Keyword research can be done in many ways and with many different tools. Today I am writing about the tool I happen to love using, which is SEMrush.
For web agencies that offer search engine marketing services, it is a tool that can provide tremendous value to both clients and staff. Over the years, I have relied heavily on SEMrush when developing a new search marketing campaign. It can be used to set up a new paid search engine marketing campaign or even an organic SEM campaign. SEMrush will provide you with great keyword data related to your client's direct competitors into themes that can be used for campaigns or ad groups. It's a quick and easy-to-learn method that can help you save time and ultimately provide you with a great campaign or ad group structure. If you offer eCommerce SEO services this can also be very helpful in setting up your category and product intrinsic campaigns.
So, let's begin.
Typically, everyone has a few keywords in mind they want to rank for, and for most business owners these are really broad keywords with huge search volumes. Unless you are a search engine marketing specialist, you're not going to know how to get a bulk amount of keyword ideas without marketing tools like SEMrush or Google AdWords/Analytics. In most cases, if you offer SEO services, you turn to a tool like SEMrush to get your competitor's keyword data (my personal weapon of choice).
There are many ways to use the reports that SEMrush has to offer, but I have developed a streamlined method. I like to use this for clients with a big enough budget to target thousands of keywords. I'll use an example of a client whose Pay Per Click campaign I'm setting up. The client is in the private jet chartering business and we are starting with a new website we have developed for him.
Like most eCommerce SEO Companies, when a new client comes aboard we have a lot of questions already answered by our sales team. We are always provided with preliminary keyword research that the sales consultant and the client came up with by using the keyword planner. The most important data in this case is going to be the locations we need to target and the keyword themes (ad group ideas).
With the Excel spreadsheet provided by our sales consultant like the one shown, which was created with the AdWords keyword planner, I can start to search for competitors who are ranking in the top positions for those keywords organically by using city-specific variations of those generic terms. Why? Because typically, those who rank for a competitive keyword organically rank for many other ones, too. This will allow you to get keywords related to a specific location or theme.
For example, the client really likes the keyword "jet charters" and "corporate jet chartering." He wanted to show up primarily in metropolitan cities that have a higher income bracket. These types of reports can provide you with that type of data.
If you have a lot of historical data in your (or your client's) Google Analytics account, you may want to make use of the "Geo" reports to see which cities provided you with the best performing traffic. In this case, the client has tons of historical data which I can use to see the locations we should aggressively target more than others. Below is a screen shot of what a Google Analytics Geo report looks like when you apply "keyword" as a secondary dimension.
Once you know which cities/states to go after, you can simply start to get reports on all the top-ranking players for each combination of search terms (e.g. "Miami jet charters," "Las Vegas jet charters," "corporate jet chartering Miami," "corporate jet chartering Las Vegas"). Depending on how much data you are trying to get, you may want to use SEMrush to pull data from several competitors that are ranking for many keyword terms; because the more data you have to work with, the better.
In most cases, there are many competitors ranking for hundreds of great keywords that you can use to build a campaign. The SEMrush organic report gives you great data like the CPC of the keywords, the rank of the site you are looking up for that keyword and much more. SEMrush also provides the number of search results for any keyword, which is very useful and unlike other search marketing tools.
When you have enough data from the organic reports you have drawn up, you can combine them all into one sheet and start organizing the data into related themes. For example, you may want to have a campaign for each target location. Within that campaign you can have an ad group for "luxury jet charters" or "corporate Jet charters," each with keywords that are city- or state-specific according to which campaign you are in. Using location targeting exclusions or inclusions in your campaign settings can also be very helpful when controlling your target locations.
Either way you go about it, SEMrush can definitely provide you with great data from your competitors. Below is a screenshot of the work book I have been prepping for this project, and all of the data comes from SEMrush. The example shows data for the keyword theme that I named "luxury." Soon I will have a luxury ad group for each city or state that I want to target for the client.
Depending on how many keyword groups you have and how many locations you intend on targeting this could take a long time. The one thing that has helped me speed up the process is learning how to use functions within Excel like the "Vlookup" and "Find" functions, which can help you organize your data really efficiently. For example, when you have all of your keyword ideas, you can use the "find" function to filter out all the keywords with the word "luxury" in them to start organizing your "luxury" Ad groups (i.e. "Miami Luxury keywords" or "Las Vegas Luxury Keywords"). In summary, if you are an eCommerce SEO company or you are simply looking to start your very first campaign, SEMrush can be very useful.
I have been using SEMrush for many years, and it has enabled me to grow my web agency to new heights. I hope you have found this blog post helpful. Feel free to comment with any questions you may have!
Sergio Aicardi is the proud owner of The Miami SEO Company and works with the No Risk SEO Team. His responsibilities include developing business relationships and optimizing internal processes to ensure the business is constantly growing, while constantly enhancing the quality of services rendered. He has been in the industry for over six years and his core competency is in analyzing traffic data to enhance campaign performance.