SEMrush Review: The Only Marketing Tool You’ll Ever Need?

semrush review

A digital marketing software can’t get any better than SEMrush. It’s not only a comprehensive toolset that consists of SEO, content marketing, and more. It’s also a fully-functional and high-performing software that will help grow your online business in ways you never thought possible!

In this SEMrush review, find out why this tool is the choice of experts all over the world.

INTERFACE

SEMrush was able to present all its features in an intuitive manner. Everything was reasonably easy to navigate.

USEFULNESS

As a digital marketing tool, it can help you build a competent campaign from scratch without using any other tool.

USABILITY

SEMrush not only lets you realize your strategy, but also track and scale your performance so you can make improvements.

EFFECTIVENESS

You can trace back your success using the software and run back the same strategy on any of your projects listed in the tool.

How to use SEMrush

In a nutshell, SEMrush is a software that lets you analyze your competitors, extract the best keywords for your niche, and find link building opportunities.

Doing all these successfully using SEMrush equates to a better performing website on organic search!

In this part, we’ll begin with organic research.

Organic research

SEO remains one of the best ways to drive search traffic to your website.

If you rank on the first page of search results for your target keyword, expect to receive hundreds – if not thousands – of visitors flocking your site.

The real beauty of SEO is that you keep generating traffic even when you’re not actively promoting your site!

As long as you rank high in organic search, expect consistent and steady organic search traffic flowing your way.

Site Audit

To understand how your website is performing on Google search, you need to run a website audit. Doing so identifies different elements that affect its keyword rankings.

With its SEO audit tool, you get the lowdown on your site’s health based on different SEO factors.

To do this, you need to create a project on SEMrush. Open Projects on the left sidebar and click “Create a new project” button to add your site.

semrush - add a new project

For this example, let’s create a project for entrepreneur.com. I’m not affiliated with the website – I simply want to show how SEMrush works.

Once you’ve entered the details, click “Create project.” You will see something like this:

semrush review - my projects

To set up the feature, click on the wrench icon.

You can then tweak the settings of the audit to your liking on the next page.

semrush - site audit settings

But for now, we simply want to use the default settings and change it later on our next audit once we have a clearer picture of the site’s SEO.

To commence, click “Start Start Audit.”

After SEMrush crawls your page, you can see the results from your Dashboard page.

semrush - site audit health score

Click on the website audit box for more information about the results.

semrush - site audit overview

From here, you will see errors and warnings that you need to fix to improve your site’s total score. It also shows Thematic Reports to determine how else you can make your website better from an SEO perspective.

semrush - site audit top issues

What makes the feature better is the Top Issues section that you can see at the bottom of the page. Instead of mulling over the problems with your site, you can take action by fixing the issues listed down here.

You can expand the issues by clicking on “View all issues.” Use the information here to fix your site’s on-page SEO and hopefully increase your website rankings on organic keywords.

In this part, you only see the general issues of the site.

But what if you want to see the site’s SEO problems on a page level?

You can do that too here by clicking on the Crawled Pages tab on the dashboard menu to see pages with their number of errors.

semrush - site audit crawled pages

Click on the page URL to dig deeper to the page’s issue and how you can fix them.

semrush - site audit crawled pages errors

You can click on the “Why and how to fix” link to understand you need to do to resolve this issue.

Now, by default, the site audit tool analyzes 100 pages of the site you entered. So if you have a website with over thousands of pages, you need to change the number of pages to analyze before running another audit.

To do this, hover the cursor to the gear icon of the feature box and select Limit of checked pages.

semrush - site audit edit settings

From here, you can change the pages to your liking.

semrush limit of checked pages

Content Analyzer

This SEMrush feature lets you analyze your content on a more granular level, It looks at different content elements and breaks down how much search traffic it received so you can collaborate with your team to make it better.

To set it up, click on the wrench icon on the Content Analyzer box in the dashboard.

semrush review - content analyzer set up

When setting up, you will notice two tabs on the menu: the Content Audit and Post Tracking.

The former refers to the process of auditing the content in your domain. The latter talks about analyzing your content published on third-party sites, i.e. guest posting.

Right now, we want to see how the Content Audit works which is the first thing you will see while setting this up.

SEMrush will audit your content based on your sitemap so make sure to set one up before running this. You can use a WordPress plugin to autogenerates your sitemap or create one using XML-sitemaps.com.

Regarding the latter, you need to submit the sitemap to your Google Search Console to process your site pages much better.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll see something similar to this:

semrush - subfolders for content audit

SEMrush organizes your pages according to subfolders they’re in. Normally, subfolders are common among online stores and big business sites. So, if you have a small site, this page should only show a couple of sections.

Check the boxes of the section whose content you want to audit.

In this case, I will check URLs without section.

Then click “Start Audit” to begin the process.

The analysis might take time depending on the number of pages you’re auditing.

Once done, you will see something similar to this:

semrush - content analyzer results

You can check out the status code, title, H1 tag, meta description, and other factors of the page. Also, you can see the number of social shares and data from Google Analytics and Google Search Console if you connect them.

The purpose of this section is to summarize the data from GA and GSC into digestible bits of information that you and your team can understand.

To check the pages, click on URLs under the Workflow Status column that haven’t been analyzed to review them.

Once you do, you’ll see this:

semrush - content analyzer for page

At this point, you need to run a website on Content Analyzer where you have access to its Google Analytics. In this case, we can’t do it with entrepreneur.com.

Just to show how this feature works properly, I’ll be running a site I own and connect SEMrush with its Google Analytics and Google Search Console data. Here’s how the results look like:

semrush - content analyzer with GA

It shows the content of the page on the left and data from GA and GSC on the right.

The Metrics tab shows you everything you need to know about the page from Google Analytics. Using this data, you need to find ways on how to increase its rankings and rank for more search queries.

That’s where the Collaboration tab comes in.

You can improve the SEO of each page by yourself. But SEMrush is best used with team members who will help optimize your content.

semrush - content analyzer collaborate

This tab lets you assign a member who is responsible for increasing the traffic and social shares of the page. Add notes to inform the user what they need to know about the page and what they should do.

You can also add tags on each page to help organize the pages in the Content Analyzer section.

From the data presented here, however, it’s difficult to make improvements on each page if you don’t know where to start.

On-Page SEO Checker

If you want a simpler and more actionable approach to optimizing your site pages, this feature should fit you like a glove.

The problem with most SEO tools is that they expect users to have an in-depth knowledge of SEO. That’s never always the case, which makes the On-Page Checker perfect for them.

You can set this up by clicking on the wrench icon of the box on the upper right hand of the dashboard.

semrush - on page seo checker set up

You then have to complete steps for SEMrush to accurately analyze your site’s on-page SEO.

First, you need to choose the location for your Google search targeting.

semrush review - pages and target keywords

If you’re optimizing for a country or region outside of the US, you need to change it here before you proceed.

Next, you need to identify pages that you want to track. SEMrush allows you to auto-import the best pages in your domain to make it easier for you.

semrush - auto import pages

If you want more control with which pages to track, you can enter them manually or upload a spreadsheet with the format indicated. Or you can choose the Organic Research tab that shows your ranking pages for keywords with the highest search volume.

semrush - auto import organic research

If you finalized which pages to import, click Collect Ideas.

Once it’s done, click on the box to review the data.

semrush - on page seo checker results

You will see on the overview page that shows the bird’s eye view of the analysis.

semrush - total ideas

You can click on any of the ideas here to see how to strengthen your page’s SEO performance.

But before we do that, scroll down to see the top pages that you need to optimize first.

semrush - top pages to optimize

Click on the ideas button so see what you can do for that specific page to improve it for SEO.

semrush review - on page seo suggestions

This page breaks down the things you need to focus on.

If you’re working with a team, you can send the suggestions to a Trello card and board so they can optimize the pages for you.

Personally, this is one of SEMrush’s best features to date.

Domain Overview

Let’s step away from on-page SEO analysis and look at how you can use SEMrush to check out your competitors.

Competitor analysis is an excellent way to understand the industry in relation to your website.

By checking out the top-ranking websites in your market, you get to see why they rank there and what you need to do to be like them in terms of SEO performance.

Basically, you use the best websites as the benchmark on how you should approach optimizing your site.

Lucky for you, SEMrush gives you all the tools you need to analyze the competition the right way.

It all begins with the Domain Overview.

Click on Domain Analytics > Overview and enter the domain that you want to check out on the search bar.

semrush - domain overview

For this example, let’s enter inc.com in the bar and hit “Search.”

Here’s what you’ll see:

semrush - domain overview results

The results show everything you need to know about the website.

Traffic Analytics (TA)

When researching for your competitors, you want to see how much traffic they receive from Google. Now, unless you have access to their Google Analytics, finding out about their website traffic is next to impossible.

But thanks to SEMrush’s TA, you can generate precise data about the traffic your competitors are getting!

Click Marketing Insights > TA and enter the domain of your competitor.

semrush - traffic analytics

Using inc.com as an example, below are the results:

semrush - traffic analytics results

As you can see, the data you’ll see here is similar to what you’ll find in Google Analytics!

Scrolling down the results, you’ll also see an overview where the domain is getting its traffic.

semrush - traffic sources

You can view the full traffic, but you need to purchase the TA package starting at $200/month.

Nonetheless, the information here should give you a better idea of how your competitors are performing.

The best part of this feature is the ability to compare up to three domains with the one you entered.

For example, let’s analyze inc.com with entrepreneur.com (our hypothetical site), thebalancesmb.com, and fundera.com:

semrush review - benchmark your website

You can even compare their monthly traffic from a 6-month. 12-month, or all-time view:

semrush - traffic analytics visits

You can also see the Audience Overlap among the visitors. Check out how many of your competitor’s visitors are coming to your site as well. You can do the same with the other competitors and their relationship with your site.

semrush - traffic analytics audience overlap

Scrolling down, you can also see where the sites are getting their traffic from and how many. Compare your traffic with others and see how you fare against them. You can probably unearth insights here that can help you with your SEO strategy.

semrush - traffic analytics traffic sources

Finally, you can organize the traffic coming to the site by country. Parse down the data to see the countries with the most visitors and whether or not you’re optimizing your site properly to them.

semrush - traffic analytics traffic by country

The information here should give you an idea on how to approach location-specific SEO especially if your competitors are ranking from countries that you haven’t capitalized yet.

 

Keyword research

SEMrush’s keyword research features help you break down the keywords into different factors so you can properly analyze each. More importantly, you can unearth hundreds – if not thousands – of keyword ideas to expand your search and find long tail keywords and hidden gems!

Now, I’ve discussed how to do keyword research using SEMrush in this post. You can visit the page to learn the exact process of doing traditional and competitive keyword research with this tool.

But in this review, we’ll nonetheless touch upon its best keyword research features.

Keyword Magic Tool (KMT)

This keyword research tool lets you type your target keywords and organize long tail keywords according to different settings and factors.

To start, click on Keyword Analytics > KMT on the left sidebar.

semrush - keyword magic tool

Then enter your seed keyword (shouldn’t be more than three words) and hit “Search.”

But before doing so, make sure to use the Google database of the country you want to search in to get accurate results.

Once done, you’ll see something like this:

semrush - keyword magic tool results

There’s a lot of data to talk about in this page.

Let’s start with the top part.

semrush - keyword magic tool variation

Choose from broad, phrase, and exact matches, as well as related keywords that will show on top of the results.

By default, the results show the broad matches of your seed keyword.

Below it, you can filter the results to prioritize keywords, ideally long tail keywords, that match your needs.

semrush - keyword magic tool advanced filters

Also, you can toggle to show question keywords, i.e. keywords that ask a question if you want to create content that answers a user query.

On the left side of the results, you can filter the results to contain the words found here.

semrush - keyword magic tool number of keywords

You can organize the choices to show those with the most keyword combinations or with the most total search volume.

For example, if I click on “strategy” based on the number of keywords that contain this word, it will show these results:

semrush - keyword magic tool all keywords

From here, you can see lots of variables to help you find the best and most profitable keywords to optimize for your site.

In this case, it’s best to focus on the search volume and KD (keyword difficulty) columns if you’re optimizing for organic search.

For example, clicking on KD will help you show keywords with the lowest KD. That means you can unearth keywords that are easy to rank for.

semrush - keyword magic tool KD

However, judging from the results, we would want to refine the results to show keywords with actual data and not “0” and “n/a.”

To do this, scroll up to show the advanced filters. For the minimum search volume, type in 1000. For the minimum KD, type in 1.

semrush - keyword magic tool filter results

After setting up the filters, below are the new results:

semrush - keyword magic tool filter final results

The results thinned out, but their respective KDs are too higher for us to optimize. Ideally, we want to show keywords with KDs between 1-30.

Obviously, we will also have to lower the minimum search volume figure from 1,000 to find more results.

Keyword Difficulty

Aside from search volume, keyword difficulty is arguably the next most vital factor in keyword research.

In a nutshell, you need to find keywords with high search volume and low keyword difficulty.

That means people search for the keywords more than a thousand times. Also, the sites ranking for the keywords are average at best.

This means one thing:

There’s an opportunity for you to create an even better post and potentially rank on top of search results for these keywords!

With the help of SEMrush’s Keyword Difficulty tool, you can find the KD of keywords quickly.

This feature works best if you export keywords from a third-party tool like Google Keyword Planner.

To use it, click on Keyword Analytics > Keyword Difficulty and paste the keywords on the text box.

semrush - keyword difficulty tool

Click “Show difficulty” to reveal the data regarding the keywords.

semrush - keyword difficulty tool results

Aside from the keyword difficulty and search volume of each keyword, the results show the SERP Features to let you know how to approach optimizing for each.

For instance, “content marketing” has a Knowledge Panel, Featured snippet, top stories, and reviews. You can click on the SERP icon on the right to see these features.

Use this information to try and optimize for these features as well. Since it’s possible that your competitors can do it, so can you!

Keyword Gap Tool (KG)

Going back to traditional competitor analysis, you need to drill down the keyword rankings of your competitors. It’s one of the best ways to catch up against them, if not outrank them altogether!

In particular, you can also see keywords you’re not ranking for and create one for them!

To do this, click on Gap Analytics > KG.

semrush - keyword gap

In here, you need to enter your domain and the domain of your top competitors.

But before you proceed, ask yourself this question:

Who are my competitors?

If you don’t know the answer to this, a quick search on Domain Overview ought to do the trick.

Once you’re on the results, view the full report in the Main Organic Competitor section to see your top competitors.

Below are the closest competitors of entrepreneur.com according to SEMrush:

semrush - organic competitors

SEMrush provides you with your top competitors based on the number of common keywords in relation to the total keywords your competitors are ranking for.

This is computed by the Competitor Level which is the first column of the table. The higher the percentage level of a domain, the bigger a competitor they are.

In this case, the top competitors of entrepreneur.com are inc.com, thebalancesmb.com, smallbiztrends.com, and fundera.com.

Going back to the tool, enter your domain and the four others to compare.

Here are the results:

semrush - keyword gap results

For example, entrepreneur.com ranks higher for “business cards” than inc.com and thebalancesmb.com. However, smallbiztrends.com and fundera.com rank higher for the keyword than entrepreneur.com.

What you want to do is analyze the pages of both sites and get insights as to why they’re ranking higher.

You can see these pages by clicking on the keyword and scroll down the page to see the organic search results.

semrush - keyword organic search results

Scroll through the results to see the pages ranking above you.

Also, you may want to use the On-Page SEO Checker to help you optimize your page in question in relation to the competition.

This process is if you want to optimize existing pages for the keyword.

Now, if you want to find out keywords you have neither optimized or created yet, you can also use the KG tool as well.

You can do this by hovering the cursor on the icon between the sites and choose Unique Keywords on all of them.

semrush - keyword gap unique keywords

What this will do is show keywords that each site is exclusively ranking for.

Set all intersection types to Unique Keywords and click Go.

Below is the results:

semrush - keyword gap unique keywords results

As you can see, the keywords shown from the table are exclusive only to a site from the list.

Similar to the process above, click out the keyword and check the position where the domain ranks. From here, analyze the content and create a better version of that to potentially rank higher.

If you must know, building a link profile from authoritative sites will help propel any site to the top of organic rankings.

It’s also one of the most difficult tasks any SEO faces.

There are so many elements and factors involved in getting good links for your site. Therefore, it isn’t as simple as asking these site for a backlink to yours.

Unlike content creation in which you have full control on how to present your ideas, link building involves variables beyond your control.

While SEMrush won’t give you control over building relationships with influencers and site owner, it nonetheless helps you identify sites that you should reach out to. And that’s what makes it one of the better link building tools in the market.

That’s half of the link building battle, and if you can get that down, then it makes the process much easier.

It all starts with analyzing your own backlinks so far.

To do this, click on Domain Analytics > Backlinks and enter your URL in there.

semrush - backlinks analytics

You can conduct a competitor analysis later on by entering your competitor URLs. But for now, let’s focus on your link profile first.

Entering entrepreneur.com, below are the results:

semrush - backlinks analytics overview

The first part shows an overview of the site’s link profile. There’s also a graph that shows the new and lost backlinks over a period.

Below are other factors that you can see here:

  • Total Backlinks – Shows a trending graph of the site’s total backlinks to determine trends
  • Backlink Types – Tells you the percentage of links that are text, image, form, or frame
  • Follow vs Nofollow – Reveals the percentage of your links that are nofollow and dofollow
  • TLD Distribution – Lists down how many backlinks a site has from respective domain extensions
  • Country – Tells you where the countries of the domains are located in percentage
  • Top Anchors – Lists down the anchor texts used for linking to your site

To see the actual links of the site, click on Backlinks tab on the menu and scroll down the page to see this:

semrush - backlinks analytics data

By default, it shows the links according to Page Score which measures the authority of a website by SEMrush.

You can toggle the list by ascending or descending Page Score. You can also organize the links according to the first time they were seen and the last.

However, if you want to filter the results, you can also show nofollow or dofollow links as well as new and lost backlinks.

semrush - backlinks analytics filters

You can even drill down the results according to a specific domain, anchor text, IP address, and more.

For your link profile, you want to ensure that all sites pointing to yours aren’t spammy.

Therefore, by showing the sites according to ascending Page Score order, you can identify sites that you don’t want linking to yours.

semrush - backlinks analytics ascending page score

First, you need to check the sites manually and check if the site is indeed spammy, i.e. lots of ads, poor design, etc.

If so, click on the plus icon on the right to add the link to your disavow list.

From here, you can also check sites that share backlinks from the same sites as you.

Click on the Competitors tab on the menu and scroll down the page to see your competitors.

semrush - domain competitors

The results are organized according to Competitor Level. The higher the percentage, the more common referring domains you have with the site in relation to its total referring domains.

It’s one thing to look at your backlinks using SEMrush’s Backlink Analysis feature.

It’s another to delve deep into your link profile and gain better insights from it using the tool’s BA feature.

What this feature can do is identify dubious or spammy links that are potentially dragging your performance down. It lets you take care of these links by disavowing them so Google won’t have to count them as part of your link profile.

To set it up, click on Projects and choose the one you want to check. You will then go to the site’s dashboard.

Next, click on the Set up button of the BA box.

semrush - backlink audit set up
semrush - baacklink audit settings

You can tweak the settings of the backlink audit as you see fit. Below are the variables you can set up:

  • Campaign scope – Audit the root domain, www & non-www version, www version, or non-www version
  • Brand settings – Edit the brand name or any words or phrases that are identifiable to your brand
  • Domain categories – Choose industries or topics related to your website to generate accurate backlink results
  • Target countries – Identify the countries where your target audience resides

Once you’ve edited the settings, click “Start Backlink Audit.”

Wait for the app to gather the data. Once completed, you will see this summary of the BA:

semrush - backlink audit completed

To see the toxic links, view the full report to see these shady links.

semrush - backlink audit toxic score

From here, you can decide whether to keep and whitelist the link or delete it to remove or disavow.

But before doing that, you need to check the site first. It’s best to manually see if the site is indeed spammy. Then try to reach out to the site owner and ask them to take down the link if possible.

If not, you need to disavow or remove them instead.

By uploading the domains/URLs to the disavow list, you need to upload the file to your Google Disavow Tool to complete the action.

While disavowing links seem to be a drastic action, it may be the only way to clean your link profile. If you have lots of shady backlinks and can’t get them down through the site owner, then the Backlink Audit tool proves to be handy for this purpose.

As part of your competitive analysis process, you need to spy on their link profile and get a better sense of their link building strategy.

The types of links they’ve built over time will help you form how they approach building links.

You can do that using SEMrush from the Domain Analytics to get an overview of their link profile.

But if you want to see links they have that your site doesn’t have yet, then Backlink Gap steps into your aid.

Similar to KG, you can see backlinks that your competitors have but you don’t.

This is a great way to build new links to fortify your link profile and get on the level of better-performing websites in your niche.

To do this, click on Gap Analysis > Backlink Gap.

Enter entrepreneur.com for the first domain and inc.com as the competitor.

Here are the results:

semrush - backlink audit by referring domains

By default, the results show the sites with the best Authority Site to the worst. On the next column, it shows if you have links from the domain. Next, it shows how many links you have from the domain.

In the screenshot above, inc.com has no link from wordpress.org. That’s a win for entrepreneur.com!

But if you want to see links that inc.com have and entrepreneur.com doesn’t, click on the Matches to organize the results.

semrush - backlink gap matches final

I’ve boxed in red domains that entrepreneur.com don’t have links from.

What you need to do next is click on the number of links that inc.com have from that domain to see how their links look like.

semrush - backlink gap opportunities

Before getting links from these domains, however, check out the Page Score of each domain and visit it to see for yourself the quality of the site.

If the domain passes both, try and find a way to get a link from it.

Remember when I mentioned earlier that link building requires you to build relationships with site owners to secure backlinks much quicker?

This aspect of building links is best done manually, of course. There’s no replacing the human connection built from talking to each other.

So, the main problem now is finding out which site to reach out to.

With SEMrush’s Link Building Tool, however, you can determine all possible prospects in minutes!

To do this, set up the Link Building Tool feature from your project dashboard.

semrush - link building tool

Next, you need to determine the keywords you want to rank for in organic search. SEMrush provides the list for you but you can edit the keywords and add more to your liking.

semrush - link building settings

You can also determine your closest competitors that SEMrush will check and monitor in real-time for new links.

semrush - link building setting competitors

After setting up the campaign, click “Start Link Building” to process the results.

Once the search is complete, you will see the list of domains that you should reach out to for a link.

semrush - link building results

So you’re probably wondering:

How in the world does SEMrush determine what to show in the results?

The results are organized according to their Rating which you can see in the last column.

It calculates the quality and accessibility of a domain. The easier it is to get a link from the site and the value of the link it brings to your site, the higher the rating.

Ideally, you move the best prospects to your In Progress tab of your campaign.

However, before doing that, it’s best to visit the page and see how you can get a link from the site.

For example, if it’s a forum board, then you need to sign up for an account in the forum and build enough authority to be able to drop links to your site without looking spammy.

Once you’ve determined the process, you need to identify it by clicking on the drop-down menu from the In Progress button on the right.

semrush - link building in progress

After you select an outreach strategy, the prospect goes to your In Progress tab.

semrush - link building in progress tab

Each entry shows the Facebook admin and contact pages that you can reach out to.

Regarding the email option, it depends on the outreach strategy. The Manual link strategy won’t allow you to send emails from SEMrush. But if you change the strategy, it will find the best email of the domain and reach out to the site owner.

semrush - link building contact

You can save emails you’ve written and turn them into templates that you can reuse again and again.

Also, you can add placeholders in the email to personalize the message.

Now, once you have sent the email, the prospect goes to the Monitor tab so you can oversee if the site owner replied and included your link in the post.

The workflow of this feature is perfect for teams working for different clients and finding link building prospects for each.

You can add notes and comment on each prospect so the person responsible for the outreach and securing links knows what to do.

Content marketing

If you’re more into creating content instead, then SEMrush has features to shore up your content strategy.

Using SEMrush’s content marketing toolkit, you can build SEO-friendly content in the hopes of ranking on top of organic search results.

Topic Research

If you want a more competitor-based approach to your content research, then SEMrush’s Topic Research will do the job for you.

To access this feature, click on the Topic Research on the sidebar and enter your keyword or phrase in the text bar.

semrush - topic research

Click “Get content ideas” to see the results.

Once it loads, the first thing you will see is the mindmap of related topics to the keyword you entered.

semrush - topic research mindmap

Clicking on “social media marketing,” for example, shows you the top headlines, questions, and related search in conjunction with the topic.

semrush - topic research headlines

The titles in the Headlines section help you brainstorm for your content’s title. Find angles that the top headlines haven’t talked about yet and turn into an article.

semrush - topic research questions

As for the questions section, you can toggle the results according to the type of question, i.e. what, how, is, which. Use the best questions and make sure to answer them in the content you’ll be writing about the topic.

If you want to change from the mindmap view, you can choose from either Card, Explorer, or Overview.

Here’s what the topics look like in Card view:

semrush - topic research cards

Opening the cards give you a much better view of the information pertaining to it.

semrush - topic research cards overview

What’s great about this view is it also shows you the search volume, KD, and topic efficiency. This information allows you to choose which topics to prioritize depending on their data.

Now, if you like a topic, click on the three dots icon to open the settings. You can save the topic for later use. You can even assign this task to your team on Trello.

semrush - topic research cards options

Here’s a question:

Do you know why some content ranks higher than others?

This is a trick question because no one knows why and how Google ranks the page for a keyword.

However, the next best answer to this question is to check the top 10 pages ranking for a keyword and analyze them one by one.

Doing so would be time-consuming and unwise especially if you have bigger fish to fry.

What this feature does is to return insights and data from the top pages for the keyword you’re also optimizing. Following the advice here allows you to create content that’s comparable to them.

And if that’s the case, your content may also rank alongside these pages, if not outrank them altogether!

From the Topic Research cards, you can open the options and create a template for your chosen topic/keyword.

semrush - seo content template

After entering “social media marketing” and clicking on Create SEO Template, here’s what you’ll immediately see:

semrush - seo content template results

The SEO Recommendations tab will show you the common elements shared among the top 10 pages ranking for the keyword that’s listed on the screenshot.

Scrolling down the page, you will see the key recommendations that you must follow to make your content look and read like the top pages.

semrush - seo content template key recommendations

The information here is awesome because it shows you what semantically related words you should mention or discuss in the article. This helps you create content that has a strong connection to the keyword you’re optimizing.

The Backlinks section shows you the domains you should get links from. This part isn’t really useful because it simply tells you what you should do but doesn’t give you enough information for you to take action.

The Readability and Text Length gives you an idea on how you should write the article and in what style.

Showing you the average number of words of the top 10 posts is a great index on how you should write your content. There’s a tendency for some to overwrite or underwrite their articles, so having a concrete number gives you an idea on how much words it takes to write an optimized content

And, obviously, the readable the content is, the better for your audience. But by having a certain score to use as a benchmark, it gives you more leeway to create something similar to theirs.

These suggestions are merely cues to help you write the best possible content for your keywords. You don’t have to follow them to a tee – if you feel that you can create a post without following all of them, then more power to you!

semrush - seo content template competitors

Lastly, you can see and analyze how your competitors are mentioning and talking about the keyword in their articles.

This is a cool feature to compare and contrast their on-page approach for optimizing their content. Maybe they’re using the keywords deliberately or naturally in the post. Either way, finding out the answer allows you to take the right approach with writing your content.

If you have a content team, you can download the information in document format to share it with them. This way, they can write the post using the key recommendations offered by the tool.

SEO Writing Assistant

Now that you have the template in hand, you should be able to write the post much easier.

However, it cuts down the spontaneity in writing content.

You have to keep referring to the template and see if you entered the semantically related keywords, have the average number of words down pat, and more.

SEMrush is aware of this, which is why you can write freely while keeping things optimized in real-time using Writing Assistant.

You can access this by clicking on the Real-Time Content Checker tab from the Content Template results.

Or you can click Writing Assistant on the sidebar.

semrush - seo writing assistant

Similar to tools like Yoast SEO for WordPress, the score updates as you write the article.

As you apply all the suggestions on the right, your score rises as well.

This way, you don’t have to manually check how many words your post has or if you used all the recommended keywords.

Basically, you just focus on creating the best content possible and the Writing Assistant will take care of the rest!

Social media

There are millions of users across different social platforms, most of whom are your target audience.

Therefore, it would be foolish for you to ignore them!

Thankfully, instead of using popular tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to take care of your online presence, you can use SEMrush instead.

Below are the social media features available in this software:

  • Social Media Tracker – It provides you with an overview of a social profile based on their audience, activity, and engagement. The page also shows the top content among the competitors according to total engagement and engagement rate. Finally, you can compare all competitors based on their followers, change, and activity.
  • Social Media Posting – Schedule or queue posts that you want to publish on your social channels. You can also pull content to publish from RSS feeds to automate your social sharing.
  • Brand Monitoring – It delivers all brand mention from different platforms in a single dashboard. Collect brand mentions and related keywords from different sources: web, forum boards, Twitter, and Instagram.

SEO Agency

If you are running an SEO team, then it makes sense to use SEMrush to serve your clients better.

I’ve already discussed above the tool’s features where you can collaborate with your team members.

But, believe it or not, SEMrush has more features to help you generate more leads for your business and provide comprehensive and easy-to-understand reports to keep your clients happy!

Lead Generation Tool

Here’s a situation:

You have a website for your services attracting lots of traffic.

However, nobody is converting into clients!

There’s no filling out your form or sending out your email.

Maybe you need a better way to capture leads.

That’s where the Lead Generation Tool comes in.

semrush - lead generation

You can embed a special form on your website if they want a free audit of their site.

To access this feature, click on Lead Generation Tool on the sidebar and click “Start generating leads.”

You can then tweak the settings of the form you will embed on your site.

semrush - lead generation settings final

Aside from editing the text of the widget, you can change the colors of the form to match your branding.

Once you’re happy with the appearance, you need to copy and paste the widget code on your site. It’s best to set up a free audit page on your website and embed the code there.

My Reports

The goal is to always grow one’s organic traffic and visibility.

For your clients, you need to prove that your efforts are making positive changes to their business.

And what better way to show it to them than with a beautiful report?

It should contain the most critical metrics that make an impact on a business’ success. Traffic is one of them, but there is a lot more to include in here.

To help you build the report, you can use SEMrush.

semrush - my reports

To create a report, click on My Reports on the sidebar and click “Create new report.”

Then you need to choose a template to use for building the report. Choosing a pre-made templates makes it easier for you to organize the report. But if you’re comfortable in creating the report from scratch, you can create it on a blank canvas.

semrush - my reports templates

Choose the best one for your purpose and fill out the details.

semrush - my reports monthly seo

You can enter any domain to create a report for – whether it’s a client website or a competitor.

More importantly, you can choose the Traffic Data to gather information from.

That means you don’t need to have access to a domain’s Google Analytics account. Just use SEMrush TA as the source and you’re good to go!

Once you’ve entered the necessary information, here’s how to report looks like:

semrush - my reports report builder

You can add more widgets in the report as you wish. Customize it even further by explaining your report using heading and paragraph elements.

Once done, export the report into a PDF format and send it to the client.

Also, since you can draw information from SEMrush TA, you can create reports for the leads you got from your Lead Generation widget. This allows you to close leads much better!

SEMrush pricing

Considering all the features crammed into SEMrush, you’d probably expect it to be an expensive tool.

Looking at its price list, you’re not necessarily wrong.

semrush pricing plans

Below is a partial comparison of all plans from a Projects standpoint:

semrush pricing plans

Basically, the higher the plan, the higher the limit for most of its features.

You can check out their complete plan comparison here*.

Judging from the features included, the PRO plan is perfect for freelancers who are working with a few clients and want to leverage the power of SEMrush to generate useful data.

The GURU plan – SEMrush’s most popular plan – costs $199.95 per month (with free trial). It works best for agencies who are managing more than five clients and take their practice very, very seriously.

The BUSINESS and ENTERPRISE plans are applicable to bigger businesses with lots of websites to analyze.

Now, let’s talk about the actual price of the plan.

The lowest price of SEMrush is $99.95 per month (also with free trial), which costs a lot more than most tools.

While it’s true that SEMrush is expensive, you have to understand one thing:

It has everything you need to grow your online business!

Consider the following features that SEMrush has and compare it to the costs third-party tools that do the exact task:

  • Organic research – Ahrefs ($99 per month) or Spyfu ($39per month)
  • Keyword research – Ahrefs ($99 per month) or KeywordTool.io ($69 per month)
  • Link building – Ahrefs ($99 per month) or Buzzstream ($24 per month)
  • Content marketing toolkit- Ahrefs ($99 per month) or Buzzsumo ($99 per month)
  • Social media – Mention ($25 per month) or Hootsuite ($19 per month)
  • SEO agency – SEOptimer ($59 per month for the embeddable widget) and Agency Analytics ($49 per month)

Even if you subscribe to Ahrefs, you still need to cover the agency aspect of your business. That costs more than $99.95/month that you’ll be paying for SEMrush to get all the features!

If anything, SEMrush is affordable in relation to the things it can do for you.

Pros and cons of SEMrush

We’ve discussed in this review how to use its multiple features to fortify your digital marketing campaign.

Therefore, it’s very clear to you how SEMrush works.

However, as good as SEMrush is (it’s one of the best, to be honest), there are still things that won’t get you the best results.

That said, let’s check out the pros and cons of this digital marketing tool:

Pros

  • The swiss knife of SEO tools – Is there something that SEMrush can’t do? If there is, please let me know because I’m sure you can do all the vital digital marketing tasks to build your business. From keyword research to reporting and everything in between, SEMrush could be the only SEO toolkit you will need!
  • Excellent research features – It gives you all the features to gain insights about your market and industry. You can analyze your competitor’s backlinks and overall performance using its Domain and Backlink Analytics. More importantly, the TA gives you estimated values of their organic traffic which is perfect for competitive research. Ultimately, you simply have no excuse for your SEO to suck if you’re subscribed with SEMrush.
  • Great tool for content creation – You can gather data of the top 10 competitors for your keyword to create optimized content using its content marketing features. From there, you can use the Writing Assistant to create the content and ensure that you’re following the suggestions to a tee. In fact, there’s a WordPress plugin and Google Docs add-on for the Writing Assistant if you want to write the post outside of SEMrush. This is a great way to optimize the content in a collaborative and pre-publishing environment.
  • Everything in one place – Manage all digital marketing tasks in a single place. You don’t have to look for other SEO toolkit or software that does a specific marketing tactic because there’s a good chance SEMrush has it.

Cons

  • Backlink filtering needs work – This may appear like a small gripe, but filtering backlink data from your research isn’t enough to help you screen the links you need. For example, you can’t filter results according to Page Score or Trust Score.

COMPETITORS

This review should have shown you that SEMrush has all the tools you need for your online marketing needs. However, if you want to focus on a specific aspect of SEO and save a few bucks every month, then you may want to consider the tools below.
P.S. If you want to see the complete list of SEMrush alternatives, click here,


Ahrefs

ahrefs homepage

When it comes to SEO tools, it all boils down to Ahrefs and SEMrush. In a nutshell, SEMrush is an all-in-one marketing tool while Ahrefs is primarily an SEO software. The former does more things than Ahrefs, but the latter is arguably the best SEO tool in the market based on its features and the quality of data it providers for users.


Spyfu

spyfu vs semrush

Spyfu is for people who want to check SEO and PPC campaigns of sites similar to theirs to help them even the score and remain competitive in Google SERPs. This tool is a great SEMrush alternative for people with websites ranking Google US and UK SERPs (because these are the only available databases in the tool).


SEO Powersuite

SEMrush Review: The Only Marketing Tool You’ll Ever Need? 1

If you want a more affordable version of SEMrush, then SEO PowerSuite is for you. It can do almost everything that SEMrush can from creating optimized content to sending outreach emails to prospects. The only downside of this SEO toolkit is it’s desktop-based. The speed and performance of the tool is dependent on the specs of your desktop or laptop. If you can overlook this fact, then you should consider trying SEO PowerSuite.


Moz Pro

what is moz - link research

Moz Pro is one of the long-standing premium tools in the market. Compared to SEMrush, Moz has one of the most beautiful UX and presents data in an easy-to-understand manner. On the downside, the tool is focused only in SEO and helping your content rank on Google. This could be a good thing if you want to focus on this aspect of your site.


KWFinder

SEMrush Review: The Only Marketing Tool You’ll Ever Need? 2

KWFinder is one of the best and most affordable keyword research tools in the market. As part of the Mangools all-in-one SEO suite, you can also perform competitor research, track your keyword rankings, and monitor your backlinks. KWFinder beats SEMrush in the price department, but it lacks the features that SEMrush is known for.


SE Ranking

se ranking

At its core, SE Ranking is a rank tracking tool. But through the years, the tool has been slowly growing into become one on the better tools in the market. You can conduct keyword research, spy on competitors, monitor backlinks, and more. It’s also has some of the most affordable plans available, making it perfect for beginners.


Serpstat

serpstat

Serpstat has lots of similarities with SEMrush. Aside from its research features, you can research the PPC campaigns of your competitors as well. I’d consider Serpstat as SEMrush lite from the features, database, and the pricing. To be clear, that’s a good thing especially for people who love SEMrush but can’t afford its monthly subscription for now. If that’s the case, Serpstat is a really good option for you.


Ubersuggest

ubersuggest

Ubersuggest is a relatively new tool from Neil Patel. Originally an alphabet soup keyword tool, it’s expanded to become a comprehensive SEO tool. Out of the gate, it’s neither as comprehensive nor arguably as good as SEMrush. However, it’s perfect for people looking for an affordable tool for basic research. Plus, it’s currently running a lifetime deal (lowest at $290).


SEOProfiler

seoprofiler

SEOProfiler is one of the more comprehensive SEO tools that’s not been on anyone’s radar. It can do everything that SEMrush does but with better limits and more affordable pricing. However, the tool is a tier below the likes of SEMrush in terms of the quality of data it provides. Nonetheless, SEO teams and agencies would enjoy SEOProfiler’s features.

SEMRush Review: Verdict

Christopher Jan Benitez

INTERFACE
USEFULNESS
USABILITY
EFFECTIVENESS

Summary

Simply put, SEMrush is one of the best marketing tools in the market – if not the best. It has everything you need to optimize and maximize your site’s performance in all aspects of your online business. And you can do that in a single dashboard! The best thing about this tool is the ability to research for data, whether it’s keywords or content, and turn it into actionable items for your marketing strategy. TRY OUT SEMRUSH GURU FOR FREE NOW IN 7 DAYS!

4.9