SEM Rush Review

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SEM Rush is a competitive research tool which helps webmasters map out the competitive strategy of top ranked competing sites in the search results. They track AdWords, Google organic search results & Bing results. Bing is currently limited to the US market, but on Google they offer the following databases:

  • US
  • UK
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • France
  • Russia
  • Brazil

In total SEM Rush tracks over 95 million keywords. One subscription gives you access to all regional databases, their API & more recently they started testing adding link data as well. They offer 10,000 results per search on their basic plan, 30,000 results on their pro plan & also off custom access. On any access level you can dig through data for a site, compare sites against one another, and compare organic search versus AdWords data (even across websites).

Unique Features

  • Few competitive research tools offer as many regional database options as SEM Rush does.
  • In addition to offering a database of keywords that a site ranks for on the top couple pages, SEM Rush also offers a database of keywords where a site ranks in the top 200 search results for.
  • Their keyword database is also larger than many competing services.
  • They have cool features for highlighting the overlap of keywords between sites. Not only do they compare organic vs organic, but they also allow you to compare organic keywords for one site versus the AdWords keywords for another.

One of the few desirable features that is not available by default is the ability to compare a site’s current performance in-depth against how it performed at various points in the past. They do offer great charts for historical performance, but the current interface does not let you download lists of keywords & rankings for periods deep into the past.


SEM Rush has strong usability. Their online interface makes it easy to compare websites, sort data within their tables, and exporting data is as easy as a click of a button.


Review Video

Coming soon.



SEM Rush scrapes data from AdWords to help estimate keyword value & keyword search volumes. They also scrape search results to determine what sites rank for what keywords & what keywords those sites show up for as AdWords ad buyers.


SEM Rush’s database is over 95 million keywords. As points of comparison, …

  • when Google’s Nick Fox spoke at SES San Jose in 2009 he stated that in the English language there were about 30 million phrases in the English language AdWords auction.
  • Google powers over 3 billion searches per day. Over the years they have estimated the range of unique queries from anywhere in the 15% to 25% range (though many longtail keywords are so rarely searched for that ads do not match against them unless an advertiser uses broad matched ad targeting options).


SEM Rush tends to update their data every 1 to 2 months. Their homepage lists the last update date on it near the search box. In some cases though (like when trying to see what your keyword ranking profile looked like before a penalty or major algorithmic update) having data that is a month or so old can be a benefit.

SearchMetrics is one of the few competitors that updates far more frequently, with a weekly data refresh. Ahrefs updates their ranking data about every other week or so.

Usage Strategies


Tips & Ideas

These are some example ideas for competitive research tools, though the list of uses is nearly endless & only limited by your creativity.

  • Find new competitors & keyword areas they were targeting that you had thusfar missed & create content around them.
  • Compare the organic search performance of one site against the AdWords performance of another site & use the data to improve your strategy.
  • If your site (or a client site) has been penalized & you are struggling with determining where you have fallen, you can export the data from SEM Rush & then run that through a rank checker to compare the ranking lists (perhaps in Excel) & isolate the issue.
  • If a competing site has been penalized & opened up space in the search results you can download their old ranking data to find some related keywords to target.


  • When evaluating data from SEM Rush, keep in mind that they are not sniffing end user data directly, and thus they are estimating clickthrough rates from search engines based on across-the-board clickthrough rate estimates. The actual CTR for any individual keyword may vary greatly depending on:
    • The number (and size) of AdWords ads that appear above the search results.
    • The insertion of Google’s various vertical results in the search results.
    • The intent of a query. For navigational keywords like [YouTube] most people will click on the official site. However for more informational search queries people will click lower into the result set.
    • If Google inserts the “answer” to the query in the search results (like with stock quotes) most people may not click through to other listings.
  • Many 3rd party estimates of search volume are also driven from Google data, so if Google puts any noise in there then that also carries on through to sites that leverage / build upon the data Google offers.

Sign Up


SEM Rush has a non-recurring option for $79.95 per month. If you sign up on a recurring basis they knock $10 off the price & make it only $69.95 per month. Their guru access level costs $149.95 per month, which allows you to export 3x as much data & run up to 5 concurrent connections. All of their membership levels come with API access. SEM Rush also offers custom one-off reports & other custom enterprise level access options.

Free Trial

SEM Rush offers a free 2-week trial. You can access it here.

Discounts & Coupons

Generally speaking, their free 14-day trial is their most popular coupon code, however if you know of any other current promotions please add them to our comments section & we will add them here. 🙂

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