Whether you’re an SEO, online marketer or a company who’s looking for a single toolkit that will suit most of your SEO-needs, SEMrush will certainly do the trick!
Many professional SEO’s even consider SEMrush to be the very best SaaS-provider (Software as a Service) on the market, in terms of its ability to easily solve a vast selection of SEO-related matters at hand. It gives you an all-in-one SEO-toolkit unparalleled by most competitors, where (in our opinion) only Ahrefs can give it a real run for its money.
Another thing that’s important to mention is that we quickly realised it’s near impossible to provide insights on every aspect of SEMrush. Well, at least without turning this review and guide into a bloated piece of content, which likely would be too much for most readers to process.
Therefore we made our best effort to trim it down as much as possible, only covering some of SEMrush key features, top competitors and pricing, topping it all off with a final conclusion and a fair rating at the end.
So, let’s begin!
SEMrush key features + short guides
As previously stated above there’s a ton of stuff that the SEMrush-toolkit has to offer that (if used right) will have a positive impact on your SEO-endeavours.
Not being able to cover everything, we instead decided to sherry pick five key features that we think will be extremely beneficial for the majority of our readers. We also added a couple of short guides to go with every bullet point, in hope of adding even more value to this article.
What we will cover and in which order:
- How to find keywords with low competition
- How to find your competitors most valuable keywords
- How to find powerful link building opportunities
- How to conduct an SEO-audit
- How to create SEO-reports for internal meetings or clients
Let’s jump right in…
How to find keywords with low competition
There’s certainly more than one way to find valuable keywords with low competition using SEMrush, but we suggest that you start with the following approach, as it’s a simple way of getting the job done.
First locate the Domain Analytics-category in the left sidebar and then click your way to the Overview-page. Insert your domain name in the main search box and press the enter key.
This is where you can have a quick look at your sites metrics to get a better understanding of its current status, compared to others. Without this information it will be allot harder to eventually evaluate if you found a low competition keyword worth to target, or if you’re just about to bite off more than you can chew.
The next step in the process is to start digging out some juicy long tail keywords that usually tend to convert well, but which also needs to have enough search volume to be interesting from that point of view.
The best way to do that is to locate the Keyword Analytics-category on the far left and once more home in on the Overview page. Once you’re there you need to come up with a general keyword which fits your site well, as it will be your starting point in your quest for gold.
Type your general keyword in the search box and hit the enter button. Scroll down and look at either the full list of phrase match keywords or related keywords by clicking view full report.
Find a long tail keyword that looks interesting enough when it comes to relevancy, search volume and keyword difficulty (KD) and then click it. Keyword difficulty is measured from one to a hundred, where a hundred is as difficult as it gets.
Once you clicked a long tail keyword of your liking you should once again scroll down and check the phrase match keywords or related keywords to get even more long tail variations at your disposal.
Use the filter options to quickly extract which keywords that seems to be of most value and finally check which sites that ranks for these keywords in the SERPs. You can easily access the matching SERP for each keyword by clicking the SERP-icons in the section furthest to the right.
You’ve struck gold when there are sites that rank high for these keywords with worse metrics than your site, especially if their content is weak.
How to find your competitors most valuable keywords
One of the best ways to find new keywords to target is to look at what your competitors are ranking for that your site is not. This information is super easy to get your hands on as a SEMrush-user.
Just go to the Gap Analysis-category and click on Keyword Gap, where you can fill the boxes with your own domain and four of your competitors (one is more than enough though).
Make sure that the selected keyword type is Organic Keywords and press the green go-button.
The next step is to switch to the Enable Charts-view to get a nice visualization of the keywords you share with your competitors and the ones that you’re not.
If there’s a large quantity of keywords missing on your site, then that’s a strong indication that there’s a high probability of valuable keywords to pursue.
Once you’re done looking at the chart (this usually doesn’t take more than a minute) you just switch back to the Table View and scroll down until you can sort the keywords after your competitors top rankings.
As soon as you spot a keyword that they rank really well for but not you, then that’s almost always something that’s worth looking into (as long as it’s obvious that it’s a relevant keyword for your site, with proper search volume).
By finding competitors with metrics weaker than yours but ranking on keywords you have not optimized for, you have a great opportunity to outrank them by optimizing for the missing keyword(s). Just make sure to add content that is at least up to par with theirs and preferably twice as good.
How to find powerful link building opportunities
Something that’s of interest for every sane SEO in the world, is to find an opportunity that can result in a powerful backlink. Thankfully SEMrush provides a splendid feature for this, for all its users to benefit from.
Start off at the Domain Analytics-category and then move your way to the Backlinks-page. Now it’s time to shift your focus from you own domain to one of your competitors by inserting their domain name in the search box and pressing enter.
You’ll instantly get access to a lot of valuable information to better be able to determine how diverse the domains link profile is.
You can see how many referring domains it has, how many of its links that are do- or nofollow, the amount of links that are text-based, image-based, etc, the spread between which countries these referring domains comes from, and more.
Once you have a general idea of the link profile it’s time to steer your mouse cursor to the Referring domains-tab and clicking it.
This is where you’ll find the actual sources of each and every backlink. We suggest that you filter the list so it places the domains with the highest Authority Score at the top (where 100 is the highest) to get a good look at the most powerful domains that your competitor has acquired backlinks from. As soon as you notice domains which isn’t shared by the both of you it’s time to start digging.
Access the exact placement of each backlink by clicking the amount of backlinks inside the backlink column and than ask yourself – Is there a possibility to somehow acquire a similar backlink from the same domain? Or even replace the current one, in cases where you clearly can provide more value than your competition?
If your answer is yes to any of these questions, it’s time to take action, reaching out to the webmasters of these domains with the best pitch you can muster.
This is also a fast and easy way of learning more about your competitors most successful link building methods, providing you with the option of replicating whatever strategy that you believe holds the most value for your own link building campaign.
How to conduct an SEO-audit
Being able to run automated SEO-audits on your sites is nothing short of a blessing for beginners, intermediates and SEO-pros alike.
It might not replace a manual check entirely, but it’s still something that saves a ton of time for a bunch of different reasons. It quickly gives a total newbie an concrete list of things to act upon and opens up a lot more time for the professional SEO, which can then be spent on deeper analysis.
To perform an automated SEO-audit in SEMrush all you need to do is head over to the Project-category and then simply add your first project (if you haven’t done so already).
Once it’s done you’ll have access to the rectangular Site Audit-box at the top left of the page.
Click the blue Set up-button and choose how many pages to crawl for each site audit and which source to crawl. If you’re uncertain of which settings to pick, then use the default ones and go ahead and press the green button on the bottom that says Start site audit.
Once the crawl is finished the Site Audit-page will provide a total score for your site and show you every issue that needs to be addressed to enhance its SEO.
You will see how many pages the Site Audit-tool crawled, how many errors, warnings and other notices it has found, and then you basically just have to click around on every tab to access all the information you’re looking for.
Everything is pretty self-explanatory and you can always get more info about each section by hovering the little information-icons which are handily attached to it.
You also got the option to fetch a nice report of your sites current status (or any clients site for that matter) by simply clicking the PDF-box in the top right corner of the page.
How to create SEO-reports for internal meetings or clients
Creating SEO-reports might not be the sexiest feature in SEMrush, but it’s still something of great value for those working with clients of their own or have someone else to answer to higher up in the food chain. Whatever applies to you, SEMrush saves both time and effort, making the monthly reporting procedure a breeze. The report builder gives you full power over several different things, including the option to replace the SEMrush-logo with whatever logo you see fit (only available for Guru-subscriptions and above).
To reach the report builder all you need to do is click the My Reports-category at the bottom left and then the Create Custom PDF report-page. It’s the last category of the bunch and therefore it won’t be hard to spot.
Once you reached the report builder it’s time to start building your custom report. We won’t give you an exact blueprint for this, since it’s really up to you to decide which setup that works best on a case to case basis. The easy to use drag-and-drop-system will make sure you won’t drop the ball and we highly doubt that you’ll even struggle at all when creating your first report.
As soon as you’re satisfied with customizing your report, adding all the data and text you need, you just have to click Generate PDF report in the top right corner. This enables the options to either mail the report to yourself or directly to a client, and you even got the option to have this done on a scheduled time.
SEMrush top competitors
An in depth review like this wouldn’t be complete without some kind of a comparison between SEMrush and it’s top challengers. For that reason we handpicked the two competitors that we believe offers services of a similar nature to SEMrush, both when it comes to their current setups and at which level they perform.
In our humble opinion there’s no one on the market that challenges SEMrush like Ahrefs does. It has a huge index of backlinks, SEO-tools that allows you to do very similar research and analysis, a fine keyword tracker, brillant UX design, and much more. In the end, it’s really up to you which of the two SaaS-services you rather prefer, as it’s hard to determine which one that reigns supreme.
Moz Pro is another fierce competitor to SEMrush and even if we believe it to be less powerful than both SEMrush and Ahrefs, it’s still a very capable all-in-one toolset for SEO. It offers almost the same features and got both pros and cons compared to its foes. Even if it’s currently our third pick of the tree, that’s something that could very well change in an unpredictable future. The team is steadily winning more ground as they keep on polishing their services closer and closer to perfection. One tiny step at a time.
SEMrush is currently offering tree different plans with fixed prices which includes the following:
- Pro – 99.95$ monthly: “Run your SEO, PPC, SMM and content projects with 28 advanced tools. Know your competitors’ traffic sources, rankings, social media results & more.”
Suited for: “Freelancers, startups and in-house marketers with limited budget.”
- Guru – 199.95$ monthly: “All the Pro features plus: Branded reports, Historical Data, Extended limits.”
Suited for: “SMB’s (small and midsize businesses) and growing marketing agencies.”
- Business – 399.95$ monthly: “All the Guru features plus: White label reports, API access, Extended limits and sharing options.”
Suited for: “Agencies, E-commerce projects and businesses with extensive web presence.”
They also got a fourth option called Enterprise, where they’re basically able meet almost any demands a future client might have, provided it’s willing to pay top dollars for SEMrush customizable “special treatment”-services.
This includes: “Custom keyword databases, Custom limits, Unlimited crawling of large websites, On-site trainings, And other add-on features upon request.”
The SEMrush-plan we recommend
If you’re uncertain of which SEMrush-plan to pick, we suggest you’d pick Guru with a monthly fee of 199.95$. If you ask us, it’s by far the plan where you get the most bang for your buck, not only enabling the option to create branded reports with your own or clients logos, but also proving you with extended limits which you’ll really want, once you start using SEMrush on a regular basis!
Get your hands on a free 7 day SEMrush-trial now!
If you’re interested in testing SEMrush to its limits before possibly signing up for real, we’re currently able to offer you a free trial of 7 days. All you need to do is follow the link or click the banner down below to get your hands on this exclusive offer!
SEMrush conclusion and rating
It would be fair to say that SEMrush has come a long way since it first saw the light of day a couple of years back. Today it’s a leader in its field together with a less than a handful of other competitors, always aiming at the distance, pushing the boundaries further when it comes to what we all expect from one of the best SEO SaaS-providers in the world.
There’s always more value on the horizon for loyal SEMrush-users, and even if we sometimes wished that SEMrush would focus even more on their core SEO-features, we’re still very happy with the team behind the tool.
Anyhow, what’s good can always be great, and what’s great can always be greater, which puts SEMrush on a solid 4,5 star rating that it really deserves – missing the full 5 with barely an inch!