What is SEMrush?
SEMrush is the best mid-level search software tool for keyword research, competitive analysis, position tracking, and more. It will save you hours finding new high-volume keywords to target in paid and organic search, give you visibility into your competitors' online marketing tactics, and help you monitor your website's SEO performance.
Table of Contents
- SEMrush Full Review
- SEMrush Pricing & Cost
- SEMrush Plan Comparison & Free Trials
- SEMrush Features
- SEMrush Alternatives & Competitors
- Is SEMrush Right For You?
SEMrush Full Review: Pricing, Features & Competitors
SEMrush is an extremely popular, best-in-class solution for any digital marketer that manages paid or organic search. Founded in 2008, the company has grown to more than 4 million users and 650 employees.
SEMrush Pricing & Cost
SEMrush pricing starts at $99.95 per month. Here's how much SEMrush costs for one user:
Customers who pay annually receive a 16% discount on the SEMrush monthly pricing. The company also offers two add-on services: listing management for $20/month, and competitive intelligence for $200/month.
SEMrush Plan Comparison & Free Trials
Here's a comparison of the three SEMrush plans along with links to free trials of each.
|SEMrush Plan||Plan is Best For||Key Differences|
|SEMrush Pro Plan||Smaller websites & freelancers|
|SEMrush Guru Plan||SMBs & smaller marketing agencies|
|SEMrush Business Plan||Large companies & agencies|
All SEMrush plans come with over 28 different tools that will help your website generate more search traffic. SEMrush tools include:
- Keyword Research
- Competitive Analysis
- Keyword Position Tracking
- Competitor Gap Analysis
- Advertising Research
- Topic Research
- Backlink Audit
- Site Audit
- On Page SEO Checker
How to Use the 3 Best SEMrush Features
To keep things simple, lets 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.
Top 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.
Top Feature #2: Competitive Analysis
It's easy to use SEMrush to discover the websites you compete with most in online search, identify the keywords where they outrank you, and spy on their online advertising tactics.
In the image below, you can see SEMrush's competitive positioning map for TechCrunch. Competitors are plotted by number of keywords and traffic. This is a quick and effective way to identify your online competitors.
From this report, you can click to compare your website's top performing keywords with your competitors' top performing keywords. The most valuable benefit of this analysis is finding high-volume keywords where competitors rank well and you do not.
In the Keyword Gap report below, you can see that TechCrunch does not rank for the "amd news" keyword. The report also shows that one of the company's top competitors, The Verge, ranks 1st overall. This keyword has 27,100 searches per month, and is one that TechCrunch should be targeting with its SEO efforts.
In addition to organic search intelligence, SEMrush provides insight into the paid search tactics of competitive websites. For example, TechCrunch can get competitive intelligence on the keywords that The Verge is targeting, how much they are paying, and see the ad copy that The Verge is using. This Advertising Research report shows Google search ads that The Verge has actually used.
If you're interested in learning how to use other tools for competitive keyword research, check out this breakdown of the top six competitor keyword research tools.
Top Feature #3: Keyword Position Tracking for SEO
Once you've identified your top keywords, you'll need a way to track how your well your website is ranking for them in search results.
SEMrush's Position Tracking tool tells you how well pages on your site rank over time for specific keywords of your choice. The Position Tracking tool also makes it easy to spot any big positive or negative shifts in your organic search rankings.
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 SERP 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 from the list below:
- Branded keywords
- Short-tail keywords
- Middle-tail keywords
- Long-tail keywords
- Keywords for different product or service categories
Good sources to find these are Google Analytics, Search Console and Ads. 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.
As in the SEMrush Position Tracking report below, you'll 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 above, each recorded on the date of the algorithm change with a description of specifically what changed.
SEMrush Alternatives & Competitors
SEMrush competes with various search software tools. For a full breakdown, check out this analysis of the SEMrush competitive landscape. Here's the top SEMrush competitors by category.
|Software Category||Top SEMrush Competitors|
|All-in-one Search Tools||Ahrefs, Serpstat, Moz, SE Ranking|
|Keyword Research Tools||AccuRanker, KWFinder, Long Tail Pro|
|Competitor Research Tools||SpyFu, Alexa|
|SEO Crawlers||Deep Crawl, Screaming Frog|
SEMrush vs. Ahrefs
SEMrush and Ahrefs are the two most popular all-in-one SEO solutions used by digital marketers. Both tools offer a wide range of components for keyword rank tracking, backlink building, on-site technical audits, and competitive analysis.
The key difference between the tools is their standout feature:
- SEMrush is excellent for keyword research and keyword rank tracking.
- Ahrefs is excellent for building backlinks and monitoring your backlink profile.
At SoftwarePundit, we use both SEMrush and Ahrefs. However, if you have to choose between SEMrush and Ahrefs, we recommend choosing based on the standout feature you need. For an in-depth analysis, check out this breakdown of Ahrefs vs. SEMrush.
SEMrush vs. AccuRanker
SEMrush and AccuRanker are both exceptional keyword rank tracking solutions. The key difference between these SEO tools is the breadth of their offerings.
- SEMrush is an all-in-one SEO solution that comes with tools for keyword rank tracking, competitive analysis, backlink analysis, on-site technical auditing and more.
- AccuRanker is laser-focused on keyword rank tracking. As a result, AccuRanker is about half the price of SEMrush.
If you need an all-in-one SEO tool (i.e. you don't have one yet), go with SEMrush. If you specifically need a tool for keyword rank tracking, you'll be very happy with AccuRanker.
Other SEMrush Competitors
We've analyzed SEMrush against other competitors. Click on the links below to read our in-depth comparisons:
Is SEMrush Right For You?
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, competitive analysis, and keyword position tracking.
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.
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.