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. 

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.)

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.
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!
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. : )
Your article reaches me at just the perfect time. I’ve been working on getting back to blogging and have been at it for almost a month now. I’ve been fixing SEO related stuff on my blog and after reading this article (by the way is way too long for one sitting) I’m kind of confused. I’m looking at bloggers like Darren Rowse, Brian Clark, and so many other bloggers who use blogging or their blogs as a platform to educate their readers more than thinking about search rankings (but I’m sure they do).
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.
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. 

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).
I work with legal websites and it makes it easy to see what the top law firm websites are using for backlinks. I can then export all the backlinks into an Excel file and decide what are the best ones for me to try and obtain for our clients. The reports section is nice too, it gives us an easy to understand solution for our clients and answers their question of where their money is going to.
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.
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.
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.
One thing I like about Ahrefs is that it's straight and to the point. It's very easy to get in, get your data, and get out. Each report does pretty much what you expect it to. This report shows the referring domains + number links coming from that domain. You can access the links from each domain by clicking the Expand button next to the referring domain:
The Lost Links tab has the same interface as the New Links report does. For your own domain you might want to consider tracking your own links in something like Raven or Buzzstream but this tool does report dropped links down to the day. Combine that with their crawling preferences (better links = quicker attention) and you can spot drops of substance quickly.
Google cares about Content first and Links second when it comes to how it ranks a page within it's results. This tool allows us to see where competing domains are earning links and insights into the specific content that attracts links for the competition. This insights assist us in creating an actionable strategy for our clients using a CRM such as Buzzstream to import data into.
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. 

Google cares about Content first and Links second when it comes to how it ranks a page within it's results. This tool allows us to see where competing domains are earning links and insights into the specific content that attracts links for the competition. This insights assist us in creating an actionable strategy for our clients using a CRM such as Buzzstream to import data into.
Building Relationships: Follow up on people linking to your sites to build even more beneficial relationships. You can also use this tool to find trustworthy influencers that are related to your business and who have established page authority. They can help you reach your target audience and earn you a valuable link in the process. Use this tool to see who they’re linking to or who’s linking to them. Reach out and discuss possible ways of getting a link or two from them based on the information our tool presents.
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.
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.
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:

SEOptimer is a free SEO Audit Tool that will perform a detailed SEO Analysis across 100 website data points, and provide clear and actionable recommendations for steps you can take to improve your online presence and ultimately rank better in Search Engine Results. SEOptimer is ideal for website owners, website designers and digital agencies who want to improve their own sites or theirs of their clients.
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.
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.
Thanks so much for offering this helpful tool. It is very useful. In case you want feedback, I think it would be great if you could please also consider including another column to display the linked page (i.e., the actual page that the backlink goes to on the domain). When selecting “All pages on this domain” it is difficult to know which page each backlink is going to on the domain. Thanks for your consideration.

Keyword Tool is the best YouTube keyword tool alternative. It uses YouTube autocomplete feature to generate highly relevant long-tail keywords about a particular topic. YouTube autocomplete, just as Google autocomplete, was created to make the user experience better. It helps users find videos faster by recommending related keywords when they start typing in their search query.


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.
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.
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.
One thing I don't like is that Ahrefs sometimes does not provide exact keyword search volume. Instead – it provides approximate numbers which confuses us in cases when we think a keyword should get more traffic that it actually does once the SEO content is published. To get the most up to date and exact numbers, you'd better off use Google's keyword planner.
We love the Intersecting Link Opportunity report, which helps us plan our link-earning strategy based on the semantic Web and relevancy. There really isn't a better way of finding industry websites to market with that could result in organic link wins. Our team has been using Ahrefs for as long as we can remember, mainly because it offers a higher volume of discovered links when weighed against similar tools.
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 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).
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.
What would be the purpose of/reason for moving back to a different url? If its been a few years, I’d leave it alone unless you watched everything decline since moving to the main url. Moving the forum to a new url now would probably be a bit chaotic, not only for your main url but for the forum itself…. Only reason I could imagine myself moving the forum in this scenario would be if all those links were really awful and unrelated to the url it currently sits on…
Ahrefs boasts the best link database among any system out there. It does most everything -- link monitoring, alerts, calculated metrics, the richest clickstream blend out there, and much more. Its UI is cluttered in a good way and the company has quick and polite support. And Tim Soulo -- the public face of Ahrefs -- has done a ton of good for the SEO community.
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.
Keyword Tool is the best YouTube keyword tool alternative. It uses YouTube autocomplete feature to generate highly relevant long-tail keywords about a particular topic. YouTube autocomplete, just as Google autocomplete, was created to make the user experience better. It helps users find videos faster by recommending related keywords when they start typing in their search query.
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.
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.
What would be the purpose of/reason for moving back to a different url? If its been a few years, I’d leave it alone unless you watched everything decline since moving to the main url. Moving the forum to a new url now would probably be a bit chaotic, not only for your main url but for the forum itself…. Only reason I could imagine myself moving the forum in this scenario would be if all those links were really awful and unrelated to the url it currently sits on…
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