Simply put, Semrush is a product that helps you optimize your website for search engines. Created in 2008 by Oleg Shchegolev and Dmitry Melnikov, it now has a very large user base — over 6 million users, according to the company — and is one of the most popular SEO tools currently available. We personally use it at the SEO company in Bangalore
Semrush works by giving you a lot of information, which you can use to either:
For example, Semrush can give you keyword suggestions (based on phrases you enter) that can be used as the basis for writing blog posts that are likely to perform well in search results.
It can also tell you how difficult it will be to rank for specific search phrases.
It also suggests websites that might be worth approaching for backlinks
And it allows you to perform an “SEO audit” on your website to find out if there are any technical improvements you can make to it that will help you achieve better search results.
That’s just the beginning though — there are many other features provided by Semrush that are designed to help you improve your site’s position in search results. I’ll go through these in-depth below, highlighting all their pros and cons.
Keyword research is generally about:
SEMrush makes it very easy for you to find out all the above information.
You just enter a keyword into its ‘Keyword Overview’ tool and you’ll immediately see:
One of the most important metrics returned here is the keyword difficulty score.
Semrush uses a percentage to indicate this — with a higher percentage indicating that it’s going to be harder to rank for a particular keyword.
To get keyword suggestions based on the phrase you’ve entered, you need to use SEMrush’s ‘Keyword Magic’ option.
From a usability point of view, it would probably be better if this was simply called ‘Keyword Suggestions’ — ‘Keyword Magic’ sounds a bit vague — but once you’ve accessed this part of Semrush, you’ll find it’s very easy to use.
It provides you with a list of keywords that are related to the phrase you entered, along with filters that you can use to sort them, including:
All in all, Semrush’s keyword difficulty tool provides you with all the key information you need to make decisions on which keywords to target as part of an SEO project.
However, there are a couple of improvements that could be made to it.
First, the data provided is for Google searches only — it would be better if metrics were available for some other search engines.
To be fair, the overwhelming majority of searches continue to be made on Google(91% at the time of writing, according to Statcounter) — but there are territories, not least the USA, where other search engines enjoy more use (in the US, for example, 7.2% of searches are currently made on Bing). Competing products such as Moz and Ahrefs give you access to this data.
Second, it would be good to get an indication from Semrush regarding the number of backlinks you’ll need to rank for a particular keyword. One of the best things about keyword research in competing product Ahrefs is that it tells you exactly that — it would be good to see Semrush follow suit.
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