UPDATE: I recently did a video on how I use the paid version of SEMrush to find keywords and niches to create websites on, you can view the video below and the newer post here:
A really cool tool I discovered recently was SEMRush. Basically, you put someone’s website and it will tell you (with GREAT accuracy as me and Dave can confirm on our own websites) what keywords that person is ranking for, the search results for those keywords and their current ranking! Not only that, but you can see these results for other Google country locations such as UK and france, very useful if you want to compete in other markets.
Currently, I mostly use SEMrush to spy on my competitors and to see for which keywords they are ranking for. Sometimes even after hours in the Google keyword tool I miss some gems and with these searches I can quickly fix the situation :). Small websites are usually only ranking for 15 keywords at most that are worthwhile to look at so the free version does a great job here.
To the right is an example of how it works. In this example I spied on ezinearticles.com. You can see some of the best keywords that they receive search results for and while this is not a great ability with the free version, if you pay for it you will see thousands of keywords that it ranks for. From there, you can drill down to some of the ones you find interesting and you know if ezine articles is ranking in the top #1-5 you can definitely beat them with a small website on the specific topic or a page with some backlinks from a broader and larger website. If you do use this method to help you with initial keyword searching you might also want to consider other big websites that are often quite easy to beat on the first page of google such as Hubpages, Infobarrel and Article Base.
It can also be very helpful if you are wondering if a website is getting all it’s traffic from a certain country. Some keywords look like they are searched for in the US but an analysis like this could help you realize the UK is where the competition for this keyword is! Of course, doing a local search in the Google keyword tool can also help you do this but you might know from which country the keyword get’s it’s massive amount of search, only that the US does not have much.
Currently, I’m using the free version because I mostly use it to spy on the competitors of my current websites and also to check out more information on websites that are for sale on flippa.com. I have been on the lookout for websites that are for sale that are currently ranked #3-30 for keywords with decent search volume in niches that I have some interest on since I’m pretty confident with my ability to raise their rankings. However, the problem currently is all the time I have been putting into finding these websites that interest me because a lot of people have very shaddy auctions on flippa. While they are not pure scam, a lot of the websites being sold do not seem good “passive income” sources which is of course my goal. A lot of them in the $ range that I am looking for ($40-750) are autoblogs or websites that do not get much search engine traffic (they might get it from twitter, video, facebook… all of which are not passive enough for me). Anyway, in order to verify search engine rankings I have been using SEMrush a lot and it’s quite helpful to let me spot very quickly for what keywords a website is truly ranking for. I then check the competition to make sure I can beat them and place a bid :).
Oh ya, with the free version you can only do 10 queries a day. That has been enough for me so far when using it to spy on competition or verify auctions.