SEMrush Review: The 3 Best Features & How to Use Them

SEMrush Review: The 3 Best Features & How to Use Them

The best mid-level search tool for keyword research, rank tracking, and competitive analysis. If that is what you are in the market for, SEMrush is your best option.

Pros

  • Keyword research tool will help you identify popular search terms for paid campaigns and identify high-volume keywords that are easier to rank well for SEO.
  • Keyword rank tracking to see how your site is ranking on Google over time for specific keywords of your choice
  • Cheaper than high-end alternatives

Cons

  • Tools like DeepCrawl and ScreamingFrog are superior for on-page SEO intelligence
  • Link building features are less mature than competitors like ahrefs
  • More expensive than free tools like Adwords Keyword Planner

Editor's Rating

5.0/5.0

SEMrush Cost

SEMrush offers three standard packages. All prices below are for one user:

  • Pro: $99.95 per month
  • Guru: $199.95 per month
  • Business: $399.95 per month

We recommend the Guru plan for larger businesses that need to track a higher number of keywords and have access to historical data. The business plan is ideal for companies that want to integrate with the SEMrush API. To see full plan & pricing data, go here.

To get a free 7 day trial of the Guru plan, click here.

Table of Contents

SEMrush Review

The team at Software Pundit has used SEMrush for almost 10 years. SEMrush is a best-in-class tool for any digital marketer that manages paid or organic search. Founded in 2008, as the name implies, the tool’s initial focus was on paid search, or search engine marketing (SEM). However, as the tool has matured, it has added features to compete head-to-head with many SEO-first tools.

The 3 Best Features and How to Use Them

SEMrush has a lot to offer. All SEMrush plans include 28 advanced tools and features to boost your marketing. To keep things simple, we want to focus on the three must-have features that are truly exceptional compared to alternatives and will make the biggest impact on your organization.

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. You might consider entering keywords that are already performing well for you, or keywords tied to a new product launch. SEMrush organizes the keywords into categories to make it easier to focus your research. You can 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 uploading in Google Adwords.

Here is an example result for the keyword "hello fresh":

SEMrush Keyword Research

Feature #2: Keyword Rank Tracking

Keyword rank tracking will tell you how your site is ranking on Google over time for specific keywords of your choice, and make it easy to spot any big positive or negative shifts in ranking. Ever have questions about how the latest Google algorithm change impacted your business? SEMrush has you covered.

Here's how it works: depending on your subscription level, you upload a certain number of keywords that SEMrush will search for on Google each day. We recommend a mix of keywords –branded, short-tail, middle-tail, long-tail, different product or service categories you might have. 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. SEMrush provides a Visibility Score for your selected keywords. This score is a weighted-average based upon how you're ranking: 100% means you are in the first position for all of your keywords, while 0% means none of your keywords are in the first 100 results. 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, each recorded on the date of the algorithm change with a description of specifically what changed.

SEMrush Keyword Rank Tracking

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.

SEMrush Competitive Analysis

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.

SEMrush Keyword Gap Analysis

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.

SEMrush Advertising Research

Is SEMrush worth it?

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 the best choice if your primary needs are keyword research and rank 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. To get a free 7 day trial of SEMrush's Guru plan, click here.

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