Name: SEMRush, specifically it’s keyword tool.
Price: Free for limited usage, 7 day free trial available before a main purchase of $99.95 per month is required.
Overall Rating: 6 out of 10 starts.
This is one of the best tools for “spying” on competition and doing keyword research, but these days, there are better alternatives, depending on what your goals are (ranking higher, more accurate data on keywords, ect…).
This review is going to cover the basics of SEMRush and specifics about it’s keyword tool as I do believe there are 2 other alternatives to consider against it, some which may be better depending on how much you can or cannot spend. Let’s get started…
What is SEMRush?
This is considered by some people to be an “all in one” type of research tool which does numerous things:
1) Gives you data on competing websites, their rankings, keywords they rank for, backlink info and cost analysis on if you put up ads for keywords, how much they would cost.
2) A site where you can store and run marketing projects involving SEO, PPC and other campaigns.
3) A blog where marketers share great tips for ranking your websites.
4) And A LOT more.
In short, this is a very complex and comprehensive tool for doing a lot more than just keyword research. It’ll show you competitor’s keyword rankings to help you adjust your marketing efforts to rank under the same terms potentially.
1) This is an excellent tool for an “on the surface” type of research. Meaning if I look up info on a competing website, it can give me some interesting info I can use to see what a profitable site is doing (such as what it’s ranking for).
2) The keyword data given is OK (still a pro).
3) A free option is available for use, although the amount of stuff you can learn from the free data given is limited.
4) Used by many pros in the local marketing SEO and general SEO world.
5) In my opinion, this site is most beneficial to people who are providing SEO services for people and want to show them some cool features about what they can do for them.
For example, this program can provide detailed reports on keyword ranking potentials, how much competitors are getting (estimates) and give a comprehensive report, which, if I were an SEO provider, I could show to a potential client, get them looking at the numbers and be impressed by it and get hired.
Thankfully there is a trial available.
1) Not exactly a beginner friendly tool in my opinion.
It has very complex functions and uses that I doubt most beginners will ever fully comprehend or understand. And as an intermediate and above marketer, I admit, I also have trouble fully grasping all of it’s uses, and I also think a lot of it’s uses are not necessary today.
It’s quite an expensive program to explore all of it’s functions.
Sometimes data is unavailable in SEMRush such as traffic reports, when if you look at free tools like Google webmaster tools or just regular Google rankings, you’ll see that the sites are ranked high in many searches and do indeed get traffic. For example:
Onto the keyword (KW) part. How good is SEMRush at it?
I would say it’s on the level of the Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest and while I generally like those tools, Jaaxy, an alternative to all of them, including SEMRush is just a whole lot better in my opinion.
Too much unnecessary info?
As I have explored many KW tools in my years, including SEMRush, I know a lot of data provided to me by these tools is just unnecessary because often times, there are numbers given to me, such as CPC (cost per click estimates) that will never be close to the amount I’ll actually spend should I decide to do some advertising with the said KWs.
Here is a search I did on SEMRush for this site, and the unnecessary info I got, much of which I crossed out:
(Red rectangles mean I don’t care about the info, orange means it can be useful if it’s accurate and green is good info):
Also the actual traffic data is (as I have often said) estimated, not exactly accurate (especially in the above case as the site in question gets 200-300 searches daily, yet this tool doesn’t indicate any of this, which is another bad thing).
I’m sure the paid option of this tool can provide more info, but come on, as someone who is considering doing SEO work, this is the kind of info that’s crucial to me and in the cases I’ve had, it’s been way off.
Like I said, in my personal opinion, as someone who does SEO, most of the reporting here just looks good but isn’t really useful. If I want to get good KW research done, here are my steps:
1) Know my niche topic.
2) Have Jaaxy ready.
3) Brainstorm KW ideas on Jaaxy.
4) Compile a list of the terms I found.
5) Start writing up high quality content for each good term I find.
That’s it and if you’re like me, an affiliate marketer, this may be more than enough, but if you run an agency, then you may want to consider either SEMRush or perhaps the other alternative Ahrefs.
But if you are on the former side, then my 5 steps will suffice. No worries about that extra info SEMRush provides as it’s more of a distraction in my experience and that info in general is just irrelevant to me and those 5 things I do are more than enough for me to get high rankings. In the 13 years I’ve been doing this, that has consistently worked so why switch to a different approach?
Final Rating: SEMRush.
Green light (but there’s better options).
6 out of 10 stars. Good tool in general, but I feel like the further SEO has developed/changed, the less and less this tool has become necessary, it needs to evolve.
My final thoughts:
Not too long ago, I wrote a very comprehensive article on how to track and check a competitor’s website traffic in which I actually did use SEMRush as an example, but my thesis was having all this “spying” info on competing websites was just unnecessary since the tools and “tricks” to spy and leverage the info to outrank a competitor dropped out a long time ago.
Today the real way to beat competition is to provide more/better content than them. In general, KW research and finding those golden terms is still absolutely crucial, but you need a tool that is going to help you get to the right terms, faster with it’s accuracy and Jaaxy is that tool for you.
Now, for the beginner marketers reading this:
If you are new to online marketing, have difficulties understanding all of this terminology, you’re on your first site trying to monetize of it or you have a site which isn’t getting anywhere, forget SEMRush, forget Jaaxy and even Ahrefs for a moment and do the following:
With an education program like that, you don’t need any fancy tools, although Jaaxy is actually made by the same people who created the above program I am recommending. So join that program if you’re a beginner and you’ll be off to the best start on making profitable websites.
To conclude, I like SEMRush, but it is not the best for researching keywords. It is however mostly good for it’s aesthetic stuff meaning all that info it provides you in it’s reports looks great to show to a client to make them think they are getting a comprehensive report, even though I can’t do much of anything useful with that info provided.
Yet if it gets me a client, I can use much more useful tactics (as shown in the program I recommend to you) to get my website or their website ranked high on Google.
The more I learn about online marketing, the more and more I tell people to join that #1 recommend program as it’s still the best to learn from and become successful at making money online.