How to Use Semrush for Keyword Research?

The importance of keyword research can never be understated. SEO and keyword research always go hand in hand, just like salt and pepper. Keyword Research is the base of every digital marketing campaign. Fail here, and all your efforts will go into vain.

If a business does not write about its products like customers discuss problems, it is unlikely to be found in the search results.

Keyword research is often tricky, but again, it is one skill every marketer needs to excel in. In this article, I’ll provide a step-by-step guide to performing effective keyword research using my favorite tool, Semrush.

But first, why use Semrush for keyword research?

I know there are various keyword research tools, but I prefer Semrush over others. Here’s why:

  1. With a database of over 35 million keywords from Google, Bing, and Yahoo, Semrush’s data can be a goldmine of hidden keywords for any successful digital marketing campaign.
  2. Semrush is a great tool for monitoring your keyword ranking in real time. Whether it’s going up or down, you can stay assured that you’re always being updated.
  3. With Semrush, you can keep an eye on what keywords your competitors are ranking and, thus, can identify new keyword opportunities.
  4. And so on.

I understand many free tools can help you do the same thing, but Semrush provides it all under one umbrella. So that you use just one tool and your keyword research is done.

SERMRush Beginner's Guide - Keyword Research

Now that you are convinced why Semrush is my favorite (And will always be), let’s start.

In this guide, we will cover:

  1. How to get started with Semrush
  2. How to use a seed keyword to find relevant keywords
  3. How to clean your data
  4. How to perform keyword segregation using Keyword Difficulty
  5. How to identify phrase match and related keywords

1. Getting Started on Semrush

So here comes another series of questions.

Which plan should I choose, free with a trial or a pro?

If I choose the free trial, how do I use it to maximize my benefit?

I totally understand your doubts, as these are the same questions I had in mind before I got started on Semrush. Guys, whether you choose a free trial or a pro plan is totally your call. But if your website is already generating decent revenue, I would highly suggest going for a pro plan. The reason is that a pro plan gives you very detailed information about your business and your competitors, using which you can get far better returns.

So, now that you have created an account on Semrush, you will be taken to the Semrush dashboard. Here, you can add your domain to monitor its performance. But since our focus right now is keyword research, let’s jump to that part.

On the left sidebar, you will see a “Keyword Analytics” button. Click on it, and you will find the “Overview” button.

SEMRush keyword research overview
Guys, this is your beginning point for SEMrush. So, let’s get deeper.

2. Using Seed Keyword to Find Relevant Keywords

Now that your keyword research has started, the first step is identifying the seed keyword. A seed keyword is the foundation keyword that best represents your brand or product.

Let’s say I sell a weight loss product, and then my seed keyword will be “Weight Loss.” All my other keywords will revolve around this seed keyword.

So start by typing your seed keyword into the search bar. You will also see a country icon here. Make sure to set it to your desired country.

SEMRush keyword research overview details

On the result page, you will see four different reports. Let’s go through them one by one.

Organic Search

This section provides the search volume for your seed keyword, which is 16.5K for my keyword. The next section provides several search results against my seed keyword, which is 302 M in my case.

Paid Search

This part helps you determine whether any of your competitors are bidding on this keyword and the average bidding cost.

CPC Distribution

This section provides CPC values for different countries.


Here, you can see how popular this term has been against every month. This section is especially helpful if you target any event since that will be a time-based niche.

So, friends, now that you are acquainted with these terms, scroll down the page and find the option “View Full Report.” Click on it.

SEMRush keyword research view full report

Now, you will see the complete list of the keywords around your seed keyword, as shown in the screenshot below.

SEMRush keyword research export data

Click on the “Export” button, and it will give you all the data in Excel as below.

SEMRush keyword research export data excel sheet

That’s a lot of data! First, remove the columns CPC, Competition, Number of results, and Trends, as they are useless right now.

3. Cleaning Your Data to Identify the Right Keywords

As I said above, this data is pretty big, and you can’t target all of these keywords. The chances are that some of these keywords are irrelevant to your business. Even if you can get ranked on them, you won’t get any benefits.

Therefore, you need to remove irrelevant and junk keywords to focus on those who can benefit your business. This is a manual effort. You need to check all the keywords individually and create a list of extremely relevant keywords for your business.

4. Keyword Segregation Using the Keyword Difficulty Tool

Nobody can target all the keywords and get ranked on them. Now that you have clean data in the list highlight highly competitive keywords, such as Red, as they are not your current focus.

Similarly, you need to find easy target keywords and put them on a separate tab.

For this, you can also use the “Keyword Difficulty” tool by Semrush. Keyword difficulty is a metric that tells you the average percentage of how competitive your keyword is. Your main target should be low-competition keywords.

Keyword difficulty depends on various factors, such as on-page and off-page, for any particular keyword. Keyword difficulty tells how difficult it is to rank a particular keyword.

Semrush also offers the option to check keyword difficulty. This option is in the left sidebar. Click on it, and you will see a box where you must type the keyword for which you want to check keyword difficulty.

SEMRush keyword difficulty tool

Let’s say I typed the keyword “Protein shakes for weight loss.” The score is 83%. This means the keyword is highly competitive, and trying to rank for it won’t be a wise choice, so I will pass it.

SEMRush keyword difficulty tool details

This way, you can know which keywords are easy to target and which are not.

Once this step is done, you will have different sets of keywords, mainly categorized in,

  • Easy to Target
  • Moderate
  • Highly Competitive

Now that you have the right keywords. Let’s move on to the next step.

5. Identifying Phrase Matches and Related Keywords Around Targeted Keyword

Now that you have found some easy-to-target keywords to get started, it is time to identify the phrase match and other related keywords. Pick one keyword from your list of “Easy to target” keywords and choose it as the seed keyword. Go to the search box and type this keyword. Let’s say our keyword is “protein shakes for weight loss.”

SEMRush keyword overview

Scroll down to see “Phrase Match Keywords” and “Related Keywords”. Export both of these lists one by one.

SEMRush phrase match keywords

Now go to your “Easy to target” tab, create new columns as “Phrase Match keywords” and “Related Keywords,” and paste these keywords in the respective columns.

Again, manually examine all the keywords and remove irrelevant or repetitive keywords. Make sure to keep the list as tidy as possible. Keep around 20 targeted and relevant keywords in the phrase match and related keywords.

Keep doing this for all your keywords, and you are done.

Wrapping It Up!

I hope this guide has helped you generate a list of keywords for your business. Remember, no tool can replace your brain and analytical skills.

1 thought on “How to Use Semrush for Keyword Research?”

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