SEMRush Review – A Kickass Keyword Research Tool, Rank Tracker & More


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  1. SEMRush is one of my can’t-live-without tools as well. I particularly like that they’ve gone to a default ‘live’ database, instead having to update once a month.

    I find it particularly useful for competitor research. Viewing my clients’ competitors’ PPC ads and keyword positions all in one place is awesome – saves me tons of time – and it also points out opportunities for me, and weak spots in the competitors. You can really tell who knows their way around structuring an AdWords campaign and who doesn’t – things like generic ads for all keywords, or lack of negative keywords (competitor ads showing for ‘baking products’ instead of ‘banking products’ ork ork)

    My cold dead fingers are right there with yours.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      LOL! Yeah, Sean says he loves the ability to not only see competitor ads from the PPC side of things, but to see which ads they’ve been running for 3+ months because it’s a better indication that they’re converting for them.

  2. Greg Shuey says:

    Holy crap! Never really played with it before. Purchasing it now!

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      LOL – hope you find it as awesome as I do Greg. :)

      • 1) When using keyword research, the volume numbers are in simple numbers and not hundreds or thousands, right?

        2) I bought SEMrush and been using it for 2 days. Liked it a lot until I found out that sometimes it could be very inaccurate with the keyword research. Read your post and the question you asked SEMrush about google not providing them the data. The reply you got doesn’t really talk about how are they giving stats about keywords (especially volume).

        • Rae Hoffman says:

          Joy – re #1, to my knowledge, yes. Re #2, I use the numbers in a relative sense. The actuals might not be totally on point, but I’m looking more at the relative popularity of one keyword to another.

  3. Harshit Jain says:

    I used it, it was really good, better than other tools.

  4. Reggie McBride says:

    Great Post Rae. A must share!

  5. Tony Spencer says:

    Wow. Great writeup Rae. We pay for the Guru level as well yet there are so many features you covered here that I didn’t even know existed.

    I’ll add one thing to the review: they have a very good API as well. We’ve integrated it into the data collection portion of our link building software and it provides invaluable insight.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Haha. There was one feature even I only found out about when doing the review. ;-)

      Good to know on the API – thanks for dropping that.

  6. Gabriella Sannino says:

    This is gold!! We used semrush years ago then, not sure what happened. I think our webmatser switched us over to another tool. (Market Samurai) Looks like it’s time to take another peek. Thanks for breaking it down Rae!

  7. I use the free version, but not to any great depth. After reading your post here I think I might have to get more involved with it and see for myself.


  8. SEMRush is one of the best tools that I have used, however it was a brief period.
    I use the trial version and it works like charm. Though not everything is available to you in the free one, you still are able to find out some gold nuggets and some things that your competitor are doing that you should too.
    I would always recommend SEMRush to everyone :)

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Yeah – I think the trial run will work for some cases. But, in order to go into full depth mode (as I do for my money sites and client sites) the pro version is a must for me. :) Thanks for the input Arbaz!

  9. Hey Rae, are you finding that SEMRush gives seriously different data compared to the Google AdWords Keyword Planner?

    For a law client in my city (in Australia), I could only get 10 as keyword traffic for “(city) lawyer” which seemed rather ridiculous to me. On SEMRush, I’m finding that the same keyword is going for 260. That’s a huge different there. I remember using SEMRush and GAKT in the past, but the variation in keyword volume wasn’t that incredibly different as opposed to right now.

    My question would be then: which estimate is right? 10 or 260?

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Angela – that’s a great question. The answer is somewhere in between. For example – checking a site that gets 1 million+ pageviews a month, Analytics shows me that 4,100+ keywords drove keyword traffic organically with their brand name in it. And remember, those are just the ones that they actually get traffic from – there are tons of others with search volume they don’t get traffic from and not provided might filter some smaller phrases completely out (not provided for organic search is only at 70% on this site right now).

      GKP shows me 650 keywords for the same term, which is funny, because Analytics shows about that same number of referral keywords when limited to reporting paid search only. SemRush shows me 4,183 results when I type in the term.

      On another site with about 100K monthly pageviews, GA organic shows 389 terms for a core two word phrase (it doesn’t rank super well), GKP shows 800 and SEMRush shows 784. BUT, the GKP results include tons of variations and related searches for of one of the words in the two word phrase I search where as SEMRush shows only those with a full phrase match.

      That said SEMRush sometimes shows duplicates and keywords it shows 0 volume for. So again, the answer is in between.

      Also, because I get asked about GKP a lot – part of me not using it is a little paranoia too. Don’t know that I trust the guy who I pay for advertising on keywords to tell me which keywords are the best keywords to rank on. ;-)

  10. Gayle Rogers says:

    In my soon to be encrypted future, I’ve been looking at new keyword solutions that will provide insight on where we are now, keywords within striking distance and future recommendations (based on trends, competition, etc.), and I have a few questions you may be able to help me answer. I called SEMRush the other day to engage in a conversation with them and they were not very interested in talking only wanted to have me attend a webinar that I never received an invite for…) Anyway:

    1. How well does this tool work with local keywords? GKP is largely useless for me (I agree with you…don’t buy the medicine from the same guy that tells you you’re sick), all my clients needs are geographically targeted. If I can’t get that local info it ends up being less effective.

    2. Keyword suggestions. I worked with conductor for a year and one feature I loved that they had was a list of keywords that you rank on fringe pages for, or keywords with high KEI, that you are not currently targeting. Does SEMRush have anything like that?

    3. How does SEMRush compare to Wordstream? Have you used or reviewed or used Wordstream before?

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Hey Gayle :) Re your questions…

      1. I don’t do any local based SEO, so I haven’t had much experience with how well SEMRush performs in regards to geo-related search terms.

      2. In the review above, in the Top 200 Positions section I covered SEMRush’s variation of this. However, they define the terms. I wish they would allow US to populate a list of keywords for them to base the Top 200 positions from though. But, I guess that’s one of the reasons for the extreme pricing difference between them and Conductor. ;-)

      3. I’ve used WordStream over the years plenty of times, but I’ve never done an in-depth review on them. Guess I should add that to my list of “to dos” eh? :)

  11. Only took me a month to see your wave ;-)

  12. Hi! You definitely convinced me to get SEMrush! Now, I can’t wait to play with it :) Thanks from Paris for this nice review.

  13. I use the free version, but not to any great depth. After reading your post here I think I might have to get more involved with it and see for myself.

  14. MarcusJohnson says:

    Very detailed review, does it also offer reports on mobile rankings? I have been using SEO Rank Monitor for quite a while now and I am loving it as it has this feature since most people now are using mobile so it really does matter especially with my kind of business.

  15. Great post! great read. But I haven’t found what I was searching for about semrush.
    I been trying to figure out the traffic estimator graph on the right side of the screen. it confuses me a lot. I am confused whether or not it claims to be how many visitors a site gets every day, or only every month in that particular date it’s showing. The niche I am targeting gets around 5-6000 searches per month combined with different keywords, but when I look up a competitors site it looks like it gets 400 sometimes 600 visitors per day? or am I getting it wrong? it shouldn’t be that many visitors, when I compare it to the keyword planner. Is it really claiming to show the amount of visitors per day a site gets aswell?

    • Rasmus – the graph shows you the overall traffic to the site and not only that of the keyword you’ve typed in. So, it might be coming from other searches as well.

  16. Eric Van Buskirk says:

    I used to oversee major accts for SEMrush in US. If you want to extend the tool by using their API– or by bypassing payment for the fancy interface – use an API modules for their data.

    Rae, your review does a great job showing the benefits of the data in the tool! But for some all they need is $50 of API credit and free modules give you more advanced data access:

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