By Bruce Hogan
What is SEMrush?
SEMrush is the best mid-level search software tool for keyword research, position tracking, competitive analysis, and more. It will save you hours finding new high-volume keywords to target in paid and organic search, help you monitor your website's SEO performance, and give you visibility into your competitors' online marketing tactics.
In total, SEMrush offers over 28 tools to help digital marketers improve their business' performance in paid and organic search. While all 28 offer value, there are three primary SEMrush features that justify its monthly cost. We've outlined how to use those three SEMrush features in detail below to help you decide if the tool is worth purchasing for you.
Table of Contents
- SEMrush Review
- SEMrush Cost & Prices
- SEMrush Plans & Free Trials
- The 3 Best SEMrush Features
- Is SEMrush Worth The Cost?
SEMrush Cost & Prices
The cost of SEMrush's three plans are below. All prices are for one user:
- Pro Plan: $99.95 per month
- Guru Plan: $199.95 per month
- Business Plan: $399.95 per month
SEMrush Plans & Free Trials
- With the Pro Plan, you can only upload 500 keywords to monitor keyword rankings.
- The Pro Plan does not support multitargeting, which means you'll need to use a separate project to monitor your website's SEO performance on desktop and mobile devices.
- The Pro Plan does not include historical data, so you will not be able to see the paid search ads your competitors have run since 2012.
For a free SEMrush trial of the Pro Plan, visit SEMrush.
The SEMrush Guru Plan is recommended for larger businesses that need to track a higher number of keywords and have access to historical data. This is SEMrush's most popular plan, accounting for 64% of all customers. There are two things to keep in mind if you're leaning towards the Guru Plan:
- The Guru Plan gives you up to 1,500 keywords to track. This should suffice for most businesses with one large website. If your website gets over 10 million visitors per month, or if you have multiple websites to track, you might consider the Business Plan.
- The Guru Plan does not come with SEMrush's Product Listing Ads feature. This is not a critical SEMrush feature, but if Product Listing Ads are a major component of your online marketing strategy, it is a valuable tool to leverage.
To get a free SEMrush trial of the Guru Plan, click here.
The SEMrush Business Plan is ideal for companies with very large Internet footprints that need to track more than 1,500 keywords and want to integrate with the SEMrush API. Another valuable Business Plan feature for larger organizations is SEMrush's Google Data Studio Integration. This allows you to export data from SEMrush into Google Data Studio for analysis.
To see full plan & pricing data on SEMrush's Pro, Guru and Business Plans, go here.
SEMrush is an extremely popular, best-in-class tool for any digital marketer that manages paid or organic search. Founded in 2008, the company has grown to more than 1 million users and 650 employees. SEMrush competes head-to-head with the best SEO solutions, and is an ideal choice for keyword research, keyword rank tracking, and competitive analysis.
The two areas where other SEO tools outperform SEMrush are in link building and detecting on-site SEO improvements. If you are primarily focused on link building to boost your SEO, then we recommend ahrefs. Alternatively, if you need a tool to help with on-site SEO improvements, then we recommend a crawler like DeepCrawl or Screaming Frog.
The 3 Best SEMrush Features and How to Use Them
SEMrush has a lot to offer. All SEMrush plans include over 28 advanced tools and features to boost your online marketing. To keep things simple, we want to focus on the three must-have SEMrush features that are truly exceptional compared to alternatives and will make the biggest impact on your organization. Understanding these features and how to use them is the best way to determine if SEMrush is the right solution for you.
Feature #1: Keyword Research
SEMrush is a super effective keyword research tool. For paid search, this will help you identify popular search terms and refine your cost-per-click bids. For organic search, this will help you identify high-volume keywords that are easier to rank well for.
The must-have keyword research offering in SEMrush is appropriately named the Keyword Magic Tool. With this tool, you can enter any keyword and SEMrush will provide a huge list of related search terms with the corresponding search volume, search trend, target cost-per-click, ranking difficulty, organic search competitiveness and SERP features. SEMrush organizes the keywords into categories to make it easier to focus your research. You can also see broad match, phrase match, and exact match keywords.
When you find the new keywords you want to target, you can add them to a list and export them for further analysis or uploading into Google Adwords. Here is an example of the Keyword Magic Tool result for the keyword "hello fresh":
If you're interested in reading more about keyword research, check out this in-depth tutorial on the SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool.
Feature #2: Keyword Position Tracking for SEO
SEMrush's Position Tracking report tells you how well pages on your site rank over time for specific keywords of your choice. The Position Tracking report also makes it easy to spot any big positive or negative shifts in your organic search rankings. Do you ever have questions about how the latest Google search algorithm change impacted your business? SEMrush's Position Tracking report has you covered.
Here's how it works: depending on your subscription level, you upload a certain number of keywords that SEMrush will automatically search for on Google each day. Then, SEMrush records your ranking for each keyword and summarizes the data in the report.
To get the most out of the tool, we recommend uploading a mix of keywords: branded keywords, short-tail, middle-tail, and long-tail keywords, keywords for different product or service categories you have, etc. Good sources to find these are Google Analytics, Search Console and Adwords. SEMrush allows you to tag each keyword you upload and then filter the reports by category. For example, you could tag and monitor the performance of your branded keywords only.
Below is an example of the Position Tracking report in SEMrush. You will see a Visibility Score for your selected keywords. This Visibility Score is a summary of how your keywords are ranking each day: 100% means you are in the first organic position for all of your keywords, while 0% means none of your keywords are in the first 100 results. In addition to the Visibility Score, you can also see average position of your keywords, and rankings distribution.
One super helpful feature of this report is that SEMrush records any known changes to Google's search algorithm. You can see the Google logos on the report below, each recorded on the date of the algorithm change with a description of specifically what changed.
Feature #3: Competitive Analysis
It is easy to use SEMrush to understand who your search competitors are, their online advertising tactics, and to identify new keywords to target. In the image below, you can see a competitive positioning map for TechCrunch. Competitors are plotted by number of keywords and traffic. This is a very quick and effective way to identify your online competitors.
In this report, you can click to see the actual keywords that you are competing for with any other website. The most valuable aspect of this is that you can find high-volume keywords where competitors are ranking well and you are not. In the example below, TechCrunch is ranking 77th for "tech news", while The Verge is ranking 1st. This keyword has 49,500 searches per month, and is something that TechCrunch would benefit by targeting for SEO.
Finally, you can research the paid search tactics of any competitor. For example, TechCrunch could get competitive intelligence on the keywords that VentureBeat is targeting, how much they are paying, and see the actual ad copy that VentureBeat has used. Here is a screenshot of an ad that VentureBeat was actually running.
Is SEMrush worth the cost?
If you are looking for a professional, yet affordable tool to add rigor and intelligence to your paid and organic search programs, then SEMrush is a great choice. It is a no-brainer if your primary needs are keyword research, keyword position tracking, and competitive analysis.
If you are instead focused on link building, then we recommend ahrefs. Alternatively, if you need a tool to help with on-site SEO improvements, then we recommend a crawler like DeepCrawl or Screaming Frog.
To get a free 7 day trial of SEMrush's Guru Plan, click here.
Bruce Hogan is a consumer Internet expert that has launched and scaled online marketing channels for some of the largest Internet businesses in the world. He's spent almost 10 years managing paid search campaigns and has managed 7-figure paid advertising budgets.