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How to Create a List of SEO Target Keywords
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How to Create a List of SEO Target Keywords


Keyword research is about finding opportunities for your website to provide content that satisfies the needs of common searches in your market. In general, the more specific a keyword search is, the easier it will be to target and effectively bring in organic traffic to your site with SEO. These sought-after keywords are called “long-tail keywords.”

Lucky for you, helping people find those specific long-tail keywords is one of SEMrush’s specialties. So, how do you use SEMrush for keyword research?

Follow this workflow to practice keyword research on SEMrush and build a target keyword list that fits your website.

The website used for this workflow was swimmingpool.com.

Identify Your Competition
Find the Keyword Opportunities in Your Market
Uncover Long Tail Keywords

Identify Your Competition

  • Enter your domain name into the Organic Competitors report. Here you will find your domain’s current top competitors based on common organic keyword rankings. (1)
  • Review the list and choose up to 4 of the websites listed to use in your comparison. (2)

    How to Create a List of SEO Target Keywords image 1


Find the Keyword Opportunities in Your Market

  • Enter your top competitors in the Keyword Gap tool with your domain in the first input field and compare organic keywords in the regional database that you want to target. (3) This report will show you all of the interactions between the keyword portfolios of you and your competitors.

How to Create a List of SEO Target Keywords image 2

  • To identify the easiest keywords to target, apply an advanced filter for Keyword Difficulty to only analyze keywords with a KD score less than 60. The lower the KD score, the easier it would be to target the keyword and successfully rank for it in organic search with your site. (4)

How to Create a List of SEO Target Keywords image 3

  • Look at the Missing and Weak lists (5) - these are the keywords where your site either has much worse rankings than your competitors, or you have none at all while they are ranking. 
  • Identify the keywords that are most relevant to your website with low KD and use the checkbox to add them to your Export (6).

 How to Create a List of SEO Target Keywords image 4


Here is how the report should look. Once you’re happy with the keywords you’ve found in this process, export your list to a file to save your research (7).

Uncover Long Tail Keywords

Once you’ve identified some general topics to target from the Keyword Gap exercise, you can go deeper into keyword research with the Keyword Magic Tool.

  • Enter your target keyword as a “seed keyword” here to find more ideas (“small inground pools” for example). (8)
  • Apply a filter for KD % (Keyword Difficulty) to find keywords that are easy to target and relevant to your site, and another filter for Word count greater than 4 for finding those long tail phrases with 4 or more words in them. (9)
  • Review the long tail keywords from this report and look for any relevant topics to add to your list. If you see a lot of long tail keywords around a single subtopic, it could be a good opportunity for you to target the topic with content on your website. See below all of the long tail keywords about small fiberglass swimming pools.

    How to Create a List of SEO Target Keywords image 6

Now that you have a list of keywords you can use them as the foundation of your SEO strategy. Try the following to start optimizing:

  • Add the target keywords to a campaign with your domain in the On Page SEO Checker to gather ideas for optimizing your site for those keywords.
  • Enter a target keyword into the SEO Content Template to get a suggested template for writing a webpage that is optimized for the target.
  • Add your list of target keywords to a Position Tracking campaign to track your progress as you conduct your efforts.
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