The only SEMRUSH tutorial you need: 4000+ words
SEMRush is the SEO tool you need to have. Yes, or yes, it is essential. And here you will learn to take advantage of it to improve your positioning.
What is it for? For a lot of things … you can analyze your own site, any keyword, monitor your positions in different countries … and more importantly, analyze your competitors thoroughly. But thoroughly in truth.
Enter SEMRush, search the domain of one of your competitors and you will start to see the power of this tool:
You will see several very useful data, such as:
- The growth that your traffic has had
- The keywords that have gotten the most traffic
- Who are your main competitors
And luckily you can dig deeper into each report! It is as if you had access to the Analytics of each of your competitors ? In addition, it has data for many countries, including Spain, Mexico, Argentina, France, Germany, USA … More than 20 in total.
Of course … the data that SEMRush gives you is not exact.
If it tells you that a domain has 5,000 monthly visits from Google, it will most likely have more. And other times, very few from what I’ve seen, will have fewer visits. What matters here is not the exact number, but the traffic trend, your positions and your backlinks . There, this tool can be very helpful.
In this tutorial, I am not going to explain step by step each option of the SEMRush panel. If I did that I could easily fill 4,000 words, but what’s the joke? There are already several “tutorials” that only describe each option, each image, and each graph that appears. And later? What use is that? Also, here is the official manual that already does that.
And if you create an account and start playing with the options in 30 minutes you will already have a good idea of the options and graphics that the tool offers … the same time that you would waste reading one of those «mega guides». And in addition, you will learn much more.
In this tutorial what I will do is give you specific tips and tactics that you can use right now to get the most out of this powerful tool.
Analysis of your site
Performing a mini audit
A good way to do a quick initial analysis of your site is with the Site Audit tool . You must first create a project:
You can use this project to monitor positions (the section that follows) and to carry out an audit. The options are explained by themselves, you just have to take into account that you can add certain rules in Allow and Disallow.
The rules you insert in the Allow Only part will limit the analysis ONLY to URLs that start with those rules. And in Disallow you will prevent URLs that start with those rules from being tracked. It says right there how those rules are written: Adding / update / in Disallow , for example, would prevent it from crawling all URLs that start with / update /. And if you add it in Allow Only , nothing else would crawl those URLs, no more.
And you can also tell SEMRush not to do some checks here:
Preferably leave this blank so that the audit is as complete as possible ? Start the audit and it only remains to wait a little. If you requested it, an email will arrive notifying you when it is finished.
SEMRush will show you at the end the analysis of your site where it will tell you what errors it found (the most urgent thing to correct), some warnings (medium importance) and some news, which are not problems as such but recommendations to take into account. If you configure the audit to be carried out periodically or do it yourself 2 or more times, you can even see a comparison between those audits to see how much you have improved (or not).
And now yes … to correct the errors . Keep in mind that not because the analysis shows you some errors or warnings, it means that you have to correct it. Use common sense a bit … If he gives you a warning saying that not all images have the alt tag, don’t go and put them all on. It is not necessary. Ah, but if it shows you errors like having many broken internal links or some broken pages, they give a 404 error, then it is best to correct them.
Monitor your positions
With the “Position Tracking” tool you can take advantage of SEMRush and also monitor positions, saving you money if you planned to use any other . But yes … it is currently in beta and you can only track 5 campaigns (domains) and 500 keywords … so it is not very useful if you manage multiple sites. Hopefully in the future they will expand these capabilities much more!
Once you enter the tool you will see something like this (assuming you first created a project to do a mini-audit on your site):
First you have to choose the domain to follow, or if you want only a “folder”, a subdomain or a URL to be followed. Then comes something interesting … you can refine the tracking of your positions by country, by region and even by city!
And later, you can also choose from which device you want to monitor! PC, Tablet or Smartphone?
You can also add some competitors to monitor them as well, either manually or by choosing what SEMRush believes to be your competitors.
Do you already know what words to monitor? If not from here you can see several recommendations in step 6. Recommendations based on your competitors, some seed keywords, or from Google Analytics or Google Webmaster Tools (you have to connect them to your account first).
A sample of what can be obtained
It remains only to decide if you want to receive weekly notifications by mail and so so, you can start monitoring your positions.
Give it several minutes to collect all the data and then you can access the report:
Play with that report for a while, after spending a few days monitoring positions you will see a report comparing your progress and that of your competition. SEMRush will even alert you to other competitors it has encountered ?
Find new keywords… and niches
Are you just entering your market and do not know which kw to use? Or do you want to find new niches?
First, identify some of the base keywords in the market . For example, if you are going to launch a blog where you will talk about tricks to lose weight, some basic words could be “diets” and “health”.
Let’s take diets as an example and let’s look for it. In the first place we get «dietas.net».
Click on it and we will analyze that domain:
Wow … If you have some words positioned! Let’s go to the Full Report of the keywords (red arrow) … And we will have a huge list with more than 4000 keywords.
Unless you really have the time and the desire to export so many results and see them one by one, it will be best to apply filters! You can apply filters to everything: The position that dietas.net occupies in that search, the volume of searches, its CPC … But assuming that you are just entering the market, then your site would not have much authority to start attacking heavily competitive keywords . So let’s filter like this:
The button is at the end of the report
And now yes… you have enough ideas to start creating content.
What … Do you want more? Well, don’t forget that SEMRush allows you to see related keywords . Let’s go back to searching for “diets” and locate the “Related Keyword Report” panel. Click full report and there you have 2775 related words! Don’t forget to use the filters ?
Ah! And one thing that can be very useful for you… once you have a list of keywords that interest you, you can help yourself with the «Keyword Difficulty» tool .
You simply paste some keywords into the tool and you will see a table where SEMRush will tell you how competitive each keyword is. This value ranges from 1 to 100% and is calculated based on the strength of the domains, which average. Normally 40-50% and below are keywords that will not cost much work. And to see who your competitors are, just click in the Difficulty column, in the keyword that interests you:
And if you want to find new niches , you can repeat the same process of analyzing a site, filtering its keywords and exporting them… but now focusing on large sites that cover many topics and are well positioned. The classic is Wikipedia ?
Steal lost keywords from your competition
Here we are going to use the “Position changes” report. This report is a little gold … Just enter your competition’s domain and you will have access to a list of keywords in which they have lost positions.
And what use is this to you? Well easy, all those are opportunities, keywords for which you can create content to position yourself !
A very practical example… all over the world we have heard about EuroResidents. Despite the fact that before they had much more visibility and appeared in almost any search, they still continue to dominate several positions … let’s analyze them with SEMRush and see what keywords they have lost:
Blue bars are keywords won … and red bars are lost. As we can see, it has gone a little wrong. And if we focus on his missing words (Clicking where it says “LOST”) we will see a list that we can filter, export and take advantage of for our own sites ?
You can even take various ideas for new niches …Wow … you are already halfway through the post
Do you prefer a PDF to read it wherever and whenever you want? Just share: D
Discover the secrets of your competition – The SEMRush fort
Know your true competitors
Just enter your URL and go to the competitors report.
Here you can discover exactly who competes with you on Google. Let’s take androidsis.com as an example:
The interesting thing is that SEMRush determines your competitors according to the number of keywords by which both are positioned , with a data they call «Competition Level». And that’s the correct way to do it … If to determine who your competitors are you:
- You think of your competitors in «the real world» – For example, being a store that sells furniture you think of the biggest companies in the sector
- You analyze the results of your 2-3 main keywords and call the top 10 competitors
Then you probably don’t really know who your competitors are!
Using this data, the Competition Level, you can see in a few seconds who your REAL competitors are: Those who appear in the first 20 positions in many keywords where your domain also appears . How long would it take you to do this analysis manually? Much more than the few seconds it takes you to use this tool.
Export the data, order them according to the volume of the searches and / or the CPC and start analyzing them. Then use them to mine your keywords ?
In the other column, you can see the number of common words that SEMRush found, if you click it will take you to the «Domain vs. Domain» report where you will be able to see which keywords they share. Which you can also reach manually from:
And within that report there are many things you can do …
Find out what content you can improve
Done! You have a report with the keywords where your competitors and you are positioned. Order them descending by volume and check in which your competition is better positioned. Is there one that catches your attention? Where is your competition better positioned than you? Easy, click on the keyword and SEMRush will give you a detailed analysis where you can see a table of «Organic Results» almost at the bottom.
There you can see the URLs positioned above you. Whats Next?
- Analyze your inbound links . See if you can get some similar links.
- Check the internal optimization of the page that is competing for that search. Are they doing better? How can you improve?
- Check their internal links . Could you improve their positioning by taking better advantage of them?
You can also view the information in graphical form to quickly get an idea of who is best positioned:
Ideas to generate more content
Again in the report «Domain vs. Domain», but now select the «-» symbol to see the unique kw of the first domain (for this put first the domain of your competition and then yours) .
You will see all the keywords where your competition is positioned and you are not. If the list is very large take advantage of the filters that SEMRush gives you!
For example, if you plan to monetize with AdSense you are interested in words with a good CPC, so each click on your ads will pay you more. Also take advantage of the “Com.” Filter, competition. This number goes from 0 to 1 and is the competition between advertisers on AdWords, not on the SEO level. The more competition the better for you.
Keep in mind that the higher the CPC and the competition there may be more sites trying to position themselves by those words, because they are the most profitable! So if you don’t have much experience, try less competitive searches first.
Do you already have the list? Perfect. Export it, review it and analyze it. Are there any keywords that you haven’t considered before and that you can take advantage of to generate new content? What are you waiting for! ?
Better position the content you already have
The procedure is the same as the previous step, but when filtering we are going to change two things. First, the symbol we are going to choose is no longer going to be «-«, but rather «+» (to see all keywords).
And second, we will filter by keywords that:
- Have few searches
- Include a certain term
Few searches? And what is that for? Easy … having few searches is likely to have much less competition than other words. And here what you are going to look for are words that include a certain term for which you already have content created with which you want to position yourself.
Following the example of androidsis.com we are going to take one of its strongest competitors: androidpit.es. And we want to focus on a specific article that is about “recovering deleted photos.”
And we can see some keyword ideas where the competition is better positioned. And some even where androids is not positioned.
Now the last step is missing… locate your best article on the subject using some advanced operators and add those keywords. For this example, such a search would suffice: site: www.androidsis.com «recover deleted photos»
And ready! Add some of those words in your article and you will see how it is easy to position yourself in them ? Especially if your site already has some authority.
Hmmm in this particular example, I see three articles on androidsis that deal with the same thing. If this is your case, I recommend that you consolidate the 3 into one!
Spy on your competition’s most successful content
SEMRush makes it easy to find the most linked content from your competitors. Just enter your competitor’s domain and go to:
(By “backlinks” they mean backlinks … I’ve always known them as backlinks or inbound links … that “backlinks” sounds pretty weird … but anyway)
There you will see a list of its most linked pages
Sort descending by the number of domains and you have access to their most linked pages. Research them and see if you can do better to position yourself above your competition . If you click on the number of domains or backlinks you will see all the information broken down so that you can better analyze it.
Extra: Earn money by offering advertising
If you have a blog with a good number of visits, you can offer advertising to sites that are paying ads in AdWords for keywords where you are positioned.
And getting all this information is very easy with SEMRush. Enter your domain and go to the competitors section and look at your competitors that have a good number of «Keyword (Ads)»:
We are going to take doctorsim.com site. If we click on the column “Common keywords” we will see the report Domain vs. Domain that I explained above. But now we are going to configure it to find the words that give you organic traffic and that are common with the words that your competitor pays for :
So you know who to contact to offer you a deal and maybe a banner on your site !!
Linkbuilding – Link building
Analyze your prospects to create links
How do you know if a site where you want to buy a review, post a guest post or generally get a link is right for you?
You can review different metrics, but there is nothing better than putting the site in SEMRush and seeing its graph of (hopefully) growth, in the “Positions” section. You can also check if you have suffered a penalty . And if you have suffered a penalty, or are getting less and less traffic, maybe you can find a better prospect ?
If you have access to Analytics it is easy to verify if the site has been penalized, with a tool like this . But if not, the best thing is to enter the site to SEMRush and check for a significant drop in visits. Then compare the dates with a Google update schedule like this .
An example of a site that has not been penalized:
And from a site that was penalized:
Analyze the links of your competitors
First, you have to make something very clear, the specialty of SEMRush is not the analysis of backlinks, so you will find fewer links than using other tools such as Majestic and ahrefs.
And for a much smaller site:
So that if you want depth analysis , you’d better complement SEMRush with another tool. But you can also take advantage of it if you do not require such exhaustive analysis so you do not have to pay for another tool to analyze backlinks ?
If you enter the URL of a competitor, and go to the section “Backlinks” -> “Overview” you will see a general report of the link profile of your competition.
You will be able to see how many links are nofollow and how many “normal”, their types of links (images, text, etc.), TLDs that link them (.com, .net, .edu …) and from which countries. If you want to drill down you can access a complete report to see all the inbound links of your competitor, all the domains that link it and even the IPs.
In the inbound link report, “Backlinks” -> “Backlinks”, you can also use filters. For example, if you want to see what links your competitor has from .es sites and that they are also not nofollow:
So you can get ideas from sites where you can maybe get links.
And finally, in the section “Backlinks” -> “Backlinks Comparison” you can compare the link profile of up to 5 domains. So you can quickly see if the positioning of your competition is largely due to their link profile, if they have a large percentage of nofollow links or not (TIP: If your competitors’ link profile has many nofollow links and you don’t, Google may see your link pattern as unnatural) and what types of links they have.