Last Updated on
B2B or B2C, customer research starts with a search. Use keyword research to find out what your potential customers are searching for on Google. SEMRush is our keyword research tool of choice. There are plenty of options but I’m finding SEMRush to be the most reliable and they have a generous free trial for you to try. Although its most popular application is keyword research it also includes tools that support search advertising, social media marketing and content marketing. SEMrush is a complete powerhouse and prices start from only $99/£75. In this SEMrush review, we’ll take an in-depth look at SEMrush. If you would like to have a quick look at SEMrush before we begin you can do so on the SEMrush website, they also have a 14 day free trial.
SEMrush review. Will it add value to your marketing toolkit?
SEMrush is a power suite of SEO tools. It’s core competencies include keyword research for both organic and paid search marketing, website audits and competitive analysis. SEMrush produces great exportable reports which can be white-labelled, making it perfect for agencies running SEO for clients. On the business plan, there are a maximum of 9 seats but there is an Enterprise option with bespoke features and seats. For the small business, even the cheapest package will be suitable.
By using SEMrush you are gaining access to a massive database of information allowing you to discover actionable insights such as:
- What is your audience searching for?
- Who are you competing with for the same audience?
- What terms are your competitors targeting and what ads are they using?
- What can you improve on your own website to improve search engine rankings?
How can you use SEMrush to increase the organic visibility of your websites?
SEO is one of the core competencies of SEMrush. You could use it to do a full technical audit of your website or for simple keyword research. It will also allow you to track your rankings to monitor your progress. We know how important it is to report ROI and SEMrush has solid reporting features.
Can SEMrush help with paid traffic and advertising?
SEMrush allows you to easily to see how much volume there is for a keyword and the cost for that keyword. You can even see all your rival ads in one place to review their ad copy. If you need help with your keyword selection or creative SEMrush will be useful for you.
Does SEMRush have any social media features?
Yes, SEMRush does have social media management features. You can connect SEMrush to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google+. The tool allows you to schedule posts, create queues, audit competitors profiles and connect websites to generate content ideas. Prior to preparing this SEMrush review, I wasn’t aware of its social media features and I’m surprised at how extensive they appear to be.
Can SEMrush be used by communications and PR teams?
SEMrush can be used to do content research, competitor content research and a lot more. I think one of the hidden gems for comms and PR teams is the brand monitoring feature. Brand monitoring usually costs a lot, but it’s included in your SEMrush subscription, even at the $99 level!
SEMrush has a solid industry reputation and is widely considered to be one of the premier SEO suites available today.
- G2 Crowd Reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars from 218 reviews
- Capterra Reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars from 110 reviews
- Siftery NPS: 70.
SEMRush customers and case studies
SEMrush has a strong roster of clients which include eBay, Quora, Booking.com, HP and BNP Paribas. It’s great to see tools that are being used by the enterprise. Developments to meet their needs often filter down to improvements in lower price offers.
SEMrush was founded in 2008 and has nearly 500 employees. It has had one funding round taking place in April 2018 for $40 million. Reportedly this new capital will be used to fund further expansion of its capabilities.
Review of SEMrush pricing (Pro vs Guru vs Business vs Enterprise)
SEMrush has four pricing levels, pro, guru, business, and enterprise. At each level, subscribers have increased access but even the cheapest option at $99.95 should be sufficient for a majority of businesses. The latest pricing is available on the SEMrush website.
SEMrush Pro vs Guru
In their lowest price plan (Pro), you don’t have access to historical data. If this is important to you then you need the Guru plan or above. Agencies will find this useful especially if they want to follow progress on a client account. The Guru plan gives you more results per report, you can run more reports and have increased capacity on the majority of SEMrush reporting features. With the SEMrush pro plan, you already get access to 3000 reports per day which you’ll never hit so the additional capacity of the Guru plan may not be of much benefit. Between the Pro and Guru plans there is a price difference of $100.
SEMrush Guru vs Business
Between Guru and the Business plan, there is a price difference of $200. In addition to the across the board bumps users at the Business price point have access to product listing ads and white labelled reports. The product listing ads are a must for e-commerce businesses and the white labelling is a must for agencies. So if you are an agency or e-commerce business don’t hesitate. The SEMrush business plan is for you.
SEMrush Business vs Enterprise
SEMrush offers an enterprise level plan which sits above their business plan. The enterprise plan is bespoke but as you’d expect includes everything SEMrush offers.
Which SEMrush plan is right for you?
- SEMrush Pro is perfect for marketers. If you’re a marketer you need to think about competitors and undertake market research, SEMrush can help with both these tasks.
- SEMrush Guru is a must if you’re a digital marketing freelancer or search engine optimization specialist. The additional $100 gives you a lot more data to play with and more importantly gives you access to historical data. This is needed when you want to demonstrate the value you have generated for your clients.
- SEMrush Business is ideal if you’re an e-commerce company or agency with multiple clients. The product listings offer useful insights for e-commerce business whilst the white labelling will be a basic requirement for every agency.
What is the SEMrush refund policy?
There is a 7-day money back guarantee and refund requests need to be made via email. This is comparable to other similar tools on the market. I would recommend subscribing to a monthly plan before opting for an annual plan so that you can validate your use case. If you’re ready to try SEMrush you can head over and claim your free trial.
What support does SEMrush offer?
SEMrush has a number of support channels and an extensive knowledgebase. They run regular webinars and there are plenty of support videos on YouTube. There isn’t an official Facebook group.
SEMrush Review – bookmark or bookshelf?
SEMrush is a fantastic tool. Its true power is in the range of functionality it offers and everything is well integrated. Now you might think SEMrush is overkill for your needs. However, the functionality that this tool gives you comes at a price which is comparable to other products. Keywordtool.io is an alternative to SEMrush. It offers great keyword research functionality but at the price of $88 per month, you don’t get any of the additional functionality which SEMrush gives you for only $10 more.
Ultimately any business looking to buy SEMrush will ask if this will make them money. The answer is yes. It’ll make you money because it’ll show you where to focus your efforts and what you need to fix. It’ll go further and will save you money because it gives you access to the same toolkit that many agencies use.
Is this tool in my bookmarks or on my bookshelf? Most definitely in my bookmarks and it’s something I use regularly. I highly recommend you give it a try. Here is a link to a free trial, otherwise what follows is a more detailed look at some of its features.
SEMrush detailed features and functionality review for businesses, agencies and the enterprise.
Here is a detailed look at just some of the features and functionality of SEMrush. There is so much in there that it can’t be covered by this one review but hopefully, it covers the major points and use cases.
SEMrush is a suite of tools and suffers from the same challenge every other tool in this space seems to fall victim to, a challenging user interface. Just look at the sheer number of options you have to choose from in the left navigation.Each menu item expands out to reveal even more option beneath it.
All these options hint at the potential power of SEMrush. Is it a barrier to getting started? Yes. Is it a long-term issue? No. Ultimately SEMrush is a data and insights tool. It’s a utility and once you understand what the various options do, you’ll be glad to have them under your belt.
All that being said, one of the most popular uses of SEMrush will be to do keyword research and that is very easy to do in SEMrush. In the example below I do a quick search on the phrase “SEMrush” to see what people are searching for around that term.
The SEMrush keyword dashboard
The search reveals a broad range of data in a single dashboard with the option to drill down further on each section. What does each section mean? You’ll find a breakdown below
Selecting a country for search data
Using SEMrush you can focus down on data from the US, UK and over 131 other countries. This is a really important feature. Google localizes its search results. So when you’re running global marketing campaigns you need to think about how the search results in the US might differ from those in the UK. Is there more or less competition? Who else is in the results? It’s actually very interesting to see the differences especially in who appears in the search results. By understanding search volume in each county, you can adjust your messaging and budget. For example, if there is more competition in one country over another you can reprioritize your budget.
Organic and paid search volume, price and competition
The three most important metrics for any keyword are competition, volume and cost per click. In SEMrush these metrics can be found in the top left of the dashboard. It tells you how often your phrase is searched (search volume), the number of search results, the average cost per click and level of paid search competition. The overview tab is geared more towards paid than organic search. Knowing the number of sites competing is interesting but it’s not really a full measure of how much competition there is for a given term. For this, I need to go over to another page called keyword difficulty and retype my search.
Cost per click price comparison between countries
If you market globally then you need to know the average costs per click for a search campaign in different countries. This information is presented in a colourful chart. Hovering over each line gives you additional detail. Although the chart ads colour to the page it would be much more useful if the user didn’t have to scroll over the graph to reveal the detail. In the example below I wasn’t even aware that UK was on the chart because it’s not shown in the legend. It was an accidental discovery which is never a great thing in a user interface.
Finding extended phrases using your ‘seed’ term
Majority of searches contain two or more words. The longer the search phrase the closer the buyer is to a purchasing decision. The further a buyer is in their buyer journey the more they understand their challenge and the longer the phrases they will search. In the screenshot, we can see the longer phrases searchers use which also includes our ‘seed’ term SEMrush.
Finding topically related terms using SEMrush.
Topically related terms are terms that are related to your seed phrase. They may or may not include your seed phrase. In this example, all the related terms also include our seed phrase.
Clicking on ‘view full’ report on either the phrase match or related keywords will reveal the full list of phrases.
Using SEMrush to see search results in different countries
Did you know that different countries see different search results? It’s challenging to see what the search results look like in different countries but SEMrush makes this much easier. I can see who ranks in the search results in the US, the UK or one of many other countries.
What are the features and functionality of SEMrush?
SEMrush assists with SEO and search advertising. It has a number of modules that deliver different pieces of functionality.
Although this may sound complicated, it makes it much easier to use the tool because as a user I can go to directly what I need to do.
SEMrush domain analytics: Competitor research using SEMrush
This section contains everything I need to audit based on domain name. Entering a competitor’s domain name gives me a wealth of information from how much traffic they receive in organic search through to ads they run on social media.
How to use the of the domain overview tab in SEMrush
The first thing the domain overview tab tells you is how much organic and paid traffic the website receives. I’m looking up Econsulancy.com and I can see that by far the site receives most of its traffic from organic search rather than paid search. I can also see that in terms of traffic breakdown a majority of traffic comes from the US and UK.
I can also see how the volume of traffic to the website from organic or paid sources has changed over time.
It’s great knowing at a high level how the website gets his traffic but it’s even more impressive to see what keywords are that generating traffic.
By clicking parts of the dashboard we get more details about that section. So in the case of ‘top organic keywords’ by clicking ‘view full report’, I get a full list of the organic keywords that attract traffic to the website.
As a marketer, this is useful because I can then pinpoint the traffic generating phrases that are relevant.
One interesting part of the dashboard is organic competitors. I can see at a glance which sites are topically competing with either my own site or competitor websites.
There’s plenty more in the domain overview section of the dashboard. You can use SEMrush to look at other competing domains and your own.
SEMrush Keyword Analytics: Understanding which keywords you should target.
Keyword analytics is the bread and butter of SEMrush. I can look up any keyword and it tells me how often it’s searched. Ideal for qualifying that a market is worth pursuing. It also tells you how much competition there is for a given term.
In the example below I’ve looked up the phrase keyword research to see how much competition there is for it, and there is a lot. What would I do next? I would look under related keywords to see what else I might be able to target.
The related keywords option then gives me some additional keywords to consider. On a paid plan you can see up to 10,000 additional keywords. I can sort the list to see the terms with the lowest competition.
What is the projects tab in SEMrush?
The project tab includes a number of features aimed at optimising websites and doing competitor research.
It includes a raft of features from checking on page optimization to social media scheduling.
The first option is to do an on-page audit. Here you enter your domain, your target keywords and after scanning your website SEMrush comes back with suggestions on what to improve.
For my domain, SEOrush came back with 4 suggestions. Clicking the green button reveals the full list of recommendations.
The recommendations are categorized into groups which include strategy, SERP features, content, semantic, backlinks, technical issues, and user experience.
The recommendations ensure that your website aligns with on-page industry best practice when it comes to search engine optimization. Overall for my site, the tool made some useful recommendations.
The on-page SEO audit tool could actually be the one reason you invest in SEMrush even if you didn’t need to do keyword research. This tool compares your site directly with competitors when making recommendations. This tells you not only WHO is ranking but also WHY and WHAT you need to do.
SEMrush has an extensive feature set that you’ll only fully appreciate by taking a free trial and using the tool. Here are some other features.
- Position Tracking: The Position Tracking Tool allows you to get daily updates on positions in Google’s top 100 organic and paid search results.
- Social Media Tracker: Social Media Tracker will let you track social audience, activity and engagement of you and your competitors in Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and YouTube.
- Social Media Poster: Publish and schedule posts across major social networks, save time on social managing, analyze your content performance and more!
- Brand monitoring: The Brand Monitoring tool allows you to easily track all mentions of your and your competitors’ brand, product or service on the web and social media.
- Backlink Audit: Secure your SEO efforts in link building. Comprehensive algorithms help discover and disavow toxic backlinks which can lead to penalties by search engines.
- Link Building: Increase your rankings by acquiring high-quality backlinks from the most authoritative domains in your niche. Communicate with site owners and track your progress.
- PPC Keyword Tool: Search, create and manage your keywords with the SEMrush PPC Keyword tool. Create different campaigns and ad groups with just one click.
- Ad Builder: Ad Builder helps you create compelling ad text. Analyze your competitors’ ads, preview your ads and assign the newly created ads to existing keyword groups.
- Organic Traffic Insights: Connect your GA and GSC accounts to unlock ‘not-provided’ keywords and see the actual organic traffic driven by them
- Content Analyzer: Audit your domain content and track your guest posts to pinpoint high-exposure content.