SEMrush Guide: Keyword Research, On-Page SEO, And More

Content Is King typed on a page signifying that content brings the best SEO.

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Hey there! You might be wondering what a review of SEMrush is doing on a personal finance blog, but let me tell you, if you're looking to make money with any type of website, a blog included, then having a suite like SEMrush may be right for you.

In this post, I'm going to do a SEMrush review as well as give you a walkthrough of all the major tools I use to stay competitive with SEO. This, in turn, helps drive traffic and business to this blog and to my wife and my print-on-demand store, Pebblebrook Apparel. If you like what you see, make sure to check out this SEMrush free trial!

What Is SEMrush?

SEMrush is an SEO tool that allows you to do research among a wide array of things to help you write better content and rank better on search engines. SEMrush is trusted by internet marketers all over the world and can help content writers with:

  • Keyword research
  • Keyword tracking
  • On-Page SEO recommendations
  • Analysis of competitor websites
  • Backlink analysis and backlink opportunities
  • SEO site audits
  • Topic research
  • And more…

As you can see, SEMrush can do a lot. The starting price for SEMrush comes at $99.95 per month for its Pro package, $199.95 per month for its Guru package, and $399.95 per month for its business package. Enterprise packages are available as well.

If you want to check out SEMrush for free for 7 days, use my SEMrush free trial link here.

SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool

SEMrush's keyword magic tool allows you to enter a keyword and find variations and related keywords to that keyword. You will be presented with the monthly volume for those keywords, the difficultly for ranking for that keyword, and more.

Let's look at an example of a difficult-to-rank keyword and how doing keyword research can help you find a similar, easier-to-rank for keyword that will drive traffic to your website and, in turn, earn you potentially more customers.

Once logged in, you'll want to go to the upper-left-hand corner, and from the dropdown, select “SEO Toolkit”. Once the screen loads, select “Keyword Magic Tool”, as seen below.

For this example, we're going to enter the keyword “passive income”, a highly competitive search term.

Finding Less Competitive Keywords With SEMrush Keyword Research

In the below screenshot, you can see that the keyword “passive income” has a monthly volume of 49,500 searches.

Here's the thing. The KD%, which stands for Keyword Difficulty percent, is 86.15. The closer the KD is to 100, the harder that keyword is to rank for on Google, especially if your website is newer.

In fact, in the above screenshot, all of the keywords have over an 80 KD rating, so how would you compete at all?

The trick is to use less searched for long-tail keywords. “But, what's a long tail keyword?” you might ask.

A long-tail keyword is a keyword with more words that provide a more specific description of something. For example:

  • “Bicycle” is a very generic keyword and would be very difficult to rank for.
  • “yellow mountain bicycle” is more specific but might still be difficult to rank for.
  • “yellow 10-speed mountain bicycle” is a long-tail keyword because it is a lot more specific.

Let's use the passive income example, in the same way, using a filter.

Using Advanced Filters To Find Long-tail Keywords

Just over the keyword table is a button that says “Advanced Filters”. By clicking that button, you'll see the following appear below.

What I've done is added a filter that will help us find long-tail keywords that are easier to rank for the original keyword “passive income”. I'm searching for keywords with 4+ words, a monthly search volume of at least 50, and a KD no higher than 75.

Let's see what happens:

What I did here was sort by KD% from lowest to high. As you can see in this screenshot above, all but the bottom keyword have a KD of “n/a”, which means there's no known competition in the keyword. How excellent is that?

What you could do now is, go through this list and all other pages and optimize these less competitive keywords in your blog posts to rank better on Google.

Here's an example from this very SEMrush post. The keyword “SEMrush free-trial” is not very competitive (57.6%), which is one keyword I've optimized this post for.

Now that you have keywords that you've researched let's talk about tracking them!

SEMrush Position Tracking Tool

Navigate over to the left and click Position Tracking. You'll have to set up a project and provide your website details to continue. For the example in this section, I'll use The Dollar Blogger's stats from May 1st, 2020.

When using the SEMrush position tracking tool, you can see where you rank with up to 1500 keywords (more keywords can be purchased), and you can also track up to four competitors. Let's take a quick look at my rankings, and I'll explain the data.

Right away, you can see I rank #1 for “The Dollar Blogger”, which is ideal because that's my blog – ha! Next, you'll see a variety of keywords that I rank for and what position they were 7 days ago before May 1st, and then what they were on May 1st, along with the change over those 7 days.

You'll probably notice that “save $5 a day” and many variations of that keyword rank pretty well. My post “How Saving $5 A Day Can Make All The Difference” is optimized really well with keywords that have low KD%, so this is the perfect example of how even a young website can rank well on Google.

Position tracking updates your keyword list every 24 hours, and you can use this information to figure out how better to optimize your various posts and pages with target keywords.

SEMrush On-Page SEO Checker

SEMrush offers an on-page SEO checker to give you insights on how to better optimize your posts. In the below screenshot, you can see that I have 201 recommendations across 26 pages. It should be noted that implementing every recommendation might not be feasible, but many of them will definitely help you.

You can import keywords from Google Search Console or from other tools on SEMrush into this tool to get recommendations across your blog or website. The screenshot claims it can raise my organic traffic from 513 to over 180k.

I'd sure love that! Which is why I actively update old posts to optimize them for Google further.

SEMrush 7-day trial, the Ultimate 20-in-1 SEO Tool

Here are some suggestions that you'll receive from this tool

  • SEO Strategy
  • SERP Features
  • Target keywords in the body and title of posts
  • Alerts if you are keyword stuffing
  • If content length is long enough
  • How to use similar keywords to enrich your content
  • Suggested domains to earn backlinks from
  • Technical SEO suggestions
  • User experience issues

By implementing some or all of these suggestions, you can expect various pages of your site to rank better on Google.

SEMrush Site Audit Tool

SEMrush can do technical SEO checks on your site with its site audit tool. The SEMrush site audit tool crawls your entire website and finds errors, warnings, and other less critical alerts.

Note that some web hosts will block this tool if you're on a shared server because of the server load that happens during a crawl.

Here's what the site audit tool looks like after running yesterday against The Dollar Blogger.

semrush site audit

You might look at this and see, “Wow, that's a lot of warnings!” I sure did. The site audit tool will find everything it can that may or may not be a problem with your site. It is up to you to go through all of the findings and fix what makes sense.

For example: One of my warnings is that 60 of my images don't have alt attributes. This can be attributed to that the majority of those images are from my affiliate networks and that I don't have control over them, so I ignore those particular warnings.

A warning that I would not want to ignore is, for example, a warning about pages missing meta descriptions, because that wouldn't be good for SEO or for people seeing my site on Google in general.

By fixing up technical SEO errors and warnings on your site, you improve your overall SEO, and that's what this tool excels at.

SEMrush pricing

You can get the SEMrush free trial by using my link. The free trial is good for 7 days and will give you plenty of time to see what the site has to offer. Here are the plans' prices, should you decide to stick with SEMrush after the free trial.

  • SEMrush Pro: $99.95 per month
  • SEMrush Guru: $199.95 per month
  • SEMrush Business: $399.95 per month

Most people will do just fine with the Pro edition, however, for what I do, I use the Guru edition because of added content help including the SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant, which you can use as a plugin for WordPress to improve your on-page SEO in realtime.

Why SEMrush Is Totally Worth The Price

SEMrush is a game-changer when it comes to SEO. I started using the site when I was 45 days into blogging, and I still use it every week to further enhance my SEO. As I write this post, I'm using SEMrush's SEO Writing Assistant to optimize as I type.

With that in mind, SEMrush's cost is definitely worth it if you're going to take full advantage of everything it offers. Remember, an SEO professional might cost you $50-$100 per hour, and you can get SEMrush Pro for $99.95 per month.

To me, the better deal is the tool.

Wrapping it up

If I haven't convinced you that SEMrush might be right for you and your website or blog, then pick up the 7-day free trial right now and give it a go! When you want to rank better on Google against the big gun competitors out there, this is the suite you need.

What are your favorite tools that you use in SEMrush?

3 thoughts on “SEMrush Guide: Keyword Research, On-Page SEO, And More”

  1. Ah, this is REALLY helpful! I’ve heard about SEMrush (read it in an SEO book) and can see how useful it is for blogging. I’m not quit ready to pull the trigger on that pricing – but you’ve definitely convinced me it is worth it when I’m ready for the financial commitment! Great post!

    1. It’s definitely worth it once you’re ready to put in the financial investment. Glad you got some great info from the post!

  2. This really simplify things – I actually had the 7 days trial once but found it to be a little overwhelming, this makes everything so much clearer.

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