When I was asked to do a SEMrush review I was hoping this will be a simple task. I knew already SEMrush is a leader in SEO, SEM, and keyword research but honestly, I did not expect the complexity and deep analysis it offers.
Every SEMrush tool provides extensive information that you can use to improve your services and beat your competition.
What is SEMrush?
SEMrush is an all-in-one tool designed to maintain your website, get your domain overview, fix issues, build backlinks, do keyword research, checking your rank, improving and optimizing your content, finding marketing opportunities, creating and analysing ads, and monetizing your website.
The company started back in 2008 as a small group of SEO and IT specialists. In 12 years they have created the world’s leading research services software for digital marketing that helps other companies to grow their business.
SEMrush Review – what are the “must have” best tools when starting a blog
Before diving into all SEMrush features let’s quickly list the tools you should have if you want to start ranking faster and improve your Authority Score.
#1 Site Audit – to fix issues and warnings
#2 Link Building and Backlink Audit – to build backlinks and analyse them
#3 Social Media Poster – to advertise your blog on all your social media channels
The above are the three startup tools that I used personally to improve my websites.
SEMrush uses some common online marketing abbreviations so before diving into their extensive features let list them below.
AS – Authority Score – most important metrics (0-100)
Com. – (Competition) – a number between 0 and 1.0 – the closest to zero the less competition it is
CPC – Cost Per Click – the higher the better
GDN – Google Display Network
GSC – Google Search Console
PLA – Product Listing Ads
PPC – Pay Per Click
PR – Public Relations
SEM – Search Engine Marketing
SEO – Search Engine Optimisation
SERP – Search Engine Result Pages
SMM – Social Media Marketing
Without further ado, let’s go and see all SEMrush features!
If you don’t have a SEMrush account yet you can register it here for free. I got an exclusive 14 days free trial from SEMrush (normally it is 7 days).
#1 Site Audit
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the first area to look for. Whether you are a new website owner, a developer with many clients or a bigger agency you should look at SEO first.
These days websites, regardless of the platform you install, have issues that are very difficult to discover. Unless you are a web developer guru, you won’t be able to detect all issues without a tool like Site Audit.
When I used SEMrush for the first time, I looked first to Site Audit tools to make sure I don’t have major problems with my website. After I fixed all the issues, I moved to other tools like Link Building Tool, Backlink Audit Tool, Keyword Magic Tool, Social Media Poster and others.
Ignoring your own website audit may cause a negative impact on your google ranking so it is recommended to fix all your issues from the word go.
#2 On Page SEO Checker
SEO, Local SEO, Website Monetization
This tool is a real jewel of SEMrush. It will check every and single page and suggest any improvements you can make.
On-Page SEO Checker will compare your website against the top 10 organic competitors for every keyword you are ranked and then it will suggest strategy ideas, backlink ideas, technical SEO ideas, semantic ideas, content ideas, and user experience ideas.
Once you implement all suggestions you can really outrank your competitors.
#3 Log File Analyser
Last but not least in the SEO category is the Log File Analyser. It is a good bonus tool added by the SEMrush team.
You can download your access file via FTP and load it to SEMrush. Then, SEMrush will do the job and list all the important information you have to know.
From your log files, you can learn how a Google crawler interacts with your website which can help you fix all different issues with your website.
#4 Keyword Overview
Keyword Overview is the first Keyword Research tool you use when thinking of creating a new blog post or adding more specific keywords to the existing posts.
It is the fastest way to check if you have a good chance to rank your target keyword higher than the competition. I normally don’t consider keywords over 70 % difficulty as those are very hard to rank with Google.
Semrush keywords difficulty is categorised as below:
- 0 – 39% – Easy
- 40% – 59% – Possible
- 60% – 80% – Hard
- 80% – 100 % – Very Hard
At the bottom part of Keyword Overview statistics, you can see keyword variations, questions, and related keywords snippets.
Those three options are part of the Keyword Magic Tool, so let’s move on.
#5 Keyword Magic Tool
Keyword Research, Paid Advertising, PPC Keyword Research
This is the place where you check all possible variations from your keyword. SEMrush’s database is huge and contains over 20 billion keywords.
Often, your selected target keyword has hard or very hard keyword difficulty. However, with Keyword Magic Tool you can search for other options and find a good keyword that has a good volume (at least 1000), lower keyword difficulty (less than 60), and good CPC value.
In the example below I typed ‘SEMrush pricing’ keyword. It fulfils all the criteria as it has enough volume, pretty good keyword difficulty, and very good CPC.
Don’t forget you can use any of the keyword manipulation tools like questions, broad match, phrase match, exact match, or related to further search for better keywords.
#6 Organic Research
Keyword Research, Competitor SEO Analysis, Competitor Analysis
Here you can get a complete list of your competitor’s target keywords, explore your organic competitors, find out what specific keywords bring you the most traffic and find better ways of improving your website.
What I like about this tool is the option to show the previous position of your keywords (or competitors). This way you can check if your keywords have improved recently.
An interesting report is Top Pages where you can find traffic percentage and keywords that each page is ranked for.
On the other hand, the Main Organic Competitors report shows all your competitors sorted by competition level. You can simply click on your highest competitors and see their traffic, keywords, and reports to make business decisions.
#7 Keyword Gap
Keyword Research, Competitor SEO Analysis,
PPC Keyword Research
Keyword Gap is a tool to compare specific keywords from up to 5 domains and create some ideas in terms of your SEO strategy.
Once you know your biggest competitors from the Organic Search tool you can compare each keyword that your website is ranked and see how far you are from beating them.
Let’s see what all the tabs mean.
- Shared – all shared keywords between all entered domains
- Missing – your website missing keyword that other domains rank for
- Weak – your keywords that are ranked lower than the competitors
- Strong – your keywords that are stronger than your competitors
- Untapped – keywords that your website don’t have but other compared domains are ranking
- Unique – your ranked keywords that your competitors don’t have
Keyword Gap is a great tool to find a good keyword that your target guest post website is not ranked and offer them to write an article to fill the gap. This way you can back a backlink to your website.
#8 Keyword Manager
Keyword Research, PPC Keyword Research
It is a tool to manage your keywords. Let’s say you found some interesting keywords that your competitors are ranked for. You can create a list and add those keywords.
By doing that you have all the keywords in one place so you can see the changes any time.
#9 Organic Traffic Insides
This is the place to see how your website performs over time. This tool will help you to show potential keywords that can boost your ranking.
Once you connect your Google Search Console you will also be able to see keywords that you have not provided so you can add them to improve your ranking.
#10 Listing Management
Local SEO tools will get your website known by the world, boost your traffic, get your customers and track your growth.
Listing management is a super useful tool when your websites represent a real, physical business.
First, you need to provide SEMrush with your business details.
Then, you can get your business published to main directories like Google, Yelp, Facebook, Alexa, etc. The tool is available in the US, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Australia.
On top of it, you can also upload your pictures and videos.
By setting up Listing Management you can monitor your business reputation and stay updated with your current rating.
After a while, you will be able to check out your customers’ reviews in a nice, graphical format.
#11 Position Tracking
Local SEO, Rank Tracking
In the Position Tracking tool you add all your main keywords and see how google ranks them over time. The way I use it is to get a list of my top keywords from every post, add them to position tracking tools and see the progress over time.
Below are all the monitoring options you can do with Position Tracking.
- Ranking Distribution
- Landing Pages
- Competitor Discovery
- Devices and Locations
- Featured Snippets
It is a very useful tool for analysing all new posts you have created. By doing that you can make some changes and get your post higher in ranking.
#12 Social Media Tracking
Local SEO, Competitor Analysis, Competitor PR Monitoring
There are many tools on the internet to schedule your posts on different social media networks. However, what they do, they mostly only create these posts on a scheduled basis and that’s all.
The Social Media Tracking tool will not only schedule your posts but also gives you full analytics, competition tracking, and ads management.
One of the best options that I found was tracking competition. You simply add your main competitors and see how often and what they post.
Also, you can manage your Facebook ads directly from the tool which is really awesome.
On top of everything, you can see full analytics and use it for monitoring your followers, checking engagement rate, tracking your mentions, and finding out what hashtags provide the best engagement.
This tool helps you to detect any changes in Google’s algorithm. You can use these statistics to compare your project to the rest of Google and use it as an opportunity to out beat your competition.
This is where you check the ranking of best and worst ranked websites. Rank can be used to analyse the performance of different websites, keywords, and traffic costs which can help you to make your website better.
The main features you have to look at are:
- SE Keywords – those are only the best keywords that ranked within the top 10 search results in Google
- SE Traffic – traffic that is triggered by SE Keywords
- Costs – cost comparison for the same amount of traffic if used by Google Ads
- Paid Keywords – number of keywords triggered by ads
- Paid Traffic – traffic that came from ads
#15 Link Building Tool
SEMrush Review – Tip
This is the number one tool when your website is new and you started thinking to build your backlink strategy. But even if you grew your website already and you acquired some backlinks it is very important to keep adding more backlinks from high AS domains.
As you probably know it is not easy for a new site to start ranking in Google. The best approach, apart from your great content, is to create as many high-quality backlinks as possible.
To start, you provide a list of your keywords and main competitors. Link Building will display all possible backlink domains that you can approach.
Then, you filter and analyse your prospects and move them to an in-progress container.
Once you have your in-progress list ready you have to add a mailbox to your account, so SEMrush can send and read emails on your behalf.
Create a separate mailbox to manage your link-building enquiries.
I recommend creating a template for your guest post enquiries but adjust it slightly for every domain you approach.
Later on, you can monitor the progress of your prospects and re-approach them if necessary.
It is an all-in-one best link-building tool.
#16 Backlink Audit
Backlink Audit lists all your backlinks with important statistics that help you monitor and make decisions with your backlinks.
The most important one is the toxicity score which has to be monitored regularly. You can decide if a backlink can be trusted, so you can either place it on a whitelist or disavow it.
You can also see newly acquired and lost links.
#17 Backlink Analytics
Link Building, Competitor SEO Analysis
It is an all-in-one tool to collect and analyze any website’s backlinks
You can search backlinks by domain and learn about your competitors. Simply check what websites they use for backlinks, analyse them, approach them and write better content. It is as simple as that.
In summary, Backlink Analytics has the below features:
- Check your portfolio changes
- Find new opportunities
- Filter search results
- Check domain power
- Do a deep link analysis
- Get crucial backlink information
- Understand referring domain
- Check backlink types
- Find out your backlink geographical location
#18 Backlink Gap
Link Building, Competitor SEO Analysis
It is the best tool to discover your backlink opportunities. You can simply compare domains, find out the gaps and use them to your advantage.
Backlink Gap is especially useful when you know your closest competition and you want to find opportunities to add more similar backlinks than your competitors have already.
#19 Bulk Analysis
Similar to Backlink Analysis it performs an analysis on multiple domains.
As a result, you get a list of domains with AS score, backlinks number, and domains.
When you further drill down you see backlink types like follow/Nofollow, Text, Image, Form, or Frame.
Bulk Analysis can be used to find backlink opportunities by analysing many domains.
#20 My Reports
Competitor SEO Analysis
If you perform similar actions in SEMrush every time you use it, is better to have a report that does what you want.
SEMrush team has created an amazing set of predefined reports that you can start using immediately. That is not everything though.
You can also create any custom report by simply dropping required metrics or statistics to the empty canvas.
Don’t forget you also can automate your reports by sending them on a regular basis via pdf or email.
#21 Topic Research
Content, Content Creation and Distribution
Topic Research is part of the Content Marketing group. This set of tools help to analyse your content and make suggestions for any improvements.
The first thing you do is to provide your audience topic. In my case it was a “trip around Australia” and it brought me tons of results to have a look.
As you see in the picture in green the top result indicates a high resonance with an audience of 87 backlinks. This is an indicator this topic is hot and it would be possible to get a backlink or write an article.
In general, the Topic Research tool can:
- Find you popular topics
- Find you best headlines
- Find you best questions people ask
- Perform content gap analysis
#22 Marketing Calendar
As it says it is a tool to collaborate with your colleagues. By creating campaigns and activities you can monitor their progress and check if it aligns with your editorial activities.
Marketing Calendar acts as a road map in your content strategy for your project management activities.
Inside Marketing Calendar you can also distribute tasks between team members, check the history of changes, set up notifications, and track your campaign and performance.
#23 SEO Content Template
Content, Content Optimization
Once you provide a keyword, SEMrush will check against your top 10 competitors and prepare a brief template for optimized content that you can use for your post.
I used “best learn piano apps” and I got the below results.
It is an extremely useful set of suggestions that you can immediately use to improve your articles. The moment I discovered this tool I used it for all my posts and after some time they were ranking much better.
#24 SEO Writing Assistant
Content, Content Optimization, Website Monetization
SEO Writing Assistant is your best friend when writing a new post. Once you prepare your post content in e.g. Google Docs you can pass it in the tool and SEMrush will analyse your content against your top 10 best competitors.
As a result, SEO Writing Assistant will provide you with a visual graph that represents how close you are to the target.
The tool will automatically optimize your content for user intent and search engines, improve your readability, and maintain the tone of your voice to the required standards.
Finally, it will check your content with Plagiarism Checker. What can I say – it does everything.
#25 Brand Monitoring
Content, Competitor Analysis, Competitor PR Monitoring
This tool can be used if you have your brand established already and you want to find out any opportunity to be ahead.
With Brand Monitoring, you can track your mentions, evaluate your marketing activities, discover link building and promo opportunities.
#26 Post Tracking
Content, Content Marketing Analytics, Competitor PR Monitoring
Post Tracking is best in monitoring your post-performance against social media and the backlink you acquired.
With this tool, you can track social engagement metrics, referral traffic, and keyword rankings.
You can even monitor your articles that were published on third-party websites. By doing that you can monitor your metrics on a daily basis.
#27 Content Audit
Content, Content Marketing Analytics
Content Audit will automatically analyse all your pages, posts, folders, and subfolders and provide you with all statistics that will help you to keep your content up to date.
You can combine SEMrush and Google Analytics data to have everything in one place. By doing that, you can find all weaknesses in your content, get suggestions for improvements and keep track of the target pages and metrics.
#28 Content Marketplace
Content Creation and Distribution
SEMrush offers a completely separate tool in case you want to leave post writing to professionals. It is called Contact Marketplace and it is set under the SEMrush umbrella.
To access the tool you have to pay a small subscription fee but Content Marketplace offers a lot and is worth the money. Remember that once you launch your blog – I mean lunch means you have a fully designed website and at least 10 high-quality posts – you have to focus more on promoting your blog as otherwise, nobody will see your content.
In Content Marketplace you just feel the form like below and then you wait for your post to be done. I think it is worth checking it, as outsourcing your content can really boost your website.
#29 Social Media Poster
Content Creation and Distribution, Social Media Management
In the Social Media Poster, you can design, create and schedule your post to all major social media networks. At present, you can post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google My Business.
Inside the tool you have the following features:
- Calendar – here you can view past and future posts
- Queue – list of scheduled posts
- Posts – lists of all posts (click to see how the post look like)
- Analytics – all statistics for your posts
- Content Ideas – here you provide your competition feed and you will be listed with some content ideas
There are many tools on the market to prepare and schedule your posts. With SEMrush, the Social Media Poster is included in the price.
So, why use 5 to 10 other tools to manage your website. You can really get lost with all these logins. In SEMrush you do all your work in one place.
#30 Traffic Analytics
Competitor Analysis, Market Analysis
Market Research is an essential part of a successful blogging business. You have to check your rivals and analyse their website traffic and marketing strategy. Also, you have to look into their SEO, ads, content, PR, and social media presence. The good thing again is that you can do everything within SEMrush.
Traffic Analytics is a tool you must use, at least from time to time. You can analyse your website or your competition. It will provide you with all statistics you need to know about your website performance.
With Traffic Analytics you can:
- Analyse your/competitor website performance
- Set benchmarks
- Get marketing insights
- Analyse traffic sources
- Monitor trends
- Reveal website audience
- Determine products and services on offer by your competitors
- Identify most popular blogs and topics
Traffic Analysis is a really comprehensive tool without which you would know how your website is performing.
#31 Advertising Research
Competitor Analysis, Paid Advertising
The main purpose of Advertising Research is to analyse your competitors’ ads, paid searches to see what they use. By doing that you can prepare your own PPC campaign and bring more clicks and money to your website.
Let’s list quickly what this tool offers.
Current State – who is spending money in your niche and see what traffic is being brought to your competitors’ advertised websites.
Seasonality – check ad spending throughout the year so you can use these figures to distribute your budget wisely
Keywords – observe which keywords are most valuable
Subdomains – check what subdomains your competitors are directing their paid traffic
Live ad example – see your competitors ads to make sure when you prepare one is better than theirs
There are perhaps a few more features but feel free to discover them on your own.
#31 Market Explorer
SEMrush has introduced the Growth Quadrant which can be used to find leaders, established domains, game changers, and niche players. Also, in the growth quadrant, you can see how the players grow and assess your changes to introduce a new market.
This useful tool can be used by someone who has an understanding of digital marketing and data analytics. It is an in-depth tool that can be a changer in your marketing strategy.
#32 Display Advertising
Paid Advertising, Website Monetization
If you want to sneak up on your competitors’ advertising campaign, Display Advertising is the best tool to use.
In Display Advertising you can:
- View competitors’ ads
- Perform mobile or desktop analysis
- Define your target audience
#33 PLA Advertising
PLA (Product Listing Ad) Advertising is a tool to analyse your competitors’ PLAs, find top advertisers, view keywords that trigger ads.
As this is a product tool, you can find any e-commerce players in your niche and compare them with your strengths and weaknesses. Also, you can analyse what keywords they use and make sure you use the same or similar keywords to create a healthy competition.
On top of it, you can even find the keywords that trigger the ads. It is a full PLA tool to get your products selling to the next level.
#34 PPC Keyword Tool
PPC Keyword Research
With PPC Keyword Tool you can collect and organise the best keywords for your PPC (Pay Per Click) Campaigns.
The keywords can be gathered from many different sources like .csv, .xls, .txt files.
SEMrush organised them so you can move unwanted keywords to the Negative bucket. Remember there is nothing worse than when you compete with the same keywords in one campaign.
Particularly when you manage a big PPC campaign it is easy to have duplicates in your list. PPC Keyword tool will remove any duplicates with just one click.
And the last best feature is to check for cross-group negative keywords which you can do with ease.
#35 CPC Map
PPC Keyword Research, Website Monetization
In the CPC Map tool, you move your efforts to analyse your potential by geographical area.
For instance, you are getting more conversions or selling online products in one state. Then, you create an advertising campaign to target that particular state.
To do that you would use a CPC vs. search volume comparison to see what locations perform better and what locations you can lower your efforts. This way you can distribute your budget accordingly.
#36 Social Media Ads
Social Media Management
Social Media Ads is a recently released feature in SEMrush. A simple goal of this tool is to create and manage Facebook family ads directly from SEMrush.
You will find it in the Social Media Toolkit.
Once you connect your social media accounts you can click on a “Create ad” button to create an ad.
How to save on SEMrush subscription
First, I recommend creating a SEMrush account and starting your trial. This way you can use most of the tools and see if you like them.
After that, the best option to save with a SEMrush subscription is to purchase the annual plan. This way you save 16%.
Let’s summarize this SEMrush Review. In general, SEMrush is a very comprehensive and solid online marketing tool. It offers an extensive set of features that other tools rarely have.
The small downside could be the pricing model, but all professional marketing tools have to cost a bit due to the enormous work the team has to do to bring all the statistics and suggestions.
If you are concerned with your spending budget you can use SEMrush for a few months and see how good an impact it makes on your projects. By doing that you can fix a lot of issues, build backlinks and improve your keywords.
SEMrush is definitely worth trying as the number of tools it offers can really boost your online business. I hope this SEMrush Review helped you to make the right decision.