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Elena Terenteva

Keyword research with SEMrush

Elena Terenteva
Keyword research with SEMrush

If you’re still wondering what should be done in terms of SEO to increase traffic and sales, we suggest you start with keyword research. After all, keyword research and keyword optimization are among the most cost-effective things site owners can do to improve inbound site traffic via search engines.

Having reviewed hundreds of websites, we clearly see that the biggest problem in most cases is the fact that due to lack of proper keyword optimization, the content of those websites leaves search engines puzzled as to what exactly they are seeing. Fixing that issue is guaranteed to give your business the boost it needs to rank up higher in search results.

SEMrush provides users with a lot of reports and tools for an in-depth keyword research, and today we’d like to share our knowledge and experience in this seemingly complicated process with our users!

Be the first to explore the new possibilities offered by the recent update to SEMrush’s US database which now contains over 80,000,000 keywords and 40,500,000 domains in as many as 100 organic search positions. When we say we go deep in this guide, we absolutely mean it.

This article is unlike any SEO guide you’ve seen before. Join Biker Tonny for an epic road trip down the SEO-highway, from the 5th-Page-Desert to the fabulous City of SERP, and become a true rockstar of keyword optimization!


You have little to no traffic to your site

Being poorly located is a true nightmare for any business. The same goes for your website. If you have no traffic to your website, it’s because users don’t know where to look for it; hence they never find it.

Just as most people would prefer a safe and speedy highway to Vegas over a moonlit dirt road leading to who-knows-where, 91.5 percent of all users go to the first page listed on the SERP (search engine results page).

Building a Traffic-intense Highway to Your Website

How did these top-listed businesses get to the SERP?

SEO highway

First of all, they located their business near a well travelled SEO highway. Deciding on an SEO strategy is like building a road that users can follow to reach your website. Like road construction, SEO requires some time and a lot of hard work to produce a positive result. But if you take the time and effort to build a high quality road, it is guaranteed to last a long time and serve you well.

Keywords are like road signs

Secondly, there are lots of “signs” pointing to their stores. One of the most important parts of SEO infrastructure is keywords. Like road signs that help you find the right direction, keywords help users find relevant websites.

Keyword: a word or string of words that users type into a search box when looking for relevant information.

How to choose the right keywords

First of all, let’s talk about the different types of keywords.

By user’s intentions:


There are some general queries that tell us nothing or almost nothing about user intent. They just give us a topic that users are interested in.

Examples: Bike, Motorcycle, Chopper


When a user has made a decision and has a strong intention of buying some product or service, it’s time for commercial keywords. These also help users perform deeper research and compare prices and offers.

Examples: Buy Harley, Yamaha lowest price, Cheap spares


Usually, if a search with general keywords does not yield relevant results, a user will switch to another type of query - an informational one. Users often choose informational keywords when looking for information and performing deeper research of a topic to help make a purchasing decision:

Examples: How to drive motorcycle, Harley wiki, Difference between harley and yamaha.

Informational keywords can also contain words that indicate that the user is looking for a location. They may contain the words ‘where’ or ‘directions,’ or the name of a specific location.


Sometimes these keywords can contain a specific brand name.

Examples: Harley davidson, Yamaha, Honda

By keyword length:

All keywords can be divided into three big groups:

Head keywords

Head keywords are one-word keywords; typically, they are general keywords. They might have a huge a volume, but they do not always provide users with relevant search results.

Examples: Motorcycles, Spares

Body keywords

Body keywords contain more than one word and tell more about users’ intentions and the topic they are looking for. These keywords have the biggest volume.

Examples: Harley davidson bikes, Used motorcycle

Long tail keywords

Long tail keywords have the lowest volume, but they’re a treasure trove for SEO, because users who type a long tail keyword into a search engine have a very serious intention to make a purchase or learn more about a topic.

Examples: Buy Harley Motorcycle in Nevada, 2009 kawasaki vulcan 900 price.


SEMrush contains 80,000,000 keywords. It will be easy to choose the right ones!

Make a list of general keywords

First we need to start with general keywords. How would you describe the product you are offering? How would your potential customers describe your product or service? What problem can you solve for them?

Don’t forget about brand keywords!

Do research for these keywords with SEMrush

Use SEMrush to discover the best body and long-tail keywords. You should look for all types of keywords: informational and commercial ones.

Type in the general keyword from your list:

You’ll get two reports: a Phrase Match report and a Related Keywords report.

The Phrase Match report shows you queries that contain the exact word or phrase you requested.

The Related Keywords report offers a selection of keywords semantically related to your query. It’s a great source of new ideas!

Both reports include the following metrics for each keyword. Let’s define them:

  • Volume

    The average number of search queries for the given keyword during the last 12 months

  • Average CPC

    The average price in US Dollars advertisers pay for each time this keyword is clicked in Google AdWords

  • Competition Density

    The competitive density for this keywords, from 0 to 1, with 1 indicating the highest level of competition

  • # of Results

    The number of URLs displayed in organic search results for this keyword

  • SERP Source

    A snapshot (picture) of the search engine results page for this keyword

Check Out Keyword Difficulty

The SEMrush Keyword Difficulty tool helps you decide which keywords are worth targeting and which ones are too difficult to rank for. The keyword difficulty index from 1-100 percent shows you how difficult it would be to beat your competitors with the specified search terms and phrases. The higher the percentage, the more effort you’ll need to outrank your competition for each targeted keyword.

Little tricks

Keep an eye on keyword relevancy – queries should match your product

Keywords with a high search volume are not always the best way to go

Choose keywords with a competition density below ~0.6

The acceptable keyword difficulty is below ~75%

Perform deep competitor keywords research

Type in your and your competitor's domain names into Domain vs Domain tool and get a list of both unique keywords and those you have in common.

Optimize your page content with keywords

Now it’s time to place all the “road signs” where they belong!

Page Title This should feature a few of the most profitable keywords. Place it closer to the beginning of the title and don’t forget your brand name at the end. The recommended length for a title is 50-60 characters. - No keywords

- Contains brand name only

- Uses generic phrases like “imaginative seeker” for the page selling jewelry

- Title content is duplicated on other page titles

Page H1 Tag The heading wrapped in the H1 tag has no more contains no more than 2 keywords - Heading stuffed with keywords

- No H1 tag

- Logo in H1 tag

- Several H1 tags per page

Page Content Several keywords are placed naturally within the text in the body section of your page - Little to no text on the page

- Text or a piece of text is duplicated on other pages or sites

- Keyword stuffing

Anchor text in the internal linkst The most profitable keywords are used in the anchor text of your website’s internal links - Internal hyperlinks are hidden in images

- No anchor texts

- Hyperlinks are not in simple HTML

Now all roads lead to your website!

This post was created in collaboration with Promodo, online marketing company specializing in e-commerce projects. Special thanks to  Elena Ruchko. Elena is a Google Analytics certified individual and an enthusiastic online marketer at Promodo , who writes about content marketing, social media ecommerce, and SEO.  Elena is a frequent speaker at webinars and has been featured in SEMrush, Smartinsights and other online marketing sources. In her free time Elena organizes events for local IT and startup community as well as studies Chinese.

Elena Terenteva, Product Marketing Manager at SEMrush.

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