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SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool Tutorial

The SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool is a powerful resource for keyword research. This tutorial shows you how to search SEMrush's database of 15 billion keywords to discover the most valuable keywords for your SEM and SEO campaigns.

Table of Contents

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is the process of researching search terms that people enter into search engines for the purpose of identifying target keywords that can be leveraged to generate website traffic. Keyword research is a foundational component of all digital marketing strategies.

Keyword research is used to identify target keywords for both organic and paid search campaigns. In the case of organic search, or SEO, the business would use the insights from keyword research to guide the creation and refinement of its digital content. For paid search, the business would use the identified keywords to create paid search campaigns, most commonly through Google Ads.

Why is keyword research difficult?

The two major challenges of keyword research are:

  • the different pieces of information that must be known about each keyword to make intelligent online marketing decisions, and
  • the extremely high volume of keywords that could theoretically be used to search for a given subject.

What is SEMrush?

SEMrush is the best mid-level search software tool for keyword research, position tracking, competitive analysis, and more. In this tutorial, we'll provide an in-depth explanation on how to use SEMrush for keyword research.

Click here to read SoftwarePundit's full review of SEMrush.

How does SEMrush get its data?

SEMrush has one of the largest databases of online search information in the world. It's three primary data sources are Google's API, Google's search results pages, and privately purchased third-party search data. At the beginning of each month, SEMrush performs a search for the top 160 million keywords and records the first ten pages of results. Here's a Facebook video from SEMrush about its data collection practices.

SEMrush maintains a unique database for 142 countries with critical information on 15 billion search keywords. The United States keyword database has over 2 billion keywords. Here's a list of SEMrush's top 10 keyword databases by volume:

SEMrush Top 10 Keyword Databases

What is the SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool?

The Keyword Magic Tool is the most powerful keyword research tool on SEMrush. The software leverages SEMrush's proprietary keyword database with valuable information on 15 billion keywords to save you time researching and identifying highly promising keywords for your SEO and SEM campaigns. Here's what the Keyword Magic Tool looks like on desktop for the search term "black shoes":

SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool

Why is the Keyword Magic Tool valuable?

Remember the two challenges with keyword research that we identified above? The Keyword Magic tool solves both issues to save you hours during keyword research.

Using its database, SEMrush instantly returns the following information for each keyword. This is the data you need to identify high-value, low-cost keywords that will make your online marketing campaigns successful:

  • Search volume
  • Keyword difficulty
  • Competitive density
  • SERP features present on each keyword’s results page
  • Cost-per-click estimates

In addition, the SEMrush database understands the keywords that are semantically related to each other. If you search a target keyword (e.g. "black shoes"), SEMrush's Keyword Magic Tool automatically returns all semantically related keywords and the corresponding information above. This keyword discovery feature is the tool's single largest time-saving feature. The Keyword Magic Tool also categorizes the keywords into subjects to help you discover ad groups.

SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool Tutorial

This tutorial walks through how to use the SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool for both paid search campaigns and search engine optimization (SEO).

How to use the Keyword Magic Tool for Paid Search Campaigns

The Keyword Magic Tool is great for collecting data on individual search keywords as well as identifying ad groups. Additionally, the Keyword Magic Tool integrates directly with other valuable SEMrush tools for further analysis or exporting into Microsoft Excel and Google Ads.

Step 1: Determine the topic of your campaign

The first (and only) thing you'll need to do before using the Keyword Magic Tool is to determine your campaign topic and root keyword. Your root keyword is the keyword you'll enter into the tool to generate your list of keyword targets. If your business is an online men's shoe store, your root keyword could be "men's shoes".

Step 2: Enter your root keyword into the SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool

Next you visit the Keyword Magic Tool and enter your root keyword. Below you can see the box where we've entered "mens shoes".

SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool Men's Shoes

Step 3: Set advanced filters to eliminate poor keywords

With your single keyword, you now have a list of 214,265 related keywords to choose from. To help narrow the list to the most promising keywords, let's add a few advanced filters.

  • Only select keywords with over 100 monthly searches
  • Only select keywords with cost-per-click (CPC) under $1.25
  • Only select keywords with keyword difficulty under 80%
SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool advanced filters

Step 4: Identify groups of keywords to combine into Ad Groups

The next step is to look for themes in the results to identify groups of keywords that you can eventually upload into Google Ads as Ad Groups. For example, for "men's shoes" we notice the following categories:

  • [brand name] men's shoes (e.g. Adidas men's shoes)
  • [shoe type] men's shoes (e.g. men's tennis shoes)
  • [color] men's shoes (e.g. blue men's shoes)
  • [size] men's shoes (e.g. size 12 men's shoes)

Step 5: Save promising keywords to the SEMrush Keyword Analyzer Tool

Now we've narrowed our keyword list down to the most promising 1,145 keywords. The next step is to identify the keywords we want to target and save them to SEMrush's Keyword Analyzer tool. We recommend sorting the keywords by volume, going through the overall keyword list, and then going through each keyword category. As you do this, you simply select the keywords you want to include in your campaign, and then click "Add to KA".

Here's a screenshot of the selected keywords and the location of the "Add to KA" button:

SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool add to Keyword Analyzer

Step 6: Export keywords to SEMrush's PPC Keyword Tool or directly into Google Ads

The Keyword Analyzer Tool is a repository for your keywords of interest. You can save keywords here and return back to view the most recent information for each keyword. Depending on your preference, you can export keywords from this report into either the SEMrush PPC Keyword Tool or in a CSV for uploading directly into Google Ads.

If you export the keywords into a CSV, this is a good place to do a final check to filter for any unwanted keywords, and to refine your keyword groups. Here's what the CSV export from SEMrush looks like in Microsoft Excel:

SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool CSV export

Step 7: Run your Google Ads campaign

That's it! You've now gone from a single root keyword to identifying target keywords and keyword groups. The last step is uploading the keywords into Google Ads, creating your paid search ads, setting bid targets and launching your campaign. Don't forget all the SEM basics, like adding negative keywords and setting the appropriate geographical targets.

If you are interested to learn how you can use SEMrush's PPC Keyword Tool to identify even more keywords and further refine your keyword list, check out this article from SEMrush .

You can also explore the Keyword Magic Tool on SEMrush's website..

How to use the Keyword Magic Tool for SEO

The Keyword Magic Tool helps ensure that your content includes the most promising SEO keywords. While synonymous keywords might seem the same to you, the reality is that one term might be used far more commonly on the Internet.

Whether you're refining the title tag or meta description of the main pages of your website, or determining which keywords to include in a new piece of blog content, the following process will work for you.

Step 1: Write down 3 to 5 potential titles for your content

The URL and title of your digital content are more important SEO factors than H1s, H2s and paragraph copy. As a result, you'll want to make sure you include relevant, high-volume keywords in your page's URL and title.

The first step in using the Keyword Magic Tool for SEO is to write down potential titles for your content. For example, a guide about SEMrush could have many titles. Here's a few examples of what we could title a SEMrush guide:

  • SEMrush review
  • How to use SEMrush
  • SEMrush guide

Step 2: Use the Keyword Magic Tool to identify the title with the highest search volume and least competition

The next step is to enter your potential content titles into the SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool and analyze the corresponding keyword information. Here is the Keyword Magic Tool data for the titles we wrote down in step 1.

  • SEMrush review: 320 monthly searches with keyword difficulty of 65% and CPC of $13.14.
  • How to use SEMrush: 110 monthly searches with keyword difficulty of 75% and CPC of $12.88.
  • SEMrush guide: 70 monthly searches with keyword difficulty of 56% and CPC of $19.80.

As you can see, SEMrush review is a more promising title than SEMrush guide based upon search volume and expected cost-per-click. As a result, we'll use that as the title of our content.

Step 3: Identify and save all high-value keywords to the Keyword Analyzer Tool for use throughout your content

After you've locked in your title, you'll want to identify many other related keywords to include in your content. This includes your H1, H2s and key phrases to include in paragraph copy. You can enter various search terms into the Keyword Magic Tool and then save promising related keywords to SEMrush's Keyword Analyzer Tool.

Here's a list of keywords that we saved for our SEMrush review. We'll keep this list nearby while writing our SEMrush review to ensure that we include a good blend of the most attractive keywords:

SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool Target Keywords


We hope this SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool tutorial provided a helpful overview of the SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool as well as how it can be used to improve your paid search and SEO efforts. SEMrush is a popular tool that creates value by combining a robust keyword database of 15 billion keywords with an easy-to-use application interface. If you're interested in learning more about SEMrush, you can read SoftwarePundit's full review of SEMrush.

Bruce Hogan

Bruce Hogan is Co-founder & CEO of SoftwarePundit. He leads the team's research and publishes content about software products and trends. Bruce has experience investing at multi-billion dollar private equity firms, leading teams at venture-backed technology companies, and launching new businesses. You can connect with Bruce on LinkedIn.

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