SEMRush Keyword Research

When it comes to keyword research, there are loads of tools out there both paid and free that you can use to see just how competitive terms can be. For me personally, my tool of choice would be SEMRush.


Carrying out keyword research on this tool is made very easy and you can get the in-depth information you need for a successful SEO campaign. Firstly I will say this is a paid tool, however the keyword research you are able to carry out along with all the other features it includes makes it well worth the money.

Keyword Research

There are a few different ways you can carry your keyword research on SEMRush, the first is to simply type in a keyword that you consider relevant to whatever niche you are working in. To do this, type your keyword into the main search bar that you see above.

Car hire

In this example, I’ve put in the keyword car hire. Once you run the search you will see a page like the one above. Here you will see a basic overview of your keyword:

Organic Search – This shows the volume of people that search for your keyword per month and the number of results that are on Google for the keyword.

Paid SearchSEMRush gives you an estimation on how much a cost per click would be on Google AdWords and how competitive your search term is.

On the right-hand side, you’ll also see a graph that displays CPC distribution and Trend. The first is the average cost per click across different regions and the trend shows how much general interest users have had in your keyword within the last 12 months.

Keyword ResearchAs you scroll further down you’ll see SEMRush provide you with suggestions in the form of both”Phrase Match” and “Related” keywords.

Phrase match – These are keywords that contain your whole keyword within the phrase but include other words to help make them longer tailed. For example, here you can see words such as “enterprise car hire” and “car hire uk”.

Related Keywords – These are keywords that SEMrush believe to relate to your keyword in some way such as “car rental”.

On this page, it will show you the first 5 for each of these but clicking on the “View full report” button will expand the results and will display the amount that is shown within the brackets.

Keyword research 2

The screenshot above is the expanded report on the phrase match keywords. In this case, there are over 6000 phrase match keywords that SEMRush have provided, the results are split into 100 results per page with the option to also search for certain words also.

With each of these keywords, you can see all the same statistics that were provided for our initial keyword so from here you can start to decide which of them are relevant to your business and which are realistic for you to rank for in terms of budget etc. You’ll notice there is a column labelled “KD”. This is a keyword difficulty indicator letting you know how much work is going to be required to rank your website high for the term.

As you can see the”volume” column is highlighted in blue in the above screenshot. This is because I’ve sorted the keyword volume in a descending order. You can do this with any of the columns and even click on the little”advanced filters” dropdown so can really narrow down your search.

Youll notice on the top right-hand corner there is an “Export” button. This lets you export all of these keywords in Excel or CSV format which you can then email to whomever you’d like or you can simply save it yourself.

Organic results

The last two stats that SEMRush show you are the Organic Search Results and Ads Copies.

The organic search shows you the live results on Google for your search term. So for the keyword “car hire” you can see the company enterprise ranks position 1 with travel supermarket in position 2. You can check up to the first 100 results for any giving search term.

Ad copies take a few of the ads from Google Adwords and displays them here to give you insight into what kind of ads your competitors are creating.

Again all of this data can be exported for you to save or send to someone else.

If you are looking for less competitive terms then I could method is to include a location in your keyword.

Keyword Overview

In this search, I’ve included “Glasgow” at the end of my keyword. Now you’ll see the search volume has decreased a significant amount and there are a lot less related keywords to look through.

Keyword Overview

If we take a closer look at the related keywords section, there are now keywords here including surrounding areas within them. These will be less competitive than bigger cities and you will be able to rank for them a lot easier which is a smarter way to kick off your SEO campaign for faster results.

Keywords from Competitors

Another way to research keywords is to take a look at what keywords your competitors rank to give yourself some ideas on what the general public is searching for.

Keyword Competitiors

As I mentioned before, Enterprise are position 1 for the keyword “car hire”. So I have run a search on their website to see what kind of traffic and search terms they rank for.

At the top, SEMRush gives you the total number of keywords the site ranks for, the amount of traffic that it equates to and the overall estimated cost if it were on AdWords.

There is also a graph that displays the progress of their organic traffic that can be traced back to the beginning of the website creation.

Below this are the keywords that they rank for with all of the same stats that I went through earlier


SEMRush is one of my favourite tools when it comes to keyword research. It has a really extensive database of keywords that take a very in-depth look at just how competitive they are. If you are running any sort of SEO campaign then having a tool like this is vital for carrying out the right kind of research. While this is expensive, they do offer a free 14 day trial for the pro version of the tool that you can take full advantage of here. I’d suggest anyone giving it a try to see for yourself just how much easier this can make your keyword research.

You can also see my full SEMRush tutorial here to see all the new functions and features that this tool provides.

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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 20 years.

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