I first heard about SEM Rush at FinCon in Dallas, Texas. It was described as expensive, but essential. A tool that set the great out from the rest. When I took Nomadic Matt’s course a couple of years ago now I remember him saying “sometimes you have to pay to play…”
SEO is that word I knew a lot about and felt like I was implementing – I mean I was turning the little Yoast button green. However, my traffic from search engines never really took off in the way in which I wanted…
So, I decided to pay to play – for a month at least. In an effort to find out whether SEM Rush is really worth it.
This is what paying to play looks like… At least in SEM Rush terms. The smallest package starts at $99.95 and the largest, $399.95.
In the terms of small businesses, web development companies etc… This price is about right. However, for the individual blogger who’s looking to further develop their blog, I truly believe $99.95 is more of a quarterly billing price rather than a monthly.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that when trying out SEM Rush for myself I opted to go for the Pro package at $99.95.
The features of SEM Rush are extensive. Which make this online tool very difficult to navigate and get to grips with – at least in my opinion anyway.
The organic research tool within SEM Rush will allow you to see your competitors best keywords. SEM Rush can help you determine your competitors – if you don’t already know who they are. Based on your keywords and rankings and their similarities.
My top competitors are listed as being the following;
With more than 1,140 results/competitors I actually found the more accurate results to be slightly further down the page. I say this as these we’re other blogs/bloggers I knew in the same field as me who had similar page views etc.
Once I click on one of the links, in this case, Andy’s fantastic site – Be Clever With Your Cash. I can find out a whole host of information, which frankly I was overwhelmed although very impressed by.
The screenshot above is just SOME of the information available at my fingertips – we’ll take a look at the rest later on. For now, I’m clicking on Organic Search. Inside here I’m able to find the keywords that Andy’s site (Be Clever With Your Cash) ranks best for organically (Google and other search engines).
Again, there are more than 36,000 results here so there’s just a very small snippet. You can see how the information here is currently sorted by the percentage of traffic each keyword generates. Although you can sort it by any of the fields shown.
(pos) – Position on Google for this Keyword
Volume – Number of searches per month (approx)
KD – Keyword Difficulty
If we go back to the domain overview we can learn more about the Domain Authority of the site based on the number of backlinks the site has received.
Domain authority is becoming increasingly popular with PR and other marketing agencies and so I’m often asked by fellow bloggers how you can go about increasing it. One of the easiest ways of doing so is by getting a backlink (do follow) to your site from someone else’s site who has a higher domain authority than your own.
If you go ahead and click on Backlinks you’ll be able to learn more about the sites that have linked to this one. Again, here’s just a small sample.
You can once again sort these results based on a number of fields including the trust score of the website as a whole, or the page in particular which references this particular site (in this case www.BeCleverWithYourCash.com)
You can also sort by the date in which the backlink was added, the number of backlinks the site has and even filter them by no-follow and follow links.
Don’t forget you can do this with your own site to see if you have been referenced somewhere and not been informed.
You can use this information to find other bloggers and websites who may be interested in guest posts from you, or even linking to your site for other reasons in order to increase your own DA.
Traffic Analytics is a feature that has very recently been heavily improved upon. It’s information that if many other bloggers knew I had a handle on they would poop their pants (as I’m pretty sure 90%
lie overexaggerate on the number of page views they get)
The information is slightly off here, and as you can see April 2017 is missing altogether. The geolocation is off too, but it’s something I’m hoping they’ll improve on through-out 2018. It’s also worth mentioning that as a Pro customer you only get access to this part of the information and are unable to filter by geo-location.
You can also add in your competitors – to save many squabbles I’ve removed the names from this comparison. Allowing you to see how your traffic compares to your competitors over time. This again can be filtered based on overall visits, unique visitors, average visit duration and the bounce rate.
Further down the page, you can see how each site does base on traffic from different sources. These include Direct, Referral, Search, Social and Paid. So, if someone is doing really well in Search traffic here’s where you’re going to find out. Again, each colour of the bar represents a blogger/domain name.
This was previously known as Domain vs Domain.
Here you can pitch yourself against competitors once again. In the screenshot below I’ve pitched myself against two competitors (who I’ve hidden). Down the left-hand side, you’ll see our most popular keywords (hidden) These are keywords that all three of us rank for.
Again you’re able to see the volume (the volume of search is likely to determine how much traffic will come through to your site based on your position on Google). In this case, they are sorted by volume, and blogger number #2 ranks the best for that particular keyword at 24. I rank second at 33 and blogger #3 ranks third at 46.
You can do this for each keyword, and determine which keywords you could improve on.
If there’s one reason you get SEM Rush then this is likely to be it. Keyword Overview helps you to determine what keyword you should put in that box to turn green on Yoast. Afterall, it’s no good having the keyword set as something like ‘car’ as the screenshot below should prove.
Instead, SEM Rush will help you take that basic keyword and narrow it down to something more specific. A long-tail keyword in which you are more likely to rank for. The whole purpose of this process is to find the balance between a phrase you rank for that has high volume but low competition.
The two features that allow you to do this within SEM Rush are; phrase match and related keywords.
Phrase Match contains the word you originally inputted, and related keywords are similar words that SEM Rush believes you could use based on your original keyword.
You can view the full report of each of these to view thousands upon thousands of results. Each result can once again be sorted by volume, keyword difficulty etc… and even exported into the likes of Google excel for further reference.
By clicking on a keyword you’re able to see who ranks currently… In this case, I clicked on ‘Car Tax’.
On Page SEO Checker
Without a doubt, my personal second favourite feature of SEM Rush has to be there on page SEO Checker. Again, worth its weight in gold. You’ll find the on-page SEO checker on your dashboard.
Once inside SEM Rush will order your optimisation ‘to dos’ by importance based on the amount of traffic each page receives.
You can then click on the ideas that SEM Rush has. In the screenshot above you can see clearly that it tells me how hard each idea is to implement, as well as telling me what I’m doing well. You can also export this entire ‘to do list’ to Trello.
In conclusion, SEM rush is a pay to play kind of service. However, it’s one that can save you hours upon hours of trial and error when it comes to SEO implementation, competitor analysis and SEO page refinement.
In most cases, I’d encourage people to subscribe for the month once or twice a year and block out that particular month to do all SEO related tasks. That way you’re really maximising your usage of the service as it really is an amazing service to use.
As always I’d love to know what you think of SEM Rush do you have any alternatives that you think we should check out? Let us know in the comments below.
3 Months Later…
I put off publishing this post for the best part of three months as I wanted to see what ‘real impact’ the implementation of SEM rush would have on my blog, and I guess the stats really speak for themselves.
Just to be clear this is based on organic traffic over the course of a year.
You notice how I went from;
Around 3,000 organic sessions in October to 5,000 in November, to 4,500 in December to a whopping 7,000 in January!
What’s even crazier?
In January the SEO modification on my old posts had well and truly finished, and I was only posting once every 10 days or so due to other commitments.