Both are among the top-rated SEO and marketing analytics tools, according to countless experts and review sites on the web.
I also rank both of them as the best keyword research tools for serious bloggers.
What makes the two particularly noteworthy are the similarities between them in regards to features.
This post aims to be the tie-breaker that will determine which of the pair deserves your investment.
Let’s get down to it.
Table Of Contents
Introduction to Serpstat and SEMrush
Out of all the marketing tools I’ve covered in this blog, SEMrush and Serpstat are undoubtedly top-tier.
SEMrush is an all-in-one analytics platform that can help with every single facet of digital marketing. Its toolset’s usefulness spans SEO, PPC, social media, content marketing, and competitor research.
Serpstat is also positioned as an all-around platform with features for SEO, PPC, content marketing, and competitor research. It is tailored from the ground up with professional SEO specialists, PPC specialists, content managers, and online marketers in mind.
I’ve been using both platforms for a long time. And based on my experience, here’s how they stack up against each other according to five major factors:
A tool’s user interface directly affects the productivity, efficiency, and experience of the marketer using it.
Now, I don’t think newbies will have problems getting around either SEMrush or Serpstat.
Serpstat’s dashboard, however, is a lot more pleasing to use.
To help me get my point across, let’s do a quick tour of each platform:
SEMrush is by no means hard to use. But put it side by side with Serpstat and it begins to look a little dated and cluttered.
Still, SEMrush deserves props for packing a ton of features in a compact dashboard. Everything you need, from domain analytics tools to reports, can be accessed from the left menu.
To actually use the tool, the initial step is to enter a domain address, keyword, or page URL to the top search bar. Just hit the orange ‘Search’ button to get things rolling.
If you entered a domain, SEMrush will present you with a comprehensive overview page with truckloads of information.
Some of the key information are the site’s organic traffic, backlink profile size, top organic keywords, and some sample ads.
SEMrush tends to condense more information in smaller screen spaces. I’m personally fine with it, but there are bloggers who would prefer a more “modular” presentation of data for visibility.
If you entered a keyword, SEMrush will send you straight to the overview page under ‘Keyword Analytics.’ Again, the page is crammed with useful data from the keyword’s organic search volume to a list of related keywords.
You’ll see a whole lot more of SEMrush’s keyword research features later.
Lastly, if you entered a page URL, SEMrush will show you the “Organic Research” analysis page. This contains the page’s organic keywords, traffic trend, position changes, among others.
Now that we glanced over SEMrush’s interface, let’s take a look at Serpstat.
The first thing you’ll notice is that Serpstat’s overall design scheme looks more refined.
Your main starting point will be the “List of Projects” page. As the name implies, it’s where you have one-click access to all the projects you’ve saved on the platform.
To run a quick analysis with Serpstat, enter a keyword, domain, URL, or URL prefix into the search bar and click ‘Search.’
You may notice that there’s a drop-down menu where you can select the specific type of information you’re searching for. Using it, however, is quite unnecessary since Serpstat will automatically detect the correct type based on what you enter.
Suppose you entered a domain address into the search bar.
Just like SEMrush, Serpstat will take you to an overview that shows the domain’s organic traffic, keywords, and backlink information. The noticeable difference is, the pieces of information are more spaced out and organized.
This slight change in presentation can make the difference between a meaningful research experience and “analysis paralysis.” But then again, experienced SEMrush users probably won’t mind the more condensed pages.
Serpstat also utilizes data visualizations for the domain’s keyword position distribution, traffic trend for the year, and so on. These give you a full, 360-degree view of the domain’s online presence.
Entering a keyword will fire up Serpstat’s “Keyword Research” overview page, which neatly organizes relevant data. This includes the keyword’s search volume, CPC, difficulty rating, related keywords, and the like.
Moving on the single page URLs, Serpstat will show you only the essential information on the overview page. If you want more in-depth stuff, you’ll have to navigate to other pages under the ‘URL Analysis’ sub-menu.
Usability-wise, Serpstat’s responsive and streamlined interface makes it a better choice.
Let’s face it, beginner-friendliness isn’t the priority of SEMrush’s design. And despite offering the same amount of data, Serpstat manages to make everything more readable.
The winner for the usability factor is Serpstat.
2. Keyword Analysis
Keyword research is one of the main reasons why bloggers, marketers, and content experts use SEMrush and Serpstat.
To make this comparison fair and square, we’ll use the same test keyword for both SEMrush and Serpstat.
For the sake of this guide, let’s go with the keyword “blog writing.”
After typing in our test keyword, Serpstat will only take a few seconds to pull up the data you need.
Important metrics such as the keyword’s average monthly volume, competitiveness rating, and difficulty rating are right above the fold.
Serpstat also wastes no time to provide you with related keywords — both for organic and paid visibility. Only each keyword’s monthly search volume and CPC are visible from the overview page, though.
To access more metrics, click ‘Show all’ below the keyword group you want to explore.
Keyword Research Results
What I really like about Serpstat’s keyword research tool is how it keeps everything clean and clear-cut.
The full list of organic keywords also shows each keyword’s competitiveness in PPC, total number of results, and SEO difficulty.
Serpstat will also display “badges” for special blocks in search results, like related keywords, featured snippets, and related questions. These are called SERP or Search Engine Results Page features, which undeniably have a positive impact on click-throughs.
Hover your mouse over these badges to reveal what they stand for:
These details should be sufficient to help you gauge the competition and determine the viability of a keyword for you.
Keyword Research Filters
Although most keyword research tools are comparable in terms of results, there are substantial differences in keyword filter options.
As with every aspect of Serpstat’s interface, its keyword filters also follow the same no-nonsense approach.
At the top of the results page, you can filter keywords based on location right off the bat. Simply click on the right country from the top bar or choose one from the ‘Other’ drop-down menu.
For Serpstat’s complete set of filters, expand the ‘Filter’ drop-down menu below the location buttons.
To create a filter, you need to combine any data item with a condition and then specify a value.
For example, if you want to find keywords with a difficulty rating of 30 or less, set ‘Keywords Difficulty’ as the data item.
On the next drop-down menu, select ‘Less than or equal to’ as the filter condition. And for the value field, go ahead and enter “30.”
Once your filter parameters are set, click ‘Apply filter’ to refresh the page with updated data.
You can add more filters by clicking ‘Add filter’ and specifying if the new rule is optional or not.
Say you want to look for keywords with a maximum difficulty rating of 30 and at least three words. All you have to do is add a new filter using the following settings:
If you’re using Serpstat to do competitive keyword research, you should definitely check the “Missing Keywords” tool.
It allows you to find keyword opportunities that competitors rank for, but not the domain you analyzed. By using it on your own site, you won’t miss out on keywords that rake in traffic for competing brands.
You can use the tool by running a domain analysis and clicking ‘Missing Keywords’ on the ‘URL Analysis’ sub-menu.
To keep the keyword suggestions relevant, Serpstat only includes keywords from the top 10 competitors on search engine results.
Other than the keywords themselves, the missing keywords report also includes useful metrics. Some of which are each keyword’s monthly search volume, CPC, and the “Connection Strength” metric used to determine relevance.
Keyword Clustering and Text Analytics
From an SEO standpoint, diversifying your keyword pool will help you draw in more search engine traffic. However, be sure you’re grouping semantically-related keywords to avoid pulling in the wrong visitors to your site.
The only problem is, grouping keywords is a time-consuming ordeal without a tool capable of automating the matching process.
With “Keyword Clustering and Text Analytics,” you just have to upload your list of keywords and set your grouping preferences. Serpstat will do all the heavy lifting in the background.
Serpstat’s grouping method works by establishing hierarchal clustering that joins together keywords with common URLs in search results. The top 30 search engine results will be considered when looking for keywords that can be clustered.
There are different options when creating keyword clusters with Serpstat.
For instance, the “Weak” clustering mode groups keywords with at least three common URLs. “Strong,” on the other hand, requires keywords to share at least seven.
To create the clusters for these keywords, the “Soft” setting only requires one pair of keywords to form a cluster. The “Hard” setting, however, will only create a cluster if all keywords share three or seven common URLs.
To make full use of your keywords, Serpstat’s “Text Analytics” feature will show you on-page SEO recommendations. It breaks down the specified URL’s content into the title, header, and body before dishing out suggestions.
Like what we’ve seen with SEMrush’s domain overview page, the keyword analytics overview is loaded with in-depth data.
Information such as the keyword’s organic traffic, CPC, and competitiveness for paid listings are found at the top. Akin to Serpstat, SEMrush also provides suggestions in the form of phrase match keywords and related keywords.
Keyword Magic Tool
Typing a keyword directly into the top search bar, however, is the wrong way to use SEMrush for keyword research.
What you need is the ‘Keyword Magic Tool’ found on the ‘Keyword Analytics’ menu.
From there, enter your keyword, click ‘Search,’ and wait for SEMrush to generate a compilation of keyword ideas. Metrics like the keywords’ search volume, CPC, difficulty rating, and competitiveness are displayed as well.
A rather handy feature implemented in the Keyword Magic Tool is the ‘Questions’ tab.
As you may have guessed, switching to this tab will expand your keyword into questions that search users are asking. In addition to the SEO benefits of question-based keywords, this is perfect if you need content topic ideas.
Keyword Research Filters
When it comes to filters, SEMrush’s “Advanced filters” are actually more straightforward than Serpstat’s.
Instead of adding multiple filter layers on top of each other, SEMrush lets you create a single filter with several parameters. You can filter keywords based on search volume, CPC, keyword difficulty, and more.
Oh yeah — you may also scoop up phrase matches, exact matches, related, and broad match keywords using the buttons above.
Comparing Keyword Difficulties
If you got dozens of similar keywords but don’t know which to prioritize, you need the ‘Keyword Difficulty’ tool.
It is a simple tool that lets you compare the difficulty ratings as well as the ranking domains for your keywords.
On the keyword difficulty page, just enter the keywords you want to compare and click ‘Show difficulty.’
SEMrush will then give you a side-by-side comparison of the keywords you entered. Metrics such as the number of search results, difficulty, search results features, and traffic trend are used as bases for comparison.
Unearthing question-based keywords is indeed a useful feature as far as keyword research is concerned. But here’s the thing:
Serpstat can do that as well.
For text analysis, it’s true that SEMrush also has a separate tool called the “SEO Writing Assistant” to match it.
But purely from a keyword research perspective, Serpstat’s algorithm-based keyword clustering feature earns it another win.
3. Domain Analysis
What better way to measure the capabilities of SEO analytics tools than to look at their domain analysis features?
We’ve already briefly touched these features when we talked about usability. This time, we take a step further in testing SEMrush and Serpstat for investigating domains.
When running a domain analysis, Serpstat lets you explore four additional data sections aside from the overview page.
Since covering each of these sections warrant a full-length blog post, I’ll just focus on features that I use regularly.
The ‘Infographics’ section is perhaps the most up-front, so let’s get that out of the way first.
Basically, it’s a compilation of all the visualizations for the domain’s SEO data. It contains infographics like the domain’s visibility trend for the year, traffic trend for the year, and keyword position distribution.
Moving forward, the ‘SEO Research’ menu section can grant you invaluable data that will up your SEO game.
The ‘Top Pages’ list, for one, is a great way to figure out the content strategy that gets websites rankings.
Alternatively, you may check out the ‘Tree View’ for an organized list of content, their keywords, and their current positions.
For me, the tree view report can be used to search for pages that are nearly on Google’s top 10. These are prime SEO opportunities that are almost guaranteed to bring droves of traffic with proper link building.
Before we turn to SEMrush, there’s one Serpstat feature that got my attention.
Below ‘PPC Research,’ clicking on ‘Batch Analysis’ will lead you to where you can compare hundreds of domains simultaneously. The maximum number of domains that you can analyze as a batch is 200 with the right plan.
You can also specify the parameters for comparison by selecting the checkboxes.
Where does Serpstat gather all these data?
To give you a sense of scale, Serpstat currently extracts information from 230 total Google databases. This includes the Google USA database and new databases of every country and state of the world.
There’s no question that SEMrush is an elite SEO analytics tool.
Its domain analytics feature is capable of providing more data than the vast majority of other analytics tools out there.
Digging deeper into the ‘Organic Research’ page, you can find a collection of insights regarding the site’s organic traffic.
Below the fundamental traffic data like traffic cost and branded traffic, you’ll see the site’s top organic keywords and notable position changes. Scrolling down will reveal even more information like the domain’s SERP features, top pages, top subdomains, and primary competitors.
You may have noticed the navigation tabs on top of SEMrush analytics reports. On the organic research page, sections like organic positions, competitors, pages, and subdomains can be retrieved with one click.
SEMrush’s domain analytics tool also comes with a more robust research features for display advertising, product listings, and traffic analysis. Traffic sources, paid search positions, total ad impressions — these let you understand a domain’s visibility on a much deeper level.
SEMrush’s traffic analysis features put it slightly ahead of Serpstat for three reasons:
One, SEMrush takes into account traffic channels like social media sites and direct traffic — not just search results.
Two, identifying your website’s top traffic sources will help you augment them as you scale your efforts.
Three, SEMrush also delivers demographic data such as your audience’s location, age, and browsing device of choice.
On the flip side, Serpstat utilizes data from more Google databases than SEMrush.
If Serpstat can get data from 230 Google databases, SEMrush only has a little over 120 databases. Still, the only way for these extra databases to be useful is if your market is in a country that SEMrush doesn’t have a database for.
4. Competitive Research
If there’s one thing I always do with marketing analytics tools, it’s using them to spy on my top competitors.
Why bother building a strategy from scratch if you can “borrow” what already works for your competitor?
Both SEMrush and Serpstat have tools for each phase of competitive research — from identifying your top competitors to their backlink sources.
To conduct competitive research on Serpstat, a great first step is to identify the top-ranking sites for your target keywords.
Building a project and viewing the traffic by keyword through competitor analysis is a step in the right direction.
You may create a new project from the ‘List of Projects’ page and click ‘Start Tracking’ under the “Positions” column.
The project creation process involves specifying your desired search engines, mentioning your competitors, and so on. You also get to add the keywords you want to track, which also allows you to discover your top competitors.
To do this, go to ‘Competitors’ from the ‘Rank Tracker’ menu section. This will list down 20 sites that rank and get traffic for your tracked keywords — thus, making them your top competitors.
The competitors page of the rank tracker will help you monitor how traffic share fluctuates between sites over time. More importantly, the list of 20 competitors essentially shows you which domains to analyze next with Serpstat.
Also, keep in mind that other Serpstat reports are equipped with competitive analysis functionalities. That being said, a faster way to find competitors is to do keyword research and click ‘Competitors’ below ‘SEO Research.’
You may not get a full breakdown of the competition’s traffic share nor track their performance in the long haul. What you do get, however, is a longer list of competitors that you must analyze with Serpstat.
Other Serpstat tools with a competitors report are backlink analysis and PPC research under keyword research.
To recognize competitors with SEMrush, run the ‘Organic Research’ tool using your domain address and switch to the ‘Competitors’ tab.
Organic research metrics, namely the number of keywords, search engine volume, and traffic cost, are highlighted in the report. A “Competitive Positioning Map” is also rendered to find comparable competitors in terms of organic traffic and keywords.
Below these data sets is the actual list of competitors along with useful metrics that weigh their organic traffic performance. You can find each competitor’s number of common keywords, paid keywords, search traffic volume, and so on.
If you’re looking for competitors from a PPC standpoint, just look for the ‘Competitors’ tab using the ‘Advertising Research’ tool.
SEMrush also has a useful“Keyword Gap” tool that functions pretty much the same as “missing keywords” for Serpstat. What gives it the edge, though, is the “Backlink Gap” tool.
‘Backlink Gap’ under the ‘Gap Analysis’ sub-menu will bring up the interface where you can easily find juicy backlink opportunities. You can enter up to five competitors into the domain fields to divulge where they get backlinks from.
After a few seconds, you will be provided with a detailed list of common referring domains.
You may also click on the values under the sites you’ve mentioned for a closer look at the backlinks. This will help you comprehend how your competitor got the link, what content they used, and which keyword they targeted.
Although Serpstat’s arsenal of competitive research tools is perfectly adequate, SEMrush’s “Backlink Gap” tool is simply too good to miss.
It eliminates a lot of manual work in the process of finding potential backlink sources for your website.
Therefore, if you’re contemplating a major link building campaign in the near future, I would recommend SEMrush for the job.
5. Extra Features
To be perfectly honest, choosing between SEMrush and Serpstat is a lot harder than I initially thought.
After a careful breakdown of how each performs in certain aspects, we arrive at a stalemate.
That’s why, to decide once and for all, I wanted to compare extra features that are often take for granted.
1. Application Programming Interface
If you need API access, SEMrush’s packages are more robust and tailored to your needs. Serpstat’s free API, on the other hand, is for businesses that only need basic API functionalities.
- SEMrush — The SEMrush API allows businesses to extract information from their databases and into a custom application, widget, or dashboard. The amount of data that can be parsed is tracked using units, which can be purchased in batches of 20,000 for approximately a dollar.
- Serpstat — Serpstat also offers an API package that allows businesses to access analytics data while bypassing the web interface. API access is completely free for all premium users except for those with the entry-level “Plan A.”
For API use, SEMrush is more ideal for big business with even bigger needs.
2. Multiple Users
Again, SEMrush’s multiple-user support is costlier than Serpstat, but that doesn’t mean it’s better. Serpstat’s multi-user mode is easier to set up, more cost-effective, and incorporates more collaborative features.
- SEMrush — You can add users to your SEMrush account for a fee and some limitations. Unfortunately, this requires you to contact the SEMrush team via phone or email, which is quite unintuitive.
- Serpstat — With Serpstat’s multi-user mode, you can build custom teams, manage access limits, track usage history, and more. It’s flat-out better across the board than SEMrush’s multi-user feature.
Serpstat’s multi-user mode wins this round.
3. Reporting Filters
Great filter options save you the trouble of combing through heaps of data to find the information you need. As expected from top-tier platforms, both SEMrush and Serpstat implements solid filter tools on all the right places.
- SEMrush — SEMrush’s filter options for backlinks, keywords, referring domains, and other reports perform well. My only gripe is with the keyword filter tool, which lacks the ability to combine different filters in one report.
- Serpstat — The fact that Serpstat has filters in every report within the platform is already impressive. Add the fact that its filter options are more flexible and you should see why I’m siding with Serpstat here.
The winner is Serpstat.
I can’t stress enough that the comparison I’ve written above is based on my personal experience with each tool.
There’s no denying that SEMrush is, truly, an all-around platform for bloggers, marketers, and businesses. There’s nothing you need for SEO or online marketing in general that SEMrush can’t help with.
As a matter of fact, SEMrush is still my go-to platform for my daily marketing analytics and SEO tasks. And I’m sure plenty of bloggers out there agree with me.
But for the majority of cost-conscious bloggers out there, I consider Serpstat to be the more ideal option.
Not only does Serpstat cost less, it’s also a lot easier to learn, use, and be proficient with.
Now, let me ask you:
Which do you think is the better tool for bloggers?
If you have firsthand experience with each tool, chime in by dropping a comment below. Cheers!