SEM or search engine marketing is one of the most sought after ways of promoting your website, making SEMrush a must-have in a modern marketer’s toolkit. SEMrush Competitive Intelligence 2.0 is not just another competitor research tool, as it goes beyond just a competitive SEO analysis, giving you an insight into your rivals’ marketing strategies through different lenses.

Powered by machine learning algorithms and advanced big data technologies, SEMrush’s backend comprises a keyword database of more than 7.7 billion keywords and over 400+ million web domains across 190 countries and regions.

Here are the six most effective ways to use SEMrush for competitive intelligence.

Pin Down Your Competitors

Competitor research and analysis can be daunting, even if your product or service caters to a very exclusive niche. These days, there’s a new brand sprouting up in the market every day, which necessitates the need for a competitor analysis tool like SEMrush. Irrespective of how many brands are competing with you in your segment, SEMrush helps you extract every bit of data, so you can work out a strategy that gives an edge over them.

Find Competitiors Semrush

Besides that, SEMrush also gives you an option to pull out the top-ranking content of your competitors. This is made possible through the ‘Pages’ section of the tool. You can then use this content to improve the on-page SEO of your website.

Do you have multiple competitors you want to keep a tab on? Then you would be in awe of the ‘Domain vs Domain’ feature that allows you to compare a website’s ranking with as many as five of its competitors. Just make sure you have selected ‘Advanced Mode’, cause otherwise, you’ll only be able to select five domains.

SEMrush performs a basic gap analysis to identify the keywords behind the domains and then reports their ranking in terms of keywords, URL, domain authority, backlinks and other things.

Out-think Your Competitors Paid Search Strategy

Are you running a Google Adwords campaign for your brand? If you indeed are, then you’d know how it takes a series of hits and trials till you find the sweet-spot in terms of the most profitable keywords. With SEMrush, you don’t have to lose money while conducting the initial round of bidding experiments, as it allows you to approach your campaign in a cost-effective way from the get-go. All you need to do is put your competitor’s website in SEMrush, and click search to get the analytics pertaining to the domain name.

Next, on the panel located on your left, click on the button called ‘Advertising Research’, and now you can scroll through the entire list of paid search keywords.

Semrush out think competitors

This report also shows how much your competitor is paying every time a user clicks an advertisement on Google which targets one of these keywords, and how much traffic is generated as a result. The default list of keywords is sorted by the amount of traffic, you have the option of sorting them using other parameters as well, depending on what your goal is.

In case you are wondering how to find your competitor’s keywords, that have the best conversion rates, they are the ones with the highest volume and lowest CPC. You can straightaway add these keywords to your campaign, making it more cost-effective.

Furthermore, SEMrush also facilitates finding your competitor’s USP (unique selling point) by allowing you to view the Ads that generate the maximum traffic to their website. You can do this by clicking the ‘Ad Copies’ link on the panel to the left.

Recalibrate Your Content Strategy

SEMrush gives you a picture of the kind of content, from your competitors, that’s getting the maximum links, so you can produce similar kind of content, if not better, in order to generate the same amount of links. There are broadly two ways to draw organic traffic on your website: optimizing the on-page SEO through keyword research and making high authority sites link to your website.

SEMrush backlink analytics tool makes it easy to find opportunities to build links through a feature that lets you unearth all kinds of data, from your competitors, thereby giving you the opportunity to revisit your content strategy by learning from the content that generates the maximum links for your competitors.

Find Content with maximum Links

Let’s try to understand this through an example. Imagine you run an online t-shirt store, and X is your biggest competitor. The next step would be adding X’s URL to SEMrush’s search bar, and selecting ‘Backlinks’ from the ‘All Reports’ dropdown list before clicking ‘Search’. Here, you can see the total amount of backlinks generated by X along with their quality. You can further export this data using ‘Export’ on the top of the table to sort this data manually by the number of external links. To do so, select the ‘Target URL’ column in an Excel sheet and look for URLs that look like they belong to a blog or a content guide.


Master Your Social Media Strategy

Social media traffic may not generate direct sales, but it is quite instrumental in building a loyal user base of quality leads and adding them to your email subscriptions list.

The most important constituent of an effective social media strategy is engaging content. If you are able to engage with your audience, your social media community of followers is set to increase at a steady rate. SEMrush is arguably the best SEO competitor analysis tool in the market when it comes to discerning what kind of social media content gets the best engagement rate for your competitor’s website. The first step in this process is adding your domain to the dashboard. Next, click on the ‘Projects’ tab, select ‘Social Media’, and finally click on the ‘Social Media Tool’ box.

Semrush social media monitoring

Here, you can give SEMrush access to all your social media accounts, besides adding your competitors’ accounts. You need to click on the ‘Add Competitor’ button after adding a social media account. Once you have added all the accounts, click on ‘Start Social Media Tool’. After that, you will be able to draw a direct comparison between your social media account and that of your competitors. This includes the number of followers, and engagement rate, among other things. For example, if you want to see the engagement on a post, you need to visit the ‘Posts’ tab, and the results will be in front of you.

Do Away with Toxic Backlinks

The last thing you want for your website is a decline in its ranking because of a penalty. With SEMrush though, it is going to become a thing of the past. Besides helping you find competitors’ keywords, it also allows you to check the “health” of your backlink profile. It is recommended that you do this at least once as a part of your weekly strategy. The ‘Backlink Audit’ tool is an optimized way of keeping a check on all the backlinks in one place. Once you finish setting up the ‘Backlink Audit’ tool, you will be able to view a table of backlinks from the Google Search Console, SEMrush database, and other third party providers.

semrush toxic backlinks

Thereon, the backlinks in this table can be analyzed for as much as 60 toxicity markers.

The next and the most crucial step is reaching out to the website owners and requesting them to either remove this link or add it to a ‘Disavow’ list, in case it seems toxic. If you think that the link is not harmful to your ranking, you can choose to keep the link. To further add to your convenience, there is also an option to send emails directly from the SEMrush interface. Just add all the suspicious links or domains to the ‘Remove’ list, and you’re ready to perform outreach.

Identify Non-performing Keywords

SEMrush doesn’t just allow you to leverage your competitors’ profitable keywords, but it also lets you find out the profitable keywords that are not generating enough traffic for you. Firstly, you need to type your domain name in the search bar, click ‘All Reports’ and then ‘Organic Research’ to find the list of organic search keywords that ranks on the first page of Google search results.

Next, you would need to create a filter that has two parameters: Position > 5 and CPC > 1.

Identify non performing keywords

In the example provided above, you can clearly identify the keywords you need to focus on. Even though you get low traffic per keyword, since they are relatively expensive, they do have the potential to generate more traffic and thus have better click-through rates. But, because the ranking of pages corresponding to these keywords is low, you will need to improve these pages and optimize them for better rankings. You can look towards adding these keywords to your Google Adwords campaign too, and see if that helps improving conversions from that campaign.

Although Semrush has it’s pros and cons and no tool is perfect but we strongly feel these 6 ways are definitely going to help you refine your SEM or SEO strategy using SEMrush Competitive Intelligence 2.0.