As we all know, it takes a ton of dedication and hard work to drive traffic to your website. 

Fortunately, there are SEO (search engine optimization) tools like SEMrush that can help you accelerate organic search traffic, craft PPC campaigns, and do backlink analysis.

But how exactly will SEMrush help you do this, and more importantly, is this the right SEO tool for you?
Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

In this SEMrush review, we’ll go over what SEMrush is, its key features, limitations, pricing, and some alternatives.

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Let’s get started.

What Is SEMrush?

SEMrush is an SEO and competitor research tool that helps businesses and website owners identify keyword opportunities, analyze backlink profiles and boost their SEO activities. 

What differentiates SEMrush from its competitors is its ability to help you craft entire pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.

On top of that, SEMrush has a wide range of SEO and content marketing features. This way, you develop a robust content strategy and optimize your site for search engines using one app.

SEMrush also helps you:

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We’ll now go through eight of SEMrush’s best features in detail to help you decide if this all-in-one SEO tool is worth the investment.

8 Of SEMrush’s Best Features

Here’s how the SEMrush SEO tool can help you reach the top of the search result page and craft a successful digital marketing strategy:

1. Keyword Research Tools

In general, keyword research helps you determine the following about a specific keyword:

  • How many people are searching for it
  • How difficult it is to rank for it
  • Which of your competitors are already ranking for it
  • Keyword ideas and suggestions

SEMRush’s Keyword Research tool has tons of keyword research features that can help you find low-competition keywords and get insights into key SEO metrics for specific keywords. 

For example, SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool offers you a database with over 20 billion keywords and The Keyword Manager feature analyzes the key metrics for up to 1,000 keywords in one go!

However, we’re only going to focus on their two main keyword research features:

Here’s how these two SEMrush keyword research features can help you:

A. Keyword Overview

This feature basically tells you if a keyword is worth targeting or not. The data is based on search volume, keyword difficulty, and other SERP features.

For example, we typed in “SEMrush review,” into the Keyword Overview search bar, and this is the detailed report we got:

keyword overview feature in semrush
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We got a quick overview of the keyword’s value through key metrics like:

  • Search volume: see how many people in a specific country search for your target keyword monthly.
  • Keyword difficulty: determine how difficult it will be to rank for a specific keyword.
  • CPC: the cost-per-click data for the keyword (how much you pay for each click on one of your pay-per-click ads).
  • Ads: the top ads for the target keyword.
  • Keyword idea: check out which keywords the top 100 ranking articles have in common to get a huge list of keyword idea variations, questions with the same keyword, and related keywords.

We could also see which of our competitors were already ranking for it:

serp analysis report in semrush
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B. Keyword Gap

The Keyword Gap feature serves two purposes. 

You can use this keyword research tool to determine your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and get insights into your own.

With this feature, you can compare the keyword profiles of up to five domains. You’ll find common keywords, profitable keyword opportunities, and keywords you’re missing. The keyword research data you get can help you plan SEO campaigns since you get insight into where the best opportunities lie in your niche.

On top of that, you can identify which keywords your competitors are currently ranking for, and have little advertising competition. You can then use this data to create PPC ads with those keywords and potentially drive traffic away from your key competitors.

For example, we wanted to check out the keyword profiles of the SEMrush and a few of its competitors, and this is what popped up:

keyword gap report in semrush
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2. Organic Research

Why search for a strategy when a successful one already exists?

Here are two important things you get from Organic Search:

1. Determine what’s working for your competitors so that you can replicate those strategies.

2. Determine which organic keywords are bringing you the most value.

For example, we typed in one of SEMrush’s competitors, Ahrefs, and this is what we got:

organic search report in semrush
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You can use the above organic search data to determine if a specific domain is performing well.

You can also see a domain’s top organic keywords:

top organic keywords report in semrush
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You can use this data to see which keywords are working for your competitors and replicate those strategies.

And if you type in your own website, you can see which keywords bring you the most volume and traffic and determine areas that need improvement.

Hit the “competitors” tab to get some insight into your competitive landscape.
Here’s the competitive positioning map of SEMrush’s competitors:

competitive positioning map in semrush
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The above maps show you the strongest competitors in a specific market. These are the sites that you should look at when thinking about a strategy to replicate.

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3. PPC Keyword Tool

SEMrush’s PPC features are what makes the tool stand out from its competitors.

But before we get into the details of this feature, let’s first breakdown what PPC is all about:

PPC is an internet marketing tactic that requires PPC marketers to bid on specific keywords to ensure that their ad is placed at the top of the SERP (search engine results page). Once someone clicks on that ad and is sent to the marketer’s page, the marketer will need to pay a fee to that search engine.

SEMrush’s PPC Keyword Tool gives you tons of data, including CPC (cost-per-click) competition, distribution data, live ads, and campaign planning tools.

This data makes it easy for PPC marketers to focus on the most profitable keyword, stay within budget, and manage campaigns.

This feature lets you do some advertising research by taking a look at your competitors’ ad copies. This way, you can get some title tag and description ideas, and craft even better Google ad campaigns.

For example, we set up a PPC campaign for SEMrush with the following keywords:

ppc feature in semrush
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4. Position Tracking

Whether you’re looking to write content, build links, or run an SEO audit, you still need a way to measure the impact of your SEO efforts.

The Position Tracking feature in SEMrush lets you monitor your SERP position to see if your efforts are paying off. 

This feature shows you where your site ranks in Google’s SERP for specific keywords. You can also enter the name of a competitor’s website to see how they’re performing for the same keywords.

For example, if you want to track the ranking progress of Adidas, you’ll get:

position tracking report in semrush
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Now, let’s say you wanted to see where the following competing sites were ranking for a specific  keyword like “Water Sports.” This is the report that’ll pop up:

semrush's position tracking for keyword "water sports"
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Want alerts while on the go?
Simply opt to get notified of changes in your search rankings via email. This way, you can prioritize your work and simultaneously track your progress towards your goals.

weekly update alerts in semrush
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5. Backlink Analysis Tools

The SEMrush SEO tool also has a few features to help you build a robust backlink profile. 

We’ll be covering two of them here:

A. Backlink Audit 

The Backlink Audit is a backlink analysis tool that helps you eliminate toxic backlinks (malicious websites that have links to your site).

Once you connect Google Search Console, you’ll get a list of potentially harmful backlinks, and you can quickly remove them right within the SEMrush SEO tool.

Here’s an example of a backlink audit in SEMrush:

backlink audit in semrush
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Here’s a complete breakdown of the above backlink audit report:

  • Overall toxicity score: a score based on the number of toxic links leading to a site.
  • Domain authority score: a domain’s overall influence on SEO, based on data like the number of referring domains and number of backlinks.
  • Referring domains: the number of active domains that have links to the site being analyzed.
  • Analyzed backlinks: the total number of active backlinks coming from referring domains to the analyzed domain.

B. Link Building

The Link Building Tool helps you build outreach campaigns and backlink profiles from scratch.

For example, we set up a link building campaign by selecting 10 keywords and 10 organic competitors that have backlink profiles that we want to replicate. This is the report we got from the link building tool:

semrush's domain prospects report
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We then switched to the “Prospects” tab to see our list of prospects and their link profiles:

domain prospects report in semrush
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What’s cool about this SEMrush feature is that you can connect your Gmail account to the SEMrush tool to reach out to domain owners and get responses right within the tool. There are also customizable email templates to help you craft effective emails.

Once you’ve set up your campaign, you can keep track of active, broken, list, and rejected backlinks.

semrush's monitored domains report
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6. Competitive Analysis

It takes a lot of time to test out a bunch of SEO strategies to find one that works.

Luckily, SEMrush has competitive analysis features that can help you keep an eye on what’s working for your competitors. This way, you can build on SEO strategies that are already working and leave the hassle behind.

Here are two features that can help you do this:

A. Backlink Gap

This SEMrush feature helps you find backlink building opportunities within three simple steps.

First, enter the URLs of five of your organic competitors and see which referring domains you’ve got in common. For example, we entered SEMrush and four of its organic competitors, and this is the result:

backlink gap report in semrush
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Next, we filtered the list to see which referring domains SEMrush doesn’t have, but their competitors do:

referring domains for semrush's competitors
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Now, you’ve got some insight into your backlink gaps and you’ve got a few domains you can target in your next link building campaign!

B. Traffic Analytics

This feature lets you check out your competitors’ and potential partners’ website traffic.

Here’s the kind of info you can get from Traffic Analytics:

  • Determine up-and-coming players in a specific market.
  • Discover new markets.
  • Keep track of trends.
  • Compare your competitors’ audience with yours.
  • Discover user preferences.
  • Identify the most popular blogs and content topics.

For example, we wanted to check out SEMrush’s Traffic Analytics, and this is what popped up:

traffic analytics report in semrush
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We decided to dive a little deeper into the data you get from this report.

Here, we hit the “Traffic Journey” tab, and this is what we found:

traffic journey report in semrush
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The above graph gives you an in-depth analysis of the top traffic sources sending the most traffic to SEMrush, along with five external domains that visitors most frequently go to after visiting SEMrush. 

Here’s what this data reveals:

  • Your competitors’ business connections and partners
  • Your own potential backlink providers
  • If this specific site is a worthy partner
  • Some channels you can make use of

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7. Site Audit

No matter what your SEO focus is or how big your site is, you need to make sure your site remains healthy.

Fortunately, powerful SEO tools like SEMrush have SEO audit tools that can help you analyze your site’s health.

SEMRush’s Site Audit feature checks the health of your website to identify on-page and technical SEO issues. The feature will also provide you with tips on how to fix these issues. 

Here are the types of technical SEO issues that the Site Audit will pick up:

  • Slow-loading content
  • Duplicate content
  • Broken links
  • SSL problems
  • Crawl errors
  • Missing headers
  • Overused keywords

For example, here’s an example of what a site audit report looks like:

site audit report in semrush
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Here’s a quick breakdown of the above report:

  • Site health score: a score that tracks the number of errors and warnings found during the audit (a percentage between 0%–100%).
  • Top issues: issues based on their priority level and the number of pages with that issue.
  • Thematic reports: dive into specific aspects of a website where common issues are found.
  • Crawled pages: the number of pages checked, broken down into categories like healthy, broken, having issues, redirects, or blocked the crawler.
  • Errors: the most severe issues on your site.
  • Warnings issues with medium severity.
  • Notices: less severe issues that don’t affect your health score.

8. Content Marketing Tools

In addition to the above SEO toolkit features, SEMrush also has a suite of content marketing tools.

SEMrush’s Content Marketing SEO Toolkit helps you do the following:

  • Improve on your existing content plan.
  • Find new content and SEO ideas.
  • Audit content.
  • Help you write better content.

Here are two features we’ll be covering:

A. SEO Content Template

The SEO Content Template is a cool feature in SEMrush’s content marketing toolkit that  helps you create content based on your top 10 ranking rivals in Google. It basically helps you focus on the SEO side of things before you start writing.

You’ll also get recommendations for the copy, target keywords, meta descriptions, content length, and more. The purpose of the Template is to help you replicate content that’s already performing well.

For example, we wanted to get an SEO Template for the keyword “SEMrush review,” and these are the key recommendations we got:

seo content template feature in semrush
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B. SEO Writing Assistant

The SEO Writing Assistant prepares your content for search engines. It makes sure that the text  complies with search engine guidelines and targets the right keywords.

It’s basically like a Grammarly for SEO.

Here’s what it checks while you write:

  • The readability of the content
  • The tone
  • Keyword usage
  • Broken links

For example, we wanted the SEO Writing Assistant to help us craft content that targets the keyword “SEMrush review.” Here, you can see that the Assistant checks the readability, originality, tone, and more:

writing assistant in semrush
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It’s important to note that all tips are based on your top 10 competitors’ content. 

This way, your content will likely emulate those of your competitors.

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How Much Does SEMrush Cost?

Here’s a breakdown of the SEMrush pricing options:

  • Pro ($199.95/month or $99.95/month when paid annually):
    • 10,000 results per report
    • 3,000 reports per day
    • Five projects
    • One target per project
    • And more
  • Guru ($229.95/month or $191.62/month when paid annually):
    • 30,000 results per report
    • 5,000 reports per day
    • 15 projects
    • 10 targets per project
    • And more
  • Business ($449.95/month or $374.95/month when paid annually):
    • 50,000 results per report
    • 10,000 reports per day
    • 40 projects
    • Unlimited targets 
    • And more

The SEMrush tool also offers a few add-ons (at an extra cost):

  • Extra users: starting at an additional $70 per month per user.
  • Competitive intelligence add-on: $200 per month for traffic analytics, a market explorer, and more.
  • Basic local listing management: $20 per month for distributing business information and more.
  • Premium local listing management: $40 per month for everything in the basic plan plus local heat mapping and the ability to respond to customer reviews.

Additionally, you can save 16% if you opt for the annual pricing plan, and there are seven-day free trials in the SEMrush Pro and Guru plans. 

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However, before you sign up for the SEMrush pro account, here are two drawbacks you might want to know about: 

2 Limitations Of Using SEMrush

Here are two limitations of using SEMrush:

1. Limited to one search engine

SEMrush only provides data from one search engine, Google. 

So if you’re looking for an SEO tool that can help you monitor your sites in Yahoo or Bing, SEMrush can’t offer you much.

Some of SEMrush’s key competitors, namely Ahrefs, offer data from more than one search engine. For example, with Ahrefs, you can pull up data for Yahoo, Bing, and more.

2. Plans need add-ons to be fully functional

Every SEMrush pricing option only comes with one user account. 

If you need additional seats, you’ll have to pay $45–$100 extra.

In addition, there are some other features that also require an additional expense ($200/month per user).

These are:

  • Market Explorer
  • Traffic Analytics
  • Competitor Benchmarking
  • Bulk Traffic Analysis
  • Top Pages

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Are these drawbacks making you unsure about going with SEMrush?
Here are three alternatives you could try out:

Some SEMrush Competitors

Below are three SEMrush competitors that you might want to also consider:

1. Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a competitor research and SEO tool with one of the most extensive backlink indexes. 
The difference between Ahrefs and SEMrush is that SEMrush has detailed PPC reports, whereas Ahrefs only offers basic CPC data.

2. Moz 

Moz is an all-in-one SEO toolkit solution that can help you with rank tracking, local SEO research domain analysis, and more.

However, when it comes to SEMrush vs Moz, you should note that Moz isn’t as user-friendly or comprehensive as SEMrush.

3. Serpstat

Serpstat is a SEMrush competitor that can help you do keyword research and keep track of your site’s keyword ranking. On top of that, the software offers a database that includes information on more than 10 geographical regions of Google.

Note that Serpstat is a good alternative to SEMrush if you’re looking for a basic SEO tool without any content and ad features.

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Final Verdict 

SEMrush is an excellent SEO tool for small and medium-sized businesses with a decent budget.

It’s a handy tool if you’ve got a growing business and need to monitor your competitors’ moves.

SEMrush also has a ton of content and ad features alongside comprehensive SEO ones, so if you’re looking for an all-inclusive SEO tool, SEMrush is a good choice.

If you want to make sense of all your keyword data or need someone to help you with your keyword strategy, connect with an SEO expert here at Startup Voyager. We can help you implement your SEO strategy, and boost your site’s organic search traffic and online presence.