Is Semrush Worth the Investment in 2021?

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Is Semrush Worth the Investment in 2021?I’m a big fan of Semrush — you all know it!

And, yes, in 2020, it’s finally confirmed — we should all say “Semrush”, and not “S-E-M-rush” or pronounce it in any other way.

On top of a massive brand revamp, which better reflects the brand’s feel – it’s now brighter, wittier, and much more simple – Semrush also announced that the suite’s pricing will finally go up.

I was actually wondering when that would happen, as the last price increase I can recall took place back in 2017. In 4 years, I saw and gained real tangible benefits from thousands of tweaks, new features, and brand new tools introduced within the Semrush suite. So, I am genuinely not that surprised to hear about the price going up.

Yet, let’s put our objectivity glasses on and take a quick look at only the latest updates introduced throughout the past year to assess if Semrush is truly worth the new price.

Spoiler alert: Of course, it is!

Semrush Pricing: Old vs New Packages

Now, this is Semrush’s current pricing model:

Semrush New Pricing Plans 2021

It’s all pretty straightforward:

  • The Pro plan used to be at $99.95/month. From January 4, 2021, new users, and only NEW users, will have to pay $119.95/month. This is a reworked package that now includes expanded sharing options (Read-only) and a lower price per user (if you need to purchase additional seats), which makes it a perfect plan if you’re an individual blogger/marketer, freelancer, or a small agency.
  • The Guru plan is now at $229.95/month for new customers. Capabilities included within this updated package are designed to suit growing marketing agencies. Guru users can get access to more reports and historical data storage, Google Data Studio integration, along with creating branded PDF reports for clients. With extended limits, this plan also includes products from Semrush’s Content Marketing toolkit, which makes it a great plan for larger in-house marketing teams as well.
  • Semrush pricing for the Business plan currently stands at $449.95/month. It is perfect for larger agencies who are dealing with tons of data every single month and manage digital marketing campaigns for several clients. With more data available (online share of voice estimates are the coolest addition here), you can also make use of the newest Google Data Connector and access the Semrush API for integrating the suite’s data within your dashboards/tools.

If you are not a single Semrush user and need to purchase additional seats, in a way, the platform has become even cheaper as the pricing per extra seats has decreased by 36% for Pro, 43% for Guru, and 30% for Business subscribers.

Get 1-month free trial to Semrush PRO ($119.95 Value)

Brand New Semrush Features You Don’t Want to Miss

When I first started using the Semrush suite, I mainly focused on its SEO capabilities. But over the years, the platform grew into an all-in-one spot that covers the majority of my digital marketing efforts – from content creation and social media management to competitive and market insights.

Before deep diving into precise features that I personally can’t live without now, I just want to say that Semrush has improved a lot and has become immensely powerful since the last price increase back in 2017.

Semrush Will Power Up Your SEO Efforts

With the overall SEO industry going mobile, having mobile databases is crucial for any tool that wants to be the ultimate SEO solution.

And Semrush, unlike many other industry suites like Ahrefs, provides extensive mobile data coverage, including info on mobile competition and keywords.

Keyword Optimization Perks

Traditionally, when talking about Semrush’s strengths, everyone’s thinking about its keyword research capabilities.

Over the past two years – from 2018 to 2020 – its keyword database grew more than 10X, and now includes over 20 billion keywords for over 120 countries – relevant, most recent, spot-on keywords for Google that include search volumes for global and local-level keyword optimization.

Compared to Ahrefs’s 7.5 billion keyword set, Semrush potentially gives a threefold keyword advantage.

This means that Semrush now holds the largest keyword database on the market!

Semrush Keyword Overview Report 2021

Even the most basic Semrush keyword tool, Keyword Overview, now reflects crucial keyword data points that can help you:

  • Evaluate keyword potential (with organic and advertising value assessments)
  • Pinpoint most high impact keywords (based on Keyword Difficulty, Competition Level, and CPC metrics)
  • Get ideas for SERP Feature optimization (Questions and SERP Features for each keyword)
  • Check the keyword popularity trend – if you spot a downward trend, optimizing for this keyword might not be worth your efforts.

Once you do preliminary high-level keyword research, you can then move on to working with Keyword Magic Tool for analyzing niche topics and get great suggestions on semantically-related terms and voice search optimization.

This is also where you can actually start working on your optimization efforts, as the tool also gives ideas for keyword clustering, with related questions and broad/exact/phrase matches.

Yet my absolute favorite keyword tool within the entire suite is Keyword Gap!

Because, running this blog for multiple years and working with various clients along the way, I’d eventually run out of keyword ideas. And this is where Keyword Gap can really become a game-changer.

To spot missing and hidden keyword opportunities, you simply enter 4 competitors and your own site to get a side-by-side comparison of keyword profiles:

Keyword Gap Tool

You can now group and filter out keywords to focus only on those search terms that are missing, untapped, unique, and more (see the screenshot above).

I’m also super excited that Semrush finally added (in 2020), a subdomain, subfolder, and URL-level analysis, as sometimes I had to compare myself against large competitors, while I was only interested in their blog’s keywords.

Get 1-month free trial to Semrush PRO ($119.95 Value)

Smarter Link Building

A similar idea is used behind Semrush’s Backlink Gap tool – and, in general, the platform offers incredible link building ideas and backlink tracking software with its Link Building, one-of-a-kind Backlink Audit (for enhancing your own backlink profile), and Backlink Analytics (for competitive insights) tools.

What I find most helpful in my link building efforts is a Semrush-specific metric – Toxic Score. It uses 50+ markers of link profile toxicity to automatically evaluate the potential level of harm a link can do to your site, helping to prioritize link building activities and to prevent any possible backlink-related Google penalties.

This year, Backlink Audit got powered up with a new cool feature – if you connect your Google Analytics to the tool, it now shows the referral traffic counts from a given backlink, which also helps to pinpoint backlink areas that need your extra attention.

Overall, Semrush’s backlink database now includes over 30.8T backlinks – and we’re talking terabytes of data that gets updated every two weeks.

Extended On-Site and Technical SEO Capabilities

One another area I can call Semrush on being best-in-class is its on-page and technical SEO tools.

If you’re a newbie or haven’t worked on your site’s technical SEO properly, Semrush’s Site Audit is the tool to address, as it’s truly the best site audit on the market.

The tool runs your site through 130 in-depth checks that detect all possible site issues that are hindering your online visibility – from performance and internal linking issues to HTTPS and hreflang implementation (if you’re running a multilingual site) errors.

Semrush Site Audit 2021

From a user perspective, Site Audit’s advantage is within its prioritization features – the tool automatically breaks your site health problems into errors, warnings, and notices, which imply the potential impact of this or that harm, once again helping you to start working on fixing issues that might bring the highest benefits to your site’s SEO health.

Since I’ve already gone through all the biggest site health checks within Site Audit, I now mainly focus on another handy Semrush tool – On-Page SEO Checker (OPSC). It’s an absolute must if you want to get the most performance stats out of each page of your site.

With the help of OPSC, I optimize each newly created page of my site and blog to make sure I’m meeting all the best SEO practices per target keyword.

If you don’t know which page to start with, OPSC will give you some actionable ideas by identifying site pages whose optimization can bring the biggest boost to your site rankings:

Semrush On Page SEO Checker

In this NYT example, we can see that by implementing around 300 on-page SEO tweaks for 50 pages, NYT could potentially grow its traffic by 1000%!

Essentially, OPSC analyzes the highest-performing pages across the web per keywords your site ranks for and provides suggestions on how you can improve your page and content to get into Google’s top:

Semrush On Page SEO Checker Tool

Tracking Your Market Positions

The essence of SEO is to increase your market share and market positions. And Semrush has a tool specifically designed to accurately show your SERP positions for a custom set of keywords on any, even the most hyper-local level (down to the ZIP code).

Unlike many others, Semrush reflects your mobile positions without any extra charge, with daily updates available to all users. And this is an amazing advantage both in regard to data accuracy and budget savings.

Semrush Position Tracking Tool 2021

In the Landscape tab, you can get a helicopter view at your online visibility (a Semrush-specific metric that measures the site’s progress within Google’s top 100 for the select set of keywords based on CTR estimates) in dynamics – reflecting whether your optimization efforts have brought any SERP advances or not.

The tool has a comprehensive algorithm that shows your fiercest competitors and their SERP performance so that you know who is it you’re standing against:

Position Tracking Tool - Example

But as we all know, competition is not always about your rivals. The coolest new update is that Position Tracking now also shows if you’re posing any self-competition for your target keywords with its fresh-out-of-the-oven Cannibalization report:

Cannibalization Report

Semrush Brings Real Competitive Intelligence

While many other tools position themselves as competitive intelligence suites, they often focus on one or two aspects – keywords, backlinks, traffic, or content.

Semrush, however, has all these capabilities included within one suite and even more.

I’ve extensively focused on the platform’s SEO capabilities, yet when it comes to market intelligence, it’s also an amazing suite to have at hand.

I’m an avid user of the Market Explorer tool – whenever I’m starting work with a new client or thinking of expanding my blog to cover new areas, I start with Market Explorer.

The Growth Quadrant widget instantly portrays the market landscape within a given industry (all you have to do is enter your or competitors’ site):

Semrush Market Explorer

For high-level market analysis, often so expensive to make, this is the go-to tool, as you can instantly see the key market benchmarks:

  • overall traffic and traffic trend (if the audience counts overall are declining, you might not want to enter this area);
  • market share of key competitors;
  • audience acquisition strategies most common within the selected niche;

Domain vs Market Dynamics

  • and key audience characteristics (geo, age, interests) to help with marketing strategy and assessment of whether this is a suitable new area to explore.

Semrush Market Explorer

I also find it incredibly useful that the tool now allows you to create a Custom market that only includes this kind of analysis for competitors of your choice.

Then, once the competitive landscape is clear, I normally use more in-depth insights from Traffic Analytics on each rival whose marketing game I want to uncover.

In 2020, Semrush enhanced its algorithm and now I see more accurate data on-site (and since 2020 – subdomain) traffic, user behavior (unique visits, bounce rate, average session duration), and traffic journey (which sites people visit before and after landing on the site).

I’ve also played around with the newest Audience Insights report, which shows audience overlaps between my blog and others, giving me ideas for marketing partnerships and helping me to pinpoint my audience potential:

Semrush Traffic Analytics Tool

Get 1-month free trial to Semrush PRO ($119.95 Value)

Content Marketing: Full Coverage

I love that Semrush understands that while market and competitive insights and SEO are the key drivers for growth, all efforts can come to naught without an efficient content marketing strategy.

To keep this part brief, I just have to say that Semrush’s content marketing toolkit pretty much covers the entire process: from ideation to performance analytics. And for us, bloggers, operating in ultra-competitive niches, it’s crucial to approach content marketing in the utmost data-driven way.

Semrush’s content tools allow you to create assets that will be both appealing to readers and search engines:

  • Topic Research tool helps to choose a hot topic people are most interested in within a given location and even suggests some trending headlines and questions around a certain theme.

Semrush Topic Research Tool

Topic Research Report - Headlines

  • SEO Content Template and SEO Writing Assistant (used it while writing this very post) tools make sure that the copy is following best SEO practices per target keyword within a certain location, collecting insights from the top-10 highest-ranking content pieces on the web.
  • Then, I always add my newly-created posts to the Content Analyzer tool that monitors their performance, and if I see lower than average stats, I go back to OPSC we already talked about before and do some on-page SEO tweaks.

Final Verdict on Semrush’s New Pricing Plans

Powered with over 40 tools that cover everything from market research to social media ad management, Semrush is the most comprehensive and strong platform for all things digital marketing.

I couldn’t go through each and every feature within one post – it will take hours and hours to cover everything – so I only mentioned my favorite features that I use almost on a daily basis.

Of course, Semrush offers way more: social media capabilities, strong local SEO solution (especially useful for those of you who have a brick and mortar presence), handy PDF reports (if you’re working with clients or need to report progress to upper-management), and way more.

So, essentially at the price of one solution, Semrush offers capabilities of at least 6 to 7 various suites in one affordable package.

Moreover, once you get through your learning curve, you’ll see how handy it is to manage all your digital marketing business within one platform, as all the Semrush tools are interconnected and follow similar logic – so, if you count your time-savings into the matter, you can see some additional cost savings there!

As a final verdict, I say that for users who will be signing up for the platform in 2021, it’s not really about a pricing increase, as they are getting a totally new Semrush package design that includes much more advanced and polished Semrush features.

Get 1-month free trial to Semrush PRO ($119.95 Value)

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Is Semrush Worth the Investment in 2021?
Sandeep Mallya is the Founder & CEO of Startup Cafe Digital, an award-winning digital marketing agency in Bangalore, India. He is an active member of the startup community, having worked with several early-stage startups and accelerators. 99signals is Sandeep's online marketing blog. The blog currently features 200+ in-depth articles, how-to guides, and hacks on a wide range of online marketing topics such as SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, blogging, and more.

1 COMMENT

  1. This article explained the new features of the Semrush tool. I was not aware of these features. Thanks for sharing the latest information.

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