SEMrush Review & Tutorial
SEMrush Review & Tutorial

SEMrush Review & Tutorial 2020 (+ 30 Days FREE GURU Plan)

In this article, I would review the SEMrush suite from top to bottom and I’ll show you 6 things to do right away with SEMrush to hit the ground running and get the most from the tool.

Let’s get started!

#1. What is SEMrush and what can it do for me?

SEMrush started as a complete Search Engine Marketing suite but now it’s even more than that.

It has many more tools including Traffic estimation for competitors (more on this later), Website Audit, Outreach Tool, Backlinks Monitor, Keyword discovery, PPC keywords tool, Advertising Research (what ads your competitors are running), Brand Monitoring, Product Listing Ads, SEO Writing Assistant, Social Media Tracker, Social Media Poster etc.

Let’s get into more details about SEMrush tools. Shall we?

#1.1 Domain Analytics

SEMrush Review - Domain analytics: Monetize.info
SEMrush Review – Domain analytics: Monetize.info

I consider domain analytics to be the main tool of SEMrush as it can give you a complete overview of a domain name. In a nutshell, you can see how much traffic it gets, how many keywords it ranks for and the distribution by country, if he’s doing any PPC ads, the number of the backlinks, competitors, the pages it ranks organically and keyword ranking evolutions.

As you can see from the picture above, Monetize.info was hit by the Google Jun 7 update. Using the traffic graph is easy to identify what was causing a traffic drop and take recovering measures.

It’s also useful to spot top organic keywords and position changes as I’ve outlined in the picture below. Keep in mind that you can do this for any site. It’s very useful to analyze both your site and your competitors.

SemRush - Top pages and keywords of a domain
SEMrush – Top pages and keywords of a domain

#1.2 Traffic analytics

Traffic analytics is a new feature of SEMrush that no other tool is offering. It is a part of a separate Competitive Insights add-on, priced at $200 that you can purchase it with every plan.

Traffic Analytics works by giving you an almost Google-Analytics-level sneak peek into your competitors’ websites. You can get to Traffic Analytics by going from the dashboard to Competitive Research –> Traffic Analytics.

SemRush - Traffic Analytics
SEMrush – Traffic Analytics

Below is a traffic comparison between the major players in the SEO tools industry. You can do this in the regular traffic overview to see who’s getting more pageviews, a better bounce rate, etc. I think this tool is helpful for allowing you to figure out what page designs are working/not working.

SemRush Traffic Analytics Benchmark
SemRush Traffic Analytics Benchmark

In the audience overlap, you can see how much traffic you are sharing with your competitors. For instance, from the picture below you would see that SEMrush is sharing a ±14% audience with Ahrefs and 16% with Moz.com

SemRush Traffic Analytics: Audience Gap
SEMrush Traffic Analytics: Audience Gap

I find Traffic Analytics information being very valuable for several reasons:

  • You can take a peek into your competitor’s traffic sources, their bounce rate, etc.
  • When you purchase advertising you can see if the traffic numbers given by publishers are accurate.

Check this blog post from SEMrush to understand all the capabilities of this tool. As I’ve previously said is just like you would take a peek into your competitor’s Google Analytics and see all their sources of traffic and volumes.

#1.3 Backlinks audit

This is an important tool to help you maintain upkeep on the sites that are linking back to yours. In order to maintain a healthy SEO status, you want to make sure that the backlinks you’re receiving come from reputable sources.

SemRush Backlinks Audit
SEMrush Backlinks Audit

Also, to protect your site from being penalized by Google for being affiliated with non-reputable sites, use SEMrush’s Backlink Audit tool to check where your backlinks are coming from.

Last year, Monetize.info was attacked through negative SEO by placing hundreds of thousands of low-quality links with porn anchor texts. I’ve used the Backlinks audit tool to identify these links and create a disavow file and then upload it to Google.

With the SEMrush Backlink Audit tool you’ll be able to find all your backlinks via the Search Console integration, discover and remove any bad backlinks, report backlinks to Google’s Disavow tool and keep your backlink record clean and full of only the sites you want to be affiliated with.

#1.4 Link building tool

With the SEMrush Link building tool, You can find literally thousands of backlink opportunities all targeted to your business and your keywords.

It’s an outreach tool combined with a backlinks monitoring tool. All you have to do is set up an email account and a pitch and SEMrush Link Building tool to contact the website owners with your pitch.

SemRush Link Building Tool
SEMrush Link Building Tool

#1.5 Site Audit

On-page SEO is these days more important than ever. Titles, meta descriptions, alt tags, h1 headings, website speed, duplicate content, broken links are settings you need to get right if you want to increase your website’s exposure in search.

Once you register your website with the Site Audit you will get a report with the errors and warnings you have to fix. This is how the audit screen looks like:

SemRush SEO Audit Overview
SEMrush SEO Audit Overview

As you can see from the picture above, there is room for improvement. The errors should be addressed immediately next to the warnings and you should look on notices too. As always said, if your on-site SEO isn’t close to good it makes your life difficult on off-site SEO.

SEMrush Website Audit Tool
SEMrush Website Audit Tool

#1.6 Keyword Magic Tool

SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool enables you to find over 2 million keywords to choose from after entering one “seed” keyword. You can then sort the results by search volume, ranking difficulty, competitiveness, CPC data and more in one easy to read table.

These results are related to the seed keyword you entered and you’re able to further narrow down the results by search topic so you can really hone in on the keywords that are most relevant to you.

SemRush Keyword Magic Tool
SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool

This tool helps you to find long-tail keywords that are applicable to your business so you can create more opportunities to target those keywords in your content.

#1.7 Position Tracker

Your keywords position in search engines is important, especially if you work hard at optimizing your content, product pages and website for SEO, so make use of SEMrush’s Position Tracking tool to monitor your national, regional and local search engine positions for any keyword.

SemRush Position Tracker
SEMrush Position Tracker

This data is updated daily so you’ll always have accurate information in regards to where you’re ranking for your target keywords at all times.

SEMrush also has a mobile app that will let you view your keyword position when you’re on the go. At the moment the app is available for Android phones but soon maybe an iOS version as well. I don’t know about you but I already have Google Analytics and Facebook Pages apps on mobile so the SemRush app is a nice addition.

#1.8 Brand Monitoring

When your brand gets mentioned by other brands or customers on social media, blogs or just on the web in general, it can have a hugely positive effect on your brand’s image as well as your SEO in some cases.

The Brand Monitoring tool allows you to easily track all mentions of your and your competitors’ brand, product or service on the web and social media. All mentions are assigned a sentiment based on text analysis so you can see what’s users’ general opinion on your brand or competitors’ brands: positive, neutral or negative.

SemRush Brand Monitoring
SEMrush Brand Monitoring

Speaking about competitors, SEMrush Brand Monitoring allows you to get insights into how your competitors create opportunities – and seize them! With its help, you can research their past and current promotional activities and adopt their best tactics.

#1.9 Content Analyzer

With SEMrush Content Analyzer, you may dive deep into the analytics of your content so you can better understand how it’s performing and how your audience is engaging with it.

You will be able to view important metrics such as visitor sessions, durations and bounce rate as well as social shares and backlinks to the content in particular. Also, you can compare posts against one another and even get suggestions on how to better optimize your content for search engines.

SemRush Content Analyzer
SEMrush Content Analyzer

SEMrush Post Tracking offers you with all the metrics you need to evaluate your content’s results on other websites, which was always a struggle.

#1.10 Organic Traffic Insights

Organic Traffic Insights combines your Google AnalyticsGoogle Search Console, and SEMrush data all into a single dashboard. This includes data such as click-through rate, sessions, and volume with organic keywords and rankings found by SEMrush and Google Search Console.

With this integration, you can uncover those “not-provided” keywords from Google Analytics and quickly cross-reference data sources to get the most accurate overall look at your website’s organic search performance.

SemRush Organic Traffic Insights
SEMrush Organic Traffic Insights

Organic Traffic Insights helps you better understand what is happening on your website so you will be able to improve your SEO strategies based on traffic statistics and the keywords you already have in your ‘portfolio’.

#1.11 PPC Keyword Tool

This tool is specifically designed to help you create successful PPC campaigns. Obtain your keywords from various sources, narrow down your keyword list, remove duplicates with one click, get rid of keywords that cause your ads to compete against each other so you will have a  list of keywords to the best and most relevant words.

With the SEMrush PPC Keyword tool, you can create different campaigns and ad groups with just one click.

#1.12 Social Media Tracker

Social Media Tracker will let you track social audience, activity and engagement of you and your competitors on Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

You can compare your engagement trend to that of your competitors, see the total number of likes, shares, and comments. Also, this tool will pull all your results into a customizable easy-to-read PDF report. Use it to showcase your results and impress the audience!

#1.13 Social Media Poster

SEMrush Social Media Poster helps you schedule your posts on all major social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube.

Check the results to find out the best time for your post, create posts while you’re surfing your website or another one, edit images. You can even import posts from CSV files. Also, add your competitor’s social profiles and learn from them what works and what doesn’t. You will get weekly updates by email and can create PDF reports.

#1.14 Advertising research

The advertising research tool is very powerful. Later on, in the SEMrush tutorial part, I will explain how you can use it properly to make money as a blogger.

SemRush Advertising Research Tool
SEMrush Advertising Research Tool

With this tool, you will be able to analyze in detail all the ads of your competitors. You will see the keywords they are bidding on, other competitors that bid on the same keyword, ad copies, all ads used to date and all the landing pages they are advertising.

SemRush Avertising Research Tool: Ads History
SEMrush Advertising Research Tool: Ads History
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#2. SEMrush Plans and Pricing

SEMrush offers multiple plans for the different use cases, and you could pick the one you would like to get started with.

  • Pro plan – $99,95/mo
  • Guru plan – $199,95/mo
  • Business plan – $$399,95/mo
  • Enterprise plan – Custom pricing

On top of that, if you need Traffic Analytics (the tool I described at point 1.2 of this review) you should add $200 as this is now a part of a separate Competitive Insights add-on purchased separately.

Check here a full feature comparison done by SEMrush. I suggest you look closely at the features and decide what you need and what don’t. Also, keep in mind that you can upgrade or downgrade anytime you want.

SemRush Plans and Pricing
SEMrush Plans and Pricing

Their GURU plan is the most popular one, according to SEMrush is used by 64% of their paid users. I go with the GURU plan as well but If I would be on a tight budget or just started I would go with the PRO plan.

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Let’s continue our SEMrush review with the PROs and CONs of this digital marketing suite.

#3. SEMrush PROs and CONs

I’m using SEMrush for over 7 years already and I have to tell you it’s one of my favorite tools.

SEMrush PROs:

  • It offers 28 tools to help you track and optimize various your business and website.
  • It’s a complete suite so you can do the tasks you need in a unique dashboard without moving data.
  • It has an academy with courses and exams that come with certifications.
  • SemRush releases almost daily blog posts, webinars or ebooks.

SEMrush CONs:

  • Sometimes the data isn’t really accurate as it differs from comparable tools and even from Google and Bing keyword planners
  • Takes a learning curve to use it at its maximum capacity.
  • Some customers complain that it’s too complex and the interface is not so easy to use.

Considering all these I find SEMrush being a powerful SEO suite that worth the money you pay for if you’re using it regularly.

Keep in mind that it is not really set up and forget tool. It still has plenty of automation tools like SEO audit, backlink audit, advertising research but if you want to use it to its maximum capacity you should dedicate at least several hours weekly to set up everything and analyze the data gathered.

#4. SEMrush Support

The SEMrush Academy and SEMrush Community are great places to learn more about SEMrush and its features. Besides English, there are tutorials available in French and Spanish.

SEMrush worked a lot to make the suite available to a large audience. The website and tools are available in the following languages: English, Spanish, Deutch, French, Italian, Portugues, Russian, Japanese and Chinese.

Phone support is available through local numbers for the following countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy, and Australia so if you live in these countries you shouldn’t have any long call charges.

If you prefer to use email you could use this email address: mail@semrush.com. A LiveChat is also available.

Ok, now that you’ve read our SEMrush review it’s time to see in practice what exactly can SEMrush do for you.

#5. SEMrush Tutorial(s)

5.1: Start a Project in SEMrush

With SEMrush you can start a project and connect a lot of components of your digital marketing into the SEMRush dashboard. Start by clicking the Projects link in the left sidebar:

SEMrush Projects dashboard
SEMrush Projects dashboard

When this is your first project, you’ll land on a page with a list of features for projects. Click the “Create my first project” button to get started.

Here you will be able to get awesome analytics on your site’s SEO, SEO ideas, the ability to connect to social media – everything you need to monitor and resource new ideas.

There’s a lot you can do with a project. For a detailed guide of all the options and how to set them up, see this knowledge base page from SEMRush.

5.2. Find Your Current Organic Keyword Rankings

Before you can start to improve your rankings, you first need to know where you’re at right now. This step will show you the low-hanging fruit – great opportunities where you can move up the rankings quickly.

Start by typing your domain name in the search bar at the top of the dashboard.

SEMrush Domain Overview
SEMrush Domain Overview

As you can see, I’ve put our domain, monetize.info, and that pulls up the Domain Overview.

Now, this is A LOT of information, and it’s all useful, but we’re going to focus on one section to find those opportunities.

Scroll down the page until you get to the TOP ORGANIC KEYWORDS section on the left side of the screen and then click “View full report.”

When you get to the full report, it lists your top organic keywords and filters according to traffic by default. Click on any of the parameters at the top to sort by those.

Sort by “Pos.” (position) first to see if there are keywords you’re ranking on the first page of Google (10 or below).

Next, search by “Volume” and see if there are keywords with very high volume that you’re ranking on the first two or three pages of Google (20-30 or below).

Make note of the keywords and posts that you find. They’re prime candidates to optimize with the tips included in the last section of this tutorial.

5.3. Check Your Backlinks

The next step is to look at your backlink portfolio. Backlinks are simply when another website has linked to a page on your website. How many links you have pointed to your site and pages is a major ranking factor for search engines like Google and Bing.

Start by clicking the Backlinks link nested under the Domain Analytics section in the left sidebar of SEMRush. You can also drill down further by clicking the Backlinks tab for details on each of your backlinks.

SEMRush Backlinks Overview
SEMrush Backlinks Overview

Again, having a clean, diverse portfolio of backlinks is critically important to SEO. SEMRush will tell you everything you need to know about your backlinks. The Backlinks page will show you an overview of your total number of backlinks, referring domains, backlink types and more. You can even export the information.

The Backlink Gap tool can easily compare your backlinks with one of your competitors. This way you could easily see where they got backlinks from and try to get one as well. For that, you can use the SEMrush link building tool.

In the picture below you can see we can try to get backlinks from apple.com, github.io as our competitor, nichepursuits.com did it.

SEMrush Backlinks Gap
SEMrush Backlinks Gap

Which segues nicely into our next step…

More on backlinks:

5.4 Steal Backlinks from Your Competitors

When your competitors are ranking highly for a keyword, they’ve almost certainly achieved that through great on-site content and great off-site content – meaning good backlinks.

What you can do is take your competitor that’s ranking for keywords you want and pop them into SEMRush.

Do the same thing you just did to check your backlinks, but do it with the competitor’s domain.

Stay on the Backlinks page, go to the search bar at the top and enter your competitor’s URL.

SEMrush Competitors Backlinks
SEMrush Competitors Backlinks

Now, export their list of backlinks. Then compare their backlinks to yours on a Google Docs or Excel spreadsheet.

One cool thing about SEMRush is it gives a score for each backlink. Use that score to determine your competitor’s top-quality backlinks with the highest scores.

Once you’ve located those, click through to the backlink to go to the source website. Often times you’ll find that is a publication, resource, or list you can reach out to and get a backlink to your content from.

That’s how you “steal” backlinks from your competition.

5.5. Get paying advertisers customers from your competitors

With Advertising Research you cand see all the businesses that advertised on a given keyword. As you may know, here at Monetize.info we also offer content and publishing content and we know ClickIntelligence.co.uk has purchased Google Ads on relevant keywords.

SEMrush Advertising Research
SEMrush Advertising Research

We add this website in advertising research and we found other 57 agencies that purchased ads on the exact same keywords.  So now we have 58 potential customers for our service. And that’s only from several keywords. You can add other keywords or advertisers and get even more potential customers.

All you have to do know is to create an awesome pitch and get in touch with all of them. Keep in mind that these companies spent money so they are serious.

5.6 Find top pages of your competitors

When you’re looking at an organic keyword report, many of the keywords you see are coming from a single page on the site. For example, there might be hundreds of keyword variations that my competitor ranks for, but all those rankings are for a single page which is a cornerstone article.

SEMRush Top Pages of a competitor
SEMrush Top Pages of a competitor

As you can see from the picture above there are several top pages of this particular website that rank for thousands of keywords and bring most of the traffic. If you can create better content than your competitor you should address those topics on your website.

#6. Wrapping Everything Up

SEO isn’t the easiest thing in the world, far from it. BUT it’s really not as hard as it seems. Using SEMrush you can start laying the groundwork for a successful SEO strategy. monitor it and update it for your small business right now.

So what do you think?

Are you already using SEMrush?

I’d love to hear your comments in the section below!

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About Daniel S.

Daniel is the founder of MediaDigi.com digital agency and digital marketing manager here at Monetize.info. For over 14 years he has helped hundreds of customers to establish a presence online and win the digital race.

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