Price: Monthly: $69.95 (pro), $149.95 (guru) & $549.95 (business) – Save up to $1,100 for annual subscriptions
Support: Helpdesk, Email, Skype, Phone
Overall Rank: 90 out of 100
What is SEMRush all about?
SEMRush is an online search engine marketing tool that you can use to spy on your competitors and find profitable keywords. I was first interested in this tool when I read this post 58 Experts Reveal Best Tools For Keyword Research by Robbie Richards. I was surprised that SEMRush came up tops with 34 votes from the experts such as Gael Breton (Authority Hacker), Brian Dean (Backlinko) and Adam Connell (Blogging Wizard). With so many votes of confidence, I knew I had to test drive and write a review of it.
After using SEMRush for a couple of weeks, I know why so many experts are liking it. It’s such a great 007 tool that you can use to find out about a niche, the profitable keywords and keywords top sites are paying for through ads. I will be going through the features of SEMRush in this review. To make sure I get the most out of SEMRush for you, I did a 30 minutes demo session with the SEMRush team and got some great tips.
(If you are wondering why I’m using the numbers ‘007’, it is the code number used by a fictional character, James Bond, an intelligence officer in the Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6.)
WARNING: It’s one of the longest review I’ve written. Graphic intensive too!
SEMRush is an online search engine marketing tool that provides you with updated data such as backlinks, traffic and competition for keywords, paid ads, and and accurate statistics on your competition. It also is a great platform for you to discover profitable and related keywords to the search term that you are looking for. Many bloggers use it to optimize their sites and create content that are relevant to their readers.
I have to say that I am really impressed with this tool and the information that they provide. It can be used on any operating system platform because it’s online based. It is really fast and easy to use. SEMRush had a makeover recently and it makes it even more intuitive for a beginner. However, it is quite pricy but worth the money if you plan to go into paid ads, launch multiple niche sites or you are a niche site builder.
Overall, I will rate SEMRush 85 out of 100. I have asked SEMRush to benefit my readers by providing a sweet deal, and THEY DID. If you are interested to test SEMRush out, you can get an exclusive free 14 day trial here for a limited time only.
What does SEMRush do?
SEMRush collects data of about 106 million keywords. Based on the popularity of the keywords, they might update it a few times a day. SEMRush provides the following data that you can use to trump your competition:
1) Organic Research – number of keywords ranking in the top 20, the position changes and the competitors
2) Advertising Research – paid ads data that will be very useful if you want to spy on your competition
3) Product Listing Ads (PLA) Research – mainly for companies with their own products to 007 on the competition
4) Display Advertising – (still in beta stage) type of advertising your competition is doing
5) Backlinks – (new addition) information about the backlinks on a particular website
6) Keyword Research – shows the keyword data for organic and paid searches, exact match keywords, related keywords and etc. (the most useful section)
To demonstrate what SEMRush can do, I will be using the random keyword ‘dog training’ and the results for this review cum tutorial.
This section provides a lot of data on your competitors. It is a great way to know what your competitors are ranking for, their paid searches, backlinks, traffic based on the keywords in the top 20 and more.
From the screenshot above, you can see that there are 35.2k keywords they are ranked for in the top 20 in Google US and that bring them a whopping 804K traffic per month.
Scrolling down, we can see the entire list of keywords this site is ranking for and the positions they are ranking for. This is useful if you want to see what are some possible articles and keywords you can use for your site.
In addition, you will be able to see the following data on the same results screen:
- Their main competitors (competition level, common keywords, search engine keywords, traffic, paid ads)
- Paid ads
- Top anchor text
- Referring domains
- Indexed pages
- Position changes of keywords (new & lost)
Since Cesar’s Way does not use paid ads, I have chosen one of its top competitors who does advertising for this section. Their competitor petsmd.com brings in 30.5k search traffic through 5.1k keywords they have bidded for. That traffic would cost them a whopping $11.8k!
Let’s check out what they are bidding for.
It was pretty interesting to see the results because I’m really surprised at the ads they are bidding for.
The highest volume keywords are for pet names. It provides a good amount of traffic and I really would not know about it unless I checked out their paid ads.
If you see that the competition (com) is above 0.8, it is high competitive (maximum of 1).
Simple Hot TIP: Go for a keyword with low competition and high volume.
Let’s dig deeper…
If I want a slice of this pie, I will want to look at their ads and check out the details of it.
There’s a whole list but I am only pulling this out as an example. For all the months since May 2014, they have been bidding for this keyword ‘female dog names’. If you noticed, February 2015 has a different advertisement tagline. It was reverted back to previous tagline in March 2015.
This is important because you can refer to succeeding paid ads and learn from it for your own ads. It shows you that the new tagline in February did not work well as they reverted it. These are ways you can save money, by following what is tried and tested. Let your competitors do the testing for you!
The number ‘1’ in the cells refer to the position of this ad in google.
Simple Hot TIP: If you see that the ads campaign only ran for a few months before stopping, that means it bombed. That will be a bad ad to follow. Look for those that runs for an entire year, that probably means the ads are working for them.
Product Listing Ads (PLA) Research
I will not be covering much on PLA because it is not relevant to us who are not selling products. However, I’ll show you a quick screenshot of what you can see in this section.
From here, you can see that Apple does quite a bit of PLA. In fact, 29.4k keywords worth. So how do PLAs look like?
Have you seen the products listings shown at the right side? Yeah, those are PLAs and you dig into what your competitors are doing with them.
This is a relatively new addition to SEMRush. At the time of review, SEMRush is still collecting backlinks data and it won’t be totally accurate yet. I checked with the staff and she said that it will be much more accurate by the end of June.
In this section, you will be able to see the information above and the referring domains by country. You can also click on the links and find out more about the domains who referred to them. It is great if you want to find an authority that links to similar sites to yours. If you are familiar with Backlinko (Brian Dean), this is an excellent strategy to find linkreators.
Finally, keyword research. This is where you can dig up more about the keyword you are interested in.
In this section, you will be able to see quite a good amount of data about the keyword. I really like the phrase match keywords and related keywords for ideas.
In the same page, you will also see the top 20 Google results and the ad copies. All at a glance.
Simple Hot TIP: “I have nothing to write on anymore!” Solve your problem by writing an article using the related keywords.
In this section, there are a few pretty nifty tools that I find useful and they are:
This is a pretty good tool for you to track your websites. You can create campaigns and load in the keywords you want to track. In this simple example, I have loaded in 20 keywords generated from SEMRush itself.
From this quick overview, you can see that 18 out of 20 keywords are ranked in the top 3 of Google US. Of course, when I click on Dog Training (campaign name), I can see the detailed results of the keywords compared to it’s competitors.
This is a great overview tool for you to know how your sites are doing at a glance.
Domain vs Domain
This is a great 007 where you can compare your site with up to 5 competitors. There are a few ways you can compare as shown in the drop down menu below.
You can list all the keywords, what is unique to the first domain, common keywords and unique keywords.
If you search by common keywords, you will be able to see the rank position of your site and your competitors. It is useful if you want to beat your competition in a certain keyword or monitor how your SEO optimisation is doing.
So you wanna enter your competitor’s territory?
As shown above, you can check out what your competitor (or you own website) is ranking for. If I am petmd, I might be interested to go into the topic ‘do dogs dream’ that is not very competitive on adwords and provide a pretty good amount of volume to my competitor.
Simple Hot TIP: Domain vs Domain is great for new sub-niche ideas and researching what competitors are good at.
SEMRush has their own keyword difficulty tool that is based on the domain strength. It will analyse the top 20 results and give a difficulty percentage.
Below 70%: Relatively easy to rank
70 – 85%: Medium difficulty
Above 85%: Difficult to rank
Instead of cracking your head about the difficulty to rank a keyword, a quick check can show the difficulty level of it.
Simple Hot TIP: Look for keywords that have low difficulty, high search volume and low results
This is a useful tool if you want to audit your site. Just from a quick set up, I can see the issues this site have and dig deeper into it.
If you have an SEO company that does audit checks for clients or provides similar services, you will love this! You can generate site audit reports with your logo on it.
Simple Hot TIP: Level up by providing your clients with PDF reports with your personal/company branding.
So how do I use the data?
Well, there are many strategies out in the Internet for SEMRush. But a really simple 7-step strategy is:
- Research competitors in your niche
- Check out what they rank
- Check out the keyword difficulty tool to see if the keyword is easy or difficult to rank
- Write content for that keyword
- (optional) Start paid campaigns and 007 the ads that are tried and tested
- Track success of the articles (and ads)
- Rinse and repeat
All the research/tracking steps mentioned above can be done in SEMRush itself. How cool is that??
What support is provided?
I have tried contacting the support via their contact page and email. Both are really responsive and I had no problems getting solutions out from them. Other than via email, you can contact them via Skype and phone too.
What I Disliked
Overall, the tool was great and there is not much to dislike. But 2 things I wish it did/did better:
1) The Backlinks tool does not provide very accurate information yet as it is relatively new and SEMRush is still collecting the backlinks data. However, by the end of June, it should be much more accurate according to the team.
2) It is not too good if your site is on IM scams or reviews. SEMRush does not provide very much updated data for those new products unless the IM product is an established one like Wealthy Affiliate, Empower Network and etc.
What’s the price?
This is the pricing plan for SEMRush.
The extras that the business plan provide (which I was not able to capture in 1 screenshot) are product listing ads and multi-user management. For a single user, a PRO plan will be more than sufficient unless you have more than 5 projects.
The yearly plan allows you to save up to $1,100. You might want to consider going yearly if you foresee yourself using SEMRush for at least a year.
SEMRush indeed does what it claims. It provides tons of information which you can use when you are spying on your competitors, building up your site or looking at website optimisations. There was very little I disliked about it and I love the fact that I can access SEMRush wherever I am *cough Long Tail Pro*.
The graphic user interface for SEMRush is really nice and it makes it easy for a newbie to use it. It is intuitive and I did not have any issues before the demo session. I enjoyed doing research for my non Internet Marketing niche but it was pretty much a bummer when it came to new Internet Marketing products that were just launched in the market with very little traffic.
That being said, that is the minority of the population who will be affected. For other niches, even obscure ones, SEMRush worked great. Overall, I rate SEMRush 85 out of 100. I will highly recommend this tool to anyone who wants to do great keyword research and spy on their competition.
If you are interested to test SEMRush out, you can get an exclusive free 14 day trial here for a limited time only. It really is limited, not some scarcity mindset trick. (It’s a sign up page but if you check the amount, it’s a $0 trial.)
If you have used SEMRush before, like this review or have any questions on it, feel free to leave a comment below. I will get back to you as soon as I can.