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3 SEMrush Alternatives with Intelligent Keyword Research

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Built for the new age digital marketing, SEMRush is one of the latest yet quite a mature product aiming to provide some of the most accurate and useful marketing metrics. Since businesses around the world are going through a complete digital transformation, it is, in fact, one of the most crucial aspects to take the right decision on the digital front.

Keeping the objective mentioned above in mind, SEMRush is a product built to cater to the new age, a digital marketer who needs fast-track processes for better and more accurate results. SEMRush is a brilliantly developed platform that possesses a highly competitive stack of features.  Right from tracking keywords for your SEO to keyword and PPC analytics, everything about digital marketing is taken care of.

For a marketer, blogger or even a business owner who’s starting out new, it is extremely important to get your digital presence bang on, right in the beginning itself.  At a turning point such as this, it is a wise decision to get an SEO tool implemented for your business, to atleast get the right traffic as well as in real numbers onto your website. Google keyword planner has been popular for a long time but with time the SEO needs are constantly changing so advanced tools are needed.

SEMRush ( read this SEMrush review ) is a search engine optimisation tool, that is no longer limited to managing just your SEO and Keyword ranking, but also takes care of a range of other aspects of your digital business. Let’s take a look at some of the features, that make SEMRush a totally kickass product to have integrated into your business.

What Makes SEMRush a Smart Choice?

1. Competition Monitoring

By just filling in your domain name, you can take a quick look at the overall performance of your competition’s web presence, covering aspects such as the keywords they use, the ranking of those keywords, as well as the value of each of them. Further, you can also view your competition’s landing pages, built for each of these keywords giving you insights into their web texts for better content and search engine optimization on your website.

Through the reports churned out within this feature, you can quickly point out the areas where your competition may be excelling and the gaps that you may have to fill in. By pointing our details as minute as these, competition mapping and acing your keyword strategy on SEMRush becomes a fun activity which directly benefits your business immensely.

SEMrush Alternative - SEMRUSH competition monitoring

2. Enhanced Display Advertising

Display ads are an integral part of a successful digital strategy that most companies seem to fail at implementing. However, with this particular feature on SEMRush, you can quickly take a look at your competition’s display advertising performance as well as understand their strategy to come up with a better plan for your own business.  The tool helps you create an enhanced plan for display advertising by letting you know where all you should be placing your ads, as well as where you should be targeting them.

Going one step ahead with the analytics, SEMRush would also enable you to view changes in traffic basis the device used to view your ad. A feature such as this gives digital marketers an edge over the others by letting them customize their display ads to a micro level. And all of this, of course, for improved results and increased business.

SEMrush Alternatives - SEMRush Display Ads

3. Backlinking Analysis

Backlinks again being a primarily important part of your web presence strategy, had to be incorporated in this SEO tool. The backlink checker in SEMRush gives you an in-depth analysis of all the links around the internet that may be pointing or directing the traffic on to your website. Since backlinks are a credibility indicator, it is crucial to have enough number of these links to be spread out around the web.

The tool further enables you, with its analytics, to distinguish between worthy and spam backlinks that might be pulling down the credibility value of your website.  As the next step, you can check the same factors for your competition too and see how you can improve or maybe get inspired by their strategy and implement it better with the help of this all-round platform.

To make things more interesting, you can also check which types of backlinks are drawing more traffic for you, versus, the kind of backlinks your competition is benefiting from. The strategy is all about playing it right against your competition, and this is what SEMrush as a tool has been built to do for you.

SEMrush Alternative - SEMRUSH backlinks

Pricing: The basic plan starts at about $100 per month and goes up to $400 a month, with increased features as you go up the price ladder.

GDPR and CCPA update:  Semrush is GDPR and CCPA compliant and has updated its privacy agreements and DPA to assure that none of the data protection laws gets violated. You can read the details about how to manage your data subjects, the obligation of the data processors and other related queries on their website.

SemRush is a great tool but the pricing is a major drawback for some businesses so checking out some other alternatives never hurts.

1st SEMrush Alternative: SpyFu

Going by the name, you can simply understand the product as a spy to keep a watch on your competitor. But, let’s get serious and understand what SpyFu does for your business and whether it meets your expectations of an efficient SEM tool.

While creating SEO strategies or Adwords campaigns, you’d have probably felt the need to take a quick look at your competition’s strategy maybe- just to see what they’re up to and what could you do differently to be better strategized than them.

If you’re this person, you need to put Spyfu – SEMrush alternative to work for some actionable insights that could turn around your online promotions approach almost entirely.

1. Gauge your competition

Before entering any market, assessing your competition would be one of the smartest and beneficial things that you could do for the success of your business. And amongst the competition, even better would be to know who all are topping the charts and by what margin.
Guess what? You can get your hands on all of these details on the interactive dashboard of your SpyFu account!

SEMrush Alternatives - competition monitoring in spyfu

2. Create your Content Marketing Campaign

The analytics on the tool will help you zero down on the top keywords that would work best to the benefit of your business. Post that, head over to creating catchy headlines that you may want to run as ad copies to attract browsers online. The next step would be to create a landing page to invite your visitors over. You’d be paying for every visitor that comes onto this page, but hey, at least you get traffic for your content, these visitors could soon turn into your customers!

3. Enhance your Adwords Campaign

As you’d already know, Google AdWords comprises of the advertising mechanism offered by Google to businesses who want to increase their online presence. As per the mechanism, you get to bid for your keywords to let them display as clickable ads for on Google search results.

SEMrush Alternative - adwords campaign with spyfu

SpyFu, playing the perfect keyword research buddy that your business needs, will help you uncover keywords that you may have missed out on and would assist you in scaling up quickly. Further, it would also show you keywords of your competition in one place that is still up for sale and could land you with more business. You can also download all of your competitor’s keywords to understand their strategy better and create something of your own around it.

To make it more interesting, SpyFu also lets you take a look at and study the most successful ads and keywords. On running the Adwords Advisor report, you get insights into improvements that your competition should make in their PPC campaign, highlighting the weak keywords that could not be fetching them many positive results.

4. Budgeting Your Keywords

Sometimes it so happens that in the greed of making your ad visible on the internet, the selected keywords start flashing on unwanted websites which would add cost to your overall expense. Spyfu’s negative match advice allows you to do the keyword research and let you know the keywords that are probably not getting you many returns. As per these actionable insights you can decide to drop these keywords and make your AdWords strategy much more profitable in nature.

Before this report is rolled out Spyfu compares your keywords to the keywords across your competition all over the internet and compares the returns. If you fall somewhere down the queue, then understandably some of your keywords need to find a place outside of your campaign. This helpful feature would let you save on some crucial bucks that play a significant role for any small business or a start-up.

budgeting_spyfu - SEMrush Alternatives

Pricing: The basic plan is offered at $33 by Spyfu which goes up to $300 per month!

2nd SEMrush Alternative: Serpstat

Another interesting SEMrush alternative, they position themselves as the growth hacking tool every business needs to scale themselves up real quick. As a platform, Serpstat is like SemRush in terms of the features it offers.

However, it does stand out as the best SemRush alternative when you come down to comparing the UX of the product. The user interface is not like Semrush; instead, it is more interactive and colourful, wanting you to spend more time using the product.

Another USP would be the single view dashboard that contains nearly every bit of information that you may require to see at one point. Makes reviewing your progress much easier, at the same time giving you enough space in your mind to rework ideas and think of new stuff to implement for improvements!

Let’s take a look at the features a bit in-depth to understand how exactly Serpstat can help your business improve.

1. Expand Your Keyword Variations

When you do the keyword research with this tool, you will be able to build a high-quality keyword repository, and it will also suggest changes that you may add to your list. If you use the right words, combined with relevant content, your portal will jump up the popularity charts in almost no time.

Many times, it so happens that we tend to stick to the traditional list of Keywords generated by the SEO tool we use, however, by skipping relevant variations and search volume, you would be missing out on a good number of website visitors!

Also, if you plan to take your business to an international level, it would be a good idea to adopt a few international keywords into your seo strategy. Even better would be to integrate foreign languages into the plan. Now, to follow this approach, it is imperative that you have access to relevant data which Spyfu promises to offer at no additional cost! This is almost like a bonus feature that could help you scale up real quick!

SEMrush Alternative serpstat - keyword variation serpstat

2. Measure Keyword Trends

Running ads for your business again majorly depends on the keywords that you have included in your SEO strategy. In such a scenario, it is crucial to ensure that your keyword research is on point and the viewer is interested in the keywords that you flash at him.

By using this feature on Serpstat, you will get to know the variation in the interest level of a viewer, for every ad that you may be displaying for him. It is a well-known fact that the interest level in a product varies depending on various factors which are why the fluctuations and search volume become even more important to be studied thoroughly. This is where Serpstat’s interactive graphs come into the picture, solving the problem backed with analytics.

Going one step ahead, Serpstat can list down the search results that show up once you key in a word. Such insights are important to be reviewed for you to develop a wholesome content strategy. These insights are combined with certain data points regarding the number of shares on social media, possible traffic score on the pages and so on.

3. Advertising Analytics

One of the most valuable metrics to measure the success of your business is the ROI you receive on advertising your product.  By using this feature offered by Serpstat, you can quickly go through the advertising strategy of your competition, and access to insights into their keywords strategy. You can further study their budgets, the budget allocation by going through ad positions, and even know the cost per click for the ads they are displaying.

Since advertising is an important part of an all-round online marketing strategy, using the analytics to improve upon it can be a great step for your business. Knowing that your ads must always be targeted right for the right audience, localizing your ad strategy can help you fetch the desired results.

If your target market lies in the local area, half your worries are taken care of. But in most cases, for businesses that are looking to scale up, their target usually becomes international countries. While catering to international searchers, it is important that you pay attention to the international keywords too. The international keyword data that this SEMrush alternative, Serpstat offers can really help you strategize your search engine marketing approach much better.

4. Ranking Analytics

The entire agenda of putting in so much effort into online marketing revolves around increasing web traffic and getting business online. However, one of the major influencers driving this objective would be your website ranking.

SEMrush Alternative serpstat - ranking analytics

In the business of online marketing and expanding digital presence, it is advisable to regularly monitor your website’s online ranking. While you can easily get these insights on Serpstat, you may go one step ahead and check out the same for your competition too. If they lie somewhere ahead of you, you can quickly see their paid advertising plans and other actions too.

Interestingly enough, the feature also lets you check out your ranking performance on Google as well as Yandex, across different countries and cities or basis any specified language that you prefer. This feature would also be extended to Yahoo and Bing, soon.

Also, you can do the rank tracking of your keywords in combinations of phrases as well, making the analytics much more robust and efficient in nature. Further, you can specify a niche or industry or a category of products that you may want to delve into, giving you the freedom to go as deep as you want regarding fetching results.

While researching for my article I came across the below Reddit discussion thread that talks about SerpStat as well as other similar tools. You can check out the complete discussion by clicking the link in the image.

5. On page Audits and Reports

The on-page audit functionality offered by SEMrush alternative, Serpstat lets you run a quick, yet in-depth analysis of the performance of your website, vis-a-vis your competition. This gives you an edge over the others as you get insights into improvement areas and the right direction for enhancement opportunities. Again, over here, the ranking is taken into consideration, optimization errors are identified post which the concerned elements can be easily worked upon.

All of these insights are delivered through some interactive and colorful charts and graphs. These have been designed for quick understanding to encourage informed decision making for the business. Crucial data points are reflected in one place on the interactive dashboard, and the same area also shared as alerts over email. The data points may be segregated basis different campaigns so that you would know the performance situation for each of them in a single glance.

SEMrush Alternative serpstat - on page audit report

Complex numbers and analysis of the same are depicted through simple charts and graphs for easy grasp. It has been ensured that even professionals who do not possess any knowledge in the domain of digital marketing, SEO and analytics would also be able to understand these reports in one simple look.

Pricing: You may start using Serpstat on the basic plan priced at $69 a month, which goes up to $499 a month. 

SerpStat update: Since the GDPR and CCPA law has become effective SerpStat has invested a fair amount of efforts to make their system GDPR and CCPA ready. They have revised their privacy policies, audited their data processing techniques and made considerable changes to help their customers abide by the new data protection laws.

3rd SEMrush Alternative : KeywordSpy

Of all the tools mentioned here, Keywordspy has probably been around for the longest time. This tool has often been described as ‘powerful’ and ‘versatile’ as it offers segmented features that can be adopted in your SEO strategy as required. You can use the tool and its various feature to increase our web visibility.

The tool promises to offer tons of data with its analytics for you to optimally improve your digital presence and help you with your search engine marketing and optimisation. However, not all of it would be available for free. But, it is safe to say that the open data offered is also competitive enough for you to strategize well.

The combination of features available has been designed to enhance digital strategies, by successfully monitoring and combating competition at almost every level. One of the major aspects that stands out here on this tool is the affiliate intelligence- a feature that has got the keyword research game going strong for this player.

The array of features available in KeywordSpy are kind of interesting, so let’s take a look:

1. Bids and Budgets

On using this tool, you would discover this helpful feature that lets users check out all the relevant and available keywords for your business. It’ll also give you a list of keywords that your competition is bidding on, along with the going rates, delivering helpful insights for you to make your own bid. Over here, instead of analyzing every keyword from scratch, you’re already getting a ready list that you can use to your advantage.

bids and budgets of SEMrush Alternative - keywordspy

Once you’ve decided on keywords, your ad strategy will have to be put in place. Freezing upon budgets for an effective advertising strategy can again be tricky, but Keywordspy can give you a precise estimate of your expenditure, with easy to comprehend graphs. The chart seen here is only reflecting the transition, but if you go further down the page, you will also see numbers to get a better picture of the scenario.

bids and budgets of SEMrush Alternative

2. Competition Statistics

Data and numbers are a big part of creating an SEO and online visibility strategy which is why this tool emphasizes on the same completely. You can put in a search query as per the data you require. For example, on putting in a search for the domain name, the following statistics will pop up:

statistics keywordspy

But if you put in a particular keyword, you will see the following details on your screen:

stats keywordspy

These numbers will give you a good overview of your competitor keywords and their strategy with numbers that you can compete. This will help you to improve your SEO research and in tweaking your worn strategy to every detail that you may require to optimize your own.

3. List of Competitors

Most of us forget to continuously monitor all of our competitor options, often going after only the top 3. However, it will be a wise idea to do the rank tracking for at least a top 10 list of all your competition.

Fortunately for you, Keywordspy doesn’t take too long to get a comprehensive list of the competition in your domain.

list of competitors - keywordspy

Further, you can also get a list of competitor keywords they’re all bidding on. All you need to do is just fill in any of the competitor’s domain names in the search box.

4. Advertising

Spying on your competition should be not only fun but also useful. Keywordspy has kept this as a fundamental goal and offered a feature which lets you spy on your competition’s advertising strategy through and through.

After covering the keywords and their rates, you can also go through all the ads that all of your competition might be running online. By taking a look at your competition’s ads, you can maybe give birth to new and innovative, more efficient ideas or you may also simply choose to do something similar.

advertising - keyword spy

The point is that this feature does simplify a lot of things, not to mention the amount of time you save!

5. Affiliate Intelligence

Affiliate marketing is a term that came into existence when online platforms started displaying ads for other products on their website in exchange for a small amount of money. What started off as a small way of making the extra bucks has now snowballed into a huge industry like domain, which is seen across the web space.

To go deeper in detail, affiliate marketing can involve a range of activities-  you could recommend a product on your blog or a website in plain, simple text, or even place a banner ad somewhere on your portal. Each time a visitor buys the concerned product, the ad’s affiliate link enables the payment for your effort which is transferred into your bank account.

Although advertisers oversee this method of online marketing, it does prove to be pretty fruitful when done right. Most advertisers steer clear of it for fear of losing their brand identity or targeting the wrong set of people, but hey, this is where your strategy comes into play.

KeywordSpy’s affiliate campaign intelligence gives you all the insights you need for an efficient round of results. The idea is to increase the profit margins without wasting time researching on strategy turn points.

affiliate intelligence - keywordspy

The tool’s heavy emphasis on affiliate intelligence is what makes it stand out amongst its competition. It is true that their UI is not the best and can sometimes test your patience levels, but then the results delivered under this particular feature will blow your mind. On this platform, you can easily search for each and every affiliate ad program running across the internet. On identifying the ones following a desirable strategy, you can easily replicate them on to your program.

To able to see what ads your competition is running along with the kind of people being targeted, almost all your worries are taken care of. Not just this, affiliate networks supported include some of the leading ones, such as Clickbank, Commission Junction, LinkShare, ClixGalore, PayDotCom, ShareASale, MaxBounty and over 300 more in the market.

To have all round affiliate insights, you need to have a few areas covered which involve the following:

  • Affiliate Network Support
  • Daily updates
  • Affiliate Data
  • Top Products in your domain
  • Advance charts
  • Unlimited exporting
  • Anti-cloaking technology
  • Advanced wildcard searches
  • Over 127,000,000+ keywords

Pricing: The basic package which holds a specific number of features is offered at a price of 89$. The set of features increases as you go higher up on the rating scale, the highest one being $140 per month.

Which Product Should You Go For?

Choosing the right product for your business completely depends on the results that you’re looking to derive out of it. The budgets also play an important role in deciding on a product.

But if you talk about the overall efficacy, SpyFu and Keywordspy are the long-term players in the market and two of the best SemRush alternatives. However, Serpstat seems to be the most beneficial in the breed.

Questions asked for SEMrush alternatives:
What does SEMrush do?

SEMrush is a tool that helps businesses to improve their SEO and help them with their Google rankings. It has features like  site audit, competitor analysis, domain comparisons, keyword research tools and many more for creating good SEO strategies.

How accurate is SEMrush and its keyword research tool?

SEMrush is a great tool and delivers closest to accurate results. You will have to put in extra efforts to leverage the full benefits of this tool. It gives a lot more data for both SEO and PPC as compared to its competitors.  To be honest, none of the SEO tools are 100% accurate.

What are some good alternatives to SEMrush?

Some good alternatives to SEMrush are Ahrefs, SpyFu and SerpStat. 

SpyFu: A great tool if you want to focus on a narrow niche. 
Ahrefs: No excel needed to manage your keywords that saves a lot of time.
SerpStat: If you want to include an international audience then this tool offers a repository of keywords for different countries.

Is SEMrush reliable in terms of Traffic and ads?

Yes, SEMrush is a pretty good indicator of traffic and ads.It breakdown data in segments like device data, geographic location, medium of website users and other search campaigns.

How much does SEMrush cost and does it have any free plans?

SEMrush comes in 4 plans and each one offers a free trial:
Pro: $99
Enterprise: Contact the team

Which is better, SEMrush or Ahrefs?

SEMrush or Ahrefs both have their own capabilities. SEMrush  gives you an overview of site audit reports, traffic reports, content creation ideas among many. Ahrefs on the other hand gives you insight with backlink reports. So, if you are concerned with backlinks then Ahrefs works well.

Is SEMrush a good tool for beginners?

SEMrush is feature heavy and has a lot to offer that may look a bit overwhelming but at the end it offers everything that you may need for your SEO.

References   [ + ]

Ankit is a technology entrepreneur. Founder of Aritic. Ankit loves to analyse and write in-depth software, application reviews in his free time since 2009.

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