SEMRush Review

Quick Note: The items in red below are areas that I deemed outstanding or unique.

SEMRush Trial

The biggest disappointment that I noticed is that if you want to do some competition analysis you have to pay an additional $200 per month. (I found out from researching this though that you do receive a ton of information so this ended up not being a big deal after all.) For the lowest pricing tier, you are only allowed 3 projects. This is really disappointing but they have a great idea of emailing your suggestions on how to improve everything that’s worth a lot.

I created my first campaign in SEMRush and all of the data was laid out in front of me but when I wanted to add a few keyword phrases I had great difficulty in finding where to do that. I went to SEO > Organic Research and saw nine of the keyword phrases there but could not see where to add new ones. I ended up Googling how to do it and found one of their help files.

Ummm, can I import an already existing list to do keyword research on? Having trouble finding it. Just found it, it’s not under ‘Keyword Magic Tool’ but under ‘Keyword Difficulty Tool’.

After working with it for a day I was able to find everything. That was probably because I was used to a different SaaS (software as a service).

Out of 451 keyword phrases I had from my list ahrefs returned with 420 and SEMRush returned 364. It seems that you are only allowed to paste in 100 at a time which is fine with me.

Here are the comparison results between three different SaaS services:

I have been a big fan of Moz over the years and by using the Google Search Console data I have found that Moz’s estimate on traffic was actually pretty close and everyone uses their own specific brand of difficulty to rank. You just have to pick one base to use and stick with it instead of mixing and matching data. For consistency from most searched to least, you will see that each one is following the same general numbers.

Keyword PhraseMoz Low
Monthly
Searches
Moz High
Monthly
Searches
ahrefsSEMRushMoz
Difficulty
ahrefs
Difficulty
SEMRush
Difficulty
machine shop near me30,30070,80021,00060,50027954.71
metal fabrication9,30011,5009,60022,200351454.61
metal fabrication near me4,3006,5005,20012,10042857.06
sheet metal fabrication2,9004,3004,8008,100321554.36
metalworking2,9004,3003,1009,900471678.19
fabrication definition2,9004,3003,8008,100492089.93
custom metal fabrication1,7002,9001,9002,90018954.41
steel fabrication1,7002,9002,3009,900301850.75
fabrication shop1,7002,9001,8003,60042273.52
local metal fabricators near me8511,7000430

Dashboard

Domain Analytics

  • Overview
    • Get instant insights into strengths and weaknesses
      of your competitor or prospective customer.
    • My Input: This is a quick overview of everything below. It is always nice to get a quick overview of how you are doing and you are allowed to click on any summary to get detailed information described below.
  • Organic Research
    • Enter a website address to find the strengths and weaknesses of the website.
    • My Input: Despite the fact that you have to pay an additional $300/month for competition analysis you can enter the domain here and come up with a lot of data. One of them is the software’s estimation of organic traffic and pay-per-click traffic. I used a website that I have Google Analytics hooked up to so that I can see how accurate it is. It estimated 917 visits and according to Google Analytics, it was actually 163. I’ve never seen any SaaS software be accurate with this so I was not too concerned about it.
  • Backlinks
    • Find all websites that link to a website that you enter here.
    • My Input: SEMRush says that there are 325 backlinks while Google Search Console reported 350. This is very close to this SaaS software. I’ve seen some thousands off. Anything that you can think of is shown here. The number of recently lost backlinks and where they came from so that you can snag them up for your own website or contact them to claim them back. When they first appeared, when they were last seen, type of backlink (text, image, etc.), follow or no-follow, etc. This SaaS also creates a list of URLs that you can use for the Google Disavow Tool to help the rankings of your customers. Also included is a list of sponsored and UGC backlinks which I have not seen before. You are able to filter the list of backlinks in any way imaginable as well.
  • Advertising Research
    • Find out what type of paid ads a website is using and how effective they are.
    • My Input: Basically this does everything that the SaaS Spyfu does but is included with everything else. You can track your ads, your competitor’s ads, ad copy, how much traffic they received, etc. Basically you can see what works for them and examine their landing pages so that you can apply it to yourself.
  • PLA Research
    • Goes over how well a Google Shopping Ad Campaign works for a website.
    • My Input: I didn’t even realize there were software and SaaS services out there until I came across this. So I typed in an ex-customer that I set up Google Shopping for and there was the data along with copies of the ads and competitors.
  • Display Advertising
    • Analyze the ad texts and banners your competitors are using.
    • My Input: There is a new tool listed here that shows how much money a website can make if it had Google AdSense to it. I have never seen this elsewhere and am not sure how accurate it really is but only the bigger sites seem to have the data.
    • My Input: Pretty much anything that you can think of is displayed here as well. Unfortunately, I could not test it for accuracy since my current client is too small to be displayed here but my ex-clients data does show up. What is shown are the ads, landing pages, how well they are doing, the type of audience targeted, locations and websites where they are displayed, type of device displayed on, etc. There is no estimate of how much they spend or make on the ads like in Spyfu but it does show the traffic.
  • Traffic Analytics
    • Find out where your main rivals invest most of the marketing efforts and adopt their experience in your own marketing strategy.
    • My Input: I again tested it with an existing customer 6,629 sessions are shown in Google Analytics while SEMRush stated 25,900 which is quite a bit off so you would have to use this data as comparison data only when doing competition analysis. The Unique Visits were pretty off too. However, if you are using your own website that you can hook up Google Analytics and Google Search Console it to get more accurate results. I have never known any software or SaaS give accurate numbers in this area except for Nacho Analytics which doesn’t exist anymore. They weren’t accurate either but was closer than anything I have seen.
    • My Input: The bounce rate, pages per visit, duration, traffic by country,  were much closer though.
    • My Input: The percentage of desktop/mobile traffic and traffic sources was further off though.
    • My Input: If you buy the ‘Traffic Analytics’ package for another $200/month you can also get access to traffic sources, top pages, geo-distribution, destination sites, and sub-domains for your competitors.
  • Ranks
    • SEMRush Rank
      • My Input: This portion gives you data on what SEMRush has in its database showing all the traffic info, keywords, paid traffic, etc.
    • Winners and Losers
      • My Input: This portion gives you the best websites to use in SEMRush’s database that also includes if the traffic, paid costs, and the number of keywords went up and down and by how much. This could be useful data if you are thinking of putting up a banner ad on a related website or other marketing ideas.
    • Traffic Rank
      • My Input: This portion gives you the basic information such as traffic, devices used to visit, pages/visit, duration, etc. of the top websites out there in its database.
  • Domain vs. Domain
    • My Input: From here you can compare up to five domains and get any overlapping information such as shared keyword rankings, traffic, etc. to help give you ideas on what to target next for your customer. Pretty impressive stuff! This directs you to Gap Analysis > Keyword Gap
  • Charts
    • My Input: This portion creates charts for you comparing up to five domains with eight different areas to pick from on each domain which helps you see similarities between the domains that you should be aware of.

Keyword Analytics

  • Overview
    • My Input: You type in a keyword phrase and it gives you an overview of how it does. Organic traffic, paid traffic, trending, suggestions, SERP data, etc. with links for more detailed views.
    • My Input: I do a test with each software and SaaS where I will ask it to come up with information for the work ‘knives’. I have found out that some display no information. SEMRush, SEOPowersuite, and Small SEO Tools return no information. This tells me that they are using the same API to collect information.
  • Keyword Magic Tool
    • Research any keyword phrase for SEO and PPC campaigns.
    • My Input: When you type in a keyword phrase here, yes ‘knives’ does work here, you will be given data for related keyword phrases that show you the number of searches, difficulty to rank, trends, SERP data, etc. While thousands of suggestions pop up you can filter them to narrow down the list.
  • Ad History
    • My Input: This little tool allows you to enter a keyword phrase then it will show you some paid ads and how well they did for that particular keyword phrase. ‘Knives’ does not work here, but Facebook advertising does not like that word as well and you cannot do anything there either. This leads me to believe that the API that shows no results is ad marketing based.
  • Keyword Difficulty
    • My Input: This little tool not only returns the difficulty of ranking for this keyword phrase but also gives you an estimate of the traffic you will receive, SERP features, trends, etc. When you click on the keyword phrase it takes you to Keyword Analytics > Overview where you will find out everything about that keyword phase.

Projects

  • My Input: From here you can create or view the projects that give you an overview of everything. This includes the following:
    • Site Audit
      • (A grade of your website health and pages with errors)
    • Position Tracking
      • (Whether or ranks went up or down)
    • On-Page SEO Checker
      • (Here it gives you ideas on what pages to optimize and for what!)
    • Social Media Tracker
      • (Connect this to your social media accounts and all of your data shows up here. DIIB does this quite well.)
    • Social Media Poster
      • (You can schedule and post content across many social media accounts. I set up clients WordPress websites to do this as well. It is nice to see that you can do that from here also.)
    • Brand Monitoring
      • (This scours the internet for mentions of your business name so that you can reply to it. I do this for my clients as ‘Reputation Management’ which is available in Moz and in Google Alerts. Another nice thing to have in your basket instead of jumping from here to there to get things done.)
    • Backlink Audit
      • (This helps you find bad backlinks and add them to Google’s Disavow tool.)
    • Link Building
      • (This SaaS helps find helpful websites that you can get backlinks from and try to find their contact information.)
    • PPC Keyword Tool
      • (This allows you to manage the keywords from your PPC ads and even create Google Ads for your campaigns.)
    • Ad Builder
      • (This helps you create compelling ad texts. Analyze your competitors’ ads, preview your ads and assign the newly created ads to the existing keyword groups.)
    • Organic Traffic Insights
      • (This gives you quick data that when clicked takes you to a more detailed analysis.)
    • Content Analyzer
      • (Oh!, this is a new one! This one has SEMRush track content that you have on other websites.)

Marketing Insights

  • Traffic Analytics
    • Find out where your main rivals invest most of the marketing efforts and adopt their experience in your own marketing strategy.
    • My Input: All the traffic data, overlap, traffic sources, top pages, location, etc. of a competitor’s website is shown here. This makes me wonder what else do they provide with the $200/month for competition analysis?
  • Market Explorer
    • Gain actionable insights into any industry and benchmark yourself against it in a click.
    • My Input: This is in the beta stage but looks like it is doing well. It returns similar websites to what you had entered here along with the demographics of the website visitor which will help you with other marketing campaigns.
  • Traffic Rank
    • My Input: This just gives you the top websites in their database along with their information again as I mentioned earlier under Ranks > Traffic Ranks.

Gap Analysis

  • Keyword Gap
    • Enter up to 5 domains to compare, select keywords and intersection types to get reports.
    • My Input: From here you can compare up to five domains and get any overlapping information such as shared keyword rankings, traffic, etc. to help give you ideas on what to target next for your customer. Pretty impressive stuff! This is the same as Domain Analytics > Domain vs Domain
  • Backlink Gap
    • Enter up to 5 domains to get shared backlinks so you know where to get backlinks for your website.
    • My Input: If you have 5 domains all sharing the same backlinks chances are that you should get these links also. This generates those links for you.
  • Bulk Analysis
    • Enter up to 200 website addresses to get bulk backlinks.

Topic Research

  • Analyze your rivals’ content and get ideas to write winning content.
  • My Input: This is pretty cool! It also lets you know which content has the most backlinks pointing to it, Facebook shares and engagements to let you know what topic is the most popular.

SEO Content Template

  • Enter in a keyword and SEMRush will examine the top 10 sites and they will give you recommendations on your content.
  • My Input: Wow! Enter in a keyword phrase and it supplies you with content ideas that are popular, where to get the backlinks from to point to your new content, what readability score you should target, and recommended text length! It also gives you snippets of how competitors are writing content and give you suggestions for your page title, meta description, h1 tags, and text. Unfortunately, to access this you would have to upgrade to the Guru plan for some options.

SEO Writing Assistant

  • Check if your texts follow our best SEO recommendations. (On-Page Optimization)
  • My Input: This tool is in the beta version as well. With this tool, you can write your article and it will give you scores based upon readability, SEO, originality, and tone of voice. I use a couple of different browser add-ons that help me with this. This is cutting edge stuff right here! This also lets you install an addon for Google docs. Unfortunately, you would have to upgrade to the Guru plan for some options. It also gives you advice on how to make your article better.

Lead Generation

  • Lead Generation Tool
    • Drum up more leads from your agency’s site and increase conversions with their Site Audit widget.
    • My Input: Well, this is interesting. You can add a widget to your website with a short form where people can ask you to audit their website for them. SEMRush takes care of tracking the leads you receive from this widget.
  • Oppty
    • Find Leads Who Need Your Marketing Services.
    • My Input: Oppty is another tool in the beta stage that when you enter in categories of where you would like leads in and a city it will pop up leads for you. I have found that the city would have to be pretty big in order to have any leads show up then after they do show up it would cost to extra to retrieve them. As an example, it produced 5 leads for $35 which I can purchase for half-price for a limited time. Personally, I would rather purchase Mapify360 and do it that way.

Listing Management

  • Examine how your website is listed in online directories.
  • My Input: This is similar to what Moz Local does. I tested it out with mine which I had already done with Moz Local (current cost is $149/year there) and found out that it picked up much more than Moz Local and costs $20/month. The thing that I like about Moz Local is that once you cancel the account your business information stays out there. If you do this with Yext and stop paying they will take your business information off of the websites out there. So what does SEMRush do? So I asked Google to find out and discovered that they partner with Yext and your information does disappear. Too bad, they should have partnered with someone else.

CPC Map

  • Cost-Per-Click analysis by the cost of keywords and hotspots on a map.
  • My Input: Right now it is in the beta stage and is free to use but it sounds like after awhile this one will be an extra charge. This can give you an idea of costs in different regions but I do not see this as something worthy of charging extra for in the future. You get plenty of data that is already included with the subscription of the SaaS.

My Reports

  • Report List
    • Gather all the SEMrush data in one elegant custom PDF report for your clients.
  • Create Custom PDF Report
    • Create custom reports to show to your clients. (Moz and SEO Powersuite also does this)

MANAGEMENT

My Reports

  • The reports you send to your clients organized.

Projects

  • A quick overview of all of your clients.

Lead Generation Tool

  • Drum up more leads from your agency’s site and increase conversions with our Site Audit widget.

Oppty

  • Find Leads Who Need Your Marketing Services.

Marketing Calendar

  • The global visibility of your entire marketing for your team and clients. Help keep track of what to do when.
  • My Input: This allows everyone to be on the same page and to keep everybody organized. You would need to upgrade to the Guru Subscription in order to use this. To me, this is not worth it unless you realize the content examination, ideas, and other things that come with the Guru Subscription will make it worth it.

Notes

  • Information on the latest news from SEMRush and the search engine world.

Out of all of the SaaS (software as a subscription) services I ended up going with SEMRush. At first, I thought I was going to go with Ahrefs but their lack of submitting reports to my clients made it my deciding factor to go with SEMRush. If you are marketing your own website then maybe Ahrefs would work better for you. Here is my review of Ahrefs.

Go ahead and try the free trial below.

SEMRush Trial

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