SEMrush Position Tracking

When you search for keyword ideas in Google Keyword Planner it displays the ad competition and suggests that most of these keywords have low to medium difficulty. Most people confuse Ad competition with search engine ranking difficulty. The best metrics to use from Google Keyword Planner are average monthly search volume and suggested bid. The greater the volume and cost per click, the harder and longer it will take to rank.

Keyword Difficulty Tool

SEMrush’s Keyword Difficulty Tool can help you estimate how challenging it will be to rank for a specific keyword. It shows us that a majority of our desired keywords have a medium to high difficulty and there may be easier keywords to target within our group that have higher search volume and fewer competing results.

keyword difficulty tool

For example when comparing yacht builders and yacht companies which have similar difficulty and search volume, you can see that yacht companies has almost 14 million more competing results.

How is keyword difficultly percentage determined? Click the difficulty percentage. It is the average domain strength of the top 20 ranking websites for that keyword. For example Wikipedia is very authoritative and has a domain strength of 100, whereas our Marquis Yachts only has a domain strength of 53.

Position Tracking Tool

Before you get all excited and launch a full SEO campaign, you should add all of the potential keywords to a rank tracker.

1. Add your domain, in this example I used
2. I will use the domain name again for the display name. Then click create new project.

position tracking tool

From the tracking settings tab, select the target country. I left region and city blank because this is a national, and not a local campaign. For local SEO position tracking, I have found SEMrush to be very accurate; however it is harder to do competitive research because the keywords have less data available. For example, fewer businesses are running display ads.

Choose a device type. If you were a locksmith, you would select mobile devices to get the most accurate data because the majority of your traffic searches from their phone. In this project, we are going to use desktops.

The add all of your competitors. I entered in the 10 competitors that were identified in the yacht niche.

Optionally you can connect Google Analytics or Google Webmaster Tools. I am going to skip this step because I do not have ownership or authorization to connect.

Enter in keywords to track. These are the keywords identified from previous research. Be sure to click this button to add your keywords to the campaign. Then click update project and start tracking.

It will take a few minutes for your ranking positions to load. After refreshing the page, the data has propagated and you can see how valuable this information is. For example, the Visibility Trend will create an ongoing chart of how well is doing organically compared to the competition.

You can also benchmark your ranking positions versus the competition over time. Quickly see the brands that are ranking for your target keywords and which competitors are gaining or losing market share.

rankings overview

When you click the Adwords tab. You can compare Adwords visibility against the competition. In this example, has high visibility relative to the other yacht websites.

When tracking your competition’s Adword campaigns, you can see who is bidding and what position they rank in today and historically.

Research Valuable Keywords

It is important to remember that just because a competitor is bidding on a keyword, does not mean that they keyword is valuable, profitable or will deliver a return on investment for your business because each company has different goals, conversion rates, price points and profit margins. is on the first page for a number of organic keywords and should have a good idea of how valuable or not valuable each keyword is and how well it converts. As an SEO, this helps us determine if we should continue to optimize for these and related keywords or if we should abandon them because they do not provide return on investment.

Before you abandon a keyword, always be sure to conversion rate optimize your landing page through split testing.

This should also give you an idea if similar keywords will convert. For example yacht manufacturers compared to yacht builders and yacht companies. However, we do not have firsthand experience to know if keywords related to yachts for sale are valuable.

One huge mistake that most inexperienced companies and SEOs make is they decide to spend thousands of dollars and months of time optimizing for search engines without knowing if a keyword is profitable. Avoid this common pitfall by testing with paid traffic first.

Create a landing page and split test multiple designs and headlines. If the paid campaign is successful, then launch an SEO campaign with a page optimized for search. Keep in mind that a page optimized for SEO typically will not convert as well as a landing page optimized for PPC. However, a page optimized for PPC will not usually rank well in the search engines. Each keyword group should have one target page for SEO that is indexed by search engines and one target page for PPC that is not.

Search All Keywords

Before you launch any SEO campaign, view the search results for all the keywords you plan to optimize.

For example, the keyword yacht has Wikipedia ranking number one and is probably very difficult to overtake. The organic position number three is pushed down below the news and the fourth position is below images. This means it will require a lot of extra effort to get visibility for the keyword yacht. Also remember to take into consideration ads that may display above, below and in the sidebar.

search all keywords

The keyword yachts, has ranked number one followed by some images appearing above the organic number two spot. It appears that may be able to outrank Wikipedia as two other have already done. This is a good opportunity because the third position gets significantly more than the fourth listing.

Luxury yacht has images in the top spot and the number one organic listing is pushed down. Motor yacht is an interesting keyword because brands and resellers are ranking well and there is not a listing for Wikipedia on page one.

For the keyword yacht sales, Google is displaying local results which will take away traffic from big brands and for buy a yacht there are several informational pieces or guides ranking. This may be an opportunity to create a tip page about what to look for when buying a yacht.

The search for yacht manufactures shows several yacht brands and Wikipedia. On the list of boat builders page, a search for Marquis Yachts displays no results. This is a good an opportunity to get a link from Wikipedia which has high domain authority and trust.

Until I did a search, I was unsure about the keyword yacht boat. There are dealers and resellers listed as well as images, news and articles. This probably is not a good opportunity because of the extra competition. The same applies to boat yacht.

Another reason why you should do these queries is to gain insight. You may have noticed that not one particular yacht manufacture dominates for every target keyword. This tells me that yacht manufactures are focusing on small sets of keywords and most may not be optimizing at all. This is the exact opposite of the loan niche where almost every website is optimized.

With this new information and because we were not previously ranking, I removed boat yacht and yacht boat from rank tracking.

In the next video, you will learn how to determine if a keyword is valuable by testing with PPC landing pages before starting an SEO campaign.

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