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5 Nifty SEO Insight Tricks Using SEMrush

Sam Hurley
5 Nifty SEO Insight Tricks Using SEMrush

If you’re lucky enough to be involved in the world of search engine optimization, you will no doubt have a plethora of tools readily equipped in your digital arsenal; tools which you simply cannot live without (if you want to retain your job).

There is heaps of information out there, tons of data and masses of analytics to decipher. If you don’t take action on this ‘big’ data (sorry, clichéd term) then you will be missing out on a chunky piece of the measurement pie. And boy it’s tasty.

Anyway, swiftly concluding the intro babble…

Today, ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the SEMrush dashboard (along with some super simple yet effective techniques for better reporting).

Trick #1: Clean Out Your Keywords for Accurate Reporting

One of the key features of SEMrush is the keyword visibility graph (Tools > Position Tracking > Visibility). Providing a top-level indication of overall keyword performance spanning your whole data set, you could say it’s pretty handy.

SEMrush Dashboard

Now, the visibility percentage is calculated by total number of keywords and their individual ranking within the top 100 positions.

This means if you’re tracking irrelevant terms or those which aren’t conducive to your current SEO campaigns, your visibility percentage will indicate a very low number. Bad for your in-house reporting. Bad for your clients’ perception if you’re an agency.

My advice is to conduct extensive head term and long tail research, plug as many as possible into SEMrush for the first month, then clear out your dash following this period. You will soon see which keywords are both opportunistic and realistic. Terms can always be added later on for specific campaigns.

Trick #2: Say NO to ‘Not Provided’ Keyword Data

Okay, it’s obvious we’ll never get keywords back in Google Analytics (article explaining possible reconsideration of ‘Not Provided’ keywords, dating back to March 2014!) but SEMrush does give us an inkling into the most likely searches which resulted in website visits to pages of interest.

SEMrush Dashboard

Under (Organic Research > Pages) you are able to view each of your pages in priority order. They are default sorted by total traffic, highest first. The ‘Traffic’ column displays the percentage of traffic which individual pages contribute, followed by the column ‘Keywords.’

If you click a result under this column, you will be greeted with all the potential terms which are likely to have directed the organic traffic.

This is extremely powerful! Who said keyword data was dead?

Use the data to mine further long-tail keywords to target and track. Click the ‘Export’ button to transfer all this exciting stuff into an Excel document where you can filter and sort to your heart’s content.

SEMrush Dashboard

Trick #3: Compare Your Competitors' Organic Stance

It always pays to be aware of your market, your position within and why you are in that position. This is true online and off.

The Competitors section (Organic Research > Competitors) displays a visual representation of your website’s organic positioning in relative comparison to competitor sites.

Immediately, it becomes clear who is dominating and similarly, losing the battle.

SEMrush Dashboard

You will have the ability to investigate all your competitors’ keywords under ‘SE Keywords,’ unveiling a wealth of opportunity for your own campaigns.

Again, export all the data to facilitate comprehensive Excel analysis.

Delve further into the individual data by selecting a colored circle in the chart. (Each circle represents a competitor.)

Trick #4: Use PPC Data to Build your Content Strategy

There have been many debates about SEO vs PPC – why not leverage both strategies and amalgamate them?

Your competition are paying for ads right now. The ads which are showing are most likely the result of multiple split tests and optimization.

This is an ideal opportunity to take your competitor’s experimentation and use it for your own content strategy – at no expense!

A quick way of viewing a specific competitor’s ads is to navigate to (Advertising Research > Ads copies) in the SEMrush dashboard.

SEMrush Dashboard

From this you will be able to get a grasp of the titles and descriptions which are doing a great job of attracting attention, without wasting loads of time searching in Google. (Businesses lose enough time as it is.)

Use the information to craft topics and titles for your organically purposed content! (Also great for content marketing ideas.)

Trick #5: Take Heed of the Winners and Losers Report

If you are completely stuck for ideas and wonder how you can improve your SEO methodologies, the Winners & Losers report is the place for you (Ranks > Winners & Losers).

This is a generic breakdown of the top websites appearing in Google for both organic and paid positions.

SEMrush Dashboard

How is this helpful to you?

Firstly, within this report may lie a brand which is similar to your own. This makes mimicking their strategy a viable concept.

Secondly, if nothing in this report is relevant to your business, you can still analyze the top dogs to see what they are doing right.

Finally, what are the losers doing wrong? Dig further into these domains to discover tactics to steer clear of. Recent drops in ‘SE Traffic’ may correlate with recent Google updates, making this a goldmine for your own prevention of traffic loss and equally, your creation of an opportunity analysis.

Use the sorting options to sift through the data and export for comprehensive Excel crunching!

What are your favorite insight tools on SEMrush? I’d love to hear them!

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Sam is Head of Search at Midas Media. Aside from Digital Marketing, he loves a good late-night horror movie. Catch him on Twitter @Sam___Hurley.
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Eric Van Buskirk
Fantastic, Sam! The first two tips are super useful, and the new "pages" report has far more value than people realize. I'll be doing a webinar that talks some about that w/ SEMrush. Your #1, also awesome! There are a bizzilion ways to customize position tracking for super customized, insightful results.
Sam Hurley
Eric Van Buskirk
Thanks for your reply Eric, glad you enjoyed the piece :)

Indeed, the 'Pages' report is so powerful, it deserves a whole dedicated article!

On your point about position tracking - I find the tagging function of great use (saves messing about with Excel pivot tables).

I'll look forward to your webinar, do let me know when it's due!

Speak soon,

Eric Van Buskirk
Sam Hurley
Hey Sam, Hope you can attend the webinar. It's on Sept 22nd. Here's the link:
Sam Hurley
Eric Van Buskirk
Thanks Eric, I'll put it in my calendar!
Sam Hurley
Eric Van Buskirk
Eric! I missed the webinar :( But I'm going to watch the replay! Looking forward to it :)

Keep in touch,


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