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How to use free features of SEMrush to your advantage

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The idea of writing this post came in mind when Mathew Woodward (World’s Top Affiliate Marketeer) asked me via blog comments (the blog post I had participated in):

How do you use free features of SEMrush to you advantage?

Mathew Asked

He is a well known personality who has been into Internet Marketing for quite a long time and established a great reputation online. He makes really good money from internet marketing just to let readers of my blog know and was wondering how do I use free features of SEMrush to my advantage.

While I was replying to this comment I thought, why not write and share detailed article on it which could help new bloggers who aren’t in a position to buy the product as yet. SEMrush is priced at $69.95/ month, $149.95/per month and $549.95/per month for maximum access just in case anyone interested in subscribing . Take a look at below image:


Subscribing this product at $69.95 monthly billing is worthy. YES IT WORTH spending this much of money. You’ll actually save money back because it takes a lot more if you ask someone to perform the analysis for you. He will charge double of it and will do the analysis only once however here, you will have access for a whole month for $69.95 . SEMrush is pretty much user friendly and one need not to have specific knowledge of subject to perform the analysis.

Key features of SEMrush

Organic Research – The first and foremost thing comes in our mind when we try to out competition our competitor in online world is the KEYWORDS. We try hard to get those keywords which competitor’s website is ranking for and generating revenue for him. Moreover before you start a niche website or want to scale up traffic on the existing website, keyword research is the first step. If keyword research goes wrong, all your efforts and money will go in vain.

SEMrush helps you find out the keywords which your competitor’s website/blog is ranking for. All you need do is to enter the website URL in SEMrush and it will analyse website for organic keywords. This analysis will help you with organic research ie. how much search engine traffic competitor’s website is receiving, what all keywords its website is ranking for, what is the monthly search count of each keyword, how competitive the keywords are, how much backlinks are pointing to the webpage ranked in search results etc.

For example, I chosen yelp.com for this demonstration. Go to SEMrush website, enter domain name and hit “Search” button. We can see yelp.com is ranking for about 18 million Organic keywords which are sending huge amount of traffic to this website.

yelp screenshot

Under “Top Organic Keywords” section, click right below button “view full report” and you will be taken to next page which lists all the keyword yelp.com is ranking for.

SEMrush search

Yelp is a pretty big website and has been around for over a decade now. It has itself become a brand and people search the website by its same, hence you can see the search terms such as “Yelp”, “yelp nyc”, “yelp chicago” however some other non-brand linked keywords sending traffic to this website are “Food near me”, “restaurants near me” etc.

The free SEMrush account allows you to view only top 10 results and in order to see all the results, one must have to subscribe for any of above plan. I again repeat, SEMrush is a pretty nice software and it worth buying it. However I’ll be teaching readers how can they use free features of SEMrush for their advantage.

Backlinks – The other important thing that streamlines our promotion strategies is competitor’s back links. Back links are the back bone when it comes to ranking of a webpage. In general Google and other major search engine rank the website having greater number of links (there are other factors too) from authority websites. This feature can help us analyse all the back links pointing to competitor’s website and we can make our own strategies to create better links to outrank the competitor.

What you need to do is to enter competitor’s website and go to “Back Links” tab from left hand side menu. It will display all the links pointing to competitor’s website. You can either reach to each of these websites and seek link back to your website as well OR you can plan all together new strategies wherein you can build links from much better websites (having good PA/DA, trust flow etc).

Competitor’s display advertising  – One of the important feature of SEMrush is analysis of competitor’s display advertising strategies. It will help you find out which ad headlines, images, call to action, landing pages, designs are performing well for the competitor. By this you can plan and save lots of your time figuring out which headline, image, design would work well for display advertising because this work has already been done by the competitor. SEMrush will help you find competitor’s best performing strategies for display advertising.

Site audit – This will automatically analyse website’s health issue as such as SEO issues, page load speed, tracking on-page SEO progress etc. It generates a report of your website based on all such parameters and suggest you critical issues to be fixed.

There are lots of other interesting features that can be helpful to make different plans and strategies to promote your website. The tool offers number of great features and its hard to list all of them. Some of the features require you to actually use the tool.

Quick list of other features:

  • Product listing ads
  • Video advertising research
  • Social media analysis
  • Keyword Search engine position tracking
  • Find low competitive keywords
  • Keyword difficulty check
  • Side-by-side domain comparison
  • Generate chart for different analysis for better understanding and much more…


Now let’s come back to the real purpose of writing this article.

How to use free features of SEMrush to your advantage

So here I’ll discuss how I use SEMrush free features to my advantage. SEMrush allows you to freely use tool without sign up but with sign up you’ll have 10 extra requests (with even sign up, you are still a free user and are given access to limited features only) to analyse competitor’s website, its keywords and other stuff I discussed above. With free account (even if you have signed up), you wouldn’t be able to use most of the features but whatever a free member is allowed to do with SEMrush, within those limits how can you make maximum use of this tool is the actual catch of this article.

Either you are trying to figure out competitor’s keywords which are ranking well and sending organic traffic to its website or interesting in keyword research to write a post around. Here in this article, I’ll be using below tools.

  1. SEMrush (free member account)
  2. Google keyword planner tool
  3. Long Tail Pro ($1 trail will do)
  4. Flippa.com
  5. Google.com

If you know your competitor, that’s great but in some of the cases, people do not know who their competitors are. My method is completely based on competitor’s website. So in case you know the competitor’s website, we’ll use it however if you have no idea about the competitor, follow below trick.

Flippa.com comes as a handy tool to find website that can we use to steal the keywords from (this is not a trick to find your competitor but since we need a website based on which we will find the keywords, this tick will help us find that website). For those who don’t have idea about Flippa, It is a world largest marketplace for buying and selling websites/apps/domains. It has grown to such level that daily more than 5000 businesses are listed for sale and about $5 million worth of businesses is sold on this website every single month. Here is what you need to do.

Go to flippa and register a free account. It doesn’t cost a dime, totally free.

Once you register an account, login to it and hit blue “website” button from the three buttons displayed at the home page.

Flippa Search1

The next step is hit “Advanced Search” link adjacent to Search bar.

Flippa Search2

Scroll down to “Traffic” section and enter 10,000 under “unique per month” search box. Leave the next box empty and hit green “Search Listing” button at the bottom. It will display all the websites having 10k or more number of unique visitors per month. Our motive here to find a websites which is in the same niche as ours and it will become basis of our keyword research. You will have plenty of websites receiving this much of traffic per month. Scroll down (and to several pages) to find website matching your website’s niche.

Flippa advance search

So by now you’ll have two or three websites on the basis of which we will do the keyword research.

From here the process is common for both, ie. either you know the competitor’s website or found a website based on above trick. I again repeat, we here need a website using which we will perform keyword research.

Its time to use SEMrus now.

Go to SEMrush and enter the website URL we had find above (or competitor’s website). Here I want to use the same screenshot I used above under Features of SEMrush section above. (sorry I’m repeating same screenshot again but it is to make readers better understand).

SEMrush search

From above screenshot, you can see the top 10 search terms which are sending maximum amount of traffic to your competitor’s website irrespective of its position in search result. If you closely look at this screenshot, the website is ranked #1 for keyword “yelp” (why it shouldn’t be?) which is sending maximum amount of traffic (2.97%). The second most prominent keyword sending traffic to yelp is “Restaurants near me” although the website is ranked #11 in search results. Boom ! we have found a keyword (or a seed keyword which we will use to find other keywords)

In order to see the entire organic search positions, one must have to subscribe to the tool. If you could subscribe to paid version, you can go much deeper in your research, Click here to see the price.

Anyways, here is the actual Catch !

Since you can’t see more than 10 results being a free member, we will use a trick to find maximum number of keywords staying within limit of being able to see only 10 results. By default the keywords are sort with “Traffic” The keyword which is sending maximum amount of traffic is placed first and then the second most prominent keywords and soon on. Note down the keywords in excel spreadsheet.

Now since we can’t see more than 10 results, to find more keywords click “Pos” column and it will sort (re-arrange) the list. Now you will have list of new keywords (some of them may be repeating). Note down the keywords (You’ll be able to see only 10 results but these 10 results will be different this time). Select non-branded keywords with volume more than 1000 at least and enter in the excel spreadsheet.

Its time to move on to other column “Volume”. Hit the Volume column and it will again re-arrange the list and come up with completely new keywords. Since you can see only 10 results, note these 10 keywords down in excel spreadsheet again (ignore those which repeat).

Repeat the procedure and click each column one by one and note down keywords each time in excel spreadsheet. By the end of this process, you will have quite a few keywords that you may plan to target.


Now here comes the use of Long Tail pro/Keyword planner tool.

Download Long Tail Pro Keyword tool and you can test the tool for just $1 for 10 days. I don’t think $1 for 10 days trial for this great tool is a bad deal however if you like this tool, you can get it at a great discounted price, Contact me for this.

The next step is to enter 10 most prominent keywords as seed keywords in Long Tail Pro out of your list that you have created above using SEMrush. I entered only one keywords and below is the result from Long Tail Pro keyword tool. As you can see from below screenshot one keyword given me 680 keywords ideas, 10 seed keywords will give much bigger list of related keywords which we can target to bring traffic to our website.

Click the calculate button to check keyword competitiveness. Any keyword having avg. keyword competitiveness below 30 is good to go with. The keywords with competitiveness below 20 are pretty good keywords and are easy to rank.

Long Tail Pro keywords

If you have decided to go for $1 trial of Long Tail Pro, you need not to use Google Keyword Planner as it fetches results directly from keyword planner tool. However, those who can’t go for $1 trial for whatsoever reason, Google keyword planner tool can do the job.

Go to Google and write “Google Keyword Planner” and you will have direct link to this amazing too. Go to the first URL and sign in to the tool using username and password. Click “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category” and enter the keyword. Hit “Get Idea” button at the bottom and you will have list of keywords which you may target.

Keyword planner


Below is the results of keyword planner tool.

Keyword planner tool

We’ve 681 keywords according to Google Keyword planner tool which we may target. However I would prefer to target only those keywords which have avg. monthly searches count over 1000 per month.

Now since we have no feature of calculating keyword competitiveness, we will check it manually.  Go to Google.com and use below query

Allintitle:”keyword phrase” – here keyword is the search term we are planning to rank our website for

For example in our case, I’ll use query- Allintitle:”restaurants near me”- in Google and analyse the website coming on the first page. We need to see if the websites on the first page are authority websites or just the garbage ones. You can do so by installing moz toolbar freely available for chrome and mozilla. Generally websites with PA and DA below 20 are easy to out rank. If you see video links, facebook pages in the search results, this is the keyword we must target !

By the end of this whole process, you’ll have 10 to 20 great keywords which you can target for your blog and that’s how you can use FREE features of SEMrush to the advantage.

Summary – This is the method you can follow to find some really great keywords however with different twists/tricks which might haven’t clicked in my mind, you can further explore this method to find good keywords with low competition. Rinse and repeat and make a list of keywords to target.

I hope you like this article. I’d appreciate if you could spare few seconds to share this article on Facebook, Twitter & Google Plus.

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