SEMRush Tutorial: How to Use the Topic Research Tool

Struggling to come up with content ideas that gets you new leads for your business? Or maybe you wish there was just a way that you could figure out what has already worked in your space so that you can create the content that your audience will love. In this article, I’m about to show you the SEMRush Topic Research Tool. By the end of this article, you’re going to learn what it is, how to use it and how to apply it to your content marketing strategy.

What is the SEMRush Topic Research Tool?

Well, it’s another helpful digital marketing tool brought to you by SEMRush that essentially outlines what sort of topics are going to resonate with your audience, regardless of whatever niche you are in. What it does is, it isolates for what the most popular pieces have been in your particular niche over the course of time on Google and then aggregates these topic ideas to you.

So, this is a great way for you to figure out what’s going to stick and what sort of pieces you should prioritize near the top of your content marketing strategy.

One of the best parts about the Topic Research Tool is that it actually is able to identify potential trending topics in your space. So for example, in the education space, the last few months, there’s been a lot of talk about remote learning. And so, that topic actually shows up as something that you would want to write about if you search for education.

Another cool thing is that the tool makes it really easy for you to look at things based off of what they call topic efficiency. So, this is looking at things like how relevant the topic is, how difficult it is. Now that we understand what the Topic Research Tool is, let’s shift gears to jump into how we might use this tool in our content marketing.

How to Use the Topic Research Tool?

The first thing that we’re going to need to do is to log into SEMRush. If you don’t already have an SEMRush account, I’ve partnered with them to get you a trial account that’s double the length of the standard trial. So, just use the link here to check it out.

Once we’ve logged into SEMRush, what we’re going to want to do is we’re going to want to navigate to the left hand side panel and look for the Topic Research Tool. From here, all we need to do is input the topic that we want to write about.

For the sake of this tutorial, we’re going to use the example of a fitness coach and look into what a fitness coach might want to create content around. So, as I do this, I’m just going to select fitness coach and it’s going to output these results.

Immediately what you’ll notice is that at the top of the screen, you have options like personal trainer, weight loss, meal plan, and online nutrition coach. So, these are things that the Topic Research Tool finds has a high topic of efficiency. In other words, it’s probably highly correlated to the term of fitness coaching.

Whereas when we scroll down in the page, what we’ll notice is that there are things that are lower in what SEMRush calls, topic efficiency. So, there’s things like size, fits, Ll work. There’s things like, reaching your goals and these are low topic efficiency because they are very unlikely to be as closely related as some of the things at the top to fitness coaching.

And that makes sense because a personal trainer or discussing weight loss or meal plans are really closely related to fitness coaching when you think about it versus something like size fits or something like reaching your goals. While it could still be related to the topic, it’s not as highly related as those first few options.

If we open up one of these cards, we can start to get a ton of new content ideas right off the bat. So, let’s go ahead and do that. One of the cool things about this tool is that SEMRush allows you to filter by types of questions. And if you’ve read my prior articles on content marketing, you know the importance of answering these inquiry-based queries, when it comes to building up your presence and your authority in whatever space you’re in.

So, as I open up this card for personal trainer, you can see on the right hand side, how there are all of these potential question ideas for this particular topic area. There’s things like does online personal training work? Why or why not? Do online personal trainers work again? Those are the same similar questions.

We can also filter it by the who, what, where, when, why, and how questions. So you can see here as I select how it filters out all of the, how questions related to personal trainers. Things like how much does it cost to become a fitness coach, how much should you pay for a fitness trainer and so on. So, what you can tell is that this takes some of the guesswork out of trying to figure out what commonly asked questions your potential prospect or customer might be asking and putting into Google.

As we go further down the rabbit hole, we can see that as we shift gears to the what section there are questions, like, what is the best method for choosing a personal trainer or what is personal fitness training? The reason why these sorts of questions would be a great piece is to create content about if we were a fitness coach is because they directly help answer and educate a commonly asked question that our prospects are probably already asking us.

They’re probably asking us questions like, what do you do differently than every other fitness in the industry? Or they’re asking you questions like, how much can I expect to be spending with you if I’m working with you for five sessions versus 10 sessions and so on. Let’s go ahead and shift gears and open up another card and look at what we might come up with when it comes to content ideas around weight loss.

So, what I’m going to do here is I’m just going to go to the next card. And as I open that up again, I’m going to navigate to the questions view. And here we can see some commonly asked questions of people in this particular space. So, let’s take a look at the, what questions. Here you can see that there are questions like, what is the best weightlifting routine for weight loss, what is the best type of exercise for weight loss and so on.

So, if we were that fitness coach, we might want to create a comprehensive post that answer this question of what is the best way weight lifting routine for losing weight. And then as we shift gears to the how questions you can see that there’s a question like, how many days should I work out to lose weight. And this could be a potentially great piece of content that you can create as a blog post, and then convert that into a video where you’re talking more at length about the topic. And then finally repurpose that video into a short one minute video that’s a teaser video that can be used on Instagram.

If you haven’t already checked out my article on repurposing content, be sure to check that out because I go over some of these tips and tricks that I love to use when it comes to stretching your content further.

What you can tell from this, is that without any critical thinking whatsoever, we’ve already come up with a ton of new potential content ideas just from using the Topic Research Tool. We could definitely do a more in depth analysis of the volume and difficulty of these particular long tail phrases. But what I like to do is I like to you use this topic research tool to come up with a ton of ideas and then filter them through to see what will actually stick and what I should actually create content on.

One of the cool things about the Topic Research Tool is the power of the different views in case you don’t like to just use the cards view. If we shift gears, for example, to the explorer view, this is a great way for you to look at how other people have engaged with the content in your space in the past, and try to identify the most popular sorts of content.

So for example, I can filter things based off of total shares the backlinks, as well as the Facebook engagement of these particular past pieces. What I can also do is I can also just prioritize, just looking at trending subtopics first, if I were to turn back on. If I don’t like the Explorer view, there’s still more for me to get out of this tool.

For example, I can shift gears to the overview view and what this is is this is a great high level overview of some of the most commonly used headlines as well as the interesting questions that have been posed in the past in the particular space that I’ve searched for.

Aside from the headlines and the interesting questions, another cool part about this view is that it actually shows you to some related searches that are commonly used with this particular query that you first input. So, you can see here that people often search for things related to private weight loss coach near me, or fitness coach versus personal trainer and so on.

So, these are the sorts of long tail phrases that you might not necessarily have initially thought of with the idea of fitness coaching that now come up because the Topic Research Tool helped you find it.

The last few in case you don’t like this view in terms of the overview view is the mind map view. And the reason why I like the mind map view is because it gives you a visualization of how everything comes together to that first query that you put in for fitness coaching. So, you can see here that there are some headlines, again, as well as the questions. It’s very similar in terms of the core data. However, you now see it in a visual format as opposed to the card format or the list format that we saw in the earlier views.

Brainstorm and prioritize new content opportunities

Now let’s talk about how we can prioritize and brainstorm some new content opportunities based off of what we found in the Topic Research Tool. Just like when we use the Keyword Gap Tool in the prior article, our next step is to make sure that we’re actually taking these content ideas that we’ve come up with and we’re piecing them together into meaningful content for our audience.

I always love creating ultimate resources and from my past experiences, people love it too. And so, here’s some ideas that I came up with just doing some spitballing. We could create a resource like 10 questions that new clients are always asking fitness coaches. It could come from the lens of us as a fitness coach, just trying to help answer some of the commonly asked questions around those things like, how much does it cost for a fitness coach. We also might come up with a piece like, Should you use a personal trainer: Eight questions to ask yourself.

So, with a piece like this, we’re trying to educate our prospect a little bit more before they fill out that lead form for us to talk to them about our services. We also might create something like seven easy exercises to incorporate into your weight loss journey. So, with a piece like this, we’re simply trying to get our audience to get motivated and actually take action towards achieving their weight loss goals. And maybe from trying out these resources, they start to get some results and they want to turbocharge those results with our fitness coaching services.

Lastly, we might come up with something like the ultimate daily 20 minute weight loss routine. And again, this is like our last piece in which we’re trying to get our prospective customer to start taking action towards achieving their fitness goals.

What I want you to notice is that I’m taking these core questions that came up in the Topic Research Tool and thinking about how to create engaging content that helps answer these questions for my prospective customers. If I didn’t want to be creative, something else I could do is I could create the ultimate FAQ guide to fitness coaches. So this could just answer it every single question that I think was relevant from the Topic Research Tool for my perspective customer.

In this case though, I wanted to show you how you could apply the questions that came up in the Topic Research Tool to more engaging content pieces that I know that customers would appreciate.

The one key question to ask yourself as you’re brainstorming these ideas is what sort of content would I want to engage with if I were my potential customer?

Big takeaways

There are two things I want you to remember from this article:

  1. The first one is that the Topic Research Tool by SEMRush is one of the easiest ways to take the guesswork out of creating content that your audience will want to engage with.
  2. The second thing is just like the Keyword Gap Tool, the most important step of using the Topic Research Tool is actually brainstorming and prioritizing what content pieces to create next for your audience. It’s one thing to do the research, but the next stage is to actually create the content that your audience will love.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out my YouTube channel to get new videos every single week I’ll help take you from zero to self-starter as you grow your business, get more customers, and hone your business acumen. Share this with anybody that you know, that might benefit from learning more about how SEMRush works and this particular tool within it.