Brighter Messaging
semrush seo writing assistant review

Semrush SEO Writing Assistant Review: Our honest test and results

Semrush holds a steady place on our list of the best apps for small business owners. The platform is a leader in search engine optimization (SEO) applications, with a variety of useful tools to help businesses of all sizes. We use it to conduct keyword research, track keyword rankings, track backlinks, identify and fix website issues, analyze competitors, and, most recently, improve on-page SEO (which involves optimizing individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines).

We currently pay $129.95 monthly for Semrush Pro. The next plan up, Semrush Guru, is nearly double that, at $249.95 per month. We were recently offered a trial of Semrush Guru, which provides users access to the Content Marketing Platform (along with more credits and other features such as Looker Studio Integration—you can view the full comparison here). The main feature we were interested in was the Semrush SEO Writing Assistant (SWA), a tool designed to help users check the optimization and originality of a piece of content in real time and create content that performs well in search engine results.

What can you do with the Semrush SEO Writing Assistant?

SWA provides recommendations to improve your content’s readability, tone, and SEO potential. It allows you to:

  • Quickly assess your article’s SEO quality
  • Make sure your copy is optimized
  • Check the originality of a piece of text with the plagiarism checker
  • Use the AI Rephraser to save time on composing and rewriting pieces of text
  • Compose content with AI
  • Add relevant keywords in your content based on your target topic or focus keyword
  • Make your article easier to read (with tips on sentence length, paragraph structure, use of headings, and more)
  • Adjust the tone of your writing to better match your desired style or brand voice

After you’ve edited and completed your content, SWA provides an overall performance score along with detailed insights and recommendations for further improvement.

We decided to take advantage of the Semrush Guru trial to put the tool to the test.

What happened in our Semrush SEO Writing Assistant test

We tested Semrush’s SWA with a couple of blogs that were either already ranking (to see if we could move them higher up the search results) or high-priority blogs without any keywords currently in the top 100. For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on the SWA optimization process of our ‘What are 5 Advantages of Email Marketing for Small Businesses?’ blog post.

According to Semrush data, the blog was ranking for the following keywords in November 2023 (when we started the Semrush Guru trial):

We aimed to enhance our content with the SEO Writing Assistant and implement relevant edits, all with the goal of improving our search engine rankings.

We copy/pasted the blog copy into the SWA, which gave the content a score of 5.6 for the target keywords. Making some of the changes suggested by the tool resulted in a score improvement to 7.3:

Why didn’t we get a score of 10/10?

Well, we write for humans, not robots, so we didn’t make all the changes the tool suggested, such as adding certain keywords that didn’t fit the overall message of the post, rewriting casual sentences, and making other changes that would change the tone of the piece and (in our opinion) reduce its quality and usefulness to the reader.

What happened after the SWA score improvement?

We made the relevant changes to the blog post and waited a month before reviewing the keyword rankings again. December 2023 rolled around, and we excitedly went to Semrush to view the blog’s (hopefully improved) performance in the search results.

We were met with Semrush’s version of virtual crickets:

0 keywords now ranking. Maybe it needed more time?

Come March 2024…

… the crickets continued.

Unfortunately, this seemed to be the trend with almost all the blog posts we optimized using SWA—keyword rankings tanked instead of improving.

There was an exception with one blog, which ranked in the top 100 keywords for nine more keywords in March 2024 than it did in November 2023. The top keyword’s position also improved from position 9 to position 7.

So, did we upgrade to Semrush Guru?

Nope. For the time being, we’re happy with the functionality provided by our Pro plan.

Major caveats we can’t ignore

Our Semrush Writing Assistant trial was largely a dud. But, as we’ve said time and time again, we’re writing for you, our readers. We’re not here to try to game a system or beat a bot. And there are some cautions and caveats to bear in mind with any SEO tool:

  • The changes made to blog posts based on SWA recommendations weren’t the only variables in the mix; Google is constantly updating its algorithm, so what works now may not work forever.
  • While Semrush provides a wealth of data, it’s important to remember that it’s an estimation tool—the data provided may not always be 100% accurate, especially when dealing with smaller or niche websites.
  • Keyword volume and ranking data may not always align perfectly with search engines like Google, especially since most search engines provide personalized search results.
  • As mentioned previously, we didn’t adopt all the changes suggested by SWA.
  • Our blogs are already optimized for search engines (in a natural way), so it’s not like we’re starting from scratch with SEO optimization for each post.

Our Semrush SEO writing assistant review

Since we don’t actually know what caused some keyword rankings to drop after implementing SWA changes, we can’t tell you that the tool isn’t worth your time or money. It didn’t seem to work for us, but there could be value in the tool if you need guidance optimizing for SEO and have no clue where to begin.

But we have an even better suggestion for you—get us to write your content for you. It seems our content (written by humans for humans) performed better before we accepted the bot’s suggestions.

Join Our List

Sign up to receive our email updates. We promise only to contact you when we have something fruitful to share.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.