If you’re serious about growing your search engine traffic, then you need an SEO tool to help you.
You need an entire tool-set to really:
- Grow your organic traffic with SEO
- Get better ROI on ad spent
- Acquire more backlinks with less time and resources spent.
But the tools are very similar, and it makes no sense to buy both.
So which one is better?
I’ll lay down every detail and help you decide.
I’ve divided this hybrid review/comparison article into five distinct sections.
Here I want to compare 5 crucial features and sections of both SEMrush and SERPstat, and we’ll see how they stack against each other.
At the end of each section, points will be given to the winner.
Whoever finishes with more points, wins.
Round #1- Overall Usability
Both SEMrush and SERPstat are easy to use, and both welcome you with intuitive and easy-to-grasp dashboards.
But what I like about SEMrush, and I think they pull it off really well, is how compact their dashboard’s features are.
Everything you need to know and learn is on the left sidebar, and from there you can access different areas of the tool like:
- Keyword analysis
- Domain analytics
- Domain Authority (IN SEMrush’s own format)
- Topic research
- Gap Analysis
- Topic research
- Marketing insight
- And more
It’s convenient for sure, but the much faster way of using the tool is to simply use the search bar at the top of the page
If you enter a domain name, they will take you to a domain overview section full of data, you can use, things like:
- Website Organic traffic
- Top organic keywords
- Backlink profile overview and size
- Sample ads
If you enter a keyword (example “start a blog”), SEMrush will transport you to the overview page under ‘Keyword Analytics.’
There you are presented with a ton of useful data, from keyword search volume to related keywords and questions, keyword difficulty to domains already ranking that you’ll have to beat…
All the crucial info you need to decide whether to pursue a keyword or not.
Finally, if you enter a page URL, SEMrush will take you to the “Organic Research” analysis page.
This report shows you:
- Keywords URL ranks for
- Traffic trends and seasonality
- SERP volatility
Have you been paying attention so far?
I hope you have because SEMrush is fantastic! And you probably noticed from the images above that SEMrush tends to show you all the info you need in a bird’s-eye overview, meaning all reports are above the fold and you don’t have to scroll down unless you really want to dig deeper into something.
I like that. I like it a lot. I’m a busy marketer, and I want to see right away if there are changes I need to pay attention to.
Now let’s turn to SEMrush’s challenger. When you log into your SERPstat account, the first thing you’ll see is that their dashboard is super clean, elegant, and not as crowded as SEMrush’s.
Your starting point will be the “List of Projects” tab, which gives you quick access to all the work you are doing with SERPstat (and that you saved, of course)
But to start using the tool, simply enter something in their search bar. You don’t have to specify whether it’s a domain or URL or keyword, because SERPstat automatically detects it on its own.
Now, let’s say you entered a domain name.
Just like with SEMrush, SERPstat takes you to an overview page that shows you:
- Domain’s backlink profile
- Its total Organic traffic,
- its keywords,
- It’s PPC keywords, if they’re bidding in Google, of course.
Entering a keyword will take you to the “keyword Overview” page, which shows your keyword’s:
- search volume,
- difficulty rating score (competition level),
- related keywords,
If you entered a URL, Serpstat will show you only the essential information on the overview page.
- Total number of the keywords the page ranks for
- Organic keyword samples
- Keyword position distribution chart
- Ads keywords
But, if you want more in-depth reporting, you’ll need to navigate to other pages under the “URL Analysis” sub-menu.
And there you can get additional and valuable data like:
- SERP competitors
- URL comparisons
- Mission keywords
Note: this is all covered below in SERPstat’s keyword research section.
You’ve probably noticed by now that both tools spit out similar data.
However, unlike SEMrush, SERPstat presents its data in a much more spaced-out and organized way.
This small change in how data is given to you can make the difference between you doing thorough market research and making grand plans that are bound to work out perfectly, or at least very well;
And you’re staring at the screen, silently screaming and not knowing where to move or look first, as you’ve been struck with the bane of every serious internet marketer- analysis paralysis.
However, this data clustering and decluttering issue only mean something if you’re a newbie, and your head starts hurting as soon as you see a bunch of numbers on the screen.
I really like how SERPstat’s data is presented, clear, and very intuitive. But I don’t like how it’s spaced out a bit too much and how it takes five or six scrolls to get to the bottom of the page. And if you want to re-check something, you have to scroll up, and it quickly turns into a waste of time.
Remember, the point of an SEO tool is to get the data you need, make a plan, and then get moving with action and execution. And if it’s kind of hard to get the data quickly, then that kinda defeats the purpose of an SEO tool.
This is a minor problem for sure, and I’m sure that, were I to use SERPstat regularly I would’ve gotten used to it quickly and would’ve gained the necessary speed.
But I still like a bit more what SEMrush does and how it’s all in one place, and you can click and dive deeper where needed.
So my pick for overall usability goes to SEMrush.
Now onto …
Round #2- Domain Analysis
SEMrush is one powerful tool when it comes to domain analysis. With it, you can break down a competitor’s domain into little chunks and then assemble those puzzle pieces into something useful, something that will help your site grow.
When you input a domain into SEMrush’s search bar, you get access to data like:
- Organic traffic
- Paid traffic
But this is all basic stuff.
Further down, you get to see:
- how Google has been treating them for extended lengths of time (ranking volatility)
- keyword breakdown by country
- SERP features owned
- Top pages
- And strongest competitors
There isn’t room to show you all here with images, but the gist is that you get a ton of data to pour over, like the nerd you are:)
You can also dig deeper into each of these reports.
For example, knowing the organic strength of a domain is always super valuable. Because maybe you could “weaken” them by stealing a keyword or two under their noses.
So let’s click the blue button and see what SEMrush reports.
As you can see from the image below, SEMrush serves up a big list of all keywords that a website ranks for and that they have in their database.
You also get to learn crucial data like:
- SERP Features- is the SERP crowded?
- Traffic- what’s the reward number?
- Volume- is it worth going for it?
- Keyword Difficulty- is it possible to rank
- SERP volatility-has Google settled on search intent yet?
Overall, SEMrush’s data is priceless when gauging the true strength of your competition and deciding whether to enter a certain SERP or not.
Besides the basic overview page, SERPstat has four additional tabs worth exploring.
- SEO Research
- PPC research
- Batch Analysis
I won’t be covering all of these here!
Because there’s too much to write about, and I’m keeping usability in mind when crafting this post. A 15,000-word SEMrush vs. SERPstat comparison post would be pretty useless to you unless you have a couple of spare hours to dedicate to it.
I know you don’t as we’re all busy marketers here.
So’ll be covering only the stuff that I know you’ll want to use.
The “Infographics’ section is the first to get my attention and for a good reason.
It’s basically a compilation of all your domain SEO data turned into easy-to-grasp charts and graphs.
So you can see charts for:
- domain’s visibility trend for the year,
- traffic trend for the year,
- keyword position distribution.
You can see in the image above that oz had a significant dip in traffic around July 2019 and that it lasted till the middle of September. It’s because around that time, there was a huge Google update being pushed, followed by many smaller tremors, and it obviously rattled their bones quite a bit.
But here’s something definitely wrong and potentially pretty silly.
This chart says that in January they got 90 million visits.
That is bogus. There is no way 90 million people in the world would search for SEO-related stuff in any given month, but even if there were, Moz would have to be ranking for everything, and everybody would be clicking on their results.
There is something wrong here.
Next, we have the “Top pages” tab, which shows you the best-performing pages of a domain you’re analyzing.
This is valuable info because pages that are performing really well in Google usually have a ton of backlinks pointing to them, which means that their topic is highly linkable.
If you were to create something similar but better, you could then reach out to those webmasters and ask that they link to you too. Then even if you don’t rank for that particular page, you will get a lot of link juice, which will then be distributed throughout your site via internal linking.
Also, another way to use this report is to see which pages are performing well in Google but don’t have a lot of backlinks.
This means that if you were going out and building content that targets those easy queries and then builds links to your pages, you could outrank even a monster domain like Moz because Google doesn’t use rank domains, it ranks pages and pages with the most links win.
Tree view report
Finally, there is the “Tree View” tab. Here you get a nice overview of all keywords, a domain ranks for. What’s neat is that you can use the filtering option to narrow the results down to those keywords where you’re on page two.
So if you could just boost those pages a little (by sending link equity via backlinking and internal linking), you’d climb to page one, and then you’d start getting traffic.
SEMrush’s traffic analysis features trump SERPstat’s because of these three reasons:
First, SEMrush calculates and takes into account all traffic, not just organic, from Google. This means their numbers are more accurate and potentially more valuable to you.
Second, and this ties in nicely with the first benefit, but identifying your competitor’s top traffic sources will help you learn what traffic channels are most valuable in your niche. And you will also learn what content gets warm reception with your niche audience.
Thirdly SEMrush also gives you crucial demographic data such as:
- your audience’s location,
- their median age,
- their browsing device of choice.
Especially valuable is knowing what device people use to browse content from your niche. Because if you learn that 90% use mobile phones, then you know you won’t be writing 5 0000-word mega-guides.
Instead, a series of connected posts are better suited to your site and your ideal audience.
On the other hand, SERPstat has data from more Google databases than SEMrush.
SERPstat pulls its data from over 230 Google data centers around the world, while SEMrush has access to 180. Still, this is only a drawback for SEMrush if you want to target the audience of a specific country and SEMrush can’t help you as they don’t have the data.
Round #3- Competitive Analysis
Why bother trying to reinvent the wheel when you can just take what works and apply it to your own business?
To check your competition, first, you need to know who they are. We will run site analysis in the search bar and then go “Organic Research “ tab.
And from there into the “Competition” tab.
The first thing you’ll see is a nice little feature called “Competitive Positioning Map.” It shows you on a graph who your major competitor is.
Below these initial data sets is the true list of major competitors along with a breakdown of their performance in Google compared to your site.
You can see each competitors:
- number of common keywords,
- paid keywords,
- Organic traffic
- Traffic cost
When researching your competition on Google, you’re mainly looking to see:
- what are their main keywords (and how could you steal them from under their noses)
- What are their backlinks (and can you replicate some of those))
SEMrush excels in this area of and on the left sidebar, you will see a “Gap Analysis” tab.
Click it and go “Keyword Gap.” Once there, input your domain and 4 of your closest competitors and take it for a spin.
It’ll show you the keyword gap you need to fill in.
Remember, these will be your closest competitors. It means you should be able to outrank them with better content and some backlinking.
Next is the backlink analysis gap tool. This is really powerful and perhaps my favorite feature of SEMrush. The tool lets you input your and four other competitors’ domains, and then it shows you which backlinks your domain lacks and where (and often how) your competitors got them.
Remember, for any given SERP, Google is showing you the kind of backlinks they like, so it is prudent to try and replicate as many of them as you can.
Doing competitive analysis with SERPstat starts with you first finding your competitors.
The easiest way to do it is to search for a keyword (for example, “start a blog”) and then go to the “SEO Research” tab and “Competitors.”
This will give you a list of top sites competing for that key-phrase, and then you just need to take them apart from one by one and check their backlink profiles, traffic numbers, PPC spends…
The other way to find your direct competitors is to analyze a domain and then go to the “Rank Tracker” tab and “Competitors.”
This will spit out 20 competing websites that you can track, but more importantly, these are the sites to dissect for your competitive analysis.
I can’t show you images here, because the tool wouldn’t load for me. It kept redirecting me to SERPstat’s homepage.
I’m sure this is a temporary bug only.
Who Wins This Round?
Although SERPstat gets the job done, and you can do superb competitive research with it, it can’t beat SEMrush and its backlink gap tool.
That tool alone is what does it for me as I know the value of links, and any tool that helps me find easy-to-acquire, exactly the backlinks I need to rank on Google SERPs for a particular query, is pure gold for me.
SERPstat doesn’t have it. Semrush does.
I picked SEMrush for this round.
Round #4- Keyword Research
Researching keywords to target is both an art and a science, and you can be as creative as you want, and there are a million and one ways to do it.
However, one of the easiest and most straightforward ways is to use a tool that’s specifically built to make your job easier, and more fun too.
Who doesn’t like looking at a screen filled with tiny numbers?
SEMrush’s keyword overview page is absolutely loaded with useful data.
Right off the bat, you get to learn:
- Keyword search volume
- Keyword Difficulty
- Paid Search
- PPC competitiveness
- Phrase match and related keywords
This is useful, it really is; however, a much better way to use SEMrush for keyword research is to use their superb keyword magic tool.
Simply take your seed keyword, plug it into Keyword Magic, and let the magic begin!
Semrush is going to give you an absolute ton of ideas to fill your head with (keywords are divided into the broad match, phrase match, exact match, and related).
But what’s really amazing is that you’ll be able to sort them by competitiveness, meaning you’ll almost instantly uncover gems to scoop for your site.
Another powerful feature inside Keyword Magic is the “Questions” tab.
When you click it, you get hundreds of questions people ask about your topic.
Why is this important so much?
Because people go to Google to search for answers to their problems. And every keyword can be formulated as a question.
This means that by giving the answers, your audience desperately needs, you’re getting under their skin as that friendly site that gives free help.
So they come to a new visitor; return as a happy visitor; and leave an even happier buyer, because they clicked on your affiliate link and bought a product.
Everybody wins in this scenario and a question analyzer from SEMrush is an indispensable asset to you.
Finally, the last gem of a feature I want to cover is the Keyword Difficulty tool.
Often, you find a bunch of easy keywords to target. There are twenty of them. They’re easy, but also very similar.
Creating separate articles is a waste of time because traffic numbers just aren’t there, and also twenty articles targeting the same keyword with slight modifications is bound to cause keyword cannibalization, if not a Google Panda penalty for this content.
So it makes sense to target only one of the initial twenty and include other phrases naturally within the article.
To find out which one is easiest to conquer, simply pop on over to the “Keyword Difficulty” tool and enter your desired keywords.
And SEMrush will compare them for you and you’ll be able to easily glean which one is the best choice for you.
When you put in your keyword is SERPstat’s search bar, you slam your fist on the proverbial table and you ask, no, you DEMAND of SERPstat to deliver useful data; SERPstat obliges, and it obliges really good as you are showered with so much data that your eyes start to water and hurt.
So be warned! 🙂
So, right off the bat, you can see:
- Search volume
- Keyword difficulty (lower is better)
- CPC (cost per click)
- PPC competition
You can also see organic keyword samples and ads keyword samples. And both reports can be expanded to include all the keywords SERPstat knows about.
When you click on “show all” for organic keywords, you get the master keyword list, but you also get additional valuable information.
A really interesting thing is that SERPstat can serve info on special SERP features.
SERP features include things like:
- Image carousels
- Video carousels
- Knowledge panels
- Featured Snippets
- PAA boxes
These can either be a great opportunity to get more exposure or a significant keyword qualifier that tells you that this keyword is not worth going after.
Because if you see a keyword that has 4 ads on top, an image carousel, a featured snippet, and PAA boxes, then you know your time is better spent chasing another keyword and less crowded SERPs.
Another feature SERPstat owns is “Missing Keywords,” which is very similar to SEMrush’s Keyword Gap feature.
So, after you’ve analyzed a URL with SERPstat, on the left sidebar under “URL Analysis,” there’s a “Missing Keywords” tab. Click on it and the tool will show you all the keywords your competitors are ranking in, and you’re nowhere to be found.
This is a potential gold mine because you can try and steal those keywords from them, and you don’t even have to do anything special; just copy what they’re doing but make it a shade better, and don’t forget to infuse it with your unique personality.
Higher quality+ uniqueness leads to better-performing content.
It’s a proven formula!
Who wins this round?
You say I have to pick one. Then I chose SEMRush because of its wonderful Keyword Magic tool.
It’s the one tool to find unlimited keyword ideas, and those that even a new blog can rank for.
Round #5- Pricing
SEMrush has three different plans to choose from, so whether you’re a freelancer or an SEO agency, you will find a plan to your liking.
First, there’s the Pro plan, which costs $99.95 per month. This option is excellent for freelancers, small businesses and startups who want to do their own SEO in the house; who need an all-in-one SEO tool to do it. But don’t want to break the bank doing it.
The good news is that the Pro plan, which is the cheapest, offers all the functionality as the most expensive plan (Business), and the only difference is the usage limits.
But then again, freelancers and startups don’t need enterprise-level SEO to be successful.
This plan gives you:
- 250 keyword metrics updates per month.
- 10,000 results per each report, and up to 3,000 reports per day,
With SEMrush Pro, you can track 500 keywords, crawl 100 000 pages per month, and you can work on 3 different projects simultaneously.
However, do know that white label reporting and branded reports are not included in this plan.
Second, there’s the Guru plan, which costs $199.95/month.
With this choice, you can:
- Track 1500 keywords
- Crawl 300 000 pages per month
- Generate 30 000 results per report
- Get up to 5 000 reports daily
- Get 1000 keyword metric updates per month
- Monitor 100 social profiles, and post updates to 30 of them
- Work on 15 projects simultaneously
You also get the branded reporting option, but not white-label reports.
Thirdly, there is the Business plan, which costs $399.95/month.
This plan gives you:
- 50,000 results per report;
- 10,000 reports per day;
- 5000 keyword metrics updates per month;
You can also:
- Work on a maximum of 25 projects simultaneously;
- Track 5000 keywords,
- Crawl 1,000,000 pages per month.
- Monitor 300 social profiles,
- Post updates to 50 social profiles.
Similar to the Guru plan, Business also gives you branded reporting, but not white-label reports.
Guru and Pro plans both offer a 7-day free trial, but you have to input your credit card details. You won’t be charged for the first 7 days, but you will need to remember to cancel before those 7 days run out. Because of the 8-th day, you get charged a monthly fee depending on which plan you chose.
Note: SEMrush also lets you pay annually and then you can shave 16% off the price.
Take a look and compare it with the prices above.
Serpstat offers four pricing plans to its customers:
First, we have the Lite plan, which costs $69 per month.
The Lite plan includes:
- 4,000 queries daily,
- 10,000 results weekly,
- 500,000 export rows per month.
Also, the good news is that, similar to what we just saw with SEMrush above, the most basic plan of SERPstat offers all the features you need as a freelancer or an in-house SEO.
You do get access to:
- in-depth keyword analysis (competitor ranks for… missing and related keywords),
- Backlink analysis
- Site audit
This plan is great for solo players and those on a budget, but not so great for SEO agencies as you don’t get access to white label reports, branded reporting or team management.
So if you need those, one of the plans below might be right for you.
The Standard SERPstat plan is priced at $149/monthly and includes everything from the basic, “Lite” plan, plus you get higher usage limits of 5,000 queries per day (instead of 4 000), and 30,000 results per report (instead of 10 000).
Advanced Plan. It costs $299 per month and includes:
- 8,000 search queries per day,
- <150,000 tracked keywords,
- <1,250,000 pages to audit,
Since this is Advanced Plan and for bigger players, it allows for 5 additional members to be added to your account And you also get priority support via telephone.
Finally, there’s the Enterprise plan.
One of the above SERPStat plans is more suited to your needs.
Note: SERPstat offers a 25% discount on all plans for BforBloggers readers. Use the code BforBloggers when you sign up for a paid plan.
Finally, SERPstat also offers a free plan that you can sign up for with your Google, Facebook, or Twitter accounts.
However, go ahead. Sign up for it and play a little. It’s an excellent SERPstat preview.
Who Wins This Round?
The winner here is clearly SERPstat. I mean, I like SEMrush a lot, but they don’t offer a free version of their tool and their 7-day trial is not enough for most people to make up their minds if they really need it or not.
SERPstat is different. They let you play with a free version of their tool for as much time as you want, (0r need), and then when you’re ready to upgrade-you upgrade. There’s no rush and no time pressure on you.
I think it’s a smart move from SERPstat and I’m sure they have free customers aplenty, and many of them will go premium in the future.
So I have to give merit where merit is due- SERPstat wins this round!
Overall, I think SEMrush is slightly better. Call me old-fashioned, but I like to see all my data in one sweeping eye swoop, to have a bird’s-eye view of what is going on with my site, and in all departments that interest me.
And then I can choose where to go next.
Also, I’m a link-building fanatic, and SEMrush’s backlink gap tool is too precious to miss out on.
So my vote goes to SEMRush. But if you were to choose SERPstat, you wouldn’t be wrong either.
You might also like to read:
- The Best SEO tool to do Competitor Analysis
- SERPstat Review: Is This All-in-One SEO Tool Right for You?
- SEMrush Review: 5 Best Features of the SEO Tool for Bloggers
- AccuRanker Review: Best Keyword Position Tracker for Bloggers?
Let me know if you agree with me in the comment section below!