SEMrush is a US-based company which provides its software to help users tackle their SEO woes. They enjoy more than 4 million users across the globe. It was started back in 2008, and they are now one of the leaders when it comes to keyword research and SEO tools.
- It is one of the more reliable tools when it comes to data.
- Has a wide range of SEO tools.
- Comes with easy-to-understand metrics.
- Specialized tools for SEO and PPC research.
- Separate sections for keyword research and domain analytics.
- Helps to find possible backlink sources based on content and topic.
- Competitor analysis for backlinks as well as keywords.
- Gives SEO recommendations for writing articles on topics and keywords.
- Give CPC data for states within countries.
- Provides widgets for sites to help collect useful data
- Versatile project management section.
- The abundance of tools may overwhelm some users.
- Data will not always be pin-point accurate.
- A bit on the expensive side.
The Internet has now become the new battleground where all kinds of businesses and groups compete for users and viewers. It is nearly impossible to grow without the internet these days.
Since there are so many competitors trying to achieve the same goal, it is obvious that the internet got crowded pretty fast.
It requires a lot of effort for one to get through all this fierce competition and make them visible on the internet. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is getting importance like never before. It is nearly impossible to rank better on search engines without employing sound SEO strategies.
SEMrush is an SEO tool which assists users in making these sound strategies. It brings in data from various sources to help one judge which course of action will turn out to be more fruitful.
In this review, we will go through all the features of SEMrush and see how they help you become more visible on the internet. Since data if of so much importance in such tools, we will be analyzing data credibility of SEMrush as well.
Most SEO tools come with a feature where they let users compare their domain against their competitors to mark the difference between them. SEMrush also seems to provide a similar function.
It will be interesting to see if they have a tool which can do so efficiently. They also mention of tools which help one create content in tune with all the SEO recommendations. These tools will undergo a more strenuous examination because of such tall claims.
This review will be an exhaustive one, and we hope to improve your knowledge, not just about SEMrush, but about SEO tools and practices in general.
Data sources and their reliability
Keyword research tools are all based on data. Concrete and accurate data acts as the foundation for any useful research tool.
Even if a tool has a lot of advanced features and a fluid interface, it can’t do well until the data is accurate. Nothing can be prioritized more than the accuracy of data in this field.
We all know that Google enjoys the majority of online searches carried out in most parts of the world, and therefore, has the best raw data for keywords.
There was a time when Google used to be open about this information and used to share it. However, they are not so inclusive when it comes to sharing this information anymore.
Google now applies a lot of filters on this raw data and provides it specifically for marketing purposes. There are a lot of keyword research tools in the market, and Google is still one of their primary data sources.
In addition to that, they employ other methods and use other data sources to create their database. It is this method of collection of information and quality of data sources which separate a useful keyword research tool from others.
It would be safe to say that SEMrush enjoys a relatively dominant position when it comes to the hierarchy in this field. They are known to be accurate with their data from the beginning, and they still enjoy that reputation.
One cannot confidently say that SEMrush is accurate with data and metrics at all times, not even SEMrush. They agreed that sometimes their data might vary from actual numbers. However, that is not a frequent scene on this tool.
They are still trusted by a lot of people for SEO related data. Some people complain that volumes shown in SEMrush data are less than actual figures. But we would always prefer a tool which plays a bit safe rather than showing extravagant numbers.
SEMrush has a vast database with a lot of keywords. They rely on clickstream data from various sources to get new data and to refresh existing databases. Clickstream is not absolute, and they process it using machine learning algorithms.
The algorithm gives them estimated volumes, which are then instilled in their existing database.
These methods employed by SEMrush to collect and estimate data seem to be working fine as most of their users are satisfied with the results they are getting.
Start your research your way
SEMrush’s home screen may look intimidating to some people. It contains a side panel which is filled with SEO terms that may be alien for a lot of new users.
Then they have multiple bars where one can add a domain name or a keyword. There is a section to create and continue working on projects. The homepage also features blogs, news, and webinars.
But none of it matters if you have a clear agenda as to what you want to do with this tool. It is as simple as typing in a keyword or a domain name.
If you want to do some keyword research, type the keyword, and hit enter. They allow you to be even more specific with the search by providing you the options to choose the kind of report you want to see.
You can add the keyword in only one search bar, that is, the one present at the top.
Some people may be more interested in analyzing domains. These people can type in the domain name instead of the keyword. You can also enter the domain name in the second search bar. It is made explicitly for looking up domains.
It will allow you to see different specs related to that domain for a particular region. SEMrush provides a lot of options when it comes to choosing a country. This helps one to be as specific as possible.
Some SEO tools allow you to filter results even by states, but none of them provide so many options for countries.
Their homepage may look daunting, but that happens only at the beginning. Once you get used to this tool, things become a lot more fluid, and you will hardly ever encounter any issue while doing keyword research.
The primary task of all SEO tools is to provide data and metrics related to keywords or domains. However, they offer different approaches to users to reach this data.
Some tools emphasize paid and organic side of things and segregate most components under PPC and SEO tabs. Then there are others which will serve you a combination of both and focus on keeping domain analysis and keyword research apart.
SEMrush lets you follow any approach you want. They provide different sections for keyword research and domain analysis. There offer other tabs and tools as well, and we will discuss them in subsequent sections of this review.
There is an option to get tools specific for just one purpose in the panel. You can choose from various options such as SEO toolkit, Advertising toolkit, Content Marketing toolkit, etc. They have a kit for social media management as well, which is very impressive.
In the end, both these methods are necessarily the same and help you dig out more information about anything which interests you. We will focus on keyword and domain research methods instead of going after individual toolkits.
Keyword Analytics: All you need to know about a keyword
Let us start from what makes SEMrush stand out from the rest. As discussed earlier, it is not the keyword research tool, but the data that comes with it, which makes it better than others.
SEMrush has proven to be more accurate when compared to others in the field. One significant evidence of this is the fact that Wordtracker started using SEMrush data.
It happened back in 2013 when Google withdrew Wordtracker’s API access for Adwords. It says a lot about the reliability of data one can expect from SEMrush.
Keyword analytics has been broadly divided into three sections.
When you don’t really know much about a keyword, you can use this section to learn more about it. As the name indicates, you will get a broad overview of the keyword you enter.
But let us first discuss filters available for it. You can choose the country, device, and duration of the data. There are a lot of countries in their filter. It can help one to get very specific and get more accurate results.
For devices, you can get differentiate results for mobile devices and desktops. It will help if you have a site which is more compatible for one kind of device or if you know what type of device your target audience uses.
The duration filter is available for better subscription plans. It allows you to go back in history and see how the keyword was doing back then.
One impressive feature of SEMrush is that it will provide you live data for a lot of attributes. You can see live updates for most of the metrics.
For organic search data, it shows search volume and number of results available for that keyword. This will help you know about the popularity of that keyword. Ideal stats would be one with high volume and lower number of results.
For paid search or CPC, you will get to see CPC for that keyword and competition score for it. Competition score is a value between 0 to 1 with higher score pointing toward stiffer competition.
CPC distribution will show cost per click comparison of that keyword in different countries. It lets you identify those regions which don’t have much competition for this keyword without going through stats for all the countries individually.
There is a bar graph which shows search trends for that keyword. It is based on searches made in previous months. You will get an idea if you can expect similar or better search volume for the keyword.
Some keywords can be seasonal, and it helps you identify them as well. You can stay away from the ones which are downward to avoid any unnecessary investments.
It will be followed by some keywords under two categories. One will be those keywords which will contain the phrase you entered, and the other group will show you related keywords.
Related keywords will not always contain the phrase you enter, but they will be from the same niche and help you find other popular keywords with lesser difficulty.
Keywords which contain the same phrase make it easy to find longtail keywords. There are options to expand these lists and get into more details.
Then comes top organic results and ad copies. You can notice the same pattern of keeping SEO and CPC side by side being followed here as well.
Both these segments can help you find competitors or even tell you if this keyword is worth competing at all or not. There is no point of competing for a keyword if top results are occupied by authoritative sites in both sections.
They will generally have richer content as well as deeper pockets.
The keyword overview section of SEMrush will help you superficially scan the keyword. We feel they could’ve made it a bit more interesting. A SERP segment on this page could have given a deeper insight into details.
There is an option to export all this data as well.
Keyword Magic Tool
This section is where SEMrush shines through. Keyword magic tool does not precisely use magic, but it provides you a high volume of reliable data.
This might be the tool where you will get your best ideas and devise the most effective techniques for your SEO campaign. It will be equally helpful for PPC campaigns as well.
The idea is that you can type in your basic keyword and get millions of keywords related to it. These keywords will come with different metrics and identifiable attributes which will help you filter them and scope down to the ones you need.
So, when you type in a keyword, SEMrush will drown you with all sorts of keywords related to it which is both a good as well as a bad thing.
The good part is that you have access to such a large volume of keywords, which drastically increases the probability of you finding something useful for your campaign. However, the fact that there is so much information to process, you may find yourself juggling too many keywords.
To help you stay focused and find relevant keywords, SEMrush provides a lot of filtering and sorting options. It sorts these keywords in separate categories or niches and displays them on a side panel. You can arrange this list by number of keywords as well as by search volume.
If you find a keyword group which has high relevance for you, then you can examine that list. And if there is one which is exactly the opposite of what you are looking for, then you can hide all keywords in that group from your results.
Keyword suggestions, especially the longtail ones, may be present in more than one group. So, when you choose to hide a keyword group, some elements in other groups may also disappear.
The results table contains metrics relevant to all sorts of campaigns. You get volume, trend, keyword difficulty, CPC, competition, SERP features, and results in SERP. Most of them have obvious meanings while you may want to give a little time to some of them.
We are familiar with parameters such as keyword difficulty and CPC. SERP features refer to the number of special results available for that keyword’s SERP, which will help know more about it.
You can sort results based on these parameters and arrange them in ascending and descending orders. If you feel the need to be more specific about limits, then they have got more filters for you.
‘Advanced filters’ let you include and exclude words and phrases from results, set upper and lower limits of metrics wherever possible, and choose SERP features you want to be included.
There are enough filter options for you to boil down results to the ones you need.
How you use or process this data will decide how much you can extract out of it. You can be confident that everything you need will be included in search results.
Clicking on keyword suggestion opens keyword overview for it. You can analyze a keyword further if you are not so sure about it.
Keyword magic tool lets you add multiple keywords under different times in a go. This way, you can continue researching multiple keywords and compare them according to your needs.
Once you are done filtering keywords for your research, you can export them to your device. Or you can add them in Keyword Analyzer.
Keyword analyzer is available only for pro subscribers, and it lets you collectively analyze the selected keywords with real-time data. It provides a few new metrics such as seed keyword, top competitor, and click potential.
Click potential tells more about user intent. A keyword with higher click potential means that there are higher chances of a user clicking on it. Keywords with higher intent are always desirable.
You can add up to 1000 keywords in keyword analyzer and keep monitoring them with live updates.
This section of keyword analytics is more focused on the PPC side of things. It will show you which domains bid on selected keyword for top eight positions Google’s research page in the last twelve months.
It will you tell you the months when the domain bid for top positions, and the place they got on the results page. It will help you know if that domain had been bidding on that keyword for a long time or they have only recently started.
This will give you an idea if that keyword is still trending or if it was one time or a seasonal trend. Other data which can help you decide if you should bid on that keyword are ads traffic and ads traffic price.
You can see how much traffic reached that website because of the advertisement. Ads traffic price tells you the cost of attracting that much traffic to the site. You can use this information to decide if the keyword is worth the investment.
Ads keywords will tell you the number of keywords that the domain is buying for advertisements. All this information will give you insights related to advertisement for that keyword and niche.
You can click on these domains to see their domain overview. We will talk about domain overview in later sections of this review.
Ad history is one way of finding competitors and assessing their strategies. You can learn from their mistakes so that you don’t need to make any.
You will know if a keyword is worth bidding if it is present in their PPC campaign for a long time. You can also invest in that keyword and get some traffic.
You can see ad copies by clicking on the table against ranks.
From PPC, we now move on to the SEO side of things. In this section, you can add a group of keywords and check their suitability for your SEO campaign.
The number of keywords you can analyze at once depends upon your subscription plan. You can add a bunch of keywords with one keyword per line. We feel that SEMrush should have included the option to import keywords as well.
If someone has got a lot of keywords to add, then it may become a difficulty for him to paste some many keywords if they are not already arranged in different lines.
Once you add them, you will get a table with some metrics against those keywords. You can then decide if it will be a wise decision to invest resources in that keyword based on those metrics.
You will get difficulty, volume, results, SERP features, trend, and SERP. The most important parameter of these may be difficulty.
It is a score between 1 to 100. They generate this score based on various parameters such as the number of domains competing for that keyword and authorities of that domain.
Anything with a keyword difficulty score of more than 80 will generally be a tough nut to crack. Relatively new domains should stay away from such keywords.
Keywords with difficulty score of less than 60 are generally ideal for SEO campaigns. However, you should make sure that it attracts enough traffic to make it a good bargain for you.
Keywords with low difficulty are not easy to find. But they are worth the research as keywords with higher difficulty take fresher domains nowhere. You will need to have a domain with higher authority if you want to go for higher difficulty keywords.
SERP features will give you some additional information about opportunities to rank well for that page. Trends will also be present in data as usual along with a link for SERP page of that keyword.
You can add your selected keywords from Keyword Magic Tool in this section and filter out the ones which may suit your SEO campaign and separate the ones who belong in the PPC campaign.
It will suit you the most when you use separate sections of keyword analytics in sync with each other. In our opinion, the best approach will be to first find suitable keywords for your niche and then do some further analysis.
You can put them through Ad History and Difficulty to separate the PPC and SEO ones.
Domain Analytics: All domain attributes under one umbrella
It does not matter if you want to assess your site or pull out some information about your competitors, domain analytics will tell you everything it can about a domain.
This section is very detailed and contains a lot of sub-sections. It is, in fact, the abundance of information on this panel which may be a thing to worry. One should be extremely focused and direct when researching SEMrush in general.
They have so much data, and all of it is interlinked. It creates a possibility of you falling in this rabbit hole of information and spend too much time in research.
Let us chronologically discuss the items present in this section.
You type in the domain, and SEMrush will return you a page full of rich content about that domain. It will give you a snapshot of everything that is happening around it.
The page contains these sections of data which have both organic as well as paid features.
It starts with organic and paid traffic volume. The numbers will not be absolute, but they will be close enough to help you make any strategic decisions.
There will be some additional information along with this traffic volume. For organic traffic, you will get domain rank on SEMrush, number of keywords featuring in the top 100 results of Google, and traffic cost.
You will get the number of keywords featuring in Google ads along with traffic cost in case of paid search traffic volume.
Next will be backlinks and display advertising. It will tell you the number of backlinks available on the domain along with numbers for referring domains and referring IPs. Information about the total number of ads is displayed along with number of publishers and advertisers.
Following its theme of keeping organic and advertisement data in a bundle, SEMrush will next show you the distribution of traffic from different regions of the world for both organic and paid keywords.
Then there is a graph for organic and paid traffic on a timeline. We have not covered even half of the page, and there is already so much information at our disposal.
It helps that data for organic and paid traffic goes side by side. There are elements for interaction on a lot of these sections.
For instance, you can change the timeline duration for graphs or hide some regions from distribution if it is none of your concern. These subtle features make everything a lot more engaging and useful.
Moving on further down the page, you will get two sections with similar data but with emphasis on organic and paid keywords.
It starts with the top organic keywords. Only a few will be displayed with some metrics, but you can expand the list if you want. Then it will give you a distribution for keyword ranking. You can use this data to improve your visibility in search results.
Next, you will get to know your organic competitors and competitive positioning of you and them on a map. It may show you some new names which you never thought of.
Then there is a distribution of branded and non-branded traffic. Branded traffic refers to the one when people reach your site by specifically entering your brand name. Non-branded traffic will be the one when they search for something on a search engine and stumble upon your page.
Next section will be similar but for paid keywords. It will be top paid keywords, trends for those keywords, competitors for keywords, competitive positioning for rivals, and sample ad copies.
You will then get the next two sections for backlinks and advertisements. These two sections will take you into some details of backlinks available on that domain.
It will include distribution for follow and no-follow links, distribution for types of backlinks, top anchors, and referring domains. SEMrush contains an entire section dedicated to backlinks. We will discuss the importance of all this information when we consider that section.
For advertising related information, you will get to see the latest publishers, landing pages, ad copies, etc.
The domain overview section is very detailed and yet shallow in terms of information. It is useful for getting a general idea about any domain. However, you will need to go into specific sections of Domain Analytics to do more research.
From here on, it will all be much more detailed information about sections we saw in domain overview. You can go into as much detail as you want, and SEMrush will tell you all you want to know.
There will also be a few instances when you might feel that the same information is being repeated again and again, but that happens only because of the demand of the situation. It saves you from moving back and forth through tools and brings all relevant information at one place.
You can find out top keywords, competitors, estimated traffic, ranking among competitors, etc. for organic traffic on a site.
It will help you examine yours as well as your competitor’s organic traffic. This section is again divided into tabs. You can switch between tabs as per your convenience.
The overview tab has a timeline graph at the top. You will be able to see both organic traffic trends as well as keyword trends.
The graph makes it easy to identify trends, and one can straightaway get down to business by looking at places where trends started to change. If there has been a decline in traffic from some month, then you check what changes you made in that month or the month before that, and possibly undo them.
Similar kind of analysis can be done in case of positive trends. But this time you will want to affirm the modifications in future strategies.
The keyword graph shows how many of your keywords rank in the top 100 results of Google search every month, and therefore bring in the traffic.
There is a chart for top organic keywords. As we mentioned earlier, some data may repeat on a lot of tools, and top keywords are one of them. However, there is one more dataset in this tool which may invite the user’s attention.
You can see rank changes for your keywords. SEMrush provides this information for only those keywords which get a place in Google’s top 100 results for a search.
With keyword position change data, you will know if you need to pay some more attention to specific keywords. You can identify those which are automatically going up in rankings and plan some new strategies around them.
This domain breaks down SERP features into two categories. ‘Linking to domain’ shows features which link to domain under analysis and ‘Not linking to domain’ shows ones which don’t link to it.
You can see your top competitors for organic traffic and how you rank among them in terms of traffic and number of keywords. You can see how many keywords you have in common with them.
SEMrush will also tell you how many of their keywords are bringing traffic to their site. This data will help you identify only those keywords which are doing well for your competitors. It is one of the best ways to find keywords for SEO campaigns.
In the ‘Pages’ section, you can see which pages are bringing in more traffic to the site. For someone like us, there are different pages for different product reviews. So, we can use this section of SEMrush to identify those products which are getting more attention from users.
Or we can do the same analysis of a competitor’s domain and find those products which are popular and not yet reviewed by us. It was just an example. You can employ a strategy which suits your niche and needs.
Backlinks are vital for a domain to impart a dominant presence on the internet. One can do only so much with all the keyword research and SEO analysis. You cannot always keep spending on PPC campaigns as well.
All domains which rank higher for high difficulty keywords have a lot of quality backlinks. As a domain acquires more and more high-quality backlinks, search engines start giving it more importance over other sites.
Getting a lot of quality backlinks for your site is no easy task. It requires marketing skills and enough useful data. While SEMrush can hardly hone your marketing skills, it can definitely help you get your hands on a lot of trustable data.
You can use backlink assessment for your domain, but we found it to be more useful when it is done for rival domains. It brings in a lot of information which can help you build up more backlinks.
This section has also got an overview page which tells the total number of backlinks for a domain, number of referring domains, authority score, etc. Then it dives into some more in-depth details such as the number of links lost and gained along with trends for them.
There will be a lot of other information as well, which is then elaborated in different tabs of this tool.
One exciting feature on this page is that you can directly compare backlink stats for multiple domains. It paints a clear picture of which domain has a more solid backlinking strategy.
It will give you top performers for different parameters such as for a higher number of backlinks, better domain authority, etc. You may discover that a single domain is topping all the lists.
So, you can research domains for what they are good at instead of trying to blindly follow all of their backlink strategies.
You can see individual backlinks for a page and apply filters on the basis of parameters. You can look specifically for the ones which come with a high trust score, which include a particular domain, etc.
They give you a detailed report about anchor text for all those links. It can help you learn something new about anchor texts and how to use them efficiently.
Then comes detailed information about referring domains. There will be information about top-level domains, countries providing most backlinks, authority score of root domains backlinking to domain under observation, etc.
Similar information is available for referring IPs as well. ‘Indexed Pages’ will tell you a more about the number of backlinks on a page and the number of external and internal backlinks present on it.
The competitor's tab shows profiles with a similar backlink profile. This exhaustive list of similar domains helps you find a lot of sources for backlinks. You can always analyze domains closely related to yours to get some new backlink strategies.
You can even apply for the same sources where they have already linked and offer to replace their content with something better.
Taking shortcuts for getting more backlinks for your domain would have worked in the past, but that strategy will not work anymore. The Penguin update now takes care of relevancy of backlinks.
If Google discovers significant differences in trust score and domain authority, your domain may get penalized. It will undo all the hard work you might have done to get even a few authentic backlinks.
Removing poor quality backlinks from your domain is equally important as getting new good quality ones. SEMrush helps you identify all toxic backlinks on your domain which may pull down your search engine rankings.
They provide Backlink Audit tool for this job. It allows you to take suitable actions for identified poor backlinks. It involves sending a request to the domain owner to remove the backlink to your site, sending them to the Google Disavow tool to remove them, or merely whitelisting them if you think that link is harmless.
SEMrush provides abundant tools with enough capabilities to take care of all your backlink related needs.
Both Organic Research and Backlink sections were dedicated to the SEO side of things. This section is about PPC or paid advertisements on search engines.
One needs to do substantial research and pay enough attention even if they want to pay money to search engines to feature them on top of search results. There is a different price for each keyword, and like we had keyword difficulty in the SEO section, something similar can be assumed in case of PPC research as well.
People try to find keywords which are popular on search engines with not a lot of bidders. A PPC campaign with more of these keywords will cost less and bring in substantial traffic to the site.
Another way of finding profitable keywords is to go for the ones which are already doing well for your competitors. Advertising Research tells you all there is to know about paid keywords in your rivals’ PPC campaign.
You can use it to see how your current PPC keywords are performing, but that generally does not help much in finding new ones.
You can type in your competitor’s domain, and SEMrush will dig out all information and trends for their PPC campaign. If you are not sure of your suitable opponents, then SEMrush will help you identify them.
The ‘Position’ tab will give you a general overview of PPC keywords. It includes the number of paid keywords, traffic brought by those keywords, and cost of having those keywords feature in ads.
There is a graph where you can see how all three metrics varied for a domain over time.
Then it will give you a list of those PPC keywords along with a bunch of metrics. It includes search volume for that keyword, CPC, estimated traffic it brought to the site, the page URL, etc.
It also shows you search result trends for that keyword and how long has it been present in the domain’s PPC campaign and with what ranks. You can see ad copies for those ads without even leaving the table of content.
Generally, you will find a lot of keywords, and a lot of them will not be useful for you. You can use various filters to reduce the sample space. For instance, if your competitors are using their brand name in their PPC campaign, you may want to remove it from the results.
SEMrush has provided a flexible filter in this case. You can apply rules to filter keywords and omit metrics from the table you want.
You can select and export keywords after you are done identifying the useful ones. But if you are still not sure about these keywords, then the next tab may be able to shed some more light on them.
‘Position Changes’ tab breaks down keywords into more categories. You can see which keywords have been recently added, which are no more in PPC campaign of the domain, etc.
It gives you a timeline comparison for new, lost, improved, and declined keywords. Then there is an option to see a table of these as well.
New keywords refer to those which have been recently added to their paid keywords list, and lost are the ones which no more show their domain in ads. Improved keywords mean the ones for which domain has seen improvement in ranking in ad results, and declined keywords are the opposite of them.
Some may only be interested in finding new keywords, so they may focus only on new and improved keywords. However, lost and declined keywords can give you some easy investment opportunities or maybe tell you about the ones not worth the investment.
Tables come with all the filter options which were available in the previous tab. You can trim down these specific keywords list even more.
Competitors tab will show other domains which are paying for similar or the same keywords. There may be some different competitors in this case when compared to the ones for organic research.
You can jump to analyze paid keywords of these competitors but beware of the rabbit hole of information we talked about at the beginning of this review.
There is so much information that one can spend hours and hours on this tool looking for keywords and other ways to get better ranks without actually taking any concrete steps to improve the status of the domain.
The next two tabs are Ad Copies and Ad History. You can get into them if you are still curious about your rival’s ads. Then there is a tab for pages which shows top landing pages for the domain’s ad campaign.
So many tabs may make one feel that the same data is being presented again and again in different forms, and it is valid to some extent. However, in SEMrush’s defense, one can say that these tabs will only help someone if they want data from that perspective.
PLAs (Product Listing Ads) are a great way to advertise products for domains which contain an online store. It displays product along with its picture and price at the top of the search results page.
PLAs show a much better CTR when compared to regular text ads. If you have an e-commerce website or if you rely heavily on sales from your online store, then having your product feature in PLAs can do wonders for you.
But there is a fierce competition among sellers to have their products listed on PLA, that too before the others. As it happens in the case of regular ads, you will have to accommodate apt keywords in your product title and description to make it more relevant for users.
Search engines use algorithms to determine if your product is relevant to the user’s search, and keywords stay at the core of such algorithms. So, you need to include enough keywords to convince algorithms about the relevancy of your product.
SEMrush provides you this dedicated tool which will help you find out what is it that is getting your competitors’ ads rank better on search engines.
You will get to see what kind of images and keywords they are using along with some other vital stats. One can also use this tool to assess how their ads are performing on Google.
A PLA with all the right components can get you that top spot in the ads section. And it makes a world of difference if your product appears before every other product on the search page.
You can add a domain name in this tool and get information about its PLAs. ‘Positions’ tab will paint a general picture of the domain’s PLA campaign.
It will give the number of ads in their campaign, and the number of keywords for those ads. A single ad can appear for multiple keywords, and one keyword can show many ads from the same domain.
It displays a graph for the number of ad positions gained by a domain and the number of ads listed by that domain. If they are exercising sound PLA strategies, then the number of positions will be much higher than the number of ads.
You can change the time duration for this graph and see things on a bigger or smaller scale.
Below the graph, you will get a list of keywords included in the PLA campaign. It comes along with some useful data such as search volume, its position on the results page, title & description, product’s price, etc.
There are multiple ways in which this information can help you. You can analyze what strategies they used to list products which ended up in top position. You may find a keyword which is not in your PLA list, but others are using it to generate sales.
You can go through their pricing as it is one of the major concerns of users while purchasing anything. You can make sure your products have been competitively priced. It will help you attract more users.
‘Competitors’ tab shows domains which are advertising for similar products in PLA. SEMrush tells you about the level of competitiveness between other domains and the domain under analysis.
It depends on how many keywords are common in an ad campaign of both these domains. If there are a lot of common keywords, the competition level will be higher.
It gives you an estimate of paid traffic on that domain and approximate amount spent for that traffic. You can go into details of overachievers in this table and maybe get to learn something beneficial.
‘PLA copies’ shows your ads and related information about individual ads. It tells the number of keywords attached to an ad. You can use this to make sure you haven’t missed a keyword when listing similar products.
There is an option to export data from these tabs as well. You can quickly get them on an excel sheet and use them as you may like.
There are more ways to promote a product or attract more traffic on a site other than advertising on Google’s search results page. We all see ads when we visit websites. It can be the ones which show up at a lower section of YouTube videos, the ones on banners at various blogs, etc.
Google has an ad network which it uses for displaying advertisements. It displays ads on various sites to help you reach your target audience.
You can use Display Advertising to find out if your competitors are advertising on avenues other than search engine results page or not.
If yes, then you can examine what they are advertising for and if you need to publish similar advertisements or not.
Overview section tells about user demographics such as their age, gender, and topics of interest. Then there are some sample ads followed by publishers and the category of sites of publishers. It will tell you about your competition’s targets.
You can use this information in your advertising strategies. Ad type distribution and target countries give some more insights.
You will be able to inspect individual ads and landing pages for these ads. It will show you landing pages for both publishers and advertisers.
There are not many SEO tools which go into so many details when it comes to finding out about a competitors advertising campaign. Knowledge gained from this section can help someone a lot if they have a relatively new site and don’t have much understanding of how to find a target audience.
This feature is handy for e-commerce sites or the ones which rely on online sales.
This section of Domain Analytics is all about traffic and related information for a domain. It tries to give you all insights about traffic and performance of a domain.
It breaks it down into as many categories as possible so that you don’t have any trouble knowing what you want to know.
Before we get into the usefulness of this tool, there are some limitations worth mentioning. It is not accurate at all times. SEMrush gets data from clickstream and third-party sources to estimate traffic on site or domain.
This data is not always an appropriate representation of actual traffic. The accuracy of data will vary for different domains, and there is a bar at the top of the window to denote it.
There won’t be a point of going through data which is inaccurate. One should always make sure that available data has higher accuracy before starting any research.
Another demerit associated with Traffic Analytics is that you will need to pay extra for accessing all data from this section.
Now, let us assume that you have no problem with spending some extra bucks on getting detailed information, and they have got relatively more accurate information about the domain you want to inspect.
You will have knowledge of the number of visitors on a site, how many of them are unique, bounce rate, etc. You will know of attributes such as pages per visit and bounce rate for that site.
Traffic Analytics presents this information on a timeline as well. You will be able to follow these metrics along with time. In case of any abrupt change, you may be able to refer to some other sources and know about the stimuli.
It will tell you about the distribution of mobile and desktop traffic. It even breaks it down into traffic from social media, referrals, searches, direct, and paid.
It tells how your competitor is attracting traffic to his domain. If social media shows a higher share, then you may also want to be more active on social media platforms.
You will be provided with a list of sites when it comes to sources. This may help you find some leads to improve visibility of your website on the internet.
Geo-distribution shows traffic originating from different countries and individual stats for each of them. It will include individual traffic share of each country, distribution for mobile and desktop sites, bounce rate, etc.
There is a sub-section called ‘Destination Sites’ which shows websites visited by users after leaving the one under consideration. You will know if people move on to other rival sites or to payment gateways to complete their purchases. One can use information about destination sites in a lot of ways.
There is a feature where you can compare up to five domains. It will provide you with a direct comparison of most of the parameters in the overview section. You will even get to know the audience overlap for the domains under comparison.
This section hasn’t got much to do with domain analytics. Instead, it paints a general picture of domains listed in the database of SEMrush.
It arranges domains and pages based on traffic and its variation. There are three lists under this tool.
The first list is SEMrush rank. It ranks websites based on organic traffic they get from Google’s top 100 search results. It provides the number of keywords which bring traffic from search engine and an estimate of traffic. You can view these keywords. It takes users to organic research part of domain analytics.
Similar options are available for paid keywords and traffic.
Next is a list called Winners & Losers. It arranges domain according to the magnitude of change in traffic on them. Those with most significant strides are placed on top of the list while the losers can be seen at the bottom. Same metrics are provided against this list as well.
Traffic rank shows websites based on their popularity. These are based on the sheer number of visitors on these sites. Some may confuse this list with SEMrush rank list.
The difference between these two lists is that one is based on organic traffic from search engine results, while the other one considers all sorts of traffic coming to domains.
You will get top performers on the internet in this list. But, how are these lists of any help to a user? Well, it depends on who is using the tool.
These lists may not be of any significance to some while others may be interested in finding out top performers and then following their strategies.
The next two sections on Domain Analytics are domain vs. domain, and charts. These subsections are a part of other tools on SEMrush as well. Since they seem more relevant to those tools, we will discuss these in later sections of this review.
There is a tool on SEMrush called Marketing Insights. It consists of traffic analytics and traffic rank which we have already discussed in this section. It is just one example of how various tools and subsection are intertwined on this platform.
Sometimes things get confusing, notably when users are redirected to other parts of the tools as it is in the case of traffic rank and traffic analytics. Even though both these options are present under Domain Analytics, they redirect the user to Marketing Insights on choosing them.
However, there is nothing much to complain if we look at the usefulness of Domain Analytics. There is only so much information one can accumulate about a domain, and you get all of it from Domain Analytics.
You can consider it a more sophisticated name for competitor analysis feature present on most SEO research tools. However, on deeper inspection, you will find that it is not the name, but functions on this tool that are also more sophisticated when compared to others.
Gap analysis is focused on finding the difference between two domains so that the one falling behind in numbers can identify the gaps and fill them.
This logic can be applied to find missing keywords as well as backlinks. The fact that you can compare your domain to more than one domain in a go makes it so much convenient.
There are three sections on this tool with each one having a specific goal.
As the name suggests, this one is to find out missing keywords or otherwise. It allows you to analyze five domains at a time. You can choose the country for the database as is the case with most tools in SEMrush.
Between two domains, it gives the option to find all keywords, common keywords, keywords unique to the first domain, and keywords unique to both domains. You have the option to apply a filter of your choice between two subsequent domains.
The list of keywords comes with usual metrics such as keyword difficulty and CPC. You can apply more filters to trim down huge lists into what’s useful for you.
There is an option to get an overview of the situation from the charts. The infographic helps put the bigger picture into perspective. It shows how keywords are shared among the domains and difference in sample sizes.
When you are done filtering keywords, you can export them into an Excel, CSV, or a CSV Semicolon file.
Backlinks are an integral part of SEO management. It is vital to have a lot of quality backlinks if one wants his domain higher in search engines and make it competitive for popular keywords.
People usually have a hard time obtaining these backlinks. The biggest obstacle is to find suitable sites and sources for backlinks. The source of the backlink should have some relevance to your domain’s niche and should have a good reputation itself.
There are a lot of ways to find out potential backlink sources with all the desired qualities, but one of the most and easiest and reliable one is to target those sources which are already providing a backlink to your competitors.
The advantage of using this approach is that you will get a high volume of backlink possibilities, and since they are already linking your competitors, you know they will have the necessary relevancy.
Backlink Gap functions similar to Keyword Gap. You enter your domain name along with the domain name of your competitors. You can compare up to a total of five domains in a go.
It will give you a graphical representation of the number of backlinks for these domains over time. Then there is a table which will categorically list all sites which are linking back to these domains.
You can specify which domain is yours and it will show you only those link sources which are not present on your domain but others. Such a list can be called the backlink gap between your domain and others.
You will now want to fill these gaps. There will be a few metrics against sources to help you out. There will be authority score and number of backlinks for each domain from that source.
You can follow the approach of going after sources with high authority score as they will count for a much better-quality backlink. But such references are usually hard to tackle.
Another approach can be to find sources which have a higher number of backlinks or the ones which have backlinks for a higher number of domains under observation. Some of these sites will come with higher authority score while it may not be so much impressive for others.
However, you may find it easier to approach these sources and get some backlinks for your domain. SEMrush will redirect you to ‘Backlinks’ section of Domain Analytics’ which will give you more insights about backlinks on that site.
One can use this tool to find some quality backlinks in not much time, which can be easily obtained as well.
It is tough to determine what can be the use of this section. But that is because you can use it for a lot of purposes.
You can analyze up to 200 sites and domains using this section. The data includes information such as authority score, backlinks, linked domain, content distribution, etc.
You may use this information to understand how industry leaders are managing to stay on top, or you can use it to identify sections where you need to put in more efforts.
It makes sense to include this feature in Gap Analysis, as it points out gaps in so many facets of domains and sites.
All the gradual modifications made in search engine algorithms have led it to a point where it is impossible for a website to rank higher without having relevant content about the searched topic on it.
Content present on a website is an inherent part of SEO. All SEO techniques revolve around content present on a site.
This emphasis on content is now pushing sites to include more and more topics related to their target keywords. Finding ideas for blogs and other regulars on the website are a similar roadblock.
SEMrush helps you find topics around a keyword, which are relevant to it and help you attract more traffic. Topic Research brings in best items around a keyword from all over the internet.
Instead of brainstorming and trying to guess which topic has more popularity, you can use this tool and eliminate all the guesswork. It will serve you with a lot more ideas that you could’ve thought of and tell you about their popularity on the internet.
You need to type in your subject of interest, and SEMrush will give you actionable topic ideas picked from all over the internet. These will not be just some words you get as it happens in the case with keyword research, but there will be various examples of content based on these topics.
Topic Research presents all this data in four forms with each one being substantially different from others in terms of presentation. You can choose which clicks with you the most.
In a ‘Cards’ arrangement, there will be an expandable cue card for every topic. The card will give you an overview of the topic and will show the attribute based on which they will be sorted.
You can sort topics based on volume, difficulty, and topic efficiency. You can choose any of these three parameters based on your preferences.
On expanding a card, you will get top headlines related to it, questions related to it, and some related searches. ‘Headlines’ will comprise of links to online content, which is doing well in search results. You can refer to these links to get a better idea of the topic.
‘Questions’ will give you some more ideas for headlines. Since questions are generally engaging, you can use them to write content or include them in subsections of your content.
You can add individual headlines and questions in a list of favorite ideas. It allows you to refer back to them once you are done going through the suggestions.
You can hide cards from the suggestions if you are not interested in a topic. You can also send that topic as a task to Trello or add it in Content Marketing Calendar tool of SEMrush or create an SEO template for that topic.
We will discuss more on creating an SEO template for a topic in later sections of this review.
The next way of viewing content ideas is in the ‘Explorer’ mode. It lists topics with a content idea which are linked to some article on the internet related to that topic.
It shows you the number of Facebook engagements, backlinks, and total shares. Total Shares is the sum of number of Facebook engagements and backlinks combined for that topic.
The ‘Overview’ section gives more emphasis to top backlinks and question based on topics around your topic of research. So, instead of showing topics around it, this tool shows the most prominent articles and question around the subject.
It shows cue cards for topics which are doing better than the others. This mode puts more emphasis on trending content rather than topics.
‘Mind Map’ is one more way to arrange topics around our subject. It arranges topics in a circle around the subject. You can select specific topics to see headlines and top questions for them.
Mind Map is not an efficient mode to learn more about a topic. However, it does a great job of putting all the topics in one picture.
SEMrush provides the option of entering a domain name at the beginning to find only those topics which are present on that domain. You can use this feature to find topic ideas from a specific domain.
Another use of this feature can be at the end of the research when you decide upon a topic. You can run that topic through this tool along with your domain name to ensure that you don’t repeat content on the same topic.
SEO Content Template
This tool has been very rightly placed in succession to Topic Research. While the previous one was based on finding topics relevant to a subject, this tool is supposed to help you with writing the content.
It will do so by giving you recommendations for your article. These recommendations will be based on top search results for that topic.
You can add one or more keywords in this tool along with a location you prefer. The location you enter in this tool will matter a lot if you have a business which serves to locals. Make sure you have entered the correct location if it can affect your business.
SEMrush will then give you some instructions about how you can structure content and recommends items such as backlinks and semantic keywords for it.
It shows the top results for every keyword you add in the tool. You can go through some of these results to get a better idea of how to write quality content which can appear in top results.
They break down recommendations into two categories, namely key recommendations and basic recommendations. Key recommendations are dynamic as they are based on top results which change with every keyword and with time as well.
Basic recommendations will tell you how to structure the article. It includes instructions on how to write the title, meta description, and even text.
We found key recommendations extremely useful in this case. While semantically related keywords help improve the quality of the content and provide more ideas to write, the backlinks give you an advantage of checking the kind of articles already present on target backlink sources.
Recommended readability score and lengths tell you how much effort will be needed to write content.
SEO Writing Assistant
You can export the recommended template into a doc file, or you can start writing on SEMrush only. There is another section on SEO Content Template where you can write the article, and SEMrush will rate it for you as you write it down.
This section is called Real-time Content Checker. However, it is the same as the next tool on SEMrush called SEO Writing Assistant.
It will also tell you how many of the recommended keywords have been included in it and which ones are still left. Information such as readability score, tone of writing, and the number of words will help you stay on track while writing the article.
When you use it as a separate tool, you will have to insert the target keywords yourself, and the rest of the features will be the same.
You can find it on Google Docs add-on store. You can install it on your device so that it is readily available to you anytime you want to start writing something for the domain.
Lead Generation Tool
SEMrush provides you with a widget to add on your site, which is a tool to audit websites. You can add this tool on your site and allow visitors to inspect their sites using the tool in exchange for their email addresses.
It creates a win-win situation for you as well as visitors. And if you think some more then you will find it is profitable for SEMrush as well.
Adding the widget to your site is a simple task. You can change the email where the leads are sent. It allows you to manage header and text content of the lead email, and change the appearance of the widget.
Once you apply all the necessary changes and manage the settings, you can add the widget’s code to your site where you want it to be displayed.
All the leads collected via the widget will be available in the ‘Leads’ section of this tool.
You can then use these leads to grow your business and establish a healthy relationship with your potential customers.
It is essential that when people search online for your business, they get the most accurate information. People use various directories to search for local businesses.
These directories range from social media sites such as Facebook to popular search engines such as Google. These avenues display information about your business, such as contact info, work timings, location, etc.
It can cost you some potential customers if these directories display incorrect information about you. SEMrush has partnered with Yext to come up with a tool that helps you ensure there is correct information about your business on the internet.
This feature costs on top of SEMrush subscription, which is such a buzzkill.
You can insert some basic information at the beginning and discover sites where your business is listed. You can then proceed to correct the information or update to make sure people don’t miss your business because of wrong information.
If you thought that Listing Management is a good tool for helping businesses locally, then you will deem this one awesome for local businesses. It equally helps for global and international businesses.
CPC map shows advertising costs at regional levels in various countries. The feature is currently available only for some countries, but they have plans of including more countries very soon.
Knowing what it costs to advertise for a keyword in different parts of the world and that too at a regional level can help you devise successful PPC campaigns.
CPC knowledge alone may be insufficient for one to determine if an advertisement will pay off. Therefore, the CPC map offers more than just average CPC values.
You can see both PPC demands as well as PPC costs for different regions. There are two ways to choose a region or a state in the country. You can either select it from the drop-down state menu or pick it directly from the map.
Hovering the pointer over a state will display its average CPC cost. But this average CPC cost information will not be of much assistance to someone who wants to advertise, let’s say, for computer accessories. The average cost is not specific enough.
SEMrush breaks down average costs for multiple industries. So, if I want to advertise for computer accessories, I can pay attention to the electronics industries of that state. This tool will tell me average CPC cost and average PPC demand for a specific sector in a particular state.
We can see how things are getting so much detailed with you being able to inspect CPC for multiple industries in a state along with the search volumes. But there seems to be room for a bit more boiling down.
So, they give you lists of most expensive as well as the most popular keywords in that industry. Your intended keyword may or may not be present in these lists, but you will have a very clear idea of what’s beneficial for you.
They also show graphs for average CPC and average search volume for the industry. It helps you predict the longevity of your plan and act accordingly.
Another impressive feature in this tool is that it lets you compare CPCs among countries, industries, and regions. You can choose a currency, and then compare areas or industries of your interest.
They even color-code the table to make it more interpretable. We enjoyed using this feature a lot. Most of it was because of its usefulness, and some because of the Westeros map in the list.
Who knew that ‘buy dragon skin’ would have such a high CPC, and the Iron Islands exceeded our expectations with the highest average CPC in all of Westeros.
We went through so many tools on SEMrush with all of them providing information in unique ways and perspective. There were a few instances when things were repeated in different sections, but most of the times, there was more and more information.
It depends on the scope and goal of research if the information available in one of these tools is relevant or not. You will find one tool more useful than others because it suits your needs.
By the end of your research, you would’ve gone through several tools, and you may feel the need to have all this useful information assorted at one place.
My Reports helps you generate pdf reports containing information from tools you want and a lot more information from other sources.
There are options to create custom reports or use existing templates to get things done faster. You can choose a template and do all the necessary modifications you want.
SEMrush uses a simple drag and drop style interface to allow you to create reports. You can drag and drop data and metrics from tools listed in the side panel or place structural elements first to decide how all this information should appear.
You can import data from all the tools available on SEMrush. They allow you to import information from widgets such as site auditor and SEO checker.
You can use SEMrush with Google Analytics and other Google tools to include data from them in these reports. Google My Business and Google Search Console are available in the list as well.
Once you are done creating a report with all the useful information neatly organized, there are multiple options as to how you want to use it.
You can schedule if you want that report to be generated regularly or just one time, you can add recipients and mail it to them, or save the settings and leave it for later.
SEMrush saves all the reports you have ever generated or sent from this section. If you prefer how a particular report turned out, you can ensure that other reports also look the same. You can make necessary changes in it and replicate a similar one for another client or project.
My Reports takes care of all the needs of the person generating reports by automating some processes and making sure that manual tasks are not grueling as well.
There is a high probability that you will be using this tool for more than one projects. If not, then you are probably wasting away its potential.
SEMrush avails project manager to help them monitor all their projects with ease. Depending on your subscription plan, you can manage from 1 to 200 projects on this platform.
Project manager on SEMrush comes with an array of tools which use capabilities of this platform and gather data from other sources as well to give you a clear picture of what’s happening around a project.
It has got tools like site audit, brand monitoring, content analyzer, etc. to help you track progress and achieve subsequent targets for your project.
There are twelve tools under project management, which will help you at every step of the way until you are done with a project. You may not need all of these tools in every project, and therefore, they allow you to hide or eliminate the ones which you don’t deem necessary.
It helps make the dashboard less cluttered and lets you focus on targets. There are two kinds of dashboards on the project manager. One is where you can see all the all your projects with indicators for tools you have integrated with them.
The other dashboard is what you see when you select a project, and you get a place where you can interact with specific tools.
Some of these tools will bring in data from SEMrush only, some will want you to integrate them with your domain, while others can bring in information from third-party sources such as Google Analytics.
Project management not only helps you remain organized, but it is also an excellent medium for working as a team and keeping everyone in the loop.
It lets you share projects with others, and you can work on those projects which others have shared with you.
This project management tool with all of its capabilities seems to compliment SEMrush perfectly.
Now is the time to conclude this review and proclaim how we liked and disliked this SEO tool.
If you have gone through the review, you must be aware that there is nothing much that we disliked on this SEMrush. But nothing is perfect, and there were a few anomalies here and there.
Let us first go through all the features on this tool that we liked.
Keyword research and all facets related to it are based on data. SEMrush is one of the few platforms which provide sound data to their users. We are quite impressed by how reliable information they provide.
It is not always pin-point accurate, but it will point you in the right direction for sure.
We liked how easy it is to start researching a topic, domain, or keyword on this tool. You won’t have to spend hours on this tool to figure out how to use it. If you have a clear goal as to what it is that you are trying to achieve, then you will not have to spend much time figuring out how it works.
They provide users with so many features that it is difficult to miss out on information. Domain analytics tells everything there is know about one’s or other’s domain. It can be used for self-introspection as well as to monitor the competitors.
It fishes out all the information which can help you improve traffic on your site. It takes care of both PPC as well as SEO sides by including topics ranging from backlinks to display advertising.
Keyword analytics is an equally powerful section of SEMrush. It is efficient at finding just the right keywords keeping costs and difficulty into perspective.
Features such as SEO template and writing assistant make life so much easier for the user. There won’t be a lot of tools which help users in so many ways.
First, it helps find useful topics and keywords, then it gives recommendations for how to use them in content, and finally, it helps you keep a check if you are taking care of recommendations or not.
Gap analysis is an excellent tool for leveraging progress of your competitors and more prominent domains to get your site rank higher in search results.
They provide users with so many useful features that it might be the only criticism we may have regarding this tool. Things may get a bit overwhelming for you if you are new to SEO research and not familiar with the terms.
SEMrush is not a cheap tool. But they offer features which no one else does. This tool may not be easy on your pockets, but it will make your work easy for sure.
SEMrush turned out to be a well equipped tool to help you with all aspects of SEO. We won’t hesitate to recommend it to you if you want an efficient and reliable tool.