The title of this Ahrefs review may seem presumptuous.
However, while testing the SEO tool in different ways, I’ve come to the conclusion that it truly is the best SEO tool if not one of the best.
That’s what I want to share to readers in this post.
I will talk about what the tool is about, its different features, and how users can use it to develop and run their SEO campaign.
Also, this Ahrefs review is going to be a long one, so buckle up, folks!
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Ahrefs review in a nutshell
Product Name: Ahrefs
Product Description: Ahrefs is a link building tool that lets you research your competitors so you can develop an effective SEO strategy. It draws information about websites from over billions of backlinks, keywords, and content online so you can gather the most extensive data about your niche.
Offer price: 99
Ahrefs is the best SEO tool in the market, period. It returns comprehensive data about a keyword, content, or website. You can then drill down on the results using its powerful filtering system so you can find the information you’re looking for. You can even interact with its vibrant online community on Facebook to ask questions, learn more about SEO, and grow your website’s organic traffic faster. My only gripe about Ahrefs is that it’s not user-friendly especially for beginners. They will lose their way around the different features and options that only a seasoned SEO veteran can navigate. However, this only means that Ahrefs is for people who are serious about their SEO. And if you’re one of them, then Ahrefs is the real deal. SIGN UP FOR A 7-DAY TRIAL FOR $7!
- Large database to analyze and research for websites, keywords, and content
- Powerful filtering options to help you find the information you want and need
- Excellent support and vibrant online community via their Facebook Group
- Ever-evolving features to adapt to the needs of users
- Not user-friendly and steep learning curve
- Keyword ranking frequency may not work for more users
Interface - 95%
Usefulness - 100%
Usability - 100%
Effectiveness - 100%
What is Ahrefs?
Ahrefs is more than capable of helping you perform the following SEO tasks:
- Competitive Analysis – Measure a website based on the most crucial SEO factors
- Keyword Research – Analyze keywords and find those with the most search volume and weakest competition so you can optimize your site for them and rank on top of search results
- Backlink Research – Check your or your competitor’s link profile and identify your most valuable inbound links and monitor them. You can also find patterns on how your competitors build their link so you can get an idea of their link building strategy
- Content Research – Find content for your keyword/topic that is doing well on social media and search engines. Use this information to help you create better content than the best-performing ones
- Rank Tracking – Monitor keywords your site is ranking for and see if they are moving up or down the rankings in accordance with your SEO strategy
- Web Monitoring – Receive alerts straight to your inbox about mentions of your brand on other websites so you can reach out to each for a backlink
As you can see, Ahrefs contains features that will most definitely help people grow their traffic, improve their link profile, and more.
Right now, what we want to know is whether Ahrefs can deliver the goods or not.
There are tools that promise a multitude of features but can only execute some of them.
So, what kind of tool is Ahrefs?
Below are its features divided into different options.
Ahrefs Site Explorer
Ahrefs’ Site Explorer lets you spy on pertinent SEO data of competitors to get a better understand as to what makes them great.
The tool provides you with information such as a site’s estimated traffic, ranking keywords, and others to help you build your SEO strategy based on your competitor analysis findings.
To start, click on the “Site Explorer” link on the menu and enter the URL of your competitor on the search bar.
Here’s what you will see next:
Let’s first talk about the following: Ahrefs Rank, UR, and DR.
Domain Rating or DR speaks of the quality of a domain based on its link profile. The more authoritative sites linking back to one’s site, the higher the DR will be. This is similar to Moz’s Domain Authority (DA).
Similar to DR, URL Rating or UR computes for the quality of links pointing to a page or URL. It doesn’t consider the links of other pages in the domain. The higher the UR, the higher its chances of ranking on search results for its target keywords.
Ahrefs Rank is a figure that shows the strength and authority of a website based on its DR or Domain Rating. The top ranking site (#1) means that it has the best link profile among the rest.
Referring to these metrics exclusive to the tool, Ahrefs puts a lot of weight on links to determine the quality of a domain or page.
And, from using the information found in Site Explorer, you will learn how to grow these metrics on your site.
Running through the other metrics, you will see a domain’s current links, keywords, and traffic.
Backlinks counts the total of inbound links a URL or domain currently has. Keep in mind that it counts all of the links – no matter how many they are – in a page.
Referring Domain shows you the number of websites linking to yours. So, even if your site has 2-0 links from a single domain, Ahrefs only counts it as one here.
Also, it filters out links from domains that have the rel=”nofollow”, rel=”ugc”, and rel=”sponsored” attributes.
From here, you also need to understand the recent and historical links.
Recent backlinks refer to links that were live during the last re-crawl by Ahrefs spiders.
Historical backlinks are the total number of backlinks of the site that were live starting August of 2015.
You can then compare your historical and recent backlink data to see if you’ve improved your link profile.
When re-crawling for your inbound links, Ahrefs won’t count dead inbound links as part of your recent backlinks.
Dead backlinks happen due to a number of reasons such as server downtime, DNS issues, page error, and others.
However, the fact that they are dead on the last re-crawl doesn’t mean that they will remain dead. It’s possible that those links will be live sooner than later.
Historical data is only available starting with the Standard Plan and higher. Again, this is useful if you want to compare your backlink data from years back to see how far you’ve come.
Depending on your plan, you should be able to toggle the type of links you can analyze from the drop-down menu on the side.
Next, Organic Keywords lists down the number of keywords the domain is ranking for and its current position.
Using the organic keywords the site is ranking for, Ahrefs then computes for the Organic Traffic. It is an estimate number of visits the domain generates in a month.
Using the information above gives you a general understanding of a site’s SEO performance.
Scrolling down the page, you will see information about a site’s backlink profile in graph view.
As you can see on the screenshot above, you will see the site’s Ahrefs Rank and referring domains throughout the months or years.
From here, you can see how much the site has improved or suffered over time. Later on, you will be able to find out why they perform that they using the tool’s other metrics.
Other factors available in graph format are as follows:
- Referring pages
- New & lost referring domains
- New & lost backlinks
You will also see the distribution of CTLDs across the globe.
Below it, you will see the top anchor texts used to link back to your site and the referring domains using those anchor texts.
On the side, you will see additional information about the site’s link profile.
The information here will give you a better idea of how a site’s backlinks are distributed across different TLDs, attributes, and distribution on organic search.
The sections here are clickable and leads you to the information you’re looking for. If you click on the dofollow links under Referring domain, you will see dofollow links the site has.
And this is what makes Ahrefs such a useful tool – it breaks down different search engine optimization data for you from the Overview page and delivers the specific data in a single click.
You can access different features just from the Overview page alone. You don’t have to follow a specific path by clicking on different sections from the menu to see the information you need.
From the Overview, it’s best to move to the Backlink Profile section of Ahrefs next.
Ahrefs boasts to having the largest link database index compared to other tools.
To date, the Ahrefs database has almost 163 million domains with almost 296 billion pages.
While numbers are impressive, it ultimately boils down to a single question:
How does Ahrefs put the database to use?
Lets’s face it – the size of your database doesn’t matter if you don’t make it easy for users to access the data and take action with it.
However, I’m happy to report that Ahrefs definitely puts its big data to great effect.
If you click “Backlinks” under Backlink profile, you will see something similar to this:
Each referring domain is clustered into different sections divided into columns:
- Domain Rating (DR)
- URL Rating (UR)
- Referring domains
- Linked domains
- External links from the referring page
- Estimated monthly traffic that the referring page generates
- Anchor text used to link to the site and the surround text
- When was the first time the link was seen and the last time it was checked
- Number of links with the same anchor text and surrounding text
As mentioned earlier, DR and UR determine the quality of a website. To help increase your site’s organic ranking, you need to secure inbound links from sites with high DR and UR.
But, as with most SEO metrics, you can’t simply rely on a single one.
Referring to the other features on the page, identify referring pages that are driving the most traffic, ranking for the most keywords on organic search, and others.
So even if the referring domain has a low UR/DR, the other metrics should prove that the linking page/domain still has some value.
Now, by accessing this section of Ahrefs, you are looking at the site’s current link profile.
If the site you entered on Site Explorer is your own, then you’re looking at your current list of inbound links.
Your objective now is to audit your links and see which ones are the most valuable.
Clicking on the DR will reorder the list of backlinks from ascending or descending order. Ideally, you want to see the highest DR first and work your way down to identify the best domains first.
But again, DR/UR isn’t the only metric in town. Depending on your goal, you can use the other features to help determine links you want to prioritize.
For example, if you want to monitor pages that are generating the most traffic (which could lead to higher referral traffic to your site), then re-order the links from highest to lowest traffic.
Now, you might be asking yourself:
What if I want to filter the results using multiple SEO factors?
See this part right here?
You can use this to narrow down the results to what you believe are the most crucial SEO factors to consider for your backlinks.
While it doesn’t help you filter out sites with low DR/UR, you can still alter the list using the following:
- One link per domain – By default, Ahrefs groups together domains and pages that are alike. By clicking on this, you will only see one page from the domain. For example, if you have 100 pages linking from the same domain, the results will only show you 1 out of 100.
- Link Type – Narrow down the backlinks from the list according to type, i.e. dofollow, redirect, nofollow, UGC, and others
- Language – Determine the language used by the site linking back to you
- Platform – Find out the type of site where you got the backlink from, i.e. blog, message boards, Wikis, etc.
- Traffic – Filter the range of traffic a page receives in reference to the Traffic column of the results
For example, you want to filter the results according to the following:
- One link per domain – Focus on limiting the inbound links from domains
- dofollow links – to pass link juice to your site
- traffic ranging from at least 100 visits/month – ensure that the page receives organic traffic
- links from blog – acquire a link from blog post through different means (guest post, comment, etc.)
- English language – make sure that the pages linking to your site are in English
This is how the filters will look like:
From the previous results of 312,000 links or more, we have narrowed the results to just 892.
Filtering the results this way allow you to focus on the links that matter. You don’t have to find you way through the thousands of inbound links your site has. Instead, filter the links so you only see links that you deem important.
Now, here’s the doozy:
If you’re analyzing the links of your competitors, filtering the results allow you to identify their best backlinks.
This way, you can determine which domains you can target for your next campaign.
For example, visiting the page from the first result, you will see the link within the content of the page.
So if you want to get a link from the same domain, you should consider reaching out to the site and write a guest post for them.
Or you can reach out to the author of the site and find a way to encourage him/her to link back to your site.
Either way, it’s clear that the filters help you find the best possible link building opportunities for your site. All you need to do next is to manually visit the pages and determine the best course of acquiring a link from the domain.
Under links, there are three additional options you can check to break down the list:
Clicking on this will show you the links that were acquired by the site on which date.
Using this option will help you analyze their latest backlinks and the amount they generated for each day.
If you’re analyzing your competitors, you can use this to understand their current link building process.
You can analyze the inbound links by day or days. For example, if you want to check the links f your competitors for that week, first click on the first day then click on the last day.
Then scroll down the page and click the Show New Backlinks button to load the inbound links acquired by the site during that period.
You can then filter the results similar to what we did above to help you find the most important links of the site or at least narrow down the list.
It’s possible that the domains that once linked back to you no longer does. Whether intentional or not, your goal is to keep from losing your high-quality links.
By entering your domain on the Site Explorer bar, click on Backlinks > Lost to see the inbound links that no longer exist.
In the screenshot below, I clicked on Referring domains > Lost to show the domains you lost and not backlinks.
You can change the date range to see the lost referring domains during your specified period.
To see the backlink, click on the Backlink drop-down menu.
Check out the box in red in the image above. It shows that the original link redirects to the link below it. So, while the initial link is lost in place of the new one from the same domain.
However, there are instances when the old link is replaced with or redirected to a new link from a different domain.
Let’s assume that you own the initial link and it’s working (in the example above, the domain of the initial link no longer exist). You can use this information to reach out to site owners and ask them why they dropped your link in favor of another one.
From here, you might learn new information on how you improve your content and get more people to link to it instead of your competitors.
Broken link building is one of the best ways to acquire high-quality backlinks.
Basically, you identify broken links from resource pages and such.
Next, check the broken link and see if you have a page in your site that’s similar to that.
Then, you reach out to the site owner to replace the broken link with that.
The process can be time-consuming and repetitive if you’re planning to extract hundreds of resources pages.
Luckily for you, Ahrefs helps you cut down the time identifying broken links on your site.
Instead of just looking at the broken links of a page, you can check the broken links in a domain.
Click on Backlinks > Broken to see broken links in a domain.
In the screenshot above, you can see that the page is linking to a 404 page about keyword tool. If you have content about the same topic, you can use this as leverage to email the author or site owner to get a link to your site.
Since broken links disrupt the user experience, site owners should be more than happy to replace the broken link with yours.
That’s how broken link building works in principle. And Ahrefs allows you to automate their process so you don’t have to spend hours of your time to pinpoint broken links on the page or domain.
Internal linking is one of the most underrated on-page SEO tactics. By structuring your internal links the right way, you can boost the performance of your landing pages on SERPs.
If you have time, I highly suggest you watch this SEO Fight Club about link structure.
Once you’re done watching it, Ahrefs’ Internal Backlinks would make much more sense to you.
Click Backlink Profile > Internal Backlinks to see pages in your domain and the pages that link to it.
You can filter the results to show you the best pages on your site. Worry about those first and see if they have getting lots of internal links to further increase their exposure and visibility.
Another good way to find link building opportunities is by finding out your competitor backlinks. List them down and identify how to get an inbound link from each one.
Similar to broken link building, doing this task manually is cumbersome. You have to look at the link profile of your competitors and cross-check which ones they have that you don’t.
With Link Intersect by Ahrefs, however, you can generate a list of domains your competitors have links from.
To do that, click on Backlink profile > Link intersect.
You will then need to fill out the other entries with your competitor URL.
If you’re not sure who your competitors are, click on Organic search > Competing domains to see sites that share similar keywords as yours.
Take whichever sites from the list you feel are your closest competitors.
For the sake of this example, I’ll enter the top three from the list.
After clicking on “Show link opportunities,” you will see this:
To see your competitor backlinks from a domain, click on the number on your competitor site’s column.
You will see which page your competitor got a backlink from the domain under Referring Domain. And on the Anchor and backlink column, you will see how and where on the page they got the inbound link.
Again, this is a great way to find link opportunities so you don’t have to start from scratch. Use the competition to help you find sites where you can place your inbound links.
Now that we’ve discuss in depth about backlinks, it’s time to dive in head first into Ahrefs’ Organic Search feature.
You can determine the SEO performance of a site based on how high it’s ranking on organic search.
Ranking on top of Google search, for instance, means that the content is top-notch and your website wields authority.
Therefore, the more keywords a site is ranking on the first page of search engines, the more authoritative it is.
Using Ahrefs, you can find out how searchable a website is using its Organic Search feature.
Once you’ve entered the domain on Site Explorer, click on Organic search > Organic keywords.
You will see all of the keywords the site is ranking for on Google.
The page above shows you the following data:
- Search volume – How often people search for the keyword every month
- Traffic – How many visitors your page attracts every month. The search ranking of your page and the keyword’s search volume determine this figure
- Position – How high does your site/page rank for the keyword
- URL – The page ranking for the keyword
If you are analyzing your website, you can find out which keywords you’re ranking for that you’re not initially aware of. This should help you re-optimize your pages so you can give your current keyword rankings an extra boost.
If you’re analyzing your competitors, you will see which pages are generating the most traffic from organic search.
You can even break down the ranking page by clicking on the drop-down button and referring to other data.
You can click on any of the links there to analyze the page further and find out what makes it perform great on organic search.
You can also check out the top 10 pages ranking for the keyword by clicking on the SERP drop-down menu.
You can see metrics such as AR, DR, and UR to give you an overview of each page ranking for the keyword. You can also see the backlinks, domains, and estimated traffic of each.
More importantly, you can see how many keywords that page is ranking for on organic search.
Clicking on the number will show you what other keywords it’s ranking for.
You can use the keywords here as LSI keywords to amp up content similar to the page you’re analyzing here.
If one of the pages in your domain starts ranking for a new keyword, you will see it in Organic search > Organic keywords > New.
You will first see the position distribution history for the domain’s keywords. Scrolling down will show you the new keywords the domain or page is ranking for.
The keywords are in descending order. You will see the keyword with the highest search volume on top.
If you want to view more specific keyword, filter the results according to search volume, keyword difficulty, and other factors.
It also helps to analyze new keywords of each page (not domain).
If you want to see the keyword movement across all the pages of your site, then head on to Organic search > Organic keywords > Movements.
Scrolling the page below, you will see the changes per day.
The goal here is to see the keyword movement of your most important pages.
Since Google changes it algorithm regularly, it’s best to stay on top of your pages and monitor the movement of their keywords so you don’t use organic traffic.
From the page, what immediately catches the attention is the estimated traffic you earned and lost because of the movement.
On the screenshot above, losing the third position for “neil patel” will lose the site an estimated 2.4 million a month.
Of course, it’s possible that the lost ranking is temporary for a variety of reasons. So it’s best to stay vigilant and keep track of the ranking changes. We’ll go in detail about this feature of Ahrefs later.
Also, you will see all ranking changes of a domain or page by default. You can isolate the view to only see new, lost, up, or down keywords.
Again, you can filter the results according to search volume, KD, and others if you want to get a more precise list of keywords.
If you want to identify pages that are ranking for the most keywords, go to Organic search > Top pages.
If you’re analyzing a competitor, you will see the pages generating the most traffic thanks to the number of keywords they are ranking for.
By doing this, you can see how they’re generating organic traffic and what you can do to replicate the results, if not do a better job.
Again, the most interesting metrics you can see from the page are the Traffic and Value columns.
Traffic shows you an estimate monthly visitors the page attracts, while Value computes for you how much the traffic the pages generates is in dollars.
To unveil the other keywords the page is ranking for, click on the drop-down menu to show all of them.
If you have content similar to the one of your competitor, use some of the keywords to optimize your page and get it to rank for it as well.
Content gap allows you to identify keywords that your competitors are ranking for but your site isn’t.
It’s similar to Link intersect. But instead of links, you’re looking for keywords to optimize and rank for your site.
When you click on Organic search > Content gap, you need to enter at least one competitor URL to conduct the search.
Now, I explained how you can determine your competitor domains. And you can the same thing we need for Link Intersect here.
But if you want to find keywords of competitor pages that you’re not optimized for, then click on Organic search > Competing pages.
In here, you will see pages that share the similar keywords as yours for your URL.
I boxed in red competitors for the URL.
Let’s enter the top three competitors in this case.
After clicking “Show keywords,” you will see this:
The keywords your site is not ranking for is in descending order for keyword volume.
On the right, you will see which domain ranks for which keyword and its current ranking on SERPs.
You can also see the SERPs for the keyword to get a better idea of competing pages for the keyword.
Ahrefs lets you analyze a page or URL according to its links. As if we haven’t covered that above!
But using the Pages feature, you can easily identify pages of a domain with the most links.
Click on Pages > Best by links and see for yourself.
The results are organized from most to least referring domains.
The External links columns shows you the total backlinks the page has from the referring domains. It also breaks down the links from dofollow, nofollow, and redirects.
You can break down the results using the filters above the page.
By default, the results will show you inbound links from different domains. But you can also see links from within its domain by clicking on the Internal button.
Doing so can help you improve your internal linking structure so you know where you can funnel the link juice in your domain.
You can then narrow down the results according to platform, language, and HTTP code (404, 301,302, etc.).
You can also check pages that are currently getting the most links.
Click on Pages > Pages by links’ growth to see pages getting the most links in the last 30 days.
Click on the numbers to see what the domains are in the New Referring Domains page.
If you’re analyzing your competitors, this is important because you can secure links from the same domains if possible.
If you’re analyzing your site using this feature, you get a better understand where the links are coming from. You can then reach out to the site owner of these domains and build relationships with them that you can leverage later on.
Finally, the Top Content feature lets you see the most shared pages on social media.
Go to Pages > Top Content and check out the Total and Social power (SP) columns.
The Total column shows the combined number of shares across all social media platforms.
However, the list of pages are ordered from highest to lowest SP.
Social power refers to median score of social media shares across all platforms.
It’s possible that likes, tweets, and the like can be manipulated.
Therefore, Ahrefs takes the platform with the second highest social shares to minimize risk of fraudulent social activity.
From here, you can click on the Details drop-down menu to view its backlinks and other information regarding the page.
The Top content feature is useful if you want to see a site’s most viral content.
If you’re planning to employ the Skyscraper Technique for your site, then you can refer to the domain’s most shared content and get ideas on how to write your piece.
You can also use this feature to analyze the content on your site and see what’s getting the most shares on social media. You can update the post and promote it again to receive another round of likes and retweets.
Ahrefs allows you to see and analyze the outbound links of the site.
In here, you will see domains that the site keeps linking to and breaks down the domains using Ahrefs data.
Click on Outgoing Links > Linked Domains to see what I mean.
To specify which pages in the site the domain got links from, click on the Links from target drop-down menu to see all of them.
Ahrefs Keyword Explorer
Ahrefs has one of the best keyword research tools in the industry, and I’ll show you why.
Upon entering your keyword, you can check which search database you want to check for the data. You can also flip which country you want to see. This is useful if you’re doing local SEO.
You can also enter as many keywords as you want. Personally, I prefer researching for a single keyword every query because it loads faster.
Once you’ve searched for your search query, you will see something like this:
As with most keyword research tools, you can see its difficulty and search volume to help you assess which keywords to target for your campaign.
However, Ahrefs takes it a step further by including click data for pages from organic search results. You can see how many searches led to clicked and unclicked pages.
Ahrefs also shows you the click metric of the keyword.
In the example above, “content marketing” has 31k searches in a month. But the searches only produce 26k clicks on organic results.
This means the keyword has less than one person clicking on a page when searching for this keyword.
There are different variables that affect click metrics. But the data provided here, can help you drill down further which keywords to target in your campaign.
Scrolling down the page, you will see keyword suggestions and ideas from your seed keyword.
You can dig deeper in your keyword analysis from these options.
My personal favorite is the Questions feature. It lists down phrases related to your seed keywords that start with the 5 Ws (who, what, why, where, when) and 1 H (how).
If you’re creating content for your site, make sure to optimize for the relevant questions for your topic to increase your chances of ranking on organic search.
Another thing that separates Ahrefs from the rest is its excellent filtering options.
You can easily find low-hanging keywords by targeting those with high search volume and low difficulty.
You can set that by finding keywords with a keyword difficulty between 1-29 and search volume from 100 onwards.
You can change the settings as you see fit to produce more keyword ideas. You can even set different filters such as word count, clicks, and even include or exclude keywords from the list.
That said, Ahrefs makes it all too easy for you to find keywords that your site can easily write and rank on Google!
Now, I want to talk about the Keyword Difficult metric on Ahrefs.
Because I feel it’s the weakest link on a nonetheless great tool.
Hear me out:
As you can see from the screenshots above, it showed keywords with a KD below 30.
However, when running the same batch of keywords using Keyword Revealer*, for instance, the results tell a different story:
Here’s what SEO Powersuite’s RankTracker shows:
And finally, here’s the data from Moz for the same keywords:
Compared to the data from the other keyword research tools, Ahrefs is very generous when calculating their keyword difficulty.
Obviously, I’m not privy to how these tools compute for a keyword’s competitiveness.
But when more than one produces results that is drastically different from Ahrefs, it makes you think.
Now, I’m not going to throw Ahrefs under the bus for this. Given the previous features, it’s still one of the best tools for keywords research.
However, I wouldn’t put too much stock on its keyword difficulty. That’s just me.
Going back to the Keyword Explorer, you can also see the SERP results for the keyword at the bottom of the page.
You can drill down the pages according to different metrics to fully understand how these pages stack up to the one of your site.
Or if yo’re planning to create a page for this keywords, use this information to decide if you want to optimize for this keyword or not.
TL;DR: Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer is extremely easy to use due to its filtering options. You can find ideal keyword ideas just by tweaking the settings.
Also, the extra layer of information about a keyword’s click metrics gives you a better understanding on which keywords to target for your campaign.
However, the keyword difficulty data is concerning to me at the very least. It gives scores that make certain keywords easy to rank. But if you compare the data to other tools, the keywords aren’t as easy as they seem.
If you’re comfortable with Ahrefs, then this shouldn’t sway your opinion of an otherwise excellent tools. But personally, I’d double-check a keyword’s difficulty using another tool than the one Ahrefs produces.
Ahrefs Content Explorer
If you use Buzzsumo, then you should be familiar of Ahrefs’ Content Explorer.
Basically, you can find the most shared and popular articles about your search query.
Using the information here, you can create Skyscraper Content by reverse-engineering the popular posts and writing a better version of them all.
That’s just one of the many use-cases of this feature. Let’s play around with it and see what else it can do.
If you search for your keyword on Content Explorer, the first thing you will see is a graph that shows pages published about the topic over time.
It’s a good indicator of a topic’s popularity and whether or not you should create another one for it. The more articles published, the higher the demand for the topic!
Next, you will see the post about the topic ranked according to Relevance.
There’s a wealth of data available for you for each post. You can filter them according to the traffic they receive or the number of shares they have for which social platform.
The best thing about this feature for me is the ability to see how many people tweeted the post.
By visiting their Twitter handle, you can extract their emails using a tool like Find That Lead and send them an email once you have your article ready for sharing.
This makes email outreach for your Skyscraper content much easier.
The fact that they shared the same article means that there’s a good chance they’ll share your post too, if not link to it!
You can also see which keywords the page is ranking for. Use thee best ones to optimize your content once you start producing it.
And in true Ahrefs fashion, you can also check the link profile of the pages that appear here.
Another handy feature of Content Explorer is the ability to track broken pages about the topic.
By finding popular content about the topic that show a 404 error, you can recreate on your site and acquire its backlinks!
You need to confirm if the page shows a 404 page. If yes, enter the link on Wayback Machine and see its latest version when it was live. Rewrite the content on your site and update them information.
Next, find the sites linking to it on Ahrefs and reach out to them so they’ll to yours instead! Easy, right?
TL;DR – Ahrefs’ Content Explorer is a dream for content creators. Aside from the use-cases mentioned above, you can also find guest posting opportunities, check your competitor’s contnet campaign, and more using this feature.
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Ahrefs Rank Checker
How high you rank on organic search is the byproduct of your SEO.
As a link building, Ahrefs nonetheless offers rank tracking capabilities to help you stay on top of your SEO campaign.
Once you’ve added a project to track, you can manually enter them on the text bar (just separate each keyword with a comma). Or you can upload a CSV file with all your keywords.
If you don’t have a keyword list yet, you can choose from the keywords you’re already ranking for as suggested by Ahrefs.
After entering the keywords, the tool will process data to show you additional information such as visibility and estimated traffic.
You can also enter your competitors who are targeting the same keywords as you do. This allows you to properly scale your campaigns based on your ranking vis-a-vis your competitors.
You can isolate the keywords and analyze their metrics. From here, you can filter the keywords according to your variable of choice and see which ones you should target for your next campaign.
You can also use this information to possibly find new keywords to target if you’re already ranking high for the keywords in this list.
Finally, you can track the keyword movement over time to see how much your site has improved or regressed for certain keywords.
As you can see, the Rank Tracker is as straightforward as you can get. You can track your keyword ranking over time and compare it with similar sites to help you scale your efforts better.
However, if there’s one criticism about this feature, it’s that the soonest the tool can update your rankings is in three days.
And this update frequency is only available on higher-tier plans (Advanced and Agency).
Compared to other keyword ranking tools that update your ranking daily at best, Ahrefs still have a lot to go when it comes to tracking one’s ranking.
TL;DR – Ahrefs’ presentation of your ranking is beautiful and easy to understand.
But despite its added features, the update frequency isn’t frequent enough. This could cause people to search for another tool to track their ranking faster and more often.
Ahrefs Site Audit
As part of your on-page optimization campaign, you want to identify bottlenecks in your website that’s keeping it from ranking high.
Using Site Audit, you can identify areas that need improvements or errors you must fix on your site.
After running an audit, you will see a report summary organized into different graphs:
To learn more about why your site got this grade for its health score, you need to scroll down the page to see the different issues according to importance.
The issues are segregated into the following categories:
- Internal pages – Deals with pages that are broken, tagged as noindex, 3xx redirects, HTTP to HTTPS redirect, and others
- Performance – Lists down slow-loading pages
- HTML tags – Determines missing meta descriptions, title tags, and missing or multiple H1 tags from indexable and non-indexable pages
- Social tags – Shows issues with Open Graph and Twitter card
- Content quality – Identifies pages with duplicate content and low word count
- Localization – Checks pages with missing HTML lang attribute
- Incoming links – Reveals nofollow, dofollow, and redirect links from indexable and non-indexable site pages
- Outgoing links – Counts links to redirect and broken pages from indexable and non-indexable pages
- Images – Shows images that are broken, large, or have missing alt tags
- CSS – Deals with broken CSS on pages
Expanding any of the errors you see from the overview shows you what the problem is about and how you can fix it.
If you view the affected URLs, you will see something like this:
Depending on the issue you’re dealing with, Ahrefs provides you with a wealth of data and information about the issue so you can swiftly address it.
Thought it may seem like your usual online audit tool, this feature leverages on Ahrefs’ powerful crawler that helped build its large database index. So, you can expect it to detect more problems that you can fix to further optimize your site.
TL;DR – Ahrefs’ Site Audit is a fine addition to its arsenal of SEO features. Using the tool’s database, you can potentially unearth more issues about your site compared to other standalone audit tools.
This is the perfect complement to the tool’s link building features to launch a comprehensive SEO campaign for your site or clients.
Ahrefs SEO Toolbar
If you want to conduct your SEO research as you browse the web, then the Ahrefs SEO Toolbar is for you!
You can install it on Chrome or Firefox.
Once installed, you need to sign up to your account to make it appear on your browser.
If done successfully, you will see a floating bar on top of the window:
The initial data shows you information about its link profile. It tells you how many links and referring domains the site/page has, the number of keywords it is ranking for, its Domain and Page Rating, and more.
Clicking on any of the metrics will bring you to the Ahrefs dashboard for further analysis on your part.
To show the on-page information about the site or page, click on the clipboard icon on the upper-right part.
TL;DR – The SEO Toolbar is a pretty nifty if you want to leverage on Ahrefs data for every site you visit on your browser.
Now that you’ve seen how powerful Ahrefs is as an SEO tool, you’re now wondering how much it costs.
Below are screenshots of the current prices for its paid plans:
At $99/month as its lowest plan, the tool ain’t exactly cheap.
To be fair, and as shown to you above, this SEO tool is worth every penny provided that you use it correctly.
The Lite plan is good enough to supercharge the SEO efforts of your site. It doesn’t offer a lot of juice in terms of reports per day. But it’s more than enough to give you all the information you need to build an effective SEO strategy for your site.
The other plans fare much better for marketers and agencies with multiple SEO clients. Aside from increased daily reports, you gain access to recent and historical indices using the Site Explorer.
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Pros and Cons
At this point, you already know what Ahrefs can and can’t do as we went through each of its features. But to break it down for you, below are the pros and cons of this SEO tool.
But before we get into that, I’d like to take a moment to discuss the costs of the plan.
Again, it’s one of the most expensive SEO tools in the market and rightfully so. However, the prices could easily drive away potential marketers who want a more budget-friendly tool to run their SEO campaign with.
However, and as mentioned in all of my reviews, I refuse to consider costs against Ahrefs.
The costs become immaterial if it helps you answer this question:
Can the tool pay itself and help you make even more money?
In case you’re still not aware, the answer to this question is a resounding “YES!”
My point is this:
Don’t worry too much about how much it costs. Worry about how much more money you can make if you use this tool compared to using others.
Let’s proceed to the pros and cons then!
- Powerful filtering options – This feature is what truly separates it from the rest. You can tweak the filters to produce the results you want. You can drill down the pages according to traffic, language, link type, SERP features, and more!
- Very large link database – What makes its filtering options even more powerful are the results returned to you for every query. With over 16 trillion backlinks, 7 billion keywords, and 1 billion content pieces, you won’t run out of pages and keywords to analyze.
- Vibrant online community – Arguably the most important feature of the tool is the constant improvements the team behind it makes. Ahrefs Insider not only talks about updates made on the tool but also serves as a platform for users to interact with each other and learn how to use the tool better. Also, Tim Soulo, Ahrefs’s head of marketing, is very active on the Facebook Group and is usually the first to answer questions about the tool. Collaboration and transparency are two things brand should strive to achieve with their audience and Ahrefs has both in strides.
- Not beginner-friendly – Ahrefs is arguably the best tool in delivering the right data to users. And that’s the thing about this SEO tool: it only shows you the information that you can use to grow your website’s SEO. It doesn’t tell you how to do it. If you have years of experience of SEO under your belt, then navigating through its useful features will be a breeze. But for those who are getting their feet wet with SEO, the tool won’t help your cause. Granted, there are resources that teach you how to use the tool effectively. That said, if you want an SEO tool that you can use on the go, then Ahrefs probably ain’t it, chief.
- Limited update frequency for rank tracker – Ahrefs only lets you track your keyword positions every three days at best. For users looking to monitor their keywords on a daily basis, you need to use another tool to do this.
Frequently asked questions
What is Ahrefs?
Ahrefs is a link building tool that claims to have the largest link database in the industry. It’s arguably the best SEO tool if you’re serious in ranking your site and client’s on organic ranking using its wealth of useful data and powerful filtering options.
How much does Ahrefs cost?
Below is the list of the tool’s current pricing structure:
- Lite – $99/month ($990/year)
- Standard – $179/month ($1,790/year)
- Advanced – $399/month ($3,990/year)
- Agency – $999/month ($9,990/year)
As the price increase, so does your quote for certain features.
Is SEMrush any good?
SEMrush is one of the best digital marketing tools in the market and the closest competitor of Ahrefs.
Aside from being an SEO tool, SEMrush offers content creation, social media, and email outreach features so you don’t have to use another tool ever again!
To understand their differences further and help you make an informed decision, you may want to check out my SEMrush review.
Which is better Ahrefs vs SEMrush?
To determine which between the two is better, it all boils down to need.
If you’re focused on growing your website’s organic traffic by ranking higher on Google search, then Ahrefs is more equipped to help you get the job done.
If you’re looking for a tool that does a little bit of everything under the digital marketing, then SEMrush is where it’s at.
Ahrefs review: Verdict
When all is said and done, Ahrefs will go down as one of the best SEO tools in the market. In fact, I believe it will hold the distinction as the very best SEO tool for a very long time.
What I admire about Ahrefs is it knows what it is.
Whereas tools like SEMrush aspire to be the swiss army knife of digital marketing, Ahrefs is, at its very core, a link building tool.
All of the improvements and updates it’s made along the way is to provide users the best information on how to build high-quality links for their sites.
It doesn’t strive to have social media or outreach features because it’s not what Ahrefs is all about. And that’s a great thing.
Also, the Keyword Explorer and Content Explorer, while not common features of link building tools, help separate Ahrefs from the pack.
You can use arguably the best keyword research tool in the market to find low-hanging fruits to optimize for your site. On top of that, you can drill down on your target keywords using Content Explorer so you can create even better content than your competitors.
If done correctly, you can create content that people will link out to on their websites!
While I truly believe Ahrefs is the SEO tool to beat, it’s not the best tools for beginners.
The tool doesn’t lay out how you must use the provided information to build your links or develop your SEO strategy. It doesn’t spoonfeed you with the basic tenets of SEO because the tool assumes you already know this.
But this isn’t meant as a knock against Ahrefs. While it is a drawback for users looking for a more hands-on approach to SEO, seasoned SEO professionals and experts should have no problem using the tool.
Therefore, if you’re really serious about SEO and is looking for the tool that ends all SEO tools, Ahrefs is it.
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