SEO and SEM go hand in hand but are very much different from each other. Search Engine Optimization is a technique by which you improve your search rank and drive traffic to your website. Search Engine Marketing is rather a broader term that encompasses SEO as well. It includes paid or sponsored advertisement, ensuring more visibility of your website.
Being able to see which keywords are driving to a specific domain is invaluable. Also having detailed keyword research with search volume and difficulty as well as recommendations makes it essentially a one-stop solution. Also, all of the new features that have been added over the years, the keyword magic tool and the disavow tool have been life savers.
In this article, I will discuss about this SEM tool that can be used to research competitors’ keywords – SEMrush, which I have used in many projects. Writing is no more about just putting up what your readers love but also about searching and finding what readers have been searching and putting them into post, so, that it can drive relevant traffic from search engine. Or, putting it the other way, using these keywords, you can drive highly relevant traffic through ads in search engine.
Turnes out - yes, yes I do!!! From doing keyword research, to defining who my competition is in my own market, and what keywords THEY use, to defining weekly tracking on important metrics, both on my website AND social media channels, SEMrush has played a HUGE role in the way that I have started to see my small business as an actual business and not just a hobby.
The SEO Content Template helps to boost and streamline your ability to write optimized content. The template is created by using the targeted keyword and continues to monitor your article’s SEO value as you keep writing. Obviously, there is nothing much to it but still happens to be a must-have tool if you’re writing a lot of SEO content for clients or your own websites since it speeds up the process.

The Overview Report shows issues which are of the highest priority, and the ones which are most frequently found on the website. If you want to fix a problem that’s reoccurring throughout the website then click on the Issues Report, and it shows all the URLs of all the pages which are affected. While the Page Report shows all the issues on a particular landing page.


Traffic over time: You can find out the traffic trend of the competitor website from this chart. Very useful to know their content marketing strategies. A steady increase of traffic line showcases that they use white-hat SEO strategies and use proper content marketing strategies. On the other hand, quick bump up of traffic and a quick breakdown of traffic reveals that the particular website has used black-hat SEO tactics and Google has penalized it.
SEMRush has helped me in driving relevant traffic to my website, with the help of the ads and the keywords in the search engine. It has effectively provided mu website with more visibility. The PPC strategy of SEM has provided my website with immediate visibility on different search engines. The database of this wonderful tool has been impressively updated. SEMRush has provided me with a perfect analysis of the contributions that the different keywords gave to my website.
Cons: If you're looking for rank tracking then I'd suggest looking elsewhere, it's a little wonky and not as easy to use as other rank tracking solutions. However, if you don't want to buy multiple pieces of software then the rank tracker will get the job done. The software is kind of a 'jack of all trades, master of none'; so you'll be able to get by with just this as your main piece of software, but if you want something a little more specialized then you should probably look elsewhere. You might end up not using a lot of the tools because there is so much to explore, but most of the tools that are there are pretty valuable. Other than that, some of the reports need some extra interpretation if you are going to present them to a client which isn't optimal but is understandable.
Monitor Changes in Statistics: The Display Advertising Feature also allows you to see the changes in statics which depend on the ads and the devices on which they are displayed. Your display campaign will be visible across tablets, PCs, smartphones, etc. All of which results in being able to see which devices are producing the most impressions, check if text ads are doing better than media ads or vice versa and adjust your campaign settings to allow for better interaction.
The end product of keyword research, link building, social media engagement, and influencer marketing is to drive the right people to your website. Why? Because when you succeed at it, you’ll smile to the bank.As you can imagine, most businesses and website owners are trying to spy on their competitors manually. Of course, the manual has its place. But it’s time-consuming and boring.
You sell things and source them in China or want to? Alibaba is the single biggest platform for finding suppliers for, well, anything that can be shipped. Use our Alibaba longtail keywords finder to tap into the millions of products you can buy and sell. No matter if B2C or B2B, for dropshipping or Amazon FBA, shipping containers or airdropping, here the professionals trade.
The Backlink Analytics tool can provide lengthy lists of competitor's backlinks that can be exported in spreadsheet formats. You can see your competitors backlink strategies including legitimate (blogs, directories) and illegitimate methods for gaining domain and site authority on Google. I also appreciate the keyword rankings, as it allows for easy reporting and tracking of SEO optimization strategies and keyword campaigns. Great tools for tracking keywords campaigns against similar business as well.
Removing Cross Group Negative Keywords: Cross-group negative keywords are bound to happen when you use the modified or broad match feature in your campaigns. These terms cause ads to compete with each other, and your CPC will grow as a result. However, while it is time-consuming to remove cross group negative keywords the ‘cross group negatives’ button will save you a great deal of time. You will stay on budget as a result and avoid competing against your own ads.
As a long time Moz user and I might even say a super fan of their product, it feels really odd to be writing a review of Ahrefs. But here we go--I love Ahrefs. The design, the UI, the gigantic keyword database and now the newly redesign site audit are a thing of beauty. I continue to be impressed by the data they provide, features that are added frequently and my favorite feature has to be the top pages report. (Not sure why I love that so much--but it just makes it extremely simple to research a site or competitor with that report.)
Removing Cross Group Negative Keywords: Cross-group negative keywords are bound to happen when you use the modified or broad match feature in your campaigns. These terms cause ads to compete with each other, and your CPC will grow as a result. However, while it is time-consuming to remove cross group negative keywords the ‘cross group negatives’ button will save you a great deal of time. You will stay on budget as a result and avoid competing against your own ads.
The Intersecting Link Opportunity report we love could offer an automatic version that takes into account the top 20 listings for a given keyword phrase, saving the researcher copy/paste time and having to run multiple requests. Their Most Popular Content list is definitely helpful, but doesn't give us the semantic relevancy we get from the intersecting report.
I like the ability to compare a client’s website to it’s competition. This feature is awesome. Enables side by side comparisons on how you are doing vs competitors for key metrics such as back links, SERP Results, Domain Strength, etc. The information I can get on Organic Search, Paid Search and keywords is also extremely helpful to the work I do. Thanks Matthew for this article. I wish to win this :)
It is very expensive for one user. Many companies are forced to share a login because purchasing additional user licenses is cost prohibitive for a small agency. Most small agencies and startups would only utilize the tool a few hours per week. Competitors are offering an unlimited user package, which is quickly becoming a tempting offer as their platforms improve.

I like the ability to compare a client’s website to it’s competition. This feature is awesome. Enables side by side comparisons on how you are doing vs competitors for key metrics such as back links, SERP Results, Domain Strength, etc. The information I can get on Organic Search, Paid Search and keywords is also extremely helpful to the work I do. Thanks Matthew for this article. I wish to win this :)
Check if there are governmental or educational links: EDU and GOV links are some of the best as they help to improve authority.  So, every SEO professional knows the value of these links as they directly result in an SEO boost. Just a handful of these links can mean a great deal for your website. The tool shows if there are any of these backlinks to your website.

On page and OFF page SEO I like to use this SEO tool. This tool helps to find our competitor backlinks and his traffic source. Not Only this you can also analyze that what organic keywords your competitor rank. If you are new to SEO then this tool is very helpful for you this tool suggest you what improvement need on your site. This tool is a good source for finding keywords. By using this tool you can see your competitor keywords and add some additional keywords that you research using this tool and boost up your site within 2 to 3 months easily.
Have you ever received a warning from Google Chrome to not visit a page? It will block the page and prevent you from going there because of some security issue. We begin by ensuring your website passes a SSL Certificate Validity Check. This a whole range of security protocols that should be within your website’s coding or built-in to the domain. It shows the world that your site is trustworthy!
Hi Anil, a fantastic post. I would like to know your opinion since in my case I do not have the budget to keep two tools at the same time. I currently use semrush since there are things that I like a lot but I have doubts about the speed of the backlink audit tool. Recently I have encountered a problem in which semrush has not detected backlinks that were potentially dangerous to my website and this has hurt me. This part worries me a little because I’ve already seen the ears of the wolf. On the price-quality ratio of the two tools, would you continue with semrush or would you go to ahrefs? Thank you very much!
Top Referring Content – This displays the most popular page that links to your target website. They determine the popularity of the page through the number of social shares it has. You can use this to help your SEO campaign by knowing which page/website has a decent social media following, and you can partner with them for more link opportunities to improve your backlink profile.
If you are looking for keywords in languages other than English, you will find Keyword Tool's features very useful. Keyword Tool allows you to pull keywords from 192 Google domains and use 83 Google language interfaces to generate keyword suggestions. That way we make sure that the generated keywords will be relevant to the country and/or language that you are creating your content for.
Brian is the founder of MeiggsMedia and has a love for digital marketing, entrepreneurship, and personal finance. Brian has been quoted in several online publications, including Yahoo! Finance, NASDAQ, MSN, AOL, Discover, GOBankingRates, Student Loan Hero and more. When not helping others reach their goals, Brian can be found at the gym, traveling, exploring Washington DC, or helping bloggers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses succeed at MeiggsMedia.
A few years back we decided to move our community forum from a different URL (myforum.com) to our main URL (mywebsite.com/forum), thinking all the community content could only help drive additional traffic to our website. We have 8930 site links currently, which probably 8800 are forum content or blog content. Should we move our forum back to a different URL?
Love how you just dive into the details for this Site Audit guide. Excellent stuff! Yours is much much easier to understand than other guides online and I feel like I could integrate this to how I site audit my websites and actually cut down the time I make my reports. I only need to do more research on how to remove “zombie pages”. If you could have a ste-by-step guide to it, that would be awesome! Thanks!
The tool will help you see where a website’s traffic comes from; how their audience engages with their site; what devices visitors prefer to use; how multiple websites’ audiences overlap and much more. The market intelligence insights found in Traffic Analytics makes it one of the most powerful tools on SEMrush for market researchers, marketing managers, business development teams, and sales teams.

Pros: This is about the best all-around SEO software that you can find. It does a good job at about everything and doesn't have a lot of weaknesses. The competitive analysis is really the best reason to buy the software, it's comprehensive and gives you a good look at potential competitors. There are always new features being added and tested which is fantastic and gives the software good value. Some features are better than others, but the audit and competitive analysis really are fantastic. I've used the software in various forms including Business, Guru and free. The free version gives you a taste, but the full experience is generally worth the money. Guru is worth the extra money over Pro as it gives you branded reports and the ability to manage quite a few more projects. Exports and reoccurring reports are very nice and simple to set up.
Brand Monitoring is essential since it allows you to figure out how popular the brand is becoming. Each time a customer or some other business mentions your brand on a blog or social media post it has a positive effect on your image and also on SEO. The tool will provide you with information if someone or some entity has mentioned your brand. So, you know who is talking about the brand and if what they are saying is negative, positive or neutral. That will give you some ideas as to if you should follow up on those mentions or leave them alone.
Pros: The main thing about Semrush is versatility and SEO functionality, but beside SEO there are lot of things you cqan do with, such as: brand monitoring, position tracking, SEO ideas and backlink audit. If you are not familiar with it, you can watch tutorials which are extremely helpful, but the one thing you should now is that you might be overwhelmed with lot of information about this platform. The price is affordable but it might be expensive for small size businesses. I like the competitor tracking because it is useful and it allows you to see competitor backlinks.

SEMrush is an online visibility management and content marketing SaaS platform ensuring businesses get measurable results from online marketing. Trusted by over 3,000,000 marketing professionals, SEMrush offers solutions for companies in any industry to build, manage, and measure campaigns across all marketing channels. With 30 tools for search, content, social media and market research, data for more than 140 countries, SEMrush is now a must-have solution for all companies serious about online
Pros: I love how simple SEMRush is to use and how intuitive their UX is. I've used their topic research tool for clients and it has helped inform their entire content marketing strategy, from the calendar itself to the amount of paid/organic attention we give each piece of content. Their tool is always fast, loads quickly and is easy for novices to understand.
Pros: We were wondering how can we achieve great performance for us and our customers in online marketing area. After discovering semrush our expectations were met. We did find all those marketing channels to be explored, used and to be able to add value. All those spreadsheets and data really caught my add when displayed as charts diagrams. We now know where to spend our marketing budget, were our competition is spending theirs and what to do.
Truly an insightful post Matthew, thank you very much for your awesome content. My first site is about to be launched and it’s been a ton of work to get to this point and I know that’s just the start. I would love to have a years membership of SEMRush to help my blog get off the ground. I have used the demo version a few times and it provides a lot of value. Thanks again for this amazing article and I hope I win.

Monitor Changes in Statistics: The Display Advertising Feature also allows you to see the changes in statics which depend on the ads and the devices on which they are displayed. Your display campaign will be visible across tablets, PCs, smartphones, etc. All of which results in being able to see which devices are producing the most impressions, check if text ads are doing better than media ads or vice versa and adjust your campaign settings to allow for better interaction.
CPC Map is a nifty little tool developed by SEMrush to provide advertisers with an overview of what Cost Per Click advertising will cost them in different locations within the country. That said it still does not tell you which areas will be the most receptive and affordable to advertise in online. However, it still provides you with an easy way to evaluate the cost of advertising in a potential of a state or region. You can use the tool to compare search volume and PPC costs across a multitude of industries. It is great for market research or for a consultant who is about to quote a price to a client.
Cons: SEMrush is an advanced tool for sure, not for newbies with little knowledge. However their support and tutorials are great. I'd like some more customization and styling options for the report tool, since we use SEMrush as our main report generator. Now we end up pasting images or combining it with other separate reports. I'd also like a client-facing dashboard for easy reporting. The keyword research tool isn't as good as the google one used to be, but now that google is making their keyword research tool more and more ridiculous, SEMrush is looking pretty good.
Pros: Often we utilize SEMRush for a broad range of things related to digital marketing. The most important tool by far for my day-to-day job is the keyword ranking tool, since it's imperative that I can consistently demonstrate that we are outperforming competitors in search. The website SEO tool is useful as well but should be utilized with a grain of salt. We fixed quite a few small issues using suggestions from SEMRush, but it crawls pages that are set to noindex, so it often finds issues that aren't relevant to your actual ranking.

The only weakness and something we’ve mentioned above briefly is its somewhat limited backlinks database. The backlink monitoring tool and others aren’t able to grasp the entirety of most link building campaigns. Many backlinks go unreported. While the new hook up with Majestic’s database does improve things slightly, it still isn’t as good as the competition. So, some work needs to be done to enhance backlink audit results. Though this is in no way, a deal breaker especially compared against the backdrop of solid reporting and insights.

The Backlink Analytics tool can provide lengthy lists of competitor's backlinks that can be exported in spreadsheet formats. You can see your competitors backlink strategies including legitimate (blogs, directories) and illegitimate methods for gaining domain and site authority on Google. I also appreciate the keyword rankings, as it allows for easy reporting and tracking of SEO optimization strategies and keyword campaigns. Great tools for tracking keywords campaigns against similar business as well.
SEMrush provides great insight into a prospect's pain areas, and where they might need help. It provides a data driven evaluation, that prospects appreciate when they see how their website is seen from the outside. I believe this tool helps me build relationships with prospects, that improves their confidence in my resources for evaluating their situation and to give them strategic insights.

It's easy to use to in terms of just dropping in a domain or keyword for quick metrics. I also like that you can compare 5 domains. It has been really easy for me to teach our content strategists how to use the tool, even thought they are not as technically savvy. This was the first tool I learned to use for SEO, and it's definitely easy to catch on as a beginner and you do not need extensive technical knowledge.


Any SEO specialist worth his salt knows the importance of backlinks. No SEO campaign can be complete without good quality do-follow and no-follow backlinks from forums, blogs, news websites, etc. within the niche. The Backlinks Report provided by SEMRush provides thorough information regarding geolocation, rank authority and the number of incoming links. These links are seen as votes in favor of your website’s relevance to the subject or niche, in addition to being voted up for credibility and trustworthiness.
We love the Intersecting Link Opportunity report, which helps us plan our link-earning strategy based on the semantic Web and relevancy. There really isn't a better way of finding industry websites to market with that could result in organic link wins. Our team has been using Ahrefs for as long as we can remember, mainly because it offers a higher volume of discovered links when weighed against similar tools.

Hi Faizan, glad you found it useful. Yes, SEMrush is definitely one of the best SEO tools out there. When you’re doing keyword research, don’t go for KD score, instead pick low volume keywords with 100 or even 50 monthly searches. And target long tail keywords so you can get traffic from multiple keyword phrases. It might take a good 3 months to get the traffic from search engines if you go that way.
Hi, Brian. Thank you for the great article. I have a question about the part about 4 website addresses. Ours currently is set to https://www., and we would like to change it to just an https:// as the main website. Will this hurt our current link profile, or will everything stay the same? This might be a foolish question, but we are a bit worried. Thank you.
You sell things and source them in China or want to? Alibaba is the single biggest platform for finding suppliers for, well, anything that can be shipped. Use our Alibaba longtail keywords finder to tap into the millions of products you can buy and sell. No matter if B2C or B2B, for dropshipping or Amazon FBA, shipping containers or airdropping, here the professionals trade.
Semrush has helped our organization in different ways as it not just improved our website ranking but also enable us to make our clients happy by providing the best results. Semrush helped us by letting us know about the backlink opportunities. The tool also allows generating performance report which saved our time as we were able to send SEO performance reports to our clients any time.
Thanks for the article, really gives some clear insights.I am currently testing out Ahref’s and have tested Moz and Semrush in the past as well. In my opinion Ahref’s UI is the best and clearest. I will have to test Moz and Semrush again i am afraid to be sure which one to start using. Have been using SE Ranking for rank tracking mostly but have noticed rank positions are not accurate most times.
A little expensive. Support responses can be slow. Interface can be rather confusing although they recently improved it a lot (see above re: regular updates). I couldn't get the Chrome Extension to work in any of my installations of Chrome, so I still use competitor toolbars in my browser. You can't ever change your login email address thanks to the billing system, so choose carefully.
I purchased SEMRush last week and completed a Site Audit I couldn’t believe my site had so many problems. The only problem I have is that there are a lot of recommendations but no instructions on how to fix them. For example, the software advised me to use follow links on my posts instead of the No-follow links, several duplicate contents, meta description problems etc. Do you have nay ideas I can use to rectify the SEMRush problems?
A recent survey of SEO experts from around the world asked about their favorite SEO tool. A total of 50 experts were surveyed out of which 30 of them recommended using SEMrush. It continues to be recommended as the best keyword research and competitive analysis tool on the market. While our above-mentioned review is pretty comprehensive and outlines every feature that SEMrush has to offer you’re really not going to know if this is the right tool for you unless you use it. But most people wouldn’t want to pay 99.95$ just to trial run software or tool they haven’t used before, and that’s where we can help you.

What I like the most about Monitor Backlinks is that we can keep track of every single link, and that we can see the status of those links when they change or become obsolete. The details and the whole overview of Monitor Backlinks, is exactly what I need and no more, because there are a lot of SEO programmes on the market today, which promise to do what's necessary, but don't. Monitor Backlinks is exactly what I need for my SEO, and no more than that needed.


Terrific blog post. So much great stuff here. Just wondering about Step #16. When you promote your Skyscraper post across multiple social media channels (FB, LinkedIn, etc.) it looks like you are using the exact same introduction. Is that correct? For LinkedIn, do you create an ARTICLE or just a short newsfeed post with a URL link back to your website?
What I like best is the number of tools offered to manage your client work. Two items I rely on weekly are site audits and search visibility tracking. In addition to this, there are tools offered for organic and paid competitor research which are fairly thorough, as well as optimization recommendations and backlink opportunity reports which can be useful, once the necessary setup has been process. Overall, SEMrush has become a fairly robust tool in the past couple years.

The feature also gives you information about whether the competition is using high-volume keywords or ones with a long-tail to get their ranking. Plus, another important thing the report provides is a look into if the competition is using branded ad copy or branded keywords for better conversions. You’ll also learn how long the competitions’ ads have been around which tells you exactly how successful a campaign was during the year, season or specific periods. All of this is information which can be used to boost your own campaign.
Ahrefs boasts the best link database among any system out there. It does most everything -- link monitoring, alerts, calculated metrics, the richest clickstream blend out there, and much more. Its UI is cluttered in a good way and the company has quick and polite support. And Tim Soulo -- the public face of Ahrefs -- has done a ton of good for the SEO community.

Brand Monitoring is essential since it allows you to figure out how popular the brand is becoming. Each time a customer or some other business mentions your brand on a blog or social media post it has a positive effect on your image and also on SEO. The tool will provide you with information if someone or some entity has mentioned your brand. So, you know who is talking about the brand and if what they are saying is negative, positive or neutral. That will give you some ideas as to if you should follow up on those mentions or leave them alone.
The Lost Links tab has the same interface as the New Links report does. For your own domain you might want to consider tracking your own links in something like Raven or Buzzstream but this tool does report dropped links down to the day. Combine that with their crawling preferences (better links = quicker attention) and you can spot drops of substance quickly.
Knowing how well your website is ranking is an essential part of doing SEO. It is important because it tells you how much all that hard work is paying off in the way of search engine ranking position or SERPs. Which of your pages are ranking, i.e., product, content, blog, etc. The Position Tracking tool allows you to monitor your regional, national and local rankings for any of the keywords you’re targeting.
Setting up the SEO Writing Assistant is pretty easy and is available at present only for the Google Chrome browser and WordPress. It is compatible with Google Docs which is a good start. To begin with, you need to head over to the download page, log-in (if you don’t have an account one will need to be created), choose to install the browser plugin and activate it post installation.
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