SEMrush Review: Specificity, Functional, Opportunities, Details and Pricing
For effective SEO and successful work in the field of digital marketing, you need to use various SEO-tools. To do this, you can use both free tools from Google’s arsenal and professional paid services that make your work more effective. SEMrush is one of the most popular SEO-tools. We will find out how this tool works, what capabilities and features it has, and how it can be useful for the development of a project or business.
What is SEMrush and How Does It Work?
SEMrush is a multifunctional tool that allows you to solve many problems in the field of SEO, digital and internet marketing, including:
- Selection of keywords
- Domain analysis (own and competitors)
- Tracking traffic and other site metrics
- Backlink analysis
- Content Marketing
- Social media marketing
- Search for ideas for content
- Local SEO
- Help in developing a marketing and SEO strategy and much more, which we will cover in this article
Today, according to the SEMrush company, which was founded in 2008, the number of service users has reached 6 million, which makes the tool one of the most popular in its segment. The service database contains over 20 billion keywords and 31,782 billion backlinks. Here is the SEMrush start page:
Let’s see how this service works, its individual tools, and functions in more detail. The first group of SEMrush tools belongs to the Competitive Research section.
1. Domain Overview is one of the most popular and commonly used SEMrush features:
Here you can see general and detailed information about the domain such as the following:
- Authority score
- Organic search traffic, which also shows the number of keywords used
- Paid search traffic with the number of keywords
- Display Advertising – How many Google ads have been placed
You can also graphically see the dynamics of traffic, both organic and paid, the dynamics of organic words, main keywords, etc. Data is provided for the previous month. It is possible to simultaneously check up to 3 competing sites for comparison. In this case, their data will be presented in digital and graphical values:
A general overview is useful for regularly monitoring the status of your site or the site of competitors. T is important for comparing or quickly reviewing a large number of sites of competitors, and customers in order to get enough information without going into too much detail.
It should also be noted that when analyzing competitors’ sites, a section with keywords can be especially useful. For amazon.com, the top keywords look like this:
By regularly tracking the keywords that drove competitors to high positions and brought traffic, you can quickly make adjustments to the keywords used in your content.
Continuing with the SEMrush review, let’s look at the next four tools related to the first section. These provide more granular and detailed information on the items that can be seen in the general domain overview.
2. Traffic Analytics: This tool shows information for the past month and also allows you to track the dynamics of traffic for 6 months to the entire existence of the site. The indicators include the following:
- Unique visitors
- Avg. visit duration
- Bounce rate
As with the previous tool, you can add up to 3 competing sites here and see comparison charts.
3. Organic Research: This tool shows how much traffic a site has received from Google, as well as how it has changed over the different time periods of its existence. For example, the traffic analysis for apple.com of all-time since 2012 looks like this:
You can see that the sharp increase in traffic occurred in mid-2015, and the peak in traffic was in February 2018:
You can also see the number of keywords that were used to get this result on the page:
In fact, some experts such as Brian Dean from Backlinko, do not consider these statistics particularly relevant or useful for SEO because it is more quantitative than qualitative. However, this information can be useful for analysts and those who work with statistics.
The next window at the top of the page shows traffic data:
Many experts are skeptical about this indicator. Brian Dean does not consider this data to be accurate enough:
According to him, this metric can be useful in order to measure and track competitors’ traffic.
The Traffic Cost section is an interesting metric that shows how much you would need to spend for PPC to get the same traffic metric:
In our apple.com example, site owners would have to shell out $271.7 million to get this kind of traffic dynamics.
The positions section shows which keywords and where exactly the site is ranked, this section is very useful in terms of competitor analysis and keyword search:
The volume column can also be useful because you can select the best keywords from a list of words on a competitor’s site or on a specific page with certain content that you would like to do the same. If we are talking about fresh or evergreen content, it would be advisable to track the words that had the highest volume over the last month.
You can also use Advanced Filter in this section, configuring it in accordance with what is most relevant to you:
The last two boxes at the top of the page are Branded Traffic and Non-branded traffic, which allow you to track the brand’s presence in traffic. This can be especially important for marketers and advertisers.
In general, this toolkit from SEMrush allows you to effectively select keywords, ideas for content, and conduct a comprehensive analysis of sites and their performance.
4. Keyword Gap is a tool for analyzing the keywords that are used on your site and the site of competitors. It is enough to enter the domain addresses in the tool windows, and the graph will show the coincidence and cross-use of the same words:
In this case, the example turned out to be unsuccessful because Meizu primarily focuses on the Asian market and most of the keywords used on meizu.com were in Chinese. Therefore, the intersection turned out to be very small and not at all indicative.
5. Service for analyzing backlinks on your site and the sites of competitors is another option. Similar to the previous service, you need to enter the domain addresses in the boxes, and get the results:
These are the next group of tools relates to Keyword research. When using them, you will be able to select or create the keywords needed for your site or specific content. Read more in the article – How to Do Keyword Research. Let’s consider each one separately.
- Keyword Overview: When you enter a word, a combination of words, or several words and their combinations, the tool provides the following data to assess the prospects of the keyword or words:
- Trends: how popular the search was among users over the past 12 months
- Keyword Difficulty in%: the difficulty index shows how difficult it is for a new site to rank on the first page of search results using these words, the higher the indicator, the more difficult it is.
- Cost per click in USD
- Competitive Density is the degree of competition between advertisers who use this keyword in their PPC campaigns, ranging from 0 to 1, where 1 is the maximum difficulty level.
- SERP Features: options for how the information will be displayed on the SERP, different from the standard display methods.
- Results: the number of URL results that were shown on the SERP using this keyword.
Let’s check how the result will look for organic food keywords as an example:
This tool can also be used for several keywords at the same time. In this case, the summary result will be shown as a table:
2. Keyword Magic Tool. A tool for selecting keywords and phrases. To get started, you need to enter a word or phrase and the program will offer many options that you can use both for creating content and for the ideas themselves for writing articles and other types of content. For example, the Keyword Magic Tool for the words Yoga Studio offered almost 44 thousand variants of keywords and phrases. Their total volume was 367.4 thousand:
When working with Keyword Magic Tool, you can use the Advanced Filters functions and customize the selection of words in accordance with the criteria of interest:
Keyword Manager is a program that allows you to save found keywords, data, ideas, and other information from SEMrush to make your work easier. The tool is especially useful if the specialist deals with several projects at the same time.
Organic Traffic Insights: As SEMrush says in the description of this service, “An easy “not provided” keyword solution combining Google Analytics, Search Console, and SEMrush data”. After entering the domain address in the line, you need to connect your Google account to the SEMrush service:
It is important that the account is connected to Google Analytics. After, the program will analyze and provide data on which keywords and which landing pages bring the most organic traffic.
The Link Building block presents tools for getting backlinks, which is an important factor for Google ranking and website promotion to get to the top positions of the SERP. Let’s consider these services.
1. As an example, let’s analyze the backlinks from The New Yorker. (www.newyorker.com):
This is a large and reputable media resource, so it’s not surprising that there are so many backlinks. Let’s take a more modest website:
The site of one of the New York sports clubs also has a lot of backlinks. New links are highlighted in blue in the columns and lost ones in orange. By going to the backlinks subsection, you can find information about the sites on which the backlinks are located, the types of content posted (text or photos), which links have been lost, and the status such as follow, nofollow, or sponsored.
In the sections of the Backlinks tool, you can also find the following information:
- Referring domains
- Referring IPs
- Indexed pages and more
2. Backlink Audit Tool is a tool for auditing backlinks. As you know, backlinks can only be beneficial and contribute to Google’s ranking if they are located on reputable and reputable sites. If they want to harm the site owner or brand, then negative SEO methods are used. You can read about how to deal with negative SEO and protect your website in How to Protect Your Website from Negative SEO in 2020.
The Backlink Audit Tool is a good way to ensure the quality of your backlinks.
This tool includes the following verification criteria:
- Overall Toxicity Score & Last recrawl is formed depending on the number of broken links that lead to the site.
- Emails to send: the number of required letters with a request to remove links to be sent to the site owners.
- Follow-ups to send: the number of follow-up emails that need to be sent to site owners to remove unnecessary backlinks.
- Ready to Disallow: The number of sites that did not respond to your request to remove links. In this case, you must mark them as disallowed.
- Items to Export: the number of backlinks to be exported to the disallow file.
- Items to submit to Google: The number of backlinks to be moved to the Google Disavow Tool.
3. The Link Building Tool is a tool to make your backlink building job easier.
In order to gain access to information about sites, you need to enter the keywords for which you would like to be found on the network.
After that, the program provides information about linking options, keywords, and competitors. This allows you to significantly save time looking for resources for posting backlinks and helps to select relevant sites with a good reputation.
4. Bulk Backlinks Analysis is a service that allows you to analyze up to 200 sites simultaneously. The tool saves a lot of time if there is no need for a detailed analysis of several competitors. However, a general picture of a niche or industry as a whole is needed. The tool is more suitable for marketing analysts and working with statistical data.
In the Rank Tracking section, there are three tools designed to monitor the site, its ranking and other indicators. Let’s take a look at each tool separately.
1. Position Tracking provides tracking of the daily ranking of a site or page depending on keywords, on any device (desktop, mobile phone, or tablet). To do this, you need to enter the domain address and keywords, after which the analysis will begin.
As an example, we took the site of The New York Times, the desktop version, and as keywords – coronavirus and lockdown, location – New York.
The program showed very low interest in the website of the publication in the desktop version for these keywords. This is quite expected because the not most relevant topic and desktop (as you know, more than half of users prefer mobile devices):
2. SEMrush sensor. This tool allows you to track Google volatility and dynamics throughout the month and in real-time. SEMrush sensor shows how SERP activity has changed over the last 30 days. For example, this graph you can see that the most active users were on September 9:
Also, you can see what types of information on the SERP and Google, in general, were most in demand among users. With the help of the service, you can keep track of how popular certain categories of content are today. For example, on September 15, 2020, the Autos and Vehicles theme were in high positions in the interest of Google users:
People were less interested in the topic of health:
However, news resources, as always, hold top positions:
Other categories that you can track your level of interest and ranking include arts & entertainment, beauty & fitness, books & literature, business & industrial, food & drink, games, and many others.
For SEMrush users, the Personal Score option is also available. This makes it possible to track rankings for keywords that have been set in Position Tracking. The more keywords you enter, the more revealing the results will be.
3. SEMrush Ranks. Own domain rankings that SEMrush compiles monthly based on their traffic data based on organic search. The database dates back to 2012 and can also be provided specifically for certain regions.
SEMrush Introduces On Page&Tech SEO Toolkit. Let’s look at how you can use the service to accomplish these tasks.
1. The Site Audit tool is quite popular among SEO specialists such as Brian Dean. He emphasizes the convenience of this service:
As an example, we decided to audit the site of The New York Times to speed up the process. 100 pages were selected to check. As a result, we get the following data:
Information obtained from the audit includes:
- Site health
- Site Performance
- Internal Linking
- International SEO
- Top Issues
By conducting a regular site audit, you can avoid mistakes, see real-time attempts to illegally enter the site, and make it user-friendly and visible to search engines, which contributes to ranking and promotion. You can read more about the technical website audit in the article What is the Technical SEO Audit?
2. SEO Content Template. This tool is designed to develop a template for content based on keyword analysis. It will indicate the recommended amount of text, the semantic core, and word structures that need to be included in the text. Also, placement options and predictions of getting potential backlinks, etc. The templates are created based on the analysis of the top 10 competitors, selected by keywords.
As an example, We’ve entered these keywords:
- Handmade furniture
- Wooden furniture
- Exclusive handmade furniture
As a result, the program offered 10 variants of competing sites. For each of the keywords, a certain length of text was recommended (836 words). Options for related keywords and phrases were proposed, according to the topic, and sites on which you can potentially try to get backlinks, having previously studied their content.
Examples were also given of how keywords from the initially given list are used by competitors in their content:
3. On Page SEO Checker. This tool gives recommendations on how to optimize pages to improve their ranking. It offers ideas, advises which keywords and semantic solutions should be used to improve page positions, recommends the optimal content length, etc. For example, getting started on a project for meizu.com looks like this:
You need to indicate the pages that need to be optimized, and the system will offer options based on the tasks and location.
4. Log File Analyzer is a technical SEO tool that lets you see how your site is perceived by search engine crawlers. It can also be used to obtain data on the activity of bots and real users, data on desktop and mobile user activity, and recommendations on how to make the site more visible to search robots. You also can read the Technical SEO checklist – SEO Audit.
5. Listing Management. The tool is designed to optimize local SEO, provide correct business information in other countries, and optimize voice searches by disseminating information via Amazon Alexa, Apple, Bing, and Google. This feature is currently available in the US, UK, France, Germany, and Austria.
SEMrush vs Free Google Tools
By far the most obvious benefit of Google services is that they are free and available to almost everyone. Additionally, despite the fact that some of them such as Google Keyword Planner, are officially available only to those who use Google Ads and order advertising campaigns, you can bypass this condition and use the service absolutely free. You can read about this and how to use the tool in the article Google Keyword Planner: How to Use It and Which Gotchas Does It Hide.
Some SEO experts have noted the high accuracy of the search for keywords using the Google Keyword Planner. At the same time, using the SEMrush service, you can get hundreds and thousands of times more keyword options, including many variations of long-tail keywords, which you can read about in the article Long Tail Keywords: Secrets of Increasing Your Search Traffic. These keywords are not only particularly effective for SEO, but they can also provide ideas for content creation.
If we talk about other tools – Google Search Console and Google Analytics, then each of them has its own characteristics and advantages. In general, they are very effective. You can read about how to use Google Search Console in our tutorial What is Google Search Console, and How is This Tool Used?
Speaking about Google Analytics, some experts note that this tool is more suitable for advanced users such as Media Director Sarah Hoffman. She recommends to novice marketers and digital professionals to take courses to successfully work with the tool and get relevant results. You can read about how to get started with the Google Analytics service in our guide The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics. Also, when comparing Google Analytics and SEMrush, she emphasizes that the first tool is not accurate enough in assessing conversions on social networks.
In addition, each of Google’s tools presents limited and highly specialized functionality. Therefore, for a full-fledged work in the field of SEO or digital marketing, you need to constantly use several services, synthesizing, and switching. This takes expensive specialists’ time. SEMrush, in turn, provides a wide range of tools for solving a variety of tasks within a single service.
Talking about his experience with SEMrush, Analytics Director Lee L Kennedy noted the high efficiency and user-friendly tool for analytical work. This was specifically in the segments of competitive organic research, organic keyword research, and link analysis.
What about SEMrush pricing and how long does the SEMrush free trial last?
SEMrush pricing depends on what type of package you choose to work with. The company offers three options for SEMrush packages: Pro, Guru, and Business. Their cost and features for each package can be found in this table:
The ability to receive reports in different formats and volumes also depends on the package:
At the same time, users are provided with the possibility of switching from one package to another or purchasing a number of additional services. This can be found in detail on the company’s website.
What is SEMrush academy?
SEMrush academy is a free virtual digital marketing & SEO training school, where you can learn the basics of SEO, listen to lectures by leading industry experts, and also master all the necessary skills to work effectively with the SEMrush service.
Many materials are presented in the form of concise 5-minute videos, during which the company’s specialists and experts talk about the nuances and subtleties of working in the field of SEO. For example, this video is about organic research:
The videos are part of the course, which takes several hours and consists of 14-16 videos (in practice, repeating after the tutors, it is likely that the training will take a little longer). Basically, SEMrush Academy is a great free opportunity to gain system knowledge and practical skills.
In addition, SEMrush academy provides authoring courses from well-known and reputable industry representatives. The Role of Content Course with Eric Enge or Backlink Management Course with Greg Gifford are good examples.
After completing any of the courses, you can take a certification exam for free. In case of a successful result, you will receive a SEMrush certification. This will further confirm your professionalism in a particular area of digital marketing and SEO.
The number of specializations and exams for them is in the dozens. Training and exams are free, so if you have the desire and time, you can significantly replenish the knowledge base, regardless of experience and seniority.
Summing up, we can say that SEMrush is a powerful professional tool that opens up wide opportunities for solving SEO and marketing problems, optimizing resources and processes, and for analytical and research work.
After reviewing the SEMrush reviews made several years ago, it becomes obvious that the service is dynamically developing, expanding the package of tools, and becoming more professional and user-friendly at the same time.
For those who consider investing in tools as part of investing in a business or project, it is obvious that professional and high-quality tools are needed to work effectively, one of which is SEMrush.