How to use the Organic Keywords report
In this report, we show the organic keywords for which any domain, URL, subdomain (e.g., blog.domain.com) or subfolder (e.g., domain.com/blog/) ranks. Use the drop-down to select your preferred mode.
Below are some actionable ways to use this report.
See competitors’ top keywords
Find out which keywords are sending your competitors the most organic traffic.
If competitors are getting lots of traffic from specific keywords, these may be worth targeting too.
For example, if we were MailChimp and wanted to see which keywords send the most traffic to ActiveCampaign, we can do precisely that.
The report is sorted by Traffic in descending order by default. You can sort by any of the other columns should you wish.
Want to exclude branded keywords? Use the exclude feature.
For example, we could exclude the words “active” and “activecampaign” from the report above to see cleaner, more insightful data.
See keyword rankings for over 200 countries
By default, the Organic Keywords report shows keyword rankings in the country for which the target has the most top 100 rankings.
Pick a country from the dropdown to see all rankings in almost any other country.
See competitors’ low difficulty keywords
Set the Volume filter to a minimum of 500 and the KD filter to a maximum of 10.
Here’s a promising keyword opportunity I found in seconds from a paleo blog:
Dig deeper into the real potential of competitors’ keywords
Click on the “SERP” dropdown to the first page of the search results for the keyword, along with important SEO metrics.
With this, you can see the following SEO metrics for each of the top 10 pages:
- Number of backlinks
- Number of referring domains;
- Estimated monthly organic traffic in the target country;
- Number of keywords it's ranking for in the target country;
- The keyword that sends the most organic traffic in the target country;
- Search volume for the “top keyword” in the target country.
This allows you to quickly assess the top-ranking pages and understand why these pages are ranking where they are.
Look at the traffic to the top-ranking pages to get a sense of how much traffic potential there is for this topic.
See competitors’ keyword rankings over time
If you see that a competitor is ranking in the top spot for a particular keyword, you may be curious as to how long they’ve held that position. Did they only recently start ranking here, or have they been top dog for a while?
To find out, hit the graph icon next to any keyword.
For example, we can see above that Moz’s “Beginners Guide to SEO “has been ranking in the top 5 for “SEO” for years.
However, this graph doesn’t only show historic rankings for the current top ranking page, but also for any of the target’s other pages that we’ve seen ranking for that keyword.
Want to compare one competitor’s keyword rankings to another? You can do that for up to 5 domains.
These graphs are useful for understanding whether you’re likely to be able to beat a competitor in the SERPs.
If they’ve held the spot long-term, they may be more difficult to beat.
See low-hanging traffic opportunities on your website
Not only can the Organic Keywords report be used to look at the keywords for which a competitor ranks, but it can also be used to see the keywords for which you rank.
And with a few filters, it’s easy to discover low-hanging traffic opportunities.
How so? It’s well-known that the click-through rate for first-page rankings tends to drop sharply.
Therefore, an often easy way to get more traffic is to:
- Find the high-volume keywords for which you currently rank in positions 3–7
- Make an effort to improve rankings for said keywords by 1–2 spots
You can use the position and volume filters to find keywords that fit the bill:
If you then check the SERP Overview for any matching keywords and look at the estimated search traffic to the pages that rank 1–2 positions above you, you can start to get a sense of how much more traffic you could have if you were to increase rankings only marginally.
For example, we currently rank #7 for “https” at the time of writing:
That gets us an estimated 7,023 visits per month from the US alone.
However, you can see that the page ranking just one spot higher gets around 2,000 more visits per month.
Check out this video to learn how to do keyword research:
Or read some of the articles on the Ahrefs blog:
Module 1: Dashboard
Module 2: Site Explorer
Module 3: Keywords Explorer
Module 4: Site Audit
Module 5: Rank Tracker
Module 6: Content Explorer
Module 7: Alerts