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.
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 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.
The Content Explorer is a nice addition for convenience, but it doesn't come close to replicating what a tool like BuzzSumo can do. Then again, it likely isn't intended to, but it's the one area of the product that feels like it might be a bit tacked on at this point. This isn't so bad though as the feature still offers a useful purpose, it's just that purpose is a little shallow.
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.
However, if possible, I would like you to expand a bit on your “zombie pages” tip..we run a site where are definitely enough pages to delete (no sessions, no links, probably not even relevant with the main theme of the site, not even important for the architecture of the site)..Nonetheless, I am not very sure what is the best technical decision for these pages…just deleting them from my CMS, redirecting (if there is a relevant alternative) or something else? Unindex them on Search console? what response code they should have? ..
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.

The Content Explorer is a nice addition for convenience, but it doesn't come close to replicating what a tool like BuzzSumo can do. Then again, it likely isn't intended to, but it's the one area of the product that feels like it might be a bit tacked on at this point. This isn't so bad though as the feature still offers a useful purpose, it's just that purpose is a little shallow.
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Hi Andres, sad to know that you’ve not discovered few toxic links using SEMrush. How did you find those toxic links? Have you used any other tool to find them? Also you might want to get in touch with the SEMrush support team and let them know about this issue, so they’ll look into it. But if you still are not comfortable with it, you might want to give a try to Ahrefs for a month or two to really find out the best one among them. I’d suggest you give a try to Ahrefs for some time to see if it’s the right fit for you.

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.
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!
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).
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.
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.
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.
The Content Explorer is a nice addition for convenience, but it doesn't come close to replicating what a tool like BuzzSumo can do. Then again, it likely isn't intended to, but it's the one area of the product that feels like it might be a bit tacked on at this point. This isn't so bad though as the feature still offers a useful purpose, it's just that purpose is a little shallow.
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.
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.

Are you a business owner, online marketer or content creator? If so, most likely you would like more people to visit your website, read your content and buy your products or services. The easiest way to achieve it is to find out what your potential customers or readers are searching for on Google and create content on your website around these topics.


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.
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…
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.

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.
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!
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.
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.
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:

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!
Competitor backlink audit – Analyse the link profile of your competitor and research the opportunities, to match your, or even better outperform your competitors link profile and subject authority. When performing an competitor backlink audit you should also analyse inbound links pointing to top performing pages, so you don’t miss out on valuable link opportunities.
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.
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