SEMrush is a tool that’s very well known amongst SEO professionals. The tool allows you to do most of your SEO activities and is used by both smaller companies and larger enterprises. This all-in-one SEO tool provides marketing and online visibility analytics, combined with many industry specific features such as strategic keyword research, data analysis and reports.
That’s because it’s robust and provides access to tons of data for both PPC and SEO research purposes. It’s an invaluable asset in a smart and advanced marketer’s toolbox. And with trends changing so fast, SEMrush can definitely help you stay ahead of the curve.
That being said, let’s explore in depth:
- What SEMrush actually is
- What it isn’t and where it lacks
- How you can make the most out of it
- What to do if you realize the tool is not for you
That last one happens more often than you might suspect. Let’s look at exactly how.
What is the tool best for? What can you do with such a tool?
While SEMrush comes with many features in both their SEO platform and their PPC Advertising platform, the tool has some core functionalities which make it stand out from competitors. Let’s explore them in detail here. With a robust tool like that, you can expect to:
– Understand how your website is performing
Google is becoming more strict on which websites get to rank in the SERP, especially which sites get to rank at the very top of it. There are more and more factors consistently being taken into account by their algorithm. This is why it’s critical that you know where your website is lacking from a technical perspective.
– Do effective keyword research
With SEMrush’s keyword tools you’re able to find new profitable keywords in an instant. This is critical for companies who rely on SEO as their main source of traffic and sales.
– Get a glimpse of how your competitors are performing
SEMrush helps you understand the competitive space in your market. This is great not only for companies who are in generally high-competition industries – but also smaller ones – since it can inform you what aspect to take with your content because there always is competition.
– Find new backlink opportunities
Backlinks are the backbone of SEO. If you have none, Google generally considers your site not trustworthy. That’s because backlinks are used as a metric for authoritativeness by Google – and they more or less give you credibility to appear in the results. For this reason, SEMrush’s backlink tools are critical in your SEO efforts because their powerful platform can help you find new link opportunities.
SEMrush core features
Now, let’s dive into some specific features SEMrush comes with. As with any business, they have a core competence they focus on. And it’s exactly this focus on SEO and Advertising (PPC) that has made them an innovator in the space. Thus, they have come up with many smart features so let’s take a closer look at them:
– Advertising research
SEMrush comes with powerful tools that can aid you in your PPC campaigns research. The core difference between a tool like this and Google Ads Keyword Planner is that SEMrush provides exact keyword data for all the different keywords and does not group them into one main keyword. This is ultimately better for advertisers since they can make correct ROI estimations.
– Display advertising tool
Combined with the keyword research SEMrush allows you to do is a tool that also helps display advertisers to do competitive marketplace research. This helps you find great placements for your display ads. And in turns, this sets the right expectations for what is achievable and the profitability you can get with each of your promotions.
– Backlink management and research
Gaining backlinks is one of the most important practices in SEO. And SEMrush has figured that part out early on. Therefore their tool has been developed to source massive amounts of data from the internet – which sites link to each other and in what way. This database is available for their paid subscribers who can both monitor the links they get – but also find new opportunities for linking to their site.
– Keyword rank tracking and research
What can you use backlinks for if you don’t have keyword strategy? For Google to rank your website, they first need to understand what it’s about – and you can achieve that only with great keyword research. Starting off with the right keywords is critical in SEO and therefore SEMrush’s focus is to provide you with a large and accurate database of such words and phrases. As with their PPC keyword research tools, the main difference here is that SEMrush tries to categorize and break down keyword data so that you can see as accurate search volume distribution as possible – and therefore create your content strategy according to the right expectations.
– Traffic estimations and analysis
With SEMrush’s traffic estimates and analytics you can quickly figure out the direction your online marketing is headed towards. With this, you can predict whether your efforts are bound to pay off or if things are not going the way you want them to. And thus, you can deduct to invest more into SEO or stop working on this marketing channel altogether. With the help of the SEMrush traffic tools you’re also able to make estimates on how many leads you can get from the traffic you’re receiving – which can be a great strategic tool for reporting to management.
– Markets and niche analytics
This tool is especially good for larger companies that are looking to expand in other markets. It also helps you correlate keywords and phrases with Search Volume for your existing keywords and gives you data on how they will perform in other markets. This is an important step in preparing when expanding your company.
SEMrush additional features
Except the unique SEO features listed above SEMrush also comes with many features that are standard for most SEO tools. Such examples are:
- Domain vs Domain Comparison
- SEO Writing Assistant
- Topic Research
- Keyword Ideas Tool
- Reporting Tools
- Charts and Graphs Tools
Discrepancy with SEMrush’s SEO tool functionality
One obvious problem that stands out right away is that SEMrush is not solely an SEO tool. They also focus on advertising and finding data that can be used by people who run pay-per-click campaigns in Google ads.
While this is not a big downside for bigger companies and professionals who work them every day (why not have both, right) – it can also prevent some newer users from learning and using the tool more efficiently. On top of that, the ones out there on a budget still have to pay a flat fee for all the features in any plan – regardless of whether you use them or not.
Are there problems with SEMrush, and if yes, what are they?
One obvious issue that stands out when taking a glance at SEMrush is how usable it is by beginners. Usually, people who make use of such complex tools are more advanced in their understanding of SEO – and therefore know what to look for and what to deduct from the data and findings they see in it. However, many companies decide to try SEO with the existing in-house team of marketers they have – and they are not necessarily specialized in content marketing or SEO. And because of that, when you’re just starting out the tool can be very intimidating. You get presented with tons of data – and you have no idea what to do with it. At the same time, you still have to meet some quota for the estimations and goals you’ve set. And this can be very stressful.
What to do if SEMrush is too complex for you?
Fortunately, there are many alternatives to SEMrush. While the tool is quite robust, it is not all that unique since there are competing tools similar to it. They range from both competitor expert platforms lille Ahrefs and Moz – but especially recently there have been newer tools that are tailored to simplify SEO. Such an alternative platform is for example a tool called Morningscore (learn more about it here), which offers the same and/or very similar features. However, the difference between tools like Morningscore and SEMrush lies in that the former is specifically made with the thought of helping people who aren’t very proficient in SEO. Compared to SEMrush, the Mornigscore SEO tool focuses on teaching users a process of how to work with SEO – and actively guides them in improving their content, websites and rankings.