How to Do Keyword Research with Semrush Keyword Magic Tool

Maria Raybould

Mar 08, 20219 min read
Keyword research with the Semrush Keyword Magic Tool

Semrush assembles 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 roadmap around it. 

The tool now supports 118 databases with billions of keywords in total, and our keyword database keeps expanding at a very fast pace.

In this guide, we’ll address two common content-creation scenarios that cannot be successful without keyword research:

  • Case 1: Finding Keywords for Your Article’s Structure 
  • Case 2: Getting Yourself “Featured”

Case 1: Finding Keywords for Your Article’s Structure 

Writing in the digital marketing era is not only about inspiration; it is much more strategic.

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

Picture yourself with the task of writing an article about dog tail behavior. 

You can use this topic as an example query with the Keyword Magic tool to find out whether anyone is searching for the same thing. 

You’ll likely find that you’re not the only dog owner who may be concerned with your dog’s strange behavior:

SEMrush keyword magic tool example

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, you’ll want to target 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:

Keywords sorted 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 Manager — a keyword repository where you’ll be able to study your keywords more thoroughly. 

Once inside Keyword Manager, just click on ‘Update metrics’ to refresh the keyword data. 

Then, evaluate your selected keywords in terms of volume, keyword difficulty, click potential, and top competitors:

updating metrics in keyword manager
GIF

Next 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 situation; chewing, chasing, biting, or licking a tail, you may notice that the keywords chase, chew and bite make for the best volume (between 1 and 3K). 

So, it would be wise to include them in the title of the article:

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

Why is this a good title?

  • It is short (under 70 characters and within 8-12 words).
  • It is actionable — I promise to guide the reader to an answer. 
  • 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.

H1 Content Heading Tag

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.’

H2 Content Heading Tag

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.

If you like, you can create a separate tab in your browser and explore each of these keywords separately.

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.
HoeNR3MjG6_1Qkf_E7bevmap6vodBdoZ9EyI9W1xDA5VAn-HMEpe03wVWLL9d6eVgVRbWoUru_w9kkdkMB3sSYDhi7LyXHg0frlc_XmyZ3OTJ4QoPjnBdfi2yoNXFeY5_FFOWMAZ

You may already know that long-tail keywords are good for your strategy

The Keyword Magic tool’s grouping feature helps you find long-tail combinations with exactly the same wording that people are looking for: 

Keyword Magic Tool Long-tail research
GIF

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 Manager and set a name for the list.

Keyword Manager groups

Once you have added your words of interest to the Keyword Manager, 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:

choosing keyword for H1, H2 headings

Using Keywords in Paragraphs

Once your heading structure looks nice and neat, think through which keywords you want to use in your paragraphs — but don’t just stuff keywords in there for the sake of including them!

You want to educate your readers 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 Manager 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.

Optimizing 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.

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.

Lists

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

image.png

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 a dog’s tail’s positions when wagging, here’s what your lists could look like:

  • ULs for an unordered list:
screen-shot-2017-07-03-at-162922.png

Which will look as follows:

screen-shot-2017-07-03-at-163324.png
  • OLs for an ordered list:
screen-shot-2017-07-03-at-165757.png

Which will look as follows:

screen-shot-2017-07-03-at-171320.png

Headings

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 the search for the question What is my dog saying with his tail?

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

screen-shot-2017-07-03-at-181552.png

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.

Find Better Keywords

with Semrush Keyword Magic Tool

ADS illustration

Questions & Answers

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:

SEMrush keyword magic tool to find questions
Question queries in Keyword Magic Tool

As you can see, the most popular question of dog owners is why do dogs chase their tails, and its volume is 5400. 

However, you shouldn’t judge a keyword just 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 finding low competition keywords.

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:

results in SERP for a keyword

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:

example of the Featured Snipped

As a result of 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 questions:

People also ask snippet

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 Manager 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. If 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, and giving a human-readable name, like dog.jpg instead of hgfjhff.jpg). 

Otherwise, the following might happen:

The importance of alts in images

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.
Author Photo
Maria RaybouldBeen 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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