Keyword research is an essential part of any digital marketing strategy. If you want to increase your website’s visibility in search engines and attract more organic traffic, it is essential to understand what words your potential customers use when searching for information. In this article we will explore what keyword research is and its basics, and then show you how you can use Semrush to perform it.

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What is a keyword research


Okay, first of all, we should start by clarifying what we mean by a keyword.

A keyword is a word or phrase that we use to search for information on the Internet.

That is, it is the word or set of words that we enter in the bar of a search engine when we want to find something, but in a broad sense it could be applied to any other search engine, such as that of a social network like Instagram or that of an app store like the Play store.

For example, “strawberry ice cream” is a keyword you search for on Google when you want to read a recipe to make it at home. It is also when you search for it on Youtube to see a tutorial on how to make it or on Instagram to see… well, to see people eating strawberry ice cream on the beach, of course.

Keywords are important because they help search engines understand the content of web pages and display the most relevant results for our searches. By choosing and using keywords, we can increase the chances of appearing in the results. That is, if you have a great recipe on your blog to make a tasty strawberry ice cream and you optimize it well from an SEO point of view, your article could appear at the top of Google’s results when someone searches for it.

Results of searching for strawberry ice cream

Keyword research is the process of identifying and analyzing the most relevant and effective keywords for your business.

Performing keyword research is crucial because it allows you to understand how your potential customers think and what terms they use to search online. By knowing the keywords they use, you can optimize your website, create relevant content and attract organic traffic.

But before we go any further, there are three concepts you should keep in mind:

Search volume

As the name suggests, search volume refers to how many times a keyword is searched for in a given period. The higher the search volume, the higher the organic traffic potential.

Keyword difficulty

La dificultad de la palabra clave se refiere a la competencia existente para conseguir clasificar entre los resultados de búsqueda utilizando esa palabra clave. En el caso de helado de fresa Semrush nos dice que se trata de una palabra clave relativamente fácil de posicionar (dificultad: 25%). Eso sí, siempre y cuando hagas contenidos cuidados y bien orientados desde un punto de vista SEO.

The difficulty of the keyword refers to the existing competition to get ranked among the search results using that keyword. In the case of strawberry ice cream Semrush tells us that it is a relatively easy keyword to position (difficulty: 25%). Of course, as long as you make careful and well-targeted content from an SEO point of view.

Intention to search

Search intent tells us what the user wants when typing a query in the search engine. With Semrush you will be able to differentiate:

  • Navigation searches, in which the user searches for a specific page. That is, when the user searches for “Brand”, it is because he wants to go to the website of marca.com, so it may not make much sense to attack that keyword. When they search for “Zara.com”, it is because they want to go to your online store.
  • On the other hand, informative keywords (“soccer today”, “how to watch the Champions League”), commercial keywords (“best soccer boots”) or transactional keywords (“Zara women’s clothing”) are much more interesting for us.
Keywords for Zara webpage

Zara.com website is positioned for multiple keywords with different search intentions such as: (I) informational, (N) Navigation, (T) Transactional, C (Commercial).

Offensive or defensive keyword research

As in a chess game, you can approach your keyword research from an offensive or defensive point of view. Both are valid approaches, but knowing which is the one that interests you will help you to have a better understanding of how to carry out this process.

Defensive keyword research 

Defensive keyword research seeks to identify and protect your own keywords already positioned. This way, you will be able to maintain and strengthen your current position, something very useful especially if you are the one who is winning the game against your competitors 😉 or if you want to avoid being taken away the first position in a very relevant keyword for your business, one of those that generates a large proportion of your traffic.

In this case, the most important thing is that you monitor the performance of these keywords and adjust your content and SEO strategy to maintain or improve your ranking. Remember: it is vital that you regularly track your most relevant keywords.

In addition, it is essential that you analyze your competitors, to identify possible threats and take measures to defend your position in the search results.

Offensive keyword research

But if you are in an inferior position, or what you like is to play attack and try to conquer new keywords, you should go for an offensive keyword research. It would be about identifying new opportunities and positioning yourself for relevant keywords that you are not yet taking advantage of.

How to do keyword research with Semrush

Semrush is one of the leading SEO tools on the market and includes several features designed to help you perform keyword research. As you will see, Semrush allows you to obtain valuable information about keywords, search volume, keyword difficulty, identify the keywords used by your competitors…

Let’s take a look at some keyword research tasks you can perform with Semrush:

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1. Know yout keywords profile

By simply including your domain name in the Semrush search bar, you will be able to know your keyword profile: know how many you have positioned, which ones are in the top 3 or top 10, and which of those are the most valuable. For example, this is the case of one of the ecommerce leaders, such as Zara.com.

Overview results of Zara on Semrush

The number of keywords positioned by Zara has not stopped growing.

What we have seen about offensive or defensive approach applies here. In a defensive approach, you will be very interested in knowing which are your main keywords, and which are the ones that generate the most traffic.

So, if you go to the “best organic words” part, you will see that it is in first position for kws with a very high search volume, such as “zara”. It would be a little drama for them to lose them.

Spoiler: with the huge amount of content they generate about their brand and with the position of authority they have, it would be really complicated for them to lose them.

2.Related keywords and variations

Semrush has a tool called “keyword magic tool”, which allows you to consult variations of a keyword, related questions and everything that can give you clues about how users search for that keyword and everything related to it.

You can segment the search by countries, languages, questions… and all this with specific data on search volume and keyword difficulty, as well as many other interesting parameters.

3. Keyword Gap

This feature will allow you to discover in a very visual way the keyword profile of your competitors and, more interestingly, which keywords they share with you, in which ones you beat them and in which ones they beat you.

Keyword gap among Zara, H&M and Asos

As you can see in the Venn diagram, H&M and Asos have much more kws positioned than Zara. In addition, the three websites have many kws in common. If you go to the detail, you can find out which are those keywords, filter them by search volume, difficulty or which are those in which you are winning, among many other options.


Now what?

In any case, the most important factor in kw research is you. With all these tools you should be able to select those that best suit your business, your objectives and your content profile.

As we have seen, it is not the same to do a kw research with offensive or defensive intent, and it is not the same to do a keyword with transactional search intent than a navigational one. Look at the search volume and the difficulty of the keywords, try to set ambitious but achievable goals and, of course, prepare an optimized content plan to meet the needs of those who search for those keywords.

And if I don’t have a website yet, where do I start?

If you have not launched your website, and you cannot evaluate your keyword profile, the ideal is to:

  • analyze the kws profile of your potential competitors.
  • use your knowledge of the market to analyze kws that you think may be interesting, and from there, discover new related kws.

Oh, and once you set it up, remember to do periodic reviews, to check how you are covering those keywords you want to get, and how the organic traffic you receive from them is varying.

Don’t underestimate the power of keyword research and start using Semrush to improve your SEO and digital marketing strategy.

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Imagen: Depositphotos

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