) played a large role in SEO copywriting and the blog topics you'd cover. While that's still a factor, it's a much smaller one. Instead, focus on creating clear, genuine content for your reader. Answer their problems, address their concerns and provide new information – with your keyword in mind.

Over time, you'll become adept at best practices. When focused on writing impassioned, persuasive or timely blog copy on a deadline, though, you want to focus on getting the words out. If you're blogging on WordPress, the free Yoast SEO plugin is a must – and with each update, this plugin helps you more and more with SEO.

Yoast SEO will take a look at your keywords and how you've used them. The analysis coaches you on how you can improve your copy, title and meta description to help you rank for the keywords you've identified with SEMrush. Here's what the SEO Yoast plugin looks like for this very blog post:

Yoast SEO Plugin Screenshot

You should also check out Yoast's blog post on cornerstone content and internal linking. As you'll likely blog about the blog topic and keyword you want to rank for more than once, it's important to support your content with internal linking.

Have you had success using SEMrush for finding blog topics and keywords? Let us know about it in the comments.

This content was written collaboratively by Mike Isaac of SEMrush's Customer Support Team and Tara Clapper, SEMrush Blog Editor.

Do you have more questions about SEMrush? Reach out to our Customer Success Team at: (855) 814-4510 or by email at [email protected]. You can also contact us on Twitter by using the #semrushcare hashtag.

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Mike Isaac is the Customer Success Content Manager at SEMrush. He has been working at SEMrush for over 3 years and is constantly pushing out new content to keep users engaged. Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.
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