June 1st, 2015 by Karen
Occasionally, I receive products for review or include advertising in my posts, but no one impacts the honesty of my opinion.
Through the 16 (holy crap) years that I’ve been involved with online marketing, I’ve seen a lot of changes. From the dot com bubble, the crash, the recovery, FTC guidelines, tax changes, you name it. The biggest thing though that I’ve seen affect affiliates and bloggers most recently is all the changes in search. You get everything somewhat dialed in and then BAM! You’re hit by whatever Google’s favorite black and white animal du jour happens to be. Yes, it gets rid of a lot of the riff raff, but all too often I see the baby thrown out with the bathwater.
While the only good defense I’ve seen against search algorithm updates is to write good, solid content and keep your nose clean, it’s never a bad idea to keep a steady eye on what your competition is doing as well. There have been many tools for this over the years, but many have fallen by the wayside and the good ol’ Google sandbox is just not what it used to be.
In talking with some other long-time industry friends, one mentioned SEMRush. Now, I’m always skeptical of new tools (The best! The greatest! Better than the competition! Seriously, get new copy.) but this one had me intrigued, mostly because of the data available. Those of you that know me well, know that I’m a data kinda girl and prefer cold, hard numbers to ‘gut feelings’.
You simply enter a domain (yours or a competitor’s) and the search returns a plethora of data points from organic keyword positions, advertising spend, and PLA research to display advertising information, but the best part in my opinion is the keyword research and backlinks sections. What to know what the going rate is for a keyword? No problem! How about who is showing up in organic results for a term? There’s a live updated, exportable list. You can even see backlinks, anchor text, keyword difficulty, indexed pages and so much more.
Best part is the tool has a free version as well as three levels of paid versions for those who need additional data points. The free version lets you do several searches before you have to register, but honestly the amount of data you can uncover is totally worth it. I was pleasantly surprised at just how much I was able to uncover in just a short amount of time and I’ll be looking to use it to improve several of my other sites. You should definitely check out the SEMRush tool and let me know what you think!