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.
The Intersecting Link Opportunity report we love could offer an automatic version that takes into account the top 20 listings for a given keyword phrase, saving the researcher copy/paste time and having to run multiple requests. Their Most Popular Content list is definitely helpful, but doesn't give us the semantic relevancy we get from the intersecting report.
There are numerous SEO tools out in the market, however, if link building is the topic at hand, then I honestly think that using Ahrefs is enough. Starting with the dashboard – just input the details of your site and your keywords, then it will give your potential competitors. It’s easy to use and it also has one of the best features for finding broken links, curating skyscraper articles, and link reclamation.

Keyword explorer, which was released few weeks back is one of the most exhaustive tools that we have see off late. Keyword Ideas, Phrase Match and KD help content marketers to align their content marketing efforts with organic search trends. Apart from that from an on page point of view, the tool gives everything that modern age webmaster need to track their overall performance.
What does it mean for a site to be SEO friendly? It goes beyond just posting quality content (though that’s a very important part!). There are all kinds of ways big and small that can prevent your site from being seen by search engines and thus by users. Our free audit tool begins by looking at some of the most important facets of your website you might not even be aware of.
I can recommend Ahrefs to anyone in search engine optimization, social media marketing or digital marketing. Ahrefs is perfect for keyword research, competitor research, viral content research, web page audit, rank tracking, competitor tracking and more. If you are looking to find great link opportunity then Ahrefs is the tool winning in that domain.

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!
The library and crawl index for Ahrefs is unparalleled. If you need to know competitive landscape and build backlinks, there is not another player in this space. moz, etc doesn't come anywhere close. they do alright in other factors, but purely from a research and backlink profile perspective Ahrefs is the leader without competition. Comparison features and backlink tracking are indispensable. Good to help with estimation of traffic on potential client's websites. You can go to the table in a client meeting better prepared. This along with SEO powersuite makes a good package.
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!

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?
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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.
Hi Anil, both are great SEO tools I would say because I’ve been using both of them for a long time now. SEMrush offers even more incredible features and their databases are even bigger and regularly get updated when compared to Ahrefs. But as you said, Ahrefs is equally good and I really like their keyword analysis data to be precise when compared to any other tool.
Keyword explorer, which was released few weeks back is one of the most exhaustive tools that we have see off late. Keyword Ideas, Phrase Match and KD help content marketers to align their content marketing efforts with organic search trends. Apart from that from an on page point of view, the tool gives everything that modern age webmaster need to track their overall performance.
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.

Relation building – Find influencers in your market, who already published well performing content. For example: Best SEO Tools For.. , Top 10 products, etc. You know these authors are interested in your subject and are possible able (when they like your product or service) to get you in front of your audience and earn you a valuable link doing so. To quickly identify list post, resources and authors for your subject have a look at the Link Building Tool.


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.

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).
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?

I can recommend Ahrefs to anyone in search engine optimization, social media marketing or digital marketing. Ahrefs is perfect for keyword research, competitor research, viral content research, web page audit, rank tracking, competitor tracking and more. If you are looking to find great link opportunity then Ahrefs is the tool winning in that domain.
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. 

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.
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The library and crawl index for Ahrefs is unparalleled. If you need to know competitive landscape and build backlinks, there is not another player in this space. moz, etc doesn't come anywhere close. they do alright in other factors, but purely from a research and backlink profile perspective Ahrefs is the leader without competition. Comparison features and backlink tracking are indispensable. Good to help with estimation of traffic on potential client's websites. You can go to the table in a client meeting better prepared. This along with SEO powersuite makes a good package.

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.

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 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
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 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.
I’m very local service oriented and I have several pages that our on the first page of google and I do get traffic. I see that I have a 1 rating DA and PA. There is decent competition for some of my keywords. Is possible to have a website that generates traffic with only a 1? It’s a young site and I’m trying my best to get it going stronger. I hired someone but that clearly hasn’t worked out well if I’m still at a one.
SERP overview reports the top 10 results for a keyword, their key metrics like UR, DR, backlinks, traffic, and social shares. Shockingly enough, the Ahrefs also reports if there are any AdWords ads, knowledge graph, and snippets at the top of the SERP for the keyword. This is very helpful in manually analyzing whether it is possible for you to rank for the keyword.
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.

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 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.

What does it mean for a site to be SEO friendly? It goes beyond just posting quality content (though that’s a very important part!). There are all kinds of ways big and small that can prevent your site from being seen by search engines and thus by users. Our free audit tool begins by looking at some of the most important facets of your website you might not even be aware of. 

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.
Hi, Brian. Thank you for the great article. I have a question about the part about 4 website addresses. Ours currently is set to https://www., and we would like to change it to just an https:// as the main website. Will this hurt our current link profile, or will everything stay the same? This might be a foolish question, but we are a bit worried. Thank you.
In SEMrush, you can export to CSV and XLS right from Keyword Gap, Backlink Gap, Keyword Magic Tool, Keyword Difficulty Tool, Organic Traffic Insights, Bulk Analysis, Position Tracking, Ranks, Site Audit, Keyword Ad History, and PLA Research. SEO Content Template lets you export its ideas to DOC, On Page SEO checker and Log File Analyzer feature  XLS, CPC Map and PPC Keyword Tool – to CSV, and Display Advertising allows exporting to ZIP.
The Intersecting Link Opportunity report we love could offer an automatic version that takes into account the top 20 listings for a given keyword phrase, saving the researcher copy/paste time and having to run multiple requests. Their Most Popular Content list is definitely helpful, but doesn't give us the semantic relevancy we get from the intersecting report.
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.
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.
Keyword explorer, which was released few weeks back is one of the most exhaustive tools that we have see off late. Keyword Ideas, Phrase Match and KD help content marketers to align their content marketing efforts with organic search trends. Apart from that from an on page point of view, the tool gives everything that modern age webmaster need to track their overall performance. 

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.

Now keep in mind that, based on their stated crawling guidelines, the stronger links from stronger sites tend to get crawled more frequently so the spammiest of the spammy link approaches might not get picked up on. For that level of deep research a historical report from Majestic SEO and a link status checker, like Advanced Link Manager, is likely a better bet.


In SEMrush, you can export to CSV and XLS right from Keyword Gap, Backlink Gap, Keyword Magic Tool, Keyword Difficulty Tool, Organic Traffic Insights, Bulk Analysis, Position Tracking, Ranks, Site Audit, Keyword Ad History, and PLA Research. SEO Content Template lets you export its ideas to DOC, On Page SEO checker and Log File Analyzer feature  XLS, CPC Map and PPC Keyword Tool – to CSV, and Display Advertising allows exporting to ZIP.
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.
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.
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