If you’re working in the SEO industry, you probably know about SEMrush, keyword research and competitor analysis tool that offers numerous useful features. Our very own Sean Malseed is pretty familiar with the tool since he used to work at SEMrush as Director of Strategic Development, and he recently gave a Knowledge Share focusing on three of its most useful features: Domain vs. Domain, ranking history tools, and filters. Here’s an SEMrush review and the key takeaways from his presentation!
Domain vs. Domain
The Domain vs. Domain feature is located within the Domain Analytics menu and allows you to compare the keywords of up to five domains at a time. Comparing your domain to your competitors’ can show you the keywords you all share in common as well as the keywords your competitors rank for that you do not and vice versa. To choose the way you want to compare keywords, simply hover over the Venn diagram icon and select an intersection from the menu that appears.
Once you choose an intersection, click “Go” and the results will appear at the bottom of the page. The ranking for each domain will be shown side by side for easy comparison, and the results can be filtered to exclude any unwanted data.
Ranking History Tools
Most SEMrush reports have a Live Data box in the upper right corner of the page that allows Guru or higher level accounts view a report as it appeared in any month dating back to January 2012. This is useful for tracking progress. For example, in Domain vs. Domain you can look at the data historically to see how your rankings have compared to those of your competitors each month and determine whether or not your efforts are paying off. It can also be helpful to look at Organic Research reports historically to see where a certain keyword or landing page was ranked at a specific point in time.
SEMrush’s Position Changes Report, located in the Domain Analytics menu under Organic Research, tells you when keywords that caused a domain to break into the top 100 Google search results have been won, lost, improved, or declined. This report can be viewed within a specific month or over a period of six months, a year, or all time. If any changes in traffic are noticed for a domain, it may be helpful to take a look at the position changes to see if the problem lies within any lost or gained keywords.
Sometimes historical reports contain a graph that accompanies the data you are looking at. A red line on this graph indicates that a database update occurred. In October 2015, SEMrush expanded their U.S. database to include the top 83 million keywords as determined by search volume and track the top 100 positions for each keyword. This increase in keywords tracked will often cause a spike on report graphs around October 2015. Using a filter to include only the top 20 keywords will make the data shown after October 2015 more consistent with the pre-update data.
Filtering keyword results can make keyword research a breeze. SEMrush allows you to filter Organic Research results to include or exclude keywords, search volumes, positions, and more. Multiple filters can be added at once, allowing you to screen keywords based on many different factors. Filters will stop being applied if too many are added, however, so don’t go overboard!
SEMrush exports stop after a certain number depending on the type of account you have, so it can be beneficial to filter out any unwanted terms and sort the data into categories based on your filters before exporting. This will ensure you export a decent amount of keywords and will make it easier to take a deeper look at the keywords in Excel later on.
- The Domain vs. Domain feature lets you compare the ranking keywords of to five domains and can be useful if you want to see how your efforts compare to your competitors’ efforts.
- Ranking history tools let you look at reports at any point in time going back to January 2012 and can be helpful when trying to determine the cause of traffic changes.
- Be cautious when looking at reports historically. The US database update causes a spike in results in October 2015, and the number of keywords that aren’t crawled daily means some low volume keywords may not have updated data or could have dropped out of the database temporarily.
- Filters within SEMrush results can make analyzing keyword research data easier. Exclude unwanted terms and values and export results based on categories you created with the filters so you can take a deeper look at the results later.