SEMrush has a lot to offer. Between the millions of keywords and domains, over 40 tools and reports, and constant new developments, it can be hard to know where to start.
Bookmark this Quick Start Guide to help you jump right into the most essential SEMrush tools that you may want to set up to get going.
1. Enter Your First Queries
The quickest way to get familiar with SEMrush is by using the tools and reports available. To start, log in to your account and enter either a domain or a keyword into the search bar.
If you enter a domain, SEMrush will pull a Domain Overview, showing you all of the main overview metrics about that site’s online visibility - especially on search. This is going to be the basis of how you start your competitive research. Enter your website or a client’s website here and get a quick understanding of the website’s reach.
If you enter a keyword, SEMrush will pull a Keyword Overview, showing the main overview metrics about that keyword’s popularity and competition among online advertisers and websites competing for traffic via SEO. Enter a target keyword or phrase that you want your website to rank for.
From here you can jump into other reports (and keep your query in the search bar) by clicking on the reports in the left hand navigation menu.
These two reports are the most basic starting points for gathering research from our database. Once you get these basics down, move on to starting a Project.
2. Set up a Project
Set up a Project on a domain that you want to analyze or improve online visibility. If you work with clients, enter their domain in the Project setup window. If you work in-house for a website, enter that domain here.
Once you have a Project set up, you are able to configure the 12 Project tools that fully analyze a website’s online visibility and help you manage campaigns. More on all the Project features can be found in this Knowledge Base article.
3. Audit Your Website
Site Audit is a great first Project tool to set up, because it can give you instant insights about a website. This tool crawls your site the same way Google does and gives you a report on all of the issues we found related to the website’s health and visibility.
For help setting up your Site Audit, read Configuring Site Audit.
After getting the results of your Site Audit, you’ll have your work cut out for you. The Errors, Warnings, and Notices in your report is your to-do list of technical improvements to make on the website to help it perform better. The Total Score is basically your website’s grade. As you improve the site and re-run the audit, the score will improve.
If you encounter any issues with your Site Audit not running properly, try our Site Audit troubleshooting tips.
4. Discover & Analyze Your Competitors
SEMrush makes it easy to find out who competes with you not only in your industry, but any website that is outranking you for your target keywords.
To find your organic competitors in search, enter your domain into the search bar in the Organic Research Competitors report. This report tells you the exact domains competing the most for the same target keywords as the site you query in the search bar.
There are a few other ways to find competitors, based on metrics like advertising positions, common backlinks, a custom set of keywords, and traffic.
For more instructions on finding competitors, read How to Discover Your Online Competitors Using SEMrush.
Once you’ve identified your competitors, you can use the following tools to learn all about their online strategy and build an awesome competitive analysis report:
To estimate a domain’s overall monthly traffic, top sources of traffic, and average visitor behavior (time on site, pages/session, bounce rate, etc) - Traffic Analytics
To see all of a domain’s organic search results ranking in Google’s top organic results - Organic Research
To see a domain’s use of PPC advertising that SEMrush found ranking in Google’s top paid results - Advertising Research
To see all of a domain’s backlinks and referring domains - Backlink Analytics
To compare keyword positions across 5 websites - Keyword Gap
To compare referring domains across 5 websites Backlink Gap
To track recent posts, audience size, growth, and engagement of competitors on six Social Media channels - Social Media Tracker
5. Dive into Keyword Research
The Keyword Magic Tool is where you’ll be able to do the bulk of your keyword research, and the good thing is that it’s super quick and easy to dive into.
Enter a target keyword that represents your product or service or a search that you want to rank for, and SEMrush will return millions of related searches grouped together by topic.
Using filters you can find the top searched related questions, keywords with the lowest keyword difficulty score (KD %), most affordable keywords to bid on, and more.
This process will help you uncover new low-cost and low-competition keywords that you can capitalize on and start stealing traffic from your competition.
More tips on keyword research can be read on our blog.
6. Set up Position Tracking
Once you’ve decided on your target keywords for your campaign, start tracking them here. Then, as you complete your SEO campaign you can easily see how the website’s visibility has grown over time.
This tool can track your custom list of target keywords in any location across the globe. This way, you can watch your website’s improvements for the specific keywords and goals of your campaign.
It’s also able to track your competitors and their positioning for the same keywords so you can stay fully aware of the competition going on.
One the Position Tracking campaign is running, you can set up Alerts to automatically receive an email whenever your site or a competitor’s crosses a specific threshold (into top 3 positions, gains 10 positions, loses 10 positions, etc).
If you need to report to a client or boss, it’s easy to integrate Position Tracking reports into a PDF deliverable with our PDF builder tool, My Reports.
7. Gather On Page SEO Ideas
The On Page SEO Checker tool takes a list of pages on your site along with accompanying target keywords and provides you with ideas to optimize each page for its target keywords.
The ideas you get from this tool will range from technical SEO improvements to increasing word count on specific pages, to acquiring backlinks from specific domains.
Alongside the Site Audit tool, this is one of the quickest ways to gather direct opportunities to improve a website through quick changes.
8. SEO Content Template & SEO Writing Assistant
As you work to improve a website’s SEO, you need to have content. And not just any content, but content that is optimized to rank.
What the SEO Content Template will give you is a complete template for creating an optimized piece of content from scratch. All you have to do is enter your target keyword and location and SEMrush will generate the template.
To go one step further, SEO Writing Assistant takes your SEO Content Templates and integrates them into Google Docs and Wordpress so you can grade your content in real time as you draft it. See below:
Add the SEO Writing Assistant Chrome add-on to your browser.
Now with all of these starting points, you will be off to a great start learning our software. If you have any questions or concerns, you can always reach out to us over the phone, email, or live chat.
For more help learning the ins and outs of SEMrush, check out and bookmark some of our great resources:
Complete marketing workflows alongside our step-by-step How-To Articles
Bookmark the SEMrush Glossary for your reference
Bookmark our Quick Links page to find lists of tools for specific practices like keyword research, link building, content marketing, and more.
Learn about our tools from the Discover SEMrush Blog Series
Learn from industry experts with our Webinars
Test your knowledge and get a certification from SEMrush Academy
Follow our News to stay informed about software updates
Contact our email support at email@example.com
Call our phone support