Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of enhancing a website’s technical setup, content alignment, and link quality to make its pages highly discoverable, more pertinent, and appealing to user search queries.
This is a portion of an overall strategy designed to improve search engine rankings. Software tools can help make measuring some of these factors less onerous, and one program that can be particularly helpful is Ahrefs.
Here is a look at how Ahrefs keyword research can boost your site ranking.
Use Seed Keywords to Generate New Ideas
At the most basic level, your business probably has some general keywords prepared to target. For example, a pet store may want to rank for terms related to dog toys, cat food, and rabbit cages.
These broad seed phrases can be entered into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer tool, which will then generate a “keyword ideas” report containing millions of potentially related keywords. You can research these further to determine if they are worth targeting.
Here is a look at what it can provide:
- Matching terms: These are keyword ideas that contain your seed keyword. For example, if you used “dog food” as a seed keyword, it might return results such as, “organic dog food” and “healthy dog food”. These results can be refined to show keyword ideas that contain your seed query in any order or only in the order you entered them.
- Related terms: This feature can help you identify the keywords for which the current top-ranking pages, related to your seed keyword, are also achieving high rankings you can also use the “Also talk about” button to display keywords that those pages ranking at the top for your seed keyword frequently mention.
- Search suggestions: This will display keywords that are taken from the search suggestions that pop up when a user types that search query into Google.
Checking the Keywords of Competitors
An effective way to begin your keyword research is by checking which keywords your competitors are currently ranking for:
- Start by entering into Google, some general keywords related to your business to see who is ranking for them.
- When you find a website that is similar to yours, enter it into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer tool to see which pages are performing best for the site and what keywords they target.
- Repeat these steps with a few more competitors, and you should accumulate a long list of relevant keywords. You may not end up targeting all of them, but this is a useful starting point.
Use the Content Gap Tool
The Content Gap tool provided by Ahrefs’ Site Explorer can help you find keywords that you are not ranking for right now but for which your competition is getting traffic. These represent missed keyword opportunities that you should be targeting moving forward.
Gauging Keyword Difficulty
Ahrefs provides a keyword difficulty ranking; you can use this to determine whether the keywords you are considering targeting are worth pursuing. Several factors contribute to how challenging it is to rank for a keyword and can be difficult to determine manually, even for seasoned professionals.
The Keyword Difficulty Scale for Ahrefs aims to distill these intricacies into a simple number allowing you to compare the difficulty level of different keywords easily. It uses a scale of 0 to 100:
- A score between 0 and 10 is considered “easy”. This indicates that to rank within the top 10, you’ll need less than 10 domains to link to you.
- A score of 71 to 100 is considered “super hard” and may require more than 200 linking websites to break into the top page of the search engine results.
Ahrefs cautions that you should not avoid targeting a specific keyword if its difficulty is high and your site is new or not ranking well, but this metric does give you some idea of what it will take to rank for a certain query.
Improving Keyword Targeting with Domain Rating
The domain rating (DR) is a metric used by Ahrefs to show how a website’s backlink profile compares to others, with a higher DR being more desirable than a lower one. Sites can look to competitors that have a similar DR to their own to identify new keyword opportunities.
If you are pursuing keywords that a website with a much higher DR is ranking for, you may want to shift your focus to keywords that you will have an easier time ranking for. You can look at the terms websites with lower DRs are ranking for to get some inspiration.
Schedule a Consultation with the Ahrefs Digital Marketing Professionals
Achieving favorable rankings in Google can be challenging. While Ahrefs and other tools can help simplify keyword research, it is not a substitute for the insight provided by experienced SEO professionals.
The digital marketing specialists at 321 Web Marketing can help with every step of the SEO process, from identifying effective keywords to ensuring your site follows the latest best practices. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and start your journey to higher rankings.