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How to Do Keyword Research with SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool

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How to Do Keyword Research with SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool

This post is in English
Maria Raybould updated
This post is in English
How to Do Keyword Research with SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool

SEMrush has taken a unique approach to keyword research by assembling all the essential keyword research tools one could ever ask for in one place - the Keyword Magic tool. Entering just one seed keyword will be enough for you to build a whole keyword empire around it. The tool now supports 118 countries with over 9.4 billion keywords in total, and our keyword database keeps expanding at a very fast pace.

Keyword Magic Tool Databases

As with any other advanced tool out there, users need to be guided through Keyword Magic to make the most of its capabilities. In this guide, we will address two common content-creation scenarios that cannot be successful without keyword research:

Case 1: Finding Keywords for Your Article’s Structure 

Imagine Charles Dickens writing away in a cozy pub, thinking through which keywords he would rank best for in Google.


Writing in the digital marketing era is not only about inspiration; it is much more strategic and far less poetic. Figuring out how to create content that will be found by your target audience(s) is critical, and you can't make this happen without a goal-oriented strategy and SEO. 

I have been nurturing the idea of writing an article about dog tail behavior for a long time. I came up with this as I was watching my dog, who was consumed (can’t think of a better word for this action) with chasing and eating his tail like a madman (or a mad dog).

So I used this topic as an example query with the Keyword Magic tool to find out whether anyone is searching for the same thing. I found that I am not the only dog owner concerned with my dog’s very strange behavior:


The Importance of Title Keywords

For your convenience, all the keywords will be sorted into groups by search topic (see the menu on the left-hand side in the image below). In this article, we will be targeting high-volume ‘realistic’ keywords that could potentially take you to the top of the search results, so it is a good idea to sort all the groups by volume:


The volume of keywords in your article’s title, headings and paragraphs should descend accordingly. As part of your keyword strategy, keywords with the highest volume should be in your title, keywords with average volume should be in your headings, and those with the least volume could be used in your paragraphs.

As you skim through your list, click the ‘+’ button next to the keywords you like the most to send them to Keyword Analyzer - a kind of a keyword repository where you will be able to study your keywords more thoroughly.


In Keyword Analyzer, click on ‘Update metrics’ to refresh the keyword data. Evaluate your selected keywords in terms of volume, keyword difficulty, click potential, and top competitors:


Then you can start narrowing down your list until you end up with two or three keyword options that will work best for you.

For example, out of all the verbs that can be used to describe the sacred action of eating, chewing, chasing, biting, or licking a tail, I noticed that the keywords chase, chew and bite make for the best volume (between 1 and 3K), so would include them in the title of my article:

Chasing, Chewing, Biting: A Quick Guide to Dog Tail Behavior

Why do I think this is a good title?

a) It is short (under 70 characters and within 8-12 words).

b) It is actionable—I promise to guide the reader to an answer. 

c) It is optimized for search engines and for readers.

Using Keywords In Headings

The H1 tag indicates your most important topic, and the other H-tags denote subtopics.


  • Your H1 should be as close to your title as possible, so we will use the same or similar wording.
  • A page’s title is what you see in SERPs, and an H1 is what you see as a title on the page. Remember the rule of ‘one article = one H1.'


We know at least five things dogs do with their tail: chase it, bite it, chew it, lick it, gnaw it, and eat it. And that’s our rough structure for our H2s.

For each of these keywords we are going to create a separate tab in the Keyword Magic Tool:


You can play around with filters to:

  • Include or exclude certain words from your keyword.

  • Set the exact number of words within your keyword phrase.

  • Set your preferred volume range.


Everyone knows long tail keywords are good for your site. The Keyword Magic tool’s grouping feature helps you find long tail combinations with exactly the same wording that people are looking for: 


You can hide groups that aren’t relevant (for example, cats) by clicking the ‘eye’ icon next to the group. As you go through the suggested keyword list, send all the keywords that interest you to the Keyword Analyzer.

Once you have added your words of interest to the Keyword Analyzer, you can select the best 10-20 keywords in terms of volume, KD, click potential, and competitors. This is important information! Some keywords could have a pretty high volume, but very ‘weak’ competitors, in which case you should give them a go. 

Keywords with the highest search volume should go in your H2 (and H3 if applicable), just make sure it isn't higher than the volume of the title keywords:


Using Keywords in Paragraphs

Once your heading structure looks nice and neat, start thinking through which keywords you want to use in your paragraphs, but always avoid stuffing your content with keywords. You want to educate your reader first and provide them with the information they need while using related keywords. Keyword stuffing turns readers off and is a bad signal to the search engines.

To help you determine which keywords are the best to use, review your collection of keywords in the Keyword Analyzer and focus on those with less volume than the ones you used for your headings and your title. FYI, you can still use the keywords you used in your titles in paragraphs, just make sure you modify them or combine them with other words or phrases.  

Some tips before you get the ball rolling.

  1. As much as we try to please bots when writing our content, it needs to be human-friendly first and foremost. 
  2. Remember that your content should be easily skim-able. Most people scan the headings and article to determine if an article will be valuable to them before reading, and some will only read sections of interest. So, make it easier for readers by using detailed headings, bullet points, lists, and short paragraphs that will allow them to find their points of interest.
  3. And finally, make your piece worth reading with valuable information; don’t create content just to create content.

Your Meta Description

There is one more important area that needs keywords: the meta description. One of the first things people see when your article comes up in the SERPs is a short summary of your text for a page. If it is relevant to the query, people will want to read it.

Try not to overstuff it with keywords, but definitely, make sure it has keywords your targeted audience is interested in.  

Successful SEO requires multiple interrelated activities on all fronts: competition, keywords, link building, on-page and technical optimization. It creates a need for diverse tools, which is expensive. SEMrush solves this problem with an award-winning all-in-one toolkit that includes 17 tools covering all SEO fields. We’ll walk you through your SEO workflow, explaining how to get the most out of our toolkit.

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Case 2: Getting Yourself ‘Featured’

In this chapter, you will learn what steps you can take to help your business earn more visibility on search engine results pages.

There are several types of text that can result in a featured snippet: lists (ordered and unordered), pieces of text (usually in the form of an answer), headings, bullet points, and tables.

Based on that, I can think of at least three ways to get featured with my dog tail story.


They often come as featured snippets as you may have noticed.


However, be careful: if you have a list that you want to be displayed in search results, remember to write codes (OLs for ordered lists or ULs for unordered lists). This knowledge is basic but essential for content creators.

If you were to write about dog’s tail’s positions when wagging, here’s what your lists could look like:

- ULs for an unordered list:


Which will look as follows:


- OLs for an ordered list:


Which will look as follows:



If you want Google to pull together a list based on your headings, make sure they are super logical. Let’s say you want to come up in search for the question What is my dog saying with his tail?

Here is an example of what your headings should look like:


Remember that your headings won’t be treated as such if you don’t back them up with text. A heading always implies there should be at least one sentence following to explain it in more detail.

Instant Answer

This is when you provide an answer to a question that’s bothering a lot of people right in the first paragraph of your article. Sometimes Google will pull together an answer from different parts of your text.

So if you don’t want to bother with lists (which is understandable), go with a question-answer paragraph. I will guide you through this using the SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool.

Find the Most Queried Questions

Let’s say you want to get featured for the answer to Why do dogs chase their tails? This, however, may not be the exact wording that people are searching for: they might omit ‘do’ or use the possessive pronoun ‘my.’

To find that out, go to Keyword Magic, enter your seed keywords—dog, tail, and chase—and click the ‘Questions’ button to get keywords in the form of a question:



As you can see, the most popular question of dog owners is why do dogs chase their tails, and its volume is nearly 10K. But before you beat a hasty retreat, put off by the thought of tough competition, find out who is ranking for this keyword: send it to Keyword Analyzer, update your metrics and click on ‘Top Competitors’.  

Fake ambitions aside, if you feel you can bump these guys, go for it:


The same applies to other keywords. Don’t judge a keyword by its volume. Instead, evaluate how tough the competition is going to be if you use it, and take it from there. If you are just starting out, place your bet on long tail keywords.

Analyze the Featured Snippets They Trigger

These snippets will be the key to your success. In the Keyword Magic Tool, click on the number of Results in SERP to see the snapshot of the featured snippet:

Keyword Magic number of results in SERP

You should find out:

  1. Who got into the featured snippet.

  2. What their exact question and answer were.

  3. Which keywords they used.

  4. How long their answer was.

Here is an example:


As a result of a quick analysis, I discovered that:

  • My competitor is not Wikipedia. Hence they are beatable.

  • Their exact question was ‘Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails?’.

  • Their answer was pulled together from different areas from two paragraphs somewhere in the middle of their article. We found this out by examining their webpage.

  • The keywords they used were tail, chasing, dogs, behavioral, chew, and lick.

  • Their answer was 46 words long, so I am also going to aim for that.

Use data like this when composing your answer.

Consider this section of Google too: it should give you a good idea of how people tend to formulate their question:


Before you make your final decision on which keywords to use in your, hopefully, soon-to-be featured snippet (who said the law of attraction doesn’t work), dig deep into Keyword Analyzer and get the most up-to-date info on your keywords’ difficulty and competitors.

Your perfect scenario is high-volume, low-KD, long-tail keywords. Should you discover that your competitors are hard to compete with, switch to longer keyword combinations with average volume.

Optimize Your Images With Keywords

If you don’t want Google to randomly choose a picture to go with your featured snippet, make sure your images are optimized (this means adding an alt-description to them). Otherwise, the following might happen:


Hopefully, by now you have an understanding of where you should begin with your writing. If you are still missing something, there is more information available on featured snippets here.

Keyword Magic for PPC

Creating high-quality, optimized content is only one area of application for the Keyword Magic Tool: if your budget allows, you may as well use it to build thematic PPC campaigns. We know it takes time for SEO efforts to produce their first roots and shoots. PPC is different in that it helps you snatch some extra traffic in a very short time.

If you are a PPC specialist looking to launch a thematic PPC campaign leading up to a special occasion, the Keyword Magic will also come in handy. Just define your campaign topics, target your audience and budget, and let the tools do the rest for you. Learn more about how to do this in our guide here.

We hope you will check out the Keyword Magic tool and enjoy the detailed results you get. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

How To Do Keyword Research: In Conclusion

There are a number of takes from the case studies above, highlighting that there are multiple avenues to explore when it comes to working on keyword research.

In conclusion, it's important to take into account the following with our Keyword Magic Tool to create SEO friendly content:

  • Place keywords with the highest search volume in the title and headings
  • Long tail keywords are good for your site
  • Don't over-stuff your paragraphs with keywords
  • Implement keywords in your meta descriptions
  • Optimize images with keywords

All you need for keyword research!

SEMrush Keyword Magic tool

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Been there, done that, but nothing excites me more than writing. Slowly but surely grasping the ins and outs of inbound marketing.
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Your explanation is very good I agree to your point. It needs a lot of research and effort in creating a good article and you are good at this. Keep doing such good stuff Maria
That's a very well researched and useful article. I really appreciate your effort in creating these articles. I totally agree with your list for a step by step Keyword research. To add to the keyword research part, I would like to introduce Latest semantic keywords (LSI) and long tail keywords from my side. They are not only useful in getting more intentional searchers but also helps in creating topics for your next wonderful article. What do you think about it? Do we have any method to uncover those LSI queries?
Maria Raybould
Hi Prabhash, so glad to know you found this article useful.
Speaking of semantically related queries, these can be found with the help of our new filter called 'Related'. Pay attention to the numbers in the 'Related %' graph: keywords with a higher percentage will most likely be misspellings, but if you look at those with less than 20%, you may find some good synonyms to use for LSI copywriting. Hope this helps, let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!
Mithali Raj
The "Keyword Density" or the keyword competition is really confusing me. I can't understand why every tool shows a different value for the keyword density? I have used various tools including Google Keyword planner, KWFinder, LongTail Pro, AHREFS and SEMRUSH...

Almost all these tools shows the same stats for average monthly searches and the top competitors on the 1st SERP. But the KD or KC value of every tools is different from all other tools.

So, in this case, how do you convince me that the keyword difficulty value of SEMRUSH is better and accurate as compared to other tools?

Maria Raybould
Mithali Raj
Hi Mithali, thanks for your comment. I totally understand where your confusion is coming from.
In SEMrush, Keyword Difficulty and Competitive Density (Com.) are two different metrics: Keyword Difficulty is only used for organic results, whereas Competitive Density is for paid search results. Each tool has its own algorithm for calculating Keyword Difficulty, which is why there is no common term to describe this metric. Depending on the tool you're using, you should always check what exactly is meant by keyword difficulty.
Hope this makes things a bit more clear.
thank you for this article.

what if i want to search the potential of a particular keyword in all the countries? like which country uses this keyword the most.. how can i do that?

[link removed by moderator]
Maria Raybould
Deepak Sheth
Hi Deepak, and thanks for your question. At the moment, there's a CPC distribution graph available in our Keyword Overview report, but we're also looking to add something similar to the Keyword Magic Tool.
I don't see that SERP column in my Keyword Analyzer that is depicted in ?
Maria Raybould
Shawn Segundo
Hi Shawn, and thanks for the comment! We’ve changed the old screenshot. This column is now called ‘Results in SERP’, and it shows the number of URLs that are displayed in organic search for a given keyword. Clicking on the number will open the SERP snapshot you are looking for.
What would you consider high volume and low kd? Also, how does competition from PPC affect organic competition? Is that just a correlation that people make? This is great article. Thank you Maria!
Maria Raybould
Anthony Catullo
Hi Anthony, thank you very much for your question.

Volumes should be assessed on a case by case basis. In some specific niche, a lontail with 100 searches might be considered high volume, while a different keyword with a volume of 100 wouldn’t be worthy of attention. As for the KD, anything below 60 would generally be considered low.
As for your second question, these are two unrelated metrics. Competitive Density represents how many advertisers compete for a particular keyword in paid search, and Competition Level shows how the domains match against each other in organic search (by analyzing the number of keywords for each domain, and the number of the domains’ common keywords).
Hope this helps, let me know if there's anything else I can help you with.
Am a new to semrush and try to understand how does it work ,well ,this article is worth to read ,it helped me open my eyes and catch the point to do.
Maria Raybould
Kyle Lee
Thanks Kyle, I'm very pleased to hear the article was useful! Enjoy the tool and let us know if you have any questions.
Maria Raybould
We will,now we still learning this tool.
Jagannath Barman
This is exactly what I've been looking for! A detailed tutorial being a wealth of info. using SEMRush keyword research for our own industry. Thanks putting this together, know it took some time. Thanks Again Miss Maria Raybould.
Maria Raybould
Jagannath Barman
You're very welcome Jagannath, enjoy the tool and let me know if you have any questions.
I visit every day on semrush and I improve my SEO day by day. that's reason my hindi website [link removed by moderator] today rank top 100 in India . Thanks semrush.
I've totally agreed with you. This tool is awesome for keyword research and much easier to use. Thank you for sharing this article.
Recently I have written an article on Difference Between Recurring Deposit And Systematic Investment Plan and semrush really helped me a lot in keyword researching
Amazing tool for keyword research. Making the work simple for SEO projects.
Naseem Kaloo
SEMrush Keyword Research Tool is a Thumbs up when you want to try an alternative to Google Keyword Planner. Thanks for sharing this informative blog for those who are trying to grip on SEO.
5.3B keywords?OMG
we need just a bit for our sites thats why no more keywords at all.
Simon Cox
I am assuming they are including longtail, more than one word combinations, because I don't remember English dictionaries being very big.
Maria Raybould
Simon Cox
You're absolutely right - we are including longtail.
Simon Cox
OK so the July 2018 update was for the Databases at the top - 30 to 92 countries, 2.5B keywords to 5.3B - impressive improvements over a year plus very good content evergreening!

Maria Raybould
Simon Cox
Hey Simon, thank you very much indeed! We strive to provide the most relevant keyword results, and everything else just comes with it :-)
i have to be honest that that i have been ignorant about how classify rightly keywords,but since i discovered unfortunatly bit late , that i understood what it means ,before it was as philosophy of middle ages too dark indeed.
i used the right keywords from SEMRUSH and the site get 100 percent more traffic within a week.
Maria Raybould
Hi Niso, so glad we made it a little easier for you :-) Would love to know more about how you managed to get 100 percent more traffic within a week!
Very well said but I still encounter sluggish crawling by google crawler...i published thus post {link removed by moderator} and can not see it in the search engine. I think I have an issue with my seo. I know I inserted my focus keyword in the image alt text.
Wow very detailed and to the point guide.
Thanks, Maria.
Kindly check if I am using this method properly. I am using SEMrush for 2 months.
[link removed by moderator]
very nice. And detailed as well. I have a problem of Google not crawling my page on time. It takes up to two days for it to be crawled. I don't know if it is my SEO or my hosting company.

[link removed by moderator]
Cal Phillips
This is exactly what I've been looking for! A detailed tutorial being a wealth of info. using SEMRush keyword research for our own industry. Thanks putting this together, know it took some time. Needless to say, bookmarking this as Favorites, sharing in every venue! Thanks again!!
Maria Raybould
Cal Phillips
Hi Cal, I am really flattered by your feedback and glad you are planning to use this info for your industry. Should you have any questions about your keyword research, please let us know and we'll gladly help. Thanks. Maria
Cal Phillips
Maria Raybould
Will do Maria! I don't know much, as I am such a new member here, but your article here is indeed one of my Cornerstones of SEMrush! A well deserved Hat's Off and Drum roll Please, 5 Stars
for this one!
Maria Raybould
Cal Phillips
Thank you so much Cal :-)
Really smart and useful
Hi Maria ,

I'm working as Internet Services consultant & just start working with SEMrush Tool. Someare using a ahref tool for Backlink analysis and many prospects. So, I want to Can I do backlink analysis with SEMrush .

This is one of the best Keyword Research articles on the Internet'.
[link removed by moderator]
Jyoti Thapa
Hello Maria,
One lovely article and well described contents about some key concepts in Semrush, which we can use for tweaking our sites to better benefit our ranking and thereby increase organic traffic. Organic research is so very helpful which gives you a complete detail about rankings. I think backlinks should be a more illustrative than it is now.
Thank you.
Maria Raybould
Jyoti Thapa
Hello Yuoti,
Thank you very much for your feedback. We have a really good article on link building if this is what you are looking for:
Hope this helps.
Francesca Oliviero
SEMrush = no contest!!
hey, this was very great I am very happy to see this new tool.
I have a post similar to this on SEO keyword research
link -->
This tool is truly magic, I was able to deconstruct the keywords for every category and topic in our niche in minutes. Not only that but it groups the keywords so I what to supplement the main/seed keyword with. This way I can map out or have a basis for brainstorming content and discovering opportunity keywords.

I wish SEMRush would offer a middle of the road option that isn't as pricey as Guru, as historical data would be a great feature to have, but not paying $100 more per month for it.
Mohammad Asif
Wao Nice Tricks. Such a great thing.thanks maria
I'm amazed by your explanation about the tool. Really smart and useful.
Maria Raybould
Juliana Reche
Thank you so much Juliana. Hope you can apply this in your work.
Thanks, Maria. really great article and me going to apply your tips and magic tool to show the magic
Maria Raybould
Thanks Ayaha. Please keep us updated on how it goes for you.
Shane Pollard
Thank you for the walkthrough Maria. Very useful tool and adds, even more, value to the brand. Now to put this to work.
Maria Raybould
Shane Pollard
Glad you found it useful, Shane! Do let us know your thoughts once you've tried it :-)
It is good to read such a valuable information and thanks for sharing it. Our site is striving towards creating a great learning plateform and hence, provide authentic case study assignment help to make it more informative.
Maria Raybould
Rosa Parks
Thanks Rosa, glad to know you found it useful for the learning platform. Check back often as we have more of these in the pipeline

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