Everyone who knows me is aware of my declared love for SEMrush. It’s the first tool I reach for when I need to research a market, check out a client’s website and its competitors. It’s also great at tracking keyword rankings. A valuable tool for any Digital Marketing Strategy specialist.

Imagine how happy I was then when SEMrush began to expand the scope of its already useful package to include several new toys, a Social Media monitoring tool, an SEO improvements suggestions tool, Brand Monitoring and, a real breakthrough, a Backlink Audit and management module.

SEMrush doesn’t, (yet) charge any extra for these additional tools so you’d be a fool not to at least take a look at them.

Now, as a dyed in the wool Majestic enthusiast my standards for backlink analysis are high and I’m afraid to say that if that is where your aspirations are then the SEMrush tool is not likely to set your world on fire. The point is, however, in many cases you just don’t need the super in-depth link analysis that Majestic gives you. For most of my clients, a quick report produced by SEMrush is all I need. These are clients who don’t seem to have any legacy problems with dodgy backlinks and all we are really doing is monitoring them to make sure that no new suspect links appear.

At this stage I should say that there is absolutely no substitute for setting up and regularly checking your Google Search Console because that is the only official channel through which Google will notify you if there is a problem and that have applied one of their “manual actions” for spam activity – which goes much further than just punishing dodgy backlinks, by the way.

Anyway, back to the SEMrush Backlink monitoring tool and why I like it so much. The real reason is that is is relatively quick and easy to use and it can be set to update itself a regular intervals. They haven’t really tackled the need to produce reports from the data and the export facility is still a bit crude. Nonetheless it is a useful tool but there is one aspect to it which makes it especially valuable to me when I’m managing client accounts – the “Toxicity” metric.

SEMrush have included a calculation which takes various factors into account when assessing the ranking value of a link. Just obtaining a backlink in itself does not give your website any SEO benefit, the link needs to be from a high quality donor site with content that is relevant to your own. The Toxic score in SEMrush is an attempt to highlight those backlinks which should be added to your Google Disavow file which can be submitted via your Google Search console in order to minimise or remove the threat of penalties from such low quality links.

All in all this is a useful and very welcome addition to the SEMrush arsenal of SEO tools and I look forward to seeing it develop over the coming months during which time I will revisit this report and keep it up-to-date.

You can try SEMrush for free using the following neat little tool.

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