In this post, I will walk you through what you can do with the new organic research section, including specific examples of drilling into the new reporting. I think you will see why the addition of live graphs is a killer feature and will enable you to receive immediate visual feedback while analyzing sites at a much more granular basis.
Last year I had an email conversation with some folks at SEMrush. In that conversation, we discussed the possibility of having graphs and trending change based on more than just the root domain. For example, show dynamic trending for subdomains, folders, keywords, URLs, and more. After that conversation, I was ultra-excited when I heard that this was something SEMrush was planning to work on, but there was no ETA.
And then May 24, 2018, arrived and I quickly noticed a new alpha tag in my SEMrush account. It was for a new organic research section, and I immediately checked it out. I had a feeling some of the functionality we had spoken about would be part of the alpha… and I was right!
The search box where you would normally enter a domain or keyword now had a dropdown for subdomain and URL. And after entering a few subdomains and specific URLs, you could see the graphs dynamically changing. SEMrush calls this functionality “live graphs”. I was pumped up and tweeted this:
SEMrush was already amazing for drilling into root domains, seeing trending in search visibility, identifying keywords that were increasing or decreasing in rank, surfacing top landing pages, understanding which SERP features were being triggered, and more. But now you could do the same for any subdomain, directory, URL, or keyword. As I said a few days ago when this went into beta and was publicly available, this is a SICK update. :)
Actually, I felt the same way I did after SEMrush launched their SERP features module and included featured snippet research. It was like being a kid in a candy store. Well, that candy store is open again. And this time the candy is in the form of live graphs.
First, Live Graphs Are Amazing
OK, so what is a live graph? Well, you are probably familiar with the trending graph that is visible after entering a root domain in SEMrush. That shows the search visibility of the root domain over time. It is awesome and enables you to see surges and drops along the way. That volatility could be from site changes, migrations, redesigns, changes in competition, and of course, from major algorithm updates.
Until the new organic research section went live, you could only see this for the root domain. Although very helpful, most site owners wanted to see the graphs at the subdomain level, subdirectory level, or for even URLs and specific keywords that a site is ranking for. Well, now you can see that!
Once you enter a root domain, subdomain, or URL, the graph dynamically changes. That is powerful on multiple levels. For example, you could see trending over time for specific areas of the site. You could see trending for a specific URL, blog post, article, etc. And you could trend important keywords leading to your site. The sky’s the limit.
Examples of how to use the new organic research section:
Below, I will cover some ways you can use the new organic search reporting in SEMrush. I will start with the various levels you can analyze and then explain how you can layer on filtering to dig much deeper than you could before.
Yes, finally. If you are analyzing a site that has multiple subdomains (or more), then this feature will be amazing for you. For example, let’s quickly look at dell.com. When you enter the root domain and click the subdomains tab, you can see many subdomains at play. And there are some important subdomains from an organic search perspective, including deals.dell.com, dfs.dell.com, and accessories.us.dell.com.
Viewing subdomains for dell.com in the new organic research section.
Side note: Surfacing and analyzing rogue subdomains is extremely powerful. Just last week I surfaced a staging subdomain for a new client using SEMrush. They are already deindexing that subdomain and will put it behind a login soon:
Finding rogue subdomains via SEMrush.
Back to Dell. If you check the root domain’s trending for dell.com, you might not get a true feel for how each area of the site is performing over time. But if you start digging into each subdomain, you can start peeling back the onion. And when you do, you can begin to identify areas of risk, danger, opportunity, and more.
For example, here is the root domain. Trending looks ok overall:
Analyzing the root domain of dell.com
And here is trending for accessories.us.dell.com. Notice the drop starting in the spring of 2018:
Analyzing the accessories.us.dell.com subdomain tells a different story.
Digging into the position changes reporting for that subdomain reveals specific keywords and landing pages that dropped in rankings this spring. Was this due to a technical error, was it expected or was it due to the March and April algorithm updates? Without the ability to drill into subdomains, you wouldn’t have the full picture.
Position changes report reveals queries and landing pages dropping in rankings.
Analyze Trending By URL
So far, we have seen live graphs at the root domain and subdomain levels, but what if you wanted to see trending by specific URL? Well, you can do that too. And it is a great way to see how specific pieces of content are faring over time.
For example, here is a site that works hard on producing 10X content for their niche. The articles are extremely thorough, often include video to support the article, etc. I took a look at an article that was published over a year ago and has done well for them over time. But the devil is in the details.
Here is trending over time (note: SEMrush had a database update in January of 2018 which caused many sites to spike trending-wise then). Beyond that spike, I am concerned about the recent drop (with major algorithm updates in March and April).
Trending for a specific URL reveals a drop in the spring of 2018.
And for this page, you can quickly see all of the keywords the page is ranking for, the number of keywords trended over time, position changes (new, lost, improving, or declining queries), and SERP features present when the page ranks in the search results. Awesome.
For example, by clicking into the Position changes report, you can quickly see ranking changes per month or day.
Position changes report for a specific URL.
Hacking Organic Research By Directory
I have had a few people ask me why the new search box doesn’t let you enter a subdirectory, so I wanted to address that here. You actually can see live graphs by directory, but you must use filtering to achieve that.
For example, enter a root domain and then click the Positions tab. Then click Advanced Filters and select Include, URL, Containing, and enter the directory as seen below. Then all reporting will be filtered by that specific subfolder, including live graphs. Awesome, right?
Analyzing subdirectories in SEMrush by using filters.
Live Graphs by SERP Feature
One of the coolest and most valuable features in SEMrush is its SERP features functionality. That is where you can view all SERP features for a domain (and then filter you reporting by any of them). For example, you can click “Featured Snippets” to see all queries and landing pages that yield featured snippets for the domain at hand.
Well, now your live graphs will change to show you trending for those SERP features (and by subdomain, directory, or URL); this can be especially handy when major algorithm updates roll out. For example, there is a quality component for both rich snippets and featured snippets and sites can often see dramatic volatility for those SERP features when a major algorithm update rolls out.
For example, here is a site that lost all of their rich snippets back during the hornets' nest in the fall of 2017:
Site loses rich snippets during a major algorithm update in 2017.
And here is a site that gained many featured snippets during a major algorithm update:
Featured snippets surge after major algorithm update.
It is important to know that you can view live graphs for SERP features, as well as for root domains, subdomains, subdirectories, and URLs. Again, the sky’s the limit.
In addition, you can always view a SERP snapshot for any query you are analyzing. For example, I checked a featured snippet being reported by SEMrush and clicked the SERP snapshot icon. You can do this for any query over the past 3 months:
SERP snapshot icon in SEMrush.
Checking SERP snapshots for any query being reported in SEMrush.
Live Graphs By Keyword
You can also view live graphs by keyword (or groups of keywords) leading to a site. For example, if you ranked well for a competitive keyword that is extremely important for your business, you could simply isolate that keyword to see trending over time.
Viewing live graphs by keyword.
Or you could view all keywords that contain a certain word or phrase. Just change the filter from "exactly matching" to "containing" and you will see all queries containing that word or phrase. SEMrush’s live graphs will change based on every filter you apply:
Combine Filters For Insane Research and Live Graphs
As you dig deeper into your analysis, you might want to start adding multiple variables to the mix and view live graphs for that combination.
For example, you could view trending for featured snippets in a given subdirectory on a site:
Combining filters for advanced research.
You could check reviews for a site section or even a specific URL over time. And you can go even further and layer on specific positions in the SERPs. For example, only show reviews for a site section when the site ranks in the top 10, 5, or just top 3. Yes, it is insane.
Combining SERP features and rank for advanced reporting.
Or how about seeing trending for longer tail keywords (maybe for any query with four or more words)?
Analyzing live graphs and data for long tail queries.
The sky’s the limit. Live graphs will dynamically change for whatever combo you throw at it. It is awesome.
Summary – Expand Your Analysis with Live Graphs
After reading this post, I hope you can see why I was so excited when Live Graphs launched with the ability to drill into root domain, subdomain, subdirectory, or URL. It is an amazing way to analyze a site. The new organic research section enables you to be creative with your research, receive immediate feedback with live graphs, and layer on filtering to go even deeper. I think you’ll love it as much as I do.
So what are you waiting for? Dig in NOW! Live graphs await.