Does Semrush Accurately Measure Website Traffic?

Recently a client asked me why their traffic was low. They were looking at a report in SEMrush. However, SEMrush does not measure traffic.

Semrush is a great tool I use at least once a week to “spy” on other websites. It has its place, but more on that later.

I will admit, I was personally very confused when presented with this neat little chart that you see as soon as you punch in a domain name.

sem1*Never* measure your traffic with SEMrush

In SEMrush’s own words: “You will always want to go off of your internal analytics rather than what shows up under the Organic Positions report.”  This is verbatim from their FAQ here.

SEMrush is used for competitive analysis, not for measuring your traffic. To measure traffic, the best tool is Google Analytics, which provides significantly more information than most people could ever want or need. I can tell you right now who is on my website, where they are located, if they are on an iPad 3 or a Windows 10 computer, how they arrived, how much time they spent on a page and sometimes their age.

While it is impossible for SEMrush to accurately display your traffic, you can still get a general idea of how competitors are doing and if they are gaining or losing traction.

But it looks like SEMrush measures traffic!

SEMrush provides a chart. At first glance, it looks like a traffic report. This is actually a “Organic Positions report”. The Organic Positions report is a report based on “some” keywords in the SEMrush database.

Using the image above as an example, you would think the domain is getting 1,500 hits per month. In reality, this domain receives around 6,250 hits per month.

What is SEMrush good for?

Most people don’t need it. I personally use it all the time, and if you’re an SEO person you already know what it is.

I primarily use it to look spy on people’s backlinks (I can usually see about 20% of a site’s links via SEMrush). I also use it to look at keywords people are targeting, and anchor text people use when they obtain links to their site. Of course, there are many more neat features as well.

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