If you’re just starting out writing for the Internet, chances are, people already recommended SEMrush to you.
However, after looking at the price tag, we don’t blame you if you’re wondering, is SEMrush worth it?
It feels like a hefty price to pay when you’re just starting out, but SEMrush can help you grow your traffic in no time.
Part of the confusion around whether or not SEMrush is worth it probably stems from confusion around how the tool works.
How does SEMrush calculate traffic and where does SEMrush get its data?
Is SEMrush for just US audiences or can it help build global sites as well—for example, is SEMrush in Russia?
The answers to these questions and more are in this article.
Learn more about why SEMrush is so useful and why any price you pay for this tool will be worth it in the end when you see your site grow.
What Is SEMrush?
SEMrush is an online platform used for marketing purposes.
It is an all-in-one tool that covers several tasks related to online marketing, including SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, advertising, content research, and more.
SEMrush is a giant SAAS platform that has over 50 tools.
However, it had much humbler beginnings as just a Firefox extension that helped marketers identify best SEO practices.
Today, besides SEO keyword analysis, it has a host of other tools.
Here are just a few of the areas in which SEMrush can help your site grow.
The most common reason people use SEMrush is for search engine optimization or SEO.
That is what the site started out doing before branching out into other aspects of online marketing.
SEMrush still has plenty of tools to help you optimize the SEO performance on your site.
This includes keyword research tools, backlink analysis to check on the health of your site, technical SEO audits, and tracking of SERP.
Not only does SEMrush help you learn about SEO practices by informing your keyword research, but it can also give you a real-time analysis of how well your website is doing.
Content & Marketing
Even if SEMrush only helped with SEO, it would still be a valuable tool.
However, it has tools that cover additional aspects of running a website. SEMrush can help you write better content.
If you’re stuck on what to write about for your website, SEMrush’s market research tools can give you insight into trending topics and keywords so you can tailor your posts towards what will land the most clicks.
Once you start writing your content, SEMrush’s tools analyze it for quality and SEO compatibility.
For example, the SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant ranks all of your blogs on readability, tone, SEO, and originality (Google knocks down the ranking of your website if you plagiarize, even by accident).
Once you launch your content into the world, SEMrush tracks mentions of your brand out in the wild and gives you detailed metrics on how well your content performs.
The platform also gathers ideas for how you can improve your strategies going forward by tracking gaps in backlinks and competitors.
Besides organic traffic, paid advertising is another way to get more visitors to your website.
The most popular forms of online advertising are Pay-Per-Click or PPC campaigns that usually land on search engine pages.
Before you invest money into an advertising campaign, you want to ensure that it will actually work, which is where SEMrush comes in.
SEMrush helps you plan ad campaigns that work by conducting keyword research, automatically analyzing ads put out by competitors, and helping you localize advertising spending, so you reach people that are more likely to click on your site.
While most of SEMrush’s expertise focuses on search engines and website growth, the platform can also help you boost your social media presence.
In today’s Internet landscape, if you don’t have social media for your business, you might as well not exist.
Luckily, SEMrush makes the process of managing your professional social media easier.
The platform offers tools such as post scheduling, post analysis, and even help with social media ads.
SEMrush is one tool that combines the work of four or five different platforms into one.
The right question isn’t why is SEMrush so expensive but why is it so affordable compared to how much it does for your site.
After that initial investment in SEMrush, it will pay off once you start seeing more traffic to your site thanks to its insights.
How Does SEMrush Work?
SEMrush claims to do many things short of pushing your website to the top of Google Search rankings itself.
It almost seems like magic! But how does this tool work?
SEMrush’s results on your business may seem magical, but magic has nothing to do with it.
Instead, the platform uses publicly available data and extensive analysis tools to give you the results that you need.
Where Does SEMrush Get Its Data?
SEMrush uses extensive data about keyword frequencies, website traffic, and more to prepare the analytics that drives your website.
However, where does all of this data come from?
SEMrush doesn’t use any shady methods to obtain the data it uses. Instead, it uses trusted third-party data providers that scrub keyword data from Google’s search results pages.
For its backlinks database, SEMrush has its own backlink crawler that automatically searches millions of web pages.
For social media analysis, SEMrush crawls the public APIs, or application programming interfaces, of social media platforms to gather information about likes, comments, and impressions.
Through a combination of its own data-crawling algorithms, information from the sources such as Google and Facebook, and outsourcing to reputable third-party data providers, SEMrush can collect massive amounts of data from the web.
It never uses unethical data collecting methods, such as going into people’s private pages.
Since SEMrush uses publicly available data, can’t anyone do what the platform does?
Not really. Building the algorithms and robots that crawl the entire Internet for these results requires a massive amount of time and effort.
SEMrush also stands out in the way that it presents this data.
It uses algorithms and analytic tools to trawl massive databases and retrieve only the information that is relevant to you, presented in a way that gives you valuable insights about your business.
How Does SEMrush Calculate Traffic?
Now you know how SEMrush gets data about keywords and SEO analytics, but how does it calculate web traffic, which is a separate concept?
SEMrush has a massive database of web traffic that it collects while partnering with clickstream data providers that monitor millions of Internet users in 190 countries.
Information about people’s clicks and Internet behavior goes into the databases which power SEMrush Traffic Analytics and Market Explorer.
If you’re worried about privacy, you don’t have to—the clickstream data providers anonymize all of the data, and so does SEMrush, so no data point can be tied to an individual user.
Then, the site uses a Neural Network Algorithm, an algorithm based on the human brain, to recognize patterns in clicks.
This allows it to estimate monthly traffic and audience behavior.
While the website traffic information you receive from SEMrush is technically an estimate, it is a highly accurate estimate based on the most advanced algorithms.
If you are interested in learning more about the technical details behind how SEMrush works, they have a post on their website explaining it.
To process such massive amounts of data, SEMrush needs powerful algorithms and databases which require plenty of money to maintain and build.
Money from subscriptions helps fuel this tool and keep it functional.
Where is SEMrush Located?
SEMrush is a US-based and traded company. However, it works all over the world.
Its massive database contains information from about 190 countries, so Internet marketers from around the world can use SEMrush to analyze global trends and even get localized data.
However, SEMrush is not available in all countries.
The platform cannot collect data from countries that have restrictions on Internet usage, such as China and North Korea.
However, if you are working with most other places in the world, SEMrush has the tools to help you.
Is SEMrush in Russia?
After the war in Ukraine, many tech companies began pulling out of Russia. Others limited operations, due to sanctions or concerns from users.
Now, there’s a lot of confusion about which companies are operational in Russia and which ones aren’t.
SEMrush was founded by two Russian men in 2012. Several years later, the founders relocated to the US and the company’s main headquarters are in Boston.
As of early 2022, they maintained their largest office in St. Petersburg, Russia, so the company still has a presence in Russia.
Some other SEO optimization sites such as Ahrefs blocked access from Russia and Belarus as their way of complying with international sanctions.
However, it does not seem that SEMrush did the same, so it is still accessible to Russian users.
Why Does SEMrush Cost So Much?
It’s clear that SEMrush offers many benefits to the people that use it, but its monthly plans are expensive for newly minted webmasters or marketing managers.
The simplest subscription, Pro, starts at $119.95 a month and doesn’t give you access to some of the more advanced features such as the Content Marketing Platform or API Access.
The other subscription levels are Guru for $229.95 a month and Business for $449.95 a month.
SEMrush also charges you extra for listing management, access to SEMrush Trends, and adding extra users.
While SEMrush offers a free plan, it has limits on daily requests and projects you can manage.
This is quite a hefty sum to pay for an Internet marketing tool.
However, you should remember that SEMrush itself pays massive amounts of money to keep the platform running.
It has to pay to obtain the data that powers its analytics tools from third-party collectors, and billions of data points monthly are certainly not cheap!
SEMrush also has to build and maintain the algorithms and databases that extract what you need from terabytes of data and present them in a way that makes sense.
Finally, obtaining the data is a continuous expense because SEMrush constantly updates its databases with new information to keep its platform running.
Nothing comes for free in this world, not even Internet analytics. It costs a lot of money to keep SEMrush’s powerful tools running, and it would never be able to function if its users didn’t help fund that cost.
How to Get the Most Out of Your SEMrush Subscription
SEMrush is definitely worth it if you are trying to grow your website, but you don’t want to spend so much money on a subscription only to see it go to waste!
Here are some tips for optimizing your use.
Use All of the Research Tools
Many SEMrush users get stuck on one research tool, but the platform has many that you can use to optimize your content.
Instead of just looking up popular keywords, use SEMrush to calculate long-tail keywords you can target.
An underutilized aspect of SEMrush is the backlinks tool that can help you identify where to place useful links.
Look At Your Competitors
This feels like spying, but it’s all about healthy competition.
SEMrush helps you identify natural competitors in your niche and analyze their top-performing pages, including which keywords they are targeting.
This research can help you optimize your own content strategies.
Correct SEO Errors
When you’re a newcomer to any skill, you learn through trial and error, especially if you are entering a world as rapidly changing as SEO.
SEMrush can help you catch and fix any errors through its Site Audit tool, which primarily targets technical SEO.
Is SEMrush Worth It?
The answer is a resounding yes, especially if you are serious about growing your online business. SEMrush has a powerful suite of tools that help you target keywords, build backlinks, track the performance of your site, and develop optimal content marketing strategies.
Powering such a massive platform requires significant expenses on the company’s part which is why monthly subscriptions are a little pricey, but you’ll see that it’s worth it once your traffic (and revenue) jumps.