Starting $108.33 monthly
Semrush is a comprehensive digital marketing software suite that offers a wide range of tools for SEO, paid advertising campaigns, social media management, content marketing strategy, and competitive market research aimed at helping businesses improve their online presence and performance.
Semrush is one of the most widely used SEO tools on the market today. With thousands and thousands of users, Semrush offers a robust set of features to help businesses improve their search visibility and online marketing efforts.
In this comprehensive Semrush review, I'll cover everything you need to know about this powerful tool, including:
- An overview of Semrush and its key features
- A detailed look at Semrush's SEO, content marketing, and competitive analysis capabilities
- How to use Semrush for keyword research and rank tracking
- Tips for auditing your site's SEO with Semrush
- An evaluation of Semrush's pricing and value for money
- Alternatives to consider
- Who should use Semrush (and who might be better served by other tools)
I'll also provide plenty of screenshots and step-by-step instructions to help you get the most value from Semrush. Let's dive in!
What is Semrush? A Quick Overview
Founded in 2008, Semrush is an online visibility management platform designed to improve businesses' search engine rankings and online presence.
Semrush offers users insights into their websites as well as those of competitors. You can use Semrush to:
- Find the best keywords to target in search and PPC campaigns
- Track rankings for target keywords over time
- Identify issues with your on-page SEO and the site's technical performance
- Discover link-building opportunities
- Monitor backlinks pointing to your site or competitors' sites
- Analyze competitors' search and social media marketing activities
- Audit your business listings and local SEO presence
- Create reports to share data and track SEO campaigns
In addition to powerful SEO tools, Semrush provides content marketing, social media management, and PPC advertising capabilities.
The Semrush platform is web-based, so there's no software to install. It offers mobile apps for iOS and Android so you can access key data on the go, like rank tracking and social media management.
Now, let's explore some of Semrush's key features and tools in more detail.
SEO Tools in Semrush
Semrush offers a wide range of tools to support your search engine optimization efforts, from keyword research to technical SEO audits. Here are some of the highlights:
1. Keyword Research
In my experience, thorough keyword research is the foundation of any effective SEO strategy. Semrush provides robust keyword tools to help you identify low-competition, high-traffic keywords to target.
The Keyword Magic tool lets you enter a seed keyword and get suggestions for long-tail variations and related keywords. You'll see monthly search volume, keyword difficulty scores, and other metrics to evaluate potential keywords.
Filters allow you to segment keywords by search volume, difficulty, CPC, etc. This helps you zero in on the terms that align best with your goals.
You can also analyze individual keywords to see trends over time, top rankings, keyword questions, and related phrases.
When you find winning keywords, add them to lists in the Keyword Manager to track performance over time.
2. Rank Tracking
Once you've identified target keywords, you need to monitor rankings to see how your optimization efforts are paying off.
It's clear to me that Semrush makes rank tracking easy. Just enter your domain and target keywords. You'll get detailed reports showing rankings for all your terms across devices.
The position tracking tool even shows you the actual search results, not just list positions. This helps you analyze why competitors are outranking you.
You can also track competitors' keyword rankings to get ideas for SEO campaigns. Weekly email reports keep you updated on the latest ranking changes.
3. Site Audit
Technical SEO issues like crawl errors, site speed, and broken links can drag down your rankings. Semrush's site audit tool scans your pages to identify problems.
You get an overall site health score plus a list of specific issues to fix. The audit even suggests solutions and best practices to resolve each SEO problem.
For large sites, you can drill down into subdomains and internal links for deeper analysis. The site audit tool integrates with Google Search Console, so you can easily export errors detected by Google.
4. Backlink Analysis
Semrush lets you research competitors' backlink profiles to find new link-building opportunities. Just enter a domain to see all the sites linking to it, along with metrics like domain authority and traffic.
The backlink comparison tool lets you analyze up to 5 domains side-by-side. You can also check backlinks pointing to specific pages and see a complete history of lost and gained links.
5. Link Building Tools
In addition to backlink research, Semrush provides handy tools to streamline outreach and grow your link profile.
The link-building toolkit identifies high-authority websites and relevant pages to target for backlinks. You can manage outreach within Semrush and even track link prospects using the built-in CRM.
For soliciting backlinks, Semrush integrates with email and even automatically pulls email addresses for website contacts when available. This saves tons of time when prospecting for links.
6. SEO Writing Assistant
Creating optimized content for search takes skill. Semrush's AI-powered writing assistant tool helps guide your efforts.
Just paste an article or blog post draft into the tool. It analyzes your copy and suggests ways to improve SEO, readability, structure, and engagement.
You get specific advice on adding keywords, changing word count, and formatting content to boost rankings. The tool even warns about plagiarized or duplicated content.
Content Marketing Features
In addition to SEO, Semrush provides a suite of content marketing tools to support your broader online marketing efforts. Key features include:
1. Topic Research
Semrush helps you identify topics and keywords that are gaining popularity and align with your business goals. This ensures the content you create resonates with users.
The topic research tool suggests content ideas related to your industry. You can filter ideas by search volume, competitiveness, and search intent to find viable topics to cover.
2. Content Gap Analysis
See how your existing content stacks up against competitors in your space. Content gap analysis reveals areas competitors are covering that your content is missing.
These content gaps represent opportunities to create content that helps you stand apart in search results. Just enter a competitor's domain to get started.
3. Content Marketing Calendar
Semrush lets you plan and schedule social media posts and content across multiple platforms. Its content calendar helps you maintain a consistent publishing cadence and promote content more effectively.
You can collaborate with your team by assigning posts to authors and track performance right within Semrush.
Competitive Analysis in Semrush
In my experience, Semrush excels over other platforms in researching competitors and benchmarking your performance against them. Let's explore some of the key competitive analysis features.
1. Domain Overview
Quickly size up any competitor's overall visibility by entering their domain in the domain overview tool.
You'll see their organic and paid search traffic, top ranking keywords, backlinks, geographic traffic breakdown, and more. Historical snapshots help you identify trends.
2. Keyword Gaps
See how your keyword rankings stack up against competitors side-by-side. The keyword gap tool highlights areas where competitors outperform you for valuable search terms.
You can export keyword gaps directly to PDF or CSV to share reports with stakeholders. Use these insights to guide your targeting and SEO efforts.
3. PPC Intelligence
In addition to organic search, Semrush provides valuable pay-per-click advertising insights based on competitors' Google Ads history.
You can analyze competitors' current and past PPC campaigns to uncover profitable keywords and top-converting ads you may want to model for your PPC marketing.
4. Backlink Comparison
As discussed above, Semrush makes it easy to analyze competitors' backlink profiles and identify new link-building opportunities.
The backlink intersection tool shows you sites that link to a competitor but not your site so you can focus your outreach accordingly.
Local SEO Tools
For businesses competing for local search traffic, Semrush offers plenty of location-based SEO capabilities.
You can track local pack rankings for target keywords by adding a city or zip code to your rank-tracking project. This helps you monitor progress ranking in Google's 3-pack local listings.
The local SEO toolkit helps you verify and optimize Google My Business, Apple Maps, and Bing local listings. You can also analyze reviews and feedback for insights to improve local reputation.
Social Media Tools
Semrush integrates with leading social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google Business Profile.
When connected to your social media platform, you can monitor and manage your social media calendar, post activity, and assess social performance metrics.
Social media integration benefits businesses with a more casual approach to social media marketing. It might not be the best fit for businesses with a heavy presence on social media or deep into social media marketing.
How Semrush Helps With Keyword Research?
Now that I've covered the breadth of features Semrush offers, let's drill into how you can leverage this tool specifically for keyword research.
Follow these steps to extract maximum value from Semrush for SEO keyword analysis and planning:
1. Enter a Seed Keyword
Start your keyword research by entering a relevant "seed" keyword that represents your business or desired target area.
For example, if you run a gym, you might enter broad terms like "fitness" or "gym." This gives Semrush a starting point for generating keyword ideas.
2. Review Keyword Overview Report
After entering your seed keyword, Semrush will populate an overview report with key metrics, including:
- Monthly search volume - How often people search for this term each month
- Keyword difficulty - Semrush's 0-100 score indicates how hard it is to rank for this keyword (higher = more difficult)
- CPC - The cost-per-click bid value for this keyword in Google Ads, indicating commercial intent
- Results on SERP - The number of pages currently competing for the keyword
Review the overview report to get a sense of search popularity and competitiveness around your seed keyword. This helps frame your research.
3. Generate Related Keywords
Now it's time to mine Semrush for additional keyword ideas. The tool will automatically suggest related keywords and popular long-tail variations.
Click "View full report" below the related keywords table - this shows more options.
You'll also get keyword ideas based on questions people are asking about your topic in the "Questions" section.
4. Filter Keywords by Metrics
Use filters to narrow down keyword ideas by search volume, difficulty, CPC, and other attributes. This lets you zero in on viable keywords to target.
Try filtering for keywords with at least 100 monthly searches and under a 30 difficulty score. Download filtered keywords or save them to lists.
5. Analyze Individual Keywords
Click on any keyword for more granular data, including month-by-month search volume trends, top-ranked domains, and SERP analysis.
Use this to evaluate keywords and ensure they align with your goals before targeting them.
6. Organize with Keyword Lists
Add keywords you want to target to lists in Semrush's keyword manager. Here, you can track metrics over time and export keywords for campaigns.
Follow this process to extract hundreds of relevant, high-potential keywords for your next SEO campaign!
Rank Tracking With Semrush
Once you've determined which keywords to target, you need to monitor rankings to gauge your SEO progress. Here are some tips for leveraging Semrush's rank tracker that I've found helpful.
Add Tracking for Your Site
Add your root domain to Semrush and enter your target list of keywords. Set location targeting if you want to track locally.
For large sites, you may want to add tracking for key landing pages rather than just the domain. This provides more granular data.
You can also plug competitors' sites and keywords into Semrush's rank tracker for comparison. See how you stack up and get ideas for improvement.
Set Up Ranking Notifications
Take advantage of Semrush's customizable email alerts. You can get notified when rankings hit certain thresholds (like reaching #1!) or drop for critical keywords.
Review Weekly Rank Reports
Every week, Semrush will email you PDF reports with ranking updates for your tracked keywords across devices. Review these regularly to spot trends.
Analyze Rankings In-Depth
Click on any keyword to understand why competitors are outranking you for that term. Semrush shows you snapshot SERPs so you can analyze what Google is favoring.
Use these granular insights to inform your ongoing optimization efforts.
Auditing Your Site's SEO with Semrush
Running regular SEO site audits helps you catch technical problems that may hurt your real-world rankings in Google.
Here's how to use Semrush to audit your on-page SEO and site performance:
Run the Site Audit Tool
Add your website to Semrush as a project. Then, navigate to the site audit tool under the projects menu.
Choose your desired settings, like the number of pages to crawl, and select any site portions you want to exclude. Then, run the audit.
Review Your Site Health Score
Once complete, your Semrush site audit will generate an overall site health score from 1-100. This benchmark helps quantify the current state of your technical SEO.
Analyze Specific Issues
Next, review the list of specific issues and errors flagged during your site audit. Errors are ranked by priority, with fixes estimated for each.
Expand each item to understand the problems uncovered and Semrush's recommended solutions.
One thing I've found to be one the most powerful parts of Semrush's site audit is the ability to export flagged issues directly to tools like Google Search Console for fixing.
You can also export site audit tasks to project management apps like Asana, Jira, Trello, and more using Zapier integration. This streamlines follow-up.
Run Regular Audits
Schedule monthly or quarterly site audits in Semrush to stay on top of technical SEO. This ensures new issues that crop up get addressed before they substantially impact rankings.
Semrush Pricing Plans and Value - Which One Should You Choose?
Semrush offers several pricing plans to meet different needs and budgets:
Keywords to track
Results per report
Reports per day
Price / month
Semrush Pro Package is best for:
- Newbies: Individuals just starting with digital marketing can significantly benefit from the tools provided at this price point.
The package covers the essentials like keyword research and website audits, making it easier for newcomers to familiarize themselves with SEO and PPC strategies.
- Small Teams: With the capacity for 5 projects and 500 tracked keywords, this plan suits small marketing teams that handle a limited number of campaigns or businesses.
The range of tools available can cater to various aspects of a marketing strategy without overwhelming team members.
Semrush Guru package is best for:
- Agencies: The Guru is broader than the Pro package, making it ideal for marketing agencies managing multiple clients' projects.
The plan can handle 15 projects, enabling agencies to monitor and optimize campaigns for a diverse clientele.
- Mid-sized Businesses: Medium-sized enterprises with a substantial online presence and more expansive marketing can benefit from the Semrush Guru package.
It offers in-depth keyword tracking and reporting, making it suitable for businesses looking to grow their online reach.
Semrush Business package is best for:
- Large Agencies: This plan is ideal for big marketing agencies dealing with many clients and campaigns.
It allows you to manage up to 40 projects, ensuring large agencies can cater to various clients without constraints.
- Enterprises: Big corporations with complex online marketing strategies and operations can leverage this plan's extensive capabilities.
How Can I Save on My Semrush Subscription?
Semrush costs can quickly stack up, especially when considering the cheapest plan for $127.95 per month.
However, you can save up to 17% by signing up for the annual plan.
The table below compares monthly and annual plans, highlighting how much you can save.
Signup here for Semrush annual plan and save.
Overall, Semrush offers excellent value for money considering the breadth of features included, in my opinion. Competing tools like Ahrefs, Moz, and SpyFu often charge more for access to the same robust SEO, content, and competitive analysis capabilities.
However, there are some limitations in Semrush's pricing to be aware of:
- Only one user account is included per plan (extras cost $45-$100 per month)
- Some advanced features like Semrush Trends require add-ons
The free trial is helpful for testing Semrush before committing. But, small businesses may find the lowest-paid plan still too costly.
For agencies and enterprises, Semrush merits consideration for its comprehensive feature set. But carefully evaluate your needs - you may not require all of Semrush's robust tools if your focus is narrow.
One of Semrush's advantages is its wide range of integrations with other popular marketing and SEO tools.
Key integrations include:
- Google Analytics - Bring in goal and audience data to inform your strategy
- Google Search Console - Streamline fixing technical SEO issues
- Google Ads - Unify PPC and SEO efforts
- Trello - Manage SEO tasks and projects
- Asana - Track SEO to-do's and audits
- Mailchimp - Sync email campaigns with Semrush data
- Zapier - Connect Semrush with 2,000+ other apps
Thanks to its API and Zapier partnership, Semrush plays well with most other marketing technology and SEO solutions. This helps marketers get even more value from the platform.
Who Should Use Semrush?
Semrush can benefit a wide range of users but is likely most valuable for:
The robust project management, reporting, and competitive intelligence features make Semrush an excellent fit for agencies managing SEO for multiple clients.
In-House SEO Teams
For companies focused on organic search as a main channel, Semrush provides in-house SEO pros with a complete visibility toolkit.
The breadth of Semrush's content marketing features makes it suitable for content-focused teams looking to align efforts with SEO.
Semrush provides valuable paid search keyword data to complement its organic search capabilities, which is useful for PPC campaign planning.
Brick-and-mortars benefit from Semrush's local SEO management tools, like GMB optimization and review monitoring.
Product search optimization is crucial for e-commerce. Semrush helps brands optimize content and listings for search across platforms.
However, Semrush may not be the best fit for:
Very Small Businesses
Solopreneurs and very small companies may find Semrush overkill - options like Ubersuggest provide core SEO features at lower price points.
Non-Technical SEO Users
Given its range of technical capabilities, Semrush rewards SEOs with some expertise. Less technical users may find it challenging.
YouTube-focused creators will likely require SEO tools that provide robust video-specific capabilities and insights.
Semrush caters best to medium/enterprise businesses with dedicated marketing resources to leverage its powerful toolset. In my collective understanding, smaller businesses may feel overwhelmed or find the entry pricing too steep.
Semrush Alternatives to Consider
Semrush has many competitors in the SEO software space. Here are some top alternatives to consider:
- Ahrefs - Offers a highly robust crawler plus best-in-class backlink analysis and tracking. It's pricey but with more generous limits than Semrush for entry plans.
- Moz - Long-standing visibility platform with excellent beginner-friendly SEO education. Open-source link index.
- SpyFu - Specializes in competitive PPC intelligence. Easy to use with flexible plans and granular tracking.
- Majestic - Possesses a massive index of backlinks and site metrics perfect for link building.
- Serpstat - Budget-friendly AI-enhanced platform great for SMBs.
Semrush certainly holds its own against the competition and stands out in areas like its site auditing, rank tracking, and link-building tools.
For larger companies committed to organic search, it's a leading choice. Still, it's advisable to evaluate alternatives that may better fit your needs and budget.
How Does Semrush Compare to Its Alternatives?
As I mentioned, Semrush isn't the only SEO tool I have used. Before I wind up this review, I'd like to compare it against three tools — Ubersuggest, Ahrefs, and Moz.
Semrush Vs. Ubersuggest
Semrush and Ubersuggest are useful SEO tools, but they serve different needs:
- Semrush is a robust, fully-featured SEO suite, while Ubersuggest is a more limited keyword research tool.
- Semrush provides extensive data on keywords, rankings, backlinks, competitors, and more. Ubersuggest solely focuses on keyword research and related metrics.
- Semrush requires monthly paid plans, whereas Ubersuggest has a free basic plan with the option to upgrade.
- Semrush has more powerful ranking and position-tracking capabilities, while Ubersuggest offers limited rank tracking.
- Semrush offers competitor analysis features, audits, and other tools that Ubersuggest lacks.
- Ubersuggest provides quick keyword suggestions and search volume estimates. Its simple interface makes generating keyword ideas fast.
- Semrush has more filters, controls, and options for fine-tuning keyword research. It also offers more accurate search volume data.
- Semrush provides complete SEO, PPC, content marketing solutions, and more. Ubersuggest is mainly limited to keyword research.
Semrush is better for serious SEO management due to its comprehensive feature set. Ubersuggest works well as a supplementary, quick keyword research tool for generating initial ideas.
For in-depth daily SEO use and analysis, Semrush is more suitable compared to the free, basic capabilities of Ubersuggest. But Ubersuggest can be a good starting point before using Semrush for robust data and reporting.
Semrush Vs. Ahrefs
Semrush and Ahrefs are two of the top SEO and competitor analysis tools on the market. While they have some similarities in core features, there are some key differences between them:
- Ahrefs tends to have a larger backlink database, providing more comprehensive backlink analysis and tracking. It also offers more advanced link-building tools to help with outreach and gaining backlinks.
Semrush's backlink capabilities are solid, but Ahrefs excels here.
- Semrush has more extensive organic keyword tracking and ranking capabilities, with unique features like its Keyword Difficulty Score. It also includes more varied keyword research filters. Ahrefs still offers robust keyword research tools, but Semrush edges them out.
- Ahrefs provides a little more actionable SEO advice for content and SEO audits, whereas Semrush focuses more on identifying issues. Semrush's audits are still very useful, though.
- Ahrefs pricing starts a little lower but scales higher for enterprise-level plans. Semrush has higher starting prices, but its mid-tier plan unlocks most core features.
- Regarding UI and ease of use, Semrush has a slight edge with its well-designed dashboard and intuitive workflow.
Overall, Ahrefs may be better for link building, while Semrush is stronger for organic keyword and competitor research. For most small to medium sites, Semrush provides tremendous value and is likely the better choice over Ahrefs for comprehensive SEO management.
Semrush Vs. Moz
Semrush and Moz are both powerful SEO platforms, but with some notable differences:
- Moz offers more robust link analysis tools, including link intersection and page authority metrics. Semrush has good backlink capabilities, but Moz is widely considered better for link building.
- For keyword research, Semrush has greater keyword volume accuracy and additional filters for country and language targeting. Moz still provides excellent keyword exploration tools.
- Semrush provides more competitor analysis features for researching competitors' organic and paid efforts.
- Moz's site crawler and page-level optimization suggestions make its SEO audits more actionable. Semrush audits focus on identifying issues.
- Moz has a larger focus on community with its Moz Academy educational content and Q&A forums.
- Semrush offers integrated PPC, social media, and content marketing tools that Moz lacks. It provides an end-to-end marketing suite.
- Moz's pricing starts lower but scales higher for larger sites. Semrush has higher starting prices, but its plans include more features.
Moz excels at link analysis and actionable SEO suggestions, while Semrush provides unparalleled keyword and competitor research. Moz may be better for do-it-yourself SEOs, while Semrush gives larger visibility into the competition.
Considering their free trials can help determine which platform better matches one's needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Semrush Be Trusted?
Yes. The platform has built a strong reputation over the years space thanks to the following factors:
- Data Accuracy: Semrush has an extensive database and reasonably accurate data. While no tool can claim to be 100% accurate, Semrush is known for its data reliability.
- Features and Updates: Semrush offers tools and features that are consistently updated and expanded based on user feedback and industry shifts.
- Recommendations by Industry Professionals: Many industry and digital marketing professionals recommend Semrush, further validating its trustworthiness.
Semrush has an impressive rating of 4.5 out of 5 on G2, signaling the platform's reliability and customer trust.
What's the Difference Between Semrush and Ahrefs?
While both are leading SEO tools, Ahrefs offers more comprehensive backlink data, while Semrush provides superior rank tracking and site auditing capabilities. Ahrefs also indexes more web pages, while Semrush has more extensive keyword data.
Is Semrush Worth the Money?
In my personal judgment, for businesses committed to organic search, Semrush delivers excellent value, given its colossal database and vast set of SEO and visibility tools. However, freelancers and very small businesses may find it overkill or hard to justify the cost.
Review Conclusion: Should You Use Semrush?
In my hands-on review, I found Semrush to be a robust, highly versatile digital marketing platform suitable for enterprises and agencies prioritizing SEO and online visibility.
- Huge database provides access to expansive keyword and competitor data
- Link building and outreach tools facilitate earning backlinks at scale
- Site audit capabilities uncover technical SEO issues with precision
- Rank tracking enables granular monitoring of keyword positions
- Excellent resources for researching and monitoring competitors
- Wide range of additional content marketing and social media features
- Generous limits on reporting within each pricing tier
- Useful integrations with other marketing platforms
- Can feel overwhelming for first-time users, given the extensive feature set
- Only one user license is included on each plan by default
- Core SEO features require adding domains as "projects" within Semrush
- Certain advanced capabilities need add-ons (extra cost)
- No free version beyond a 7-day trial
- Not all features offered on the mobile app
For businesses focused squarely on search visibility and looking for an all-in-one toolkit, Semrush delivers immense value, in my opinion. It provides a wealth of data for optimizing pages, monitoring competitors, earning links, and generating search-friendly content.
However, the tool may prove overly extensive for websites just looking for basic SEO guidance. And sole proprietors may find pricing prohibitive. Consider whether the Semrush platform aligns with your needs and capabilities for maximum ROI.
Overall, though, Semrush remains a highly recommended platform for enterprise SEO. Its tremendous breadth of features and versatile tools merit consideration for brands invested in organic search.