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!
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
We're using Ahrefs to drive our entire approach to SEO. It's Keywords Explorer tool is more accurate and does a better job of uncovering related terms and ideas than another platform we were using previously. This has enabled us to better validate our content ideas and improve our keyword research than before, and the benefits have been measurable.
If you're okay with the pricing they offer – Ahrefs is the perfect solution for any content creators out there. You are able to step up your SEO game with data on number of backlinks as well as info on that particular site. But before you start using Ahrefs, try out what Google already offers first, maybe it will be enough for you in the beginning. 

It depends on the size of your operation, but I think you could get just as much value out of the Mangools Suite. This is the group in charge of KWFinder. But you can also take advantage of their SERP watcher and LinkMiner, and SiteProfiler features since you have an established business. They aren't quite as powerful as Ahrefs, but they get you 90% of the way for about 50% of the cost.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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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.
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).
Terrific blog post. So much great stuff here. Just wondering about Step #16. When you promote your Skyscraper post across multiple social media channels (FB, LinkedIn, etc.) it looks like you are using the exact same introduction. Is that correct? For LinkedIn, do you create an ARTICLE or just a short newsfeed post with a URL link back to your website?
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.
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.
Competitor Backlink Audit: Analyze the link profile of your competitors and look for opportunities that can help improve your own link building and search performance. Whenever you perform a competitor backlink check or audit, you must also check the inbound links that are pointing to top ranking pages so you wouldn’t miss out on important link opportunities.
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