Ahref Tutorial: How to Use Keywords Explorer for Beginners

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer tool can be a really powerful tool to add to your SEO arsenal if you know how to use it. So in today’s article, we’re going to be digging into exactly how to make the most of the Keyword Explorer tool when it comes to doing your initial keyword research. By the end of this article, you’re going to have some tips and tricks that you can apply when you start to do your own keyword research so that you can start getting a headstart in ranking on page one for Google.

So the first thing we’re going to do today is we’re going to actually use another tool called AnswerSocrates, which is a free tool that you can use to search a high-level phrase, and then get all of the related phrases around that particular topic that you input.

So in this case, I’m going to pretend that I’m running a website around wallets. Let’s type in wallet into AnswerSocrates so that we can take a look at some of the high level results that might be coming out of my search. So you can see stuff like how much is a smart wallet, what’s the best wallet to buy. To be honest, I didn’t even know that a smart wallet existed. So apparently those are a thing now.

I’ll see other things like the common questions asked and things like that. And I’ll also probably see things around the phrases of things that might be interesting to me. So what you’ll see is maybe I wanted to create some sort of content around a wallet money clip. So I’m going to go ahead and take this phrase here, and what I could also do is I could export this from AnswerSocrates, but because we’re working quickly through this example here today, I’m just going to take that example of the wallet money clips so we can take a look at what the overview for this phrase is.

So when I do that, I can see a few things right off the bat. And that takes us to the first section that we want to go over today.

Overview Tab

In the overview section, this is where you’re going to see things like the keyword difficulty as well as the volume, as well as similar keywords related to this phrase. So what I like to look at here is I like to find a phrase that is pretty low in keyword difficulty. 16 in my opinion, is actually pretty easy to rank for, even though Ahrefs says that it’s medium.

The reason why I say this is just because from my past experience, what I’ve found is a lot of times these sites will overestimate how much domain authority really needs to actually rank for a term, if you are able to make really good content for that particular phrase.

So in this case, 16 is really good to me. I also like that the volume is 350 in a month. What you typically want to look for is something with at least 50 or so in volume and then upwards of a couple hundred or so in terms of monthly traffic.

The reason why I suggest this is because generally speaking, the people that are watching my channel are starting newer sites and so it’s a little bit harder for you to rank for phrases that get thousands of searches right out of the gate. You typically need to build up a lot more of your domain authority, show Google that you have a lot of authority in the space that you’re writing about before they’ll actually give you those placements for those keywords.

But right off the bat, I really like what I see in terms of the 350 volume. And what you’ll see is that for the global volume. So for all the search phrases, not just in the US, you’ll need to see that the global volume is 500, which is another really good thing to see.

What I like to look at when I am in this overview tab is to look at things like the keywords idea section. And this will often overlap with the sorts of phrases that you would find in a free tool like Answer Socrates. But the reason why this is going to be super powerful is because of the second section in the Keyword Explorer, in which we’re going to be able to do some deep dives into these sorts of topics that are related to the phrase that we input.

So in this case, we have money clip wallet, but you’ll notice that there’s actually a terms match here, and if we go ahead and click that, we can actually see another related phrase around money clip wallet, and you can see how this phrase has a lot more volume. 7,900 it’s monthly searches in the us, and you’ll also see that the keyword difficulty is medium and whatnot, and you can see different things around the overall phrase that you’re looking for.

So whenever you’re starting on your keyword research, I always recommend just searching a few phrases right out of the gate. That way you can get a high level overview of what’s going on and in the particular topic that you’re interested in. And then from there, you can then dig more deeply into the keyword ideas.

Keywords Idea

So let’s, let’s go ahead and take a look at the keywords ideas section. This is really helpful, and what you can do is you can click view all. And then from here, you’re going to be taken to the matching terms section. And the matching term section is really helpful because this essentially is going to give you an overview of phrases that really closely matched the particular phrase that you are looking for.

So in this case, I have money clip wallet, and so what you can see is you can see all the phrases that might have some sort of derivative phrase that’s really close to my original phrase on money clip wallet and what I can do is I can actually sift through these results to look for the phrase that that would be much easier for me to rank for as a newer site.

So something that you’ve probably seen me suggest in my past SEMrush tutorials, as well as more recently in my Ahrefs beginner’s tutorial is that you always should run filters through the results here. So I would typically search for something like zero to forty. So I’ll go ahead and search for that. I’ll search for something with at least 50 volume and maybe cap it at 500 and then I’ll probably look for something with at least a word count of three or more.

And the reason why I typically go after these three or more phrases is because I find that these long-tail phrases are much easier to rank for right out of the gate versus going for something that just has one word or two keywords in the actual phrase itself. So what you can see here is I’ve actually gone into the long tail side of things, and I can see that there are phrases like designer money clip wallet, bi-fold wallet with money, clip, leather wallet with money clips, slim wallet with money clips and so on. So these are all some potential great phrases. And you’ll also notice exactly what the parent topic that Ahrefs is classifying this particular keyword with.

So as I’m working my way through these results, what I’m thinking about is what sort of content could be interesting to the reader around these sorts of topics. Well, if I were to think for a second, I probably think that most of these phrases are things around buying intent. So I probably would be wondering like, what is the best designer money clip wallet, or what’s the best bi-fold wallet with money clip and so on. And so if I were to actually think about this sort of content, I’d probably go for a best of approach right out of the gate, but what I’d also look for is some potential questions that people are asking around these particular phrases. That way we could fulfill the full intent of somebody that’s searching for this particular phrase.

So whenever you’re working through this, what I want you to do is I want you to look at not just the terms themselves, but what they’re actually being grouped into. So for example I can filter for just the things related to best. And you can see that from this, I would get a potential content idea of creating something on the best money clip wallet for the year 2022 or something like that.

And then what you’ll also notice as you’ll notice things around leather. So if I dig into this section, you can see how there are searches around leather wallets with money clips as well as some other derivative phrases, they’re all kind of tangentially related as well as even things like what a custom leather money clip wallet might look like.

And so these are the things that I want to look for as I’m working my way through these search results in which I’m looking for low, low keyword difficulty phrases that have meaningful volume, because if I were to just place in page one for maybe this phrase with 250 monthly volume, then what that could mean, what would be at least, you know, a handful of them is it’s probably 25 to 50 or so far to place number one in terms of a regular month of traffic and a regular flow of traffic. So if you can imagine just with me for a second, that you were to create 10 pages of these and rank for the top five or so spots of each of those potential pages that you created that traffic really starts to add up for your website.

Another thing that I like to do is I like to go into the parent topic section and the reason why I like this is because it will actually look at some of the groupings that Ahrefs has in mind for the phrase that I’m looking for. So you can see here men’s wallet with money clip is a really popular one, and in the case where there’s something like 800 volume, what I’m thinking about as I’m working through this Keywords Explorer section is I’m thinking about what sort of content could I create around this particular topic. So something I’d like to do is I like to combine this with actually just a Google search as well.

So what I’ll do is I’ll actually copy this and I’ll go ahead and I’ll open up a window. And I’m just going to go ahead and search this in Incognito. That way, my own search results do not impact the results that it’s going to outperform me. And then what I look for is I’ll look for the sort of search results I’m looking at here, and I’ll see that I it’s a lot of buying intent pages. So you can see that Amazon is ranking really well. You’ll see Etsy is ranking really well, but you’ll see that there’s actually long form content that’s being created around these phrases. So you can see WornSimple created a post on the 14 best money clips for men.

So I can actually take a look here. This is a website that probably tackles a lot of stuff around watches, shoes, accessories, things like that. So this is a classic affiliate website. And you can tell just because in that bottom left corner there, you can see that affiliate link that’s coming in for WornSimple 20.

And so this is something in which clearly these guys know the same thing in which this is a phrase that was pretty low in keyword difficulty, you could rank pretty well for it. And so they’ve gone ahead and gone after this phrase. But what’s also a great telltale sign in terms of this overall topic idea I have is that the balance has created a post on this.

So just for context in case you didn’t know, the balance is part of dot dash, I believe in which is a massive conglomerate that runs a ton of satellite websites that all cover some sort of different topic. And they cover a ton of different informational content, but they also create a ton of long form content like this in which they go after best of phrases.

And the reason why is because they get a lot of money from just referring people to these different products. And so, what you’ll see here is that the balance has actually created a post around this particular phrase. So this is something that really validates that this space is open for the taking. And the reason why I say that though, is because the balance covers a ton of topics, but because they cover a ton of topics, if you were to just create a website that specifically hones in on this particular niche around wallets, you could very easily potentially outrank the balance as well.

I have outranked the balance before, just because of the sites that I’m building being so heavy in their authority around the particular phrase that you can actually overtake these broader sites that cover a ton of different topics. So that’s what I’m looking at when I’m going through the parent topic section, as well as the matching terms section. What is also really important though, is to take a look at the related term section, because that can give you some other great ideas aside from the one that you originally had.

So as I go into the related term section, what I’m going to see is I’m going to see phrases that Ahrefs thinks are really similar to the phrase that I started with. So I started with money clip wallet, and you can see how there are different things like money clips, men’s designer wallets. That’s a more general phrase with more volume coming in, and you’ll also see different things like Macy’s money clip, a cash clip, and so on.

Even misspellings like mini clips and whatnot. Mini clip was that great website when we were all kids playing those flash games. Leave me a comment below if you played that in the past. That was a big call back for me.

So what you’ll notice though, as you work your way through the Keywords Explorer is there’s a ton of reach data in here, right? And so what I recommend you do is you run through a few of the different parameters that I’ve recommended before, and which you limit things based on keyword difficulty. You’ve cut things based on volume. Maybe you’ll go even lower in volume, just as you’re starting out in your website. Take your wordcount to at least three or more, and then potentially consider adding some SERP features as well. So SERP features can be a great way for you to actually look at what would get you that top ranking even faster, because if you can fulfill the intent of people also ask or featured snippets, Google will actually place you at the very top.

And the reason why that’s really powerful is because you might not necessarily even have the best possible post on the particular topic, but you might’ve just answered that particular section really well. And so when you are able to search for SERP features, based off of people also ask as well as featured snippets, you’ll see that there are people actually searching for things like what is the best money clip credit card holder, and so on.

So these are the long tail phrases that are going to have a ton of intent. And so if you were to just rank in the top spots for these, what you’re going to find is you’re going to find that a lot of the people have high intent as well. In other words, they have a high inclination to buy something from when they search for this.

So these are the sorts of the things that I am working through as I work through the related term section. And this is what I want you to always follow when it comes to your process of using the Keywords Explorer tool. Start with a seed phrase, which is just the overall term that you want to look at, dig into the actual matching terms as well as the related terms, and then you can even look for things like the search suggestions.

So the search suggestions is just going to give you some other auxiliary words and then what you’re going to see other phrases that you might add to your content calendar that you didn’t think about before. The reason why this is really helpful as an overall tool is because it’s actually really similar to the SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool.

Essentially what this is just going to give you is it’s going to give you a backlog of ideas where you can either just select the ones that might be interesting to you, and then add it to a keyword list of yours, or you can just export all these results and then run it quick analysis in Excel for which ones might be the highest potential.

I always recommend that you actually run these sorts of results against another tool. So for example, you might’ve seen me use Keywords Everywhere in the past. They have a bulk importer where you can actually export all these results and then put it into your own Keywords Everywhere so that you can see specifically if, whether or not the results matched that of Ahrefs.

But essentially the goal here is for you to come up with maybe 15 to 20 good ideas right out of the gate. And then from there maybe create a backlog of another 80 or so keyword phrases. That way you can then start to form your content strategy. Once you have your keywords in place, you’ll start to group them into clusters, and then from the clusters, you’ll be able to think about what content to create that would fulfill the intent of all of these things that you’re creating content around. And that’s how you really start to build up the authority in your website. When you’re able to do some proper keyword research, tackle the intent of those phrases and then create some awesome content for your reader from there.

Traffic Share

What I’ll typically do from here is the last thing I’ll do in the Keywords Explorer section is I will look by the traffic share. So typically speaking, what this will tell me is it will typically tell me the type of intent around the keyword phrase. So in this case, what I’ll notice is that there are things like amazon.com ranking really well. Fossil, WornSimple was doing really well.

Notice how the balance was doing well. We looked at both of those search results, and what I’ll typically look at it from there is I actually sometimes dig into these websites to see specifically what they’re doing really well. Because what that’ll tell me as well is it’ll tell me specifically more information about the particular niche that I’m entering or thinking about entering.

This example has largely been driven by buying intent keyword research, but you can use the same approach for questions as well. So informational content is really easy to create for as well. All you need to do often is just search the key phrase that you’re looking for is, for example, wallet. And then you can actually look through things like the people also ask section in Google. So for example, I can just go ahead and pull up an Incognito window and then I’ll search for a wallet. And then I’ll show you what that section looks like.

You see it, see this what’s the best wallet to buy, why it’s so expensive. Probably I want to be a little bit more grammatically correct there. What are three types of wallets? What are wallets good for? These are all potential phrases that you would create content for because you get your chance to potentialy earn that featured snippet, which these sites have right now, which is probably giving them a ton of traffic. And the reason why I know that is because I’ve gone after these featured snippets before, and they account for the bulk of the traffic for my websites.

So just something to keep in mind is you don’t only need to just use the Keywords Explorer for buying intent keywords. You can use it for any keyword research. It can be helpful for you when it comes to digging deeply into your particular niche in mind. So remember the most important thing is start with a high level phrase, dig deeply into the matching terms, related terms, people also ask sections. And then from there curate a list of maybe 20 or so keywords and then create a backlog of maybe 80 or so more keywords for later, and then start forming your content strategy so that you can create the content that your readers are potentially going to want to reap.

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