In search, we love our tools. Ask anyone in the industry and they'll tell you about their favorite (or a handful of favorites) they use on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Tools make our lives a whole lot easier and our search campaigns easier to assess and strategize.
Many of my past columns explore SEO or search issues and provide tips coupled with tools that provide solutions for day-to-day issues. While Google Analytics is the first stop to find problems or assess issues, after that I dig into my search "toolbag" to find opportunity or insight on what might help me.
Upon review of my previous topics I found that there are a lot of tools I often choose from whether it is OpenSiteExplorer, ScreamingFrog, Majestic SEO and so on. There is a tool I mention quite a lot though that has helped me be more efficient as a digital marketer, that tool is SEMrush.
As a kudos to wonderful tool, I've shared a few ways this tool has helped me to be more effective marketer. As an added bonus I interviewed Sean Malseed from SEMrush about what works, what needs work, and where SEMrush is headed next.
3 Ways SEMrush Can Make Your Life a Little Easier
First off, let's touch on a few areas you can use this tool to make your life a little easier.
- We've lost keyword data from Google Analytics. Yes, Google Webmaster Tools provides some insight in the Search Queries section by Landing Pages, but SEMrush does a much better job. What I prefer to do is find organic landing pages in Google Analytics that have shown large gains or losses, run an export of all rankings in Google, and then sort by ranking page. I then sort by estimated search volume and look at top keywords that may have jumped or fallen.
- Competitive analysis is a great way to start researching a new search campaign or an ongoing effort. You can look at terms that competitors rank for by themselves and those that you both rank for together. As an ongoing effort, you can watch for what terms you both rank for, what pages of theirs they rank for, what is the content strategy in place, and possibly the inbound linking specifics of these landing pages.
- When it comes to gaining an understanding of my clients and their competitors growth in organic search, Traffic Price allows me to look past total ranking keywords and get a feel for if there is an expanding presence in long-tail (which is of value) but more so if the high volume/competitive terms are growing. Simply put, the tool looks at your ranking terms, their position, their search volume, and estimates by keyword your likely amount of clicks and what you would pay for this in paid search. Keep in mind, you mind rank for a great term in the top five and have a terrible title and description and not get that many clicks, but this just serves as a helpful estimation.
What I Don't Like, But Will Live With
Those are just a few reasons why I like SEMrush. There is also much more that we won't cover in this post. But no tool is perfect, there are some downsides to consider.
For example, SEMrush's organic search traffic estimations of sites seem a bit off. As I tell many in regard to SEO tool estimations, take estimated data with a grain of salt. Don't focus so much on the number but more so on the trends over time and comparison of other sites reviewed.
What Does SEMrush Have to Say?
It was great to have a chance to ask SEMrush some questions about their toolset. Here is what Sean Malseed, director of strategic development at SEMrush, had to say.
Josh McCoy: What is the element of SEMrush in which your team holds the greatest pride, what do you feel the most important element of the tool is?
Sean Malseed: The depth and breadth of our data is our proudest accomplishment, because it fuels some really creative and useful tools and data analysis that a lot of companies find really useful and build their business processes around. It's a continuous challenge because we update our data every day. It's really gratifying to have a role in that.
JM: What do you think makes SEMrush stand apart from other competitive tools? How do you plan to stay ahead of the competition?
SM: SEMrush does a lot of things that no one else does. We have the largest database; nobody updates their database as much as we do, and we've actually built a tool called Position Tracker to custom-track your own keywords, even if they aren't in any database. With our team of 50+ developers, we improve our feature set constantly. Our community's needs are translated into real data and features.
JM: From your review of user interaction, do you feel there is an area(s) of the toolset that are underutilized by many?
SM: Our Position Tracker by far. This feature allows you to input your own domains and keywords, even if they aren't in our database already, and we'll go out and custom collect the data just for you. It's basically your own customized version of SEMrush. You can research really long-tail keywords and see how your competitors function at a really granular level
JM: What is an area of SEMrush you think still needs a little work?
SM: Right now, a big focus is on our backlinks tool. While we have a lot of backlinks in our database, we're working on ways to really use the data in new and creative ways. We have a huge potential to cross-reference our backlink data against the huge amount of keyword and domain data to really uncover a lot of hugely useful SEO data.
JM: What is next on the horizon for SEMrush?
SM: We really want to engage with the SEO and Internet marketing community in a way that adds value beyond creating the most powerful tool. We want to add back to the community that has treated us so well, by contributing to the knowledge and experiences of our subscribers and the community as a whole. We have some of our brightest employees doing webinars every week, including the ever-popular Dave Black. I've been doing educational presentations at industry shows around the world, several per month.
Every digital marketer expert is only as good as the tools they use. I'm not saying that you should only use one tool but having a few top level tools "at the ready" that you are proficient with will make your job a little easier.
A big thanks to Malseed for his time, and thanks to SEMrush for developing a great tool for everyone who works in the search industry.
What's your favorite search tool?
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!