Review of SEMRush, Is It The Best & Worth The Money?

Complete review of SEMRush

If you’ve been into search engine optimization for any length of time, you’ve probably heard of SEMRush. There’s a very good reason for that.

Many digital strategists consider SEMRush the best tool for keyword analysis, competitor research, and PPC optimization.

Also, SEMRush is more than just a single tool. It’s really a whole suite of utilities that offer a variety of insights to help you build brand-name awareness, reach new customers, and generate more sales.

In this review of SEMRush, I’ll go over the tool’s features. I’ll also cover its pros and cons so you can get a complete picture.

Organic Research

First up with SEMRush is good, old-fashioned organic research.

SEMrush delivers a powerful set of tools to monitor your competition

Use the tool to find the best keywords that your competitors have already found. Then, adapt your online strategy to optimize content around those same keywords.

Of course, you’ll want to produce better articles and blog posts than your competitors so you’ll rank higher.

SEMRush also gives you an estimate of the monetary value of each keyword. Use that info to find the search terms that are most likely to bring in revenue for your business.

The tool will even show you the landing pages on competitor websites for every keyword. Take a look at those pages to get some inspiration about how you can optimize your own site.

Further, SEMRush highlights new organic competitors in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Review those reports to find out what the “new money” folks are doing to gain rank.

Finally, SEMRush identifies how your rankings for specific keywords have changed over time. If you find that you’re slipping, it’s a good idea to check out what your competitors are doing to jump ahead.

Keyword Research

While we’re on the subject of keywords, let’s talk a bit about the SEMRush keyword research tool.

Keyword magic tool in SEMRush

You’ll use it to answer this question: which keywords are best for my business right now?

Just plug in a term relevant to your brand and SEMRush will show you other words and phrases that will help you rank in the search results.

Include those search terms in a content strategy that will repeatedly propel your site to Page 1. Earn more traffic. Generate more revenue.

SEMRush also helps you gather much-coveted long-tail keywords. Those are search terms with at least four words.

As a rule of thumb, you won’t get much traffic from long-tail keywords. That’s why it’s a great idea to optimize for dozens, if not hundreds, of different long tails.

SEMRush also gives you info about the difficulty level of each keyword. It’s often best to optimize for lower-difficulty keywords first because they’re more likely to give you a top spot in the SERPs.

Advertising Research

It’s not likely that your entire digital strategy consists of nothing more than SEO. You probably run a few online ads as well.

If that’s the case, then SEMRush can help by showing you the kinds of ads that other businesses in your space are running and how they’re performing.

In fact, the tool will even give you some insight into how much money competitors are spending on their search ads. Not only that, but SEMRush also shows you how much a competitor’s ad budget has changed over time.

SEMRush PPC Advertising Tool

Furthermore, the tool shows you which keywords your competitors are using for their search ads. Once again, that’s some competitive insight that you can copy and adapt for your own marketing campaigns.

But the tool isn’t limited to just search ads. SEMRush gives you insights into display ads as well.

Use the reports to learn about ad formats, the devices they appear on, and how frequently they show up within the Google Display Network.

SEMRush also enables you to monitor the ad copy and landing pages of competing advertisements.

And if you’re running local ads, the tool can help with that as well. SEMRush allows you to analyze keywords in more than 20 languages from 100 different countries.

Are you into ecommerce? If so, then you’ll be happy to learn that SEMRush helps you identify product listing ad (PLA) competitors, the keywords they’re using, and their rankings.

Backlink Analysis

One of the ways that you’ll gain rank in the SERPs is by earning links from high-quality websites. Fortunately, SEMRush helps you monitor your backlink profile.

SEMRush Backlink Analytics tool

For starters, the tool conducts a deep link analysis. It shows you which web pages and domains are linking to pages on your site.

Beyond that, it also gives you insights about the value of each backlink. SEMRush evaluates the pages and domains pointing to your site for quality.

Backlinks overview using SEMRush reports
Backlinks overview using SEMRush reports

The tool also shares info about the links themselves, whether they’re nofollow, image, form, or frame links.

Finally, SEMRush also shows you the geolocation of each link pointing to your site.

Traffic Analytics

How much web traffic does your top competitor attract every month? If you can’t answer that question, then you need SEMRush.

The tool not only shows you traffic volume for any domain, but it also shares info about traffic sources, platforms, top pages, and subdomains.

SEMRush also gives insights into the audience overlap. In other words, it will tell you if you and a competitor are fighting for the same traffic.

SEMRush audience analytics

You can also use the tool to get a bulk analysis of competing websites. Just plug in several domains and see how they all stack up against your own domain.

SEO Writing Assistant

SEMRush helps you optimize content for search engines.

SEMRush writing assistant tool

For starters, the tool recommends keywords that you can use to reach people in your target market. Then, it also shows you semantically related words and phrases that you can include in your content as well.

SEMRush also alerts you about keyword-stuffing. That’s what happens when you use the same search term too many times in a single article or blog post.

Keyword-stuffing can hurt your rankings. So you’ll want to avoid it as much as possible.

The tool will also show you if you’ve got any broken links in your content. That can hurt your rankings as well.

Beyond that, SEMRush will analyze the readability of your articles. If they’re too difficult to comprehend, you’ll get a notice to that effect.

As a rule of thumb, it’s a great idea to write at an elementary school reading level.

The tool also advises you about word counts, title issues, and content problems.

It gets better. SEMRush will also help you maintain a consistent tone of voice throughout all your content.

Do you prefer a casual, formal, or neutral tone? Use the tool to make sure that you’re hitting the right notes on all your pages.

Finally, SEMRush will also check for plagiarism. You don’t want search engines to detect duplicate content on your site or you’ll have a lot of trouble reaching the top of the SERPs.

Site Audit

If you’ve got SEMRush, you won’t need a separate tool like Screaming Frog for site audits.

That’s because SEMRush will crawl all over your site and give you a report highlighting any problems it finds.

Here are the kinds of issues that the tool will identify:

  • Crawlability problems such as redirects, slow loads, or blocked pages
  • Internal linking issues such as too many on-page links or broken links
  • HTTPS problems
  • International SEO issues such as misconfigured hreflangs
  • Duplicate content issues

SEMRush also empowers you to prioritize the rules it uses to identify problems. That means you can push the issues that concern you most to the top of the list.

You can also schedule the site audits to run automatically on a weekly basis. The tool will show the change in the number of issues it finds over time. Use that report to make sure that you’re taking care of on-site SEO problems.

Social Media Tracker

SEMRush doesn’t just enable you to track competitors in the search results, it also shows you how well they’re doing on social media.

SEMRush Social Media tracker

Use the tool to track follower counts, engagement metrics, and hot topics on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

SEMRush will also highlight the most engaging posts for each social network.

Finally, you can use it to find out who’s mentioning you or your competitors over a time period.

Brand Monitor

Speaking of online mentions, SEMRush also lets you track your online reputation.

Normally, finding online mentions of your brand takes a lot of time. The tool saves you that time by scouring cyberspace on your behalf and giving you a report detailing your mentions.

SEMRush also includes a Twitter Tracking service that identifies people mentioning products similar to your own. Use that info to reach out to those folks and let them know about what you’re offering.

Pros & Cons

About 5 million people use SEMRush. Here’s what a few of them are saying.

First, the pros:

  • Gathers all the data you need on one platform
  • Easy to navigate
  • Fast exports
  • Helps you produce content with specific keywords
  • New features added all the time
  • Great for competitor analysis

And now, the cons:

  • Display ads tool doesn’t seem to offer a lot of value
  • 1 user per subscription is challenging
  • Import features are limited
  • Filtering options in results list is lacking
  • Focuses too much on US traffic
  • Sometimes produces inaccurate data


SEMRush offers three levels of pricing:

  • Pro – $99 per month
  • Guru – $199 per month
  • Business – $399 per month

Keep in mind: if you want API access, you’ll need to shell out the $399 per month for the Business package.

However, the lowest level of service offers 3,000 reports per day. That’s pretty generous.

SEMRush also offers a competitive intelligence add-on for additional $200 per month no matter which base service level you choose.

Wrapping It Up

You won’t regret it if you pick SEMRush as your SEO Swiss Army Knife.

It’s easy to get started with the tool at the lowest level of service for just $99 per month. Give that a try for a little while and, if you like what you see, upgrade to one of the higher levels.

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John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility, one of the top digital marketing agencies in the nation. Ignite Visibility is a 4x  Inc. 5,000 company. Ignite Visibility offers a unique digital marketing program tied directly to ROI with a focus on using SEO, social media, paid media, CRO, email, Amazon and PR to achieve results. Outside of Ignite Visibility, Lincoln is a frequent speaker and author of the books “Digital Influencer” and “The Forecaster Method.” Lincoln is consistently named one of the top digital marketers in the industry and was the recipient of the coveted Search Engine Land “Search Marketer of The Year” award. Lincoln has taught digital marketing and Web Analytics at the University of California San Diego since 2010, has been named as one of San Diego’s most admired CEO’s and a top business leader under 40. Lincoln has also made “SEO: The Movie” and “Social Media Marketing: The Movie.” His business mission is to help others through digital marketing.

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