Semrush Getting Started Guide

Xenia Volynchuk

Oct 12, 201812 min read
Semrush Getting Started Guide

SEMrush has worked hard for a very long time to try and provide everything marketers, our community, our customers and our fans could need. We take in feedback and create what we are asked for, and we are constantly updating our tools and resources.

We've realized that for those who are new to our website and tools, there is a lot to take in and discover. With this in mind we decided to list everything you need to know to get started with SEMrush and learn at your own pace. 

SEMrush is much more than a sophisticated toolkit. We offer different formats to help you grasp the wonderful diversity of our features and tools and give you access to a vibrant community of digital marketers to network with.

So, where should you begin?

Educational Resources

SEMrush Academy

“I enjoy spending hours flipping through complex manuals,” said no one ever. That is why we created the  SEMrush Academy. Think of it like Hogwarts, only you don’t need to be that special to get in. All you need to do is soak in the knowledge from our videos, occasionally take courses, and every once in a while challenge yourself with tests.

Just like the best things in life, our courses, along with many  marketing classes online, are free and will help you and your team make great things happen using SEMrush’s toolkits and reports. Our courses are taught by field experts who love what they do, so things never get boring. After each test you take, you will receive a SEMrush certificate that you can brag about to your colleagues, friends, and acquaintances, along with the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have what it takes to be a SEMrush rock star!

‘Discover SEMrush’ Blog Series

Not ready to join the Academy? Check out our blog, where you can find easy step-by-step guides for using many of our tools and reports. You can learn new tips and tricks, or get a whole new perspective on a tool you are already familiar with. While most of the posts on our blog will focus on digital marketing from a broad perspective, the ‘ Discover SEMrush’ series is specifically designed to help you with your endeavors using SEMrush products. These articles offer a blueprint on how to complete your marketing workflows with the help of multiple SEMrush tools.


Are you more into traditional formats and ways of gaining knowledge? Check out our ebook library, where you can learn about a myriad of insightful findings from SEMrush studies, practical tips for various marketing specialties, and gain more guidance on navigating the SEMrush toolkit as a whole. If you work with clients and need more resources to educate them on the ins-and-outs of SEO or digital marketing, our ebooks are at your disposal.

Knowledge Base

If you are ever feeling lost or unsure which page to go to for answers, the Knowledge Base will help you explore a plethora of topics. It is a database of articles that contains user manuals, FAQs, definitions and workflows. Just type in your question into a search bar to look for an answer in the Knowledge Base.


Not everyone likes surprises. To make sure you don’t wake up to any unexpected changes, we add notes to the interface to keep you posted. As you view certain graphs in SEMrush, you will see notes on the axis indicated by red diamonds or the “G” Google logos. We add them to your charts on days when we have updated our database, updated a specific tool, or spotted any significant changes to Google’s algorithm. You can even add your own annotations to keep track of your work.

SEMrush Notes


Never miss a beat with the SEMrush News section. Every time we make a significant change to our toolkit, we will release an article. In these articles, you can revisit the documented history of how our toolkit has evolved, and use SEMrush to its fullest potential.

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What’s Inside the SEMrush Toolkit

Since 2008 we’ve witnessed a lot of changes in the digital marketing industry. Changing our product accordingly helped us evolve into the award-winning company we are today.

SEMrush in numbers

We believe that improvement is a continuous process. That is why we have our developers working hard to make our tools fit the ever-changing needs of the industry, and draw inspiration from our users. This approach has only one flaw — it becomes challenging to remember all the tools available within SEMrush. To keep your anxiety level at bay, we have grouped all of our tools into five major toolkits:

The cool thing about SEMrush is that you can customize your menu based on what tools you use the most (see below).

SEMrush - 5 toolkits

Keep reading to understand SEMrush’s architecture and key sections.

Analytics vs. Projects

In general, the structure of our software offers you two ways of gathering data.

1. Analytics reports (found under “Domain Analytics and “Keyword Analytics”) for pulling research from our database of domains and keywords.

2. Project tools (such as Site Audit, Position Tracking, etc.) for gathering research data from across the Internet by setting up various tracking and auditing tools.

Analytics Reports

For a lot of digital marketers, the word “analytics” sends shivers down their spine. Our goal is to make your life easier and nightmare-free. SEMrush Analytics reports are easy to generate — just find the report you want to pull from the menu on the left (or the label next to the search bar), enter the domain or keyword you want to analyze in the SEMrush search bar, and hit search.

[Some of the best analytics tools to start with are the Competitors report to identify your domain’s top competition so you can increase your search traffic and the Keyword Magic Tool to bolster your keyword research efforts.]

SEMrush Projects

Become your own project manager and enjoy tracking the progress of your work! To create a Project, enter a domain to focus the tools around and think of a name for your project. 

SEMrush - Set up a project

Inspired by the poetic symbolism of 12 full lunations in a solar year (haha, no), we added 12 tools for you to set up when you create a Project in SEMrush. These tools will let you manage all of the necessary SEO, PPC, Content Marketing and Social Media activities related to a domain. Here is another reason to love Projects; they provide smart recommendations on what should be improved and why. Prioritizing tasks and/or filling up your to-do list has never been easier.

Manually merging data across different tools? Nobody has got time for that! So sit back, relax, and enjoy the added integrations with Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Gmail, available in many tools to sync your internal data with SEMrush’s analysis.

For a full list of Project tools and their features, navigate to the Projects page in the Knowledge Base.

Gap Analysis Tools

Another mighty part of SEMrush is Gap Analysis. Tools within this section save you precious time and effort by highlighting the opportunities that are most likely to work out.

We offer two solutions: Keyword Gap and Backlink Gap. Keyword Gap will show you the keywords in your niche that you are missing out on, and Backlink Gap will show you the domains that currently link to your competitors but not you. There are so many helpful options to choose from. Both tools allow you to compare up to 5 competitors and use their achievements as shortcuts to success.

Integrating with Google’s Services

To improve your options with SEMrush, we made it possible to integrate Google Analytics, Search Console, and Gmail with our tools. There are tons of connection points to enhance your data and get more out of our toolkit. For the nitty-gritty readers, we made a list of tools that can integrate Google Analytics and Search Console here.

Our Link Building Tool connects to Gmail so you can run an outreach campaign and manage responses over email without leaving the comfort of SEMrush.

Also, the SEO Writing Assistant connects to Google Docs so you can gauge how well your new content will perform as you write it.

Collaboration and Reporting

A huge part of marketing is being able to communicate and present the results of your work. Luckily, we have a few ways you can impress your boss, your business partners, or your clients. 

A PDF report builder called My Reports allows you to mix and match SEMrush data widgets with your own images and text, as well as Google Analytics and Search Console data. But that is not all. You can schedule these reports to be automatically sent to anyone via email. You can also customize your own reports and templates, or work from one of our many preset templates if your schedule is too intense. SEO monthly reports, competitor analyses, Site Audit overviews — we have it all.

Looking to create full transparency? We also offer the ability to share your Projects directly with other SEMrush users with read-only or editing access. As you create Projects for the websites you manage you can let other SEMrush users access the same data you see. This is a great way to communicate with clients, team members, or contractors.

Another tool that encourages productive teamwork is our  Marketing Calendar. Add campaigns, activities, and assign tasks. Attachments, task statuses, deadlines, and notifications to meet them — it is all there. Plus, your calendar can be shared with an unlimited number of SEMrush users (including those who have a free subscription). Connect your Google Analytics account, and you will be able to track the performance of your campaigns right where you manage them — no tool switching. And don’t forget to save the date to celebrate your work triumphs!


As much as we hate to admit it, your SEMrush subscription has certain limits. Let’s look at the three tiers of subscriptions to help you get the biggest bang for your buck.

Business has the highest limits and is the best bet for large agencies or enterprise businesses that deal with a large number of clients, or need to track a lot of keywords (over 1,500).

Guru is the middle option and works well for small to mid-size agencies, in-house teams, and marketers who need to track between 500-1,500 keywords.

Pro has the lowest limits and is more suitable for a small business owner, blogger, or someone with a tight budget who wants to start using SEMrush.

For a full breakdown of the limits of each tool, please read this article. As you use our reports and tools, you can keep track of your real-time limits usage throughout the month from your Subscription Info page.

SEMrush — where to find your subscription info


We know that the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg is among us. To support the brightest minds, we offer data that is great for researchers, custom tools, dashboards, and all the creative thinkers who want to take SEMrush data to the next level!

The SEMrush API (Application Programming Interface) lets you skip the interface and extract raw data from our tools and reports and integrate it into your own scripts and programs to fit any custom need.

This feature is available as an add-on for Business subscriptions only. Find the details and instructions in our API Documentation.


We are really proud of the community we have built over the years, and we definitely wouldn’t be where we are today without all the wonderful people supporting us. We feel the power of that support every day and it drives us to do more. We are happy to offer multiple opportunities for you to connect with like-minded people, seek and receive support, share knowledge, and simply have fun.


Wherever you are — on a bus, at your desk, or in a hot tub — our webinars will help you spend your time usefully. From local SEO to behavioral marketing to the most common social media bloopers, we host webinars to keep the knowledge continuously flowing. Go to our Webinars page to see upcoming events and sign up for any that strike your fancy. We cater to everyone’s needs. Simply look for the tags that match your level of expertise best — basic, intermediate, or advanced. Have any interesting insights to share with the community? Then reach out to us at


We like to see new submission requests from writers in our community. If the writer inside you has awoken and you wish to contribute to our blog, contact us at Our team of diligent blog editors will review your post and, if your post meets SEMrush standards, will schedule it in our queue. Don’t be shy about leaving comments and starting a discussion in the comments thread of an article you have enjoyed — we welcome every opinion and encourage constructive criticism!


Sometimes hyper-concentration may backfire; your performance and energy levels decrease, and new ideas don’t pop in your head as often as before. We believe (and the science guys support us here) that getting distracted actually helps you overcome a mental block. Play one of our Games the next time you feel stuck — and welcome your attention back!

SEMrush All-Stars

SEMrush All-Stars is a Facebook group for our clients. Members of this honor society receive early access to new features, get to beta test new tools prior to their release date, and can share their tool wishes directly with our developers. It’s also a place to ask for tips and hacks from more experienced community members, and a safe place for controversial discussions. And there are even more perks!


Let’s face it — staring at laptop and smartphone screens too long can make you feel exhausted, and it has nothing to do with the quality of the content you are reading. Sometimes you just need to give your brain a break. That is why we launched Marketing Scoop, our very own podcast. A duo of brilliant hosts Judith Lewis and David Bain cherry-pick the latest digital marketing headlines and talk you through the trending strategies. They also welcome guests from local and global brands to discuss their success stories.

Marketing Scoop goes live every Wednesday, and all episodes are available for download at iTunes and Google Play.


We host one of the oldest recurring chats on Twitter, launched in 2014 and still going strong each week. SEMrushchat takes place on Twitter Wednesdays at 11:00 AM EST and usually features a special guest. The format is a Q&A, which gives us the chance to hear about your professional experience, ups and downs, and hacks. The best part is, we get to spread your wisdom by retweeting the top tips. It is your time to shine bright! To see some of our past chats, just search for #semrushchat on Twitter.


We realize that this is the beginning of a long-lasting relationship. That is why we want to make a good impression and offer you the support you deserve. Our global customer help team is always ready to assist with any roadblocks you have while using SEMrush. We are trained software experts and speak English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, French, Chinese, Portuguese. Team members are available to respond during office hours listed at the footer of our website Monday through Friday.

We are here to help if you need us. There are four ways to get a hold of someone on our team:

  • Phone: Call us at the number in the footer of our website to talk to one of our team members.

  • Live chat: Go to the Knowledge Base and find the chat box at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen to ask quick questions and get instant answers from our team.

  • Email: Send us all of your questions, concerns, feedback, or favorite YouTube videos at

  • Twitter: Hit us up on Twitter at @semrush with anything you’d like to tell us, share your ideas or feedback, or have a meaningful conversation. We love hearing from you!

Find us on social. We are pretty much everywhere, so just log into your preferred social media platform, and let’s mingle! Here are our accounts on  TwitterFacebookRedditYouTubeInstagramLinkedIn, and  Pinterest.

What's next?

That is it. We pretty much told you everything you need to know to make SEMrush play on your team.

Like we said before, improvement is a never-ending process. If there is ever a way that you see our software could work better or if there is an important feature that you desperately need — don’t be silent, talk to us! Your ideas are what keeps us going.

Are you still unsure of where to begin? Is something important missing from this post? Put any remaining thoughts and questions in the comments’ section, and we will connect with you.

Now it’s time for action! Let the world know about a new digital marketing superhero—you.

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Xenia VolynchukSemrush All Stars group admin and community education enthusiast. If you have questions or product feedback — fire away!
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