So you want to outrank your competitor on Google, huh? Well, do you know what kind of backlinks your competitor has pointing to their site, that allowed them to reach that ranking? Do you know what keywords the competition uses as anchor text? What kind of traffic does your competitor’s ranking attract? If you’d like to make money on a website, then you have to make it rank on search engines like Google and Bing. It’s that simple! If your website isn’t ranking on search engines, it’d be a challenge for you to make any serious money off of it. These are just a few of the questions you need to be asking yourself when you want to rank a website. When planning to develop and rank a new site, you should first be well aware of the competition. Knowing what keyword the competition targeted to rank their website will give you a serious edge when it comes time to rank yours.
Figuring out what keywords the competition used can be done through keyword research. Whether you’d like to make money from a site that’s ranking organically, or you’d like to profit off a site that is running paid ads on platforms like Bing Ads or Google Adwords, keyword research must be performed. Keyword research is one of the most fundamental aspects of SEO in 2017.
Any SEO will tell you that if you lack knowledge on the keywords you’d like to rank for, you’ll never rank. The keywords that you want to rank #1 for on Google should be your very best friends. Over the past few years, new tools and softwares have emerged that exist solely to help SEOs monitor the rankings of their website, as well as the rankings of other websites. Using tools will like
Ahrefs and SEMrush when you’re doing keyword research can make you a ninja in the industry, putting you a step ahead of those that don’t use those tools. While these tools may seem expensive to new SEOs, they will quickly pay for themselves. That is, if the information these tools provide is applied correctly. While free Keyword research tools exist, the suite of different features that Ahrefs and SEMrush provides make free keyword research tools incomparable to their paid counterparts. In this guide, we’ll be teaching you all about Ahrefs and SEMrush, and how to take full advantage of these tools when doing keyword research.
Ahrefs is one of the most powerful tools in the world of SEO. With so many features, you can really find out just about anything about a website using Ahrefs. Ahrefs allows the user to not only perform thorough keyword research, but also perform in-depth competitor research as well. Using Ahrefs for keyword research can really make the process a breeze, and of the reasons is because of the powerful feature known as Keywords Explorer
Keywords Explorer, which runs on an impressive database of over 3 Billion keywords, is a powerhouse when doing keyword research. Let’s say you’re trying to rank your client’s organic juice delivery website: First, navigate to the Keywords Explorer tab of the header on Ahrefs:
Next, type in a few keywords related to organic juice delivery. Make sure you provide Ahrefs with a few different varieties of the keyword to help the platform find accurate suggestions for what you’re looking for.
After Keywords Explorer processes your keywords, navigate to the search suggestions tab in the bar on the left hand side:
Ahrefs will then display a list of suggested keywords that it believes is related to the keyword(s) you provided. This list also provides information like how difficult the keyword is to rank for, how many times the keyword is searched for per month in your country, and the keyword’s estimated cost per click value on paid ad platforms like Google Adwords or Bing Ads.
Clicking the “Get Metrics” button gives you access to additional metrics, like clicks per month, clicks per search, how often people search for this keyword again, the more general or parent topic the keyword belongs to, how the keyword’s SERP page looks, and when Ahrefs last updated the database. Although, this requires “metric credits”, that, once no longer available, restricts the use of the “Get Metrics” button for the user. Keywords explorer also allows you to filter the search suggestions by these metrics, if, for example, you’d only like to show keyword suggestions with a difficulty below 25. These filters also allow you to include or exclude suggestions containing a specific word.
Ahrefs also gives you the option to export this list in its entirety to an Excel workbook to allow you to remove, edit, or add information to the suggested keyword report. Just click the export button located in the top right portion of the report:
Analyzing The Keywords
Now that you’ve got a few suggestions on what keywords you’re going to try and rank for, you can see how your competition is currently ranking for the keyword(s). From the Ahrefs dashboard, type in the keyword you’d like to learn more about. Since we’re still helping Mr. Organic Juice Delivery, let’s see what’s what with the simple keyword “organic juice delivery”. From the Ahrefs dashboard, we’ll type in organic juice delivery in the search bar that’s located in the header:
After you click on the orange magnifying glass, Ahrefs will display a page that with the most popular content that contains that keyword. You can change this page to only show websites and articles that contain the keyword in the title, or alternatively, only show websites and articles that contain the keyword in the content. Change this via the drop-down bar besides the search bar that says “Everywhere”:
This allows you to distinguish between content that is entirely focused on your keyword, or content that merely mentions your keyword. The “Most Popular Content for ‘Keyword x’” page contains the following information on each piece of content:
- Domain Rating
- Referring Domains
- Organic Traffic
- Social Signals
- Page Title
- Page URL
- Page Summary
- Word Count
- Publication Date
Having this key information at a glance on the Most Popular Content page is helpful in determining the amount of work that will go into ranking a website successfully.
The Many Uses of Ahrefs
Using Ahrefs for keyword research is only scratching the surface on what it can do, but this is a good start in learning to utilize the tool, and will help you grasp the tool’s interface. Not only is Ahrefs a great tool for keyword research, it can also help with a variety of other SEO related tasks. Ahrefs is a complete powerhouse of an SEO tool. Ahrefs can be used for:
- Analyzing various website metrics
- Tracking websites by number of top ranking keywords, as well as more information on those keywords
- Receiving alerts on new content including your selected keyword
- Receive Email notifications for changes in just about any metric of a website
SEMrush is another powerful tool that’s a good addition to the arsenal of any SEO. SEMrush is a good tool for competitor research, which is a fundamental part of developing a strategy to rank a website.
Competitor research involves doing a background check on the website of your competitors to see what keywords they rank for, and how they got those rankings. Like Ahrefs, SEMrush features a dashboard as the home screen:
Enter one of the keywords suggested to you by Ahrefs into the search bar and click on the orange search button:
SEMrush will then display a keyword overview page for the keyword you’ve provided. The information on this page includes:
- Organic search volume & results
- Paid search cost per click & competition
- Cost per click distribution by country
- A bar graph containing the average competition ranking
- Phrase match keywords
- Related keywords
- Organic search results
- Related Adword ads
- Related product listing ads
- Ads history
- Related video ads
With such a plethora of information, SEMrush is a great tool for any SEO to have. As it relates to keyword and competitor research, few tools are better at giving you an overview of any aspect of a website. Be it organic results, paid results, keyword information, domain information, or any other information that is helpful to know when ranking, SEMrush provides clear and concise reports on any part of a website.
Organic and Competitive Positioning Maps
As stated earlier, knowing how your competitor got their ranking is key to succeeding with your website. Having an at-a-glance view of your website’s standing against competitors is one of the features that SEMrush boasts, and this feature remains exclusive to the platform. This at-a-glance view of your ranking against a competitor comes in the form of a two part report:
1. Competitive Positioning Map -This visual is based on the domain’s organic traffic, as well as how many organic keywords it ranks for. The visual that this report shows what keywords your website is ranking well, or poorly for compared to your competitor.
2. Organic Competitors Report – This report lists what websites are directly competing with your site for rankings in the Google Top 10 or Bing Top 20. This paired with the competitive positioning map shows you where you’re lacking, or succeeding in terms of how your website is ranking. Ahrefs and SEMrush provide plenty of opportunities to view vital information that will help you understand how your website is ranking against competitors. These tools make the life of an SEO much easier, and they really are key to having a competitive edge when it comes to ranking for a keyword, no matter its difficulty. This SEMrush review, should give you everything you need to make an informed decision when selecting SEO software.
Why Is Keyword Research So Important?
How important is keyword research in 2017? The answer is simple: keyword research is imperative. One of the main parts of actually optimizing a website is putting the correct keywords on the page. How do you find those correct keywords? You guessed it…. Keyword research. Whether your page isn’t ranking for the right keywords in google, or you’re spending too much money on under-performing ads on platforms like Bing Ads and Google Adwords, keyword research can help you understand and address those problems. The keywords that you have on your website tremendously affect the rankings the site will receive on search engines, and that has been true since the very beginning of SEO. This makes keyword research one of the fundamental aspects of ranking a website on search engines. Knowing what your potential customers are searching for, and tailoring your website to their preferences will make put you ten steps ahead of the competition. Finding the keywords the most valuable, popular keywords should be the first step in creating successful search engine marketing campaign. Search engine optimization is still a facet of marketing, and attracting the customer is still very much the goal. When done correctly, keyword research is the easiest way to understand how you can drive more traffic to your website, and in turn, put more money in your pocket.
Original Content versus Optimized Content
To make your website rank for a particular keyword, you must understand how search engines operate. Plugging original content into a well designed website will not give Google enough signals to identify, index, and rank your website. Search engines display results based on keywords and relevant links, in an attempt to deliver the person searching information that’s relevant to their query. Designing the website with this in mind will give your website an edge above other less optimized sites.
Keyword Research and SEO
Keyword research is, and always will be at the core of optimizing and ranking a website on Google. To rank a website on a search engine, you must understand what people are searching for to get to the product or service you provide. Once you understand what your potential customers are searching for, you can begin the process of optimizing and centering your website around those terms and phrases to attract the customer to do what you want, whatever that may be. Search engine optimization is, very literally, a game of words.