SEMRush Review: Why Is It The #1 Tool For Competitive Research

Working with small businesses to optimize and grow their website within a limited budget is my daily routine. So to make the work more productive I have been searching for the tools to help my client’s business to be more visible and market well against competitors. Meanwhile, in an online search attempt I came across free trial version of SEMrush. I reviewed many of its amazing features and now I want to share it with you. Though my contemporary has reviewed it in a lengthy document of about 32 pages, I am just going to highlight the main features of SEMrush which include the following:

  • Competitor research
  • Site Audit
  • Tools
  • Back-link Analysis
  • Keyword Research

Keyword Research

As you may already know that my blog being30.com is about budget travel and my goal for this year is to cover more cities in my writings on budget travelling. So I wanted to know more about budget traveling terms and for this I used SEMrush to find keywords around this term.

I really liked its SERP result feature (in the highlighted box above). You can see in the picture how the result pages will look like when you type in your key term. The SEMrush separates the related terms to the main phrase “budget travel”. Its really important in travelling to have a guide around which could discover new destinations for you. This keyword research tool provides great outlook on the related terms. Its completely awesome that you can have so many ideas about using related terms in your blog posts. So it gives you lots of information to initiate convincing posts. As I wanted to have more related terms to “budget travel” so I found one very interesting keyword “travel guide”. As having a travel guide is a good opportunity to explore new destinations within a limited budget, so it was a great related term I found.

One of the best things about SEMrush is that when you click on the “travel guide”, it shows a match report for your term along with the related keywords. So its very convenient for users to search any keyword thoroughly and look for numerous related terms. When I decided to stop for a term “travel guide”, I saw another term “Lonely Planet” which is also very competitive. So I decided to look for more terms.

As I am owner of a small travel blog so its very interesting to analyze my competitors and know that Lonely Planet is one of the largest sites in this niche.

Competitor Research

Secondly, by using SEMrush I conducted competitor research for the keywords I was looking up. I wanted to see the competition of Lonely Planet with other travel sites in the market. When I clicked the Lonely Planet (from above screenshot), it took me to a new page containing all the information about lonely planet.

This page contains a lot of information on numbers of keywords that bring traffic to the site (if we consider the top 20 organic results). Interestingly, this page also shows estimated cost that this organic traffic would have generated if it had been paid. The top right part of graph is also very interesting as it shows the traffic of the site and a drop in it because of an algorithm update. So there is so much information for you to consider and for this reason I like SEMrush. It gives a great overview on the performance of a site and its also very easy for you to insert your site’s URL and see its performance. Don’t forget to remove the http:// in the search box before inserting the URL.

I was very excited to see the Competitive Positing Map as shown below. It depicts all the strengths and weakness of your competitor’s domains in organic search. Based on the top 20 organic traffic results, it also shows a number of keywords they are ranking in the Google search results.

Site Audit

I have been a fan of site audit and the tool section of SEMrush is also providing it. The great thing about site audit is that it gives the overall view of traffic on the site. Moreover, it keeps you alert if your site has been hit by a penalty. I have found three main uses of site audit:

  • Penalty highlights and alerts
  • Research before pitches to get an estimation of traffic for a site
  • Mark the peaks in the traffic

I have seen this tool before only in Searchmetrics, which provides PPC and SEO traffic to sites. Most of the site owners not only want to see their site traffic but also the appearance of their competitors in the search engine result pages (SERP’s). They also want to see any drop or peak in the traffic due to penalty. If you are working on a pitch then you must consider if the client’s site has undergone any penalty and then you need to provide solutions for it.

Backlink Analysis

Apart from analyzing my own site links, I have analyzed links for my clients. All of them had different needs; some of them had penalties and wanted to have a link review. In order to meet these needs, I was interested to use tool section in SEMrush. Before that I was using MajesticSEO and it was impossible to replace it suddenly. But I am convinced that its quite wise to check other tools in the market and test how they show the data. SEMrush has very cool features and it displays the follow as well as unfollow links in a pie chart. Its also very efficient in recording the domains according to TLD, for example .com, org, .net.

I would utilize the SEMrush when I will run against MajesticSEO. It will provide me a good comparison between the two.

Tools

There is a domain vs domain section sidebar in the Tool section of SEMrush and I really like its display of Venn diagram. I entered the competitors of lonely planet in this sidebar; you can see the image below. You can see the number of keywords the sites are competing against are shown above the Venn Diagram. It can be easily seen in the Venn diagram that TripAdvisor.co.uk possess the highest number of keywords without any overlap with other sites.

If you want to see the organic rankings of the competitor’s keywords then you should click on the keyword part of the report. It can also display CPC, Competitive density and volume in these reports. Its results column depicts the number of URLs displayed in organic search results for the keywords. The last column of trends depicts the interests of the searchers for the past 12 months.

Conclusion

SEMrush has truly adapted to the evolved needs of users to research information relevant to their client’s needs. Its quite helpful in providing the broader view of client’s industry and its standing in the market. Its keyword research tool, the competitor audit and the tools section are among its coolest functions. The marketing industry is evolving at a fast pace and those who know SEO know it well. So there are so many marketing tools coming in the marketplace and their number is quite overwhelming. In our busy lives, time is the most precious commodity. If you really lack time then I would highly recommend SEMrush as a search tool for keywords. In case you have already used SEMrush then I would love to see your comments.