semrush-review-header

SEMrush: The Complete Review (2017)

SEMrush: The Complete Review (2017)

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SEMrush review Intro

We can all agree:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is immensely important.

Organic social reach is a joke now and ad costs are on the rise. Generating free, targeted traffic from search is more important than ever. And harder than ever.

Do you need software for SEO?

Yes. The data and insights that SEO tools, like SEMrush, provide are crucial to informing and tracking your SEO strategy.

How?

SEMrush and similar tools can shed insights on:

  • if you are rising or falling in the rankings
  • how many people are searching for a topic
  • what sites are back linking to similar sites
  • which topics are best to create content around
  • how much traffic are your competitors getting
  • if there are any technical issues on your site hurting SEO

We will show you how to do the above and a lot more throughout this SEMrush review.

But what tool(s) do you need?

SEMrush* should definitely be in your consideration set. It is a leader in the SEO software industry. Many SEO influencers in the field swear by SEMrush. We will go over SEMrush competitors and alternatives later.

Semrush_logo

Why SEMrush?

It generates a ton of analytics that provide crucial information for your SEO strategies.

But let’s face it…

No tool is perfect.

Besides its strengths, we will also cover the weaknesses of SEMrush.

Our goal: Analyze SEO metrics to estimate our chances of making the front page of Google with a new article.

We will cover the following for our Infrared Thermometer article all using SEMrush:

  • Researching SEO factors for content planning
  • Optimizing content for search engine rankings
  • Promoting content
  • Analyzing the success of the content SEO plan

If you want to follow along with our SEMrush review, you don’t even need an account.

What is SEMrush? SEMrush 101

SEMrush can be defined as a powerful web-based software to plan and track your efforts in SEO and online advertising like PPC.

Here are 9 key components of SEO SEMrush can help with:

  • Position tracking
  • Keyword Research
  • Backlink analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • PPC and other ad data
  • Site Audit
  • On page optimization
  • Content planning
  • Organic traffic statistics

We’ll cover each in detail throughout this SEMrush review

The cool thing about SEMrush…

They don’t just spit out the data; they present it in novel and interesting ways. They create several metrics and charts which aren’t in other tools.

semrush-interesting-chart
SEMrush has several interesting data visualizations and metrics

Yes, it will give you the valuable information you need to improve in the rankings.

But it’s more than that.

SEMrush like having X-ray vision into your competitor’s Google Analytics account. You can see what is working and what is not. Even how much traffic they are getting and what that is worth in dollars.

semrush-competitive
SEMrush is a gold mine for competitive analytics

What’s more?

SEMrush’s detailed analytics are killer for planning what content you should create. We’ll cover this later. SEMrush can even help you make future content or existing content more SEO-friendly.

Every day it seems the data that was recently updated only hours ago. Comparable plans of other tools are often updated only weekly (like Moz Pro).

semrush-updated-frequently
SEMrush is updated frequently
In addition, there are several beta tools. Useful ones, not half-baked stuff that frustrates. To me, this builds confidence in the likelihood that it will be actively developed going forward. SEMrush is constantly looking for ways to improve the data they provide and how to display it. 
seoquake
SEOquake Chrome Extension

Related SEO tool reviews by MarTech Wiz

Ahrefs Review: for strong backlink profiles and content tools

Moz Pro Review: for superior Keyword analysis and SERP feature analysis

Majestic Review: for extensive backlink data and visualizations

Serpstat Review: for an affordable, up-and-coming SEO tool

SEMrush Benefits: Why use SEMrush?

So what are the business benefits of using SEMrush for SEO?

SEO gets more free traffic to your site. Everyone wants more traffic.

Yet SEMrush can also perform competitive analysis. It shows what your competitors are writing about, if they are being read and insights into why.

The PPC Ad part of SEMrush can help you maximize your ad dollars spent for greater exposure/value.

Here we can see what AdWords ads are running for Infrared Thermometers:

semrush-ppc-ads
SEMrush has tons of PPC ads by domain and keyword

Even if you aren’t running ads, this can help you identify what messages are working and how much traffic they’re generating.

Who is SEMrush for?

Any organization that has a web site they want more people to see can benefit from SEMrush

SEMrush can help SEO for

  • Entrepreneurs who do their own SEO
  • In-house marketers of small to mid-sized businesses
  • Enterprise companies
  • SEO agencies and consultants

As mentioned, SEMrush is also a favorite of SEO agencies and consultants. Although most SEOs use multiple tools so SEMrush is often one of many.

Now, who is SEMrush not for?

It may not be great for those intimidated by a lot of numbers, tables and graphs. But if that is the case, SEO in general might not be for them.

The tool provides a ton of information on many different aspects. The sheer volume of SEMrush information is massive. This is great for most but others may suffer from information overload.

SEO Expert Opinion on SEMrush

Jordan Kasteler
I love using SEMrush to find out how many keywords a site is ranking for in the top 100 results of Google, and more importantly, how much those rankings are worth. SEMrush tells you how much your organic traffic is worth by equating it to if you were to pay for that traffic in AdWords. Clients love to put dollar signs on their rankings and traffic!

I love SEMrush for finding Near Ranking Opportunities (NROs)! In other words, filtering which keywords rank on page 2 of Google that we could optimize for to push to page 1.

I love SEMrush for comparing sites to see which keywords are unique or shared between competitors!

I love how you can look up any site with SEMrush, not just your own!

The downside of SEMrush is that it doesn’t do subdomains. For that I look to Linkdex or BrightEdge Data Cube.

How does SEMrush work?

First, to get started either:

There is nothing to download since SEMrush is a web-based SaaS software.

After you login for the first time, you should set up a campaign to monitor your website.

Setup is logically laid out which makes getting started straightforward:

semrush-project-dashboard
Project Dashboard ready to be set up

Next, integrate your Google Analytics and Search Console accounts with SEMrush. You want it to leverage this powerful data (from the horse’s mouth).

SEMrush walks you through 9 areas to set up. You will provide information such as:

  • Your website domain so it can crawl it for a site audit
  • The keywords you want to rank well for in Google
  • Your competitors (they even tell you who your competitors are based on common keywords)
  • Social media accounts
  • Any phrases like your brand you want to track mentions found across the web
semrush-project-setup
SEMrush has wizards for all 9 project areas

SEMrush navigation and user interface

Our SEMrush review found the user interface and ease of use to be average: not great, not horrible.

While there is a ton of information, all sections are displayed simply from top to bottom on the sidebar. Also, the layout of the sections themselves are similar so they will become familiar.

semrush-sidebar-menu
SEMrush sidebar menu is dense but straightforward

You can easily navigate down the sidebar one section at a time and not get lost.

There are three main sections of SEMrush which you’ll see on the left sidebar menu:

  1. Domain analytics: provide any site for extensive SEO-related information
  2. Keyword analytics: enter a keyword for a full SEO and PPC analysis
  3. Projects: what you set up above for your company (or a client, etc.)
semrush_three_main_areas

If you don’t know what a phrase or metric means, don’t worry:

SEMrush provides extensive “tool tips” that provide helpful information and definitions any time you hover over the text.

semrush_tooltip
Tooltips can be found throughout SEMrush

Pros and Cons of SEMrush

Here is our extensive list of pros and cons for SEMrush. We’ll explain each in more detail throughout our SEMrush review.

Pros of SEMrush

  • SEMrush has some of the most detailed and innovative SEO metrics available
  • Ad/PPC information: a strength as they started as a SEM tool (SEM = search engine marketing or PPC ads)
  • Pages report shows the most visited pages of a competitor or any domain
  • The rankings information of your position in the SERPs is powerful yet easy to analyze
  • Information is frequently updated
  • Novel SEO metrics like “traffic cost” which quantifies how much your organic traffic is worth in dollars
  • Top 10 benchmarking: SEMrush can analyze front page results of any keywork for commonalities and trends
  • Custom charts: compare up to 5 URLs in clear charts on several metrics like “traffic from PPC ads over last 2 years”
  • Alerts: set up alerts for various metrics like new backlinks or position changes up or down
  • Project set up is clear and comprehensive
  • SEMrush shows you all the keywords you rank for; many others tools just track the keywords you tell it to
  • Integrates with Google Analytics AND Google Search Console

Cons of SEMrush

  • SEMrush does not use clickstream data, which makes keyword volume more accurate
  • The backlinks database is not the most comprehensive
  • Semantic keyword suggestions (sophisticated related keywords) aren’t a strength
  • SERP (search engine results page) analysis and SERP features (like rich snippets) are displayed better in other tools
  • Data discrepancies were found in certain parts of the tool

SEO Expert Opinion on SEMrush

dan shure
In this special video SEO Expert Opinion, Dan Shure from Evolving SEO shows us examples of how he uses SEMrush first hand. Dan walks through his favorite parts of SEMrush, ways it could improve, and some hidden gems of the tool.

Structure of this SEMrush review

To demo SEMrush, we’ll research “infrared thermometers”

In this article, we will show SEMrush’s capabilities by taking you through an example SEO plan using SEMrush. We will be researching a mock article we are considering writing about a product called an Infrared Thermometer.

An infrared thermometer is a contact-less thermometer to measure heat coming off of food, car engines, and other various items.

infrared-thermometer
We will conduct an SEO audit for a new article on infrared thermometers

In this SEMrush review, we will walk through an SEO plan for a (hypothetical) article on “Infrared Thermometers.”

Our SEO plan will cover 4 sections with 11 components of SEO using SEMrush:

Section 1: Planning future content with SEMrush

  • Competitive keyword and SERP analysis
  • Finding backlink and social shares
  • Analyzing PPC and other ad data

Section 2: Optimizing content with SEMrush

  • Performing On-page optimization
  • Crawling site for technical SEO
  • Bolstering content generation

Section 3: Promoting content with SEMrush

  • Outreach to publishers
  • Amplify content using social media

Section 4: Tracking progress with SEMrush

  • Track rankings
  • Measure traffic
  • Monitor backlinks, shares, and mentions

Section 1: Planning future content with SEMrush

 Researching keyword and SERPs (search engine results page)

So let’s start in the most logical place: Keyword research.

  • Keyword volume = do people actually care about this topic?
  • Keyword difficulty = do I have a chance to rank well?
  • CPC (cost per click) = is this a term that people in buying mode search for?

SEMrush provides the standard metrics like keyword volume and keyword difficulty above.

But they stand out with their CPC data.

semrush-kw-metrics
SEMrush related keywords table for keyword suggestions

So, do people actually care about Infrared Thermometers?

There are 9,900 searches per month for “infrared thermometer”. A decent number that meets our criteria.

The keyword difficulty is 79 out of 100 so it won’t be a walk in the park.

Pretty competitive.

Keyword suggestions are split into two sections: phrase match and related. A consolidated section is preferable. More importantly, there is not a lot of depth with semantic keywords. This means synonyms of infrared or thermometer aren’t well represented here. Semantic keywords are powerful to include versus stuffing your content with main keywords.

As mentioned, SEMrush doesn’t include clickstream data in their keyword tool. This results in less accurate keyword volume numbers.

One nice thing is a month-by-month trend chart over the last 12 months. We see the keyword volume is steady with a spike in the holiday season not surprisingly.

semrush-trend-chart
Trend chart shows keyword volume over last 12 months

Side note on one thing that tripped us up during our SEMrush review process. The keyword difficulty metric is not in the keywords overview dashboard. You must go to the phrase match section or keyword difficulty section (and re-enter keyword).

The “SEO Magic Keyword” tool

The SEO Magic keyword tool is not actually magic but a promising tool for sure.

You can compare and sort up to 100 different keywords in the table.

You can analyze the group of keywords in total which is extremely useful. So, for a whole group of hundreds of related keywords you can get total volume and average difficulty. There are also powerful filtering options.

seo-keyword-magic-tool
The SEO Keyword Magic tool can analyze keyword lists

We noticed some data discrepancies between this section than other sections. Different keyword volume, difficulty and CPC numbers have been spotted here. Same with the SERP features count (3 here vs 1 elsewhere). It’s in beta so maybe it is not pulling from the same database? Strange.

SEMrush provides standard keyword information and good metrics and visuals to analyze it. It would be better with clickstream data and latent semantic keywords.

Back to our Infrared Thermometer example. We are satisfied with the monthly volume and the difficulty score is not too high to scare us away.

Full speed ahead with our Infrared Thermometer article!

Finding backlinks and social shares

OK, next let’s see how established the competing articles on the front page of “Infrared Thermometer” are on backlinks and shares.

A downside:

SERP analysis in SEMrush is merely a cached version of a Google SERP. So it’s an image of a historical search results page. It shows 100 results instead of the usual 10 so it doesn’t feel like the SERP you would see. We compared an actual Google “live” search to the cached version. We found the cached version didn’t show ads and the order of links was different. Generally, not that helpful. Moz’s SERP analysis in Open Site Explorer is clearer and more insightful.
Now when you Google in real-time with the SEOquake extension you have the best of both worlds.

cached-vs-actual-serp
Cached SERP is not showing ads and has a different sequence of links

Oddly you have to go to the separate keyword difficulty section to get the SERP features. I don’t know why this all isn’t in one place.

SEMrush checks for the following SERP features: site links, knowledge graph, local pack, featured snippet, instant answers, news, carousel, and featured video.

SEOquake to the rescue!

Then we remembered the SEOquake chrome extension. SEOquake on a live Google search is a great alternative for SERP analysis in the main tool.

Now when you Google in real-time with the SEOquake extension you have the best of both worlds.

Here we can see the competitors we want to outrank on the front page. Let’s size up the competition.

A great feature of SEOquake is customizing the display to include powerful SEMrush metrics like traffic cost. You can export this.  The report is viewable in a new tab. To see the backlink URLs from the report, click the hyperlinked backlink count which returns you to SEMrush to view all backlinks.

Very cool.

The number of backlinks are on par with most tools like Moz’s Open Site Explorer and Serpstat but falls short of Ahrefs. It’s often said that Majestic SEO ibacklink database is strong too but haven’t checked them out in depth yet.

So SEMrush’s backlink database isn’t bad, it’s just Ahrefs is so much bigger than the others.

The is important. Backlinks are a major factor in domain score, trust score, keyword difficulty, link opportunities and more.

You can also find some social shares information in the SEOquake tool. It has information for Facebook and Google+ (but not twitter which can be found elsewhere).

You find Twitter shares in the Content Tool under Projects, which we cover later. The Content Tool is meant to track your own site but you can add in any URL you what (with a limit of 10 URLs in the Guru plan).

semrush-content-tool
Content tool shows backlinks and social shares

We see some very established sites at the top of the front page which will be hard to unseat anytime soon. We are not going to supplant Wikipedia or Amazon. But there is opportunity to outrank some in the bottom half of the front page.

Analyzing PPC and other ad data

The “Ads History” section is fantastic for competitive analysis and messaging.

SEMrush has a plethora of information on CPC (cost per click) and ad copy, both text and PLA (product listing ads).

semrush-ads
SEMrush has data on text ads, banner ads, and product listing ads

SEMrush shows “Infrared Thermometer” fetches $2.13 per click and the tool even shows CPC per country.

The competition for ads for this keyword is intense: .98 out of 1.

You can export all this data. Great stuff.

If you want PPC information, SEMrush is a leader in this area (Spyfu is also worth checking out). It has tons of historical AdWords text ads that you can scroll through by month. It’s very interesting to see which ads worked and which didn’t by seeing how long they ran. SEMrush even estimates the value generated by each ad.

So even if you never plan to run an ad this is valuable information. It shows what messaging has worked as well as which keywords are competitive from a monetary extent.

To that extent, we looked up ads for Infrared thermometers.

semrush-ppc-ads
SEMrush has tons of PPC ads by domain and keyword

At this point in our SEMrush review, we are ready to make a go or no go decision on writing the infrared thermometer article.

We feel we have an an audience due to our keyword volume analysis and opportunity due to our SERP analysis. We even know now which verbiage works well which we can use in improving organic CTR (click through rate) of our article.

Now that we are ready to write our article, let’s see how SEMrush can help us optimize the content.

Section 2: Optimizing content with SEMrush

First, let’s take a step back and make sure there is nothing wrong with our site. Search engines must be able to crawl and index it properly.

The Site Audit section of SEMrush covers technical SEO and on-page optimization. These areas are similar and intertwined.

Crawling site for technical SEO

SEMrush crawls your site during setup to analyze technical SEO aspects. It then re-crawls each week.

Issues can include broken links, page speed and blocked pages.

semrush-site-audit
SEMrush provides several insights for technical SEO and on-page optimization

It’s good to have a tool checking this every so often. It could find a significant issue you were unaware of. A line graph visualizes issues and improvement over time. If you fix an issue, the issue trend line will go down.

Keep in mind several of the issues raised may not be major and can be ignored safely.

Like in our Moz Pro review, I was alerted to some errors that weren’t actually errors. In this case, it said I was linking out to a broken page. When I checked, the link and external page were fine.

SEMrush also provides a statistics tab with interesting metrics like % of pages with markup, pages with canonical tag, and amp links:

We didn’t find any major issues here so all systems go towards ranking for infrared thermometers.

SEO Expert Opinion on SEMrush

Kevin Cotch

My personal favorite part of SEMrush is the site auditor tool.

I am a big fan on SEMrush, as we use it for multiple SEO activities. At TopRank Marketing, we utilize most tools within SEMrush to help guide our SEO campaigns, including keyword research and SEO audits. The keyword functionality of SEMrush does a great job for pulling together related keywords to a seed keyword, as well as showing the estimated difficulty of ranking for individual keywords. The other nice feature for keyword research is the ability to roughly see how expensive the keywords are for paid campaigns. This feature can help prioritize what keywords you should target for SEO within paid campaigns in mind too.

My personal favorite part of SEMrush is the site auditor tool. The automated site auditor tool does a solid job checking for the majority of SEO-related issues. The SEO-related issues that are outlined by the tool are also prioritized, which typically aligns closely to our SEO strategy for the program. I also like how the site auditor tool does a great job showing and explaining what issues to fix and why.

One area within SEMrush that I feel is underutilized is the backlink audit tool. The backlink audit tool tracks backlinks for each campaign (once setup) and sends reports that outlines potential issues from referring domains.

Overall, SEMrush has a lot of different tools that are included within their packages for a reasonable price.

Performing On-page optimization

As you write the article, keep on-page optimization in mind.

On-page optimization is about the aspects of SEO you can directly control in your content. For example, you should ensure your page has a good text-html ratio, images have alt attributes, and your keyword is in the URL.

On page optimization is a checklist of things to do so. It’s a well-suited task for a computer program so many tools have this capability.

Like many, I associate on page optimization with the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin. The benefit of a tool like Yoast over SEMrush is it checks for issues before you publish, when it’s best to address them.

SEMrush provides one of the better on-page optimization tools for published content.

They exhibit their talent for providing information in interesting and creative ways. They have aggregated site statistics and the ability to compare crawls over time in ways I haven’t seen before.

The Page SEO audit feature of the SEOquake chrome extension is also great for on page optimization information. It is well designed, robust and easy to use. It not only checks your own page but any URL.

I checked my competitors for poorly structured sites but none had any major issues. Unfortunately, no easy targets on the Infrared Thermometer SERP to make up ground with on page optimization.

Bolstering Content Generation

Now is the part where we write the article (we won’t actually be writing an Infrared Thermometer article for our SEMrush review. It’s just an example!)

Writing the content is, of course, mainly on you.

But SEMrush does have a few tools that can help.

Three in particular:

First, a new beta tool called SEO Content Template actually analyzes the top 10 Google results for insights. The stats include things like word count, presence of video, and readability score of the top 10. Now you can model what has worked for others in your own content.

semrush-content-template
SEO Content Template analyzes the content of the top 10 Google results for trends

Also, check the “SEO Ideas” section for on-page optimization recommendations like keyword use and readability.

Second, the Pages section shows the most visited articles of competitors or any site. See what works and gets results so you can incorporate those learnings into your own content. The Pages tool is also helpful in researching content ideas and competitive analysis.

semrush-top-pages
The Pages section shows the most visited pages of any site

Third, you should also use keyword suggestions to broaden the reach of your content.

Revisit the keyword tool research from section 1 and find relevant keyword suggestions. Use these as secondary keywords to broaden your keyword reach. The aim is to also rank for the related secondary keywords in addition to your main keyword

Related suggestions can also give you ideas for additional topics to include in your article based on what people are searching for.

Another place to find related keywords is SEOquake. SEOquake actually has two great features for keyword planning: Page Analysis section and Keyword Density . The Keyword Density table shows a count of the most frequent 1, 2, 3, and 4-keyword phrases and where they appear (title, description, etc.)

semrush-seoquake-2
SEOquake keyword density table is great for keyword research

Now that the article is written and optimized, time to publish and promote!

Section 3: Promoting content with SEMrush

Link building: Outreach to publishers

Link building is hard. And tedious. And necessary.

After writing an article it is important to get the word out so that people will actually know it exists. Asking for backlinks from influencers and bloggers can help you get crucial links. Links are proof points that signal to Google people like your content.

Since link building is so hard, a tool to make it any easier is very appreciated.

Unfortunately, most SEO tools in this category, including SEMrush, do NOT have an outreach tool.

So why do we mention it in our SEMrush review?

Because the point of this article is to go through the full journey of conducting SEO and this is part of it.

It would be nice if SEMrush had an outreach link building tool. It could recommend people to reach out to, send emails and tweets, and track all that communication.

An outreach tool is like a stripped-down version of a CRM with email functionality specifically for outreach.

Yes, SEMrush provides backlinks and some social information to help with outreach. But the most you can do is export this into a spreadsheet, CRM or other tool to track.

Here are some backlinks we could leverage for link building for our Infrared Thermometer article:

semrush-backlinks

I understand this is getting a little away from their core but it is worth considering as a feature.

The most known is the standalone outreach tool, Buzzstream. SEO Power suite is one of the few SEO software suites we know about that has a content outreach tool.

Amplify content using social media and sharers

Besides outreach, you will likely post your article on various social media profiles.

But only amateurs stop there. To go the extra mile, you should find out who shared similar articles previously.

The content tool we alluded to above can help you in this. Not only does it tell you the number of social shares, it also tells you who shared it (Twitter only). This will help us know who to reach out to for our Infrared Thermometer article.

Unfortunately, there is no way to export the list of Twitter sharers at this point. Also, they don’t have this information for Facebook or other social channels. But this beta tool is promising.

There is a social media tool in the Projects section which we go over below that can help you track engagement.

Which brings us to our next section…

Section 4: Tracking progress with SEMrush

OK so you wrote the article, published it and promoted it. Next step is tracking results!

Since we can’t track our fictitious article we will use another URL from the front page by Omega.com

Track rankings

Rank tracking shows you what position a page is ranking for in Google. This is an area where SEMrush shines.

A key aspect of SEMrush’s rank tracker, that not all tools have, is providing ALL the keywords you rank for. Otherwise you might never discover some keywords you rank for. Many tools only show analytics on the keywords you provide them (Moz Pro has this limitation).

This is important because if you don’t know you are ranking for a term, you could be missing a big opportunity. For example, move from page 2 to front page with a little effort.

semrush-rank-table

Some main metrics SEMrush provides are:

  • Keywords you (or a competitor) rank for
  • The estimated traffic you will get next month
  • The monetary value of your organic traffic (what you would need to pay in ads to generate similar traffic)

There are strong data visualizations for these.

In the center, a large line graph shows the keywords you rank for and traffic over several months. One nice feature is that it has markers for every major Google update. You can even create custom markers with notes on any important events like. An example could be a marker to show when you launched a new ad campaign. Marking that on the graph would clarify the reason for an uptick in traffic.

semrush-line-graph
Line graph shows traffic over time with markers for Google algorithm changes

Here they show what SERP features are on the results page you are ranking for and which you appear in.

semrush-serp-features

A table shows the keywords you rank for with 13 metrics. If you are a quant nerd, you will love this.

semrush-kw-metrics
SEMrush related keywords table for keyword suggestions

They have the basics: your position, keyword volume, and difficulty. There is a helpful tiny trend graph that shows if it is trending up or down over the last 12 months. The table shows your previous position, your current position and the change.

The table is sorted on the metric “Traffic %.” This shows the percentage of traffic each keyword is sending to your site.

Another section shows New and Lost position changes. This looks for if you entered or exited the top 100 results for a specific keyword. A similar graph shows “Improved and Declined” keyword rankings.

semrush-new-lost
Graph shows new and lost keyword rankings

Check traffic

Next, you want to check how many people read the article and how long they spent on the page.

If you go to Projects then to Organic search traffic, you’ll see your web traffic.

You probably know that this can be found in Google analytics. That is, in fact, where SEMrush is getting the information. So it’s not unique but nice to have in SEMrush if you don’t want to log into Google Analytics for some quick analytics.

semrush-traffic
SEMrush has traffic analytics for your site and competitors

Measure backlinks, shares, and mentions

We have talked a lot about backlinks and shares. To sum up, all the backlink analysis we said you can perform on competitors can also be done for your pages as well.

However, SEMrush will have a more comprehensive link profile for your site than external sites. This is because SEMrush integrates with your Google Search Console. So SEMrush is capturing backlinks from an extra source for you.

semrush-search-console
SEMrush can integrate with Google Search Console

You can find brand mentions in Projects under Brand Monitoring. This is a beta tool that lets you know when it finds your brand (or any other phrase you track) mentioned across the web.

I found this section to be more complete than the backlinks database.

Oddly it found many pages that mention my brand that also backlink to me but the backlinks aren’t shown in the backlink section. It also strangely includes mentions from your own site which should be excluded

You can set email alerts for any new mentions.

And while the social media tool under Projects it not very advanced, you can get information on engagement of your social media post for your new article.

You can also track your articles for shares (and backlinks) in the Content Tool under Projects.

Since we didn’t actually write an Infrared thermometer article we can’t track our progress but I am confident with time we could crack the coveted top 10!

MarTech Wiz Video Review of SEMrush

SEMrush Pricing and Plans: How much does SEMrush Cost?

  • There are 3 SEMrush pricing plans ranging from $99 to $399 per month
  • The $99 pro plan should be sufficient for most entrepreneurs and small businesses. If you are an SEO consultant, agency or larger the Guru or Business pricing plans are better suited.
  • The $99 Pro plan does not have any major restrictions, simply lower limits. You don’t get white labeled reports, some historical data, or API
  • access at the Pro plan. Nothing most SMBs can’t live without.
  • Enterprise and custom plans are also available if you need more flexibility
  • Refund/guarantee: SEMrush has a 7-day Money Back Guarantee

Note: The introductory SEMrush price recently rose from $69 to $99 per month but it is still a good value at the new price and in line with competitors ($69 was a steal).

semrush_pricing
SEMrush pricing

Is there a free trial and/or free plan option?

  • Free plan: You can try some SEMrush tools free even without an account
  • Free trial: Special 14-day free trial available through MarTech Wiz (not on website)
  • Credit card required for free trial? Yes

SEMrush vs. competitors

  • Top Competitors and alternatives in the all-in-on SEO software market include Ahrefs, Majestic, Moz Pro, Serpstat, and SEO Power Suite.
  • SEMrush vs. Ahrefs, Majestic, Moz Pro, Serpstat, and SEO Power Suite coming soon
  • Check out our Ahrefs review and Moz Pro review

Support/Training: How is SEMrush customer service and customer support?

Email support is the only support channel outside of enterprise plans. Our brief experiences have been good with customer support.

Additionally, there is a lot of training information and webinars available from SEMrush on various SEO topics.

SEMrush Details

  • SaaS: yes
  • Open-source: no
  • API: yes
  • Integrations: Google analytics, Google search console, Twitter, Facebook, Google+
  • Location: St. Petersburg, Russia and Trevose, PA, USA
  • Website: www.semrush.com
  • Founders: Oleg Shchegolev and Dmitri Melnikov
  • Founded: 2008
  • Twitter handle: @semrush
  • Employees: 201-500

Conclusion

SEMrush is powerful, frequently updated, and constantly improving.

It has earned its spot among the leaders in the SEO software industry by providing detailed information and novel ways of displaying even the most standard data.

Their promising beta tools show they are constantly building out new features. Areas our SEMrush review found lacking include keyword data (need clickstream data and better semantic keywords) and a bigger backlink database. SEMrush shines when it comes to rank tracking, projects, and historical ad information.

Anyone in the SEO software market should take a serious look at SEMrush.

Next steps:

Try SEMrush for yourself (link to free trial). Track a campaign of your own.

No one in the market for SEO software should not consider SEMrush. It is a leader in the SEO software field and for good reason.

It may not be the best tool for everyone but I would highly recommend taking it for a test drive with a 14-day free trial.

Special 14-day free trial available for MarTech Wiz (not on website, credit card required)

We care deeply about providing accurate and up-to-date information. Please contact us if you think there is an error.

We are grateful to bring you this content free of charge. *If you find the right tool and go on to buy it through our link, we may receive a referral commission at no additional cost to you. This support enables us to keep the site up. Thank you!

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2 thoughts on “SEMrush: The Complete Review (2017)

  1. That was a very in-depth review Stephen.

    Thanks for diving deep. I’ve been using SEMrush for a while but I’m always looking for new ways to utilize it.

    Now off to read your Ahrefs review. Looking forward to the comparison post as I sometimes think about switching over.

    -Jay

    • Glad you enjoyed it! There are a lot of different ways to use it. Dan’s video above gives some great examples. If you have any questions about comparisons shoot me an email and I can try to answer.

      -Stephen

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