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AN IN-DEPTH REVIEW

You might be wondering whether or not you should give SEMrush a try. With so many SEO tools to choose from, it can be a confusing experience understanding what tool is best for you and if you should or shouldn’t be paying for them.

In order to run any successful digital marketing campaign, you have to know about SEO and how to find all the relevant data. SEO is a science and SEO tools are the lab, it’s where all the magic happens.

Digital marketing is my speciality and SEO is something I work with on a daily basis. It is really important for me to know which tools I can trust, which is why I spent a long time getting to know SEMrush and other alternatives.

If you’re serious about a successful digital marketing campaign or have clients that depend on you for detailed reports on their websites, then you should also know what tool is right for you.

Running a successful SEO campaign means coming up with accurate information on relevant data like keywords, backlinks, and competitor data. Any good SEO software that claims to be a complete package, the one-stop location for all your data, should be able to handle these tasks and more.

In this honest and unbiased review, I will discuss SEMrush pricing, pros and cons, and a look at some other reviews on the software. I will go into depth about what it is like to use some of its features, how they work, and what SEMrush’s competitors are doing for the same features.

What is SEMrush ?

SEMrush is an online software that shows you online visibility and offers you a number of tools in marketing analytics. It is meant to be a complete source of SEO tools that gives its users an efficient way to carry out online marketing campaigns and conduct research on the digital traffic to their websites and their competitor’s websites.

There are a couple of other paid websites that do similar tasks like Moz and Ahrefs. You could also use SEMrush alternatives free of charge– like Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, and Searchmetrics.

The free alternatives won’t offer as detailed a report and will not have a complete set of tools and features that are offered on the paid services. SEMrush also has a free version of its software that offers a limited scope of its features and also limits your number of marketing projects.

You enter any domain name into SEMrush and you are instantly given a detailed report on the website. You will see a site authority score, the organic search traffic by keywords, paid search traffic, and the number of backlinks. You are also instantly given information on the history of the domain, who its competitors are, and more in-depth information on the traffic to the website. It will also give you leads on new ways to boost your online visibility.

The first thing you will probably notice when using SEMrush is all the different graphs. A site report includes a competitive positioning map and bar graphs on keyword and traffic trends. Almost every metric of data you’ll find is likely to have some kind of detailed visual graph, making it easier to understand what each number means in the mix of a mountain of data.

Actually, the first thing you might see is the mountain of data instead of the colourful graphs. Simply by plugging in a domain name, you are given a lot of information. Some would say it’s too much; I say the more the better, but it can get a little confusing at times.

Best Features

Best Keyword Planner

Out of all the different SEO platforms I’ve used, SEMrush has the best Keyword planning features. It’s a combination of so many tools built into one easy platform, saving you the trouble of hopping from website to website.

Any good keyword research is going to include a few different things. You need to know who is ranking for those keywords, the keyword’s search volume, search trends, and how difficult it is to rank for those keywords.

In SEMrush, there are a couple of different ways to go about this. You could start by using the Keyword Magic feature. Enter any broad keyword you are considering ranking for and sort through your best options. Here is an example of the keyword “lawn chair”.

The most important numbers I look for are given right off the bat. You could also sort your list by highest to lowest or lowest to highest in search volume and difficulty. To the left, you’ll also see additional keywords commonly added to your original search term in order to see more options.

After you find a keyword that fits your needs, you could get even more information on it. Here’s a screenshot of what you will see after clicking on a keyword from the list above.

After you find a keyword that fits your needs, you could get even more information on it. Here’s a screenshot of what you will see after clicking on a keyword from the list above.

After clicking on “lawn chair”, the first result in the list, this is what I got. There is plenty of information to consider before deciding on the right keyword.

This is a comprehensive data analysis SEMrush alternatives can’t compete with. You also get keyword variations, questions using the keyword, and related keywords. SEMrush makes finding the right keywords a lot easier with all this information.

Another way you might do research is by looking at the domain overview. It shows you more information than just the keywords, but is a good place to start when you want to know what keywords you already rank for and what your competition is ranking for.

After you enter your domain, you’ll see a list of competitors as well as the keywords you rank for. Click on any of your competitors and you’ll see the same domain overview you saw for your own website, as well as the keywords they rank for.

Competitor keyword research is one of the most important things I consider before starting any SEO campaign because it gives me a good idea of the ways in which they ranked on organic results and if I could use the same keywords they already generated traffic for, or if they are too competitive.

Looking at the keyword features as a whole, I think it’s obvious why I and so many other professionals depend on SEMrush for keyword research. Although it does require a bit of a learning curve, once you understand how to use its features, you’re never going to have trouble narrowing down the right keywords again.

Learning how to use the software isn’t too hard. SEMrush Academy, a free online course offered by SEMrush, could easily teach you to use these features. With a little time, you’ll be using its features like a pro.

Best Visuals and Reports

SEMrush has some of the best reports I’ve seen. They are neatly organized, use different graphs, and are easy to look at. Why is this so important?

If you work with clients who use you for SEO expertise, or if you are working on a team and you want everyone on the same page for your marketing strategy, easy to read reports are a lifesaver. I give SEMrush a gold star for their ability to put together reports instantly and make them easy to share.

You could also schedule reports to be sent your email or your client’s email, so that you are always up to date.

It’s far easier to read graphs alongside the numbers than it is to just look at the numbers, and that is what a lot of SEMrush’s competitors do. It can be easy to overlook a lot of important information when you have to read a mountain of information and the information isn’t any good if you and your clients don’t understand it.

SEMrush offers some creative ways to look at complicated information. One of my favourite

examples is the competitive positioning map.

This example is based on the results I got for lawnchairusa.com, a website I randomly selected. The map is based on Google’s top 100 search results and shows where you and your competition stand in organic traffic and keywords.

Another huge plus to these reports is that it makes you look really good to clients. The reports look professional and it shows that you are able to put together a vast amount of information in a digestible way.

Best Site Audit

The site audits on SEMrush are really useful in understanding your SEO health and areas you could improve on. Diagnosing these issues without an automated tool like this is difficult and requires a lot of time and expertise.

Understanding your site health and SEO factors is key to ranking in the top pages. These errors are often hard to catch and not immediately visible to people with limited knowledge of coding.

For example, an error I run into frequently with my clients has to do with identical meta descriptions— short summaries about what the page is before viewers click on your website from the search results.

Every page on your website should have a unique meta description in order to distinguish itself from your other pages. Google considers this an important factor in giving its users a more user-friendly experience because it makes navigating the results a lot easier.

Usually, the meta descriptions are written directly into a website’s code and is invisible to clients using simplified website building software, which is why it can be hard to catch.

Other issues the site audit sees that most people don’t see are identical H1 and title tags, https certifications, and low text to HTML ratios.

The site audits from SEMrush are the best in my opinion because they offer a lot of accurate information in a simplified way saving you a lot of time trying to find the factors harming your rank.

Aside from the coding errors invisible to most people, you get to see a general site health rank, a list of warnings and notices, and other factors like crawlability, internal linking, and site performance. Some other useful bits of information include links without anchor text, broken java and CSS files, or pages that are blocked from crawling.

Compared to other software I’ve used for this purpose, SEMrush makes accessing this information easy to understand and share with clients. Just like everything else, you could export a pdf of the report to yourself and your team. A reliable and easy to share site audit is a must especially if you have done everything else you could do to rank for organic search results. All it takes is fixing these simple issues with only a few minutes to significantly increase your rank.

PROBLEMS

Free Alternatives

Compared to other software I’ve used for this purpose, SEMrush makes accessing this information easy to understand and share with clients. Just like everything else, you could export a pdf of the report to yourself and your team. A reliable and easy to share site audit is a must especially if you have done everything else you could do to rank for organic search results. All it takes is fixing these simple issues with only a few minutes to significantly increase your rank.

Using a cheaper alternative may be the best option for you if SEMrush pricing is out of your range and if you aren’t looking to run an in-depth SEO digital marketing campaign. If you don’t need all the analytics or tools and these things are merely convenient information for you, then using an alternative is the way to go.

If you plan on running a marketing campaign that requires the host of features in the paid software, then you shouldn’t let SEMrush pricing scare you away.

Backlink issues

Some people complain that the back-link data they offer could be a little off or missing some information. This is a very difficult task for SEO tools to accomplish, so it’s not surprising that this is a complaint by a number of users.

Personally, I wouldn’t write off SEMrush on this alone, because I use other tools to supplement the diagnostics. Whatever SEO tool you do end up using, I would never recommend just using that tool alone.

All tools use different methods and data capabilities when coming up with reports, making it a good idea to do some extra research on the important factors where you think SEMrush or any other tool might be lacking.

Still, the vast array of tools and the in-depth information you get on SEMrush makes it a great “one-stop” website for most marketing needs. Depending on your project or the needs of your client, you should decide on what extra research you may need to do, if any.

high price

Compared to other paid alternatives, SEMrush pricing is not on the lower end. It is not cheap, making it unavailable to many small businesses or those with smaller projects.

Is it worth paying for the software if you are only running one project? Probably not. If you don’t have greater needs in the SEO world, then you could absolutely get by with cheaper alternatives, or even free versions of each of its features.

This is especially true if the field you are marketing in isn’t competitive, eliminating the need for detailed competitor research and weekly audits on your website.

Comparisons

Free Alternatives

Almost any free alternative isn’t going to be an all in one marketing software. Doing thorough research will require hopping around to different websites and manually recording data for your reports.

Most paid software is marketed as a one-stop location for your marketing needs, saving a lot of time and effort when you are researching and compiling reports.

Google Keyword Planner

In the free version of Google Keyword Planner, you only get rough estimates of Keyword search volume.  It could be a good starting point for research, but isn’t detailed enough to be considered thorough.

You will have a lot of trouble if the keywords you are using don’t have a lot of traffic because Google only shows rough ranges for its numbers. You won’t be able to tell the difference between 1 search per month and 90 searches per month.

Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest is another free alternative that gives more accurate information on keyword search volume. However, you only have a limited number of keyword diagnostics you could do on the free version of the software.

Like most free software, you won’t be able to do thorough research on your market and potential keywords. It will only serve as a starting point when you don’t have other tools you could use.

Searchmetrics

Searchmetrics gives you information on backlinks and site health. It is totally free and performs this task well, however, it doesn’t offer as complete a report as SEMrush.

With SEMrush, you get in-depth reports on a variety of metrics for site health and SEO ranking.  This is still a really good option if you are simply adding to your research.

If you don’t already have paid software, I highly recommend you take advantage of Searchmetrics. It’s a great option if you are looking for SEMrush alternatives free to try. You still get a lot of information which is useful in increasing your visibility.

Paid Alternatives

Ahrefs

The backlink data from Ahrefs seems to be more accurate. However, they do not offer as much as SEMrush in their smallest packages, almost forcing its users to upgrade to be more comparable to what you’re getting in SEMrush for less money.

I would choose SEMrush over Ahrefs in general because they offer much more. One benefit I see to Ahrefs that SEMrush is lacking in is user-friendliness.

Ahrefs offers less data, but doesn’t skip the important stuff. I often spend time in SEMrush sifting through the data I actually need as to where Ahrefs offers a quick and easy platform for getting the relevant information quicker.

When you are choosing between Ahrefs and SEMrush, consider how much information you need and if backlink data is more important to you.

MOZ

You have the choice between a free and paid version of Moz. You could accomplish a lot with just the free software, similar to what SEMrush has to offer.The pro software is more like SEMrush, but a little more “lacklustre” in its presentations.

As I mentioned before, the software on SEMrush gives you detailed graphs and visual representations that are really useful in digesting wide-ranging information on SEO and site links.

In Moz Pro, you get a one on one consultation with an expert who will help you achieve your SEO goals.

When it comes down to it, SEMrush may still be the best option depending on your goals with SEO and site monitoring. The above suggestions are separate stops that offer a less detailed analysis of what SEMrush does all in one place.

If your goals aren’t as serious and you don’t need all the information offered, then using a combination of the free services could be the best option for you.

Moz vs SEMrush

Usually, you’ll find that people prefer to use SEMrush vs. Moz. It is better for keyword research and easy to digest visual representations. However, some say that the backlinks on Moz is better.

The first thing you will notice on a side by side comparison, is that SEMrush offers much more detailed information. You see a number of factors affecting your SEO that at first glance might seem overwhelming, but is very useful once you become familiar with the metrics they are using.

Jumping over to Moz on a site audit, you’ll notice that it requires more user input to run a diagnosis and you get less information. Some might prefer Moz here if the information on SEMrush is too overwhelming.
But if you’re willing to put in a little time to learn, SEMrush Academy is a good resource for getting familiar with the software.

Running the same diagnosis on both programs is going to give you different results. In general, I have found that SEO professionals tend to trust the metrics on SEMrush more than they do on Moz.

In my opinion, one of the better features on Moz is the site explorer, a tool that shows you information on your websites link health and spam ranking. The spam ranking will show you how likely you are to be penalized for suspicious link behaviour on the organic search results.

Keeping in mind that search engines like google are aiming for the best user experience, possible link spam could include obviously paid links (links on unrelated forums or on websites created solely for the purpose of selling links), or web pages filled excessively with links to your site with unrelated anchor texts.

Knowing information on what can help your SEO is just as important as what might be hurting it.

In general, the data on SEMrush is more advanced, but far more useful.

Moz is cheaper

Testimonials

Some of the testimonial report that some of the information in SEMrush’s reports for backlinking is outdated or slightly inaccurate. In my opinion, backlinking is definitely not one of SEMrush’s strong suits and I agree that it could use some improvements.

If you need more in-depth information on backlinks, I would recommend software like Ahrefs.

They seem to always come up with more links in their results and have a much larger database supporting this feature.

However, I wouldn’t completely write off SEMrush’s backlinking feature because it still gives a lot of reliable information and is usually more than enough for most users doing research. You could also supplement your research with free alternatives online to see if the search missed anything.

In my opinion, although backlinks are important, they are not the end-all to any digital marketing campaign and any additional research here should only serve to generate new leads on sites to link to and where your competitors are getting links from.

In my own work, I still rely on SEMrush’s backlink audits because they still give an accurate picture of where you and your competition stand.

I don’t see too much use in chasing down the more obscure links that offer little to no site authority, and thus, little to no value to your campaign. But it’s still important to keep these reviews in mind if you are conducting more in-depth research in this area.

SEMrush Pricing

SEMrush is not the cheapest option. You could use Moz or Ahrefs as cheaper paid alternatives. However, their basic package includes what the premium packages include in Moz and Ahrefs, making it cheaper if your SEO needs are more complicated and in-depth.

The free alternatives are obviously more cost-efficient, but don’t offer the same extent of features and data that SEMrush has. The benefit of using SEMrush compared to the free alternatives is that you get all your tools in one place, making it easier to use the tools in conjunction with one another.Here is a look at SEMrush pricing and how much you should expect to spend according to your SEO needs.

FREE ACCOUNT

The free version of SEMrush gives you a taste of the paid versions with monthly limits on-site audits and projects. If you are just getting into using online software for SEO purposes and you are only in charge of a small project, this may be a good option for you.

The monthly limits won’t allow you to adapt and change your parameters, which will prevent you from changing key SEO components and tracking its progress in real-time.

Compared to other free alternatives, the free SEMrush account does more by far. It is still an all in one marketing tool, albeit a limited one, that gives you detailed information on your project. Since it’s free, you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. In my opinion, the free version should only be used if you are testing out the software to see how it will work for you.

Even if SEMrush pricing is an issue, I wouldn’t depend on it if you are serious about taking your marketing campaign to the next level. Although it still offers valuable information on traffic data and organic search results, you could accomplish a lot more by simply switching to the pro account— the cheapest paid version of SEMrush.

You can set up 1 Project, with the ability to set up each project tool once.

Brand Monitoring: historical data – 1 day, track 1 keyword in a project, 1 location, data sources – Web

Position Tracking: 10 key-words, updated daily

Content Audit: 50 pages to audit

Site Audit: 100 pages per month

Post Tracking: 5 URLs

Social Media profiles: track 5, post to 2 (schedule 10 posts)

Topic Research: 2 topics

On-Page SEO Checker: recommendations for 10 keyword units per month

SEO Content Template: 1 template, 10 keywords to add

Domain & Keyword Analytics: 10 results per report, 10 reports per day

SEO Writing Assistant: 1 template

Pro Account

The pro account is what I and probably most people opt for using. This is the best value for your money.

You get access to almost every feature SEMrush has to offer with very few limits to the projects you could do and the number of pages you could crawl.

As of now, it starts at $99.95 per month or $1,081.85 per year which comes out to $83.28 per month at the annual rate. Despite being the cheapest option, this is still out of reach for a lot of small businesses and freelancers.

The SEMrush pricing isn’t worth it unless you expect to make more than the money you spend using the software, meaning you need to be committed to using the full extent of the features it offers in a competitive area.

However, if you expect to use these features and are in charge of a larger project, then I think the price is more than worth it. The return you could expect to see by boosting your online visibility could be a game-changer for a lot of businesses, making the software a must for an online marketing endeavour where visibility is the end-all for your success, which is often the case.

Projects: 3

Social Media profiles: track 50, post to 10

Position Tracking: 500 keywords, updated daily

On-Page SEO Checker: recommendations for 500 keyword units per month

Local CPC and search volume data in PPC Keyword Tool

Domain & Keyword Analytics: 10,000 results per report, 3,000 reports per day

Site Audit: 100,000 pages per month

Local CPC and search volume data in PPC Keyword Tool

Guru Account

The Guru account is another price plan to consider if you have multiple projects or are in charge of your team’s SEO needs. It starts at $199.95 per month or $2,164.36 per year, which comes out to $166.62 per month at the annual rate.

One of the biggest differences I see with this plan is the number of projects you could have going at any time. 15 projects are plenty for most businesses who have multiple websites and campaigns running, but overkill for most freelancers and startups.

The main benefit from the Guru account is brand monitoring and historical data, important for testing the viability of keywords and the best time to use them.

Schedule PDF Reports: 20
(including branded PDFs)

Projects: 15

Domain & Keyword Analytics: 30,000
results per report, 5000 reports per day

Position Tracking: 1,500 keywords,
updated daily

Site Audit: 300,000 pages per month

Social Media profiles:
track 100, post to 30

On-Page SEO Checker:recommendations
for 800 keyword units per month

Local CPC and search volume
data in PPC Keyword Tool

Content Audit: 20 000 pages to audit

Post Tracking: 50 URLs

Marketing Calendar

Topic Research: no limits

SEO Content Template

SEO Writing Assistant: 5 plagiarism
checks

Business Account

The Business account is the most expensive package coming in at $399.95 per month or $4,329.35 per year. The yearly price costs $333.28 per month. This package is not for people running under 20 campaigns at a time. This kind of package makes more sense for those with numerous clients who need in-depth SEO services with the need to share a lot of information across an entire team.

Even though this is too pricey for most people, if you have a business that requires insight on this many projects it is still completely worth it. The amount of information you have to mine on different websites is going to be enormous and it is a huge plus to have it all on one platform.

This kind of convenience is great when you’re working on a team that needs these reports or if you have numerous clients you have to send reports to periodically. If this sounds like something you need, I wouldn’t hesitate to upgrade to this account. But if you aren’t running numerous projects at once, then steer clear of the business account.

The pro and guru accounts fit most people’s needs and are better options in terms of SEMrush pricing. They are still great options for working on more than one project that requires a lot of reports and a lot of data mining.

White-label PDF

Product Listing Ads Research

AMP checks in Site Audit

CPC Map

Extended Display Advertising analysis

Projects: 25

Position Tracking: 5,000 keywords

Position Tracking: 5,000 keywords

Social Media profiles: track 300,
post to 50

Schedule PDF Reports: 50

On-Page SEO Checker: recommendations for 2,000 keyword units per month

Domain & Keyword Analytics: 50,000 results per report, 10,000 reports per day

Marketing Calendar: unlimited number of calendars

Marketing Calendar: unlimited number of calendars

Should You Use SEMrush?

This is a go-to software for almost anyone invested in digital marketing. There are a lot of features I use on a daily basis and is really useful to have when you need to do any SEO research, big or small.

SEMrush is not for everyone. If you aren’t in a competitive market and are only running a small project, then it won’t be worth the money you put into it.

I would highly recommend you give SEMrush a try if you are serious about digital marketing, or are trying to rank your website on the first page of organic search result. Take out the guesswork, the confusion, and the hassle of finding the right strategies which are going to work for your website or project.

The highlights of SEMrush are its keyword features, informative graphs, and detailed site audits. This is the bread and butter of anyone trying to rank higher in the search results and overlooking these key pieces information is only going to hurt you, so you should definitely check this out.

I am not affiliated with SEMrush; they didn’t pay me to write this. SEO is my speciality and something I work with on a daily basis and SEMrush is the software I prefer to use for most needs. However, any detailed research is going to include more than an “all in one” software. Use other features, paid or free, in order to thoroughly research your area and make use of different algorithms and data basis of SEMrush alternatives.

It’s true that SEMrush is a little complicated at first and can be off-putting to new users, but take my advice and don’t let that scare you away. Take the time to learn how to use the software, whether through SEMrush Academy or any other articles online, and make use of as much data as you can.

If you learn how to use SEMrush and are up to date on the different SEO rules of search engines, then I have no doubt you’ll see results. If you don’t already have an account, sign up for their 7 day free trial and take it for a spin.

Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that the review or the Semrush contains affiliate links. I am an independent affiliate of Semrush products and not an employee. The review and opinion highlighted in this article are my own and they are in no way official statements by Etison LLC or Semrush.

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Review Date
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SEMrush
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Software Name
SEMrush
Software Category
SEO & digital marketing platform
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