Whether you’re a digital marketing professional helping other companies grow their online presence or an ecommerce website owner trying to boost your brand, there’s no getting around the importance of search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is critical to boosting internet visibility, making it easier for potential customers to find the products, services, and knowledge they need online.
Organic keywords are one important cornerstone of effective SEO. This is a type of keyword used to attract organic search traffic for free.
If optimized correctly, there’s even the potential to rank for featured snippets — something that will help improve your click-through rate (CTR). Read on for an introductory guide to understanding organic keywords for SEO beginners.
What Are Organic Keywords?
Organic keywords are keywords used in SEO to attract "free" traffic. The “free” label is important because it sets organic keywords apart from pay-per-click (PPC) keywords used for Google Ads and similar platforms. The fact that organic keywords are free also makes them a cost-effective online marketing tool worth learning.
Affordability aside, organic search is a very valuable marketing tool. Google now processes more than 3.5 billion searches per day (that’s an average of about 40,000 keyword search queries per second).
If you can capture some of that organic traffic, you can boost your site’s visibility in a big way. The implementation of well-researched and carefully selected organic keywords can help you achieve this goal.
How Do I Find Organic Keywords?
There are a few ways to find organic keywords that are likely to help your website climb the search engine results pages (SERPs) of Google, Yahoo Search, Bing, and other search engines.
Below, we’ll walk you through a few options for researching and identifying organic keywords that will help drive your traffic to your platform.
Use Google Analytics
Google Analytics can help you identify which organic keywords drive traffic to your site. You can then leverage those keywords even further and maximize their impact. Landing page reports are one way to do this.
In the Analytics dashboard, select “Behavior” > “Site Content” > “Landing Pages.”
From there, you can click the URL slug (or enter it in the search bar). Then you need to go to "Secondary Dimension > "Advertising" > "Keyword." Or, you can search in the mini search bar within "Secondary Dimension."
You can then see which keywords are driving traffic to your landing pages.
It's also likely you may see quite a few “not provided” keywords. If that's the case, don't worry; Semrush can help. You can link your Analytics (and Search Console) account with Semrush and take a look at Organic Traffic Insights. This tool allows you to discover those “not provided” keywords driving traffic to your pages.
Use Google Search Console
You can view the average ranking position for individual keywords by landing page using Google Search Console. Log in to Google Search Console, select the right property, and select “Search Results.” Check the “Queries” column. These are the keywords driving traffic to your site.
One tip is to focus on keywords that achieve a high monthly search volume but don’t achieve a high page rank for your site.
You can then improve the pages built around those keywords by adding relevant text and images, improving backlinks, updating the meta description, and taking other on-page SEO steps to improve rankings using this high-volume search term.
Check Your Competitors' Organic Keywords
Your competitors' organic keywords provide further insights into what content and keywords are important. By checking up on what they're doing and performing well for, you can integrate that into your SEO strategy.
Our Organic Research overview report offers insight into your main SERP competitors and the keywords that drive traffic to their sites. You can explore competing keyword rankings, view landing pages in the SERPs for select keywords, and see how much traffic certain terms are bringing your rivals.
Through our Organic Research Tool, you can see their historical organic keywords trends, some of their top keywords, and their top position changes for select keywords:
Use a Keyword Research Tool
Keyword research technology like Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool makes it faster and easier to identify organic keywords. You can use such SEO tools to identify valuable terms and find related keywords (variants similar to the main keyword you’re targeting that could also boost ranking).
You can also identify useful keywords depending on the platform you’re hoping to target (for example, search engines versus social media like YouTube.)
Say you’ve recently opened an interior design business. You can add “interior design” into our Keyword Magic Tool and click on the “related” words section to find some additional long-tail keywords that would help your site rank.
Using the sidebar on the left, you can narrow these keywords down by specific subcategories — in this case, “furniture” and “apartments” are suggested related keywords.
Another benefit of using a keyword research tool is that it can help you prioritize the keywords you’re targeting.
For instance, Semrush provides you with a few metrics, such as search volume, keyword difficulty, and SERP features for specific keywords. This gives you an idea of how often people search for the keyword, its difficulty, and if any SERP features are present for the term.
How Do I Improve My Ranking Through Organic Keywords?
The above tips will help you find more organic keywords to boost your website search traffic.
For example, you can use Semrush’s keyword tools to find related keywords you might not have thought of yourself — or use Google Analytics to tell you which landing pages are top performers, so you can pinpoint which keywords are worth leveraging further.
We recommend you read our keyword research guide and take a look at how you can evaluate your organic keyword opportunities.
While having more organic keywords at your fingertips is positive, beware of keyword stuffing. Search engine algorithms can recognize content that is crammed with an excessive number of keywords but not useful to searchers and will count this against you.
Get More Insights Into Your SEO
Search engine optimization is a powerful tool, and basic SEO is a valuable skill. The fantastic news is that you don’t have to be a tech genius to master it.
All the knowledge you need to join the ranks of professional SEO marketers is available online. Plus, there are also many useful tools available, like Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool, to help you build SEO campaigns that work.