SEMRush Review: Does It Live Up To The Hype?

Last Updated on July 9, 2022 by James Wilson

Semrush was founded by two SEO enthusiasts, Dmitri Melnikov and Oleg Shchegolev. They were interested in new technologies and industry developments, and they want to make a tool that would identify industry best practices and market trends. 

The Boston-based company has undergone a few name changes since it started in 2008. It began life as Seodigger, then SeoQuake Company, followed by SEMrush, which was then rebranded to Semrush in 2020. 

Today, the Semrush platform offers a number of different tools to help businesses build their online presence. You can conduct keyword research and leverage online ranking data, including metrics like cost per click (CPC) and search volume. You can also view information about online keywords gathered from Bing and Google. 

Some of the main features of the Semrush tool include:

  • Content explorer
  • Keyword click analysis
  • Site audits
  • Keyword research
  • Backlink analysis
  • Competitor analysis
  • Domain authority tracking
  • Google rank tracking 

Semrush is trusted by Internet marketers all over the world. Businesses, big and small, use this tool, including IBM, Forbes, Samsung, Amazon, and Apple. That’s quite the client base! But is it the right tool for you?

In this review, I will reveal everything you need to know about Semrush (the good and the bad), so you can determine whether or not this platform aligns with your goals and needs, or whether other helpful tools would be better suited.

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#1: Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
✔ One of the most intensive keyword research tools available today ✖ The interface can be quite intimidating for beginners
✔ Learn more about your visitors with detailed data ✖ Sheer number of tools can be overwhelming if you are just getting started
✔ Identify spammy links that are causing harm to your website with the backlink audit tool

#2: Features

There is only one place to begin, and this is with the number of SEO tools that are available. With so many to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to begin, but I will talk you through some of the main choices:

A local SEO listing management module

This module uses local tracking, rankings, and other areas, including customer review management and local heat maps, to help you to manage your local SEO presence. However, you should be aware that these features do come at an added cost.

Nevertheless, for local businesses, I would certainly recommend them. You can ensure you stay visible with business listings in top directories. Some of the top features here include:

  • Google Business Profile Integration, enabling you to sync your data with local listings and Facebook
  • Ensure your customers always find you with over 70 local directories
  • Automatic NAP management across all listings 

You can also leverage tools to help you outsmart the competition, including tracking keywords from any postcode, checking your keyword optimisation and voice search, and investigating your local rivals in Google Maps.

A complete content marketing platform

You can make the most of an excellent content marketing platform, which not only audits your own content but the competition’s content as well. You can track posts, as well as work with SEO templates. Plus, you can discover the best topics to research further.

What I enjoy about Semrush’s content marketing platform is that it breaks down your content marketing efforts into simple steps that are easy to follow:

  1. Find a topic that will drive competition 
  2. Create a plan and track progress in real-time
  3. Prepare a brief and get a tailored template for search-friendly and optimised content
  4. Write and optimise text, checking the originality and SEO potential of your text in real-time
  5. Assess mentions and evaluate your brand presence
  6. Measure the results of your content in terms of traffic, search rankings, and social engagement
  7. Improve your content by discovering what resonates well with your audience 

Highly advanced reports

Semrush makes it easy to compile advanced reports, which you can then send to other stakeholders in your business or your clients. These reports include options for scheduling, branding, and labelling.

“My Reports” is the name of the advanced reporting tool that you can use to create PDF reports from scratch. With this tool, you can integrate data from a wide range of software, not only Semrush tools but also Google My Business, Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and much more.

You can use suggested templates or create reports from scratch. You can also create white-label and branded customisable reports using the Agency Growth Kit

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Project management

You can also put together marketing plans with project management features. This makes it easy to develop a strategy for checking and tracking keywords, as well as evaluating a broad assortment of other elements of your brand, for example, search engine results and your social profiles. 

With Semrush Projects, it is possible to set up 11 different tools to assess all elements of the online visibility of your business. You can also track progress while you are completing your work with graphics and email reports in every project tool.

Competitive analysis 

Competitive analysis makes the most of elements such as competitor benchmarking, traffic, and market exploration. 

Here are some of the options you can expect in this toolkit:

  • Social Media Tracker – Monitor the social media activities of your competitors. See what your rivals are trying to trigger in terms of people’s interests on social media. Enhance your own strategy by assessing the top-performing content of the competition.
  • Post Tracking – Track the performance of your competitors’ articles and your articles across the main social networks. Monitor the performance of external articles posted by your rivals by month or day. Watch the backlinks and rankings of your articles and your competitors’ articles. 
  • Topic Research – Determine which topics are the most searched and shared with just one click. Specify the domains of your competition to see the subjects they have covered already. Analyse related searches to understand user intent.
  • Brand Monitoring – Use smart mentions tracking to keep an eye on the online reputation of your competition. Assess the efficiency of your PR campaigns and your rivals’ campaigns. Check the authority of their referring domains.
  • PLA Research – Uncover your greatest competition in Google Shopping. Find out what keywords are resulting in their products appearing in the Google Shopping results and discover how they market and price their items. 
  • Display Advertising – Assess the banners and texts your competitors are utilising. Find out more about the publishers in your niche that are the most influential. Get ideas for your ad campaigns on your mobile and desktop. 
  • Advertising Research – Find out more about your main paid search competitors. Study the composition of their ad texts and discover what keywords they are placing bids on.
  • Backlink Gap – Discover whether websites are linking to the competition but not linking to your website. Compare your backlink profile against your biggest rivals. Get a list of domains that you should be targeting in your link-building efforts. 
  • Backlink Analytics – Carry out an in-depth analysis of your competition’s backlinks. Exploring their TLD distribution, IPs, and referring domains. Watch your rivals’ lost links to find link-building opportunities. 
  • Keyword Gap – Discover the target keywords your competition is using that you may have overlooked. Find keywords for your PLA, Google Ads, and SEO campaigns, and uncover keyword opportunities to enhance your ROI.
  • Organic Research – You can find out about the most successful SEO practices used by the competition and break down their keyword strategies. Understand which domains you are competing against for the top Google positions. 
  • Market Explorer – Learn about your competitors’ shares and total market traffic trends. Find leads and prospects for your business. You can also discover the market’s leading players and benchmark companies’ growth dynamics and performance across digital marketing channels. Get the picture regarding in-market demographics and audience interests.
  • Traffic Analytics – Discover where your rivals are concentrating their marketing efforts. Assess their regional presence and discover their website’s lead-gen sources, audiences, and traffic.

As you can see, there is an impressive array of tools you can use to truly understand the competition and ensure you outperform them.

Keyword and domain analytics 

Leverage keyword metrics and historical data, which are updated on a frequent basis. This helps you to determine SEO trends that are relevant to your business.

Their domain overview gives you the power to get a full overview of any domain and its online visibility. You can discover what keywords are bringing the most traffic from paid and organic channels, as well as discover the markets whereby that domain has top representation. It’s also easy to assess the growth trend of a domain over time.

You can also compare domains, with the possibility to compare up to five competitors in one report. Simply select domain type, i.e. subfolder, subdomain, or root domain, and use key metrics to compare. 

The Semrush growth report is one of the best features. You can get all of the key data regarding the growth trend of a domain in one place. Assess the progress of backlinks, paid traffic, and organic traffic for a certain period, i.e. one year or three months. You can export this with ease to csv or xls. 

Finally, another highlight is being able to compare the paid and organic performance of a domain in various countries. See the organic share a domain has for specific markets so you can determine which locations require more of your attention.

#3: Ease of Use

With so many different modules and features, a lot of people are overwhelmed by Semrush. They simply don’t know where to begin! This is understandable if you don’t have much experience. 

However, Semrush has done a good job of trying to make it as easy and logical as possible. Just like competing projects Ahrefs and Moz, Semrush has a menu of options on the left that you can use to find any tool you need, from link building to competitive research.

But, of course, I cannot lie and say there is not a lot of data to contend with. There is plenty! Semrush does provide data visualisation, which does help to ease the feeling of being overloaded. Graphs and useful graphics make the data much easier to digest. 

I would say that it’s a bit challenging to use this tool on a mobile, tough. With so much going on, a desktop is definitely the way to go. There is a lot of zooming and pinching on a smaller device. 

There is a Semrush mobile app available, though, yet you do not get all of the Semrush features, so do keep this in mind.

#4: Customer Support

As you will know from all of my reviews, both my hosting reviews and website builder reviews, customer support is something I value highly.

Plus, when you consider how many different tools and features Semrush provides, you see why it is imperative for there to be good customer support. It would be incredibly frustrating if you were not able to get a helping hand when required!

The good news is that customer support is one area whereby Semrush really does shine. 

There are three different support options:

  • Live chat
  • Email
  • Phone 

It really does not get much better than this. A lot of the other SEO tools do not provide phone support. In fact, Moz does not even provide live chat. 

Every time I have had an interaction with the support team, it has been positive. They have answered my query quickly and given me the help needed, so I really cannot have any complaints when it comes to this part of their service.

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#5: App Centre

There is also an App Centre on Semrush, which enables you to extend the functionality of the tool even further. There are heaps of apps across different categories for you to make the most of. 

You will have to pay an extra cost per month to use these apps, so make sure you only really go for those you need. The good news is that most of them come with a free trial or demo, so you can try them before you buy.

Apps are separated into the following categories: for small businesses, for agencies, e-commerce, content creation, monitoring, social media, competitive research, and keyword research. So, you should have no trouble finding the app for you.

#6: Pricing

There is no denying that Semrush is one of the more expensive tools on the market today, especially at first glance. However, when you take a look at the value and what you are actually getting for your money, you realise that you do get a lot of bang for your buck, as the saying goes.

Pro Plan

Cost: $99.95 per month

This plan is designed for smaller businesses and start-ups.

Guru Plan

Cost: $199 per month

This plan is designed for medium-sized businesses and agencies.

Business Plan

Cost: $399.95 per month

This plan is designed for e-commerce operations, large businesses, and agencies.

Enterprise Plan

Custom pricing 

This plan is for rapidly scaling, large brands.

It is worth pointing out that you can save 16 per cent on the prices above if you make payments per year instead of per month. 

I would also highly recommend trying out the free trial before you buy so you can make sure this is the tool for you!

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Optional add-ons

There are some extra costs you may want to consider:

  • Premium local listing management – This is priced at $40 per month for everything you get in the basic plan, as well as local heat mapping and the ability to respond to customer reviews.
  • Basic local listing management – This costs $20 per month for distributing company information and more.
  • Competitive intelligence – This costs $20 per month for analytics relating to your traffic, a market explore, and more, 
  • Extra users – This starts at $70 per user, per month. 

#7: Summary

When it comes to SEO tools, you will struggle to find one that is more comprehensive than Semrush. If you are looking to improve your online presence, I highly recommend this platform. From competitor analysis to local optimisation, it contains all of the features and elements you need to take your business to the very top.

Of course, in return for all of this, you will need to pay a premium for this service. However, it’s well worth it in terms of what you get in return, in my opinion. Nonetheless, there are going to be some cases whereby Semrush is simply too comprehensive for your requirements and so you would end up paying for lots of features you do not really need.

FAQ about Semrush

  • Does Semrush integrate with Shopify? Yes. In fact, you can build Shopify and Semrush automation to streamline processes.
  • Is Semrush better than Moz? It all depends on what you are primarily using the tool for. Some elements on Moz are better, whereas other features are better on Semrush.
  • Who is the owner of Semrush? The owner and CEO of Semrush is Oleg Shchegolev.
  • Is Semrush free? There is the option to use Semrush for free, yet functionality is limited.
  • What is Semrush used for? Semrush is an all-in-one tool that is used to discover market insights and boost online visibility. The tools and reports available help marketers that work in SEO, campaign management, marketing insights, content marketing, PR, competitive research, keyword research, SMM, and PPC.
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