SEMRush – Complete Competitor Research Service

by Baba

Last updated on March 8th, 2013 at 01:53 am

Pro Tool for Upping Your Keyword Research& Content Marketing

SEMRush Solves a Couple of Issues

Problem #1: Google Goes Undercover

Gathering, comparing, and analyzing relevant keyword search data for one website was a complex enough task as it was. Figuring out which keywords your direct competition is ranking for, in order to improve your game and stand a better chance in your specific niche was guesswork at best. To top it all off, Google recently announced it was about to make life even more complicated for webmasters around the world. By adding a pesky little ‘s’ to the URL and turning it into, the search engine giant has basically made sure there is no way webmasters can correctly track the keywords that bring traffic to their websites. That’s because all Google searches have gone encrypted, i.e. switched over to the Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL protocol.

Problem #2: Which Keywords are You Really Ranking for?

Owing to the above-mentioned update, Google Webmaster Tool keyword statistics have radically changed. Yes, they still show you what keywords you’re rating for, but you might have noticed how much more generic those keywords have become since the update. No, you cannot seriously and reasonably expect to be ranking well and gaining traffic for very competitive keywords. You are, most likely, ranking for related keywords, but Google just decided they are no longer going to share them with you.

What’s more, all other rank checking applications and tools work in much of the same way. For better or for worse, with results that are more or less refined and/or accurate, they will tell you what you more or less already know intuitively. In order to perform better keyword research, you don’t need to know how you are ranking for keywords or phrases that you are already trying to optimize for. It would, however, be highly useful to be aware of the keywords and phrases you are accidentally (read: organically) performing well in the SERPs. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to know what your direct competition is doing better than you, in terms of optimizing for keywords that you might want to rank for.

SEMRush Key Differentiators

SEMRush is the brain child of the same people who gave the world another highly useful competition analysis tool, namely SEOQuake. Not only has it got an impressive database of upward of 35 billion keywords. Those keywords have been selected from among the most expensive ones available via Google AdWords and the database is being constantly updated.

Some might argue that there are plenty of other similar tools on the market, most notably or QuantCast. But the main difference between these tools and SEMRush is that the latter estimates your site’s potential, i.e. the traffic you could be seeing from certain keyword searches, if only you knew what to optimize for. To boot, SEMRush also provides you an accurate picture of costs and ROI, by displaying the volume and value of potential clicks side by side.

SEMRush Basic How-tos

Pricing Options

SEMRush is a freemium service, in that it can be used completely free of charge for a one-off sign-up. Registration is not only completely free, but it’s also risk-free, since it requires no card number. Signing up for one month of SEMRush PRO will cost you $79.95, but if you choose to subscribe on an ongoing basis, you will only have to pay $69.95 per month. The PRO subscription is top value, considering the uniqueness of SEMRush services, as well as the wide range of tools it provides. PRO reports include 10,000 keyword search results and subscribers can generate an impressive 3,000 reports per day. They get access to no fewer than 200,000 API units, can track five of their campaigns and have the opportunity to hold one simultaneous keyword search session. The Guru subscription plan comes with a higher price tag, but the above figures are also substantially improved: 30,000 keyword search results per report, up to 5,000 reports per day, access to 500,000 API units, tracking for double the number of campaigns and the option to hold three simultaneous search sessions.

Is it worth it? A-plenty, if you ask us – check out a sample of what the tool is able to do right below. A Case Study

SEMRush allows you to find out which keywords any given website is ranking for within Google’s first twenty search results. Here’s an illustrative analysis of major SEO news website review

At a glance, it’s easy to note that:

  • The site had a major traffic spike in February 2012, right around the time Google officially announced its Panda 3.3 update. SearchEngineLand was among the first digital outlets to publish official announcements from Google, provide commentary on them, and speculate on what the update would mean for SEO pros and webmasters.
  • The site does not use AdWords for keywords, so their traffic is entirely organic. As expected, the vast majority of it comes from English speaking countries, such as Canada, Australia, and the UK, aside from the United States, of course.
  • The site is among Google’s top ten results for some highly competitive keywords such as ‘SEO’ (#3), ‘Google Adwords’ (#4), and ‘Google Finance’ (#5 – the phrase which generates the biggest volume of traffic of the ones listed here, as well as the one with the highest CPC).
  • As expected, its main competitors are,, and, with which it shares 5,342, 2,557, and 3,136 common keyword respectively.

SEMRush also offers a wide range of other highly valuable insights. For instance, you can find out which specific keyword any page of a given website is ranking for. Most importantly, you can learn what exactly you need to be optimizing for, in order to improve your overall traffic, as well as in order to conduct more cost efficient AdWords campaigns.

In a nutshell, here are five reasons we highly recommend SEMRush to any content marketing professional:

  • SEMRush can help you identify the keywords in your niche that can bring in the most traffic for your website.
  • SEMRush can help you outrank your competitors, by revealing which words and phrases they are ranking for.
  • SEMRush can help you bring in profitable affiliates, by helping you identify the brands, products, and services your users are already interested in.
  • SEMRush will help you optimize for keywords you are already ranking for, and move on up from page 2 to page 1.
  • SEMRush is great for generating keyword ideas, which beginner SEO professionals and webmasters can greatly benefit from.


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