When optimizing your site for search engines, it’s very important to pick the right tool for keyword research, backlink analytics, competitive analysis and find profitable keywords which will bring a steady stream of organic traffic to your website.
Without the right tool, you won’t have the right data. Without the right data, insights, and intelligence, your strategy and action plan won’t be full-proof. Even if you work very hard on your website, create amazing content and do all the right things, you may not see results.
You have to beat the competition to see results and beating competing sites without correct data and actionable insights is next to impossible.
I am a fan of Semrush and use it for all of my SEO research and content optimization activities. From keyword research to finding long-tail keywords, niche research, content strategy, backlink audit, competitive analysis – Semrush is a one-stop solution for all my SEO needs.
After extensively using Semrush, I thought of writing down my experience of using this tool and highlight the Pros and cons of Semrush to someone who wants to use it but hasn’t bought a subscription yet. In this unbiased Semrush review, I have tried to highlight some of the key features of Semrush and it’s pros and cons, so you can make a correct decision of whether it makes sense to invest in a premium keyword research tool or go with free ones (Google Adword keyword planner, Keyword Tool.io, etc)
What is Semrush? Key Features of Semrush
Let us now dive into some of the most prominent features of Semrush.
|Easy and Complete Organic Research||Using free tools keyword research tools may not work too well, considering the fact that there are billions of websites out there doing exactly the same thing. This is where Semrush comes in and helps you score one up and stay ahead in the race by helping you figure out keywords that drive traffic to your competitor’s website.|
|Monitor Changes||A successful Content Strategy has to be dynamic and must keep up with the fast-changing preferences of the internet. You must monitor the changes in your website’s ranking and also that of your competitors on a regular basis. Semrush not only helps you monitor these changes but also helps you to find out new competitors so that you don’t lose out on your rankings.|
|Get Relevant Backlinks||Backlinks are still a strong signal to search engines, they use backlinks to figure out the authority of a website. You can see Semrush backlink audit tool to quickly build a list of spam backlinks and use the link building tool to find opportunities of getting relevant backlinks to your site.|
|Increase Social Media Presence||Semrush lets you manage all your social media accounts from the same place with a chrome extension and lets you auto-schedule your posts. This ensures you can develop a strong social media presence for your brand and improve your website’s online reputation.|
|Analyze Multiple Websites||Semrush gives you the power to analyze multiple competitors in one go, and this helps you narrow down the most profitable keywords. You can also take a sneak peek at the ones that your competitors are missing out on.|
|Easy Traffic Analytics||With Semrush, you can easily track where your competitors’ traffic is coming from and formulate the right content strategy to connect better with those audiences. This real-time data also provides an in-depth view of the websites that you plan to invest in.|
|A powerful Site Audit tool||The site audit tool by Semrush helps prioritize SEO issues such as https, hreflang, and other AMP related issues. So you clearly know the ones that need your immediate attention and can fix them first, and then move on to the rest|
|On-Page SEO Guidance||Semrush’s on-page SEO checker Provide useful suggestions that help you fix errors and rank better in search engines (possibly on the first page)|
|Easy Comparison and CPC Map||With Semrush to do the job for you, there’s no need to spend your precious time or hire resources to keep a track of what your competitors are up to. You can easily track the activities of up to 5 competitors, with Semrush’s Domain vs. Domain tool. With the CPC Map, you can delve deeper into the regional CPC rates and more, and dig up useful data for A/B testing, just in case you wish to try pulling some paid traffic to your website on a dry day.|
Semrush Pricing – Is it Worth Your Money?
Is Semrush worth the money? The answer is Yes as well as No.
Semrush is worth the money if
- You are serious about your online business and want to grow it
- Most of your website traffic comes organically from search engines and you cannot compromise losing on high-quality organic traffic that converts to sales or revenue.
- Your websites already generate some revenue and you want to grow the revenue through strategic measures.
- You are facing steep competition and want to be ahead of the curve.
- You need new ideas to open new channels for your business and acquire customers in different categories, segments, geographies and want to understand their intent better.
Semrush is not worth the money if
- You have just started out and tinkered with a new business idea or a blog.
- You have little to no experience in any online business, especially the one which heavily depends on content for customer acquisition or lead generation.
- You have no content in your website or blog, you are learning the ropes. By no content, I mean very less content (e.g less than 50 posts).
- You are satisfied with Free keyword research tools and don’t want advanced analysis or cutting edge details about your competition.
- You don’t know what SEO is and you are planning to outsource the work to an agency.
Semrush offers 4 plans, which can be billed either on a monthly or on an annual basis.
To get the best deal, we recommend you always choose to pay on an annual basis. Yes, it costs more one time but you will be saving money at the end of the year, compared to the monthly plan.
Let us now take a dig at each of these 4 plans and figure out its suitability for various set-ups.
The most basic plan by Semrush is the pro plan which is suitable for Freelancers and solo business owners. The number of projects under this plan is limited to 5 only, and that it isn’t quite feasible for seasoned freelancers who work with tens, if not hundreds of clients. However, this is the ideal plan for an individual business owner who wants to use Semrush to optimize his own website, and not work for clients on SEO projects. Blog owners who wish to do their own SEO analysis and have just ventured into the website business can experiment with it.
The Pro Plan costs $99 a month (billed monthly) and $996 (billed yearly)
You should take the Pro plan if
- Your website makes some revenue and you can afford to invest $99 a month to get access to invaluable data, which in turn can increase the revenue of your online business.
- You do not work for clients on SEO projects and will never have to monitor hundreds of competing websites for a specific brand or business
- You are okay to be limited to 5 projects.
- You are okay not to have access to historical data.
- You will not need to track more than 500 keywords on a daily basis
- You won’t need branded or white-label PDF reports to share with clients.
- You will not need to crawl more than 1,00,000 URL’s of your sites by Semrush
- You will be the only user and won’t need to add additional users to your account.
If you have more than 5 websites under your belt, you may consider investing in the Guru plan by Semrush, which lets you manage and execute 50 projects, and also segregate the source of traffic based on the devices used by the users. This lets you plan the right content strategy because you can then focus on the length and structure of your content. We consider this plan to be far more beneficial than the pro plan for freelancers involved in digital marketing.
Semrush Guru Plan costs $199 a month (billed monthly) and $1992 (billed yearly)
You should take the Guru plan if
- You own a digital marketing agency and have parallel projects running all day long, you cannot be restricted with only 5 projects.
- You need historical data, so you can analyze the trends of keywords, niches and see what worked in the past but is not working now.
- You want branded PDF reports to share with your clients and companies you do consulting with and do not want to use Semrush’s default branding.
The Business and Enterprise plans are suitable for larger digital marketing agencies, eCommerce sites with huge revenues and turnovers, large corporations and enterprises. If budget isn’t a constraint then we strongly recommend the Business plan for all digital marketing firms with 10 or more clients. Enterprises and larger companies can talk with Semrush team to decide a custom pricing for Semrush, according to their needs.
Semrush Business Plan costs $399 a month (billed monthly) and $3996 (billed yearly).
You should take the business or enterprise plan of Semrush if
- Budget is not a constraint for you and you want no limits and restrictions on your projects or data
- API access and integration with your application software
- Google Data studio reports, scheduling PDF reports, and white labeling
Pros and Cons of Using Semrush
Every tool will have some positives and some negatives. Semrush is no exception, it is indeed a very useful tool with lots of features but it has its limitations as well which I must mention to you.
Given below I have listed some of the benefits and limitations of Semrush but I do feel the benefits strongly outweighs the cons
|Intensive keyword research|
Gives thorough and comprehensive keyword analysis and lets you pick the right ones according to your niche.
|Not a friendly User Interface|
The user interface is not very user-friendly and requires a certain degree of understanding and experience. In other words, the user interface is a little too technical for beginners but this can be easily fixed with a quick course in SEO and digital marketing.
Except for the Pro plan by Semrush, all the plans are reasonably priced for small and midsize businesses.
|A disadvantage in case of subsequent logging|
A single Semrush login can be used by one user only, but just in case you share it with someone else and that person subsequently logs in with the same account then the user who logged in earlier loses access. It would help if Semrush fixes this glitch and ensures that the subsequent user is warned of unauthorized access or something similar.
|Provides detailed information about Visitors|
Semrush lets you take a peep into the demographics of your users, such as age, gender, the location which helps you to offer the right products or services to them.
Some Semrush users complain that Semrush sends out too many warnings in a bid to keep the subscribers hooked on to their services, which sometimes does just the opposite.
|Help identify Toxic Elements||Too big to handle|
With the many tools to help you manage your SEO and digital marketing strategies, Semrush isn’t quite easy to get your head around. If you are a complete beginner, it will take you some time to get used to the tool which is actually quite complicated to a first-timer.
Semrush is a one-stop solution for all your SEO, digital marketing, and business intelligence requirements.
|Inaccurate Ad Spend Data|
Several users have complained about inaccurate data regarding the ad spend, export and other things. Again, this could be speculation or a one time glitch, and this happens with every other product
Our Verdict and Suggestion
For a website’s long-term success, it’s crucial that you get a steady stream of organic traffic.
To get organic traffic, you have to do keyword research, target the right keywords that are profitable, know what your competitors are doing and be 10 steps ahead of them.If you can afford to spend $99 a month and you are serious about growing your website’s business, I would strongly recommend you give it a try for 2-3 months. You won’t regret this decision.
Consider this. After implementing suggestions from the keyword optimization tool, I was able to increase one of my website’s revenue by 23%, this recovers the $99 monthly investment for me. Sure I am still paying for the subscription but at the same time, my revenues and sales are also increasing, which is absolutely vital for the success of my business.
However, if you are just starting out and don’t know the basics, don’t have enough content on the website and have not hustled a bit, I would suggest you stay limited to free keyword research tools. You don’t need an advanced tool yet, you can do it later. You should focus on creating good content and learn the basics of website development, monetization, promotion, SEO and so forth.
What do you think are the major pros and cons of Semrush? Let us know in the comments below.