Semrush is an SEO tool suite that contains a ton of different metric tools to help you rank your website higher in search engines. Some of the tools you can expect to find in Semrush are things like: Backlink analysis, organic research, advertising research, keyword statistics, and reporting. The reason that this tool suite is so highly regarded as one of the top competitors for main SEO tools is that it has such in-depth and varied features to help users find there way to the top of Google.
Because there is a lot of different tools included in Semrush, we’re just gonna jump right into the next section and start describing what you will be able to use, if you decide to go with this tool.
Semrush contains a TON of different tools, we’re going to go into specifics of what each of these tools does.
The first set of tools is the Competitive Research section. This set of tools will show when you search for a domain/website on Semrush. Each of these sections is going to display in-depth information about the website to help you make informed decisions.
Semrush dominates the competition when it comes to competitor analysis. In the world of SEO, this section is the biggest help when it comes to comparing your website to other competing websites. It can help you find out whether a specific niche is easy to rank in, or whether and competing website has more backlinks then you are. Any query based around comparing two websites can be easily solved using this suite of tools.
Domain Overview – The domain overview screen is the main dashboard report you will see when looking up a domain. This will display a lot of the core information that you will want to look over, at a glance. While still allowing you to click on any of the statistics to take a deeper look at them. When you first visit this screen you will have access to the following stats.
- Paid Search – Paid search shows how much traffic comes from paid sources. It will also show you how many keywords display paid advertisements and the cost of such traffic.
- Organic Search – This statistic will show you at a glance how many organic visitors and traffic the website gets. It will also tell you their overall Semrush ranking (the top most searched websites on the internet), how many keywords they are ranking for, and how much this traffic would cost if it were to all be bought.
- Backlinks – Backlinks will show you the total number of backlinks the domain has. How many referring domains there are as well as how many referring IP’s.
- Display Advertising – Display Advertising will show how many display ads the website is using and how many publishers/advertisers are displaying those ads.
- Engagement Metrics – Engagement metrics are there to show you how people interact with the website. In this case, you will see how many pages per visit are displayed on average. The average visit duration and the bounce rate of the website.
- Top Organic Keywords – The top organic keywords displays a list of the top 5 biggest keywords that the website ranks for. (In terms of how much traffic it gets them)
- Organic Position Distribution – This is a graph that shows you the keyword rank distribution for their organic traffic. In essence, how many of their ranking keywords are in the top 3, 3 – 10, 11 – 20… all the way until 91 – 100.
- Main Organic Competitors – The main organic competitors will show the top 5 biggest competitors in terms of similar ranking keywords and traffic driven. These are the sites that are competing for the same keywords and taking a majority of the traffic away from the main site.
- Competitive Position Map (Organic) – This chart displays the main competitors as shown above but in graph form.
- Branded Search – When people are searching for this website, they will either search directly for the brand (in this case website) they are looking for or a generic query. This will show you in which form people find the target website, whether it’s a branded search or generic query.
- Branded Traffic Trend – This is a graph of the traffic trends based on the above statistics, so you can see if branded searches are increasing, or decreasing over time.
- Top Paid Keywords – The top paid keywords displays the top 5 keywords in which the website is currently advertising for. It will show you how much traffic they’re getting from the keyword, and what the cost per click for that keyword averages to be.
- Paid Position Distribution – The paid position distribution chart will display what ranking their paid advertisements are at on the search (1-3, 4-10, or 11-20).
- Main Paid Competitors – This is similar to the organic competitors shown above but displays the main competitors for the advertisements displayed.
- Competitive Positioning Map (Paid) – A graph displaying the main paid competitors in bubble chart form.
- Sample Ads – This lists 4 examples of search or text-based ads that the website employs to get traffic.
- Top Referring Backlinks – Displays the top 5 newest backlinks pointing to the website, their anchor link and whether they are follow or no follow.
- Follow vs No Follow – This mini-graph will display the ratio between follow and no follow backlinks.
- Backlink Type – Backlink types will display how many of the backlinks are: Text, Frame, Form or Image links in the form of a graph.
- Top Anchors – This will display the top 5 most used anchors when it comes to backlinks pointing to the website.
- Referring Domains – Top 5 websites, based on how many backlinks they have pointed to the target website.
- Indexed Pages – This shows the top 5 indexed pages, based on how many backlinks and domains are pointing to that page.
- Latest Publishers – The last 5 websites to publish a backlink to the target website.
- Landing Pages – The top landing pages on the target website, based on how many times they have been seen.
- Sample Text Ads – Similar to the Sample Ads section
- Sample Image Ads – Similar to the Sample Ads section, but for image-based ads.
Traffic Analytics – The traffic analytics page goes into detail about how the target website is getting its traffic. Specifically, it will show an overview of visitors to the site, their traffic sources, the geo-distribution of those searches, and the destination page.
This section is broken into 5 tabs Traffic Overview, Traffic Sources, Geo Distribution, Destination Sites, and Subdomains. Each going into detail about specific details of the traffic entering the target website. It is extremely helpful when determining how and what type of visitors are viewing the target website.
Organic Research – The organic Research page goes into detail about the website’s rankings in Search engines (mainly google). It contains 6 tabs: Overview, Positions, Position Changes, Competitors, Pages, and Subdomains. Each containing varying information pertaining to the websites keyword rankings in Google.
This tool is especially helpful when it comes to determining how the website is attracting visitors. What keywords a website is ranking can be crucial in ranking your own website.
Keyword Gap – Keyword Gap is a page dedicated to comparing two websites. Basically, it takes two websites and compares what they’re ranking for, and displays the gaps or differences in both. This can be useful when comparing a website to your own, to see what information and keywords you could be ranking for on your own website, that a competitor is already ranking for.
Backlink Gap – The last tool in this section is the backlink gap. Similar to the above tool, it’s aim is to help you determine missing backlinks, by comparing two different websites and showing the backlink differences.
The next big section in Semrush is their keyword research tool suite. These tools are dedicated to helping users find the best keywords to rank for. It will display in-depth information about every keyword searched as well as give users tools to help them find new keywords.
Let’s go over each of these tools briefly, and what they do.
Keyword Overview – The keyword overview is the main display page when it comes to searching for a keyword. Kind of like the Domain overview page, this page will display statistics and information about the keyword, in which you can dive deeper into.
Here are the stats you will be able to view when looking at this page.
- Volume – The number of people searching for this keyword on Google.
- Number of Results – The number of results that display when searching for this keyword, on Google.
- CPC – The average Cost per Click when advertising on Google for this keyword.
- Competition – A Semrush specific competition value to determine how hard it would be to rank for this particular keyword.
- Search Trend – A graph displaying how many searches this keyword gets over time.
- Matching Phrase Keywords – Closely related phrases that match the keyword.
- Related Keywords – Related keywords to the one searched.
- Organic Search Results – The websites currently ranking for this keyword.
- Ads History – A graph displaying how many advertisements are displayed for this keyword (over time)
Keyword Magic Tool – The Keyword Magic Tool was built to give further information about the keyword, but specifically in table/data form. This is especially helpful when looking for keywords that are easy to rank for. On this page, you will easily be able to see the volume, difficulty, CPC, competition, and # of results for each given keyword.
It displays all of the above data for the searched keyword as well as all related keyword phrases. The reason it does this is so that the user will be able to find better keywords then the one searched for, or to compare the searched keyword.
Keyword Difficulty – This is a more simple tool. It allows the users to enter as many keywords as they like and then the tool will display the Semrush difficulty score. This score basically summarizes how difficult the keyword would be to rank for in the top 10 of Google.
Organic Traffic Insights – The last tool in this section is Organic Traffic Insights. This section is aimed at your own website projects. It displays information about your website (things like Engagement metrics and landing pages). Its basic uses are for finding out what pages your visitors view most on your website and which ones have the longest session duration (or lowest bounce rate).
This section in Semrush is dedicated to tools that help users build up their backlinks. Backlinks serve a HUGE purpose when it comes to ranking website. As such it’s a very important aspect of Semrush.
Backlink Analytics – This goes deeper into the information displayed originally on the domain overview for the number of backlinks on a given website. In this case, you will see 9 different tabs of information for the backlink analysis of a given website. Those tabs are as follows: Overview, Backlinks, Anchors, Referring Domains, Referring IP’s, Indexed Pages, Competitors, and More.
Each of these tabs is somewhat self-explanatory, and basically, just provide even more information about the backlinks pointing to the target website.
Inside the Overview panel you will see the following stats:
- Total Backlinks – Shows the number of backlinks pointing to the entire website.
- Referring Domains – The total number of unique domains pointing to the website.
- Referring IP’s – The total number of unique IP’s pointing to the website.
- Authority Score – Semrush’s personal score of how authoritative it thinks the target website is. (Based on many different factors).
- New & Lost Backlinks – How many new and lost backlinks the website receives over time.
- Total Backlinks Graph – This is a graph that displays the total number of backlinks over time.
- Follow vs No follow Graph – A small mini-graph to display the ratio between follow and no follow backlinks.
- Backlink Type Graph – A graph displaying the types of backlinks pointing to a website. (Text, Image, Form, or Frame)
- TLD Distributions – What website TLD’s are pointing to the website (.com, .net, .org, etc)
- Country Graph – The top 5 countries with the most backlinks pointing to the target website.
- Top Anchors – The top anchor terms used in backlinks pointing to the website.
- Anchor Terms – Similar to the Top Anchors, but based on the frequency of use, then the overall number.
Backlink Audit – The Backlink Audit tool is aimed for use on your own projects. It’s main use it to report on what backlinks you have on your website. It also gives important information about these backlinks like their toxicity score. (How bad they are for your website.) This is good for purging bad backlinks of your website to improve your rankings.
Link Building Tool – The Link Building Tool is also a tool aimed for use on your own projects. In this case, it helps you find prospective websites which you can get backlinks from. It will display a bunch of different websites that you can reach out to, for acquiring backlinks to your own website. This tool also provides you with integrations to outreach to these websites.
Bulk Analysis – The last tool in this batch is the Bulk Backlink Analysis Tool. This will analyze the backlink profile of up to 200 domains at once. It’s a great tool if you’re looking to analyze all of your competitor’s backlinks in a single view.
Rank tracking can be another important feature for any SEO. It’s important to know where your website is ranking for a keyword on any given day. And it’s especially important to see how those rankings are improving or declining over time.
These tools will help you track the rankings of your website, or of another website; As well as help you set up alerts so that you don’t have to constantly check back in every day.
Position Tracking – The bread and butter of this tool suite, this tool allows you to track all of the keywords your website is ranking for. It shows you a ton of information about your rankings.
Here are some of the stats you will see on the overview:
- Visibility – A percentage comparing how visible your website is, based on all the keywords tracked.
- Estimated Traffic – An estimate of how much traffic you will get from your currently ranked keywords.
- Average Position – The average position each keyword is in, based on all tracked keywords.
- Keywords – Details about how many keywords are ranked at different distribution tiers (top 3, top 10, top 20, top 100).
- Ranking Distributions – A graph representing the above data, over time.
- Top Keywords – The top 5 keywords that are ranking to give you the most traffic.
- Positive Impact – Recent changes in keywords giving you a positive visibility impact.
- Negative Impact – Recent changes in keywords giving you a negative visibility impact.
- Top Competitors – Your top competitors for the keywords you are trying to rank for.
- SERP Features – How many features you are shown with, on Google.
- Landing Pages – The top landing pages for your keywords. (Basically, what pages people are landing on the most, based on your ranked keywords).
Along with this overview, there are 7 other tabs of information about your website and their rankings. Those tabs are as follows: Overview, Rankings Distribution, Rankings, Landing Pages, Competitors Discovery, Devices & Locations, and Featured Snippets. (The tab displaying all the above information is called “landscape”)
Sensor – The sensor is a rather new page in Semrush and displays the volatility of your rankings in Google. This will show you how your rankings change over short periods of time in the day.
There are 4 tabs in this section which are as follows: Overview, Personal Score, Deviations, and Winners & Losers.
Each tab is dedicated to giving short term information about keyword rankings that occur over the day. It’s a great tab to view during the day, to monitor rankings.
Ranks – The last tool in this section is the Ranks page. This page is really simple, all it does is displays the rankings of each website. Basically, it shows the top searched websites from #1 all the way to (as of currently writing this) 60,250,846. The top website being Wikipedia at 101.8 million ranked keywords. This is Semrush’s personal list of top searched websites.
On Page & Tech SEO
This section of Semrush is dedicated to tools that help you increase yours on page/technical SEO. The tools will help you audit your website and make sure you’re doing the right thing to rank on Google.
Site Audit – A site Audit is a tool that analyzes your site and gives you detailed information about your technical SEO. There are 6 tabs on this page as follows: Overview, Issues, Crawled Pages, Statistics, Compare Crawls, and Progress.
In this case, the overview displays the following information:
- Total Score – The total Semrush score, based on your overall website SEO.
- Errors – The number of errors detected for technical SEO on your website.
- Warnings – The number of warnings detected for technical SEO on your website.
- Notices – The number of notices detected for technical SEO on your website.
- Crawled Pages – How many pages were crawled, along with how many of those pages were healthy, broken, had issues, were redirected or were blocked.
- Thematic Reports – This will show you your website overall crawlability, https, site performance international SEO, and internal linking ranks.
- Top Issues – Shows the top issues that occurred when auditing the website.
Overall, this tool will take a deep dive on your website and find out everything you will want or need to know about the technical SEO aspects of your website.
SEO Content Template – This tool will help you write your content. It helps you properly target keywords with your content by giving you a ton of interesting statistics. It can easily help you figure out what you need to do, in order to beat the competition.
On Page SEO Checker – The on-page SEO checker is similar to the Site audit, but directed at specific pages on your site. It gives you all the errors you might find in the Site audit report but also gives you new ideas and strategies for how to rank the page higher.
Log File Analyzer – This is a brand new feature to Semrush and offers to analyze your website log files to understand how search engines are interacting with your website.
Listing Management – Another brand new tool, the listing management tool helps get your business data correctly distributed to dozens of authoritative directories.
There are a metric TON of different tools included in Semrush, and it’s hard to really go super in-depth with each of these tools because you could spend hours on each one. Hopefully, the above information gave you an idea of the breadth of tools included in Semrush.
SEO is a large and expansive field, it’s very competitive and can be very data-driven. Having a tool like Semrush is important, especially because it covers so many different topics. With each tool comes a new SEO specialization, whether that be keyword research, backlink analysis, or technical SEO, each of these topics can and WILL help you rank your website on search engines. Without tools like Semrush, you will be at a severe disadvantage due sheerly to the amount of data you can analyze with a tool suite such as this.
What's it good for?
Now that we’ve gone through a ton of the features and tools you will find in Semrush, let’s talk about what the practical use cases are for Semrush.
When it comes to use cases, there are 2 separate cases. On one hand, you have the use case for a personal user ranking their websites and on the other, you have an agency built to help people rank their websites. Each can be fairly similar, but they both differ in terms of the scale of reporting.
With that being said, Semrush handles both aspects very well. It has reports dedicated to everything you will need to create, improve, and rank websites in both small and large scale. Whether you’re an individual looking for a tool to give you the edge in rankings, or a large scale agency looking for a detailed tool to help you rank multiple projects simultaneously
Because there are so many different aspects of SEO, it’s hard to pigeon hole Semrush down into only a couple of use cases, but here are some of the more popular uses for Semrush. (Outside of the generic, trying to rank websites higher)
- Analyzing Competitors Websites
- Finding New Niches
- Determining New Content To Write
- Managing Technical SEO
- Auditing Websites
- Monitoring Rankings Over Time
What benefits can you achieve through the use of Semrush? Well, because SEO is such a competitive field, it’s hard to say it will definitely give you a boost in rankings… but it’s much easier to say that it can make it much MUCH easier.
Semrush gives you an edge in so many different fields across SEO that it’s hard to even list all of the benefits of using a tool like Semrush. But here are some big benefits you will achieve through its use:
- Better Backlinks
- Better Keywords
- Higher Rankings
- Accurate Rank Tracking
- Detailed Reports
- Easy Project Management
Not Good At
Now, after going over everything Semrush is good at, it’s time to take a look at what its bad at. With all of Semrush’s features, it’s easy to forget that a lot of the time quality trumps quantity. And in some features, this is the case with Semrush.
The biggest problem with using Semrush is its restrictive nature. When you start going down the rabbit hole of technical SEO, it’s easy to get wrapped up in pure data, and you can end up forgetting the purpose of the website, to begin with; Which is the user experience.
But, to get specific, with which features Semrush doesn’t have the best track record with, here are a couple:
- Keyword Difficulty – Semrush has a very difficult time determining how hard it is for a website to rank for a specific keyword. As such a lot of the reports they give you showing you a difficult ranking can be WAY off.
- Position Tracking – Semrush allows you to track specific keywords, but it will charge you an arm and a leg to do so. If you run multiple websites or are tracking a lot of keywords, Semrush may not be the best tool; unless you have deep pockets.
My Experience with Semrush
With all the technical aspects of Semrush out of the way, it’s time to get into our experience using this software.
Honestly, this review may come off as a bit TOO positive, but I have had such amazing results with Semrush, that I cannot help but sing its praises. That being said, let me give you a bit of background of how I found and came to use Semrush.
As a very data-driven, logical person (<– software developer), getting into the field of SEO was very fun for me. Because I’m competitive it gave me not only an outlet for my skills but a way to challenge others (In the form of rankings).
That being said, about 3 months into my journey to master SEO, I found that I was struggling a lot because I was having to create my own tools and spreadsheets to track all of the information I was learning. There was so much to take in, so much to manage, if I wanted to become #1, I had to master them all. But, in the end, it was too much for me to handle in such a short amount of time. So I started looking for tools to help me out, at first I thought that most of the tools out there were super expensive and just amassed data into nice looking reports.
It was then that I started trying out various tools until I found Semrush. It was a bit on the expensive side but promised a HUGE assortment of tools and I was intrigued by the fact that a lot of the tools were not only showing data but giving actionable functionality. I was immediately surprised by how many various tools and reports were actually included in the system. A lot of the time software puffs up how much it can do, only to let you down because they started listing every tiny thing. In this case, though, each report and tool Semrush had included gave amazingly detailed information AND actionable functions.
From then on, I dedicated myself to learning the in’s and out’s of Semrush so that I could handle and overview a lot more data in order to give me an edge in the SEO field. And… well, it worked! I started to see an increase in rankings, I was able to much more easily manage multiple projects and it guided me through the process of what was most important, through the use of their main tools.
All in all, I wanted to tell you that story because I feel like it gives a good impression of how well equipped a tool suite like Semrush is for such a large field.
If you’re looking for a great tool suite for SEO, that covers almost every imaginable aspect, then Semrush is definitely a great service. With Actionable Functionality (Like backlink prospects, email templates, and more) along with superbly detailed reports (Like Backlink Analysis and Organic Research), you won’t be let down.
Using a tool like Semrush will give you such a big advantage over a lot of the other tools out there, due to its breadth of functionality. From what I’ve learned about SEO, it’s not just 1 thing that gets you to rank 1; It’s 100 different things, and mastering a majority of them will bring you MUCH closer to those higher rankings, then just focusing on a couple of aspects. And that’s really where Semrush shines, in its breadth of functionality.
Whos it for?
Who would I recommend Semrush for? And who exactly would this service be worth it too?
I would highly recommend Semrush to both individuals and agencies looking to really dive deep into the technical aspects of SEO and competitor research. If you’re looking to rank websites higher on search engines (In this case, mostly Google), then you’re looking at the right tool.
Because it has so many different features, from Keyword Research to Backlink Analysis to Site Auditing, it can actually be a much cheaper option, then gathering a ton of specific tools for each of those purposes.
In essence, it would be well worth it for any individual OR agency looking to rank websites higher by diving into the technical SEO aspects. But as such, I would expect you should have a clear monetization method for your website so that you can upkeep with the costs of using a more advanced SEO tool suite such as this.
Overall, I would say that when it comes to tool suites, SEMRush has been the product that has most blown me out of the water. I’ve touched on many different fields, from marketing to SEO, to programming and used a ton of different software and services; but Semrush still stands out for me. It’s along the lines of Salesforce and Hubspot in terms of quality and quantity of tools in its field.
Now, when it comes down to alternatives, I have found there to be 2 main competitors for SEO tool suites.
- Ahrefs – Ahrefs is probably the biggest competitor to Semrush in terms of breadth of functionality and pricing. I would say Ahrefs has a little bit less functionality but has better keyword analysis then Semrush does. While Semrush has more functionality and better backlink coverage.
- Moz – Moz has a more quality oriented feature set then a wide breadth of functionality, like Ahrefs and Semrush. As such, the authoritative scores given by Moz are more commonly accepted as the most accurate, and it can give you a bit of a deeper look into domain analytics then either Semrush or Ahrefs. That being said, it definitely lacks in the breadth of functionality when compared to the two others.
That about wraps up my Semrush review, hopefully you found this information helpful. Overall, I feel that Semrush is a great tool to grab if you’re getting into SEO in almost any situation whether you’re a freelancer, agency, or business.