Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art of improving rankings in Google, Bing, Yandex, Baidu and other like-minded search engines. Whether this is science or art is debatable, but one thing is clear.
If you write quality content and wait for the search engines to rank your website at the top is a scenario of bygone era. Today, you are expected to write context-based content and at the same time follow the rules of the SEO game.
In my experience, though it’s not impossible to be on the first position of SERPs, it cannot continue for long time without proper website design, semantics and schema based changes. For example if you observe the site “toptenreviews.com” and observe the site rankings for product reviews, you can understand the importance of the above words.
Now there are various SEO tools in the market, which will help and guide you to reach your optimization goals. Some SEO philosophers tend to use multiple tools for data gathering and some only a preferred tool. Moz, Raven, HubSpot, SEO Powersuite, Traffic Travis, Market Samurai etc are some of the paid tool which every SEO expert cannot deny help them in their services. One another such tool is SEMRush.
Today we are going to see an in-depth and summarized review of SEMRush, by taking an example of a normal website and creating a campaign.
Money Involved in Buying SemRush
The first question a curious blogger or website owner who is interested in this SEO service will ask about the pricing and plans. This product comes in three varieties and on a subscription model. Just like many good SEO services, this I feel is at a disadvantage for a small-time blogger like me. You need to shell money before you reap the benefits.
If you want to try SemRush, you can do for $79.95 for 1 month period under the PRO membership plan. There is also a recurring PRO plan which is $69.95 per month. But if your website is a bigger one and has lot of potential and want to take the maximum benefit for this tool and if you are a business user, you can try the Guru recurring subscription which costs $149.95 per month.
What do you get with SemRush with Each Plan?
The subscription models as above can mainly be classified as Pro and Guru. With Pro membership you get 10,000 results per report, 3,000 reports per day, API access for 200,000 units, 1 simultaneous session, display advertising research, tracking of 500 keywords and 5 campaigns. Most likely the results are based on the context which you will see later in this tutorial.
For Guru membership, you get 30,000 results per report, 5000 reports per day, 500,000 units of API access, 3 simultaneous sessions, display advertising research, tracking of 1500 keywords, 50 campaigns, branded pdf reports, historical data etc.
The Pro plan is sufficient if you are an individual blogger and your website doesn’t have more than 100 to 500 posts. But if your website crosses thousands of pages with millions of keywords, then the Guru model will suit you. For example if you are running a keyword research query or doing a competitor analysis and the results are more than 10,000 than you need Guru plan.
Reviews on the Web for SemRush
Basically if you observe the reviews for this product on “toptenreviews.com’ this comes in 6th position for comparison of SEO tools. It scores an overall rating of 7.95 out 10 according to this site. Another site “g2crowd.com” gives a rating of 4.5 stars out 5. The pros about this tool is that it’s a good keyword research tool, provides good competitive analysis and has best support team. The cons are its lacking features in link-building, an average report and tracking features and not high overall ranking.
Let’s dive into the inner intricacies of this SEO tool.
How to Begin with SemRush?
First sign-in to the web based service. Now enter a domain, keyword or URL into the search box at the top. For example, I entered an average website called “softreadwrite.com” to see the results of this SEO tool. You can use this tool to get results based on regional databases or geographical location of a search engine. For example if you want results based on google.com or google.de it can be decided and can be refined finer.
The results returned mainly for Google and Bing database. But if you are living in Russia or China and want to get SEO data for Yandex or Baidu, then you are caught on the wrong-foot.
The data produced was related to organic search, paid search, backlinks, display advertising, organic keywords, ads keywords, graph showing organic and paid traffic, top keywords, keyword position distribution, main competitors, competitive positioning map, follow vs nofollow backlinks, referring domains, indexed pages etc.
The results produced took less than 5 seconds. But if you have lot of results, it can take some time. This is one of the reason why the pricing is based on a subscription model, as it has to pay the other network services to get this data.
For the above example website I got 326 total backlinks, SEMRush rank of 2.5M, 271 follow backlinks and 55 nofollow links, 246 text links, 76 image links etc. All this data can be visualized, just looking at the screen. There are 38 keywords which are ranking below 20 in the SERPs.
Different categories for the Results?
On the left-hand side you can see organic research, advertising research, PLA research, display advertising, backlinks, keyword research, additional tools etc. As an example of utilizing these services, I will show walk-you through the different tabs under Organic research. There are 4 labels – positions, position changes, competitors, URL.
How to Get Organic Data?
When I click on keyword positions, I got 37 keywords data which are below the 20 SERP ranking threshold. They are displayed in a spreadsheet format with the title “Organic Search Positions”. In this report you get different data like keyword, position, volume, CPC, URL, traffic percentage, costs %, competitive density of advertisers, results, trend, serp source and last update.
You can sort in ascending or descending order based on any of the variables. If you are targeting Google Adsense revenue, you can sort the keywords based on CPC or traffic. The results were dismaying. All the time I was writing good quality posts, but not doing enough SEO. This is from the fact that that highest CPC I got after sorting was just $0.56.
This is the average price in US dollars, advertisers pay for a user’s click on an ad containing the relevant keyword.
How to Get Competitors Data?
When I clicked on Competitors, I was given that there are 912 organic competitors for my website. The spreadsheet has different columns like competitor domain, competition level, common keywords, search engine keywords, SE traffic, SE traffic price, ads keywords.
Out of this we are interested in common keywords, so that we can target those and out-rank pages from that domain. For example, I found that “zamzar.com” was one of the competitors to my site and there are 13 common keywords. Clicking the link took me to another screen.
Here I found a keyword for which CPC is $0.33 and I’m ranking 14th and ZamZar on 1st position.
How to Find Related Keywords?
When I clicked that particular keyword, I was shown another screen. Here I could see the trend for that keyword, CPC distribution, phrase match report and related keywords report. Here I found a golden keyword “cbr file” which has a traffic of 4400 and CPC of $0.4. Like this if you do well into other competitors data, you can find some more related keywords which are having high traffic and high CPC and low competition.
Additional SEMRush features
There are killer advanced prospects for a SEO blogger like – Advertising Research, PLA Research, Display advertising, Backlinks, Tools, Ranks.
Using the Advertising Research option, you can check on advertising positions for domain name or page, and advertising competitors, Ads texts, potential traffic sellers and display advertising reports for domain name. For example when you click on Competitors label on the left pane, and enter the same example domain name preferred earlier, I found that there were zero adwords competitors for google.com database.
This also coincides with my Adsense earnings data. As I get very less income from this site, it should be true. But when I checked for a competitor site like “zamzar” the result was zero. So I checked for a standard site like “Microsoft.com” and found that there were 43.5K keywords, 351K traffic and $1.4M traffic cost.
It also displayed that there were 18,791 competitors in ads. For example intel.com, zoho.com etc. Also in a spreadsheet format it gave additional details like competition level, common keywords, ads keywords, ads traffic, ads traffic price, seo keywords.
You can also search paid search positions for the different country code databases. For example the above site has paid search for the keyword “calorie counter” and it’s on position number one. It also gives other data volume, cpc, url, traffic %, costs, commission, results, last update etc.
But to my dismay no Microsoft product was found for the above keyword. Since I’m searching from India there may be some discrepancies. Also the results took little time initially, but were fast later.
Using PLA Research you can find the product listing ads positions for different TLD specific databases. There was also a warning message that said this functionality may be limited in near future for PRO subscribers and will work completely on for GURU subscribers.
Using Display advertising, you can research display ads advertisers and display ad publishers, view their ads and landing pages.
Using Backlinks option, you can find the referring domains, referring IPs, indexed pages, backlinks comparison etc. For my website, this showed 326 total backlinks and 12 referring domains, 11 referring IPs. When I check the GWT data, there were 361 backlinks and 72 referring domains. This difference can be due to the disavow tool request I made recently. But anyhow, this tool gives nearby approximation of backlinks.
Using the Tools option, we can find position tracking, keyword difficulty, site audit etc. Then there is the Ranks feature, which gives SEMrush Rank report, winners and losers list. Just as expected we can see that, Wikipedia.org tops the Rank report followed by sites like facebook.com, youtube.com, google.com etc.
Just like organic research, you can do advertising research, if your target is Google Adwords. Using SEMRush you can also find the top advertisers bidding for your keyword, back-link comparison for any 5 of your competitor domains, keyword research etc in a breeze.
The above topics only cover a leaf of the facilities SEMRush offers and help section has lot of video and text tutorial to dwell further. Did you like SEMRush? What is the best feature you liked? Will you try this software? Please let me know in the comments section, the pros and cons of this SEO tool and which features you recommend!!!