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SEMrush Review: Pricing & Features

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Whether you’re a marketer or a brand that’s looking to grow, your main challenge resides in understanding where your marketing practices are falling short, where you’re having success and how to improve your content to increase your chances of desired outcomes. More specifically, the challenge of driving traffic to your website that engages users.

In this article, we will discuss how you can leverage SEMrush, a digital marketing research tool that enables better business outcomes for your overall content and strategy.

Luckily you don’t have to ‘reinvent the wheel’. There is already amazing data at your fingertips that you can use to generate content ideas, enhance articles and deliver value to your target audience in a way that your competitors haven’t yet accomplished.

What is SEMrush?

 

SEMrush is an All-in-one Marketing Toolkit that provides data insights about your own online presence and content, and also, your competitors as well. By leveraging this tool you’re able to:

  • Audit your online presence and enhance based on recommendations
  • Audit your competitors online presence and beat them at their own game.

As we move into 2021 and beyond, search engines (predominantly Google) have stressed the importance of providing a better user experience. By auditing your own organization in addition to competitors, you’ll be able to develop quality content that stands the test of time.

How Much Does It Cost?

 

SEMrush has 3 pricing plans available with an array of upgraded features, as you continue to grow your account.

If you’re turned off by the price, even their least expensive plan provides more than enough features for you to get started and grow your business.

The takeaway: The insight that SEMrush provides makes it well worth the price. Any organization that is serious about growing their business, via their online presence, should be using it.

SEMrush

Let’s break down a step by step review of each aspect that SEMrush offers in aiding your digital marketing efforts.

Creating Your First Project

 

Each domain within SEMrush gets created as a project. If you’re a marketer that does this for multiple organizations, then you’ll continue to add more projects as you go. However, if you’re only doing this for a singular company domain, you’ll only be required to create one project and continuously optimize.

To begin, create a project and then you’ll be directed to the below dashboard allowing you to set up your configurations.

1.Website Audit

 

The website audit gives you a comprehensive overview of your website and can immediately paint a much clearer picture on what needs to be done to improve.

You’re given a site health score based on a number of factors such as:

  • Crawlability within search engines
  • Security (HTTPS)
  • Performance (Speed)
  • Internal Linking (Navigation)
  • Markup (Structured data)

It’s important to keep in mind that SEMrush is a difficult grader, but it ultimately ensures that your website is fully optimized and easy for Google to understand what you are about.

The initial audit can be overwhelming, but after clicking into each dataset, you’re given what the issues or errors are and how to improve them.

You can export this data or save it as a PDF, so that you can track progress as you make improvements throughout your site.

2. Position Tracking

 

Next up is the position tracking tab that shows how much traffic your website has, your average position and what are your top keywords. Below is a snippet of a new site that’s being built out.

As this site begins to generate higher quality content, visibility %, traffic and average position will all begin to progress.

Although these tools highlight where you’re falling short, it provides benchmark data that helps you improve your website over time and generate significantly more traffic.

In addition to your traffic and positions, this tab will also show you which pages are increasing in average positions within search engines and which pages have declined.

For simplicity, assume that every 10 positions is a page within search engines. For example, 1-10 = page 1, 11 – 20 = page 2, etc.

Finally, track your trends over time to ensure that you’re on the right growth path with the SEMrush visibility trend.

 

3. On-Page SEO Checker

 

The On-Page SEO checker uses automation and AI to determine:

  • Which pages are ranking the best for your site
  • Which keywords those pages are ranking for
  • How to further optimize those pages based on highly ranked competitors

The tool does all of this for you without even having to input any competitor data (although we’ll get to competitor analysis later for a more customized, in-depth analysis).

Let’s say a given page is generating X amount of volume per month and you’re beginning to rank keywords for that page. So, SEMrush will show you that it’s a top page, track the status and give you ideas on how to optimize that specific page.

This specific example has 4 ideas -when clicking on it, we get to the below recommendations.

Optimizing meta descriptions, enriching content and backlink acquisition ideas are just a few areas of the many recommendations that SEMrush will come up with.

In addition to giving recommendations, you’ll even see the level of difficulty to accomplish the task. Daunting at first, start with the easier tasks at hand and then work your way to the more difficult tasks.

Just by following steps from the SEMrush machine learning, you’ll be able to better rank your pages and again, get you closer to your goal of driving more traffic to your website.

 

4. Keyword Research

 

SEMrush is arguably known most for their keyword research tool.

Let’s dive into finding keywords to target for ranking.

Within the keyword magic tool, insert a keyword or keyphrase that you’d like to gain insight on.

For this example, we’ll look at some data on ‘keyword research tools’, since that is the topic at hand.

Some important data to look at:

  • Search volume: you’ll want to target higher search volume words as you look to gain traffic
  • Keyword difficulty: defined by how hard it will be for you to rank for that key term given the quality of content that’s already out there from competitors

*Finding a mix of higher search volume keywords with a lower keyword difficulty is key, but often difficult to find that combination.

Keywords with a difficulty of >70 will be extremely difficult to rank for initially; so as you’re starting out, look for terms with a lower difficulty to go after (we’ll show you how shortly).

Don’t be afraid to also look at lower volume search terms (< 200) as you’re more likely to receive quality traffic with intent on those terms, as they’ll be much more specific to your value-add.

The keyword overview will also give you keyword variations, questions and related keywords based on your initial search. Regarding the snippet above, there are over 900 keyword variations, 40 questions and an additional 3k + keyword variations to look at.

This means that if your initial keyword doesn’t have the desired search volume or difficulty, there are plenty of other options for you to go after that give you a greater chance of success.

On the sidebar of the keyword tool, you can even drill down your search terms so that they’re much more granular and have a specific target word in the keyphrase.

With the keyword magic tool, you’re provided with keyword insights that will help you drive your overall content strategy based on your target market.

Having a hard time coming up with keywords to target or need help outranking competition? Time for some competitor analysis.

SEMrush

 

5. Competitor Analysis

 

The competitive research tool within SEMrush is one of the most appealing tools within the platform. By entering a competitor’s domain within the search bar, you’ll gain access to their traffic insights even keywords that they are targeting.

Additionally, you’ll be able to review their top-performing pages and content, which can help you drive your content strategy in an effort to steal some of their traffic.

To further drive content strategy, look at the keywords that they’re targeting in addition to how much traffic your competitors are driving to their website.

You’ll receive a list of their top-performing keywords, where they rank for those keywords and how much traffic it drives.

Choose the keywords that make sense for your business and determine if the search volume and keyword difficulty that we discussed in the keyword research section is a potential fit to target.

Once you’ve begun creating high-quality content that targets keywords based on your competitive research, you’ll also be able to run a competitive backlink analysis. Essentially, from where are your competitors gaining backlinks?

Enter in your primary competitors and find prospects to target for backlinks. Once you have an idea how your competitors obtain backlinks, you can then formulate a backlink acquisition strategy to obtain them for your content as well.

Competitor analysis is a powerful tool that helps you get to know the competition and optimize your strategy accordingly.

5. Backlink Audit & Link Building

 

Sticking with the theme of backlink acquisition, most marketers would argue that one of the single most important SEO factors is building quality backlinks.

By using the SEMrush backlink audit, you’re given insight on how many sites are linking back to your website, the authority and spam score of those sites, and the ability to either whitelist or disavow those links based on authority and toxicity score via an easy disavow tool.

The Link Building Tool provides what SEMrush calls “Domain Prospects”. Domain prospects are a large list of potential backlink opportunities put together based primarily on keywords and your competitors.

SEMrush compiles a list of potential prospects that you could reach out to in an attempt to acquire backlinks and they rate these sites based on two factors:

  • Authority Score – Domain score that grades the quality of the site
  • Rating – Based on quality and accessibility of prospects site

Once you identify the prospects you are looking to reach, you can add them “To In Progress” list in which SEMrush has created a workflow that integrates with your email and keeps track of the prospects that you have reached out to, still need to reach out to, if you have received a response or if it is time to follow-up.

Acquiring backlinks is incredibly important to both your site and your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts.

Backlinks help search engines identify which websites have authority and expertise within their industry and will serve those pages to users searching for those terms.

Think of it as your reputation. If established and reputable sites within your industry are linking to your site, it is more likely that your site will be seen as popular and reputable.

Acquiring backlinks can sometimes be grueling and a mundane task, but SEMrush provides the automation capabilities within their platform to make it that much easier.

SEMrush

 

6. Organic Traffic Insights

 

Organic Traffic Insights provides Google Analytics search data related to the top landing pages of your domain. It is an easy task to integrate Google Analytics with SEMrush.

When you enter the page, you will immediately notice the ‘Organic Search Traffic’ stats that are laid out. These stats include:

  • Users
  • New Users
  • Sessions
  • Pages/Session
  • Avg. Session Duration
  • Bounce Rate

Stats such as average session duration and bounce rate can really help you determine if your site was relevant to the keywords that the user was searching. The ‘User’ and ‘Session’ stats show you the user growth within your site and the amount of interaction you are getting within the pages on your site.

The next part of the ‘Organic Traffic Insights’ page is the review of your landing pages and specifically the keywords related to each landing page. This tool gives you the same stats as earlier, not only for the entire site, but also on the pages that users landed on within your site.

If you click “GCS” under keywords, you will be brought to a page that provides you with “(not provided) Keywords”. These are the exact keywords that are leading traffic to your site and they allow you to determine if you are targeting the correct keywords. If not, this information gives you the chance to adjust your keyword strategy.

Being able to identify the specific keywords that are diving organic traffic to your website is one of the most beneficial features on the Organic Traffic Insights tool. With increased traffic, you will be able to better use the google analytics search data to optimize your site as effectively as possible.

7. PPC Keyword Tool

 

The majority of this discussion, thus far, has touched on organic search/rankings. If you’re looking to complement your organic efforts with some paid digital advertising, then the PPC keyword tool is your next stop.

Before kicking off your digital advertising campaigns, the SEMrush PPC Keyword tool will help you better understand which keyword and keyphrases to target by analyzing:

  • The volume of monthly searches the keyword/keyphrase receives
  • The cost-per-click
  • Competitiveness of bidding for specific keywords

This is comparable to the Google Ads Keyword Planning tool; but it’s beneficial to have it in more than one place for comparison purposes and simplicity within the tool.

As you continually track your targeted keywords, you’ll also be able to group them into categories so that you can easily categorize them based on campaign goals and target keywords/keyphrases.

Tracking keywords that are broken down per campaign will also allow you to more efficiently track your keywords and add or remove them based on the data insight (search volume, competition level, CPC).

Set clear goals on your desired search volume, competition level and CPC, then import those terms into the SEMrush PPC tool to drive your decision on exactly what to target and how much you’ll spend.

 

8. Competitors Advertising

 

As you’ve already analyzed your organic competitors and traffic, now it’s time to dive into your paid digital advertising competition.

In the advertising domain overview tool, add the domain of a competitor. In this case, let’s use amazon.com.

You’ll receive a full picture of their paid spend and paid keywords that they’re targeting. Click on the paid search traffic for further data insight on the number of keywords they’re targeting and how much they’re spending.

Here are a few examples of their targeted words, where they rank for them, the volume of searches per month, and the costs/competition level associated with them.

The Competitors tab will even give you further competitive analysis that breaks down keywords that a number of competitors have in common.

SEMrush has leveled the playing field a bit with their paid competitive analysis tool.

It wasn’t that long ago where all you were able to do was sit and wonder what the big players in your industry were doing; now, it’s directly at your fingertips to help you more effectively deploy your digital advertising dollars.

Within display advertising, you’ll even have access to what their ads look like so that you can gain ideas and further optimize them for more clicks.

Lastly, leverage the CPC map to better understand digital advertising expenditure based on geographic location.

The map shows you a high level, average cost-per-click and then allows you to click on each region to better understand costs. This allows you to be much more efficient with your bidding strategy.

For example, bidding in North Dakota for Keywords vs. Bidding in New York for keywords will look much different.

Now that we dove into organic and paid, let’s go through your overall brand and promotion.

 

9. Brand Monitoring

 

We continually hear about the importance of building a brand and the SEMrush brand monitoring tool helps you monitor your progress toward that.

It’s important to follow-up with the fact that as you’re starting out. This is an incredibly challenging goal, so don’t get frustrated if you’re not seeing the results immediately – this is a long game.

When setting up this portion of your digital marketing tool, you’ll specify your brand and related keywords associated with your brand to track any mentions or tags within your online presence.

For example, SEMrush would specifically track their company name and then add keywords such as:

  • SEMrush Brand Monitoring
  • SEMrush Website Audit
  • SEMrush Social Media Poster

This allows you to not just track when you’re mentioned, but to track what your audience associates your brand with.

The content that you create should align directly with the brand association you’re striving toward.

10.Social Media Tracker & Social Media Poster

 

As you think about brand monitoring, a driving force in growing your brand is through social media. Although we wouldn’t necessarily recommend the paying for the price of SEMrush for just the social media tracking and posting capabilities, it’s a huge bonus feature in terms of value for your marketing software.

The social media tracker will show you analytics for each channel that breaks down:

  • How many posts over a given time
  • Which posts drove engagement
  • Actions followers are taking
  • Mentions of those posts

With the data insights, you’ll better understand which posts are providing the most value to your target audience and then be able to create posts similar to those that have performed better.

These posts can be considered direct feedback from your following and further help you drive your content strategy to drive traffic to your website.

Now that you have a better understanding of which posts are driving the most engagement, you’ll be able to leverage the social media poster to automate your posting schedule, so that you’re not bogged down with manually posting all of your content.

You’re given a simple calendar interface so that you can schedule posts in advance across multiple channels. This example only shows LinkedIn and Twitter, but you have the option to schedule across an array of social channels.

As we’ve already harped on competitor analysis, be sure to add your competitors to the tool as well. This way you can get a gauge of what they’re posting and the engagement that they’re receiving. It’s a good benchmark to compare across your channels in an effort to generate more effective social posting.

Your ultimate goal with social media is to share your content that you’ve spent significant time strategizing and creating to drive more website traffic and convert customers to leads. The social media tracker and poster tools greatly complement those efforts.

11. Custom Reporting

 

SEMrush provides a custom reporting functionality that allows you to add a variety of data to either already templated reports that SEMrush provides or reports that you can build on your own using some of the data that we talked about previously. That data includes, but is not limited to the following:

Within this tool you can drag and drop various data points into your report and fully customize both what your report looks like and what information you deem necessary.

SEMrush’s customizable reports give you the option to not only create visually appealing reports, but also input your own branding within the reports.

If you don’t want to create your own reports, SEMrush also provides templated reports that cover some of the most popular data points that the consumer may find beneficial.

In addition to the templated reports that SEMrush already provides, once you create a report, SEMrush makes it easy for you, or your team members, to recreate that report in the future by providing the “Quick Clone & Modify” tool. With this, you can clone a previously created report and easily change the domain of the information within the report.

For example, if you run a report using one domain and want to run the exact report for a different client, SEMrush allows you to use the same report – but it will automatically update all of the information within the template once you provide the new domain that you want the report to use.

Once you’ve created the report that you want, SEMrush provides the functionality that allows you to turn your report into a PDF, choose who you want to send the report to and schedule automatic delivery on whatever timeline you so choose. This makes it so you only have to create a report once and then can regularly send that report automatically to whoever and whenever you need.

The custom reporting tool really allows you to create easy, visually appealing reports that have the ability to cover any of the wide range of data covered previously.

Takeaways and Recommendation

 

We’ve scratched the surface on the functionality that SEMrush has to offer, but it’s a tool that goes so in depth that you’ll need to try it out for yourself and continue learning to best leverage all that it has to offer.

Although we may not have hit each aspect, below are a few of our takeaways on the value that the tool provides:

  • Understanding your website and content: You’ll learn what’s working well, what has room for improvement and ideas/recommendations on making those improvements.
  • Understanding your competitors: Optimizing your own website and content strategy isn’t complete without better understanding what your competitors are doing well. Competitor analysis ensures that you understand your industry better and, in turn, can better serve your target audience.
  • Organic and Paid traffic insight: While looking at your own online presence and your competitors, you’re able to understand what drives traffic and make enhancements to increase traffic to your website.
  • Automation: With content being king and more to accomplish on a daily basis than you think is possible, SEMrush enables automation for getting things done quickly.
  • Enhanced Visual Data Insight: Everything this post discussed is about analyzing data and making decisions. Via clean reporting and a user-friendly interface within the platform, the data will paint a clear picture and provide a much better story to help you drive organizational decisions within your marketing practice.

Reach out to let us know what tools you’re finding most valuable or if you’re looking for some help with all of the features that the tool has to offer.

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