SEMrush review for the not so tech savvy user - dogs at computer

SEMrush – A Review for the Not-So-Tech-Savvy User

This review of SEMrush is meant for us regular folks who aren’t super techy.  By the end of this SEMrush review post, you will be able to determine if this tool is right for you or not. 

If you’re growing a blog, offering SEO services to your clients, or you’re trying to improve the SEO (search engine optimization) for yourself or someone else AND you’re tech knowledge is considered beginner to intermediate at best, this post is for you. 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means if you purchase something after clicking a link on my site, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you.  This is how I’m able to provide quality reviews.  Please note that I do not promote any course, tool, or product if I do not believe in 100%.

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What Is SEMrush Used for?

SEMrush is a tool for finding and monitoring your site SEO as well as analyzing the SEO of other sites and competitors. 

Here are some ways I have used SEMrush (as a not-so-tech-savvy person):

  • Finding low competition keywords
  • Analyzing keywords of other sites
  • Creeping my competition
  • Getting ideas
  • Optimizing for organic search
  • Backlink analysis
  • Helping my friends and clients analyze their sites and competition
  • Watching my own rankings fluctuate
  • Identifying keywords with decent Google position so I can optimize posts
  • Monitoring certain keywords
  • Making lists of keywords for different projects
  • Checking keyword difficulty, SERP results, volume of searches
  • Helping clients create SEO strategies
  • And so much more

Who Can Benefit From SEMrush?  Who Is it For?

SEMrush SEO tool is for anyone looking to improve their site (or a client’s site) ranking with search engine optimization.

That’s it.  

Whether you’re a blogger monetizing with affiliate marketing, ad revenue, sponsored posts, or a business, freelance writer, copywriter in the digital marketing, web designer, coach, consultant, graphic designer, real estate agent, etc… Every business that is creating content on a website or blog can use SEMrush to improve their SEO.

You can use SEMrush to optimize for organic search, create PPC campaigns, optimize web copy and landing pages, create and schedule social media content, improve your keyword search results for your content marketing, do a competitive intelligence analysis (aka competitor research), etc…

Whether you want to just improve your search ranking or you want to create an organic SEO and PPC one-two punch strategy, SEMrush can help.

If you’re looking for a short term solution, you can sign up for a few months, improve your SEO, then jump ship. 

Listing Management Tool

How Can I Improve My SEO Rankings With SEMrush?

Now, before I give you the ol’ “how-to,” I want to be clear.

I’m not an SEMrush expert, and I’m not a tech-savvy person.  

This is the ‘average Jane’ guide to using SEMrush. 

SEMrush has a program called SEMrush Academy that will teach you just about anything you want to know about SEMrush and SEO.  

You could go from total novice to expert with SEMrush Academy.  It’s highly detailed with tutorials, guides, videos, etc.  I’ve used countless videos.  

Here are the ways that I’ve improved my SEO ranking and helped clients improve their SEO ranking using SEMrush:

  • Finding keywords I’m already ranking for and using more of that keyword in posts
  • Spying on the SEO of a competitor and seeing what keywords they are ranking for
  • Finding low authority sites who are ranking for high volume keywords and incorporating those keywords into my content
  • Monitoring the backlink quality on my site
  • Using the Keyword magic tool to find lots of keyword ideas, questions to use, and low ranking, long-tail keywords
  • Monitoring what keywords I’m ranking for that I didn’t target
  • Setting up reports monthly to be sent automatically to my email for myself and for clients

There is SO much more to this tool that I haven’t used yet.  I barely use it and I get so much value from it. 

How Do I Find SEO Keywords?

On a daily basis, I use the keyword magic tool, organic research tool, keyword manager, and domain overview tool.  

SEMrush review - image of the menu and areas of SEMrush that I use highlighted in yellow.

You can see that I’ve barely scratched the service of what this tool is capable of. 

With the keyword magic tool, I can look up specific keywords and SEMrush will show me similar keywords, related keywords, questions, and all kinds of variations of this keyword. 

With the domain overview tool, I can take a sneak peek behind the scenes of other websites to see what they are ranking for. 

I can pull up all the (organic and paid) keywords they are ranking for, the positions, volume, difficulty, etc… 

This allows me to add some of their keywords to the lists I create in the keyword manager tool. 

Here is an example of what comes up under the organic research tab for webmd.com.  You can see the keyword, position, volume, keyword difficulty, CPC, and so much more.  

Example from SEMrush results for Webmd.com - A review of SEMrush

By clicking at the top of each header, you can sort the columns.  

Or you can get REALLY specific with your criteria and search by position, keyword difficulty, exclude certain words, etc… 

Organic research results from SEMrush review

If I was going to look up keywords, I might pull up a website and search their keywords for low difficulty and high volume keywords to use in my own content. 

Or I might use look under Domain Overview and look at one of their competitors. 

Competitive positioning map - SEMrush review

I recommend researching sites that have lower authority than a site like webmd.com, but you can see how easy it is to find keywords to rank for. 

SEMrush Writing Assistant

If you’ve ever hoped for the green light of the Yoast plugin, you’re going to LOVE the SEMrush writing assistant.

This plugin shows up right below your post (or you can use it in the SEMrush interface itself if you’re doing it for clients). Simply tell it what you’re writing about and it:

  • Evaluates readability score (this post has a PERFECT score btw!)
  • Gives you semantic (related) keywords AND greenlights as soon as you add them to the post so you can keep track
  • Tells you if there are issues with the links you’ve put in the post
  • Analyzes your title
  • And more

I adore this tool as much as my fat pug-a-poo loves when I drop food while I’m cooking.

What I Love About SEMrush (And Why I Keep Coming Back to Them)

The SEMrush writing assistant.

They offer free training with SEMrush academy. 

Their help and blog post library is EXTREMELY robust.  There is an answer for everything. 

They even offer a free certification program for several topics.  If you’re new to freelance writing, you might want to use these certificates to improve your skills and land more clients. You can post the certificate on your website.  I did this when I was first starting out. 

SEMrush customer service is really responsive and friendly. 

The program itself is pretty user friendly. If you set aside some time to learn it, you’ll get the hang of it fairly quickly. 

In some cases, their customer service offers free one on one training. 

Is SEMrush Hard to Use?

If I can use it, anyone can.  

I recently showed a friend this program after she signed up for the free trial.  

It’s a bit overwhelming at first, but I showed her the parts I use the most (which is about 10% or less of what’s available) and she was blown away.  

Yo can email SEMrush and ask for some guidance when you sign up.  They will give you some training, YouTube videos, blog post tutorials, etc… 

Or you can access their academy. If you put a little effort into learning the tool, it won’t take you long before you’re blasting through the data. 

You can also search YouTube for tutorials.  

What’s Their Customer Service Like?

a review of semrush - two people surprised

I’ll be honest, I haven’t treated SEMrush that well. 

I’ve signed up, then canceled, signed up, then canceled.  Countless times.  

*I don’t recommend doing this. 

Their customer service team has been INCREDIBLE with me.  

They get back to me quickly, they’re pleasant, and they are so helpful. 

Basically, they treat you like a real person with real problems. 

What I Don’t Like About It

Some sites have ways of blocking the data SEMrush is trying to collect.  

Just like any other SEO tool, I find SEMrush is sometimes not 100% accurate.  

Every SEO tool I’ve used up until this point has been the same way, so I can’t fault SEMrush for this. 

Something that can be quite frustrating is that it’s easy to get lost in the data SEMrush collects.  There is SO much information available, it can be overwhelming.  

I can spend hoooooouuuuurs sifting through information and collecting data.  It’s important to have a strategy in place for collecting the information so you don’t get lost.  Also, this isn’t anything SEMrush has done, every good SEO tool will have endless amounts of information to get lost in.

Luckily, SEMrush offers free training when you sign up as a bonus (as previously mentioned).  

On the bright side, if the biggest problem you have with the tool is that it’s TOO good, that’s a good problem to have. 

SEMrush benefits for Freelance Writers

If you’re a freelance writer as well as a blogger, SEMrush offers free certification programs. 

Not only that, but you can use SEMrush to market your own services by adding a blog to your website and getting found in your niche through search engine optimization (aka Google search results). 

If you write blog posts or website content, you can use SEMrush to give your clients more value and increase your prices. 

Pinterest image with text overlay - SEMrush - a review for the not so tech savvy user of SEMrush

Is SEMrush Free?

By now you’re wondering “How much does SEMrush cost?”

There is a free version of SEMrush.  I found it didn’t offer what I needed.  

After signing up and canceling multiple times, I’ve realized the value of the paid plan far outweighs the cost.  

Every person (bloggers, agency owners, etc..) that I know who is serious about getting found in Google has either SEMrush or other tools like Ahrefs.  

If you have a monetization strategy in place and you need traffic to build up your income or generate leads to your business, SEMrush is an investment in data to help you rank faster. 

As of the publish date of this blog post, SEMrush is $99 USD per month.  

So, let’s put this into perspective.  

If you’ve monetized your blog with ad revenue, let’s say you currently making $500 or more per month in ad revenue with 30,000 visitors (this is just an example, results vary depending on the blog and ad company).

If you invest $99 per month in this SEO tool, optimize your existing blog posts, and use it to create new content, you could double or triple your traffic.  

In some of the Facebook groups, I’ve seen people skyrocket their income by taking their SEO strategies seriously.  

If you invest $99 per month, and you end up making an extra $400 per month, this tool has paid for itself and given you an extra $300 in income. 

If you’re trying to generate local leads to a service based business and your average sale is $1,000, you only need one sale every few months to make it worth it (with the right strategy, you could convert a lot more leads into sales). 

In the grand scheme of the ROI (return on investment) you’ll get by using SEMrush, you can’t go wrong.  

But you have to use it and you have to have a good strategy. Even if you only use it the way I’ve used it (bare minimum), you’ll see a difference. 

Now you’re probably wondering, “How do I use SEMrush for free?”

When I started, they had a free trial.  I’m assuming they still do.  That’s a great place to start.  

The value you’ll get from using SEMrush once you get the hang of it will far outweigh the price tag. 

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