SEMrush is an All-in-one Marketing Toolkit for digital marketing professionals. This in-depth review will help you to increase your website traffic as well as analyze your competitors’ strategies.
➞ Check all the errors, issues, and warnings within a site.
➞ Compare your advertising strategy with your competitors.
➞ Identify new backlinks opportunities in a matter of seconds.
➞ High-potential keywords phrase to increase search rankings.
➞ Data can be filtered by country, but not a city.
➞ Inaccurate data if a non-English site is a subdomain of an English language site.
As an SEO expert, I have used a lot of different SEO tools to increase my rankings in search engines. So in this SEMrush review, I’ll share with you an all-in-one marketing toolkit that will be perfect for your current or next website regardless of the niche you’re working in.
You might be thinking that SEO tools are not a part of your solutions. And, you don’t want to spend a single penny on online tools.
But, sometimes it’s worth paying more attention and money to the SEO tools as the right tool will not only improve your rankings in the search results, but it will also outrank your competitors easily.
Personally, I am a huge fan of Ahrefs, but I have been using SEMrush for the last three months and found that SEMrush compliments Ahrefs very well.
In this article, I’ll try to uncover all the aspects of SEMrush so that you can improve your organic search traffic site rankings and outrank your competitors.
Without making you more anxious, let’s have a look.
SEMrush is an All-in-one Marketing Toolkit used by marketing professionals for competitors’ keyword research, backlink analysis, PPC campaigns and much more. Since its arrival, it has helped bloggers as well as marketers at all levels.
Apart from keyword research, it also helps you with organic research, keyword positions, backlink analysis, advertising research, content optimization, and much more.
Not only me, but many SEO experts found SEMrush as the best SEO tool. I use it on a daily basis to check my SERP rankings and keyword positions. You can also use it for current website traffic, top keywords and so forth.
You might be wondering why “SEMrush calls itself an All-in-one Marketing Toolkit?”
Because it comprises several toolkits including SEO, Advertising, Social Media, Content Marketing, and Competitive Research Toolkit.
We will look at the practical applications for how to use SEMrush concerning SEO in the review below, but here is a quick overview of each toolkit provided by SEMrush.
1. SEO Toolkit
A complete workflow for SEO experts with position tracking, traffic analysis, organic research, keyword research and difficulty, technical SEO audit, backlink audits and analytics.
2. Advertising Toolkit
Improve your results with competition analysis, ad keywords research, PPC campaigns, display advertising, PLA research, and Ad builder.
3. Social Media Toolkit
Build social media strategy with schedule and post on social media networks, increase FB reach with post booster, discover best performing content, and create ads.
4. Content Marketing Toolkit
Create content that drives more traffic to analyze content performance, trending topics, content optimization, brand monitoring, and content audit.
5. Competitive Research Toolkit
Get insights on your competitors’ SEO, PPC, and online traffic strategy. Uncover the best ads of the competitors to build your own campaigns more impactful.
In this in-depth review of SEMrush, I’m not only going to uncover the features, but I’ll also show you how to use SEMrush in practical life to increase the value of your business.
One of the most used features of SEMrush is Organic Research.
It helps you to view how your competitors’ are driving traffic. To get started with it, navigate to SEO Toolkit > Competitive Research > Organic Research.
When you enter your competitors’ domain in the search bar, you’ll get an overview report which shows you the number of keywords, organic traffic, and much more for the domain.
You have to keep in mind that the data isn’t global. By default, the report will be generated based on US-specific data, however, you can change the country according to your target audience.
So, those are some conventional things out there.
Let’s talk about some serious stuff that you want to actually do with the tool.
The first thing you’ll see with organic research is the estimated organic traffic and the traffic cost. But, you’ll have to remember that the data is based on organic traffic (and not on paid), so you might see lower traffic for some big players out there.
In our example, it’s not the case.
SEMrush organic research won’t show the overall traffic statistics. To do so, click on “Traffic Analytics”, just above the “Organic Research”. Here, you’ll get a complete breakdown of the traffic analysis.
Furthermore, you can check which individual pages are driving more traffic for your competitors’ site. It will help you to analyze on which topics (or pages) your competitors’ are driving the maximum number of traffic.
Identify the best performing keywords of your competitors’ website.
Once you know about the keywords that are bringing major traffic to the site, you can start developing strategy for your domain considering those keywords.
Let’s move to the “Positions” tab in Organic Research. If you scroll down a little bit, you’ll see all the keywords that are driving most traffic for the domain (or specific page).
Now, you can reverse-engineer the best performing keywords and include those keywords in your future content. This strategy will take your website traffic to the next level.
By default, SEMrush will sort the keywords according to their “Traffic %”, although you can sort the list according to your objectives.
Note: Higher the “Traffic %” of the keyword, the most valuable keyword it is (for that particular domain).
Depending on the niche, a single page can rank for thousands of keywords. For example, TechCrunch’s top pages rank for thousands of keywords.
Let’s take a deeper look to understand that the primary keywords drive only a small portion of traffic, while the remaining traffic comes from secondary keywords.
For instance, let’s take a look at TechCrunch’s page for the “yahoo mail update”. The primary keyword “yahoo mail” brings in 4.14% of the page’s overall monthly traffic. The remaining 95.86% of traffic comes from the other long-tail secondary keywords.
To expand the organic keyword with secondary keywords, navigate to SEO Toolkit > Keyword Research > Keyword Magic Tool.
In the Keyword Magic Tool, enter your primary keyword. In our example, the primary keyword is yahoo mail.
From the results, you’ll be able to find thousands of long-tail keywords. As we discussed above, 95.86% traffic comes from secondary keywords, i.e, 84k keywords.
On the left-hand side, you can select any other keyword.
For example, I took “account” from the list and you can see the generated keywords are now based on “yahoo mail account”.
You can search for any combination of the keywords depending on which keywords you want to add to your content.
Toxic Backlinks are the unnatural links that can negatively impact the rankings of any website.
To improve your search rankings, you need to remove all the toxic backlinks from your site.
SEMrush Backlink Audit Tool helps you to check the domain’s backlink profile. You can audit all the links and check the toxic score and markers. If the toxic score is high, you must remove the links to prevent penalties.
Navigate to SEO Toolkit > Link Building > Backlink Audit. Enter your domain name and click on “Start Backlink Audit”.
Depending on the number of links, SEMrush will take a few seconds to minutes to audit all of them. The overview report will show you the toxic score based on colour segments which imply the domains by toxic (Red), potentially toxic (Orange) and non-toxic (Green).
Once you click on “View full report”, you’ll see the Audit report. Here, you can find the toxicity level of the domains. A score within the range of 60-100 depicts a toxic domain while 45-59 depicts the potentially toxic domain.
Now, you have three options which you can choose after selecting a specific domain.
- Click Delete > To Disavow (Request Google to remove the domain)
- Click Delete > To Remove (Request Domain owners to remove the domain)
- Click Keep > To Whitelist (Add links to your whitelist)
If you choose “To Disavow” then the backlink will be moved to the Disavow tab.
Here, you can add all the backlinks that you want to disavow and then export those links in a .txt file which you can then submit to the Google Disavow Tool.
Would you believe me if I say you can find thousands of link building prospects within a matter of seconds?
If not, then you haven’t tried the SEMrush Link Building Tool.
Let’s check out how the tool actually works and how you can take advantage of this tool for your website.
Before you start the process of link building, you have to first create a project. If you haven’t, then set up your project first.
After setting up your project, navigate to SEO Toolkit > Link Building > Link Building Tool and enter the project name.
After clicking on “Start Link Building”, you’ll have to add up to 10 keywords.
After entering all the keywords that you want to rank for, click on “Competitors”. Here, you can add up to 10 competitors.
Once you review all the keywords and competitors, click on “Start Link Building”.
Now, a report will be generated that looks like this:
You can see that the domain receives 1,635 prospects within a few minutes!
Click on “Prospects” right to the Overview tab or directly on “Go to Prospects”.
Form here, you can decide the best prospect for your website depending on:
- Domain Score based on the quality and volume of links pointing to the particular domain. Higher the score, the higher the quality of the domain.
- Trust Score measures the trustworthiness of the domain.
- Ratings depict how difficult it is to get a link from the website. Higher the ratings, the higher the chance of adding the link to your domain.
Now, we will take an example of how to outreach to a particular domain…
Select any prospect from the generated result, for instance, I will take Gadgets4geeks and then click on the drop-down menu.
From the list, you have to select an outreach strategy. In our case, we will take the outreach strategy as a “Guest Post”.
After clicking on “Guest Post”, it will be added to the “In Progress” tab.
Now, click on the “Contact” button, which brings up the email composition template for outreaching.
You use this email composition for amazing outreach templates.
Many SEO experts increase the SERP rankings to increase overall website traffic. But, tracking the current rankings without a tool is somewhat difficult.
With SEMrush Position Tracking, you can monitor the rankings of any domain, subdomain, or subfolder. It also lets you check the position of your domain at a national or international level and on mobile or desktop devices.
To configure position tracking, navigate to SEO Toolkit > Rank Tracking > Position Tracking. Now, enter the domain name in the search bar.
Next, a window will appear where you have to select the search engine, device, language and location.
Then, click on the next option, i.e, Keywords. Add keywords and click on “Add Project”. Your keywords will be added to the project’s keywords.
Once you click on “Start Tracking”, SEMrush generates the Overview Report with which you can analyze the visibility trend, estimated traffic and average position.
The report gets updated every 24 hours and can be exported in CSV as well as PDF format.
If you scroll down a little bit, you can check the positions, estimated traffic, and visibility trends for your and competitors’ website.
Here, you can see the position of keywords on the last day. Therefore, you can monitor the rankings on a daily or weekly basis to improve your rankings.
Conducting an SEO audit of your website will lead to identifying the loopholes within your site. And, if you rectify those errors, you can increase the chance of getting more traffic.
SEMrush audit report shows you all the issues from major to minor that affect your site. Although you can use free SEO audit tools as well, but the accuracy of that report is questionable.
Auditing a site is a painful and time taking job. And, if you’re thinking of auditing manually (without the use of any tool), it will take several hours to conduct a site audit.
With SEMrush, performing a site audit is way simpler. You have to enter your website domain and within a matter of seconds, you’ll get a full report concerning site audit.
To perform the site audit, navigate to SEO Toolkit > On Page & Tech SEO > Site Audit, enter your domain name and hit “Site Audit”. It will take a couple of seconds to generate a full report.
The report will show you all the errors, issues and warnings within your website. Eventually, it will also recommends you how to fix those errors.
On-Page SEO checker helps you to improve the SERPs rankings of your website. The report shows you the different ideas including on-page SEO, semantically related words, user experience, content length, readability, backlink prospects, and much more.
The ideas for optimization are based on the Top 10 real-time competitors for each of your targeted pages.
To get started with On-Page SEO checker, you have to enter the domain name.
The Overview Report will show the total number of ideas for various pages. A table below will sort the ideas with the priority of impact on the search rankings.
In the “Top pages to optimize”, you can click on a specific link to view all the optimization ideas within the link.
You can also move to the “Optimization Ideas” tab. Here, you can check all the optimization ideas generated by SEMrush. You can sort the table by Priority, Page, Keywords, Total Volume, or Last update.
When I want to plan out my paid campaigns, SEMrush is my first choice to analyze my competitors’ campaigns so that I can take some inspiration from their best resulting ads.
Advertising Research helps you to have a look at your competitors’ ads strategies. To get started, navigate to Advertising Toolkit > Market Analysis > Advertising Research. Then, you have to enter your competitors’ domain name.
Now, you’ll see a trending graph for metrics such as Estimated Traffic, Keywords, and Traffic Cost. You can choose any one of the metrics at a single time. Although you can analyze the data range between 1 month, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, and all time.
These trend graphs will help you to determine how much your competitors are spending on ads in each successive month.
Now, we will see how and where your competitors outrank you in the paid campaigns. Move to the “Competitors” tab and scroll down to “Paid Competitors” table.
Once you click on one of the common keywords, you’ll be redirected to “Keyword Gap”, where you have to enter your competitors’ domain name to generate the results.
Click on “Compare” and then scroll down to analyze the paid keywords from the table. Now, you can see several keywords for which your competitor is outranking you.
For example, Moz is outranking SEMrush for these keywords:
Now, you have to check out for various things such as:
- Do they have a larger marketing budget?
- Are their ads more optimized than yours?
- Are their campaign landing pages different from yours?
For instance, in our example, Moz is ranking 1 for “best seo tools comparison”, whereas SEMrush is ranking 2.
Click on the keyword, and you’ll be redirected to “Keyword Overview” where you can see all the ad copies for that particular keyword.
Here, you can see a total of 3 ads currently running for that keyword. Furthermore, click on the ad, and you’ll be redirected to the custom landing page, or in this example to the SEMrush homepage.
Now, you can monitor and analyze the page for the target keyword, and other elements which you were missing in your ad or the landing page.
To find the high-traffic keyword opportunities, you’ll need to sort the common keywords in descending order.
If you’re not using the keywords with high volume, then you have to increase your bids or optimize the ad copy to improve your rankings in paid campaigns.
You might be good at targeting the right keywords and creating great landing pages, but if your ad copy is not impactful, then your campaign will not generate results as you have imagined.
Navigate to Ad Copies in Advertising Research and there you’ll find your competitors’ ad copy for various keywords.
Use this feature to write attention-grabbing headlines, better description, and optimize display URLs.
Now, analyze the headlines of the successful ads of your competitors’. It will help you to create the best headlines for which you can get a high number of click-through rates.
The next step is to create a description copy. You can see all the description copy and check whether the competitor is using an alphanumeric number, emotional appeal, shock value, brand mentions, or offers.
The last step is to analyze all the keywords triggering the ad. Click on the “Keywords” for a specific ad and look for the new keywords which you might be missing.
The Ad Builder Tool helps you to find creative ideas for your ads by researching your competitors’ paid campaigns. And, the best part is once you finish the ad, you can upload your ad directly to the Google Ads.
You can watch your competitors’ successful ads and even replicate them through the Ad Builder. To get started, navigate to Advertising Toolkit > Ad Builder.
Enter your competitors’ domain name and click on “Search Ads”. You’ll have two options to check the ads including Text ads and Display ads.
If you think that you can take advantage of any specific ad, then you can click on the “+” sign at the top right corner of an ad.
Now, you can create your ad by adding headlines (1), descriptions (2), display URL (3), and campaign group (4).
Once you finalized your ad, you can see the preview of your ad (5) at the bottom. If you are satisfied with your ad copy, you can save your ad.
If you’re an eCommerce retailer, then you might know about how effective Google Shopping campaigns are for attracting the shoppers. But, you’re not the only one who is using such campaigns.
The Product Listing Ads tool helps you to define your PLA competitors. You can monitor and analyze your competitors’ ads to improve your Google Shopping campaigns.
SEMrush PLA data helps you to search those competitors who are using product listing ads to promote their online store. Once you come to know about your competitors’ PLA strategies, you can boost your advertising ROI right away.
To get started, navigate to Advertising Toolkit > PLA Research. Enter the domain name for which you want to see the PLAs.
Here, you can monitor the product listing ads, their keywords, ranking position, price, trend, search volume, product title and URL.
When you hover on the green Ad icon, you can see the product image, ad copy, and price.
Now, move to the “PLA Copies” tab to see the list of product listing ad copies used by your competitors’. The more number of keywords in a particular ad, the higher the chance of that ad to show up in SERPs.
The SEO Content Template analyzes the content from Google’s top 10 ranking pages for your target keyword. It saves your time and resources as SEMrush will provide you with what type of content you need to create to rank on the first page of the search engines.
Navigate to Content Marketing Toolkit > SEO Content Template. Enter your target keyword and select the country, region, city and device from the drop-down menu. Then, click on “Create SEO Template”.
SEO recommendations from SEMrush will be based on the analysis of Google top 10 rivals for your target keyword.
Some of the key recommendations are:
- Semantically related words
- Text Length
- Video content
SEMrush has three paid plans namely Pro, Guru, and Business. However, it also offers an Enterprise plan where you can ask for all the features concerning your marketing needs.
The Pro plan is the best one for you if you’re using SEMrush for the first time. It costs you $99.95 per month which is a bit expensive from other marketing tools available in the market.
With Pro plan, you can generate 10,000 results per report, 3000 reports per day, 500 keywords to track and much more. But, you’ll not be able to view historical data.
The second plan, i.e, Guru plan starts from $199.95 per month. The major difference between Guru and Pro plan is that the Guru plan allows you to run 3 sessions simultaneously. Additionally, you can create branded reports for your clients.
Lastly, the Business plan that costs $399.95 per month. The Business plan is ideal for large companies as up to 10 users can work simultaneously. You can access premium features like import ranking from third-party tools, white-label PDF reports, product listing ads, and API access.
Here, you can find in-detail features with a comparison chart of all the plans. You can save up to 16% if you subscribe to any plan annually.
If your requirements do not meet with any of the plans, then you can contact SEMrush for a custom plan.
You can try SEMrush as it offers a 7-day money-back guarantee for subscription plans. If you think that it does not match your expectations, then you can cancel the plan anytime.
If you’re a budget blogger and your main concern is about cost, then tighten your seatbelt because SEMrush ain’t cheap.
With plans starting from $99.95 and goes up to $399.95 per month, SEMrush is not a viable option for budget bloggers. For them, I’ll recommend the paid version of KWFinder (check out our full review of KWFinder).
However, if you are looking for keyword research along with the backlink analysis and the cost is not a big concern – SEMrush is the best fit for you.
I know a lot of bloggers, SEO experts, and marketing agencies who use SEMrush to increase their website traffic as well as for creating paid campaigns.
If you are one among them, then what are you waiting for?
SEMrush is one of the best marketing tools you’ll ever find, but as we know, there is always a tool available in the market that has an edge over other tools for a specific feature or a function.
And the same goes for SEMrush. There are various alternatives available in the market with lower price tags or features that are better in certain aspects.
The closest alternative to SEMrush is Ahrefs. When you compare the features of both the tools, then you’ll hardly find any difference in overall functionality. Not only features, but the pricing plans are also nearly identical.
SEMrush Pro plan starts from $99.95 per month, while the Ahrefs Lite plan starts from $99 per month, which means Ahrefs subscription plan is $0.95 cheaper than the SEMrush subscription plan.
SEMrush has an edge over Ahrefs for keyword research. SEMrush allows you to monitor organic as well as paid research, while Ahrefs is great for organic keywords research only.
Undoubtedly, Ahrefs has a better result when it comes to backlink research. You can analyze referring domains, total number of backlinks, organic keywords, referring pages, etc.
The unique feature of SEO Toolbar for Chrome and Firefox makes Ahrefs more reliable than SEMrush. With this toolbar, you can see various metrics such as search volume, backlink analysis, keyword difficulty, CPC, and many more.
Moz Pro uses the Domain Authority, Page Authority, and On-Page Grader features to help you to improve the rankings in the search engines. It also has a browser extension which allows you to identify link building, keyword ideas, and on-page metrics.
With Moz Pro, you can track your keyword rankings, crawl your site, perform site audits, link building opportunities, keyword research and backlink research. It is a comprehensive SEO tool with several SEO functionalities.
Moz Pro has a great keyword research tool which creates four metrics including Keyword Volume, Difficulty, Opportunity and Potential.
Moz Pro provides you with the 30-day money-back guarantee which is much more than that of SEMrush 7-day money-back guarantee.
SEMrush is one of its kind tools for SEO, PPC, traffic analysis, competitor research, and backlink analysis.
I use it almost every day for finding new keywords, analyzing competitors’ paid strategies, creating new content, tracking rankings, scanning websites, and performing competitor research.
It’s a must-have marketing tool for every blogger, SEO expert or digital marketer. But, don’t just invest in my words, instead, first go for a 7-day trial and if you find it worthwhile, then go for a paid plan.