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How to Find a Website’s Keywords (Organic & Paid)

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How to Find a Website’s Keywords (Organic & Paid)

Contrary to some advice on the web, you won’t find a website’s keywords by viewing its HTML code or using the “find” function. You will need an SEO tool for that.

Dive in to see how to really find any website’s organic keywords (keywords that it ranks for in Google) and even paid keywords (keywords used to bid on Google Ads). 

How to find any website’s organic keywords (yours, your competitor’s, and everyone else’s)

As mentioned above, you need an SEO tool for the job. Here’s how to find any website’s keywords in seconds with Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. You can:

  1. Enter any website’s URL. Adjust the mode to see keywords for the entire domain, a path, or the exact URL.
  2. Hit search.
  3. Go to the Organic keywords report. And there you have it—all keywords the website ranks for in Google. 
Finding any website's organic keywords with Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Along with the keywords, Site Explorer will show you important SEO metrics like current position on the SERPs (search engine results pages), search volume, Keyword Difficulty (KD), and even the ranking history.

Position history chart for a keyword

You can also play around with filters to limit the scope of data. For example, you can view the keywords with low difficulty or look for a specific keyword. 

Looking for keywords including the word template

Where to go from here? Since you’ll likely discover a lot of keywords this way, it’s a good idea to learn how to choose the best ones for your website—and we’ve got a full guide on that.

How you WILL NOT find a website’s keywords

If you’re curious, here’s why you need a premium SEO tool. 

An old method for finding keywords was to view a page’s HTML code and look at these two parts of the code:

  • <meta name=”keywords”> This is where SEOs used to put their keywords back in the day to tell Google what the page is about (and hopefully rank for those terms). Hardly anybody uses that now, so you won’t find much information there.
  • <title> This determines the title of the page. This can be a hint as to what the page’s target keyword is as intended by the page’s creator. This means that a) the page may not rank for the keyword in the first 100 SERP results and b) you can see only one organic keyword (without any SEO data) one page at a time.

Another method is to use Google Keyword Planner. This solution is better but still not accurate. 

GKP will show you a mix of keyword ideas based on a page’s URL, where you will find:

  • Some organic keywords that the page ranks for, but you won’t know which. And you will likely get overestimated search volumes for whole groups of keywords instead of just one (learn more in our study).
  • Topically relevant keywords that Google suggests you could run ads for. So not organic keywords a page actually ranks for. 
GKP isn't the best choice for finding a website's keywords
Our article on keyword research doesn’t rank for most of these keywords. Also notice how every keyword reported by GKP has the same range of search volume.

Talking about keywords for search ads, let’s see how you can find those too. 

How to find any website’s paid keywords 

Some SEO tools allow you to see paid keywords (aka Google Ads keywords or Google AdWords). Here’s how you can use Site Explorer for that. You can:

  1. Enter any website’s URL. Again, simply adjust the mode to see keywords for the entire domain, a path, or the exact URL.
  2. Hit search.
  3. Go to the Paid keywords report. 
Finding paid keywords with Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Apart from keywords, this report shows you additional data like:

  • The cost of the keyword (CPC).
  • Search volume.
  • The estimated traffic a page gets from a given keyword.
  • The landing page for the keyword.
  • The ad for the keyword. 

And more. 

FAQ

How to find good keywords for SEO? 

There are a few methods for that: 

  • Look up your competitors’ keywords You can then try to rank for the same keywords or use them to find similar keywords. 
  • Use keyword research tools Keyword research tools uncover hundreds of keyword ideas, along with their SEO metrics, based on just one word or phrase. 
  • Study what topics resonate with your audience This way, you can discover untapped keywords, topics that you didn’t know about, or topics that are just beginning to trend. 

Learn how to use each method in Keyword Research: The Beginner’s Guide by Ahrefs

What is keyword difficulty? 

Keyword difficulty is an SEO metric that estimates how hard it would be to rank on the first page of Google for a given keyword. 

At Ahrefs, we measure it on a scale from 0 to 100 (the hardest), and it’s based on the estimated number of websites that link to the top 10 ranking pages. The more domains link to the top 10 pages, the more backlinks you’ll need to get to rank. 

KD for the word "chocolate"

That’s the basics. If you want to estimate your chances of ranking more accurately, you’ll need to count in a couple more factors, such as the authority of your website and whether you have the ability to match search intent. 

Learn more about the topic in Keyword Difficulty: How to Estimate Your Chances to Rank

How do I use keywords on my website? 

Try to choose one target keyword per page—this will be the topic of the page. You will still be able to rank for many other relevant keywords (no need for keyword stuffing). Then craft your content with these SEO good practices in mind: 

  • Be relevant by aligning your content with search intent (content type, format, and angle)
  • Be thorough by including common subtopics searchers expect to see
  • Include the keyword in the title 

Learn more about targeting keywords with content in On-Page SEO: The Beginner’s Guide.  

Keep learning 

Interested in learning more about SEO and keywords? Try our other guides:

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter



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State Of Marketing Data Standards In The AI Era [Webinar]

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State Of Marketing Data Standards In The AI Era [Webinar]

Claravine and Advertiser Perceptions surveyed 140 marketers and agencies to better understand the impact of data standards on marketing data, and they’re ready to present their findings.

Want to learn how you can mitigate privacy risks and boost ROI through data standards?

Watch this on-demand webinar and learn how companies are addressing new privacy laws, taking advantage of AI, and organizing their data to better capture the campaign data they need, as well as how you can implement these findings in your campaigns.

In this webinar, you will:

  • Gain a better understanding of how your marketing data management compares to enterprise advertisers.
  • Get an overview of the current state of data standards and analytics, and how marketers are managing risk while improving the ROI of their programs.
  • Walk away with tactics and best practices that you can use to improve your marketing data now.

Chris Comstock, Chief Growth Officer at Claravine, will show you the marketing data trends of top advertisers and the potential pitfalls that come with poor data standards.

Learn the key ways to level up your data strategy to pinpoint campaign success.

View the slides below or check out the full webinar for all the details.

Join Us For Our Next Webinar!

SaaS Marketing: Expert Paid Media Tips Backed By $150M In Ad Spend

Join us and learn a unique methodology for growth that has driven massive revenue at a lower cost for hundreds of SaaS brands. We’ll dive into case studies backed by real data from over $150 million in SaaS ad spend per year.

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GPT Store Set To Launch In 2024 After ‘Unexpected’ Delays

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GPT Store Set To Launch In 2024 After 'Unexpected' Delays

OpenAI shares its plans for the GPT Store, enhancements to GPT Builder tools, privacy improvements, and updates coming to ChatGPT.

  • OpenAI has scheduled the launch of the GPT Store for early next year, aligning with its ongoing commitment to developing advanced AI technologies.
  • The GPT Builder tools have received substantial updates, including a more intuitive configuration interface and improved file handling capabilities.
  • Anticipation builds for upcoming updates to ChatGPT, highlighting OpenAI’s responsiveness to community feedback and dedication to AI innovation.

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96.55% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. Here’s How to Be in the Other 3.45% [New Research for 2023]

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96.55% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. Here's How to Be in the Other 3.45% [New Research for 2023]

It’s no secret that the web is growing by millions, if not billions of pages per day.

Our Content Explorer tool discovers 10 million new pages every 24 hours while being very picky about the pages that qualify for inclusion. The “main” Ahrefs web crawler crawls that number of pages every two minutes. 

But how much of this content gets organic traffic from Google?

To find out, we took the entire database from our Content Explorer tool (around 14 billion pages) and studied how many pages get traffic from organic search and why.

How many web pages get organic search traffic?

96.55% of all pages in our index get zero traffic from Google, and 1.94% get between one and ten monthly visits.

Distribution of pages by traffic from Content Explorer

Before we move on to discussing why the vast majority of pages never get any search traffic from Google (and how to avoid being one of them), it’s important to address two discrepancies with the studied data:

  1. ~14 billion pages may seem like a huge number, but it’s not the most accurate representation of the entire web. Even compared to the size of Site Explorer’s index of 340.8 billion pages, our sample size for this study is quite small and somewhat biased towards the “quality side of the web.”
  2. Our search traffic numbers are estimates. Even though our database of ~651 million keywords in Site Explorer (where our estimates come from) is arguably the largest database of its kind, it doesn’t contain every possible thing people search for in Google. There’s a chance that some of these pages get search traffic from super long-tail keywords that are not popular enough to make it into our database.

That said, these two “inaccuracies” don’t change much in the grand scheme of things: the vast majority of published pages never rank in Google and never get any search traffic. 

But why is this, and how can you be a part of the minority that gets organic search traffic from Google?

Well, there are hundreds of SEO issues that may prevent your pages from ranking well in Google. But if we focus only on the most common scenarios, assuming the page is indexed, there are only three of them.

Reason 1: The topic has no search demand

If nobody is searching for your topic, you won’t get any search traffic—even if you rank #1.

For example, I recently Googled “pull sitemap into google sheets” and clicked the top-ranking page (which solved my problem in seconds, by the way). But if you plug that URL into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, you’ll see that it gets zero estimated organic search traffic:

The top-ranking page for this topic gets no traffic because there's no search demandThe top-ranking page for this topic gets no traffic because there's no search demand

This is because hardly anyone else is searching for this, as data from Keywords Explorer confirms:

Keyword data from Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer confirms that this topic has no search demandKeyword data from Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer confirms that this topic has no search demand

This is why it’s so important to do keyword research. You can’t just assume that people are searching for whatever you want to talk about. You need to check the data.

Our Traffic Potential (TP) metric in Keywords Explorer can help with this. It estimates how much organic search traffic the current top-ranking page for a keyword gets from all the queries it ranks for. This is a good indicator of the total search demand for a topic.

You’ll see this metric for every keyword in Keywords Explorer, and you can even filter for keywords that meet your minimum criteria (e.g., 500+ monthly traffic potential): 

Filtering for keywords with Traffic Potential (TP) in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerFiltering for keywords with Traffic Potential (TP) in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Reason 2: The page has no backlinks

Backlinks are one of Google’s top three ranking factors, so it probably comes as no surprise that there’s a clear correlation between the number of websites linking to a page and its traffic.

Pages with more referring domains get more trafficPages with more referring domains get more traffic
Pages with more referring domains get more traffic

Same goes for the correlation between a page’s traffic and keyword rankings:

Pages with more referring domains rank for more keywordsPages with more referring domains rank for more keywords
Pages with more referring domains rank for more keywords

Does any of this data prove that backlinks help you rank higher in Google?

No, because correlation does not imply causation. However, most SEO professionals will tell you that it’s almost impossible to rank on the first page for competitive keywords without backlinks—an observation that aligns with the data above.

The key word there is “competitive.” Plenty of pages get organic traffic while having no backlinks…

Pages with more referring domains get more trafficPages with more referring domains get more traffic
How much traffic pages with no backlinks get

… but from what I can tell, almost all of them are about low-competition topics.

For example, this lyrics page for a Neil Young song gets an estimated 162 monthly visits with no backlinks: 

Example of a page with traffic but no backlinks, via Ahrefs' Content ExplorerExample of a page with traffic but no backlinks, via Ahrefs' Content Explorer

But if we check the keywords it ranks for, they almost all have Keyword Difficulty (KD) scores in the single figures:

Some of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks forSome of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks for

It’s the same story for this page selling upholstered headboards:

Some of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks forSome of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks for

You might have noticed two other things about these pages:

  • Neither of them get that much traffic. This is pretty typical. Our index contains ~20 million pages with no referring domains, yet only 2,997 of them get more than 1K search visits per month. That’s roughly 1 in every 6,671 pages with no backlinks.
  • Both of the sites they’re on have high Domain Rating (DR) scores. This metric shows the relative strength of a website’s backlink profile. Stronger sites like these have more PageRank that they can pass to pages with internal links to help them rank. 

Bottom line? If you want your pages to get search traffic, you really only have two options:

  1. Target uncompetitive topics that you can rank for with few or no backlinks.
  2. Target competitive topics and build backlinks to rank.

If you want to find uncompetitive topics, try this:

  1. Enter a topic into Keywords Explorer
  2. Go to the Matching terms report
  3. Set the Keyword Difficulty (KD) filter to max. 20
  4. Set the Lowest DR filter to your site’s DR (this will show you keywords with at least one of the same or lower DR ranking in the top 5)
Filtering for low-competition keywords in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerFiltering for low-competition keywords in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

(Remember to keep an eye on the TP column to make sure they have traffic potential.)

To rank for more competitive topics, you’ll need to earn or build high-quality backlinks to your page. If you’re not sure how to do that, start with the guides below. Keep in mind that it’ll be practically impossible to get links unless your content adds something to the conversation. 

Reason 3. The page doesn’t match search intent

Google wants to give users the most relevant results for a query. That’s why the top organic results for “best yoga mat” are blog posts with recommendations, not product pages. 

It's obviously what searchers want when they search for "best yoga mats"It's obviously what searchers want when they search for "best yoga mats"

Basically, Google knows that searchers are in research mode, not buying mode.

It’s also why this page selling yoga mats doesn’t show up, despite it having backlinks from more than six times more websites than any of the top-ranking pages:

Page selling yoga mats that has lots of backlinksPage selling yoga mats that has lots of backlinks
Number of linking websites to the top-ranking pages for "best yoga mats"Number of linking websites to the top-ranking pages for "best yoga mats"

Luckily, the page ranks for thousands of other more relevant keywords and gets tens of thousands of monthly organic visits. So it’s not such a big deal that it doesn’t rank for “best yoga mats.”

Number of keyword rankings for the page selling yoga matsNumber of keyword rankings for the page selling yoga mats

However, if you have pages with lots of backlinks but no organic traffic—and they already target a keyword with traffic potential—another quick SEO win is to re-optimize them for search intent.

We did this in 2018 with our free backlink checker.

It was originally nothing but a boring landing page explaining the benefits of our product and offering a 7-day trial: 

Original landing page for our free backlink checkerOriginal landing page for our free backlink checker

After analyzing search intent, we soon realized the issue:

People weren’t looking for a landing page, but rather a free tool they could use right away. 

So, in September 2018, we created a free tool and published it under the same URL. It ranked #1 pretty much overnight, and has remained there ever since. 

Our rankings over time for the keyword "backlink checker." You can see when we changed the pageOur rankings over time for the keyword "backlink checker." You can see when we changed the page

Organic traffic went through the roof, too. From ~14K monthly organic visits pre-optimization to almost ~200K today. 

Estimated search traffic over time to our free backlink checkerEstimated search traffic over time to our free backlink checker

TLDR

96.55% of pages get no organic traffic. 

Keep your pages in the other 3.45% by building backlinks, choosing topics with organic traffic potential, and matching search intent.

Ping me on Twitter if you have any questions. 🙂



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