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Serpstat Review: The SEMRush & Ahrefs Alternative You Need?

Keyword research is the backbone of the modern website. Without proper keyword research, you'll spend months or years doing what will take a better-researched site weeks to achieve.

But as the website landscape grows more competitive, we have to add more tools to our inventory. Keyword research may be one of our most useful tools, but it's less and less able to be our only tool.

So we add in SERP analysis, backlink checking, website diagnostics. All of these things are great, but they find their greatest strength when they are all combined. It's hard to fail when you are doing keyword research, checking the SERPs for competition or opportunities, building links, monitoring your progress, and adjusting your strategy.

Instead of one tool, you need a suite of them.

In this post, we're going to be taking a look at one of the up-and-coming SEO research tools. It has keyword research, SERP analysis, backlink checking, and a site audit tool. 

This Serpstat review is going to be taking a look at how Serpstat compares with other SEO research tools like KWFinder, Long Tail Pro, SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Jaaxy. I'm going to look at who Serpstat is best for and the unique features it offers in comparison to other tools. Last, I'm going to look at Serpstat's price and if it's worth the money.

Let's get started. You can click here to try Serpstat for free and follow along in the review.

try serpstat for free
  • Ease of Use - 95
  • Power - 90
  • Variety of Tools - 75
  • Price - 100
90

Summary

Serpstat is a viable alternative to tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs. It costs less and allows you to research keywords, analyze SERPs, run PPC campaigns, and get your site healthy. You can click here to try Serpstat for free.

Pros

  • Lots of power for the price
  • Strong keyword research
  • Detailed SERP analysis
  • Great site audit tool

Cons

  • Backink metrics aren't any good
  • Customer support may be slow in your American time zones

Serpstat First Glance

When you first go to Serpstat's home page, you'll see something that looks like this.

serpstat home page

I like this home page because it allows you to get started on Serpstat with no delay. You can type in a seed keyword (as I did) and you're off to the races.

One thing I want to point your attention to us the upper menu part of the screen. You can see there are options to access “Features, Blog, Prices, Use Cases” and more. Some may like that it's very easy to get anywhere on the website from the home page. Others may feel like it's a little cluttered and too many options.

For instance, I didn't know the difference between “Features” and “Tools” when I got on the first page. No clue at all what a “Use Case” is. If you are signed in as I am in the screenshot above, you have an option for “List of Projects”.

So there may be a bit of a learning curve, but it's no problem. Let's move on and take a look under the hood.

Serpstat Review: SEMRush & Ahrefs Alternative?

Serpstat works as a suite of tools: keyword research, SERP analysis, backlink checking, site auditing, and competitor spying. It's best compared to SEMRush or as an Ahrefs alternative. These tools are pretty similar in purpose, but how do they rank in terms of power and raw data?

We'll get started with the keyword research feature.

Serpstat Keyword Research Tool

To get started with keyword research, you can type in a keyword into the search bar on the home page. I used the keyword “protein”.

serpstat protein

I'm pretty pleased with the result there. Overview for the keyword includes search volume, competition, estimated Cost Per Click (CPC) and the difficulty if you want to rank on the first search engine results page ( SERP).

Take a look at how many organic keywords that Serpstat is showing for the seed keyword “protein”. I don't care how much content you're producing, 1,049,672 keywords is a ton.

But how does it compare to SEMRush and Ahrefs?

When I typed in “protein” to SEMRush, I got…

semrush keyword protein

A grand total of 819,214. Not bad at all. What about Ahrefs?

ahrefs keyword protein

Almost 2 million. A grand total of 1,989,278 if you want to be exact.

There's obviously a pretty big difference between 1,989,278 and 819,214. But what does that difference mean for you and your keyword research?

This is where we need to separate absolute difference and functional difference. Absolute difference measures the exact number difference between the number of suggested keywords. Functional difference measures how much of an impact the absolute difference makes on your business.

While the absolute difference between Serpstat (1,049,672) and SEMRush (819,214) is big, the functional difference is small.

Let's be honest: how many articles are you going to write about protein on your site? Probably less than 10. But to show you how little the absolute difference matters, let me give you an example.

In this example, we're going to go big, huge. We're going to say that you're going to write more than 1,000 articles about protein!

(By the way, Niche Pursuits has been around since 2011 and has 654 published articles if you include podcasts).

But you're going huge, bigger than Niche Pursuits at 1,000 articles about protein. And by some miracle, you manage to include 50 secondary keywords about protein in each article. So you have a total of 50,000 keywords all targeting protein. 

That means that even if you go with SEMRush's “small” 819,214 keywords, you are still going to have more options than you can handle. You will still have over 700,000 keywords that you can target.

And I can tell you from experience: you aren't going to write 1,000 articles about protein. You won't be able to put 50 secondary keywords in each article.

When it comes down to it, you might need about a hundred keywords revolving around protein. That's why even though KWFinder returns just 700 keywords, I still use it. 700 is more than enough.

The absolute differences are pretty big here, but the functional differences aren't. Serpstat returns more than enough keywords. So instead of getting bogged down in measuring who returns the most keywords for a query, let's look at how good those keywords are.

Serpstat Keyword Quality

When I say that I'm looking for keyword quality, what I mean is that I am looking for different varieties of keywords. I want informational keywords like questions or how to guides. But I also want keywords with a buying intent.

Buying intent is important for an affiliate site. There are plenty of people who make a killing on display ads. Jon Dykstra is one of these guys. But why limit yourself to one source of income? Affiliate marketing is a viable stream of revenue for your business and I like to see when keyword research tools make it easy to find products that I can recommend.

Buyer intent is when someone searches a keyword because they are looking to make a purchase. This would be a “best x for y” article or product reviews. Odds are good that you're reading this serpstat review because you're looking for an all-in-one SEO tool. That's buying intent.

So we're looking for informational keywords and buyer intent keywords. I also like for a keyword to be long tail. Long tail keywords have low search volume and low competition. They are great targets for a niche website.

When I search “protein”, here's what I get.

serpstat protein resutls

Now I only get 10 keywords because I'm on the free plan, but that's plenty for our purposes. Right off the bat, I see a few keywords that I like.

“Highest protein food” is informational and pretty long tail. “Protein shaker”, “whey protein”, and “the best protein powder” are all high buyer intent, but only “the best protein powder” is long tail. One thing I like here is that Serpstat shows you the special blocks in any SERP. 

Special blocks are things like featured snippets or a “People Also Ask…” result on search engine pages. If you go to Google and search “avocado”, you get a couple of these special blocks.

google featured snippets

Serpstat shows you how many of these special blocks are featured in each SERP and what the special blocks are. This is a useful tool for figuring out how many clicks each result gets in the SERPs.

When Google provides a lot of info for users without the users having to click, it means that each search results gets less clicks. So if you see a target keyword with featured snippets, product boxes, “People Also Ask” boxes, and image carousels, then you can bet than even #1 doesn't get a lot of clicks.

You can find this information in Serpstat by hovering over the 3 dots to the right of each keyword.

serpstat deeper analysis

And then you get to see what special boxes exist in SERPs. 

Serpstat pulls up 100 keywords per page (and I had 600 pages for my one keyword), but most of the results were blocked since I'm on the free plan.

No worries though. I want to see how long tail these search results can get. I want to go become very, very targeted with my keyword. Let's take the keyword “the best protein powder” and put it back into the search. Here's what I got:

serpstat long tail keywords

Look at all those long tail keywords. “best protein powder for weight loss”, “best protein powder for women”, “best tasting protein powder”, “best vegan protein powders”. 

Those are music to the ears of any niche site builder or internet marketer. You can see that next to each keyword, there is a “keyword difficulty” metric. This measures how difficult it is to rank on the first page of Google for your target keyword.

But how accurate is the keyword accuracy score?

Serpstat Keyword Accuracy

When you type in any keyword into Serpstat, you'll notice that you get a keyword difficulty score.

serpstat keyword difficulty

 

Serpstat calculates their keyword difficulty score by: 

This way of calculating page rank is a bit more complex than other tools. Let's take a look at how it stacks up.

 SerpstatAhrefsSEMRushLong Tail Pro

best protein powder

35.762677.7849
best protein powder for women17.281071.5147
best protein powder to gain muscle18.142075.9246
best protein powder for weight loss46.851675.9246

You can see that the results are a bit all over the board. SEMRush always has the highest difficulty score for any keyword. Ahrefs almost always has the lowest score by a wide margin. Long Tail Pro sits right in the middle of all the results.

I tend to avoid extremes and settle with the middle results when I'm doing my keyword research. For that reason, I like Long Tail Pro ( check out our Long Tail Pro review here) and Serpstat best out of this comparison. I've given my doubts about Ahrefs's keyword difficulty score in my Ahrefs review.

I also found that KWFinder (read the full review here) tends to trend with Long Tail Pro. This means that Long Tail Pro, KWFinder, and Serpstat are all pretty close in many of their keyword difficulty scores. That's good enough for me.

I think Serpstat puts a lot of factors into their keyword difficulty score (just like Google) and that it's pretty accurate.

Overall, Serpstat returns long tail informational and buyer intent keywords. I think that they keyword difficulty score is about right, and there are more than enough results to digest. The keyword tool of Serpstat is up to par and I would be willing to use it for one of my own sites.

Serpstat PPC Analysis

Serpstat's PPC analysis is one of its strongest points. They help you locate words to target with your PPC campaigns, tell you who's competing with you, and show you your competition's ads.

I put in the keyword “protein”. Serpstat gave me a list of competitors and what keywords that they were targeting.

serpstat ppc keywords

That's pretty helpful if you're wanting to know who your competition is for target keywords. If you go to the “Ad Examples” or the “Ad Research” section, you can even see what your competitors' ads look like.

Here's an example from “Ad Research”.

serpstat ad research

Overall, Serpstat's PPC Research is more than enough for you to find your own keywords, steal what's working for your competitors, and run your own ad campaigns.

Serpstat SERP Analysis

Serpstat also offers a SERP analysis tool within their keyword tool. serpstat serp analysis

This tool is pretty neat, but nothing that's crazy powerful. The most useful feature here is that you can get a quick glance at Serpstat Trust Rank (Domain Authority) and Serpstat Page Rank (Page Authority). You can see the number of backlinks and referring domains to the top page. You could use this to estimate how many inbound links you'll need to rank and evaluate your competition.

Keyword Tool Summary

Overall, I'm very impressed with Serpstat's keyword tool. I think it's a viable SEMRush alternative, can hang with Ahrefs, and does a great job. I like the number of results I get, I'm seeing lots of long tails, and I had a bunch of informational and buying intent keywords.

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Serpstat is a tool that I would use for one of my sites.

Serpstat Backlink Analysis

Serpstat's Backlink Analysis tool is pretty weak. I discuss who Serpstat is best for later on down the page, but I'm very unimpressed with their backlink analysis.

First off, you can't analyze backlinks for a specific URL with Serpstat. You can only look at how many backlinks are going to the root domain. So for example, I can't check how many backlinks https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-humidifier/ has. I can only look at how many backlinks thewirecutter.com has.

That right there is enough to turn away anyone who wants to build links.  

The only way to see links to specific URLs is to look at the most recent 20 links and the most recently lost 20 links. But you can access a total of 40 links this way.

40 is nothing when it comes to link building.

Second, and this is just strange, Serpstat says that TheWireCutter's Domain Authority (DA/DR) and Page Authority (PA/PR) are super low.

serpstat page rank

Serpstat's Trust Rank is Domain Authority/Domain Rating by a different name. Serpstat is saying that TheWireCutter's domain authority is a mid-range 43. What are other tools saying?

semrush domain authority ahrefs domain authority

SEMRush says 73, Ahrefs gives us an 81. I don't know what metric that Serpstat is using, but I think it's pretty inaccurate compared to other tools.

Overall, I'm very underwhelmed by the Backlink Analysis tool. If you're a small site or don't do much link building (Spencer doesn't build many links) then this won't matter.

If you're a Link Building Monster, then you'll want to find other tools.

Serpstat Site Audit

Serpstat's Site Audit feature allows you to check a site for any variety of problems. When you go into the site audit, you're given a popup that looks like this:

serpstat site audit

I put in thewirecutter.com. You're given a variety of settings, but I left all of mine at the defaults. The scan itself took about 20 minutes. And I can tell you from the result: no stone was left unturned.

serpstat site audit

You can see from the scroll bar on the right side of my screenshot that there is a lot of content on this page. I won't flood your screen with pictures of a Serpstat site audit, but I'll describe most of what's happening on this page.

Serpstat gives a Serpstat Domain Optimization (SDO) score. The SDO score is a metric giving an estimate of your site's health. It compiles all errors, pages that aren't indexed, severe problems, etc. and plugs all of it into one score. The score goes from 1 to 100 and the 90 that we see for TheWireCutter is pretty good. 

Further on down the page, you get measures of meta tags, headings, content, multimedia, and more. 

Also helpful in the Site Audit is the “loading speed” tool. It gives you a breakdown of everything that could affect your site's loading speed and a list of current issues.

serpstat loading speed

This is a neat tool, but there are free tools that do similar things. Pingdom and GTMetrix both give you tools to test your website's speed.

Serpstat Pros and Cons

The Good

I had never heard of Serpstat before this review, so I was expecting a pretty lame tool. But Serpstat has a lot that it gets right. It has some clear strengths and gets a lot right. Let's take a look at some of the benefits you'll get with a Serpstat subscription.

Lots of Power for the Price

Let's just get it out of the way – Serpstat offers a lot of the same features as SEMRush and Ahrefs for 33% less money. Serpstat isn't a perfect tool and not a good fit for Link Building Monsters, but it's plenty helpful for someone who doesn't build many backlinks.

Strong Keyword Research

One of Serpstat's strengths is the power of its keyword research tools. You get plenty of results, end up with a strong mix of buying intent/informational keywords, and Serpstat gives lots of long tails. The keywords that Serpstat gives you have an accurate difficulty score that I would trust for one of my sites.

There's also a lot here if your goal is to do PPC campaigns. You can check what ads are already working, see your competitors, and find keywords to target.

Detailed SERP Analysis

Serpstat lives up to its name by giving some great feedback on current SERPs. You can check who is ranking, get some quick analysis on them, and see if where are any special boxes. These special boxes can give you an indication of the click through rate for the SERPs. If there are lots of featured snippets, then you can expect less people will be clicking on each search result.

Great Site Audit Tool

Serpstat goes into a ton of detail on your website and how you can improve it. From fixing images to broken links to site speed, Serpstat helps you to have a healthier website.

High Limits

On any Serpstat plan you get, you're allowed an enormous number of limits. Even the most budget plan lets you search for thousands of keywords, track tons of SERP rankings, and analyze a hundreds of websites. 

The limits that Serpstat gives you makes other SERP analysis tools look weak. We discuss these more in a minute.

The Not So Good

Serpstat has a lot that it gets right, but it has some weaknesses too.

Weak Backlink Analysis

The fact that you can't check backlinks for individual pages with Serpstat makes the backlink analysis tool just shy of useless.

Customer Service Time Zone

Serpstat is based out of Eastern Europe, and I was never able to get a fast customer service response because of the time zone difference. If you live in America, expect their customer service to be less of a chat and more of an email correspondence. Expect 12-24 hours between replies unless you're using Serpstat late at night.

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Serpstat Price

Serpstat has a free trial with no time limit. You are a bit limited on what you can do, but it's more than enough to get a feel for the tool and what you can do with it. 

Serpstat's plans are called Lite, Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise. All plans offer a 20% discount if paid on an annual basis.

Serpstat Lite

Serpstat Lite costs $69 per month if paid monthly. You can make 4000 keyword queries per day with 10,000 results per query. You can track 15,000 keywords for your site and look up 500 websites per day.

Serpstat Standard

Serpstat Standard costs $149 per month if paid monthly. You can make 5000 keyword queries per day with 30,000 results per query. You can track 60,000 keywords for your site and look up 1000 websites per day.

Serpstat Advanced

Serpstat Advanced costs $299 per month if paid monthly. You can make 8000 keyword queries per day with 50,000 results per query. You can track 150,000 keywords for your site and look up 1500 websites per day.

Serpstat Agency

Serpstat Agency costs $499 per month if paid monthly. You can make 12,000 keyword queries per day with 75,000 results per query. You can track 300,000 keywords for your site and look up 2000 websites per day.

Is Serpstat The Best Tool For Me?

Whether Serpstat is the best tool for you will depend on who you are. Let's take a look at a few different types of businesses and how they benefit from Serpstat.

New Business Owners Or Niche Site Builders

I consider anyone making under $1000 per month from a site to be in this category. If you are under the 4 figure per month mark, no worries. Spencer used to be there too. 

Serpstat is a powerful tool for this type of user because it is powerful and works on a budget. For those making less than $1000 per month, your biggest need is probably going to be more content. Serpstat does a great job of providing you with long tail informational and buying intent keywords. These are the keywords that your business lives off of.

Established Business Owners

I put you in this camp if you're making over $1000 per month from your site. If you're an established business owner, your business already has some strong keywords that it's ranking for. This is also the stage where you may start to consider building some links to your existing content.

Serpstat is great at finding additional keywords. It gives more than enough results for you to choose from and does a great job of digging out long tails. This tool is a lot weaker for link builders though. You will do fine if your tactic is guest posting, but skyscraper content can fall pretty flat here.

Overall, this is a good tool depending on the goals in your business.

Marketing Agencies

I put “marketing agency” as a bit of a catch-all here. Agencies come in all shapes and sizes. If your agency is more on the content-production side of things, then Serpstat is a fine tool for you. It helps you locate keywords, put plenty of content on deck to be written, and figure out your chances in the SERPs.

For a more link-building or social media agency, Serpstat doesn't have much to offer.

Link Building Monsters

This is the type of person who I said wouldn't find a lot of value in Serpstat. The Link Building Monster lives to see his or her skyscraper post as the number 1 result on the SERPs. 

Outreach, guest posting, broken link building, and trading social media mentions for links are the name of the game for the Link Building Monster. This person already uses Ahrefs and reads reviews on other tools more for amusement than information. Go home, Link Building Monster. Serpstat is not the place for you.

Content Production Machines

If you and your team are producing more than 1,000,000 words of content per year, I'm giving you the dubious honor of being a Content Production Machine. There are no trophies for the Content Production Machine, just the knowledge that you wrote more words than there are soldiers in the South Korean military.

And you're probably pretty good at Scrabble too.

Serpstat is a good pick for the Content Production Machine since it can put out so many keywords. There are long tails, short tails, informational, and buyer intent keywords for the taking. 

Is Serpstat The Best For Me?

Whether Serpstat is the best for you will depend on who you are. Ask yourself where you are in the lifespan of your business. Are you making under $1000 per month? If so, then yes. Serpstat is a great fit since it provides so much power at a budget-loving price range.

If you are in charge of a business making more than $1000 per month, take a look at your future goals. Do you want to do massive content production? Are you looking to build lots of skyscraper links? A little bit of both?

If your goal is content production, then I think Serpstat works great with your overall plan. You won't need backlink analysis for guest posting, so you can do some link building too.  

But if your goal is geared towards skyscraper links, I recommend taking a look at Mangools (this is the company that runs KWFinder) or Ahrefs. Either one of those can help, but Mangools does it for a lower price.

  • Ease of Use - 95
  • Power - 90
  • Variety of Tools - 75
  • Price - 100
90

Summary

Serpstat is a viable alternative to tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs. It costs less and allows you to research keywords, analyze SERPs, run PPC campaigns, and get your site healthy. You can click here to try Serpstat for free.

Pros

  • Lots of power for the price
  • Strong keyword research
  • Detailed SERP analysis
  • Great site audit tool

Cons

  • Backink metrics aren't any good
  • Customer support may be slow in your American time zones

Your Next SERP Analysis Tool

Thanks for reading my Serpstat review! I hope it's been helpful for you. If it has, please let me know in the comments. If it hasn't, will you take a moment to tell me why not? Your feedback helps improve everything we post on Niche Pursuits.

Serpstat packs a lot in its feature list and just misses out on detailed backlink analysis. This won't be a problem unless you're trying to build a lot of skyscraper links.

For anyone else, I think that Serpstat is a powerful tool and it really sells at a great price. It costs about 33% less than Ahrefs and SEMRush. If you want to give Serpstat a spin, you can try it for free.

 




Product Reviews

By Brady Cargle
July 14, 2019 | 2 Comments

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DL

I have a serpstat subscription, it’s a decent tool but the interface is bad.

Would use it more if they improved it.

Brady Cargle

Yeah, it’s pretty powerful but the interface could use a bit. If I remember right, I had one or two places where the language was in Russian. LOL

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