Search Engine Optimization. Sounds complicated, right? Well, good thing we have tools like SEMrush to help us master SEO for our websites.
Why do we care about SEO? In short, if you want your website to rank on the first page of Google search results, you need to get up to speed with SEO. SEMrush makes it pretty darn easy to wrap your head around SEO which, in turn, will help your website rank on Google.
Here are ten SEMrush tools and features that can instantly improve your SEO.
1. Keyword Magic Tool
One of the most important aspects to SEO is keyword research. Without knowing what your potential visitors are searching for, it’s almost impossible to serve their needs.
Keyword research provides clarity when it comes to knowing what searches people conduct. With this information, you can easily determine if it’s worth your time to target certain keywords.
Even more, keyword research with SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool gives you numerous other dimensions about specific keywords. Not only can you find out the monthly search volume and number of search results for keywords, but the Keyword Magic Tool also gives you metrics such as search trends and keyword difficulty.
You can use this valuable metadata to dive even deeper into your keyword research. This way, you’ll have a very clear picture of the organic search landscape for that particular keyword. Otherwise, you’re essentially shooting in the dark if you choose to write content without first conducting proper keyword research.
2. Site Audit
The core of SEMrush’s search engine optimization tools is the Site Audit. What used to be a painful and manual process is now an automated SEO health check.
Site Audit is a comprehensive technical audit that generates the following five categories of SEO reports.
- Site Performance
- Internal Linking
- International SEO
Depending on the severity, results are categorized as either an error, warning, or notice. The site audit checks everything from internal and external links to HTML tags and meta descriptions.
Probably, the best part is that you can run a site audit whenever you want in addition to scheduling it to automatically run daily or weekly.
3. Site Performance
Another big aspect of SEO is site speed. As you know, Google prefers fast websites, especially on mobile. Even more, “53% of mobile site visits were abandoned if a page took longer than 3 seconds to load” according to Google.
53% of mobile site visits were abandoned if a page took longer than 3 seconds to load.
A great tool to monitor and fix site speed issues is SEMrush’s Site Performance dashboard. While Site Performance is technically part of the Site Audit report, it’s worth mentioning separately here because of its importance.
With a Site Performance score, you get valuable insight into how fast your pages are loading. Additionally, the report gives you a list of actionable performance issues related to uncompressed resources and other inefficiencies that can be fixed.
4. SEO Content Template
A powerful SEO technique is to study the top ten search results for a particular keyword that you want to target. Doesn’t it make perfect sense to understand your competition, even before writing your first word?
While this is a highly effective SEO technique, it’s actually a very time consuming effort.
That’s where the SEO Content Template comes into the picture. By entering your target keyword (or keywords), SEMrush will analyze the top ten search results on Google. Based on this information, you get recommendations on how to craft your content in a way that is able to contend with your competition.
Recommendations include semantically related keywords, average readability scores, and recommended text length based on the top ten search results. This information is extremely valuable in order for Google to even consider your content worthy enough to appear on the first page of search results.
5. SEO Writing Assistant
The SEO Writing Assistant by SEMrush brings some of the most important aspects of search engine optimization right into WordPress as a plugin. Not on WordPress? Don’t worry, the SEO Writing Assistant is also available as a Google Docs Add-On.
Think of the SEO Writing Assistant as a virtual SEO helper that gives you real-time feedback on the quality of your content as you write it. This way, you can easily optimize your content for your target keywords.
But the SEO Writing Assistant goes beyond keyword recommendations. In fact, the writing assistant gives you an overall score based on your content’s readability, SEO, tone of voice, and originality.
- Readability: Considers word count, title issues, hard to read sentences, and long paragraphs amongst other factors.
- SEO: Ensures the proper use of your target keyword and recommends semantically related keywords with warning about keyword stuffing.
- Tone of Voice: On a scale from very casual to very formal, your content is given a score based on rhythm, the word order, and pace.
- Originality: Checks the originality of your content to avoid plagiarism.
By following these recommendations, you can craft the perfect piece of content that’s optimized for search engines without even leaving your browser tab.
6. On Page SEO Checker
Since Google pushes changes to its search algorithm multiple times per day, it’s nearly impossible to ensure your website follows the ever-changing best practices. While most of these algorithm changes aren’t huge, it’s probably best to rely on experts like SEMrush to automatically monitor your website’s compliance.
In addition to analyzing Google ranking factors, the On Page SEO Checker also gives you actionable recommendations categorized into the following ideas:
- Strategy Ideas: Prioritized recommendations on which keywords to target
- Backlinks Ideas: Suggestions on potential website backlink opportunities
- Technical SEO Ideas: SEO improvement suggestions directly from the Site Audit
- User Experience Ideas: Insights based on Google Analytics data such as bounce rate and time on page
- SERP Feature Ideas: Suggestions on how to score a featured snippet on Google
- Semantic Ideas: Related keywords based on your competition’s content
- Content Ideas: SEO suggestions based on your top 10-ranking rivals’ data
By acting upon the ideas from the On Page SEO Checker tool, SEMrush is confident that you’ll see an increase in your organic traffic.
7. Backlink Analytics
A major ranking factor in organic search results is the number and quality of backlinks to your website.
What is a backlink? A backlink is simply a link from another website back to your website. Google’s simplified theory is that the more websites that link to your site, the more reputable your site is. But in reality it’s more complicated than this.
Not all backlinks are created equal. Some backlinks are spammy while others are legit. SEMrush is able to assess the quality of backlinks and give each website a domain authority score. With this information, you can easily discover and/or pursue obtaining high quality backlinks to your site.
The best part of all is that SEMrush’s Backlink Analytics can be run on any domain which is invaluable when looking to obtain backlinks for your website.
8. Backlink Audit
Part of SEMrush’s project dashboard is the Backlink Audit tool. By monitoring and examining the quality of backlinks pointing to your website, the Backlink Audit tool provides you with actionable insights into websites linking to you.
Based on certain factors, backlinks are categorized into one of three categories: non-toxic, potentially toxic, or toxic.
A toxic or potentially toxic backlink probably from a spammy website does not reflect well on your website’s domain authority. While Google does a pretty good job at recognizing you’re not at fault here, it’s a good idea to occasionally remove your site’s association to these toxic sites. This becomes an extremely easy task with the disavow feature that’s built right into the backlink audit dashboard.
9. Position Tracking
It’s always good practice to keep an eye on where your pages rank on Google for your target keywords. With the Position Tracking tool that’s part of SEMrush’s project dashboard, you don’t have to lift a finger to do so. Daily statistics detailing which pages are ranking and the corresponding ranking position are automatically generated for you.
With this wealth of information, you can easily track how your pages are ranking on Google over time. In addition, you get extra metadata such as estimated monthly traffic volume for a particular keyword.
Because SEMrush realizes it’s important for website owners to track how their website ranks on Google, they’ve developed a position tracking app. The app, which is available for Android and iOS, allows you to monitor your daily rankings fluctuations from your cell phone.
10. SEO Dashboard
Finally, with all this helpful SEO data, it’s valuable to have it all in one place. That’s where the SEMrush SEO Dashboard reigns supreme. You’ll find an overview of pretty much every SEMrush feature mentioned in this blog post on the SEO Dashboard. Everything from your Site Audit health score to backlinks and On Page SEO recommendations.
The SEO Dashboard is a great way to monitor most aspects of your SEO efforts in one place. Even more, the dashboard is customizable. Each overview box is drag and droppable, so you can customize the dashboard to your liking.
While the dashboard won’t replace your search engine optimization, it will provide you with a quick overview of your website’s health and performance.
If you’re a prospective SEMrush customer, I want to offer you a free 2 week trial. This no obligations trial will give you full access to all the SEMrush SEO tools mentioned above and so many more.
If you have any questions about SEMrush, let me know in the comments below. As someone who is familiar with and loves this product, I’m more than happy to help you out.