SEMrush Review: The Best Marketing Analytics Search Optimization?

by | 05.10.20 | Apps,SEO,

SEMrush is a marketing analytics and online search optimization software service provider. It gives information about web traffic, keywords, site audits and other SEO data that can improve your website search-page ranking. In this SEMrush review we’ll take a close look at its features.

SEMrush is used by small businesses as well as major clients including eBay, Quora, Hewlett Packard, BNP Paribas and many others.

If you’re wondering whether SEMrush can help improve your web traffic and sales, you’ve come to the right place – In this SEMrush review I’ll cover everything about the platform, both good and bad.

How SEMrush started

Launched in 2008 by Oleg Shchegolev and Dmitriy Melnikov, the platform was an instant success. It was first distributed narrowly to a few leaders in the IT industry, yet it quickly became a popular analytical tool for all kinds of online businesses. It’s now an all-round platform for SEO, PPC, content marketing and social media analytics.

Since keyword research plays a critical role in digital marketing success, SEO tools are important. As outlined later in this SEMrush review, the platform is an all-in-one digital marketing toolbox that helps manage keyword research, competitive analysis, and ad optimization.

What SEMrush does

Functions and features provided by the platform let you track and audit website performance, as well as perform competitive analysis and spy on competitors’ marketing strategies.

If you’re like me, focused on doing the best SEO, then SEMrush is a good choice. It started out several years ago with only a few SEO features, but now it also serves well for PPC, content marketing, and social media.

Organic research

SEMrush Review: The Best Marketing Analytics Search Optimization?

From my own experience with the platform long before I wrote this SEMrush review, this feature is one of the best. To use it, just put a competitor’s website into the search field. The tool provides a ton of useful data. In the organic research tool, these three metrics are often the most useful: Keywords, traffic, and traffic cost.

The keywords metric shows the number of keywords that my site ranks highly for. Although there are advantages from knowing this metric, it doesn’t measure the number of top ten SERPs that a site ranks for.

Instead, it shows the overall number of keywords I rank for. This means that a site could rank for thousands of keywords all on the second page of Google, but may not be generating much traffic.

The traffic metric shows how much traffic a site receives from search engines. It’s not always accurate, but it lets you know if and how your competitors’ SEO campaigns are paying off.

One of the most important things to be mentioned in any SEMrush review is the platform’s low traffic cost feature, That’s the most important metric because it measures organic traffic and how much such traffic is worth. Whenever you plug a competitor’s site into this meter, it gives a near estimate of how much they spend on PPC.

Traffic Analytics

This tool shows how much traffic is entering a site. It quickly analyzes a site and estimates the total number of people that visit every month, which is a good way to measure how you compare with competitors.

One of the important things to understand is the importance of traffic analytics. That shows what visitors do when they are on the site. It uses metrics such as bounce rate and page views. Intuitive visual charts paint a clear picture of how visitors’ actions change over time. The platform also has a traffic source feature, which is very helpful.

Traffic source is a breakdown of where all the traffic originates from. This feature gives an overview of traffic sources including social media, as well as exact names of the sites.

Traffic sources are useful whenever you want to spy on competitors that appear successful.

SEMrush Review: The Best Marketing Analytics Search Optimization?

If you plan to spend money on advertising, you’ll want to target keywords that help achieve your goals faster. It’s important to keep in mind that SEMrush helps with more than just SEO. It’s also a pretty decent PPC tool.

As mentioned elsewhere in this SEMrush review, you can use this tool to spy on competitors to find out which keywords they include in ads, and what the ads say. You can see the exact keywords that other companies bid on, and whether they’re branded or non-branded terms.

The platform helps find specific terms that are relevant to your advertising goals. I’ve found that the job of buying and using advertising is so much easier because the platform shows the ads that work well using your chosen keywords.

To find examples of winning ads, just look for the ones that have been running for a long time. These types of ads are high quality. Once you import the same keywords and phrases that are used in these ads, you’ll likely have the same success.

Keyword gap

If you need to rank for certain keywords, then you know how important it is to know which keywords your competitors rank for. With the keyword gap feature, you’ll get a comprehensive list of keywords that your competitors rank for. This tool lets you search for multiple keywords to see if you have a shot at ranking for them.

The best feature is that it allows you to find keywords in the top hundred of Google search engine ranking pages. This is the default setting of this feature, so it offers you a big picture of how many competitors rank for your desired keyword.

In my case, as I’ve highlight here in my SEMrush review, the platform gives me the overall best marketing results. I usually set the advanced filter to show me only keywords ranked in the top 10 for that particular search. Since only the best pages appear on the top ten of Google SERPs, these results show who the competition is and how to overcome them.

Keyword overview

SEMrush Review: The Best Marketing Analytics Search Optimization?

Some of the keyword tools already mentioned rely on reverse engineering to produce their analytical results. In fact, as I’ve come to learn more about SEMrush from using it every day, much of its functionality is based on reverse engineering, including keyword overview.

The keyword overview feature is especially helpful. Just type your keyword idea into the search box, and it will supply you with a list of suggested keywords based on that term.

It gives you suggested keywords alongside other metrics such as search volume, cost per click amount, and more. It also gives an accurate keyword difficulty score.

To widen a search, just use the suggested terms option. These suggested terms usually include the original keyword, plus other short and long SEO keywords related to your original keywords, but with a different angle.

This feature lets you see a snapshot of which of those terms competing sites are bidding for in Google ads.

Keyword Magic Tool

The Keyword Magic tool has one specific task, which is to help you discover new keyword ideas. For example, when you type your keyword term in the search field, you’ll get a comprehensive list that contains thousands of related keywords.

Keyword Difficulty Tool

The keyword difficulty tool helps you analyze competitors’ keywords by taking into account their page authority, domain authority, on-page SEO, content quality, and user intent.

This tool won’t tell you everything that you need to know about the keywords, however, it helps you find out whether or not you stand a chance of ranking for the desired keywords.

Using this keyword tool is easy. Simply type in the keywords that you want to rank for. You’ll get a percentage that represents the difficulty of the keyword that you want to rank for. This way you can compare different keywords to know which ones you will should target first.

Charts Tool

SEMrush Review: The Best Marketing Analytics Search Optimization?

I’ve already mentioned that using SEMrush will expose you to a ton of data. The numbers may seem confusing. That’s where SEMrush charts come in.

SEMrush charts help visualize all this data and creates bar and pie charts. With these charts, you can compare competitors’ performances side-by-side with your own through visual graphs.

When doing domain-versus-domain analysis on SEMrush, it’s easy to understand how much of a competitor’s traffic comes from search engines, how much they’re spending on advertising, top keywords that help them rank on Google, and the current positions that these keywords hold. The role of this tool is to represent the data in a cleaner way.

Reports

If you own or work for a digital marketing agency, you’ll need to prepare reports for your clients as well as team members. This tool lets you create clean reports. SEMrush reports allows you to download all data to a single PDF file. The tool has a lot of custom templates that are intuitive to make the work easier.

These reports are very easy to understand. SEMrush allows you to automate reports by providing a schedule option to send them at specific times.

CPC Map

Planning ads is very complicated. There’s a lot of planning and consideration that goes into it. Although there are already a lot of good standalone ads tools in the market, such as Wordstream and Google ads editors, yet the SEMrush CPC map can do just as well, especially with its A/B testing feature.

The CPC map gives you an estimate of the cost per click based on a number of niches and geographical locations. It references the search volume and uses the cost per click to find the most rewarding keywords.

You can run as many trials as you want and make use of the split testing tool to improve your ads. The tool helps find valuable information about competitors to see if they’ve invested in PPC or SEO.

The higher the competition the higher the CPC. In cases like that, you may decide to invest more in SEO. But if the CPC is low, then PPC might be the better choice.

Position Tracking

SEMrush Review: The Best Marketing Analytics Search Optimization?

It’s not surprising that SEMrush has its own proprietary tracking tool. This feature is super flexible and very accurate. In fact, you can compare your results from SEMrush with any other rank tracker and they’re sure to match. The only issue that I have with using this tool is that its default view is the ‘visibility trend,’ which shows me changes that have occurred on Google page’s top 100.

It makes more sense to focus on estimated traffic. That way, the tool will be able to show you a near accurate list of keywords that can make a meaningful impact on your ranking.

Site Audits

SEMrush can help you with the SEO audit of your site. This reveals the errors that are harmful to your technical SEO. You’ll also get warnings for the things that are not extremely important but need fixing because they could cause problems in the future.

Another fantastic thing about this feature is that it allows you to compare crawls. This updates you on the technical SEO health changes of your site. It will display a comprehensive report on your dashboard whenever you are logged in.

SEO Content Template

The SEO content template will help you write content that has a lot of latent semantic indexing keywords, LSIs. LSIs are terms that help Google better understand what the content is talking about.

Let’s say you want to rank for a term. SEMrush will first give you the top ten results for the exact term. Then it provides you with semantically related terms that will improve your content. To make it easier, SEMrush allows you to paste a draft of your content in its editor so that you can see how it stacks up.

Organic Traffic Insights

SEMrush Review: The Best Marketing Analytics Search Optimization?

 

The SEMrush organic traffic feature tries to simulate data inside of Google Analytics. To get this running, first connect the Google console and analytics to your SEMrush account.

Once you have done that, SEMrush runs through the data to find the ones that will bring the best results. Think of it as Google Analytics on steroids.

Link Building

Building links is a necessary part of SEO, and SEMrush’s link-building feature is almost as good as Ahrefs. The platform lets you look into the links to see if they are dofollow or nofollow ones, as well as check their link authority.

It’s quite easy to use too. All you have to do is enter the keywords and it will show you a list of websites that are linked to the sites that rank for the keywords. That way you can create your own prospects list and reach out to the appropriate handlers of the websites.

On-Page SEO Checker

SEMrush has its own built-in SEO checker that analyzes your site just as the traditional SEO checkers do. Ideally, it checks for the regular stuff like H2 tags and more, but that’s not all it does. This tool will also alert you to semantic-related words that may be missing in your content and websites that you can get juicy backlinks from.

Product Listing Ads

This tool is ideal for e-commerce players like me. SEMrush developed this tool to help sellers improve their Google shopping campaigns using well driven PLA data, and it is quite simple to use. First, find out who your Google shopping competitors are and let the tool run a competitive analysis on them.

The tool will show keywords that you share in common, and the top keywords that are helping your competitors rank ahead of you. Armed with this information, you’ll know what to do to improve your own listing and outrank competitors. If you’re an online seller, this tool helps you modify landing pages, replace keywords, and review pricing.

Social Media Tracker

SEMrush Review: The Best Marketing Analytics Search Optimization?

No matter how easy social media marketing looks, selling on social platforms is often more difficult than you think. However, this feature helps you simplify social media marketing. It gives you enough data to make the best decisions.

The main value of the tool is to help you understand competitors’ social media strategy and how you can improve yours. Rather than having to stalk your competitors on Facebook, Twitter, etc., the tool does this for you. Once you know what works for them, you can replicate the same strategies.

Social Media Poster

SEMrush Review: The Best Marketing Analytics Search Optimization?

SEMrush’s social media poster is the tool that helped it become a full-blown digital marketing tool. The social media poster lets you manage all social media platforms from one dashboard.

With this tool, you can connect all social accounts and post them at once, or one by one. You can even schedule posts to go live at different times, and the tool gives valuable information about the best times to post based on your audience activities.

The SEMrush social media poster has a built-in image editor that lets you personalize photos before posting them. It also analyzes the performance of posts based on the number of engagements, growth, etc.

Although this tool is no replacement for a dedicated social media tool, it’s good enough for ordinary social media marketing.

Brand Monitoring

A couple of months ago I wrote a review about a page-building app, and then I linked it back to the app. A few days later, I was mentioned on Twitter by the CEO of the company requesting that I consider updating the image used in the article. I did, of course.

I’m not sure how the CEO found my Twitter handle, or even knew I wrote an article about his product, but that’s exactly what the SEMrush brand monitoring tool does. It alerts you whenever your brand name is mentioned. You can leverage this to get backlinks and collaborate with other digital marketers.

Also, this tool will help you quickly discover negative reviews and treat them before they become major problems. This tool also allows you to monitor your competitors and find out what their audiences are saying about them.

Content Analyzer

SEMrush Review: The Best Marketing Analytics Search Optimization?

It’s no longer enough to churn out a few words and publish them. Quality content is the only way to outrank your competitors.

SEMrush content analyzer helps you evaluate content before you release it to the public for consumption. Some of the metrics include engagement, bounce rates, and number of sessions. This tool audits your content to see if these metrics are satisfied. You can also monitor your content performance on Google through this tool.

Ad Builder

This tool is very helpful for people who have never done an ad campaign before. It makes the process seamless and fun. It will help you research your industry and major competitors, and analyze the type of ads they are using and their successes. You can even get a template of these ads and use them to create your own quickly.

SEO Writing Assistant

Bloggers and content managers appreciate this feature the most. Use the SEO writing assistant to make your content more SEO friendly.

It helps you format content in a way that ensures easy readability and it lets you check for plagiarism too. This tool helps to improve your brand’s consistency throughout your content, and it gives you pointers to optimize content with target keywords.

Aside from suggesting primary and secondary keywords, the tool will also suggest LSI keywords. You can even access this tool on Google Docs via add-ons, and also on WordPress.

Advertising Research

Merely setting up a paid ad campaign doesn’t always bring a high ROI. To get your desired results, you must study your competitors’ efforts and understand what makes their campaigns successful. Once you figure that out, you can copy their strategies.

This advertising research tool has helped me in many ways. I use it to analyze competitors’ websites and evaluate how much they spend on their PPC campaigns. This gives me an idea of how much to budget for my own. The tool also provides me with examples of ads by my competitors that are doing well.

By paying attention to this data you’ll learn the best words, formats, and CTAs to use in your own ads. You’ll discover new competitors that share similar keywords with you and you can study their strategies to outsmart them. This tool will definitely help you analyze keywords and personalize your advertising to boost conversion rates.

Display Advertising Tool

SEMrush Review: The Best Marketing Analytics Search Optimization?

It takes a lot to create great Google display ads that will convert well. With the SEMrush display advertising tool, I save money and improve my conversion rates based on using my competitors’ display ads.

SEMrush Pricing

SEMrush Review: The Best Marketing Analytics Search Optimization?

Now that I’ve highlighted the useful features of SEMrush, it’s time to talk about price. SEMrush has three pricing tiers: Pro, Guru, and Business plans, which sell for $99.95, $199.95, and $399.95 respectively. To get the best deal, I recommend that you pay annually.

The Pro plan is perfect for freelancers, startups, and company marketers with small budgets. The Guru plan has more options and it’s targeted at SMBs and marketing agencies. While bigger agencies and eCommerce brands usually opt for the business plan.

 How to Use SEMrush for Content Marketing

SEMrush has many features and functions. As an example, let’s take a deep dive into how it works for content marketing. We’ll look at how content marketers use the tool to audit the content, find new content ideas, develop an editorial plan, share content, and measure progress.

Audit Your Old Content

It’s important to look at your existing content to know what adjustments to make. In fact, you don’t need to start from scratch.

Here’s how the audit tool works: Select a subfolder in your sitemap or add up to 20,000 URLs manually. You’ll see a list of your content pop up with some analysis. Use the tool to refocus your content to earn more visibility. Edit, update, review, and rewrite the content if you must.

SEMrush Review: The Best Marketing Analytics Search Optimization?

Configure your audit tool to analyze your content. Select the subfolder in your sitemap or add up to 20,000 URLs manually. You will see a list of your content with some analysis. Use the tool to refocus your content to earn more visibility. Edit, update, review, and rewrite the content if you must.

SEMrush Review: The Best Marketing Analytics Search Optimization?

Find New Content Ideas

First, use the topic research tool to collect new ideas to update your information with. This tool generates content ideas based on an aggregate of trending topics, top keywords, recent articles, and many more factors. You can filter topics to see the most popular ones or those with the most engagement.

SEMrush Review: The Best Marketing Analytics Search Optimization?

You can also create articles to answer specific questions. Include the phrase ‘How to’ in your titles to boost shares and engagements. Shares can earn you a featured snippet, which will boost your Google presence.

Develop an Editorial Plan

Once you have a list of topics for your new content, the next step is to create an editorial plan. Use SEMrush’s marketing calendar to set your workflow and ensure that members of the team meet deadlines. Set tasks, review changes made by team members, and set notifications for upcoming events.

SEMrush Review: The Best Marketing Analytics Search Optimization?

Share Content

A sure way to improve your online visibility is to find third-party websites and distribute to them. Use the brand monitoring tool to track mentions of your brand name as well as competitor brands.

SEMrush Review: The Best Marketing Analytics Search Optimization?

Track Your Performance

It is crucial to monitor progress in order to reevaluate your strategies. You can do this in several different ways. The easiest way is to track your blog performance with the SEMrush post tracking tool.

Simply add URLs to the tool to see the number of engagements that each post has. You can also use the social media tracker to assess your strategies, and look out for reviews with the brand monitoring tool.

Recommendation

Based on my own experience with SEO and digital marketing tools, I would recommend SEMrush for most people who own, manage, or create websites. It’s an all-in-one digital marketing tool helps manage keyword research, content creation, and SEO, competitive analysis, ad optimization, and social media analytics.

If you need organic traffic for long-term success, then SEMrush can help you get it faster than most other platforms. It may be too technical for a few newbies. Yet, if you need complete digital marketing tools all in the same platform, then I recommend SEMrush as a good choice for you.

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