I thought I was the only one confused between these two tools. I wasn’t sure which SEO tools to use and whether I should prioritize Ahrefs over Semrush or the other way around. I know they have different features. When it comes to keyword research, Semrush is better, but for backlink analysis, it’s Ahrefs. This comparison helped me decide which one to get. Thanks for the article! The comments above also helped me in my decision.
I've used a couple of SEO software programs over the last 4 years. Moz, Serpstat, SEM Rush and now Ahrefs. Since the bulk of my focus is actually building links, I think Ahrefs has the most reliable results. For example, if you checked the backlink profile of 10-20 websites on Ahrefs and compared to another SEO software provider, I bet that you would average at least 10-15% more results with Ahrefs. That can be a lot more opportunities! Their keyword phrase tracker seems to work pretty quickly and seems to be accurate.
I've used a couple of SEO software programs over the last 4 years. Moz, Serpstat, SEM Rush and now Ahrefs. Since the bulk of my focus is actually building links, I think Ahrefs has the most reliable results. For example, if you checked the backlink profile of 10-20 websites on Ahrefs and compared to another SEO software provider, I bet that you would average at least 10-15% more results with Ahrefs. That can be a lot more opportunities! Their keyword phrase tracker seems to work pretty quickly and seems to be accurate.

One of the things that AHrefs is best at is helping with a content marketing strategy. Though it's best known as a backlink index (which it's great at and I'll get into that), coming up with good content ideas is one of the things I get the most use out of it with using the content explorer. I find articles that do well for the topics I want to target and it's clear what already resonates with your audience which is powerful.
Thank you for the great checklist. It is really useful and gave us a couple of new hints on optimization process. We’ve been using WebSite Auditor and found it exremely helpful in site’s structure and content analysis, bringing all the statistical information on the validation errors, social mentions, duplicate stuff, etc. under one roof. Still there is so many different SEO information you sometimes cannot understand what to start with. Fortunately you answered this question. Thank you again!
Another function included in the backlink profile section is the data for Referring Domains. Basically speaking, it shows you the number of websites that are linking to the domain you’ve inputted in the search bar. So, in this instance, I’m using seo-hacker.com as the target website/URL, and the number of referring domains is shown with the corresponding details you will ever need:
Detailed breakdown of all our key SEO metrics and performance history. It's very easy to compare our performance against competitors, and identify new opportunities to improve. The "link intersect" tool is amazing! You can easily see who's linking to your competitors and not your site, and work through the report list to build your presence on those domains.
Checking a website’s on-page health is indispensable to making and keeping a website SEO- and user-friendly. Whether you manage a small website or a large one composed of thousands of webpages, detection of issues can be challenging. You just cannot afford to spend days looking for every possible mistake in the code or checking for broken images or URLs.

The relevant keywords that you target with your ads will bring the right audience to your website. Showing your ads to people that type relevant keywords will result in higher click-through rate (CTR), lower cost-per-click (CPC) and higher conversion rates for your business. As a result, you will spend less money on advertising and generate a better return on investment.
Great article. Before reading this I was practically sold on SEMrush. However, after reading this article and the comments from other readers, I’m realizing I shouldn’t be so quick to pull the trigger and that Ahrefs may in fact be what I’m looking for. I will most likely do the trial period for both before deciding, but this article definitely opened my eyes to Ahrefs possibly being my best option (instead of SEMrush). Thanks for taking the time to write this article. Great work.
Many websites rely on other traffic generation methods such as traffic from social media, email, referrals, and direct traffic sources over search engines. For sites like these, SEO errors aren’t as important because search engines aren’t their #1 traffic source. For a smaller website, a couple of errors can have a much bigger negative effect than those same errors on a larger website.
Brian, I have a burning question regarding keyword placement and frequency. You wrote: “Use the key in the first 100 words … “. What else? I use Yoast and a WDF*IDF semantic analysis tool to check the content of the top10 rankings. Pretty often I have the feeling I overdo it, although Yoast and WDF/IDF told me I use the focus keyword not often enough.

The errors in technical SEO are often not obvious, and therefore one of the most popular. Mistakes in robots.txt and 404 pages, pagination and canonical URLs, hreflang tags and 301 redirects, http vs https and www vs non www versions: each of them can seriously spoil all efforts to promote the site. One quality SEO website analysis is enough to solve all the main problems in this part forever.
The thing that I liked the best about Ahrefs is that it contains a huge database of backlinks when I've checked my own website and my competitor's websites. This has allowed me to dig deeper and find out their exact linkbuilding and SEO strategies. Ahref contains a lot of tools and features that will make the life of an SEO professional or webmaster who wants more search engine traffic a lot easier. One of these features is the batch analysis feature. Basically, instead of entering your competitor's backlinks one at a time you could actually enter it once. This allows you to quickly check on the SEO metrics for a lot of competitor URLs in just one click.
Thanks for the article, really gives some clear insights.I am currently testing out Ahref’s and have tested Moz and Semrush in the past as well. In my opinion Ahref’s UI is the best and clearest. I will have to test Moz and Semrush again i am afraid to be sure which one to start using. Have been using SE Ranking for rank tracking mostly but have noticed rank positions are not accurate most times.

With Ahrefs, users get the best backlink checking platform in the industry. With just a few clicks of the button, users have a crystal clear profile of any website or URL. From links to anchors as well as the strength of the backlinks, Ahrefs reveals them all in an instant. Users can also monitor backlinks and follow their growth overtime and deploy smart filters and advanced reporting features to quickly discover relevant data.
The relevant keywords that you target with your ads will bring the right audience to your website. Showing your ads to people that type relevant keywords will result in higher click-through rate (CTR), lower cost-per-click (CPC) and higher conversion rates for your business. As a result, you will spend less money on advertising and generate a better return on investment.
Ahrefs is a system that offers users with the world’s largest index of live backlinks. The service provides businesses of all sizes and individuals with a reliable and solid backlink checker tool that delivers detailed backlink profiles for any URL or website. This backlink application gives users with a very large and clear image of any website or URL’s background. Ahrefs allows users to see what websites link to a particular URL, they anchors that they deploy, how strong the backlinks are and more.
After auditing your site this tool gives you suggestions where your site needs changes. It gives full details about how many external backlinks your website has and you can make more backlinks by see your competitor site backlinks details. This tool also helps to find which keywords are helpful for our website & which keywords give organic traffic.
If you would like to know how to use hashtags to get popular on YouTube, you can use a useful YouTube hashtags generator like Keyword Tool. All you need to do is key in the topic related to your video in the search bar. From the results, you can select relevant, high-volume hashtags to insert in your video titles and descriptions to help people find your content.
The depth of your articles impresses and amazes me. I love all the specific examples and tool recommendations. You discuss the importance of backlinks. How important is it to use a tool to list you on directories (Yext, Moz Local, Synup or JJUMP)? Will Google penalize you for listing on unimportant directories? Is it better to avoid these tools and get backlinks one at a time and avoid all but a few key directories?
Like all backlink monitors, it doesn't pick up anywhere near all backlinks and is slow to pick up new backlinks. However, all backlink tools have this same problem and Ahrefs is the best of those tools. One of my biggest gripes is that Ahrefs drops backlinks and count them as a lost domain, but after looking into the dropped campaigns you find that a majority of them are still there and Ahrefs dropped them from your backlink profile for an unknown reason.
This report can help you reverse engineer, down to the day, a link building campaign that your competitor is running (always good to be out in front of a big link push by a competitor) and can also help you evaluate your own link campaign or even help you spot a link growth issue that may have resulted in some kind of penalty or over-optimization filter.
Depending on the plan, you are only allowed up to 100 domain searches a day. If you purchase their top tier plan you only get double of that. Sometimes it can take you several days to do certain types of research. This can start to get a little bothersome as we work with several clients and all of them need to use this software to make sure everyone is getting the best work that we have to offer.
Ahrefs is a well-known tool primarily used for checking backlinks, but what most SEOs forget to take into consideration is that it is capable of so much more. With their massive data index, Ahrefs is definitely one of the most sought-after SaaS tools out in the market. Tools such as this helped eradicate the days wherein Google gets played by unethical, black hat SEO tactics.  They helped the industry turn for the better, and SEO has never been simpler. With the tools such as Ahrefs being available in the market, it became simple for us to get better at what we do.
Do you know that there are millions of people that are searching for something on YouTube every single day? Fortunately, YouTube is trying to make it easier for people to find what they are looking for. Which is why every time you make a search on YouTube, you will see a list of suggested terms as you start typing your search query. Usually, the most popular and relevant YouTube searches show up in these suggestions.
Thanks for the article, really gives some clear insights.I am currently testing out Ahref’s and have tested Moz and Semrush in the past as well. In my opinion Ahref’s UI is the best and clearest. I will have to test Moz and Semrush again i am afraid to be sure which one to start using. Have been using SE Ranking for rank tracking mostly but have noticed rank positions are not accurate most times.

The backlink index is one of the best too though at the time of writing, Moz has just improved their index. Regardless of index size, which theirs is large enough, the type of data they provide is the most useful. The broken links data is probably the most useful that isn't easily matched by other tools. Additionally, going back to the content explorer, you can find unlinked mentions, a feature that appears to have been removed in Moz's "new" tool (I may just not be able to find it).
As a long time Moz user and I might even say a super fan of their product, it feels really odd to be writing a review of Ahrefs. But here we go--I love Ahrefs. The design, the UI, the gigantic keyword database and now the newly redesign site audit are a thing of beauty. I continue to be impressed by the data they provide, features that are added frequently and my favorite feature has to be the top pages report. (Not sure why I love that so much--but it just makes it extremely simple to research a site or competitor with that report.)
Detailed breakdown of all our key SEO metrics and performance history. It's very easy to compare our performance against competitors, and identify new opportunities to improve. The "link intersect" tool is amazing! You can easily see who's linking to your competitors and not your site, and work through the report list to build your presence on those domains.
Detailed breakdown of all our key SEO metrics and performance history. It's very easy to compare our performance against competitors, and identify new opportunities to improve. The "link intersect" tool is amazing! You can easily see who's linking to your competitors and not your site, and work through the report list to build your presence on those domains.
Lite allows you to have a 7 day trial for $7. After the trial ends, it costs $99 per month or $990 per year. This plan allows you to track up to 5 projects (websites) and track 500 keywords per project. You can search 25 batches of keywords per day, but you can search up to 10,000 keywords per batch. I like to use it to search multiple ideas for long tail keywords at once so I don't use up all my searches.
If you are looking for keywords in languages other than English, you will find Keyword Tool's features very useful. Keyword Tool allows you to pull keywords from 192 Google domains and use 83 Google language interfaces to generate keyword suggestions. That way we make sure that the generated keywords will be relevant to the country and/or language that you are creating your content for.
Ahrefs also helps users dig deep into their competitors’ search traffic with the Positions Explorer tool. You can easily see the keywords the competition is ranking for in the search engines as well as the keywords they are spending on for their advertising and marketing campaigns. Even better, you can see the flow of organic and paid traffic they are receiving.
If you want to make a popular YouTube video, you should make it based on a good idea. That is why so many video creators are constantly looking for good YouTube video ideas, especially those looking for ways on how to make money on YouTube. Actually, there is an infinite source of excellent YouTube video ideas that you can get access to at any time!
Provides a way to track the effect of link building activity and demonstrate the impact on search traffic. Excellent for competitor analysis. Helps with researching what content to produce, which competitors are gaining in search and why, which keywords your site could realistically aim to rank for, and gives you enough information to plan how to do it.
Utilize the "broken backlink" section. Utilize the ability to isolate lost and gained links by date. Let's say you have drops around October. You could go to right before that and specifically isolate good links lost or bad links gained, etc. They also have a good amount of helpful online resources for learning how to use the tool. Great graphs show overall trends for linking domains or linking pages. Check out the ability to sort by AHREFS' quality statistics to help analyze quality/low quality links.
Hi Anil, a fantastic post. I would like to know your opinion since in my case I do not have the budget to keep two tools at the same time. I currently use semrush since there are things that I like a lot but I have doubts about the speed of the backlink audit tool. Recently I have encountered a problem in which semrush has not detected backlinks that were potentially dangerous to my website and this has hurt me. This part worries me a little because I’ve already seen the ears of the wolf. On the price-quality ratio of the two tools, would you continue with semrush or would you go to ahrefs? Thank you very much!
Hi Anil, a fantastic post. I would like to know your opinion since in my case I do not have the budget to keep two tools at the same time. I currently use semrush since there are things that I like a lot but I have doubts about the speed of the backlink audit tool. Recently I have encountered a problem in which semrush has not detected backlinks that were potentially dangerous to my website and this has hurt me. This part worries me a little because I’ve already seen the ears of the wolf. On the price-quality ratio of the two tools, would you continue with semrush or would you go to ahrefs? Thank you very much!
Have you ever received a warning from Google Chrome to not visit a page? It will block the page and prevent you from going there because of some security issue. We begin by ensuring your website passes a SSL Certificate Validity Check. This a whole range of security protocols that should be within your website’s coding or built-in to the domain. It shows the world that your site is trustworthy!
The biggest downside I think is the inaccurate keyword volume sometimes. Previously, I was only using Google's keyword planner and it gave us more precise volumes. I guess it's easier for Google since it's their own tool and they can give better numbers. This confuses us because in Ahrefs we may see potential in various keywords but in the long run, after our articles are published – the traffic is not what we expect sometimes. Though, it's accurate enough for the most part.
Brian, I’m going through Step 3, which is referring to the one version of the website. I found a very good free tool (https://varvy.com/tools/redirects/) to recommend. It checks on the redirect and gives you a visual number of hops. More hops mean more delay. For example, if I use your manual method to check on https://uprenew.com, all looks good. However, if I use the tool and check, I realize there is an unnecessary 1 hop/delay, whereby I can fix it. Hope this helps. : )
The total number of backlinks and their quality pointing to your complete website result in the overall authority of your domain. The external links that all point to a specific page will help this page to rank in the search engine results (SERPs). The relevance and quality of an external link are very important factors when you like to measure the impact / value of an link. To find out more about quality links have a look at this article on: the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog – https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2010/06/quality-links-to-your-site.html

Love how you just dive into the details for this Site Audit guide. Excellent stuff! Yours is much much easier to understand than other guides online and I feel like I could integrate this to how I site audit my websites and actually cut down the time I make my reports. I only need to do more research on how to remove “zombie pages”. If you could have a ste-by-step guide to it, that would be awesome! Thanks!
One of the things that AHrefs is best at is helping with a content marketing strategy. Though it's best known as a backlink index (which it's great at and I'll get into that), coming up with good content ideas is one of the things I get the most use out of it with using the content explorer. I find articles that do well for the topics I want to target and it's clear what already resonates with your audience which is powerful.
Another advantage of using Ahrefs is their “Fresh Index” “Live Index” switch that displays backlinks that Ahrefs’ crawler found. The main difference between the two is that the Live Index is updated every 15-30 minutes to show live links in your site. For Fresh Index, it is updated at a much longer timeframe, but it still displays dead links which give you the chance to reclaim or change the dead link.
This feature can definitely help your SEO campaign, specifically, your link building campaign because you now have the capability to see all of the domains that removed your link from their content, and you can contact the webmaster to see if you can reclaim the lost link – this means that you now have the opportunity to either improve or continue your outreach and overall link building goals.
As of September 2014, YouTube's own keyword tool stopped working. It was moved over to Display Planner's AdWords video keyword suggestions. To use it, you need to have an Google Ads account. Just like the non-existent YouTube keyword tool, it was created to facilitate paid video and ads promotion. Which is why keywords that you will find there might not be closely related to the topic that you want to cover.
This feature can definitely help your SEO campaign, specifically, your link building campaign because you now have the capability to see all of the domains that removed your link from their content, and you can contact the webmaster to see if you can reclaim the lost link – this means that you now have the opportunity to either improve or continue your outreach and overall link building goals.
Of the three popular backlink reporting tools (Majestic, Moz, Ahrefs), Ahrefs provides the most useful link data. Even in other areas of SEO, Ahrefs seems to always keep their toolsets fresh. They continually add in useful tools and features that make other software suites less relevant. The most recent addition is their site audit tool which provides a beautiful visualization of technical site issues.

Depending on the plan, you are only allowed up to 100 domain searches a day. If you purchase their top tier plan you only get double of that. Sometimes it can take you several days to do certain types of research. This can start to get a little bothersome as we work with several clients and all of them need to use this software to make sure everyone is getting the best work that we have to offer.
The audit is for all pages and not only one. What happens in the majority of the cases is that pages / posts have similarities so you can group them together. For example the pages of a website may be ok but the blog post pages may be missing titles. It’s a lot of work especially for a 500 pages website but you can start from the most important pages first and work your way to the rest
Ahrefs is a worthy tool, although I feel they should give new users a free trial instead of the $7 for 7 days trial, which is hardly enough trial period to adequately track a competitor’s website. For individuals/freelancers in the SEO digital space, the subscription pricing is quite high when you’re just starting, but once your clients start to see the benefits, it will be worth it as you get more business. Otherwise, there’s little I found to dislike about Ahrefs.
Another function included in the backlink profile section is the data for Referring Domains. Basically speaking, it shows you the number of websites that are linking to the domain you’ve inputted in the search bar. So, in this instance, I’m using seo-hacker.com as the target website/URL, and the number of referring domains is shown with the corresponding details you will ever need:
Ahrefs is incredibly comprehensive and straight forward. From keyword discovery to site audits I use ahrefs for all my SEO needs. It's the first SEO program I was introduced to when starting me SEM management career and has proven to be the best time and time again. I've used their competitors liker moz, SEM rush, and a couple other services- none of which have come close to stacking up.
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