The never ending debate between the SEO giants continues to rage on.
After seeing the dreaded, “Which one is better/should I invest in?”, question appear again and again in my Reddit, LinkedIn and Twitter timeline, it finally became clear – I had to answer the question for myself.
While there are many companies vying for the top spot, SEMrush has emerged as the most valuable of SEO tools. Trust me, I’ve tried them all.
1. Keyword Data Snapshot
The data is rich, raw and beautiful. While some tools have a similar dashboard, SEMrush has a few extra features that make it stand out from the pack.
Beyond the sheer volume of keywords, the most notable points of data are the Keyword Variations, Questions and Related Keywords tabs, which go deeper into the keywords and explore what other terms you may want to delve into. It may even nudge you in the right direction and uncover a new strategy for content and buyer intent.
Keyword difficulty and search volume are important also, but the ideas you can generate with SEMrush is second-to-none.
2. Keyword Magic Filtering
From word count, to search volume, to negatively filtering out certain words, the tool even allows you to search for keywords by the breakdown of themes on the left sidebar, which you can arrange by volume also. They’ve done a great job in thinking of everything you could possibly want to narrow down on.
The most subtle yet effective feature, however, is the ability to add your desired keyword to certain lists in the Keyword Manager. This is done just by clicking the gray plus icon alongside each keyword, which you can then specify which list it should be assigned to. It’s a no brainer, and a game changer.
3. Organic Visibility Dashboard
There are tabs where you can dive deeper into each cluster of data, but the overview does a good enough job where you wouldn’t need to.
4. Quick Backlinks Summary
The backlink summary also displays the follow/nofollow Link Attributes and the entire list of backlinks available as tables with adjustable columns, or exportable in a .csv or .xlsx format. The export can also display more information about each backlink, including the Anchor Text, the Target URL (which page the link is pointing to), the First Seen date i.e. the first time the link was detected, along with the most recent time it was crawled (Last Seen). No fluff and filler — just the raw data.
5. Advertising History Analysis
Combined with the Ad History tab, it is infinitely easier to identify the winning ad combination, which you can use for your own campaign or use as a control for other split testing ad efforts.
6. Web Traffic Estimation
This tool goes beyond the standard organic traffic estimations, and presents data from all other sources of traffic also. Whether it be referral, direct or paid search, SEMrush is able to somehow provide this information. The source of the data and its overall accuracy may be in question, but in our experience it is relatively accurate — at least to the point where you are able to make an informed decision about a websites performance and popularity. It can even split the traffic share into segments like device and geography.
6. Industry Niche Explorer
A simple visualization makes it easy to understand who sits where on the totem pole, along with any specific players you may want to keep an eye on, based on their previous movements in the search engine rankings as well as the types of keywords they have been actively targeting. It’s a great way to see who your actual competitors are, along with where the traffic share goes and who is the real market leader. For these insights alone SEMrush is more than worth it.
7. Bulk Domain Analysis
The infamous Bulk Analysis feature is rather self explanatory. The metrics it provides are exactly what you would want on a surface level analysis, from referring domains, to authority score, to web traffic — aiding in the strenuous task of comparing multiple properties at once: up to 200 at a time. While it would be fantastic to have the tool extend this limit to the thousands, we will have to settle for what we have at the moment. Nevertheless, it is just another reason we continue to use SEMrush as our weapon of choice.
8. Lead Generation Tool
The Lead Generation tool a solid, reliable resource which no other competitor provides, which makes it all the more impressive and a reason to choose SEMrush over any other SEO data solution.
9. Local Citation Management
The local Listing Managment tool is a fantastic resource for anyone to conduct an audit on where they have and do not have a presence, inciting them to create citations for missing locations as soon as possible. There is no pressure to use their internal service for $20 per month per location, and you can use any resource you prefer to build out your local citations — even performing manual additions if you want to be frugal.
10. Full Website Audit
The audit tool from SEMrush is also able to run on a schedule, updating the numbers as you progressively fix the issues that pop up and reassess priorities as users and search engines react to new iterations.
You’re Probably Thinking…
Among other things, one of the following thoughts:
- None of these tools are that impressive.
- I can find a better resource somewhere else.
- [Competitor X] has the same features.
Perhaps you’re right. Maybe LinkResearchTools has a richer index for backlink analysis. Maybe SimilarWeb has more accurate traffic estimation. Maybe Ahrefs has more keyword ideas. Maybe Sistrix has more detailed visibility graphs. Maybe SpyFu has deeper historical advertising data. Maybe Synup has greater citation influence.
But, who has it all in one centralized account for a flat fee and can be utilized with greater synergy? SEMrush.
Who offers a FREE trial and does not impose limits on the data you are able to access? SEMrush.
Who boasts a healthy SEO community with interesting blog posts, engaging webinars and insightful eBooks? SEMrush.
If you don’t see yourself in need of any of the aforementioned features, then you can dismiss this as a bunch of hype. But as long standing SEOs, we can’t live without it. It’s the first thing we invested into when we started our agency, and it will be the last thing we cancel. You really don’t need anything else, unless you prefer desktop tools. For the rest of us, SEMrush will be just fine.