How to Find New Keyword Opportunities Using Ahrefs 

Updated: May 17, 2022.

Looking for new keyword opportunities for your website? Want to build upon your current SEO results? Looking for some quick SEO wins for your site? Great! This article is just for you.

There are many ways of doing keyword research and looking for new keywords or – better – topics to target on your website. 

In this guide, I am sharing with you my simple five-step process of finding new keyword opportunities and strategically targeting them on your website to improve your existing rankings.  

The good news is that you don’t have to be an active Ahrefs subscriber to be able to follow this process. All you need is to have a free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools account. 

keyword opportunities with ahrefs

NOTE: Your website has to have some keyword visibility and rankings for you to be able to make use of this guide. If Ahrefs does not have enough data about your website, you will not be able to follow this guide. 

❗ Make sure to check my guide on 7 ways you can use Ahrefs Webmaster Tools to improve the SEO of your website.

SEO Newsletter by #SEOSLY

SEO Newsletter
Get FREE access to my SEO audit templates & get weekly updates with top SEO news & SEO tips.
Join 4000+ ambitious SEOs.

How To Find Keyword Opportunities In 5 Steps

Below are four simple steps (and one bonus step) that will help you identify different types of keyword opportunities and strategically choose which ones to target. 

There is a huge chance this guide will lead to a bunch of quick SEO wins since your site is already established and recognized by Google as an authority in certain topics.   

Keyword opportunities in Ahrefs

Let’s uncover these five SEO-Ahrefs secrets! 

Step #1: Look for keywords you rank in positions 4-10 and 10-20

This step will let you identify relatively strong and high keyword positions of your website. If you rank in these positions, Google – with no doubt – recognizes that your site has content about these topics and in most cases, your content aligns with the search intent of these keywords (especially if you are on page one). 

By identifying these keywords and further optimizing your content for them (or updating it), you may help your site rank higher for these keywords and move to positions that actually bring real traffic. 

💡 Keep in mind – of course – that each keyword (topic) is different and it is not always enough to work on your content. Some keywords are so competitive that it is not possible to rank in TOP3 for them or to rank that highly without links. Each case is different and requires your individual common SEO sense analysis. 

Here is what you need to do:

1. Open AWT and click on Organic Keywords.

How to find new keyword opportunities in Ahrefs

2. Filter by position. From 4-10 and then 10-20

Finding new keyword opportunities in Ahrefs

3. Analyze what you see and select the keywords that you think can be further optimized for. 

4. You can sort the keywords by volume but don’t get attached to their volume too much. Even keywords that have 0-10 volume may bring you a decent amount of traffic. 

Filtering keyword opportunities by position

5. Note down the keywords which you want to improve/work on and plan your optimizations.  

What would I do with the keywords selected? 

On the example of my website, the keywords I might choose may be “google search operators” and “search engines that don’t track”.

These are the keywords that I specifically target in my two guides (the one about Google search operators and the one about search engines that don’t track). 

My further optimizations for these keywords may include:

  • Making sure these keywords are present in the most important on-page SEO elements, such as title, H1, lower-level headings, and text. 
  • Updating the content and/or adding more depth/examples to it. 
  • Working on internal linking (more about that in Bonus Step). 

Step #2: Look for keywords you rank in positions 30-50

The keywords you identify in this step are in many cases the topics that you do not specifically target on your pages. 

You might have one or two paragraphs taking a specific concept but the entire article is about something different. 

Your task is to decide whether these are the topics worth targeting as separate new articles. 

Of course, keep in mind that this may not always be the case. If you are targeting highly competitive keywords, you may rank for them in those positions. 

For example, I rank in position 47 for “SEO tips” even though I have the entire page devoted only to SEO tips

Here is what you need to do:

1. Open AWT and click on Organic Keywords.

2. Filter by position but this time position from 30 to 50. 

Filtering keyword opportunities by position 30-50

3. Similarly, you can sort the keywords by volume. 

4. Look for topics that you can write a separate guide about. 

New keyword opportunities

How would I go about it?

Again, on the example of my website, I might choose keywords, such as “seo audit template” (position 45) or  “how to search google by file type” (position 39). 

The guides that rank for these keywords target broader topics (technical SEO audit guide and Google Drive search operators) and only mention this specific topic somewhere in the content.

What I would do there (and what I will probably do soon) is write two separate articles:

  1. An article where I would discuss and share an SEO audit template.
  2. A shorter article talking only about how to find specific file types in Google.
  3. I would make sure to add internal links to the new guides from the currently ranking guides using the anchor texts, such as “SEO audit template” and “How to search Google by file type”. 

Step #3: Look for questions to answer in your content

This step will help you find the questions that your users have about the topics you write about. Answering these questions (and satisfying your users’ needs) can have a really powerful effect on your SEO. 

In most cases, you would simply want to include a section or a paragraph in your existing articles and put the question (ideally as a heading) and the answer there. 

Here is how to do it:

1. Open AWT and click on Organic Keywords.

2. Click on Keyword > Any rule > Contains and type modifiers like “how, what, when, why, where”. 

Filtering new keyword opportunities by question modifiers in Ahrefs

3. Analyze the results. Did you find any questions you can answer in your content? 

Question keyword opportunities

How would I go about it?

In the case of my website, potential questions I can answer within my content include:

  • What does my site look like on mobile?
  • What is the google search operator that limits results to a specific domain?
question keywords ahrefs

Of course, this is your final judgment call whether you want to add these questions to your existing article or whether it may make sense to create new articles answering only these questions. 

This is when you need to use your common SEO sense and make sure that these keywords are actually winnable and worth targeting. 

After more in-depth analysis, I would probably disregard the above two examples because they are really highly competitive. 

You may also use Google Search Console (the Performance Report with regex filtering for queries) to find even more questions. 

Google Search Console Performance Report

Step #4: Investigate featured snippet opportunities

Depending on the type of featured snippet, you may or may not want to have it. 

If the featured snippet fully answers the question of your user, then they won’t need to click on it and visit your website. However, if it only answers it partially and encourages your users to visit your website, then this is the type of featured snippet you definitely want to win. This one will actually result in organic traffic to your website. 

💡 The CPS (Clicks Per Search) value in Ahrefs provides the information on how often people actually click results instead of getting their questions answered directly on SERPs. If CPS is above 1, then it will usually be the keyword worth targeting. 

Here you want to find the keywords that display featured snippets and you actually stand the chance of winning one (and it is worth winning it). 

Here is what you want to do:

1. Open AWT and click on Organic Keywords

2. Under SERP features, select On SERP and Featured snippet.

Featured snippet keyword opportunities in Ahrefs

3. Under Position, select 2-5. In order for you to win a featured snippet, you need to rank in position one, so I recommend targeting the keywords for which you already rank highly. 

Featured snippet keyword opportunities in Ahrefs

4. Review the featured snippets and select the one that may make sense for you to target.

Featured snippet keyword opportunities in Ahrefs

How would I do it for SEOSLY?

For my website, the keywords that may generate featured snippets include, for example, “how long does it take to learn SEO” or “where is robots.txt in WordPress”. 

What I may want to do to increase the chances of getting that featured snippet:

  • Make sure I answer that question precisely and in a simple way within my text, ideally at the beginning.
  • I would analyze how the top-ranking site answers this question and where in their copy it is located.
  • I would try to answer it in a better way. 

There are a lot of cool guides on how to optimize for featured snippets out there. However, keep in mind that this may or may not work. 

Even recently John Mueller said that there is no technical way of generating a featured snippet. It is all up to Google’s AI to determine whether to use your website. 

Bonus Step #5: Use pages Best By Links for internal linking

And here comes the final tip that will help you increase the chances of improving the positions of the keywords you have selected in previous steps. 

Here is what you need to do:

1. Open AWT and go to Overview.

2. In the left sidebar under Pages, choose Best by links. This is the list of the web pages that – according to Ahrefs – have the best links.  

Pages best by links in Ahrefs

3. All you need to do now is to – strategically – add internal links on these Best by links pages to the web pages whose rankings you want to improve. 

Pages best by links in Ahrefs

4. Make sure these internal links have the anchor text that contains the keywords you actually target.

How would I do it?

In the previous steps, I identified the following keywords for which I want to rank in higher positions: 

  • Google search operators 
  • Search engines that don’t track
  • SEO audit template (a potential topic for a new article) 
  • What does my site look like on mobile (as above)

I would make sure that the pages that have the best links have internal links that use the above phrases as anchor text. This way I would let some of the authority of these pages flow to my existing and newly created articles. 

Extra tips & caveats

When making the final decision on what keywords to target, use or optimize for, make sure to keep in mind the following:

  • There are no guarantees in SEO and everything depends. You may follow these steps and get awesome results but you may also get no results at all because there are a lot of factors influencing the outcome of your SEO efforts. 
  • When selecting keywords to target or optimize for, always keep in mind search intent and analyze who is already ranking on page one (click on SERP). 
  • When analyzing who is already ranking, pay attention to metrics like AR, DR, number of backlinks, and traffic. 
  • It might be easier to rank for keywords where there are lower-authority pages in TOP10, i.e. pages with DR below 40-30, a small number of links, and their AR in millions. But always treat it with a pinch of salt. 
SERP Overview in Ahrefs
  • You may want to use GSC (the Performance Report) to get even more keyword ideas and data about impressions and clicks. This may help you make the final (and the right) decision. 
  • Don’t get too attached to rankings. Rankings are a good indicator of the direction in which your site is heading but don’t forget that it is actually targeted traffic that your site needs to succeed.
  • Some, especially very highly competitive keywords, won’t get you much traffic even if you are in positions 1-3 because the entire above-the-fold of the first page is filled with ads, maps, carousels, etc. Keep that in mind. 
  • Sometimes it is wiser to target a way less competitive keyword which will actually bring you traffic if you rank highly for it. In many cases, these will be long-tail keywords. 
  • Remember about the 80/20 rule in SEO. No matter what you do, approximately 80% of your traffic will come from 20% of your article. 

Final thoughts on finding new keyword opportunities

As you can see, even the free version of AhrefsAhrefs Webmaster Tools – lets you unpack really a lot and build upon your current SEO visibility and rankings. 

This is the process I have successfully used to grow both my website and the websites of my clients. I do believe it will help you get your site to a new SEO level too. 

Good luck!