November 16, 2018

Joy Youell

Joy Youell is an expert copywriter and content strategist.

SEMRush: A Review

I started using SEMRush for numerous clients. It has been a helpful tool. Like any software, it has its unique features and functions. I thought it may be helpful to relay the whys and hows and to recommend it for certain uses. Here are some of the features and screenshots of what you get with an SEMRush subscription.

Note: this isn't an affiliate post at all. I just wanted to help someone like me who wonders if this product is worth it. ;)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is semrush-features-joy-youell-hire-a-writer-1.png

How To Use SEMRush

I used the Guru version of SEMRush for these projects. There are four options you can select to either try for free or buy into for a monthly fee. The SEMRush Plans are:

  1. Pro: $99.95/month
  2. Guru: $199.95/month
  3. Business: $399.95/month
  4. Enterprise: custom

I've logged into both Pro and Guru accounts over the past week. The primary difference from my standpoint is the link assessment and building features are better in Guru. Business gives you more API access options, different reports and more sharing abilities. It also integrates with Google Data. You can go here to see the pricing and features on their site.

So, first step is to sign up. You can either buy right away but I imagine most of us do a free trial first. It's very simple: username, password, CC info. Cancel within 7 days if you don't want to get charged. I canceled one of the accounts and it was completed by the support person within a couple of hours. Very accommodating.

SEMRush Primary Features

There are a few key features that were super fast and intuitive to get started with. You open up to a dashboard that looks like this (I'm hiding client website info).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is semrush-dashboard-joy-youell-hire-a-writer.png

You setup each individual website you want to scan as a project. That way, their metrics are included on this dashboard individually, so you can see the important stuff at a glance. Once you are in a project, you will have a few options. The first thing you will probably do is run a site audit. This scans the site health and identifies warnings and problems. It's super fast and generates a downloadable PDF report that looks like this:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is semrush-site-audit-joy-youell-hire-a-writer-1.png

That's an example of a report for a relatively new, small website. It's possible to click into the warnings, errors and notices to see specifics and get recommendations for how to resolve issues. You can also setup email notifications for different frequencies that allow you to get insights in your inbox. You can get notified for changes in rank for keywords, etc.

Keyword Tracking With SEMRush

SERP is probably one of the reasons most of would use this tool. You can enter keywords into a sandbox and then generate ongoing reports for how you rank for those search terms. You can set up primary and subsets of keywords. The program allows you to insert hundreds of keywords (varying quantities for the differently priced plans). Your rank for these keywords will be assessed daily. It displays on the dashboard, in the project and can be sent as a separate email.

Here is what the downloadable PDF report looks like:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is semrush-keyword-rank-report-joy-youell-hire-a-writer.png

Backlink Audit With SEMRush

The backlink audit is a helpful feature of SEMRush that will help you identify toxic connections that need to be resolved. There is also a huge report you can run that will suggest healthy connections for improving rank. Both of these can save an immense amount of time on manual processes and create an instant to-do list with action items. Here is what the backlink report looks like:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is backlink-audit-semrush-example-joy-youell-hire-a-writer.png

SEMRush SEO Improvement Recommendations

This was my favorite feature. There are many ways to analyze the other data but the list of recommended improvements was a neat report. Conceivably, this could be a highly educational tool for people just learning SEO. If you really go line by line, you can learn a ton about how to improve a site for SEO. Even those of us who have been in the game for a while can benefit from getting back to basics with these to dos.

The list is long, so you can export it a CSV. Easy to then upload to Google sheets and share with a team. It's helpful that they categorize recommendations so you can drill down into content, structure, etc. Here is an example of what the SEMRush SEO Improvement Recommendations report would look like (I'm blacking out page info and data for client privacy):

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is semrush-content-improvement-ideas-joy-youell-hire-a-writer.png

SEO Competitor Data From SEMRush

The last feature I think most of us would use is the competitor data. You can identify your top competitors, enter their URLs, and analyze them based on your desired keywords and other metrics. Alternatively, you can have SEMRush identify competitors for you based on which sites are ranking for your keywords (warning, it may be Wikipedia or something due to sheer volume). All of the competitor data features can help you really prioritize places for improvement against the businesses and sites you most want to beat out. Here is an example of competitor data reports:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is competitor-tracking-semrush-joy-youell-hire-a-writer.png

SEMRush Recommendation

SEMRush also integrates with AdWords and social platforms. Worth a minimum of $100/month? If you are a freelancer who does SEO work for multiple clients, an SEO writer or a business who wants to improve SEO, I'd say it's worth it. SEMRush replaces numerous manual processes and gives you some easily shareable data. There is also a blog and training academy, both of which have a lot of helpful info to improve your skills.

If you need help getting started with SEMRush and want to audit or improve your website copy to rank in search, Hire a Writer can help. Contact us to learn more about our services.




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