Keyword Research

Keyword Opportunities Through SEMrush

Today I will discuss the my process of keyword research and opportunity analysis reviewing SEMrush which is a piece of software that will blow your marketing research mind!

SEMrush Logo

I will start the article with a little bit on:

  1. Psychology of purchasing a new website.
  2. My process for analyzing a potential purchase.
  3. My keyword opportunity assessment.
  4. Opening a dialogue with the website owner.

Let’s get started…

Buying a Site? See How Keyword Research Can Help

Purchasing an existing website can be a daunting process. Especially one where you think there may be keyword ranking opportunities and the proverbial “low hanging fruit”.

Apart from negotiating with the owner on the price and the terms of the purchase you need to consider many other current opportunities that will reduce your payback time for the purchase.

If you ever listen to podcasts such as empire flippers or niche pursuits, you always hear the guys reminiscing about discussions with web property owners and the ridiculous multiples they have asked for when someone was offering to buy their website.

The typical value they attribute to most website businesses is a 20X monthly net income. Check it out here…. 20X multiplier

Sometimes webmasters would ask for 4 to 5 times yearly net earnings which seems just crazy but from their perspective, if they are earning say $1000 per month for 4 hours of work, why would they sell you such a cash cow for 20 times?

What we will focus here today is a little bit on that psychology and a lot about the opportunity of keyword research and opportunity analysis through the use of a piece of software called SEMrush.

You can check out my review on the company here but I will simplify it below:

SEMrush Review for 2015

I have some other reviews and you can check them out here:

Formerly SEO Moz – My Moz Tool Review

If you need some WordPress Help

Issues with your Social Media Tool? Check out my Hootsuite Review here

I am a Data NERD!

I am a bit of a data nerd and love to delve deep into any new information of data that I can get it into excel, manipulate and find the correlations and opportunities.

Whenever I look at a website, I have sort of been blessed with what I’ve learnt over the years from SEO experts such as Dave Jennings and super smart business people like James Schramko, Joe Polish and Dan Sullivan.

They have taught me to never believe all the gloss and sheen on the outside of a website. They have pushed me to look deeper and to search out the facts to make educated decisions for my business.

 Don’t assume a website is popular just because it looks good!

So for any potential website purchase, let’s look at the facts. For me, my business approach will be from a passive mindset. At the moment I work full time and I am not going to kid myself into working an extra 40 hours on top of my current job to get out of the rat race (as rich dad, poor dads, Robert Kiyosaki, puts it).

I want to do the upfront work in what I call the “creative research” stage and postulate the “what could be” with the potential purchase.

So let’s start on with a scenario. I am looking for a website to purchase in say the survival niche (it’s a very popular niche for preppers and families who live in disaster prone areas the skills and know how to prepare and protect their family).

Another good keyword research method.

Find your Keywords

I already know a few of the potential keywords so I put them into Google to start to understand who are the players in the market, some keywords are:

  1. How to survive a disaster?
  2. Best survival kit
  3. Build a bug out bag

Add them to SEMrush

After this you will probably have a list of potential websites that you could purchase. Then what you need to do is open up SEMrush and in the search bar enter a single web address, hit enter and you should see the dashboard with the following information.

  1. Organic keyword search summary including SEMrush rank, count of ranking keywords and traffic cost.
  2. Paid search if the business is using any display advertising or Google Adwords then the summary of that info will present itself here with the targeted keywords.
  3. Backlinks – this section shows total backlinks with referring domains and IPs as well. Simple check for how powerful a site is. High backlinks to low domain links ratio.

SEMrush Keyword Research Tool

Also included on the rush dashboard are a few graphics showing keyword ranks based on different countries, keyword ranking over time (trending up or down).

Keywords By Country

SEMrush Trend Graph

Find out the top keywords for the site and the ones that are producing the most organic traffic (SEMrush won’t show you traffic sources including facebook and Twitter traffic).

Keyword Position Distribution

Also shown is keyword position distribution shown below:

Keyword Position Distribution

Once you see the graphic you will understand how important this is when you are engaging a potential seller of a website. Now, im not sure what we can assume here but at $70 per month to see their position rankings for all keywords, for a $50,000 site lets assume they dont analyze their keyword positions.

As you can see above, this website has less than 400 of its keywords in the 1-3 position in the SERPS with 82% of the keywords from position 4 to 20.

Why is this important?

Well in a study undertaken by Online Advertising Network – Chitika shows that websites that rank for keywords in the 1-3 position on google (not sure whether this includes the enormous amount of space that the ads take up) gets on average 33+17+11% of the total traffic for that search term. Shown below:

Chikita - Search Traffic By Position

An enormous 61% of the traffic and if your website it struggling to break the top 3 position (remember unless you have multiple results for the same keyword…hint hint), you will at most be getting 8% of the total potential search traffic.

Pretty important being in the Top 3

More importantly, if you have just decided to purchase a website in the “survival niche” then you should check out all the competition and list them out.

Keyword Research Competition

or for a bit more detail because SEMrush only gives you their version of competition.


Competitor Relevance

Common Keywords

Organic Keywords

Organic Traffic 1.91 867 38036 116937 5 7000 7000 56000 1.69 195 4480 39499 5.19 571 3974 44693 2 206 3280 17493 4.82 471 2748 36146 0.8 78 2700 12749 2.35 227 2642 38766 1.05 101 2558 8634 0.69 67 2557 23023 4.84 456 2390 17171 0.62 58 2313 25929 5.74 530 2221 25909 3.63 322 1836 149162 3.96 346 1701 9864 2.24 195 1678 9566 1.07 91 1435 7879 1.54 123 957 13573 0.85 68 897 8891 1.47 116 876 2224 0.98 78 870 7496

As of 16/3/2015

This allows your analytic skills to step out of the amateur region and into the professional sunlight!

There is no reason now to be struggling for ideas on keywords, all of the competitors are listed above with their organic keywords as well.

Next Step – Research The Competition

It is fairly safe to say that this niche has plenty of competitors vying for those top keyword spots but there may be some underdogs in there that arent getting any google love, therefore may be a prime opportunity for you to purchase.

To find these types of sites I would use the keyword position distribution and would focus on starting communications with the sites with high keyword with majority in the 3 and below ranges.

Here we go:

Survival Cache

Survival Cache

Secrets Of Survival

Secrets Of Survival

Modern Survival Blog

Modern Survival Blog

BackDoor Survival

BackDoor Survival

All of these sites have a whole bunch of keywords in the lower positions after 4th place so there are plenty of opportunities from here. Lets go a bit deeper on say

The high CPC (cost per click) keywords are the ones that any owner would focus on if their site is already ranking. To summarise:



Keywords ranking for – 1700

Traffic per month – Most likely 120,000 hits based of my previous experience.

Traffic Cost – This measure is interesting as it suggests what the traffic would cost to purchase.

Lets have a look at what pages their traffic is heading towards…

Url Sum of Traffic (%)
HomePage 16.4
diy-liquid-castile-soap-wonderful/ 9.37
using-mylar-bags-for-food-storage/ 5.3
44-fantastic-uses-of-paracord/ 5.29
10-facts-about-the-great-depression/ 4.47
backyard-quail/ 4.35
how-to-recharge-alkaline-batteries/ 4
how-to-sharpen-razor-blades-for-the-long-term/ 3.85
miracle-of-tea-tree-oil/ 2.93
how-to-seal-food-in-mylar-bags/ 2.69
13-ways-to-roll-with-the-punches/ 2.3
amazon-almost-free/ 2.28
food-grade-buckets-gamma-seals/ 2.21

What i did here is download the keyword report, then sort the keywords by URL then removed the main domain name from each of the URL’s, then i created a pivot table to show the summary of the URL’s.

SEMrush gives you very good data where it shows each of the pages that rank in google and what percentage of the traffic actually goes to that page. Now remember, each page on a website can have multiple page rankings in google, bing and any other search engine.

For example, in the above webpages like the “using-mylar-bags-for-food-storage

URL and Keyword Position in Google Sum of Search Volume Sum of Traffic (%)
URL – “using mylar bags for food storage” 2.71 10070 5.3
Keywords that generate traffic for URL above:
mylar bags 5 5400 2.92
mylar food storage bags 2 390 0.54
mylar bag 3 480 0.46
mylar bags food storage 3 170 0.16
mylar bags for food storage 2 90 0.12
mylar storage bags 3 110 0.1
storing food in mylar bags 1 20 0.1

In total roughly 5.3% of the websites traffic comes from those keywords in google. The above table might be a bit hard to understand but where we have the article URL “XXX” this is the websites article that ranks in Google but its not just for one type of keyword, all of the keywords in the table will drive traffic to that one page.

Do you see the importance of Keyword Research?

In the above section, I discussed the amount of traffic that positions 1-3 get (33%, 17%, 11%). Now for the keyword “Mylar Bags”, the US search volume for this specific keyword is 5400 searches per month and if you rank number 1 for this keyword you can expect around 33% of the 5400 searches (depending on the amount of ads and how sticky they are).

Now, as you can see the above website ranks number 5 for this keyword which would be about 6% or  320ish of the 5400 searches.

Opportunity number 1 – If you can increase the ranking for this one keyword then you can possibly increase the organic traffic for this website by 1780 searches per month. With $1.64 CPC this could turn out to be an extra 18 Ad clicks and almost $30 per month (based on 1% CTR or Click Through Rate).

Build this on 10 different types of keywords, the numbers will stack up.

What’s the Next Step? Website Strength

Can I rank higher?

How powerful is the website already?

What are the measures?

Step 1 – Backlink Analysis for Your Site

Simply put, your website is like a building and backlinks are like the foundations/building blocks of that building. When another website links to your website it is like they are adding a block to your building.

SEO Building Blocks

Like anything, you need to have great content on your site for other sites to link to… you should know what that is…

Anyway, to check out the strength of a website you will need to understand some industry terms used by some specific companies.

Open Site Explorer (OSE) – Moz – Domain Authority

Majestic SEO – Trust Flow & Citation Flow

aHRefs – URL Rank & Ahrefs Domain Rank

All of these metrics give you a strength indicator which will help you understand what you need to do to your site to get your article/web page ranking higher than your competitors.

Lets have a look at what strength our domain is…

OSE – Domain Authority – 45, Page Authority – 54

Backdoor - Open Site Explorer

Majestic SEO – Trust Flow – 19, Citation Flow – 25

Backdoor - Majestic –  URL Rank – 31 & Ahrefs Domain Rank – 52

These metrics don’t really matter if you dont compare them to anything so what I wont do here is compare this site to all of the competitors but im sure you get the idea.

If you compare, the web page that you are focusing on like we have above with the “Mylar Bags”, the page strength changes because it has less “backlinks” than the main homepage.

Backdoor - Open Site Explorer 2

As you can see the page authority is 28 for this particular page. Best thing now is compare this to the other pages that rank higher than you for the particular keywords and you start to research all the extra backlinks and strengths that you can get.

How to do this?

I never said it was going to be easy but with SEMrush’s backlink explorer, first thing i would do is go into it with your list of competitors and start your research into what links your competitors have gained and start the conversation with the webmasters to gain some links.

SEMrush Backlink Explorer

Now its up to you!

If you need help, send me an email!