Have you ever wondered which organic and AdWords keywords were driving the most traffic to your competitors’ websites from Google? I sure hope you have. But, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably guilty of running a lot of manual queries, inputting your results in Excel, and doing a significant amount of guessing. I’m sorry to say, that’s not the most efficient way to do things. It’s extremely tedious and time consuming. And, it can be done a lot easier than that. Luckily there are a number of keyword research tools available that scrape Google’s search results, aggregate the data, and make a number of automated calculations for you.
One of the simplest to use and most affordable tools is SEMrush.
SEMRush is a keyword spy and competitor research tool with a regularly updated database of over 35 million of the most expensive keywords used to drive traffic to websites through Google Adwords and Google’s organic search results. You can use SEMRush to identify organic search and AdWords opportunities, as well as seeing which keywords are driving the most traffic to your competitors.
Here is a list of some of SEMRush’s key features:
The organic and AdWords keywords reports allow you to analyze data for keywords, entire domains and specific URLs. Inputting a domain name or URL gives you an overall Google traffic summary for that site as well as a list of the top search queries it’s ranking for within the top 20 Google search results. Inputting a keyword gives you a summary of how much traffic you might expect to receive for a specific keyword, a list of the top search phrases related to it, and the top 20 organic search and AdWords competitors.
In this report you get a list of keywords where the site ranks within the top 20 organic search results in Google, and these related keyword details:
I absolutely love the domain and URL reports because I’m primarily an organic search engine optimizer and they help me quickly identify all of the top keywords my competitors are ranking for and opportunities I’m currently missing. If you’re an AdWords expert, the AdWords Keyword and URL Reports are equally as helpful to the Organic Keywords Reports since they are nearly identical and show which Google AdWords keywords are sending the most traffic to your competitors.
This report gives you a list of sites that rank for the highest number of common keywords within the top 20 organic search results of Google.
For each website listed in this report, here is the associated information that is calculated and displayed in each column:
This tool is great for helping you identify who your top competitors are and then digging into which keywords are sending them the most organic search traffic from Google.
This report is very similar to the Organic Search Competitors report, but displays your top AdWords competitors.
The SEMRush keyword report is helpful for identifying the potential value of any keyword by showing you the average CPC, advertiser competition ratio, average search volume and the total number results returned.
In addition, the keyword report calculates a list of the top related phrases that might be of interest to you, as well as the top organic and AdWords competitors.
A few of the remaining major reports include:
None of the above keyword analysis services are exactly alike, so it’s a good idea to research them all to see which tool is the best match for your specific needs.
Just in case you’re wondering; the major difference between using a tool like SEMRush and Market Samurai for keyword research is that SEMRush identifies your top competitors for you by scraping the web, sorting that information in a database, calculating it, and making recommendations based on their own unique algorithm. Market Samurai’s keyword tool is simply an advanced interface to Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator, that makes calculations on the fly and does not maintain a database of the top Google Keywords and search rankings. Market Samurai does a great job too, but it requires you to do more manual work when identifying your top competitors and keywords. It’s a good alternate if you don’t have the budget for SEMRush or another keyword spy tool.
PROS: Overall I think SEMRush is a great keyword research tool for analyzing your competitors search traffic and quickly identifying new opportunities in Google. I really like the layout of the site, navigation is straightforward and the reports are well organized. The PRO pricing is very good – it is the cheapest of their top competitors, but doesn’t include some of the advanced features a few of the other keyword tools do. Features such as: AdWords ad history reports, referring websites, affiliate ID tracking and email alerts.
CONS: I don’t have many complaints about the site overall. However, there are a few details that are a bit confusing. “Phrase Match” reports apparently return “Exact Match” keywords from Google’s Keyword Tool, so the name of the report is a bit misleading. Also, it was difficult to understand how they are getting their estimated traffic volumes for keywords. Most of the keyword traffic volumes were somewhat close to the number I got when querying Google’s Keyword Tool directly, however some numbers didn’t make any sense to me at all. But that could just be a misunderstanding on my part, and not an actual statistical issue.
SEMRush is definitely a helpful tool for spying on your competitors and finding profitable new keyword opportunities. You can test out some limited features for free.
What do you think about SEMRush?