What comes to your mind when I say search engine? Google, isn’t it? Google is ruling the internet search industry to the extent that when somebody is talking of search engine optimization (SEO), he means optimizing for Google; when somebody is talking about search engine marketing (SEM), he means marketing through Google organic search and Google Adwords. SEMRush is yet another service which goes to prove just that. It’s entirely based on Google Search and Google Adwords.
When you open the SEMRush page, the only thing you’ll see in the beginning is the search box. Once you start using the search box, you will see a vertical navigation menu on the left.
You may begin your search with either a domain name or a keyword. If you with begin with a domain, the navigation menu on the left will list out the various reports you can browse through:
- Main Report
- Google Keywords
- Adwords Keywords
- Competitors in Google
- Competitors in Adwords
- Adwords Ads Texts
- Potential Ads Buyers
- Potential Ads Sellers
The types of reports SEMRush generates can be broadly divided into 2 categories: reports based on organic search and reports based on Google Adwords.
The whole of organic search results functionality is based on the first 20 results in Google Search. To make it even more clear, if you are ranking for a particular keyword in Yahoo, Bing or some other search engines but not in Google, your data will not be available in SEMRush. Similar would be the case if you are ranking in Google at 21st or higher position (3rd page and above).
As against directly using Google API, SEMRush uses its own database in the backend. So the results are faster, and you don’t get those annoying messages like – the number of requests from your IP have exceeded. But the downside is that the database is updated once a month, and as such, the results may vary from those of direct Google Search.
Analyze Your Domain’s SERP
Begin your analysis by entering your domain name in the search box. You will be taken to the Main Report page which gives a snapshot view of all the reports. The very first summary you get will be of the Google Keywords report.
The keywords report will give you a list of keywords for which you are ranking in the first 20 positions in Google Search. Along with each keyword, you will also get some useful data associated with it – the exact SERP position, URL of the exact page you are ranking for, percentage of the traffic you are getting from it, total number of Google Search results for the said keyword, and few other details extracted from Google Adwords Keyword Tool, like monthly search volume, CPC, search trend, and so on.
If the said domain is running any Adwords Campaign, you can see the Adwords data by clicking on the Adwords keywords in the reports menu on the left.
Know Your Competitors
Who are your competitors? This again can be based on 2 things – Google organic SERP and Google Adwords.
Once you’ve entered a domain in the search box, clicking on the Competitors in Google in the Reports Menu will give you the list of competing domains based on organic search. This report displays the number of common keywords and some other statistics associated with each of the domains – total number of search engine keywords, search engine traffic, search engine traffic price, and total number of Adwords keywords.
If you want to know your Adwords competitors, go to the Competitors in Adwords report and you’ll get the data displayed in a format similar to the Competitors in Google report.
Potential Ad Buyers and Sellers
Who are the potential ad buyers on your site? And on what basis do you find that? SEMRush has an easy solution. Remember? It already has the list of keywords for which you are ranking in the first 20 positions in Google. Now it compares that data with the list of Google Adwords buyers for those keywords. And there you are – ready with the Potential Ads Buyers report – with information like the number of common keywords, number of Adwords keywords, Adwords traffic, etc. for each of the competitors.
You can also have a similar report for potential ad sellers – containing a list of sites ranking in the first 20 results in Google Search for the keywords you are buying in Google Adwords.
Adwords Campaigns for a Given Domain
You will be knowing your own Adwords campaigns. But what if you want to know the Adwords campaigns for your competitors or some other domain? This purpose is served by SEMRush’s Adwords Ads texts report which lists out the exact text of all the Adwords campaigns for a given domain.
Analyze a Keyword
Remember how we began the domain analysis with the domain name? For analyzing a keyword, enter the keyword, instead of a domain, in the search box. That gives you the keyword summary and the list of sites ranking in the first 20 positions in Google Search, along with other related data. In addition to this, you’ll also get a Related Keywords Report, a Phrase Match Report (keywords containing the phrase you looked for), and an Adwords Report (list of sites running Adwords campaigns for that keyword).
Free vs. Paid Version
SEMRush comes in 2 versions – free and PRO (paid). As I understand, the free version has all the features and functionalities as the PRO, but it gives you access only to a limited number of results and queries – only the first 10 results of the report,and 10 queries per day, to be specific.