You know that if you really want to improve your SEO, you need an SEO tool to help you.
While Semrush has been around for longer (since 2008), SE Ranking has also become quite popular in the last few years.
These two tools are both popular among small business owners, bloggers, as well as SEO consultants, and agencies, as they offer a wealth of features for helping you improve your website’s ranking.
But which one is the best? I have used both tools and in this post, I will do a side-by-side comparison of SE Ranking vs Semrush with a focus on their SEO effectiveness.
Let’s get started!
It describes itself as an all-in-1 digital marketing suite, as it offers much more than SEO features.
Besides all the features of SEO like keyword research, competitor research, website audit, on-page checker, and position tracking, Semrush also offers additional features, for example, content optimization tools and link-building opportunities.
Its keyword database, with more than 20 billion keywords, is the largest among all SEO tools, and it also has one of the largest backlink databases, with more than 40 trillion backlinks.
Semrush is a great tool for both beginners and experienced SEOs. I’ve been using Semrush for a few years now, and honestly, can’t do without it now.
If you want to how to use Semrush for SEO in detail, read my full tutorial on the topic.
SE Ranking Overview
Since its launch in 2013, SE Ranking has become one of the most popular SEO tools on the market that can help you to improve your search engine rankings and get more traffic to your website.
It describes itself as an all-in-1 SEO software.
Like other SEO tools, SE Ranking offers all the essential features for keyword research, site audits, competitor analysis, rank tracking, and backlink management.
It is easy to use and has a user-friendly interface.
Its keyword database consists of 7 billion keywords, which can help you find keyword opportunities. It also has a good site audit and on-page SEO checker tool to help you optimize your pages and the site’s technical health.
You can try SE Ranking for free with a 14-day trial.
Read my full SE Ranking review to know more about this tool.
SE Ranking vs Semrush: Summary (TLDR)
Besides the fact that Semrush promises to offer more than just SEO features, both tools so far sound similar in terms of SEO, don’t they?
How do they compare then? Which one to choose?
If you just want a quick summary and don’t want to read the whole post to know who wins in SEO in the battle of SE Ranking vs Semrush, read this:
Semrush is a much more powerful tool than SE Ranking. It lets you conduct very in-depth analyses, gives you powerful insights and recommendations to improve your SEO, and lets you find keyword and link-building opportunities that could help you significantly improve your SEO.
However, starting at $99.95, Semrush is a more expensive tool.
SE Ranking is also a fantastic SEO tool, to begin with. While it is not as powerful as Semrush, it still provides a lot of data and analysis to help you work on your SEO strategy. It is the closest alternative to Semrush in a more affordable price range.
Its user interface is also more beginner-friendly and the tool is also more affordable, with plans starting at $23.
So here’s a one-line recap of SE Ranking vs Semrush:
Semrush: Semrush offers extensive, powerful data, and insights that can help you significantly improve your SEO, but it has a higher price point. It also provides data only for Google. It offers a huge number of features, which is good, but it can take some time to fully understand how to use the tool to get the most out of it.
SE Ranking: SE Ranking offers a reasonable amount of data to start working on your SEO, but it does not have the database or might of Semrush. However, it has a relatively easy user experience and a low price point. It provides data for Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The learning curve is not so high in SE Ranking because its number of features is not as many as Semrush and the insights the tool offers are relatively easy to navigate and master.
In the end, you can only estimate if an SEO tool works for you by trying it out.
Now let’s dig into each feature and see a side-by-side comparison of SE Ranking vs Semrush to help you understand them better.
SE Ranking vs Semrush: Keyword Research
Both SE Ranking and Semrush are great tools for keyword research.
Each offers a variety of features that can help you find the right keywords for your business.
Here are the key features included in Keyword Research for both tools:
Keyword Overview: The Keyword Overview shows you the overall metrics about a keyword including average monthly volume, keyword difficulty, CPC (cost-per-click) for paid traffic.
Semantic Keywords: Keywords related to your main keyword, but may or may not contain the same words. You can see this in SEO tools as Related Keywords.
SERP Analysis: SERP results are the first page of results that you see after typing in a keyword in a search engine. While an actual SERP will include ads, featured snippets, etc., an SEO tool will only show you a list of the organic results for organic search.
Keyword Manager: A keyword manager lets you create lists for your keywords to research, plan, and organize them.
Keyword Gap: The keyword gap allows you to find and analyze the keywords that your competitors are ranking for, but you are not. This is a valuable tool because it allows you to adjust your keyword strategy in order to close the gap and outrank your competitors.
Let’s look at a side-by-side comparison of each of these features.
The Keyword Overview of each SEO tool has three main sections:
- Keyword Overview
- Related keywords
- SERP Analysis
The first part of the Keyword Overview gives you an overall idea about the keyword.
In SEO tools, as you may know, you get volume results by country.
I just ran a search of the keyword ‘best Android phones 2022’, in the USA, and you see the overview provided by the two tools.
Both tools provide the monthly volume for the keyword in the US, the difficulty, and the CPC. While the data don’t exactly match, they are close.
What I love about Semrush here is that it provides the global volume and an immediate snapshot of the volume breakup by country. So you know that maybe the potential of a keyword is not the biggest in one country, there might be other countries that may be interesting to target.
I find this overview more helpful than that of SE Ranking, but of course, if you are looking for data for one country specifically, then the SE Ranking Keyword Overview is also good enough.
What I also like about the Keyword Overview of Semush is that it shows the search intent. In this case, because of the keyword ‘best android phones 2022’, it immediately shows you that it’s a commercial keyword.
Additionally, it shows you the type of featured snippets (SF) the keyword has.SE Ranking vs Semrush 2023: A Detailed Comparison. Who Wins in SEO? Click To Tweet
For example, if Keyword A in Semrush has difficult 50, and Keyword B has 20, then you know one is easier to rank than the other.
The next part of the Keyword Overview shows you the Related Keywords.
Here is how the tools compare:
The related keywords features I love about Semrush are:
Questions: Question-type keywords are very helpful in ranking for featured snippets, and you should definitely include them in your content. In Semrush you can easily find them with one click.
Related keywords: The related keywords in Semrush are also more accurate than a lot of the keywords found in SE Ranking.
Low search volume keywords are great for finding long-tail keywords that you can rank for easier and faster. SE Ranking provides you with these keywords in a separate section. In Semrush you have to filter the volume levels to find low-volume keywords.
This brings us to the next comparison, of finding related and semantic keywords with low competition and high potential.
The tool to find semantic and related keywords in SE Ranking is called Keyword Suggestions and in Semrush is called Keyword Magic Tool.
Both tools offer a lot of related keywords, and you can filter keywords in both tools by:
- Keyword Difficulty
- SERP Features
The biggest difference here is that Semrush is much more powerful. Here’s why:
- Semrush can help you find many more semantic keywords because of its huge keyword database
- You can review and filter keywords by the exact word included, in the left section
- You can filter keywords by intent, so keywords relevant to your blog content or commercial pages
- You can also filter by All Keywords and Questions, moving between Phrase Match, Exact Match, etc. Know more about this in my Semrush tutorial.
One thing I like about SE Ranking, though, is that you can filter by many more featured snippet options than Semrush.
Now let’s look at the SERP overview of the two tools, i.e., the top 10 results in Google for a keyword.
SE Ranking’s Organic Results vs Semrush’s SERP Analysis
In the third section of the Keyword Overview, you see the SERPs, and you can click on them to get detailed reports.
Both SE Ranking and Semrush show the key reports for each of the top-ranking pages:
- Organic Traffic: The amount of traffic that the page gets through organic search
- Keywords: All the keywords that the specific page ranks for
- Page Authority/ Trust: A score on a 100-point scale that indicates how high a page can rank in the SERPs
The only difference is that while Semrush shows you all the backlinks that the page ranks for, SE Ranking shows you how the page has moved in its position rank.
I find both information helpful to investigate further, and so SE Ranking vs Semrush for SERP Analysis would be the same.
More than research, the keyword manager is an organizational tool for keywords, and both Semrush and SE Ranking offer this.
Either you use it or not, and accordingly, it’s either helpful for you or not.
In this aspect too, I don’t find many differences between the two tools.
SE Ranking vs Semrush: Keyword Research Winner
Overall, we see that while both SEO tools offer substantial data on keywords, Semrush provides more extensive and in-depth data, as well as filtering tools, to find the exact information you need.
So for SE Ranking vs Semrush in terms of keyword research, Semrush is the clear winner.
SE Ranking vs Semrush: Rank/ Position Tracking
Rank tracking or position tracking is a feature in SEO tools that lets you track your brand website ranks on search engines for certain keywords over a period of time.
Rank tracking is key to helping you adjust your SEO strategy and therefore is a valuable tool for anyone who is serious about their website’s SEO.
SE Ranking and Semrush both offer this feature and the data they show are:
- Position changes of your website pages over time for specific keywords
- The number of keywords in the top 5, top 10, etc.
- Pages and keywords that rank for featured snippets
You just have to add the domain you want to track as a project and add the keywords you want to track it for.
You can track your rankings every 7 days, 30 days, and other periods of time.
The rank tracking of both SE Ranking and Semrush is pretty accurate.
What I like more about SE Ranking is that it breaks up your keyword position in more brackets. While Semrush only does Top 3, Top 10, Top 20, and Top 100, SE Ranking gives you positions Top 1, Top 2-3, Top 4-5, etc.
Another advantage of SE Ranking’s Rank Tracker is that it lets you track keywords not just on Google, but also on Google Mobile and Yahoo.
Semrush on the other hand provides more insights about position tracking:
- Competitors that rank for the same keywords as your domain and in which position.
- The keywords from your list that have gained a featured snippet in Google or lost it.
- Opportunities for your domain to rank in more featured snippets.
A helpful feature in the Semrush Guru plan is the Keyword Cannibalization feature, which helps you check if your domain has two pages competing to rank for the same keyword.
You can check out this feature with a 14-day free trial of the Guru plan.
! Note that the Guru plan has a much higher price point, though.
SE Ranking vs Semrush: Rank Tracking Winner
Though I really like the interface of SE Ranking’s tool and the data presentation, I have to go with Semrush as the winner for Position Tracking because of the additional insights it provides.
The recommendations from the Featured Snippets tool have helped me to improve my positions for multiple keywords.
SE Ranking vs Semrush: Competitor Research
To win in SEO, it’s important to stay ahead of domains that compete with yours. By understanding what your competitors are doing, you can learn from their successes and avoid their mistakes.
Both SE Ranking and Semrush offer valuable insights into your competitor’s SEO activities.
Just go to the Competitor Research section of each tool and enter a competitor domain.
The report overview that both the tools offer are:
- Total monthly organic traffic received by a domain
- Distribution of the organic traffic by country
- Change in traffic over different periods of time
- Organic keywords that the domain ranks for
- Distribution of the keywords within the top 10, top 50, and more in SERP
- SERP features that the domain ranks for
- Organic competitors of the domain, i.e., competitors of the domain in organic search
- Top pages in organic search, i.e., the organic traffic received by each page
- Paid competitors of the domain, i.e., competitors of the domain in paid search
However, there are additional data that Semrush provides with its Traffic Analytics and Organic Research Report that is not available on SE Ranking.
Some of these insights include:
1. User engagement: How the visitor to your competitor’s domain engages with the website. These include metrics like:
- Unique visitors
- Pages/ Visit
- Average Visit Duration
- Bounce Rate
It is almost like having a peek into the Google Analytics report of your competitor without having access to it!
You can compare these metrics to the Google Analytics data of your own website and revise your SEO strategy as necessary.
2. Keywords by intent: The distribution in the types of keywords your competitor ranks for.
3. Traffic share by device: Whether their traffic comes mostly from desktop or mobile.
4. Traffic sources: The type of traffic that your competitor gets most, organic, direct, etc.
SE Ranking vs Semrush: Competition Research Winner
Honestly, the data that Semrush provides to gain insights about a competitor domain or URL can change the very fundamentals of your SEO strategy and make it much more targeted and effective.
Semrush is hands down the winner in competition research.
SE Ranking vs Semrush: Backlink Analysis
Backlinks are crucial for SEO, which makes backlink analysis an essential part of any SEO campaign. By understanding what types of links your competitors have, you can identify opportunities to build similar (or better) links for your own site.
Semrush and SE Ranking both provide a feature to analyze your competition, and the key data they both provide are:
- The number of domains and pages linking to a certain domain or page
- The link attributes, i.e., whether the links are follow or nofollow
- The type of links, whether they are texts or image links
- The anchor text, which is the piece of text on a web page that contains the link to another domain
However, there are some key differences between the insights provided by the two tools:
- Semrush has a much larger backlink database, with which it can find more opportunities for backlinks. In the screenshot below, for example, Semrush has found 20 million backlinks to a domain whereas SE Ranking has found 10 million.
- Semrush’s filtering options lets you track links depending on which kind of site they are in, and also which kind of page they feature in. For example, you can see backlinks to a domain coming from a header of a message board, or a sitewide link coming from an Ecommerce site.
- Whereas SE Ranking provides you data only on Follow or Nofollow links, Semrush also lets you track links that are sponsored or user-generated.
- In Semrush you can also choose the language of the referring page and use Advanced Filters to check if the link is a text, image, form, or frame one.
The backlink gap feature in SEO tools helps you to compare the number of backlinks that your website has with that of your competitors. This is a useful metric to track as it can give you an indication of where your website stands in terms of link popularity and help you to identify opportunities to build more links.
SE Ranking and Semrush can both provide data on which domains link to your competitors but not to yours.
Semrush has an added edge here that it can help you filter the backlinks to see which ones are the best for you to target. You can also filter the results by authority score of the domain.
SE Ranking vs Semrush: Backlink Analysis Winner
SE Ranking offers quite a lot of data on backlinks for each domain, but Semrush will have to win this round because of the detailed insights and the filtering options it provides.
SE Ranking vs Semrush: Site Audit
A site audit is a comprehensive report on the health and performance of your website. It can be used to identify technical issues, content problems, and areas where your site needs improvement.Site audits are an important part of any SEO strategy, as they can help you identify and fix problems that could be holding your site back from its full potential. #siteaudit #seo Click To Tweet
These are the key data that both Semrush and SE Ranking provide:
- Overall website health
- Missing title tags and meta descriptions
- Broken links
- Orphan pages
- Duplicate content
SE Ranking vs Semrush: Site Audit Winner
While I found the data on Semrush to be slightly more accurate based on a few site audits, overall I find both the tools to provide enough adequate data to improve site health.
I would rate SE Ranking and Semrush as being on par when it comes to website audits.
SE Ranking vs Semrush: On-Page Checker
The on-page checker is a feature that some tools like SE Ranking and Semrush have that allows you to identify potential areas of improvement for the on-page SEO of each page on your website.
Some of the insights that Semrush provides to improve your on-page SEO are:
SE Ranking On-Page Checker
The SE Ranking On-page SEO Checker gives you first a score of your on-page performance and then recommendations to improve various aspects of your on-page SEO, based on the top 5 SERP competitors of the page you are analyzing.
- Page Experience
- Internal and external links
- SERP Features
- Meta tags
Semrush On-Page Checker
Semrush divides its on-page SEO recommendations into 7 brackets:
- Technical SEO
- SERP Features
It can include a mix of recommendations for each page of your site to make it rank higher on SERP and get more organic traffic. The Checker compares your site (or URL) to the top 10 pages in the SERP for different keywords based on each page URL.
SE Ranking vs Semrush: On-page SEO Checker Winner
Just like Site Audit, I find the On-Page SEO Checker of both tools to be quite on par.
Semrush’s Checker is, however, more intuitive and lets you dig much deeper into each page and each recommendation.
Additionally, you can connect your Semrush plan to your Google Analytics and Search Console.
Once you do that, the On-Page Checker automatically gives you on-page SEO recommendations based on the keywords through which visitors land on your page.
I would say Semrush is the winner in this comparison too.
SE Ranking vs Semrush: User experience & interface
Both SE Ranking and Semrush offer a wealth of features and functionality, but they have very different interfaces and also different approaches when it comes to user experience.
SE Ranking User Experience & Interface
The interface of SE Ranking is clean and streamlined, making it easy to find the features you need.
The dashboard is simply divided into a top bar where you immediately see the important tools like Keyword Research, Competitive Research, etc.
And if you want to track your project, then you have the entire set of features on your left. The menu opens up into detailed reports when you click on one main tool.
The data presentation is also very visual and easy to navigate.
If you are new to SEO or haven’t used an SEO tool before, you don’t need to worry as SE Ranking is very user-friendly and easy to navigate.
Semrush User Experience & Interface
Semrush, on the other hand, divides its features into toolkits.
You have the SEO toolkit with its sub-features, the Competitor Research toolkit, the On-Page & Tech SEO toolkit, and so on.
The sub-features of each are immediately visible and you can simply click on it to get the insights you want.
However, I find the data presented a little less visual. It’s more numbers and charts, and you have to take your time and go through the information, to get the insights you want.
There are more options and settings, which can be overwhelming for some users. So there is a higher learning curve. However, once you get the hang of it, Semrush is quite intuitive and easy to navigate.
SE Ranking vs Semrush: User experience Winner
So, which tool is better?
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use tool with a straightforward interface, SE Ranking is a great option. Get a 14-day free trial and check it out for yourself! It is definitely the winner in this segment!
If you don’t mind taking your time learning how to use Semrush because you’re looking for a more powerful tool with more features, Semrush is worth checking out. Start with a 14-day free trial.
SE Ranking vs Semrush: Additional Features
In this section of the SE Ranking vs Semrush comparison, I will mention the other features that the tools offer.
Advertising Research: Both SE Ranking and Semrush provide metrics about paid traffic, cost-per-click data, and click-through data, to help you make informed decisions about your AdWords campaigns. To be honest, I haven’t tried this feature and don’t plan to try it also soon, so I can’t tell you how they compare and which is better.
In this post, I only focus on the SEO features.
Social Media Integration: Both platforms offer tools to manage your social media presence. You can schedule, post, and track content on social media. Semrush lets you post on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, whereas SE Ranking provides integration with only Twitter and Facebook.
SE Ranking Additional Features
The Keyword Grouper tool is a keyword clustering tool that lets you group keywords from the SERP data so you can avoid keyword cannibalization and improve your on-page SEO.
Search Engine Autocomplete
The Search Engine Autocomplete feature guesses the next word or phrase of a query you start typing in a search engine. The SE Ranking Search Engine Autocomplete feature gets its data from both Google and Bing.
Index Status Checker
The Index Status Checker lets you check if a page is indexed by search engines. You can choose Google, Yahoo, or Bing as your search engine.
Search Volume Checker
The Search Volume Checker gives you the search volume for keywords based on Google’s Keyword Planner data.
The Marketing Plan feature of SE Ranking is a checklist of steps you need to take for your SEO. If you have experience in SEO or have already developed an SEO strategy you don’t really need this a lot.
But if you are new to SEO, this is a great and helpful starting point!
Semrush Additional Features
The Semrush backlink audit tool makes it easy to assess the quality of your incoming links. The aim is to identify any links that are harmful or come from low-quality websites so you can disavow or remove them.
Link Building Tool
The link-building tool of Semrush is designed to help you find and create high-quality backlinks to your website. With this tool, you can search for link opportunities by type of link, identify the outreach method you want to use, and even contact them directly through the Semrush interface (though I don’t recommend that).
SEO Content Marketing Template and the SEO Writing Assistant
The SEO Content Marketing Template is a great tool to create well-optimized content. It provides you recommendations to optimize your content based on the top 10 results in search engines. You can also download the template in PDF form to share with content creators.
The SEO Writing Assistant helps you to actually write your SEO content so that it’s optimized for search engines. It also gives you suggestions on the tone of voice, and the number of words.
SE Ranking vs Semrush: Pricing
Now that we’ve seen a lot of their features, let’s compare the pricing of these two tools.
SE Ranking Pricing
SE Ranking has three pricing plans.
Essential Plan: You can track up to 750 keywords, and get all the basic SEO features of Keyword Research, Competitive Research, Site Audit, and SERP Analyzer. You can add up to 10 projects for monitoring and tracking. The cheapest pricing for this plan starts at $23.52 per month, if you get reports weekly, and pay annually.
Pro Plan: If you need to track more than 750 keywords, or an unlimited number of projects, or additional features like historical data, organic SERP history, more users, and white label reporting, the Pro plan is best for you. It starts at $52.32, for weekly reports and annual payments.
Business Plan: The Business plan of SE Ranking offers all the features the tool has to offer, and more limits on each tool. Its biggest difference with the Pro plan is that it has higher limits on all the features, and it also includes API. The Business plan of SE Ranking starts at $114.72 for annual payments and weekly reports.
What is especially nice about SE Ranking is that it lets you choose your pricing plan as per your needs. Your price changes depend on the keywords you want to track and the frequency of your payments.
Read the complete details in my post on SE Ranking pricing.
Semrush also has three levels of pricing based on the features it offers.
Pro: The Semrush Pro plan starts at $108.33 per month if you pay yearly. It covers all the basic features of SEO including keyword research, competitor research, backlink analysis, and site audit. It even includes limited use of the Content Marketing Template and SEO Writing Assistant. In the Pro plan, you can add up to 5 projects for tracking.
Guru: The Guru plan starts at $208.33 for an annual subscription. It includes higher limits on the Pro features, full use of the Content Marketing Toolkit, and also historical data.
Business: The Semrush Business plan starts at $416.66 for annual subscriptions. Besides all the Guru features, it also includes API access and free migration from third-party tools.
SE Ranking vs Semrush: Pricing Winner
SE Ranking is cheaper, so at first look, it seems it is definitely the winner in the price comparison.
However, it is difficult to declare a pricing winner because more than pricing, it should be a cost-benefit analysis.
If you are looking for a beginner tool for your SEO efforts, SE Ranking would be the clear winner. It provides just enough features at a very low price point. Low cost, medium benefits. What I also like about it, though, is the flexible pricing, to match exactly what you need.
But if you want to get in-depth insights, you need a mighty tool like Semrush. High cost, high value.
Only you can decide which one wins in this aspect.
SE Ranking vs Semrush: Conclusion and overall winner
Semrush is a much more powerful tool for SEO, hands down. I swear by it.
But here’s the thing. It may not be the best tool for you.
Truth be told, SE Ranking and Semrush are both winners. They each have their strengths and reasons to be chosen.
Especially if you are a small business owner/ solopreneur just getting started with SEO, and want to get SEO wins within a small budget, you are much better off with SE Ranking. It is truly a fantastic tool for SEO. You don’t need Semrush. It is also helpful if you need Bing or Yahoo data which Semrush doesn’t provide.
But if you are a (pro) blogger, content marketer, or SEO writer, you know your way around SEO and you can make a higher investment to get higher returns, quickly, you may find SE Ranking a little more limited than Semrush.
If you are still not sure/ convinced, just try out both the tools for free and then make a decision.