Semrush is one of the best alternatives for SEO and marketing research. The platform provides a wide variety of reports on almost all aspects of marketing: competitive analysis, rankings, link building, keyword research, site health, advertising and social media. And that's not even the full list! It's one of the best options for any marketer looking for an all-in-one marketing research solution.
Even though you may be running a pretty good backlinking campaign in a bid to get backlinks from highly reputed sources you can’t control the sites linking back. Also some website you may not want to be affiliated with in any way. So, to protect your website from being penalized because of being affiliated with so-called “bad websites” the backlink tool can help you find and disavow those links.
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.
SEMrush is hands down the best tool for keyword research. I love that you can do competitor analysis and find the keywords people are searching to go to your competitor's site. You can add all your projects in one big dashboard and see a quick overview of your keyword rankings (I do this every other day to check if my sites were penalized/keywords dropped). The reporting feature is also a great alternative to Google Analytics and we send automated reports to our clients.
Brian, I’m going through Step 3, which is referring to the one version of the website. I found a very good free tool (https://varvy.com/tools/redirects/) to recommend. It checks on the redirect and gives you a visual number of hops. More hops mean more delay. For example, if I use your manual method to check on https://uprenew.com, all looks good. However, if I use the tool and check, I realize there is an unnecessary 1 hop/delay, whereby I can fix it. Hope this helps. : )
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.
I really like the projects you can set up in SEMrush. We have a lot of different solutions so I create projects for each one with specific keywords. Then I used the project dashboard to see how that set of keywords is ranking, trending, SEO suggestions, social etc. I also like that within the project you can see specific landing pages and what keywords are ranking for that landing page.
The biggest downside I think is the inaccurate keyword volume sometimes. Previously, I was only using Google's keyword planner and it gave us more precise volumes. I guess it's easier for Google since it's their own tool and they can give better numbers. This confuses us because in Ahrefs we may see potential in various keywords but in the long run, after our articles are published – the traffic is not what we expect sometimes. Though, it's accurate enough for the most part.
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.

Pros: SEMrush is a very effective tool for SEO. It has a simplistic approach and it allows users to see all the relevant data of any websites. It has a very detailed keyword analysis tool that can show many related keywords, traffic data and competitors. The backlink analysis tool is another great feature of this app. I can see all the websites that are linking to mine, their countries and IP addresses, their anchor texts and if the links are follow or nofollow.


Brian, I have a burning question regarding keyword placement and frequency. You wrote: “Use the key in the first 100 words … “. What else? I use Yoast and a WDF*IDF semantic analysis tool to check the content of the top10 rankings. Pretty often I have the feeling I overdo it, although Yoast and WDF/IDF told me I use the focus keyword not often enough.
We use the tool mainly to help with our SEO clients. Personally, I like the rating tool on the page. I think it's a great way to compare your page with the top 10 ranking pages for a specific keyword. The site audit in particular can offer quick answers. SEMrush is our main SEO tool and really does it all, especially with the massive updates from last year. Track keyword ranking positions, offer some keyword search tools and compare the domain with others related to it. You can also automate reports that are labeled blank. It also performs domain analysis, tracking of backlinks and audits of sites that we use all the time in our SEO business.
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.

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!


Many websites rely on other traffic generation methods such as traffic from social media, email, referrals, and direct traffic sources over search engines. For sites like these, SEO errors aren’t as important because search engines aren’t their #1 traffic source. For a smaller website, a couple of errors can have a much bigger negative effect than those same errors on a larger website.
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.
I’m very local service oriented and I have several pages that our on the first page of google and I do get traffic. I see that I have a 1 rating DA and PA. There is decent competition for some of my keywords. Is possible to have a website that generates traffic with only a 1? It’s a young site and I’m trying my best to get it going stronger. I hired someone but that clearly hasn’t worked out well if I’m still at a one.
Many websites rely on other traffic generation methods such as traffic from social media, email, referrals, and direct traffic sources over search engines. For sites like these, SEO errors aren’t as important because search engines aren’t their #1 traffic source. For a smaller website, a couple of errors can have a much bigger negative effect than those same errors on a larger website.
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.
Ahrefs make use of two link updates in your website - the Fresh Index and the Live Index. Fresh Index which updates at a longer time frame. It shows the dead links on your website, giving you the chance to change or reclaim the dead link. The Live Index, on the other hand, makes link updates every 15-30 minutes. This provides you with the chance to see regular link updates on your website.
We realize that when you make a decision to buy SEO Software it’s important not only to see how experts evaluate it in their reviews, but also to find out if the real people and companies that buy it are actually satisfied with the product. That’s why we’ve created our behavior-based Customer Satisfaction Algorithm™ that gathers customer reviews, comments and SEMrush reviews across a wide range of social media sites. The data is then presented in an easy to digest form showing how many people had positive and negative experience with SEMrush. With that information at hand you should be equipped to make an informed buying decision that you won’t regret.
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.

Guess I’ve overlooked more than a few things that SEMRush has to offer. I’ve used it here and there in the past, primarily for PPC projects for me or a client. Content marketing is more of a foundation than a tactic for me personally. Looking like SEMRush can make things easier for me in regards to content research/marketing. Good guide and insights Matthew. Work smarter, not harder, right…
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.

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.
I've used a couple of SEO software programs over the last 4 years. Moz, Serpstat, SEM Rush and now Ahrefs. Since the bulk of my focus is actually building links, I think Ahrefs has the most reliable results. For example, if you checked the backlink profile of 10-20 websites on Ahrefs and compared to another SEO software provider, I bet that you would average at least 10-15% more results with Ahrefs. That can be a lot more opportunities! Their keyword phrase tracker seems to work pretty quickly and seems to be accurate.
SEMRush is one of the best solutions I have found for discovering site errors, getting a great explanation on how to fix it, and even posting for social media. It covers end to end so many of the varied areas of SEO, that it's become an invaluable part of my business. My favorite has been utilizing the ranking tools to see how we compare against competitors, and also tips on getting featured snippets (which we achieved for one client this year!)
I’m very local service oriented and I have several pages that our on the first page of google and I do get traffic. I see that I have a 1 rating DA and PA. There is decent competition for some of my keywords. Is possible to have a website that generates traffic with only a 1? It’s a young site and I’m trying my best to get it going stronger. I hired someone but that clearly hasn’t worked out well if I’m still at a one.
Ahrefs is an all-inclusive software tool that includes the necessary features you need to rank above your competitors. Site auditing and SEO analysis are some of the notable features. I like how it analyzes my website pages and highlights what parts of a page require improvements to help achieve the best ranking. Another item that I like is the inbuilt analysis and tracking of competitor websites to help determine their backlinks and use them to grow your own website. Ahrefs has an extremely large database of backlinks to make this possible.
Cons: On the backlink side of things, I'd like to see a more strategic way of reaching out to potentially high-value domains. I don't think to send an email to each of the website owners actually worked in terms of exchanging links. Other than that, other suggestion and audit, on page check are all great working together. We have a Thai team who also uses the same tool, however the report doesn't show up on the local language. Which actually is not a turn down, you can still the keywords translated within the tool.
This feature can definitely help your SEO campaign, specifically, your link building campaign because you now have the capability to see all of the domains that removed your link from their content, and you can contact the webmaster to see if you can reclaim the lost link – this means that you now have the opportunity to either improve or continue your outreach and overall link building goals.
Even though you may be running a pretty good backlinking campaign in a bid to get backlinks from highly reputed sources you can’t control the sites linking back. Also some website you may not want to be affiliated with in any way. So, to protect your website from being penalized because of being affiliated with so-called “bad websites” the backlink tool can help you find and disavow those links.
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.
After auditing your site this tool gives you suggestions where your site needs changes. It gives full details about how many external backlinks your website has and you can make more backlinks by see your competitor site backlinks details. This tool also helps to find which keywords are helpful for our website & which keywords give organic traffic.
The My Reports tool also enables the creation of custom reports complete with your business’s logo, annotations, comments, and other features. All of the custom report features exist to highlight and clarify your findings, structure, etc. You can also use pre-defined templates which makes it possible for anyone in your team to create a report and even schedule its creation.
The PPC Keyword Tool is designed to help you create a successful PPC campaign by building the perfect keyword list. You can get keywords from various sources, narrow down the list, get rid of ones that cause competing ads of your own, remove duplicates and get recommendations. All of which can be further whittled down to ensure that you get the best bang for your buck with PPC campaigns.
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!

You can schedule a weekly technical SEO audit and our Site Audit tool will automatically start crawling your website. You’ll get a notification when it is finished in your inbox. By running website SEO audits on a regular basis, you are tracking the progress of your website’s health. With the Compare Crawls and History reports, and mini-trends on the Overview, Issues, and Page reports, you can analyze the results of different SEO audits and track changes in the number of issues over time.


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.
The PPC Keyword Tool is designed to help you create a successful PPC campaign by building the perfect keyword list. You can get keywords from various sources, narrow down the list, get rid of ones that cause competing ads of your own, remove duplicates and get recommendations. All of which can be further whittled down to ensure that you get the best bang for your buck with PPC campaigns. 

In our experience, the Lead Generation tool is pretty useful but perhaps most if you’re running a SEO business and want to collect sales leads. What it does not tell you is which pages were crawled. So, you better prepare an answer to this question just in case a prospect asks. Though in our experience it is a pretty useful tool which is packaged in an easy to use interface.
Pros: SEMrush offers insight into all things digital. In my experience with a few similar tools, SEMrush is the most comprehensive and easiest to use. It offers insights, reporting, tracking and planning for our clients' digital programs. We can even gain tons of insights into prospects' current digital marketing initiatives which helps close leads. It integrates with numerous other tools and is definitely a tool that will be the leader for at least the next few years.
Bearing in mind that the content on your website is the bread and butter of your SEO, SEM and advertising campaign it needs to be very good. That’s where the Content Analyzer tool can help. The tool enables you to understand the audience you’re engaging with. You can view essential metrics like visitor sessions, bounce rates, durations, backlinks, social shares, etc.

We're using Ahrefs to drive our entire approach to SEO. It's Keywords Explorer tool is more accurate and does a better job of uncovering related terms and ideas than another platform we were using previously. This has enabled us to better validate our content ideas and improve our keyword research than before, and the benefits have been measurable.

Pros: What I like most is that Semrush offers a lot of useful features and they are constantly adding new ones and developing the tool. Positions tracking is only small part of it - you cancreate different projects to automatically track changes in positions for keywords that are important for your business - for ex. by geo location, which is very useful for an international business.
Pros: SEMrush is our primary SEO tool and it really does it all, especially with the massive upgrades in the last year. It tracks keyword ranking positions, offers a few keyword research tools, and compares the domain to others related to it. You can automate reports that are white labeled, too. It also does domain analysis, backlink tracking, and site audits which we use all the time in our SEO business. They have recently rolled out link opportunity and outreach tools as well as brand monitoring on social media, though we haven't used those as much lately (but plan to).
If you are searching for an easy and quick way to start lead generation, then this new tool will be a big help. The Lead Generation Tool boasts of a couple of useful features like helping to create an opt-in email form which can be placed almost anywhere on the website to start collecting leads. The tool also provides visitors with a lead magnet which gets them to fill out the form in the way of an automatic website audit summary. The summary provides visitors with a review of their website and requires nothing from the user.

Yes when I bought it few months back, It has nothing for Indian version of Google. So, I bought it for my client. Later, company extended my account for 3 more months for writing the review. 🙂 But I was not using it because my blog has very less organic traffic from other countries and I also write articles for Indian users. Now, I can do proper research for Indian users and track competitors 🙂
Having access to this type of insider information about your competitor makes it easier to refine your strategy and make it more effective. If you’re selling the same or similar product, this will allow you to grab the customers that they are trying to attract but do it more effectively. You also have the ability to compare competitive domains as well as estimate the difficulty of the keyword so that SEO and advertising decisions can be made accordingly.
Competitor backlink audit – Analyse the link profile of your competitor and research the opportunities, to match your, or even better outperform your competitors link profile and subject authority. When performing an competitor backlink audit you should also analyse inbound links pointing to top performing pages, so you don’t miss out on valuable link opportunities.
the interface is quite nice. i like the feature that they can group all the things into a project, show the backlinks from each site and update sent to email in daily basis, sometimes it is quite busy that you cannot login and check all the metrics. Also, the competitors spending on ad is a good reference to see how and what have they done. And how we can react with them, like pay more to beat them or what. By the way, the backlink tool is very nice that we can remove toxic links linking to our site to prevent lowered ranking
I like it and it is a very good tool. But I mainly focus on small businesses, and I often find SEMRush a bit expensive. Plus, I do SEO and not SEM, and I'd pay less for a plan with SEO tools only. I recommend to do a trial first: the keyword and page analysis are amazing and I think they are really helpful when it comes to optimize every page of a website. Plus, SEMRush competitive analysis allows you to compare the SEO/SEM/domain strenght etc. performances of several websites of your choice, so that you can take action and improve your rankings.
The My Reports tool also enables the creation of custom reports complete with your business’s logo, annotations, comments, and other features. All of the custom report features exist to highlight and clarify your findings, structure, etc. You can also use pre-defined templates which makes it possible for anyone in your team to create a report and even schedule its creation.
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.

I am using SEMRUSH for the last 3 months and found it the best keyword research online tool which every blogger and internet marketers should use. Especially after they add Indian data on their database, more and more Indian webmaster are using this amazing keyword research tool. But, in my opinion they still need to do some improvement in it, especially with the User-Interface which is cumbersome for a new webmaster.


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.
Pros: Mostly all SEO Specialists nowadays are using SEMrush (in combination with other tools), and it is effective either for your small personal site or blog, or ever for larger corporation sites. On SEMrush you will find different tutorials in order to get started, SEO audit check, plenty of features in order to analyze your keywords rankings, organic traffic, PPC progression and how to analyze your competition.
The detailed analysis provides you with related phrases and words which can be added to the content. These additions will make the keyword dense, where you should add backlinks in the content, length of the material in comparison with the competition and how keywords are used compared to the competition. So, if one of your goals is to mimic your competitions’ SEO success the On Page SEO Checker makes life very easy.
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 biggest downside I think is the inaccurate keyword volume sometimes. Previously, I was only using Google's keyword planner and it gave us more precise volumes. I guess it's easier for Google since it's their own tool and they can give better numbers. This confuses us because in Ahrefs we may see potential in various keywords but in the long run, after our articles are published – the traffic is not what we expect sometimes. Though, it's accurate enough for the most part.

Pros: The biggest advantage of SEMRush is the ability to generate enormous amount of the actionable data on the subject you want to research in. That allows to own the reliable data according to what you can confidently make the right decisions from the perspective of the SEO Strategy. This tool is beyond productiveness if it's used to its full capability. It's an invaluable everyday asset in my SEO projects.
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