SEMrush starts at $99.95 per month, and delivers most of what typical small to midsized business (SMB) marketers need out of a search engine optimization (SEO) tool. SEMrush delivers a wide array of functionality across ad-hoc keyword research, ongoing search position monitoring, and crawling. While we found our Editors’ Choice winner, Moz Pro, to have an edge over SEMrush in terms of overall feature depth and our other Editors’ Choice, SpyFu to have an easier overall user experience, SEMrush remains a solid overall choice and one any SMB looking for SEO help should consider.
Pricing and Plans
SEMrush’s starting price point of $99.95 per month is for its Pro plan (an increase from $69.95 in our initial review), though you can also opt to pay $999.40 upfront for an annual plan that’ll save you $200. The Pro plan gives you 10,000 results per report across both SEMrush’s domain and keyword analytics tools, and up to 3,000 reports or searches per day. SEMrush also prices in terms of “projects,” or every piece of SEO research associated with a particular domain. The Pro plan allots five projects, 500 keywords to track, a 100,000 crawled page limit, and up to 50 associated social media profiles along with 5 scheduled PDF reports. To SEMrush’s credit, most SMBs can probably get by just fine at this price tier making it a very affordable option.
The next rung up is the $199.95 per month Guru plan, for which there’s the annual option to pay $1,999.40 upfront and save $400. At this tier you get 30,000 results per report and 5,000 reports/searches per day. The big jump is in a bump to 50 total projects for the SEO team expanding their research and targeting. The Guru plan also gets you 20 PDF reports with custom branding available as well as historical data access, plus 1,500 tracked keywords, 300,000 crawled pages, and 100 social media profiles. Finally there’s the $399 per month Business plan, for which you can pay $3,999.40 per year for a total of $800 in savings as compared to paying month-to-month. Aside from upping all the quotas substantially, this tier gives you unlimited projects, access to product listing ads, white label PDF reports, multi-user management and access to API.
SEMrush also offers custom solutions for businesses with special marketing needs. These include custom keyword databases, custom limits, on-site trainings, and other add-on features upon request.
The SEMrush dashboard is very straightforward. The first thing you see is a snapshot of Domain Analytics, showing a quick breakdown of current keywords and traffic coming from organic and paid sources. Below that are widgets for each facet of your most recent SEO project. So for my PCMag test project, I was presented with boxes for me to set up tools like position tracking, a periodic site audit, backlink auditing, and brand monitoring. While tools like Moz and Ahrefs (82.00 Per Month, Billed Annually at FS.com) also integrate with social media sources and conduct brand monitoring and mention tracking, SEMrush is the only SEO tool I tested that can also double as a social listening platform.
The main SEMrush left-hand navigation bar has five main tabs: Domain Analytics, Keyword Analytics, Project, its Lead Generation Tool, and My Reports. This wave of reviews is focused primarily on ad-hoc keyword research, because that’s what business users will find themselves using most often when identifying the best possible search engine results pages (SERP) to target with an rank optimization strategy. As such, I focused my testing largely on SEMrush’s Keyword Analytics tooling.
During testing, I used the same set of five keywords focusing on how SEO metrics, results, and related keyword recommendations differed. The five keywords I used were: pcmag, digital marketing, online shopping, IT consultant, and small business accounting. The reason I chose this combination was to simulate real-life business search terms then find related search results and competitive spots ripe for targeting.
The search bar atop the SEMrush interface can be configured for any metric, so to search keywords I selected Keyword Overview from the drop-down and ran queries on my five keywords. The keyword overview then populated a variety of tables, charts, and interactive data visualizations. For my “digital marketing” keyword, for instance, SEMrush gave me a breakdown of organic versus paid search with average monthly search volume and a cost-per-click breakdown of how much a paid result would cost in different countries. SEMrush doesn’t let you filter search results by specific cities, as does KWFinder , but it does include the option to filter by country. One unique filter SEMrush provides is an option to toggle between desktop and mobile search traffic. Despite the fact that mobile is eating up a fast-growing chunk of search traffic, SEMrush is the only tool I tested that broke down traffic that way. The company has expanded its mobile-specific database from US-only in our initial review to 16 new international databases, largely for companies in Europe.
SEMrush has also enhanced its traffic and SERP breakdowns since our initial review. In the Positions report, SEMrush populates what specific keywords your competitors lost, so you can find opportunities for your domain, and which keywords are new for them, and track changes with the Position Changes report. To conduct even trickier comparisons, the company created a Domain vs. Domain tool, which allows you to see what keywords your competitor is ranking for and you are not yet.
The platform’s renovated Position Tracking tool includes smart filters that allow you to check which of your target keywords trigger different SERP features, which of those SERP features you’ve managed to earn, and which of them your rivals occupy. The tool also identifies what pages have the highest probability of ranking in SERP results, with an added bonus for hyper-local SEO tageting: you can set up multi-targeting campaigns that track several locations or devices at once, drilled down by city, within a single project. The tool’s Trello (Visit Site at Trello) integration with also allows you to create a Trello task and delegate work to team members.
Below the traffic breakdown is where I found the meat of SEMrush’s ad-hoc keyword search. SEMrush lists both related keywords and phrase-match keywords, which is a Google AdWords parameter for close variations on a keyword. Both of these breakdowns are also available from the left-hand nav. These boxes only include search volume and CPC, so it wasn’t until I clicked “view full report” that I found the difficulty scores I was looking for to identify the related keywords most worth targeting for optimization.
For reference, a difficulty score is an all-in-one 1-100 number that factors Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) SEO metrics in with other data like keyword search volume, how heavily paid search ads are influencing the results, and how the strong the competition is in each spot on the current search results page. Experts indicate that a good score on which to target here is 50, while anything above 60 is significantly more difficult to topple.
While “digital marketing” had the highest search volume compared to the related keywords, it had a keyword difficulty score of almost 75. Using SEMrush I was able to identify a phrase match for “digital marketing agency” with lower, but still significant, search volume and a difficulty score of 51. Though when I clicked the SERP icon on the right of the table expecting a detailed table breaking down the PA/DA scores, search volume, and difficulty of each spot on the search results page, SEMrush simply took me to a cached version of the Google results page with no overlaid metrics. SEMrush (like Moz Pro) has a browser toolbar extension that overlays those metrics on an organic search results page, but I would’ve liked to be able to get those metrics directly in the platform.
One key missing piece of SEMrush’s ad hoc keyword research capabilities is the lack of keyword organization and list management. After finding the related keyword I wanted to target, my only option was to export it as a Microsoft Excel file or CSV, rather than giving me the ability to quickly add “digital marketing agency” to a keyword list or group as you can in KWFinder and Moz Pro. You also can’t save keyword searches for later use. This roadblock in my keyword investigation process was frustrating for a product that otherwise checks all the keyword research boxes. The company has since added an Export Manager feature, available above any table in its analytics reports, which lets you export keywords word-by-word rather than through batch CSV or Excel. This is an improvement, but still requries you to do keyword management in a separate application rather than built-in functionaltiy within SEMrush.
Projects and Reports
That said, SEMrush does offer quite a bit of built-in reporting and organization functionality, particularly through its Projects feature. Clicking on the Projects tab in the left-hand nav brings you to a dashboard centralizing all the domain data on your site including a current “health score” based on SEMrush crawling data, position tracking information for ranking on particular keywords, and maybe the most useful feature in SEMrush: SEO Ideas.
The importance of an SEO tool’s ability to offer proactive suggestions and optimization recommendations can’t be overstated. The SEO Ideas feature allowed me to enter all my test keywords and associate them with specific landing pages on my site that I want to optimize in those particular search results. After running an analysis that took a minute or two, SEMrush gave me a number of ideas broken down into different categories: Strategy Ideas (suggested highly ranked pages that have room to grow), Semantic Ideas and Content Ideas (on-page content and keyword suggestions), Backlink Ideas, and Technical SEO Ideas. SEMrush also integrates with both Google Analytics and Google Search Console, and allows you to pull specific landing pages from both of those sources.
SEMrush has also released a new tool in this vein called Keyword Magic, which generates up to three million ideas for keywords based off a seed keyword you’re targeting. Keywords are automatically divided into groups and subgroups (based on the frequency of other words’ presence inside keywords). The keywords can be sent directly to the Keyword Analyzer, but not sorted into custom lists and campaigns. The Keyword Magic tool you can also filter all keywords that trigger different SERP features, and find all the keywords that contain questions, which helps to target Google’s Featured Snippets for specific keywords.
Some of the suggested Content Ideas I got, for instance, were to use target keywords in the body and h1 tags on the page as well as to enrich the page content with more related keywords. Then on the right of each idea is a little bar showing how difficult the idea would be to implement, and most importantly a short “Why should I do this?” explanation.
<a href="https://www.semrush.com/blog/ignored-seo-tasks-boost-rankings/?ref=3329276869&utm_campaign=seo_ campaign&utm_source=berush&utm_medium=promo&utm_term=204">adamsmith</a>
SEMrush has enhanced SEO Ideas since our initial review with even more on-page optimization recommendations. The platform already integrated with Google Search Console, but now you can use filters in SEO Ideas to identify the highest value pages for optimization based on click-through rates (CTR), impressions, and other metrics. After you choose which pages you want to work on, SEMrush will prioritize them for you based on how easy it would be for you to implement all the necessary changes and how much…