Using SEMRush for keyword research is considered to be the holy grail by many digital marketers. Whether you’re keeping tabs on the competition, performing on-page and off-page search engine optimization or determining bidding amounts on keyword phrases, SEMRush has an answer to just about any question you might have when it comes to stepping up your digital marketing game. However, for the freelance digital marketer it can be costly with monthly subscriptions starting at a little more than $100 a month, encouraging users to search for a SEMRush alternative that doesn’t break the bank. In my research I stumbled upon Keysearch, a keyword research seo tool that offers much of the same functionality as SEMRush for a fraction of the cost at just $17 a month.
While Keysearch isn’t as robust as SEMRush or Ahrefs for updating old content for SEO, it offers the core essentials for a digital marketer looking to perform on-page SEO or competitive analysis to effectively rank for keywords. As you might know, most web traffic still comes from organic search and a significant portion of clickthrough’s are on the first search engine results pages, making it of vital importance that your web pages are at least ranking on the first page of Google or Bing.
When performing research on keywords you want to rank for, the first step is to look at low competition, long tail keyword phrases that garner a decent chunk of monthly web traffic. Some digital marketers will enter phrases into the Google search results to see what popular phrases come up and then use Google Search Console to determine the monthly traffic of those keywords, which can sometimes be inaccurate and time consuming.
Keysearch offers a browser extension that lists related search term phrases along with their monthly volume, CPC and PPC, saving time in determining what keyword phrase you want your web page to rank for when you’re in the first stages of crafting it.
Once you have a selected keyword phrase, it’s a matter of plugging it into the Keysearch platform for a quick SERP Analysis, which shows you what the keyword difficulty is for that phrase along with the pages that are currently ranking on the first page for that keyword phrase.
Keysearch is great because it shows a competition score on a scale of 0-100 for that keyword and if your website has a chance at effectively competing for that phrase in its Keyword Difficulty Checker Tool. As an example, the term “semrush alternative” has a monthly volume of 1300 and a competitive score of 35, making it a great term to compete for when performing my on-page optimization for this article. If the term was highly competitive, Keysearch displays similar keyword phrases that you can filter for the number of keywords, CPC, PPC and competitive score. It also shows in the dashboard other related search term phrases and the web pages that are currently ranking in the top 10 search results on Google.
For the SERP Analysis of the dashboard, Keysearch displays the following rankings for the sites you’re trying to outrank for a keyword phrase:
The main question that should come to mind when performing on-page SEO is “Can I create better content that’s more optimized than that of my competitors?” which makes the SERP Analysis portion of Keysearch the cornerstone of your keyword research.
You can export a CSV or a PDF file containing the details about the Keyword found in the dashboard, as well as get Keyword data and keyword suggestions from Google Adwords Keyword Planner, YouTube Suggest, Bing Suggest, Keysearch Database and a few others.
The Quick Difficulty Tracker Tool allows you to check the difficulty and volume for one keyword at a time, which can be a huge time-saver if you’re using the tool to bulk-check the difficulty of up to 50 keywords at once.
The Keyword Research portion of Keysearch also allows you to Brainstorm topics that are currently trending in the digital sphere. By typing an idea and Keysearch will aggregate the most popular Twitter and Google Trends, creating ideas for content that will resonate with your audience.
One of the main uses of SEMRush is its ability to analyze a website to determine what keywords it’s ranking for, the number of backlinks it has, how it’s ranking and what its top competitors are in SERPs.
Keysearch offers this functionality; whether you’re using it for your own website or you’re looking to analyze your competitor, you can track your domain strength and what keyword score you can successfully compete for.
A gripe that I have with SEMRush is how it aggregates backlinks, which I’ve found to be somewhat inaccurate, whereas Keysearch seems to be more realistic in determining what Nofollow and Dofollow links you have pointed at your website when you're link building.
You can use Keysearch to filter and view 50, 100, 250, 1000 or all the backlinks at once alongside exporting the backlinks of any website or landing page.
Without going into the Google Search Console you can check to see what keywords your website is currently ranking for and how much estimated traffic your website should be receiving for those keywords.
It also provides a quick ranking distribution bar table to glance at for any ranking changes and optimization opportunities.
Like I mentioned earlier, Keysearch offers a competitive analysis tool to check specific backlinks, how you’re ranking in comparison to your competition with organic keywords, your competitor gap, URL metrics and a page analyzer feature.
Performing competitor analysis is extremely important when it comes to SEO and Keysearch will highlight what you both rank for, how you rank for those keywords and what your domain strength, or the quality of your website, is compared to that of the competition. By using the competitive analysis tool you can check to see what keywords your competition is ranking for that your site isn’t and perform on-page optimization accordingly.
If you’re trying to break into the digital video space, Keysearch has a Youtube Research tab that acts in a similar way to the Keyword Research portion of the dashboard. It comes with a table just like the Keyword Analysis Tool and will display the URLs of the videos you’re competing with along with other metrics like Video Age, Likes, Dislikes, Comments and if the keyword is in the title or description.
Like the Keyword Research Tool there is a quick difficulty checker and a keyword suggestion box with multiple keywords that you might want to consider.
Once you’ve created or updated your content, Keysearch has a Rank Tracking Feature where you can see if your optimization efforts are successful or not. Once you add a keyword and URL to this portion of the dashboard, Keysearch will track that page for any position changes for that keyword, showing you where you rank for that keyword, the monthly search volume and your page authority. You can also set it up to receive email notifications when there are any changes in ranking for that keyword.
Large spikes and drops are common in this portion of the tool, but that’s normal as Google likes to temporarily move your SERP positioning to see how it performs higher up in the rankings.
A new feature that Keysearch is beta testing is its Content Assistant Tool. It’s great for plugging in a keyword phrase to see the average word count for the Google 1st page web page results and must have LSI keywords that are most commonly used within the 1st page results of Google. All you do is copy and paste your content into the dashboard and it will highlight keyword opportunities and how you stack up with the competition in the LSI keywords you have included in your content.
The Content Assistant Tool also highlights suggested keyword phrases to include in your URL or as sub-heads on your page, relevant content snippits from the SERP Top Pages, and popular questions found on your topic to also include as good sub-heads.
Keysearch is the perfect altnerative to SEMRush or Ahrefs. While SEMRush offers a more robust dashboard with a lot more features, Keysearch also offers much of the core essentials that are the staple to any optimization efforts. Both offer competition monitoring to take a quick look at the overall performance of your competition’s web presence such as keywords, where they rank and the value of those keywords. I find the backlinking feature of Keysearch to be more accurate than SEMRush, as I don’t entirely understand how SEMRush goes about compiling backlinks for websites. They both offer the ability to distinguish between worthy and spam backlinks that might be pulling down the credibility of your website and what kind of backlinks are drawing more traffic for you.
Keysearch offers many high-quality features to up your seo efforts with a simple dashboard design that’s beginner-friendly and user-oriented. The dashboard is user-friendly, you can sign up for a free trial to determine if it’s the right solution for you, they have an active support staff, multiple tutorial videos and are constantly updating their system to offer new tools and increasing search limits. Keysearch’s only pitfall is that the website title is not visible in the Search Results table, showing URLs instead of the webpage titles which makes for trickier comparisons. This is being rectified in the Content Assistant Tool, but it’s still in beta testing so that may change in the future.
As far as pricing goes, Keysearch pricing is $17 per month or a discounted price of $169 per year for its starter pack, which gives you access to all of Keysearch’s features like 200 daily searches with analysis, 20 daily super searches and 80 rank tracker keywords. The pro pack costs $34 for the monthly subscription with a discounted annual price of $279, which provides 500 daily searches with analysis, 50 daily super searches and 200 rank tracker keywords, making it a much more cost-effective option when compared to Ahrefs or SEMRush. It's not difficult to find a Keysearch discount code, making the overall price even cheaper if you stumble upon a Keysearch coupon code.
What did you think of my Keysearch review? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!