Category Archives: SEO

Introducing Sentinel – Keyword Intelligence & Opportunity Tool

A few years ago, frustrated by what I saw within the SEO industry being represented as keyword research – I developed a process.

The goal was to take all of the data I used while doing my own key term research and get it all into one dataset to drive actionable decisions.

And so the keyword matrix was born.


The first version (pictured above) was driven mainly by defining intent for keywords and using this in combination with a few other keyword-level metrics to make more informed decisions when selecting keyword targets.

Fast forward to last January (2015) when I released the master keyword research course, that shows how to build a current version of the matrix, including SERP-level data for every ranking URL for each keyword.


The demand for the product has continued to develop as business owners become better educated (and both internal and agency SEO’s are getting better at the process of keyword research).

So after building over 100 matrices for companies of all sizes – we decided to move the product into a web-based version, and build an app around it.

Introducing Sentinel


Sentinel (in its first version) still relies on some 3rd party data, which right now is TermExplorer’s keyword analyzer, but we’re working to bring more data into the tool so it can become a stand-alone data solution.

But for right now, if you provide Sentinel with an CSV or Excel export from TermExplorer’s keyword analyzer, Sentinel will automatically build your keyword matrix for you – including all those juicy opportunity sheets you want; low hanging fruit and low-cost high value terms.

Support Sentinel

If this all looks awesome, please consider giving us some love on ProductHunt »

Special Offer

The first 100 users (regardless of account-level) will get double the number of data rows at no additional cost, forever.

The Fastest (and Easiest) Way To Identify Keyword Opportunities

So, SEO is DEAD.

Yeah freaking right!

But, there are a lot of solid considerations that force those of us who self-identify as SEO’s to take a closer look at what we’re really doing…

One thing is for damn sure, now is not the time to give up on search rankings, and for one big reason – search rankings still equal money.

There are a lot of ways to identify opportunities at the keyword level, including relatively complex approaches, and more simplified ones. All of which serve their own respective purposes.

But now, thanks to SEMRush, there is a much, much easier path quickly find out where you should be focusing your SEO dollars.

Find High Search Volume Keywords You Already Ranking For

Then optimize from there. Sounds simple right?

Well to be honest, the analysis is really simple, but increasing sustainable organic rankings, ehh not so much.

But let’s take a look at how SEMRush gives us all the data we need to at least identify and prioritize these keywords.

Go fire up your SEMRush account, don’t worry if you don’t have one – it’s free to create and use (up until a point).

Once you get there (and have created and account, and logged in), enter your domain in the search box:

For the purposes of demonstration I’m going to look at my friends website;


Click Search, then scroll down to the “organic keywords” section, and hit the “Export” button:



Once clicked, you will get 3 format options > Choose XLS (Excel):



Now it is going to download the data, and once this has finished – open up your new file in Excel.

Initially it is going to look like this:


Not the sexiest of files, but with a couple formatting tweaks we’ll be in good shape:

  1. View > Freeze Panes > Freeze Top Row
  2. Highlight Row 1 > Bold + Underline + Data > Filter
  3. Delete column C (Previous Rank) Since this is important for this exercise
  4. Sort new column C (Now Search Volume) ‘Largest to Smallest’
  5. While column C is highlighted > Conditional Formatting > Color Scales > Green – Yellow – Red
  6. Highlight column B > Conditional Formatting > Color Scales > Red – Yellow – Green

Your file should now look like this:


Notice anything in Column B?

Those are your biggest opportunities, from top to bottom, color coded by current ranking; the darker the green, the higher you currently rank.

So looking at the screenshot above, we can very quickly see that my friend’s biggest keyword opportunity  is to increase her ranking for the keyword washington dc tours, where she currently ranks 7th in Google, for a keyword with over 12,000 searches each month.

How Freaking Easy is That?

Stupid easy right?

So if you haven’t yet – go create an SEMRush account right now and run through this process.

Next Steps

Once you have identified which keywords are both qualified and deserving of your time, i.e. they have sufficient average monthly search volume (I like to use 1,000 searches/month as my baseline), next you need to figure out the SERP level competition, develop your keyword-level content strategy, and begin the process of acquiring high value (*cough* contextually relevant *cough*) links.

Leave us a comment if you have any more questions, tips, or hacks on how to improve this 5 minute analysis.