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Recently, I wrote a tweet about how I used Ahrefs FREE webmaster tools to find some top notch keywords.
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It grabbed a ton of likes and shares… so I thought I’d go into some more detail about it and show you just how to do this.
1. Sign up for FREE Ahrefs
First of all, you need your FREE Ahrefs webmasters account. You can sign up for one here.
If you already have an Ahrefs webmaster account, you can skip a chunk of setting that up and scroll down to where you see the keywords list.
2. Integrate your site as a project to Ahrefs dashboard
Once you’re signed up, you should land on the dashboard (unless the sign-up flow does this next part already) and you need to select Create > New project:
You’ll then get two options for integrating your site with Ahrefs:
The easy way is to select Import from GSC. But you would need to give Ahrefs direct access through your Google account. Ahrefs claim that they don’t use this data to improve their own data, but I’d argue this is exactly what they will do in the future (if not now) and I have noticed their accuracy on my sites improve when I used this integration method – go figure.
If you prefer the more “privacy” focused option, choose Add manually and I’ll show you the next steps for my own site as an example. You’ll then enter your domain name and set up your project name:
3. Verify ownership of your domain
This is where you’ll be given your options to verify ownership of your domain with Ahrefs. Only then will they run regular scans on your site and show most of that data to you for free:
My preferred option is to choose DNS record. You’ll need to have some basic knowledge of how to add a DNS record to your domain to do it. Ahrefs will give you a unique piece of text to add a TXT record into your domain:
So, for me, I just need to pop over to Namecheap where the domain is hosted. If the nameservers of your domain are pointed somewhere else (e.g. to another host or Ezoic, etc) then you need to go to the nameserver host to make these changes. Because nameservers basically pass on the responsbility of the DNS records.
Login, go to Domain List, then find your domain and hit Manage:
Presuming you’re using Namecheap, you’ll go to Advanced DNS tab at the top:
Scroll down to find the Host Records section. At the bottom of that list (of whatever records already exist) hit the big red Add New Record button, scroll down the list to select TXT Record. Add ” @ ” in the Host field, then your token that was provided by Ahrefs in the Value field, which will look something like this:
Hit the Green Checkmark to save this new record. Then you’re all done at your host.
Now you can go back to Ahrefs, and frantically tap on the Recheck statusbutton to get Ahrefs to try and find the new record for verification:
And usually after a few minutes, you’ll get a successful verification:
4. Set up your site audits schedule
You’ll then be given various options to Schedule site audits which is mainly a feature set for finding errors on your site so you can fix them. Personally, I don’t want to be bothered about this more than once a month but that’s personal preference. You can leave most settings to their defaults here if you don’t know what to do:
Just hit Finish and you’ll be taken back to your Ahrefs dashboard where you can see some of your site’s base stats that Ahrefs already has about the site:
(Remember: the site audit/crawl is just looking to give you a health score for your site. But Ahrefs is constantly crawling the internet to gather up backlinks and keywords, so it likely already knows a few things about your site)
5. Find EASY organic keywords
Hover over the Organic keywords number and click to bring up the keywords Ahrefs has on your site. (I’m going to switch over to another site for the rest of this tutorial, where I have some actual examples and lots of data to show!):
So we’re on our Organic keywords for our site. Now this is where the fun part comes in, we want to use the filters to narrow down some of the best prospective new keywords we can go after.
What we’re trying to find are keywords that Ahrefs can see we are ranking for BADLY, while showing us the best volume keywords to go after in creating new content that could rank WELL.
So I’ll apply a few filters:
- Position: 20-999
- Volume: 1000+
- KD: Up to 20
Then I’ll hit Show results and see what comes up. Immediately I’ll Sort by volume to see what keywords are out there with the biggest potential. I know that my site obviously isn’t hitting these keywords very well yet, because I’m ranking position 20 or below.
The keywords I expect to see here are keywords that I’ve tried to go after, and haven’t done a good job of it. OR even better, keywords that I didn’t know about which some of my content is (randomly) ranking for in a low position.
The former shows you what keywords you should probably try to optimize better for (or make whole articles about), and the latter is the gold mine of topics you haven’t cracked yet.
Here’s a brief sample of keywords that have high volume, and low keyword difficulty from a quick look at one of my sites:
I’ve highlighted some keywords in RED which need better optimization in the posts they currently exist for (potentially need adding whole new sections to those articles). The keywords in GREEN are opportunities for completely new articles.
I’m sure that somewhere I would have been able to find these keywords in my Google Search Console if I looked for them.
But sometimes a tool like Ahrefs, and in this completely free way, can give you an idea of total volume they are predicting alongside a Keyword Difficulty.
So it’s much easier to know if it’s something worth going after right away. And with these I’ve found, they’re pretty easy ones to go after with a high potential.
This is one extra (and completely free) way of finding new keyword opportunities for your site. All it takes is a reasonable amount of content that you’re already generating lots of keyword potential to open up new opportunities. I’m adding this into my regular keyword finding processes, just because it’s so easy!
Hope that helps you in keyword hunting!