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I have been dipping my feet into SEO for the past seven years and still counting. A number of SEO tools accompanied me throughout my journey and will continue to in the foreseeable future, because of their reliability and premium-grade features.
If you are a reader of my posts, then you will know that I like to use a wide variety of SEO tools to enhance results and productivity. You would also know that I am an advocate of finding high-quality and value tools because I believe that the difference between a mediocre and a great digital marketer is the tools they use.
Fortunately, there is one SEO tool that may help you turn from a C or B-grade digital marketer to an A+ or even an S.
You will not find a lot of SEO software that contains basically every feature that you need to drive traffic and growth to your page.
But, SEMRush is precisely this.
As evidenced by the company crushing its 2019 growth goals, SEMRush has been a staple tool for many digital marketers today, including me. If you scour many online lists on the best SEO tools, you would almost always find SEMRush in it.
In this review of SEMRush, I will tell you my thoughts and experiences from using it for an extended time.
What is SEMRush?
When you need an SEO tool, you would be hard-pressed to find a list without SEMRush in it. It is virtually impossible not to have heard of this tool, and for an excellent reason.
SEMRush is a very effective and robust all-in-one SEO, digital marketing suite, and competitor analysis tool consisting of numerous useful features for the SEO, social media, and digital marketing campaign professionals.
SEMRush will give you access to millions of keywords, on-page SEO analysis, backlink management, ranking and rank tracking, and SEO audit tools. Containing more than 20 reports and tools, SEMRush is valuable every step of the way and is built to help you optimize your site to capture search engine traffic.
The product will let you do tasks such as:
- Keyword Research
- Backlink Tracking
- Position Tracking
- PPC Research
- Website Audit
- Rank Tracking
- Content Management
- Social Media Monitoring
- Website Monitoring
And so much more!
Due to this, SEMRush could be thought of as one of, if not the, most extensive and vital SEO solutions tool you can find on the web. Many other sites have similar offerings, but SEMRush predates most of them and leads the pack today.
So, let’s get started on this SEMRush review. I will outline the essential features of SEMRush that users, including me, love, what I like and dislike about the tool, and my overall impression and verdict on this comprehensive SEO tool.
While you are at it, don’t forget to read my guide on On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO.
What Makes SEMRush A Go-To SEO Tool?
Ranking high on SERPs is the goal of every webmaster, whether your page produces content fulfilling navigational, purchase, or informational intents.
Long story short, SEMRush will be indispensable in creating and refining your brand presence online, as well as creating content with value.
Let us take a look at the core features that SEMRush users commonly use and separates them from the rest of the pack.
Many SEMRush users today most likely first turned to the website seeking help for their keyword needs. They needed help to identify target keywords they would like to rank, as well as the keywords competitor sites, are already ranking for.
So I’ll start with keyword research tools first.
Keyword Magic Tool
The Keyword Magic tool is one of my favorite tools in the whole toolkit of SEMRush. In fact, it may be one of my most favorite SEO tools, even outside of SEMRush.
There will surely be a keyword apt for you and your business with their repository of over two million keywords. You can create as many as up to 50 keyword lists, perfect if you are working on multiple clients or products.
Simply type in a keyword and let the software do its magic. You can get instant results of useful data, such as:
- A trend graph
- Suggestions for long-tail keywords to pursue
- Average monthly search volume
- Keyword difficulty
- SERP Features found for the keyword
- Adwords auctions competition
- A table showing commonly used words associated with the keyword
There are other results and options that sooner or later, you will encounter the problem of over choice. If you want, you can choose the keywords of your choice, then submit them to the next tool I am going to outline, the Keyword Analyzer.
The Keyword Analyzer tool takes the Keyword Magic Tool a little bit further by letting you get an in-depth look at your choice of up to 1,000 words.
From there, you can do a variety of things, like further segmenting a keyword for analysis, exporting them to a spreadsheet, or sending them to another SEMRush tool.
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The Position Tracking tool gives a weekly update on how both you and competitors are ranking for a particular keyword and show the SERP features the keyword is targeting.
One of my most favorite uses of position tracking, though, is that you can proceed with Geo-targeting and rely on local searches rather than national rankings.
SEO does not stop at researching and analyzing keywords, you can earn a ton more information about your website, keywords, and the traffic those keywords are bringing you.
The Domain Overview tool helps you gather information about your domain.
One thing of note, though, is that in this tool, SEMRush does not accurately reflect the site’s monthly traffic.
Instead, the program uses an algorithm to estimate monthly traffic based on keywords, position, and keyword CTR. Your actual traffic may be higher when you calculate additional numbers coming in email campaigns, social media, and direct traffic, in addition to organic and paid searches.
To view full reports on a set of metrics, simply click on them.
Keyword Gap Tool
The Keyword Gap tool, found with the Domain Overview function, helps you view how your site fares compared to the other sites targeting the same keywords as you.
By default, you’ll get a list of keywords you and your competitor share, and you’ll see your ranking vs. theirs. You will also be able to derive data like Adwords competition, CPC, difficulty to rank, and volume.
Use Keyword Gap to improve pages where your keywords rank below the competitor or to scrape for new keyword ideas which they use, and you don’t.
These are only some of keyword analysis tools present in SEMRush, and there are many more the tool has to offer. For the sake of brevity, though, these are some of the keyword-related functions that make my experience with SEMRush stand out from the bunch.
SEMRush is not merely a keyword research tool, however. A whole slew of review tools is also present to check out how your website and website copy are faring.
Site Audit Tool
Checking out both your and your competitors’ keywords will sometimes not be enough to bring in traffic. What you want to do is to consult SEMRush’s Site Audit function to see if any other problems hinder the performance of the site.
A backlink is still an excellent indicator of the quality of a page. While the page copy itself is an essential metric, search engines also take into consideration how other websites perceive the quality of the page.
I would not link to a page that holds absolutely no value for my audience. Instead, I would direct them to high-quality, valuable content.
The Backlink Analytics tool will let you review the backlinks to your own or a competitor’s websites, the pages being linked, where they are coming from, and how the backlinks grow over time.
Backlink Audit Tool
The Backlink Audit tool tells if the backlinks are from sources of repute or are deemed as “toxic” links.
If a link is “toxic,” that is from sources that Google does not trust or is perceived not to give any value, then the reputation of your site will take a hit.
The backlink audit tool allows you to comb through the site and clean up after those toxic backlinks.
These are the primary tools I use in SEMRush and provide most of the information I need for my SEO needs. In addition to these, however, SEMRush also offers some other functions if your specific needs are different.
Here are brief overviews of them.
PPC Advertising Insights
Pay-per-click campaigns can be very challenging and frustrating, especially when the right keywords are not targeted. What’s worse is that you can spend thousands of dollars on nothing.
SEMRush allows you to look into your competitor’s paid keywords campaigns. You can then use the data for your benefit.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is another source of traffic, and analysis by SEMRush will help you quantify your social media presence and reach so you can compare them against your competitors. You can then take an appropriate course of action.
Strategic Organic Research
SEMRush can generate a comprehensive organic research report based on a keyword phrase or a domain. The data included in the report will help you devise a search engine marketing plan that drives traffic to your site.
What I Like About SEMRush
Let me tell you now, SEMRush is an excellent SEO tool that offers distinct advantages for the digital marketing professional.
- SEMRush, based on my experience (and I have tried a lot of SEO software), gives the most advanced, particular, and comprehensive SEO and digital marketing metrics out there.
- Reports can be quickly sent to clients or printed as PDF documents.
- Seamless integration with Google Analytics and Search Console allows easy tracking of performance with just one click.
- The whole swath of SEMRush features is accessible on all subscription plans. The amount of reports you can generate, however, differs between plans.
- The SEMRush team continuously adds new features to enhance performance.
- The software comes with stellar customer support, as well as a solid knowledge base for beginners owing to its massive user community.
Relevant: Read about Programmatic SEO and how to create SEO-driven landing pages
What I Dislike About SEMRush
SEMRush is not for all, though, especially novices. The sheer power and breadth of choices can be too tough to handle for some.
- Subscription plans are quite costly for those who are on tight budgets. But hey, for the quality of the features it offers, I think it is just a fair price.
- Traffic predictions are quite inaccurate for smaller businesses.
- Some users report data discrepancies.
- It takes some time to get used to, partly because of the sheer number of offerings available. Finding something can be tricky.
Due to this, it can be quite a predicament to use for newbies, especially those who have never used any data analytics or SEO tool before.
I will summarize my thoughts on SEMRush in one word: Awesome!
SEMRush is great. The sheer abundance of features and offerings in itself makes the software worthwhile to use, not to mention the constant feature updates and additions as well as the helpful community.
It will not be an exaggeration to say that SEMRush is one of the best tools for a digital marketer based on the available metrics and an immense amount of interpretable data.
SEMRush, though, may not be the best for the casual or novice user because it is quite troublesome to navigate the interface to find the tool you need to use or the data you need to compile.
Fortunately, SEMRush has resources available, including a FAQ page, webinars, video tutorials, and the support team with their detailed answers to queries.
If I have to recommend an all-around SEO tool, then I will undoubtedly recommend SEMRush to you.
The price might be a little on the higher side, but the benefits it provides greatly outweigh the cost. And once the dough starts to come in, your investment will be all worth it in the end.
And that ends my little review of SEMRush, one of the SEO tools I like and frequently use.
Still not convinced? Read Mani Karthik’s review of SEMrush too.
Want to read more about SEO tools, SEO in general? Check these out:
Drop a comment below and tell me what to review next!