SEMrush is an SEO tool which allows users to perform keyword research, competitor analysis, and marketing optimisation. If you don’t know much about SEO, take a look at our SEO guide for beginners.
Its primary use is as a digital marketing tool, as it is capable of running multiple campaigns, such as SEO, PPC and social media. SEMrush is popular because it’s an all-in-one platform which is easy to navigate and highly useful to anyone who wishes to see all of their data in one place.
In terms of its competition, SEMrush is more than capable of putting up a good showing of itself. It’s not perfect at everything, and many people prefer other platforms such as Ahrefs and Moz. Despite this, we still like to use SEMrush as our main tracking tool because it’s only outperformed by its competitors in a small number of departments.
Our favourite features
Keyword research is one of the most frequent and important tasks we do for all of our SEO clients. It’s actually the very first step of any of our SEO campaigns and something that we keep under constant review, so it’s something that must be done properly if the campaign is to succeed. This is why we like using SEMrush’s keyword research tool.
While we do use other tools such as Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest, SEMrush is still useful as it suggests further keywords and allows us to enter and track a large number of keywords for a website. We can use SEMrush to see which keywords are performing and which ones we may need to put more work into.
One of the things SEMrush allows us to do (which we are very grateful for) is quickly and easily see the rankings for keywords we are tracking in various websites. Being able to keep a close eye on the performance of our websites is an absolute must for any digital marketing professional, so having our position tracker on the home page makes it incredibly quick and easy to monitor.
Once you’ve clicked on a particular website, you’re taken to the profile for that domain which contains a huge amount of information. We can see the visibility of the website and whether it’s increased or decreased since the last update, as well as the estimated traffic and average position.
This data allows us to quickly determine if a website is performing well, and if it’s not then we can identify the point where things went downhill. This is crucial as it helps us to understand the reason for a change and therefore address this. This is important when it comes to figuring out any inconsistencies or sudden changes in results. If we see significant changes then it could indicate a negative SEO attack that we can try to stop, or if we see a more general decline we can try to trace it back to a certain action or event.
We also regularly use SEMrush to run full site audits, as they allow us to gain an overall view of a website and locate broken links or any other issues with the website. Once the audit is complete, SEMrush provides a full report and gives in-depth descriptions of the results of the audit. This is something we frequently do with our websites and is a feature which we couldn’t do without due to the time it saves.
How SEMrush stands up against other SEO tools
Although we are keen users of SEMrush, it has a healthy number of competitors. We’re going to take a closer look at some alternative platforms and analyse their performance in comparison to SEMrush.
BrightLocal provides a similar service to SEMrush although it has a particular focus on increasing local citations. Local SEO is extremely important as it helps businesses gain online visibility in their own specific geographic area.
While SEMrush can also be used for local citations and rank tracking against local terms, BrightLocal offers more flexibility around the citations that you can choose. The service is more personal as you get to speak directly with the people that are completing the campaign.
BrightLocal focuses on thoroughly checking the information provided which can make all the difference when it comes to ranking for local terms. For example, having a consistent NAP (Name, Address and Phone number) on your Google My Business page is crucial for having local terms which rank highly.
For this reason, in particular, BrightLocal could be said to provide a better service than SEMrush. However, SEMrush still manages to perform well in so many other areas that we continue to use it as our main tool for SEO.
Ahrefs is another popular SEO tool which specialises in backlink analysis. Backlinks are a crucial part of SEO as they essentially let search engines know that other websites and content generators trust your content, therefore it should rank higher as the page will have higher page authority. Until recently, Ahrefs was only designed to improve backlinks, but now they’ve added a lot more features which makes this comparison much more competitive.
While Ahrefs has undoubtedly improved, SEMrush still appears to be slightly better. The Ahrefs site audit, for example, does highlight errors and warnings but isn’t overly specific about what the problems are. In contrast, SEMrush breaks down the errors into broken links,
crawl errors and HTTP status code errors.
When it comes to keyword tracking, both tools provide this service, but once again SEMrush pips Ahrefs to the post. SEMrush goes above and beyond by allowing you to see your competitors’ keyword analysis as well as your own. Ahrefs has definitely improved as an SEO tool, but overall it seems like SEMrush offers slightly more data in slightly more detail.
Moz is another platform which provides an all-in-one SEO service. Like SEMrush, Moz performs tasks such as link analysis, competitive analysis and keyword research.
In terms of the performance of their features, SEMrush’s site audit is superior as it’s so in-depth and even emails you when your website is at risk. However, Moz offers the Mozbar, which is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to glimpse crucial information about your website at a quick glance.
In addition to this, the Mozbar also lets the user conduct keyword research and link analysis directly from the browser bar. While this is undoubtedly a cool extension, SEMrush began as a keyword research tool and also specialises in this area.
Both Moz and SEMrush are considered to be some of the best available SEO tools. They offer near enough the same services and they both have huge amounts of accessible data. The decision to pick one over the other would most likely come down to either pricing or personal preference in terms of the visual layout of the websites.
Majestic is a tool purely for looking at backlinks, which is why we occasionally use it when we suspect a negative SEO attack. It boasts one of the most comprehensive databases of backlinks and helpfully splits them into historic or fresh.
In addition to providing extensive backlink analysis, Majestic analysis also covers trust, citation and topical flow. Like any good SEO tool, you can search a competitor’s backlink and analysis too.
Why we use SEMrush
We have used SEMrush for a long time now, and we like it because it has proven itself to be a reliable and accurate tool for our digital marketing campaigns.
As a busy web development and digital marketing agency, we’re normally running campaigns for a number of our clients at any one time. Collecting data is crucial to this work as it allows us to see exactly what is getting results, and what might need to be changed.
In order to collect as much information as possible, we sometimes need to use more than one software tool. So, while we may combine our use of SEMrush with other programmes, we always tend to use SEMrush as our primary and most dependable platform.
To conclude, SEMrush is an excellent all-in-one tool for both amateur and professional digital marketers. While it does have competitors that rival them in certain areas, SEMrush provides an extremely well-rounded service with a long list of features that for us, make it our SEO tool of choice.