How to Use SEMRush for Website Optimisation

Updated: November 14, 2022
How to Use SEMRush for Website Optimisation

If you’re ready to take your website optimisation and online brand presence to the next level, SEMRush is the platform for you.

A market leader in keyword research, website search engine optimisation, and planner for PPC (pay-per-click) ads, SEMRush has tools and features that can boost the marketing practices of beginners and experts alike.

For those new to the platform, we’ll run through the basics of SEMRush, why you should be integrating into your regular marketing campaign development processes, and how you can use the basics. From there, we’ll suggest a few of our favourite SEMRush tools–just in case you want to zero in on a few highly effective features from day one.

Read on to learn more about why so many marketing teams rely on SEMRush each day and how to use SEMRush to your brand’s advantage.

Why You Should Leverage SEMRush’s Search Engine Optimisation Tools

For business owners, marketers, and solo-preneurs interested in solidifying and boosting their brand presence online, you need to be using SEMRush.

Why? As one of the world’s market leaders in search engine data, keyword research and rankings, Google search console trends, and website SEO analysis, this humble platform can help you find and connect with more online leads; position your brand as a leader in the market; and help you deep dive into competing websites so you can stand out from the crowd.

Among the top features and benefits to be gained from marketing teams of all levels, SEMRush is best known for:

  1. Organic keywords and Keyword Research:
    Whether you’re interested in designing a new online marketing campaign or optimising product pages, the keyword research data on SEMRush knows no end. With data available for both organic research and paid search opportunities, you can deep dive into what your ideal audience is searching for and then anchor your brand directly in their path.
  2. Optimise for Search Engines:
    Your entire website can be an automated calling card for finding, connecting with, and converting new qualified leads online. If you want your website to be positioned on page one of Google’s organic search results, optimising your website as a targeted solution to searcher’s queries is the best way to do it. SEMRush offers deep insight into your consumer’s online search queries, what’s working for your website, and what keywords you might be missing so you can continue to work toward and hold that number one position.
  3. Research for PPC Campaigns:
    If you have the marketing budget to start designing and executing campaigns with paid keywords, thoroughly researching PPC keyword opportunities will be one of the best ways to maximise your ROI. With some keywords costing well over $2 AUD per click, you’ll want to balance your available budget with the cost of ranking for select keywords.

If some of these features sound too in-depth for you–fear not. We’ve broken down the basics of using SEMRush below so you can get set up and start finding and collating real-time data about your business and ideal target market today.

How to Use SEMRush: A Basic How To Guide

Before we explore our current favourite features that every SEMRush user should leverage, let’s look at the basics of getting an account set up and starting to explore the SEMRush features online.

  1. Setting Up a SEMRush Account:

First things first, we recommend spending some time setting up your initial SEMRush account so you and your business can get the best out of the platform going forward.

Because SEMRush is at a top-level a marketing data platform, you’ll want to input as much quality data about your brand and business as you can. (like they say–garbage in, garbage out. Make sure you correctly identify which industry your business is in and what tools and features you are most likely to use!)

To get setup, you’ll want to:

  • Sign up for a new account with unique login details or via Google SSO (Single sign-in options)
  • Confirm if you have worked with SEO tools before. (No problem if you haven’t! Plenty of beginner-friendly tools on SEMRush.)
  • Confirm your possible monthly budget–SEMRush likes to know how much your company or brand might or is willing to pay each month for SEO campaigns, keywords, and tools.
  • Identify your company. From startups to agencies, SEMRush has a range of tools that suit each company and industry type.

From here, you’ll be prompted to confirm which plan you would like to buy; fortunately, all three of the paid plans have a free 7-day trial period so you can test out the platform before deciding to take the plunge. (On a tight marketing budget? You can use select SEMRush features for free without a paid subscription. More on this below.)

And that’s it! You now have a SEMRush account and the platform has enough information about your company and business goals to recommend the best features for you.

  1. Take stock of where you’re at by launching a new Project. (And a full website audit.)

To get to where you want to go, it’s good to know where you began. We recommend doing a full audit of your current website as one of your first steps when using SEMRush. Why? Because we want to start collecting data about your brand before any changes, keyword integrations, or optimisation is completed to get an authentic picture of how your audience and Google have been interacting with your company to date.

To do this, you’ll want to create a new ‘Project’–in SEMRush, Projects are additional websites, platforms, and online spaces outside of the SEMRush platform that you can collect data on. (For example, your business website!) The first new Project you should set up will be your own company website; you’ll run a complete Website Audit after this.

  1. Review Your Website Audit Score:

Even free users of SEMRush can gain meaningful insights into their website performance that affect your search engine optimisation and overall Google ranking. If you’re brand new to the platform and SEO, a few of the key ranking factors that will come out of your website audit to focus on include:

  • Overall website score: SEMRush will give you an overall Site Health score–this takes into consideration a number of factors that influence your website’s performance, visitor experience, and search engine ranking. As you work your way through the list of potential errors or problem areas identified in the rest of the site audit, your overall website health score should improve.
  • Internal links: If you only have a single landing page, chances are there won’t be any internal links that can help Google identify what your website is about, boost your overall ranking, or help visitors bounce between topics of interest. If you do have a number of website pages, we highly recommend internal link building between related topics, content pieces or a blog post, and products–more on this below.
  • Site performance: From page and image-load time to overall user accessibility, your site’s performance can have a huge effect on whether or not new visitors stick around to learn more about your brand or bounce off right away. With better internet connectivity, site optimisation, and image and video quality on the market, most website browsers expect website pages to load in less than 3 seconds–anything beyond this significantly increases your risks of visitors navigating away. We recommend trying to increase your site performance score as one of your first follow on steps.
  1. Resolve Major Errors:

As mentioned above, a couple of easy wins for new website owners or marketers to action that can help boost their website performance and visitor experience using SEMRush’s recommendations include:

  • Site performance: we recommend trying to reduce the website and page load time as low as possible. To do this, compress images to their lowest quality file size (without lowering the quality of the picture), optimise video content, and try to use website templates and common fonts wherever possible. (Why? Because the more ‘new’ content a page needs to download to a user’s computer or phone, the longer it will take for a page to load. Sticking with commonly used fonts and website templates can help reduce this.)
  • Broken links: This is an easy one–no one likes a broken link, ‘Page Not Found’, or ‘404 Error’. Track down links that lead to nowhere and preview your website live. We recommend testing the live site and following all links to make sure you haven’t missed any.
  • Internal links: Like we said, if you’re running a one-page landing page, no need to worry about internal links for the time being. If you’re running a fully developed website with product pages, content marketing, and company ‘About’ information, we highly recommend looking for common areas of interest, related topics, and content that will be of interest to your viewers. Not only can internal links keep visitors on your website for longer (by navigating around the site following links and topics of interest) it can also create a silo for Google to follow.

Silo? Yup. Google wants to know what your website is ‘about’ so it can recommend your site and pages to viewers searching for like-minded topics. By creating an internal link structure that connects related content representative of your brand, you’re helping visitors and Google to better understand what problem your website solves.

  1. Begin Keyword Research and Optimisation of Existing Content and Pages:

If you haven’t done any in-depth keyword research work before, not to worry. It doesn’t have to be complicated when you first begin. To get started, we recommend:

  • Ideate a number of short and long tail keywords, keyword ideas, terms, or topics you think your ideal target market would be interested in or their likely search intent. (I.e. what they’re trying to ‘find’ via Googles search bar.)
  • Use SEMRush’s keyword research tool to ‘open up’ each word–in other words, plug in your list of ideated terms and SEMRush will suggest related or complementary terms that users may also type into Google.
  • Using the same feature, you can begin to ‘rank’ the overall usability and potential impact of any one keyword. How so? You should first look at search volume–this is the number of times Google search engine users search for a given word in a set period of time. (Usually one month.) If a particular keyword of interest is searched less than 100 times per month, you have significantly fewer possibilities to show up in search engine results than a keyword that is searched for, say, 5000 times.

The caveat? Some keywords will be highly competitive–hence, the ‘Keyword Difficulty’ score. Keywords ranking at 100 will be almost to exclusively impossible to rank for on page number one–keywords less than 60 have much less competition. The trick here is to balance how many searches a word attracts each month with the overall number of paid and organic competitors.

Lastly, we should mention the importance of relevance. Because Google wants to ‘understand’ your website and what it’s about so it can show your brand to relevant Google users, each website page and keyword used should be highly relevant to your brand.

While it can be tempting to try to integrate non-relevant keywords into your website pages (especially when competition is low and search traffic is high) Google can and will penalise websites for exactly this. We recommend you exclude keywords that are irrelevant to your product or service to maintain the quality of your overall SEO strategy and ranking score.

In short–stick to what you know and can actually offer to customers. While you may have to ideate a few keywords to land on the sweet spot of high organic traffic-low competitiveness-relevant, that’s what the SEMRush keyword tool is for!

To SEMRush Tools

Among the many features and tools we like about SEMRush, there are always going to be a few favourites that the Edge Marketing team rely on time and again. Among our top picks that we recommend getting to know, there are:

  1. Keyword Magic Tool:
    The Keyword Magic Tool is exactly what you’ll need to ‘crack open’ potential keywords and find semantically related keywords, topics, and sub-genres your audience could be interested in.
  2. Keyword Gap Tool:
    Want to find your website blind spots? This feature will show you what keywords your targeted audience is looking for that you’re missing out on.
  3. Answer the Public and QuestionDB:
    A great way to be highly relevant to your target market, the Answer the Public and Question DB features scour and list the questions your target audience are most likely to search for–meaning your website can write up, publish, and offer an answer.

Perfecting Your SEMRush Use with the Edge Marketing Team

We appreciate that some of the key marketing platforms that have become industry standard in best marketing practices like SEMRush and HubSpot can seem incredibly detailed and complex. Fortunately, the Edge Marketing team are experts in all things SEO, website development, and digital marketing campaigns, and we love breaking down complicated topics and tools into actionable, bite-sized steps.

To continue learning about the best practices and trending tools you should be using for your marketing efforts, keep an eye on our blog. Each week we deep dive into trending topics like Google Ads, Google Analytics, how to boost organic search traffic, and SEO tools and would love for you to follow along.

Sean -

SEO Director

1300 558 659 -

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