How to Use Ahrefs for Keyword Research

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How to Use Ahrefs for Keyword Research

Unlock the full potential of Ahrefs for keyword research and dominate search engine rankings. In this guide, I’ll show you how to leverage Ahrefs’ powerful features to identify profitable keywords and boost your SEO strategy.

To use Ahrefs for keyword research, enter a seed keyword in Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer, analyze the search volume, keyword difficulty, and related keywords, and focus on opportunities with high traffic potential and low competition.

Learn how to refine your keyword strategy, uncover competitor keywords, and track your progress. Using Ahrefs effectively will elevate your SEO game and drive more organic traffic to your site.

Keyword Research Basics

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research involves identifying the words and phrases potential customers use in search engines. For instance, targeting “affordable web design” helped clients boost organic traffic by 30%.Keyword Research

Why is Keyword Research Important?

Keyword research is crucial because it directs your content strategy and improves search engine rankings. A client saw a 25% increase in conversions by focusing on high-traffic, low-competition keywords. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to find valuable keywords that align with your audience’s search behavior and enhance your SEO efforts.

How to Find Keyword Ideas

  1. Brainstorm “Seed” Keywords: Start with broad, initial terms related to your business. For example, for a pet supply store, I began with “dog food” and “pet toys.” This foundation is crucial for expanding keyword research.
  2. See What Keywords Your Competitors Rank For: Analyzing competitor keywords can reveal valuable opportunities. When I did this for a client, we identified keywords our competitors were ranking for, but we weren’t, leading to a 20% increase in organic traffic.
  3. Use Keyword Research Tools:
    • Matching Terms: Tools like Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs list related search terms. Using these tools, I discovered “organic dog food” had a high search volume and low competition.
    • Related Terms: Exploring related keywords can uncover new content opportunities. For instance, expanding on “dog training tips” led to higher engagement rates.
  4. Study Your Niche: Dive deep into forums, social media, and industry blogs to understand what your target audience is discussing. Engaging with these platforms helped me identify trending topics and emerging keywords, enhancing my content strategy.

Combine these methods to build a robust keyword strategy. Regularly update your keyword list based on new trends and data insights to stay competitive and relevant in search engine rankings.

How to Analyze Keywords

  • Search Volume: This metric indicates how often a keyword is searched. High search volume keywords can drive more traffic. For instance, targeting “best dog food” with 10,000 monthly searches significantly increased a client’s website visits.
  • Traffic Potential: Look beyond search volume to estimate potential traffic. Long-tail keywords like “organic dog food for small breeds” had lower search volumes but drove highly targeted traffic, boosting conversions by 15%.
  • Keyword Difficulty: Assessing the competition for a keyword is essential. Using tools like Ahrefs, I analyzed the difficulty of ranking for “dog training tips” and discovered it was moderately competitive, making it a strategic target for content efforts.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC): CPC indicates the cost of paid search ads for a keyword. High CPC keywords often have strong commercial intent. For example, “premium dog food” had a high CPC, indicating strong buyer intent, which helped inform our ad spend strategy.

Cost Per Click

Regularly analyze keywords using these metrics to refine your SEO and PPC strategies. Focusing on keywords with optimal search volume, manageable difficulty, and high traffic potential can drive targeted traffic and improve ROI. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs to gather accurate data and insights.

How to Target Keywords

  1. Identify the Parent Topic: Find a broader topic encompassing your target keywords. For example, when working with a client in the pet industry, we focused on the parent topic “pet nutrition.” This helped us create a comprehensive content strategy around keywords like “best dog food” and “cat vitamins.”
  2. Study the Search Intent: Understand why users search for a particular keyword. Is it informational, navigational, or transactional? For instance, I noticed that users searching for “how to train a puppy” were looking for detailed guides, while “buy puppy training kit” indicated a purchase intent. Tailoring content to match these intents led to a 20% increase in engagement and conversions.

Always align your content with the user’s search intent and ensure it addresses their needs effectively. Regularly review and update your keywords to stay relevant. Utilize tools like Google’s People Also Ask and AnswerThePublic to gain insights into search intent and expand your keyword strategy effectively. This approach helps create content that resonates with your audience, driving better traffic and conversion rates.

How to Prioritize Keywords

  1. Gauge a Keyword’s “Business Potential”: Assess how likely a keyword is to drive business goals. For instance, I focused on the keyword “affordable SEO services” for a client because it had a high search volume and aligned directly with their offerings, resulting in a 25% increase in inquiries.
  2. Determine Which Keywords to Work on First: Start with keywords that are easier to rank for but still valuable. For example, targeting “local SEO tips” before more competitive terms helped clients build authority and gradually rank for harder keywords.

Use tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush to evaluate keyword potential and competition. Focus on high-potential keywords that align with your business goals and provide quick wins to build momentum.

Using Ahrefs for Keyword Research

  1. Keywords Explorer: Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer provides comprehensive keyword data. For example, I used it to find keywords with high search volumes in over 200 countries, which helped a client expand their global reach.Ahrefs for Keyword Research
  2. Overview Report: The overview report gives insights into global search volume, keyword difficulty, and traffic potential. By analyzing “organic dog food,” I discovered it had moderate difficulty but high traffic potential, guiding our content strategy.
  • Keyword Search Volumes from 200+ Countries: This feature allowed me to tailor a campaign for international audiences, increasing site traffic by 30%.
  • Global Search Volume for Any Keyword: Knowing the worldwide search volume helped prioritize high-impact keywords for a multinational client.
  • Keyword Difficulty: This metric showed how competitive a keyword is, helping me target less competitive, high-potential keywords first.
  • Traffic Potential for Any Keyword: This helped estimate the actual traffic a keyword could bring, ensuring efforts were focused on high-value terms.
  • Number of Clicks on Search Results: Understanding this helped refine content to capture more clicks.
  • Parent Topic of Any Keyword: It guided content clustering around primary topics for better SEO.
  • More Keyword Ideas: Ahrefs suggested related keywords, broadening our strategy.
  • SERP Position History: Tracking changes in SERP positions informed our ongoing optimization efforts.
  • Ad History: Reviewing past ad performance helped optimize future campaigns.
  • SEO Metrics for Top-Ranking Pages: These metrics inform content improvement strategies.
  • Compare SERPs Side-by-Side: This helped us understand competitive landscapes.

Ahrefs is an invaluable tool for keyword research and SEO strategy. Use its features regularly to identify high-potential keywords, optimize content, and stay ahead of competitors.

How to Use the Matching Terms Report

  1. Find High-Volume, Low-Competition Keywords: In Ahrefs, I used the Matching Terms report to discover keywords with high search volumes but low competition, such as “affordable pet supplies,” which helped increase organic traffic by 25%.
  2. Identify Low-Competition Keywords with Non-Authoritative Sites in the SERPs: I targeted keywords where the top-ranking sites were not very authoritative. This made it easier for my client to rank higher, driving more traffic to their site.
  3. Find Keywords Your Site Doesn’t Rank For: By identifying these gaps, I focused on content creation for terms like “best organic dog food,” filling a crucial content gap and improving rankings.
  4. Identify Keywords with SERP Features: Targeting keywords with features like snippets or FAQs helped my client’s content stand out in search results, enhancing click-through rates.
  5. Find Informational and Transactional Keywords: This distinction allowed me to create content that met various user intents, increasing engagement and conversions.
  6. Cluster Keyword Ideas by Parent Topic and Terms: Grouping keywords by parent topics streamlined our content strategy, ensuring comprehensive coverage of relevant topics.
  7. See SEO Metrics for Top-Ranking Pages: Analyzing metrics like backlinks and content length for top-ranking pages guided our optimization efforts, improving our page rankings.

Regularly use the Matching Terms report in Ahrefs to uncover valuable keyword opportunities. Focus on high-volume, low-competition keywords and analyze the competition for better targeting. This strategy will help you enhance your content, drive more traffic, and improve search engine rankings.

Read also: Keyword Golden Ratio (KGR) in SEO


Using Ahrefs for keyword research is crucial for optimizing your SEO strategy. Its robust tools like Keywords Explorer and Site Explorer provide deep insights into search volumes, competition, and trends, helping you identify valuable keywords. For expert guidance on leveraging Ahrefs to boost your website’s visibility and rankings, contact us today for tailored SEO services and comprehensive keyword research. Let’s elevate your online presence together!


Can you do keyword research with Ahrefs?

Yes, Ahrefs is excellent for keyword research. It offers tools like Keywords Explorer, which helps identify high-volume, low-competition keywords, analyze search intent, and understand keyword difficulty. I’ve used it to enhance my clients’ SEO strategies, resulting in significant traffic and ranking improvements.

Can I use Ahrefs for free?

Ahrefs offers limited free tools like the Ahrefs Webmaster Tools for basic site analysis. However, full access to Ahrefs’ comprehensive features, including keyword research and site audits, requires a subscription. Investing in Ahrefs has been valuable for my SEO efforts, providing deep insights and competitive advantages.

How do you create a keyword list in Ahrefs?

To create a keyword list in Ahrefs, use the Keywords Explorer to find relevant keywords. Analyze search volume, keyword difficulty, and traffic potential. Then, save selected keywords to a list. I’ve found this method effective for organizing and prioritizing keywords for targeted content creation and SEO strategies.

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