I’ve started this piece of content as a boring software review, full of facts about the company and niche terms. Than I realised no one needs that! More useful for our readers would be a practical guide on how to use SEMrush features. So, here we are, I hope my words below will actually help you find a better way to improve your online marketing campaigns and website rankings.
Let’s start with:
1. How to Use SEMrush?
We will start with an example, as examples are the best practical teachers. For our purposes we will use a start-up website that is in the beginning of its optimisation process. When you login in SEMrush, you will be able to see this search box:
You need to simply enter your domain and choose between two options – to analyse by domain or by phrase. We will start with “Domain Overview”, so pick this option. The next step is to choose the Google version by countries. We have chosen to analyse the Google UK traffic (Google.co.uk), as the example website is for a business located in UK and this is our market goal. But you can also select any Google region from the drop-down menu – a very useful feature for webmasters who work with .de,.es,.ru, etc. websites, for example.
NOTE: SEMrush gives you the opportunity to analyse a specific domain, URL or keyword. With entering a particular keyword, the tool will display a detailed keyword research. We will explain that later. For now, our focus is on an exact domain, its competitors, target keywords based on the website content and its location.
The “Domain Analitycs Overview” will provide you with a detailed report, including Organic Research, Backlinks, Advertising Research, looking like this:
In the Overview you will be provided with information about your top organic keywords that generate most of your organic traffic and your top organic competitors.
You will also see your website’s organic traffic for one month, 6 months, one year, two years and all time period frames. In our case, it is for the 2-years period, where the blue line shows the organic search traffic – its ups and downs over time. In case you have a running AdWords campaign for your website (we don’t have one), you can also see an orange line for your paid search traffic changes (ours is static).
ADVICE: To know which are your top organic competitors and the keywords they use for optimising their websites, gives you priceless information about which keywords to use and which to ignore. You have two options:
a) use these keyword for your on-site optimisation and as anchor text for your link building;
b) focus on keywords your competitors did not use, in order search engines to display your website for them.
You can see each competitor’s top organic keywords by simply clicking on each of them. This way you can check the same results the SEMrush tool is showing for your main competitors as the results you see for your own website and compare.
2. The Organic Research Feature
When you select the Organic Research option, you will be provided with other very useful information – the ranking positions of your website pages and even their changes over time. You can check this data not only for your own website, but also for the competitors’. You will see an ORGANIC SEARCH POSITION table looking like this:
With each column the SEMrush tool provides you with information about:
- the keywords by which users find your website on Google and the other search engines;
- the ranking position of your web page for each of these keywords in the Google SERP;
- the average volume of monthly search queries for each keyword over the past 12 months;
- the average cost per click (CPC) paid by other advertisers who have been using this keyword for their AdWords campaigns;
- your website page that is ranking for each of the displayed keywords;
Beside the mentioned above, this table report has some additions such as: the percent of total traffic, the estimated proportion of the total AdWords campaign for your website, the competitive density for the keyword; the number of the URLs displayed in the organic search results for each given keyword, the interest of users in each keyword over the past 12 months; a snapshot of the SERP and last update.
As SEMrush is not only one of the most detailed, but also one of most user-friendly website analysing tools, it makes it completely hassle-free to understand your report. If you need more information about each of these sections listed above, you can simply hover with the mouse pointer over each column title of your table report and see what it stands for:
3. Backlinks Report
As website owners today use the Google Webmaster Tools for monitoring and onsite optimisation, they have a simple and very useful way to track their backlinks as well. But when it comes to competitors’ backlinks there is no better tool than SEMrush backlinks feature.
When analysing competitors’ backlinks you can borrow ideas for your link building strategy. As we know, backlinks from authority websites and the referring domains number are very important ranking factor for Google. More than that, this tool can help you understand your own ranking logic better.
The Backlinks Report provides information about:
- The total number of the backlinks to your domain and their types. As links from poor websites can damage your site’s ranking and even cause deindexing of particular pages or even Google penalty, you need to regularly check your backlinks profile. With the SEMrush tool you can also create a disavow file and list all the unwanted referring domains their for future actions such as blocking the link juice from them via the Google Webmaster Tools.
- The correlation of Dofollow vs. Nofollow backlinks. Use this feature to analyse and improve your Dofollow/Nofollow ratio.
- Referring domains – here you can see the full list of domains that contains backlinks to your website, including detailed information about their geographical distribution and TLD authority (.com, .net, .edu, .gov, .org, etc.). If you have a local website that offers products and services in a particular country or city, you need to focus your link building strategy mainly in this region. For example, our given website provides services for the UK market, this way a good link building strategy will be to have referring domains with TLD authority of .co.uk. Beside that it is believed that .com websites give a higher ranking weighting than .org and .net for example. Keep that in mind when building your backlinks. In addition, in this section of the backlinks report you are also provided with information about when SEMrush tool first and last detect your backlinks.
- Anchors – this section provides you with information how many backlinks are built with particular anchor text. This feature can help you to diversify the anchor text of text links, in order to improve the number of keywords your web pages are ranking for.
- Referring IPs can help you analyse the source of your backlinks by countries. For a local website, it would be better if its backlinks are coming from IPs of the same region where this local website provides its services. It looks more natural and logical for the search engines, as if real users are linking back to you. Still, it is believed that Google prefers backlinks from a wide range of sources, meaning that websites with backlinks from all over the world may rank higher. But this is mostly true for international websites.
- Indexed Pages is this part of your report providing you with data about all your web site’s indexed pages, the number of backlinks to each particular page, the number of domains these backlinks are coming, the external and internal links to the given webpage, and also when last the SEMrush tool have seen this page.
You can generally use this SEMrush feature to compare your backlinks with those of your competitors who rank better, in order to improve your own rankings. In the “Backlinks Comparison” of the Backlinks report you can also compare your own website with up to 5 competitor websites based on the process and the pace of building links over time.
4. Domain vs. Domain
SEMrush tool provides you with the option to compare your website with up to five competitors websites for a number of other factors as well. In the Domain vs. Domain feature you can see the report as table or chart results, where you can compare the ranking for specific keywords between your website and the competitors’. In our example we compare two websites based on the keywords used in the organic search, but you can also compare the results from paid keywords used in your AdWords campaigns.
The provided report shows the ranking positions of both compared websites for each given keyword, the average search volume of this keyword per month, an estimate of how difficult it would be to rank for this keyword in the organic search, CPC – the average price advertisers pay for this keyword in the paid search, the competitive density of advertisers using this keyword (where 1=highest competition), the number of URLs displayed in the organic search results for this given keyword and the trend of searchers interest in this keyword for the past 12 months.
This analyse results are valuable for improving your keyword background, in order your website to make better use of all keywords in comparison of the competitors.
5. SEMrush for Your Keyword Research
If you are running a brand new website and need to define which are the most suitable and profitable keywords for all of your web pages to focus on, SEMrush tool also have a solution. You can choose the Keyword Analytics feature in the left hand navigation section and simply enter a chosen keyword. In our example this will be “carpet cleaning London”. In the “Overview” you will see results visualised like this:
5.1. Phrase Match Report
In the Phrase Match Report you will be able to see a list of the related keywords with the highest volume search rates, including information also about:
- the search volume of your chosen keyword and the related ones;
- KD – an estimate of how difficult it would be to rank for this organic keyword;
- CPC – the average price advertisers pay for a user’s click on an ad triggered by the keyword;
- the competitive density;
- the result of all URLs displayed for this keyword in the organic search results;
- the volume of searches for this keyword over the past 12 months;
- a snapshot of the SERP when searching for this given keyword.
The most important part of this report is that you can find out how many monthly searches are carried out for your target keyword which will help you to decide how often to use it or should you replace it with another one with better search volume. The suggested variations of this keyword give you ideas for additional phrases to diversify your keyword profile with.
5.2. Related Keywords
For even more detailed list of all the related keywords to your chosen one, go to “Related Keywords” tab. This is an especially important report you can use in the beginning of your new website creation.
It will provide you with all the needed phrases you should include in your web page’s’ content. When you click on each of the listed related keywords in the report, you can see the same report for it as for the initial one, with detailed information about their search volume, CPC, competitive density, etc. This information is valuable also for your metadata strategy – you can use the keywords with the highest search volume for your meta titles and descriptions for example.
IMPORTANT NOTE: One of the many useful features of the SEMrush analysing tool is the option to download all the composed reports as a PDF file. This helps to compare your results for each month or year, to track how your traffic have changed over the time, to keep an eye on your new and lost backlinks.
The user-friendly SEMrush tool provides you also with interactive help, including video tutorials, in order to teach you how to use all of its features and get the most of them. You can start using the tool a free account, in order to see how useful it will be for your particular needs. The free membership allows you to carry out up to 10 searches per day and to see the top ten results in your reports. So, try it out yourself and enjoy!