Serpstat is a web-based, all-in-one SEO platform that provides core features such as keyword research, backlink analysis, keyword tracking, competitor analysis, site audit, and more.
I’ve given Serpstat a good test run and in this comprehensive review I am sharing my thoughts on this tool, its main features and how it stacks up against its cheaper and more expensive competitors.
Serpstat currently offers a free plan with limited functionality and several paid subscriptions. The cheapest option, the Lite plan, offers the best value for money for most bloggers and SEO practitioners.
|SERPSTAT LITE||SERPSTAT STANDARD|
|Try Serpstat||Try Serpstat|
What is Serpstat?
Founded in 2013 and based in Ukraine, Serpstat is a software as a service company responsible for the all-in-one SEO platform that goes by the same name.
The platform is aimed at digital marketers and offers features that similar tools also offer, such as keywords research, rank tracking, backlink analysis and competitor analysis.
Serpstat still has a long way to go before it gets to that level, but having used the tool for a couple of months now I can honestly say it’s better than I initially expected it to be.
About This Review
In this Serpstat review I am going through the 6 features that I really like and add value to my life as an Internet marketer. This is followed by a list of things I didn’t like about Serpstat. And I complete this review with my conclusion and pricing info.
Please note that Serpstat also offers PPC related features. This review doesn’t cover these features because it is not something I specialize in.
Let’s dive in!
Serpstat Review (6 Best Features)
Serpstat offers a ton of features, but as with most tools, the average user typically only uses a handful of these features.
The below features are the ones that I like the most, not just for myself but also for other digital marketers and bloggers.
1. Domain Overview
The best way to start with Serpstat? The home page.
That search box on the home page lets you submit a domain, a link to an article, or a keyword. In order to use the Domain Overview module, you guessed it, we need to submit a domain.
To illustrate how this all works, I am using Nomadic Matt, the world’s biggest travel blogger.
The Domain Overview page contains a huge amount of information, such as organic keywords the site is ranking for, ads keywords, keyword positions distribution, top pages and competitors.
Its main purpose is to give you a high level impression of how well a site is doing. From this page you can drill deeper and navigate to all sorts of sub reports.
This can be used for your own site, but of course also for other sites. And I think that’s where this module is most efficient, to get information about competitors and other sites in your niche.
I couldn’t resist to run a few tests to compare the data that Serpstat spits out to what Semrush spits out. Here’s what Semrush had to say about Nomadic Matt:
Note the difference between total keywords that Serpstat finds (545K) and total keywords that Semrush finds for this domain (311K). Quite a significant difference.
I tested this with a lot of domains and more than often Serpstat came out as the winner, although I must say that I am not able to determine how waterproof these numbers really are.
2. Organic Domain Keywords
From the Domain Overview page, you can navigate to the organic keywords module, which is a report that spits out all keywords a given site is ranking for in Google’s top 100 search results.
Obviously, that list will be huge, depending on how big the site in question is. To help you analyze the data presented in this report, you can sort the data per column.
For example, you can sort the list of keywords by position, by search volume or by estimated organic traffic.
A useful, and necessary, feature in this module is the ability to apply filters.
This feature allows you to apply filters on search volume, competition level, position increases and decreases, and a lot more. It’s very useful as it lets you dive deeper in a list of keywords that would typically be very long.
3. URL Keywords
This one is my absolute favorite report. It’s a report that you can also find in Semrush and Ahrefs, and is crucial when doing keyword research for your next article.
It’s essentially the same as the previous domain keywords report, but for individual articles. The reason I love this type of report so much is that it allows me to instantly see what a certain article is ranking for.
Let’s say, I am planning to write an article about the top 10 things to do in New York City. I go and find the top ranking articles for that key phrase and I can then use this report to see all the keywords these articles are ranking for.
I then select 10-20 of these keywords, and I am well-prepared to write my new article with these keywords in mind.
The other reason why I find this report super useful is that it helps me to optimize my own articles. For example, I can submit a link to one of my blog posts, and I can instantly see what keywords the article is ranking for.
But more importantly, I can see straight away which keywords the article is NOT ranking high for. I can then collect some of these keywords and try and optimize that article for these keywords.
4. Top Pages
A useful feature that Semrush and Ahrefs also offer is the Top Pages report. The main reason I appreciate this report is that it tells me instantly which articles a competitor website attract the most organic traffic.
This is crucial information when doing competitor analysis and when looking for new content ideas. Simply submit a bunch of sites that live in the same niche as your own site, and you get tons of ideas for new content to publish.
But is the data presented here in this feature accurate? Well, yes and no.
I tested this with all my sites and not once was the report fully accurate. It doesn’t matter though, because it doesn’t need to be fully accurate.
This feature is great for identifying which pages on competitor sites get the most organic traffic. It’s a great starting point for further competitor analysis, and it simply doesn’t matter much if the order of pages is a bit off.
5. Individual Keyword Research
An all-in-one SEO tool wouldn’t be a real SEO tool if it didn’t include a dedicated keyword research model. But unlike most other bloggers, I typically don’t use a keyword research module to do my keyword research.
Sounds weird, huh?
The reason for this is that I find the features at nr 2, 3 and 4 much more efficient when it comes to keyword research. I guess my approach to keyword research is a bit different from how other people approach keyword research.
I might actually dedicate an entire blog post to the concept of keyword research in relation to content strategy, and how I go about doing that. Stay tuned for that one.
But anyway, Serpstat’s keyword research module is pretty decent. Let’s look what happens when I submit the keyword “exotic fruits”:
This will give a quick overview of similar keywords and paid keywords. Further down in the overview you can also see the top 10 URLs ranking for that chosen keyword.
I can then choose to show all organic keywords, which returns this report:
It has the chosen keyword at the top, followed by a whole bunch of possible versions of that keyword, by default ordered by Google search volume.
Keyword Difficulty Score
Just like most other keyword research tools, Serpstat also calculates a keyword difficulty score. I may be unique, but I literally never ever look at keyword difficulty scores, no matter which tool I’m using.
Because I don’t want to rely on software to tell me how competitive a keyword is. Software simply can’t know this, no matter how sophisticated the software is.
I mean, think about it. Do you honestly think that a keyword research tool can outsmart the Google algorithm? Of course not. So whether I’m using Ahrefs, Semrush, Serpstat or Keysearch, I ALWAYS ignore the corresponding keyword difficulty scores.
Instead, if I really want to know how competitive a keyword is, I go into Google and search for the keyword. Then I manually analyze the top 10 articles, and that will allow me to determine whether I will be able to rank for that particular keyword.
So I can’t tell you how reliable that Serpstat keyword difficulty scoring system is, because I simply don’t care. But it’s there if you want it!
Related Keywords and Search Suggestions
You can drill further with your keyword research by using the Related Keywords and Search Suggestions features.
The Related Keywords feature allows you to discover all search terms and phrases that are semantically connected to the selected keyword. This is useful when collating a list of keywords to target for your next article.
The Search Suggestions feature allows you to drill deeper and find longtail keywords based on your chosen keyword. I find this useful when looking for keywords to use in smaller, supporting articles. These are articles designed to answer people’s questions, while at the same time supporting the bigger money articles.
This requires a bit of practice, so the best way to get the most out of this module is by simply having a good play with it.
6. Site Audit Tool
I usually do not use automated site audit tools because the results are often way off. Especially tools with keyword research as the core function.
When I do site audits, I do most of it manually, supported by tools that specialize in auditing, such as Screaming Frog. I wouldn’t use a keyword research focused tool for this, with the exception of Ahrefs which is great for backlink analysis.
But the site audit feature within Serpstat is actually pretty decent. Sure, some things it picked up were super obvious, but it also picked up a few things that were legit.
The site audit tool takes a while to do its thing, but you don’t have to stay logged in for it to complete. It will eventually come up with an SDO (Serpstat Domain Optimization) score, accompanied by a list of issues (high, middle and low priority) and a list of things that are in order.
It picks up things like titles being too long, technical page speed issues, images being too large (their threshold is 100Kb), canonical issues, mixed secure/non-secure issues, etc. Certainly nothing too spectacular, but I think for many non-technical website owners this audit tool can be super valuable.
One thing I didn’t quite understand is that the audit result was trying to tell me to make all outbound links nofollow. Unless I was just misinterpreting it, this isn’t exactly good advice. I may reach out to Serpstat and ask for feedback on this.
Apart from that, the Serpstat site audit tool is much better than I expected it to be.
4 Things I Didn’t like About Serpstat
Most reviewers online will only tell you all the glorious things about the tools they “review”, but that’s not how I roll.
So allow me to walk you through the 4 things I didn’t like so much about Serpstat.
1. Backlink Analysis
This is not much of a surprise, at least not to me, but the backlink analysis module in Serpstat isn’t the best.
The first issue with this module is that it has a confusing interface. Tools like Semrush and Ahrefs would start by showing total amounts of referring domains and total amount of backlinks. Unless I’m missing something, Serpstat doesn’t actually tell me the total amount of backlinks.
After a bit of playing around with the tool, I’m thinking that the two numbers for follow/nofollow combined represent the total number of backlinks. One would assume that this number would be the same as the number displayed at total indexed, but these numbers are different. Am I missing something?
Anyway, I’ve run a few tests. I took 10 domains and tested how many backlinks Serpstat finds for these domains, and I compare those numbers to what Semrush and Moz spit out. I am showing the results of three domains below, but the results across all 10 domains were pretty consistent.
Site: Blog Pioneer
Let’s start with my site, Blog Pioneer. At the time of writing – early July 2019 – this is what the three tools tell me about my backlinks:
Referring Domains: 20
Referring Domains: 78
Referring Domains: 55
Site: Gear Hungry
Let’s have a look at the data for one of the world’s most successful affiliate sites, Gear Hungry. I won’t show the screenshots, just the numbers.
Referring Domains: 2.2K
Referring Domains: 4.8K
Referring Domains: 5.2K
Site: Nomadic Matt
Last but not least, backlink data for Nomadic Matt.
Referring Domains: 7.4K
Referring Domains: 13.5K
Referring Domains: 14K
As you can see, the Serpstat backlink database is significantly smaller than the Moz and Semrush backlink databases. And as mentioned, my test results were pretty consistent.
That said, it doesn’t bother me too much that Serpstat is a bit behind when it comes to backlink analysis. It’s kind of expected, to be honest.
Also, I wouldn’t use a tool like Serpstat to analyze backlink profiles of websites, because there are better tools out there that specialize in backlink analysis.
2. No Last Updated Dates in Reports
This is one of the biggest issues with Serpstat. The keyword reports don’t have a last-updated column.
Have a look at this screenshot of one of the position reports in Serpstat:
Lost of great data in there, but the one important thing missing is the last-updated column. So all these green (and red) arrows indicate how much rankings have increased or decreased.
But… I don’t know when this was last updated. That could be yesterday, but it could also be last month. If it’s last month, then the report is almost useless.
To be fair, I’m sure Serpstat regularly updates their database and these increases and decreases would have to be fairly recent. But still, I really want to know when they were last updated, as that would make the data so much more valuable.
This is what Semrush does in all reports:
That last-updated column is crucial information.
Semrush even makes recent changes a feature in itself. Check out this screenshot:
From there you can drill down into most recent drops, most recent increases, most recent lost keywords, etc., all with a last updated column. It’s brilliant stuff, that Serpstat unfortunately does not offer at the time of writing.
3. Keywords Rank Tracker
Okay, sorry, I don’t like the keywords rank tracker module. Maybe it’s just me but I just don’t get much value out of it. This is kind of related to my previous point, not having a recent changes report or last updated column in the various keywords reports.
The rank tracker is meant to give you updates on keywords that you want to track. So you have to submit these keywords (and you can submit quite a lot on any plan) and then Serpstat will give you daily updates.
But that’s the thing. I don’t want to have to submit these keywords myself. I want Serpstat to give me last updated dates in the various reports, so I can see how things are tracking, on domain level as well as on page level. This is what Semrush and Ahrefs do and that type of information is gold.
Let me emphasize though that a lot of people will find this feature super useful, but for me this is simply not how I want to use a keyword research tool. It works fine, I just won’t be using it for the reasons I mentioned.
4. User Interface Is Slow
Seriously, it’s slooooow.
Compared to Semrush and Ahrefs, the Serpstat user interface really is slow. This is something that you can easily get used to, but hopefully the Serpstat engineers can tackle that issue in the future.
Serpstat vs Semrush
Serpstat or Semrush?
Unsurprisingly, the two tools are very similar. Similar in regards to set of features they offer, as well as in regards to user interface.
So which one is better? If I had to choose one over the other, I would definitely pick Semrush. But Serpstat comes very close, not to mention the fact that Serpstat is also significantly cheaper.
Here are some of my thoughts when choosing between the two.
- Backlink analysis:
Semrush definitely outperforms Serpstat when it comes to backlink analysis. I’ve run several tests and Semrush always comes out as the winner.
- Keyword database:
Surprisingly enough, Serpstat often finds more keywords for domains as well as for URLs than Semrush does. This is where Serpstat seems to win it.
- User interface:
While the user interfaces of both tools are very similar, I do have a preference for Semrush when it comes to the friendliness of the user interface. It’s also a lot faster than Serpstat is.
- Last updated dates:
As mentioned above, one of the biggest things missing in Serpstat is the last updated date column in the various reports. Maybe it’s just me, but I find that piece of information super important.
Serpstat is cheaper than Semrush. Pricing is always something to consider, so this is where Serpstat has a slight advantage over Semrush.
My Verdict on Serpstat
So that wraps up my Serpstat review.
Serpstat is an all-in-one SEO tool that offers an excellent set of features. Features that are very similar to what its main competitors Semrush and Ahrefs are offering, but at a lower cost.
At the end of the day though, the true value of all these awesome features totally depends on the size of the database that fuels the tool. If the data presented by these features is lacking, then these features have little value.
Keysearch, for example, is a (very affordable) keyword research tool that offers great features, but the database behind those features is small. And that makes some of these features simply less powerful and less reliable.
So what about Serpstat? I am actually quite impressed with the quality of the data it spits out. It’s obvious that their database is not as big as the Semrush and Ahrefs databases, but it doesn’t seem to be far behind.
Especially compared to a year ago, when I tried Serpstat for the first time, it’s clear that their data sets are growing fast.
Do I recommend Serpstat?
Yes, absolutely. It’s a decent tool.
Serpstat is legit, and I can definitely see this tool competing with Semrush and Ahrefs, two tools that are still considered superior but also more expensive.
Just don’t buy it for backlink analysis. Use Serpstat for your keyword research and content strategy.
If you do buy a Serpstat subscription, focus on the top 4 features that I listed above. You will find that these features will give you the most value.
Below is the current pricing schedule of Serpstat:
If you’re a solo blogger, the cheapest plan, Lite, is more than sufficient. It costs $69 per month, or otherwise $55.20 on a yearly subscription. More expensive than a tool like Keysearch, but significantly cheaper than both Semrush and Ahrefs.
Try it out, get to learn the features, and you will love this tool.
|Summary||Serpstat is a web-based, all-in-one SEO platform that provides a wide range of features such as keyword research, positions tracking and competitor analysis. Serpstat is an excellent tool for effective keyword research and content strategy, but it’s not the best solution for comprehensive backlink analysis.|
|Rating||4.0 (out of 5)|