Competitive research is a critical part of digital marketing. Competition is cut-throat, and benchmarking growth and performance against rivals is considered one of the most important factors that contribute to marketing success.
Strategic research to gauge the competing marketer’s engagement, understanding the cause of their success, and using insights about tactics and patterns to boost leads and sales are the only tactics to succeed in the era of dynamic marketing.
In our analysis of SEMRush, we find that it offers an entire workflow for carrying out professional SEO, including tracking and backlink audits.
We will go over all of the toolkit’s features, and our extensive assessment will help you find out if it is worth your money.
What Is SEMRush?
SEMRush is a complete marketing and competitive intelligence tool that enables users to get a clear picture of competing marketers’ budgets, targeted keywords, GDN strategies, and more.
You can gauge keyword difficulty, find high-intent, low-competition keywords, and even compare your domain with your competitor’s domain side-by-side – tracking common and unique keywords and gaining insights via visualized data as you do it.
The CPC maps, SEO writing assistant, and the topic research tool aid in content planning and also help perform a content gap analysis.
SEMRush can help schedule and automate posts, track social media growth, monitor brand reputation, gain organic traffic insights, and help create effective ads.
At first glance, the tools offerings are super impressive. Let us see the tool in action.
Analyzing SEMRush, we found that robust keyword research features are one of the things that make SEMRush super desirable. The toolkit offers several tools that can help you target the right keywords.
Keyword Magic Tool
The tool has a complex look and feels to it, with a lot of functions that you will need to get accustomed to. However, the tool is not very difficult to use.
You start by entering the seed keyword into the tool’s search bar. It will fetch results that you will see in two tables – the main table on the right and the group table on the left.
The main table lists all the related keywords and some metrics. The group table gives you an overview of all the topics related to your keyword. For example, for the keyword “buy books,” you will see topics like “online” and “kindle.”
You can sort the groups by the number of keywords in the group. You can also sort the groups by the amount of search volume they get.
In addition to sorting, you can also filter results in multiple ways using the “Broad Match,” “Phrase Match,” “Exact Match,” and the “Related” tabs. You can also fine-tune your search by using the “Advanced Filters” tab.
Further, you can use subgroups and dive deeper into the niche. These sections should help you find the exact low-difficultly, high search volume keywords that can boost engagement and sales.
The Overview tool enables you to get a comprehensive summary of a given keyword’s metrics quickly.
When you enter a keyword, you will see an overview of the volume, keyword difficultly, CPC, competition, trends, and SERP results and trends of the keyword.
You will also see a “PDF” button on the top right, which you can use to download a copy of the report.
Scrolling down, you will see another section consisting of the keyword variations, the questions most asked relating to the keyword, and related keywords.
In the third section of the tool’s page, you will find the comprehensive SERP Analysis of the keyword, including URLs, reference domains, backlinks, search traffic, and also URL keywords.
Toward the end of the page, two small sections will give you details about the top PLA copies for the keyword and also the keyword’s ad history.
Keyword Gap Tool
You will find the Keyword Gap Tool under the Domain Analytics tab in the SEMRush Dashboard.
The tool enables you to get a side-by-side comparison between the keyword profiles of your competitors. All you will need to do is enter their domains and select what type of keyword ranking you want to analyze.
The tool will supply a report that shows you all the top opportunities for each site, the common words shared by the sites, the total keyword overlap, and much more.
Data can come in super handy when planning an SEO campaign since you get a clear picture of where the best marketing opportunities lie in your niche.
Features like comparing mobile and desktop keywords and the ability to see unique keywords that you are not ranking for (that your competitors are) give you a more in-depth insight into your niche’s untapped marketing potential.
Research for SEO and PPC
The Organic Research Tool enables you to find the most relevant keywords for your niche. You can analyze Google’s top 100 website rankings, check which keywords attract the most clicks, and find out who your organic competitors are.
The Overview Report gives you a complete picture of a given domain’s keyword usage and traffic distribution across desktop and mobile devices.
You can look at a domain’s Positions Report and Position Changes Report to find the most usable keywords from the domain and track the domain’s ranking, respectively.
The Organic Research Tool offers a host of additional reports that supply further insights into your competitors’ ranking tactics.
Ranking and Position Tracker
You will find the Position Tracker tool under the Projects tab on the SEMRush Dashboard.
In our analysis of SEMRush, the Position Tracker tool is one of the most useful tools the toolkit offers. It’s a multi-faceted tool that lets you track your website’s ranking for specific target keywords in Google’s top 100 results – both organic and paid.
Post setup, data is updated every day, giving you a real-time report of how well your optimizations efforts are working.
You can also track your competitor’s keyword rankings and make a side-by-side comparison of the data.
The tool also allows you to filter the tracking down to specific locations, which can be very useful if you’re looking to target customers in a particular city.
Paid Traffic Research
The Advertising Research tool enables you to delve deeply into a competitor’s paid search strategies, which can, in turn, help you improve your own PPC campaign.
The tool will give you a good idea of how your competitor’s ad spend changes throughout the year and which keywords the competitor bids on the most.
Studying your competitors’ backlink profiles and comparing multiple domains side-by-side is made easy with SEMRush’s Backlink Analytics tool.
The advanced sorting and filtering features make for deep link analysis. The quick comparison feature coupled with the referring domain, IP and anchor text analysis ensures full analysis of links.
Examining SEMRush, we found that it gives you a host of domain level analysis features.
The Domain Overview feature gives you access to an overview of metrics about a domain. You can analyze the domain’s overall search engine presence, the number of backlinks, and the estimated traffic (both paid and organic).
You also get insights about the website’s top keywords, organic positions, and position changes.
You can use Domain Overview to check the competition’s stats; however, looking into your own domain using the tool can also provide you with insights and help you find what your website lacks to rank.
Another useful domain level analysis tool is the Site Audit tool. It checks for over 120 website issues – from surface-level issues like broken links to technical problems like HTTPS implementations.
You can get your hands on SEMRush by getting one of their four plans: Pro, Guru, Business, and Enterprise.
The Pro plan is right for marketing on a budget – regardless of if you’re a freelancer or a startup. You must keep in mind that you will not be able to access historical data and product listing ads when running a domain and keyword analytics with this plan.
The Pro plan costs $99.95/month, but you can get a 16% discount if you get the annual plan and pay upfront.
The Guru plan is right for small and medium-sized businesses and growing marketing agencies. It comes in at $199.95 a month and gives you access to all of the Pro plans features plus the content marketing platform, branded reports, and historical data.
The $399.95 Business plan is right for businesses with an extensive online presence.
In addition to the Guru plan’s features, you get access to white label reports, the API, extended limits and sharing options, and Google Data Studio integration.
You can get 16% off on both of these plans if you get the annual plan as well.
SEMRush also offers the Enterprise plan, which is a custom solution for business needs. Large businesses get to set custom keyword databases and custom limits according to their requirement. They are charged according to their usage.
For further details about this plan, you must contact SEMRush directly.
SEMRush gives you the flexibility to downgrade or upgrade at any time, and also offer a 7-day money-back guarantee that ensures that if you don’t like their services, you can get your money back no questions asked.
SEMRush and Ahrefs share many similarities, not just in terms of features, but also overall functionality. Ahrefs offers similar plans and is cheaper (albeit only slightly), but getting Ahrefs can save you money in the long run.
Ahrefs offers significantly more powerful analytics features. It not only gives you more accurate reports but also helps measure more metrics.
One unique feature Ahrefs has to offer is its SEO Toolbar add-on available for both Chrome and Firefox. The add-on can help you analyze metrics like search volume and PPC cost. It can even help generate a backlinks profile for all the search results on your browser.
Although the tool has formidable strengths, the biggest pitfall of getting the tool is that it actively forbids users to share accounts. Only one person must use one account, and sharing an account is not allowed regardless of what plan you get.
Therefore, if you run an enterprise, you will need to get individual accounts for all your employees.
Moz Pro also has traits similar to SEMRush, including a comparable package structure and many similar tools.
One advantage of getting Moz Pro is that all of its tools integrate with Page Authority and Domain Authority metrics. Additionally, Moz’s interface is super user-friendly and boasts an overall better appeal compared to the interfaces of both SEMRush and Ahrefs.
Although some of the tool’s features are available for free, most features are locked behind the paywall. Another thing to keep in mind when using Moz Pro is that it will take you a little longer to receive reports compared to SEMRush.
SEMRush Analysis: Best Tips to Use the Tool
One of the more creative ways you can use SEMRush is to capitalize on a brand’s most common misspellings. A lot of times, users misspell words when looking for products – and expert marketers curate content to cater to misspellings.
You can use the Related Keywords tool to identify misspelled keywords that your competition may not know about to boost engagement.
Another fantastic trick is to use the SEMRush Social Media Poster browser add-on to automate posting images and articles from your browser. Consistency is vital in marketing, and the tool can help ensure you never miss a post.
Analyzing SEMRush, we’ve found that the toolkit offers a host of features that can help you find what your competition is doing right, and discover what your website is lacking to top the SERP rankings.
The tool isn’t cheap; however, similar tools aren’t much cheaper and SEMRush’s excellent support and extensive documentations only make it all the more worth the money.
If you’re looking to get a serious edge on the competition and boost your marketing output, you cannot go wrong with SEMRush.