Semrush: what it is, features, costs, and alternatives (2023)

“Semrush is the digital member of your team: your analysis companion, your mentor, your safety net, and your compass to new markets.”

If you are wondering how to position your website or blog not only on the first page of the SERP but even within the top three positions, then I recommend considering the software Semrush.

In this article, I will first explain what Semrush is and what it does (you can access the platform by clicking here). I will show you how you can use the tool to analyze profitable keywords and backlinks, considering your site or your competitors, and how to check technical SEO.

You will also see how you can plan paid advertising on the platform and monitor all social media connected to your site. There is a section related to Content Marketing features as well, useful for applying a good SEO strategy to your content.

Finally, I will talk about the paid options and the different plans offered (I will also explain how to make use of Semrush’s features in its free version), and we will examine the pros and cons of the best tool available.

To make the most of using Semrush and understand the suggestions that will be offered, you need to have at least basic knowledge of Search Engine Optimization.

If not, I suggest acquiring them through a dedicated course, such as the SEO Course and Content Marketing Course, a practical operational path to becoming a specialist in website positioning on search engines.

What is Semrush and what does it do

Born in 2008 for SEO analysis, Semrush has evolved over the years by implementing a complete range of tools to improve digital marketing activities.

semrush meaning

Its strength, which sets Semrush apart from other online tools, is the fact that it is truly an all-in-one platform, with which you can refine the website/blog in the following areas:

  • SEO
  • Advertising
  • Social Media
  • Content Marketing

What is Semrush for? It helps you improve various aspects of your website and your online marketing strategy. It assists you in positioning yourself effectively in organic search results, but it also offers a wide range of other functions.

The platform allows you to perform an SEO audit of your website and get technical suggestions to apply to pages and articles to rank on the search engine. Moreover, it provides keywords and related terms to use for creating your content.

Semrush also enables you to analyze in detail the websites of competitors and their SEO performance, giving you ideas for further improvements to your website/blog.

But that’s not all, because with various toolkits, you can analyze and monitor your website comprehensively. For example, with features like the PPC Keywords Tool, you can enhance your paid advertising campaigns.

You also have the option to observe your competitors’ advertising and display campaigns. Furthermore, just like in the advertising section where you can create your ads, in the social media section, you can create posts for various social networks where you want to establish your presence.

Lastly, thanks to the features of the Content Marketing Toolkit by Semrush, you can create well-constructed resources both technically and content-wise.

How to set up Semrush

To begin using it, go to the website and create a new account by going to the main screen and clicking “Login” in the upper right corner. Enter your email and a password.

how to set up semrush

Once registered, enter the platform and click on the “Projects” tab in the left menu. On the page that opens, click on “Create Project” (the blue button you see in the screenshot below), here enter the domain and the site name: your new project will open.

create project

Once the project is created, you will find yourself in the dashboard with various boxes to configure in order to set up the various tools. Once done, Semrush will analyze all the data and you will receive an initial analysis of the website, which you can monitor over time.

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The main features of Semrush

Semrush’s features, as I have already mentioned, can be divided into 4 main areas: SEO, Advertising, Social Media, and Content Marketing.

Each of these areas is represented in the platform by the corresponding toolkit. These toolkits, in turn, are divided into sections that group the functionalities and tools developed by Semrush.

For example, in the SEO section, you will find all the features used to analyze competitors under the heading “Competitive Analysis,” including the Keyword Gap and Backlink Gap tools, but let’s take a closer look!

SEO

Semrush’s SEO analysis functions are a significant part of what sets this platform apart. Once you create the project, select the “SEO” tab from the sidebar menu; you will see all the various subsections below, as shown in the screenshot:

Thanks to SEO tools, you can check multiple aspects of your online presence and obtain useful information to adjust your web marketing strategy.

domain overview

Starting from an overview of the domain, you can delve into the analysis of website traffic, distinguishing between different traffic sources (organic or paid, desktop or mobile).

The domain overview displays all the information about the analyzed website: authority score, organic and paid traffic, backlinks, keywords, competitors, etc.

Additionally, all the keywords are analyzed, and you can obtain the following information:

  • number of keywords the site is ranking for;
  • position the site occupies in the SERP with these keywords;
  • traffic volume brought by each keyword;
  • search volume associated with each keyword.

So, as you can understand, in this section, you can conduct a very in-depth analysis of keywords, and it can be a great help to use it for competitors’ sites as well to understand which keywords work best.

organic research

Thanks to the Keyword Gap and Backlink Gap functionalities, you can perform a detailed analysis of keywords and backlinks on your site, comparing the data with that of competitors, to build the best SEO strategy.

The keyword research section, along with the Keyword Magic Tool, can lead you to many excellent results with extreme simplicity. By entering a keyword, the Keyword Magic Tool provides you with:

  • difficulty in keyword positioning;
  • search volumes;
  • competitive density;
  • features of the SERP, if activated (such as carousel, reviews, featured snippet, knowledge panel, etc.);
  • generic, phrase, and exact matches;
  • related and voice searches.

To help you understand its power, this specific tool even won the title of “Best Digital Tool” in 2019 at the PubCon Interactive Marketing Awards. Familiarity with this tool is essential in your SEO resume.

keyword magic tool

Tracking your position is also a useful Semrush tool. With it, you can keep track of the position of your resources and your competitors’ resources. This is a way to monitor the results and changes in keyword positions.

Additionally, thanks to the SERP Volatility Sensor, you will be updated on algorithm variations that sometimes abruptly change positions in Google’s SERP.

Technical SEO involves all the technical aspects of the website, such as indexing and crawling. Semrush detects any errors in this specific area in the On-Page & Tech SEO section.

With these features, it checks, for example, URL structure, XML sitemap, site architecture, and duplicate content, providing suggestions to manage them effectively.

 

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Semrush’s Advertising Toolkit is useful for advertising planning, also divided into sections that allow you to analyze competition and keywords. Here, you can organize and monitor paid advertising performance.

This analysis is crucial to give you an idea of what works in advertising campaigns and therefore to use your budget only where you know you will get performative results.

The initial overview is similar to organic but the information provided pertains to paid keywords. Thanks to this feature, you can study all the work your competitors have done and are doing with their advertising.

You can see which keywords they focus on the most, which ones give them the best results, and what they have changed over time, including those they’ve abandoned and the new ones.

This is also useful for you to learn and gather important information to structure your advertising campaigns.

ppc advertising toolkit

In addition, thanks to the PPC Keywords Tool, optimizing and creating your Adv campaigns becomes much simpler. Here you can create ad groups and export them.

In the Display Advertising section, on the other hand, you can monitor the display campaigns of any domain, including competitors’ movements on other websites.

You can see both the results they are achieving and their banners and ads with connected landing pages. With PLA Research, you can also analyze Google Shopping results.

This is a useful tool to check your competitors’ ad performance but also for reverse engineering, i.e., seeing which keywords trigger your ads.

The ability to position pages on Google organically and through paid methods is highly sought after by businesses. Acquire this skill with a professionalizing course!

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Social Media

In this section, you’ll find other Semrush features related to social media management and monitoring. The Social Media Toolkit is mainly divided into two parts:

social media toolkit

  • Social Media Poster: With this tool, you can connect all necessary social media and organize a calendar to schedule all your content. The social platforms you can connect to are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube. From here, you can also create your posts and preview them for all social media and different devices (desktop and mobile).
  • Social Media Tracker: Useful for monitoring the performance of all your social channels, thanks to information about published posts and your audience. You can view various metrics such as engagement, shares, comments, reactions, and audience. You can select them for different time periods and compare them with those of competitors.

Content Marketing

Semrush offers tools to optimize content, which are also crucial for achieving positive results. The Topic Research is useful for keyword research.

Here, you can enter a topic to get many suggestions such as main keywords, local ones, and related themes, but also questions users ask on Google about the topic, the most effective headlines, and trending topics. You can also view the results in the form of a mind map.

content marketing dashboard

The SEO Content Template and SEO Writing Assistant help you more in the content writing phase.

  • The SEO Content Template provides suggestions based on one or more keywords and analyzes the top 10 results in Google’s SERP. It generates a template of all the features that work best among well-positioned articles.
  • SEO Writing Assistant, on the other hand, is a text editor that evaluates how well your text is written in terms of quality and SEO. As you write, it checks keyword usage, suggests related and secondary keywords, and monitors readability score, originality, SEO, and tone of voice. The Writing Assistant is also available as a plugin for WordPress and Google Docs.

Finally, with the Brand Monitoring tool, you can enhance your personal branding and PR strategy. In this section, you can monitor topics that interest you, such as specific keywords, as well as mentions of your brand on the web or social media.

With Post Tracking, you can monitor the performance of your guest posts, which are contents created outside of your website.

Meanwhile, the Content Audit is useful for getting real-time information about the performance of published articles and obtaining suggestions for their optimization.

 

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seo copywriting ebook guide

After discovering the power of this fantastic tool, a natural question arises: how much does Semrush cost? There is a possibility to use it for free, but we’ll get to that shortly.

In the meantime, let me tell you about the 3 types of paid plans: Pro, Guru, and Business.

semrush plans and costs

The main difference lies in the number of projects you can work on. If you don’t need to manage more than 5 websites, then the Pro version might be sufficient.

If you work for various clients, the Guru version allows you to handle up to 15 projects; in this case, you can also distribute the cost among your clients. Finally, if you run a web agency, the best option is to opt for the Business plan, which enables you to create up to 40 projects, using all of Semrush’s features.

As you can see from the image, the limit of keywords you can track in Position Tracking, which is 10 for the free version, increases to 500 for Pro, 1,500 for Guru, and 5,000 for Business.

Additionally, the Site Audit, starting from 100 pages in the free version, expands to 100,000 for Pro, 300,000 for Guru, and 1 million pages for the Business version.

The number of daily searches (domain and keyword analyses) also varies based on the plan:

  • 3,000 for Pro
  • 5,000 for Guru
  • 10,000 for Business

Finally, know that you can purchase customized packages based on your needs if you only need to remove specific limitations. For example, if you have the Pro plan but require tracking more than 500 keywords, you can request a specific upgrade for this functionality.

pricing comparison

How to use Semrush for free

If you’re involved in digital marketing for a company or you’re an entrepreneur, you should consider Semrush as an investment that can genuinely help improve your website’s performance and business results, even though it comes with a higher cost compared to most other similar platforms.

But here’s the good news! Semrush offers a 7-day free trial, the Semrush free trial, during which you can use the paid version, the full tool with all its features.

If you want to test this version, remember that at the end of the 7-day trial, you’ll be charged for the selected plan if you don’t cancel it beforehand.

Alternatively, you can use it in the free version, which allows you to create only one project related to a single website. You can perform up to 10 searches per day, so 10 total queries, including both domain (competitor) and keyword searches.

Additionally, for each type of search, you can see only the top 10 results, so your reports won’t be comprehensive with all the results Semrush can provide.

In your project specifically, two features will be limited:

  • Position Tracking: This can monitor only up to 10 keywords.
  • Site Audit: This can check no more than 100 pages of the website.

Lastly, the free Semrush account does not include the Content Marketing toolkit and cannot provide you with historical data for your report.

So, the free option certainly has limitations compared to the vast potential of the complete platform, but it can suffice if you’re starting work on a small digital marketing project.

A paid plan, on the other hand, is undoubtedly useful for companies and agencies handling larger and more important projects.

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Pros and Cons of Semrush

The main advantage of Semrush is undoubtedly its richness of analytical and operational tools, allowing you to intervene in various areas of your digital marketing strategy.

Let’s take a detailed look at a list of pros and cons.

Pros

  • Free trial: As I just explained, you have the opportunity to try out all the premium features for free for 7 days.
  • Easy to use: The interface is intuitive, and the tools are user-friendly even for those newly interested in digital marketing.
  • Comprehensive reports: Compared to its competitors, Semrush offers a higher quantity of reports not only for paid plans but also in the free version.
  • Customer support: This platform provides multichannel support to its subscribers, who can contact support via email, chat, and even by phone.
  • Blog: You can find a wealth of information about the correct use of the platform and unclear functionalities.
  • Semrush YouTube Channel: Thanks to detailed video tutorials answering any question, you can learn much more about using the tool.
  • Academy: This section offers digital marketing courses, allowing you to deepen your knowledge and obtain certificates for free (lessons are in English, but you can follow them with subtitles). Among other resources, you can find many e-books in different languages, webinars, and even podcasts.

Cons

  • High price: As we have seen, the prices can be intimidating and not be affordable for everyone.
  • Single account: Each plan includes a single account; you can add more, but it requires an additional fee.
  • Non-responsive: Semrush does not adapt to mobile devices, making it difficult to use on smartphones and tablets.
  • Data only from Google: While other competitors provide analysis from multiple search engines, Semrush relies solely on Google’s data.

Alternatives to Semrush

As you may have understood, Semrush is the most comprehensive software available, but considering the high cost, you are probably wondering if there are valid alternatives: the answer is yes, but compromises need to be made.

Below, you will see a comparison table of some of the most popular tools. Let’s closely examine the different characteristics in-depth:

 InterfaceFeaturesKeywordsBacklinkPrice
AhrefsXVVVX
MozVXVVX
UbersuggestVXXXV
SeozoomVXVXV
SE rankingVVXXV

 

  • Interface: Most software comes with an easy-to-use and intuitive interface for users to navigate quickly through various functions. However, Ahrefs requires a certain learning curve.
  • Features: Tools for monitoring website performance, keywords used, identifying competitors, conducting backlink analysis, and viewing detailed reports. Many software options have usage limits, meaning they have a limited amount of data compared to other SEO tools.
  • Keywords: Analysis and research of keywords, ranking difficulty, competitive keywords, and local-level research. Most tools offer this functionality but have a smaller database compared to Ahrefs and Moz.
  • Backlink: In-depth analysis of information on a website’s backlink profile, quality, authority, and quantity of backlinks. Like keywords, many software options lack the same breadth of information, resulting in less detailed reports.
  • Price: Costs vary widely based on the packages you choose according to your needs. Considering basic monthly packages, prices start from below $30 and go up to a maximum of $99. Some, like Ubersuggest, offer a free trial or very limited use of certain features.

Conclusion and strategic advice

To learn how to correctly use Semrush, it takes study, curiosity, and practice, especially in the beginning. I hope this article has provided you with useful insights to understand its enormous potential and how it works.

Semrush is a comprehensive and highly useful tool for improving your blog/website and refining your digital marketing strategy. So, if you’ve recently started promoting your work with a website or blog, don’t hesitate:

to create an account on Semrush and start working with the free version.

If you’re already experienced or are trying to start a larger project, I recommend investing in the paid version and choosing the one that best suits your needs.

Consult an expert to learn how to make the most of Semrush to enhance your online presence

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The article was written in a kind collaboration with Semrush.

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