In this article, I want to dig into the question of whether or not SEMRush is worth it. The short answer is yes, it absolutely is worth it. Of all these digital marketing tools that I’ve used through the last decade of being in this space, I have found SEMRush to be the most effective tool in terms of competitive research, as well as general analytics that are important for moving your site in terms of its organic traffic.
I’ve tried Ahrefs and I’m also trying a plethora of other tools but SEMRush is the only one that actually does everything that I needed to do to get the strategic insights that I need in order to move my site forward. I’m going to be sharing with you a few of the things that I really enjoy about SEMRush that I think you can find valuable too, in the case where you’re wondering whether or not to give SEMRush a try.
Reason #1: SEMRush high-level insights
Digging right in though, the first thing that I love about SEMRush and the reason why I think it’s worth it is because it gets all of the high-level insights that you need around your website in a single dashboard view. What I mean by that is if, for example, I were just taking a look at amazon.com, I can see through the domain overview tool, all the key analytics around this particular site. This is really useful because it not only gives me a high-level understanding but also makes it really easy for me to start researching my competitors too.
So what you’ll see when you look at something like amazon.com here is that SEMRush summarizes this for you insights like what is your authority score? What is your organic search traffic versus your paid traffic in terms of your backlinks? What do your backlinks look like? And what has it been like over the last few years?
So you can actually see here how Amazon is actually going through a little bit of a downtrend in terms of their overall traffic, potentially because people are starting to go out more and they’re not spending as much time cooped up, you know, ordering things at home. But what you can do with SEMRush is you can actually get all of these insights in a single source of truth. And the reason why I think that’s really valuable is because it allows you to then actually see what parts of your content strategy are working.
If, for example, I wanted to just dig into my own individual website, I could go into it here, but also what I can do is I can also go into the sorts of different types of keyword intent and things like that all from this major dashboard view. When I’ve used Ahrefs in the past, it can do this too but it doesn’t do it in the sort of granularity and depth that SEMRush allows you to do things in on the basic plan. And that’s actually one of the most distinguishing factors in my opinion, between the SEMRush based plan and the Ahrefs based plan is that Ahrefs actually limits you in terms of some of the features that they show you past a few of the pages of the results whereas SEMRush based plan actually gives you a pretty much full access to the sort of data that you would need in those situations for your website.
Reason #2: Faster way around keyword research
The second reason why think SEMrush is worth it is because it gives you insights around keyword research in a faster way than any of the free keyword research tools. Now don’t get me wrong. I use other keyword research tools like Keywords Everywhere and whatnot when I’m doing my keyword research, but I find SEMRush to be the most effective when it comes to coming up with a master list of hundreds of keywords really really quickly.
There are some cheap knockoffs out there, but SEMRush has some of the most comprehensive data when you’re actually trying to dig deeply into a particular niche. And that’s really important in the case where you’re like some of my viewers where they’re running their own websites or they’re trying to grow their small business in a particular local area, it just gives them everything in one place as opposed to having to turn on a number of different Chrome extensions to find the answers to a few different key questions.
So taking a look at SEMRush, what you can always do is go to the keyword research tab on the left-hand panel. And then what you can do is you can actually go through all these different tools that SEMRush has pre-built in to help you in terms of learning more about the sort of ways that people are finding your website.
So in this case of Amazon, for example, what you can see is that when I go into the keyword overview section, I have again a lot of high-level data synthesized for me really, really quickly. So I can see things like the keyword variations of my particular brand phrase, amazon.com. I can also see what sort of questions are people asking around Amazon. And I can even look at related keywords that are coming up. And this is all in the same sort of tool that I found the domain overview tab in. So what this allows me to do is I can just quickly go into these sections, like the question section, and I can go ahead and start digging into the sorts of ways that people are asking questions around my brand and just like that.
SEMRush Keyword Magic Tool
This Keyword Magic Tool is helpful, not just for massive sites like Amazon, but also for sites of any size. If, for example, we wanted to make a startup website, I can look for the phrase startup and then from there, I can go through the hundreds of keyword phrases that are long tails that people ask around startups.
And this all gets aggregated in one place where you’re able to then filter down things based off of the sort of criteria that you find important. So if, for example, we know that our long tail strategy works really well, what we might do is we might filter for 30 or less in terms of keyword difficulty and then what we might also do is isolate for the things that have 3000 or less monthly searches. And just like that, I’m down to the 148 keywords that still get close to 19,000 monthly searches that are potentially interesting for me.
And so this is really helpful because as opposed to the old school way of doing this with free tools where you might have to search one of these phrases and then keep going down the rabbit hole one by one in the Google people also search results, you’re able to do it all in the same place and then quickly export it out. In fact, if I wanted to, all you had to do is click the export button here and then I’d have a CSV or a Excel file ready to go just like that.
Reason #3: SEMRUsh Gap Tools
The third reason why I think SEMRush has worth it is because of their gap tools. So their gap tools essentially will compare both keywords and backlink gaps of you and your closest competitors. This is some of the most advanced sort of cross-collaborative aspects that you can look at because essentially it’s like drawing a Venn diagram and finding which opportunities you have that you are not taking advantage of. A lot of other websites don’t do this nearly as easily as SEMRush so let’s go ahead and take a look at what those tools might look like.
On the left-hand side of your SEMRush account, you can go to the Keyword Gap Tool and then what you can do is you can look up something like amazon.com and then I can look at eBay, look at Walmart. Those are some of the most common competitors. And just like that SEMRush is going to go through all these three websites and look at the overlapping aspects of what are potential opportunities for us.
The reason why this is really cool is because you can do this for tons of different competitors. So in this situation, I believe I can add up to four competitors to my core domain. And then what they’ll also do for you is, they will actually filter them and bucket them based off of what they think it falls into.
So if, for example, you want to look at keywords that your domain doesn’t have ranking score, but your competitors do, you can just filter for the missing keywords or in the case where you’re potentially actually ranking for some keywords, but you just need to improve the on-page SEO some of these things, you can look at the weak keyword section, and then you can also look at things like untapped or unique and so on.
So I’ve used this a lot in the past when I am finding a competitor that’s really similar in website to me because it means that I’m likely not covering a topic nearly as extensively as I need to be in order to be the authoritative source of this particular niche or content area that I’m creating content on.
Aside from the Keyword Gap Tool, though, what you can also do is you can look at the same sort of analysis from a backlink standpoint. So on the left-hand side, there’s a backlink gap tool. All you need to do is click that guy and then from there, it’ll run that same sort of analysis for you, essentially taking a look at where are you getting linked to versus your competitors, where your competitor is getting links to versus you, and then start to identify a few opportunities for you that you may be able to start doing some backlink building efforts around in order to also get listed on those websites as well.
So all this is really accessible in SEMRush. It’s all in that same core tabular view, which makes it really easy when you’re trying to do a quick export and then analyze the data in a Google sheets or in Excel.
Other Helpful Resources on SEMRush
There’s a ton more that I think makes SEMRush worth it, such as the SEO content template, where you can actually type in a keyword and then it’ll create a content template for. But for the sake of this particular article, what I also want to draw your attention to are all the resources that the SEMRush team has been creating in the last few years.
If you get a SEMRush account, you can go to this resources section, and then you can actually go to their academy section or just check out some of their webinars and podcasts and things like that. And the reason why this is really valuable is because you would traditionally have to pay hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to learn this sort of content.
So Brian Dean recently sold Backlinko to SEMRush and he has become a figurehead in terms of the SEMRush academy. But essentially here, you’re going to find a ton of free online digital marketing courses, where you can earn certificates as well as learn some foundational skills that you need to be an effective digital marketer.
So in the case where you have never checked this out before, definitely take a look because they have a ton of free resources and courses that you’re able to really start learning from right off the bat when you have your SEMRush account.
That being said, it’s always useful to supplement your learning. So in the case where you do check out SEMRush’s Academy, I fully recommend you also check out the other competitors’ tools and resources and courses such as the Ahrefs YouTube channel, which goes over a lot of helpful content just like this channel.
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