Ahrefs is a reference tool allowing you to keep an eye on your competitors and find new SEOs to add to your arsenal to improve your performance. Created in 2007 in Singapore, Ahrefs has been changing and updating along with the change in SEO practices. Ahrefs is known for its wide range of features dedicated to referencers:
- Backlinks links won, lost or broken
- Reference domains won, lost or broken
- Best SEO content
Ahrefs also has a database of around 45 millions keywords from 9 different countries (US,GB,FR,RU,DE,ES,IT,AU,BR). Tools include:
- Site explorer
- SERP Analysis (Results page of research)
Now let’s take a look at how to best use Ahref’s main features.
It’s the main research tool of the software. Exploring a link allows you to obtain pertinent information about data on organic search, the value of the traffic and the Backlink profile.
All you have to do is insert the link and choose if you want to analyze:
- The exact URL
- A prefix
- The domain
- The domain + subdomains
Once the analysis is up and running, you’ll find different metrics about the structure of the links and the strategy of creations links like:
- The Ahrefs Ranking: a specific Ahrefs metrics that allows you to identify the backlink profile force of a site compared to the competitors of the Ahrefs database
- URL Rating (UR): represents the backlink profile force of a page on a scale of 1 to 100
- Backlink: the number of links which, from other domains, lead to the site in question
- Reference Domains: number of domains connected to the analyzed site
NB: Be careful not to get confused. A domain can send two links to another (Backlink = 2) but for the reference domains it will always count one.
Other functions listed in this section include the live backlink monitoring which monitors new backlinks lost or broken. The same feature is made for reference domains. More precisely, a backlink analysis can be done for reference IPs, this allows you to keep track of domains and backlinks by grouping them by IP.
There’s also Intern Backlinks, it’s a function that allows you to show links from your domain that are directed towards other internal pages. Don’t underestimate this structure of internal links to organize a better way towards Google Bots who Crawl.
There’s also an intersection of links that is the backlink equivalent of a content gap, it allows you to see which backlinks are shared with competitors and new opportunities to take for new backlinks.
Link analysis is also available for outgoing links in order to avoid broken links or to assure that your external link policy doesn’t make your website “spammy”.
Another pillar of the Site Explorer is the section dedicated to organic search.
The first type of this information is already given in the general presentation section where you can see the first metrics.
- Organic Traffic- this is an estimation of monthly traffic. Heads up, we’re talking about estimations here, Ahrefs doesn’t have access to your Analytics account or those of your competitors. However, from June 2021, it’s possible to upload data from your Google Search Console. The estimation is done by taking into account the volume of monthly search of keywords for which the site is positioned and the SERP position. Obviously, even taking into account these values, a key piece of information is still missing: the CTR (Click Through Rate). Ahrefs has developed a unique curb of CTR based on the click/search ratio allowing you to estimate a CTR closer to reality for each keyword.
- Organic Keywords: shows you all words, variants and new keywords which go into positioning your website on Google, between 1-100, the search volume and the difficulty. This last piece of information is important for content strategy because it allows you to know if you have an actual chance to reach the first page of Google for a given keyword. With all of this, thanks to different filters, it’ll be possible to run more detailed and personalized analysis.
- Best Pages: finds best pages on a site in terms of keywords for which it’s ranked and for organic traffic
- Top Subfolders and Best Subdomains: they have equivalent functions to the best pages but also in subfolders and subdomains.
- Domains and Competitive Pages: allows you to identify which pages and domains are your main competitors due to the content. Allowing you to analyze the keywords that separate them from you.
- Content Gap: allows you to identify the content you need to produce in order to keep up with your competitors
- Value of Organic Traffic: Equal to the value of keywords obtained in fonction of the price you would’ve had to pay to obtain them via SEA strategies.
Concerning paid campaigns, there are three basic, but effective, functions:
- PPC Keywords: The keywords for which an ad was activated
- Ads: Shows ads that are being shown on the site in question
- Best Destination Pages: the best pages in terms of keywords on which the ad was placed
This section of keyword search is made to make Ahref’s keyword database available and to come up with ideas of keywords. It works on different search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, Amazon, Youtube and in different countries.
The first step is to pick the initial keyword, the country and the search engine. You’ll then see a dashboard which shows different metrics:
- Keyword Difficulty: On a scale from 1 to 100, it indicates the difficulty of a page to position itself among others, it then recommends the number of Backlinks to increase your chances of being further up.
- Volume: the monthly search volume of keywords, always on the same page then shows the total volume of global searches in different countries, where the keyword is present.
- Clicks: The volume of monthly clicks can be reached with the use of the keyword in question
- CPS: the click per search shows the link between the clicks and the volume of monthly searches
- Return Rate: on average how many times a person made the same search per month
- Parent Subject: which marks if you can position yourself on a keyword via a more general subject
Now, let’s talk about keyword ideas which offers you ideas of alternative keywords through:
- Having the Same Term: Keywords which contain the same base term, for example if the searched word is CRM, in this section we could find CRM sense </ em >
- Question: it’s always about keywords in the form of questions
- Additional Ranking for: the keywords on which the 10 first ranked sites are positioned on the searched keyword
- Serp History: in this section, you can see all the changes on Google Top 10 over the last 24 last months
- Serp Preview: Allows to analyze the results on the Top 10 Google to have an idea of the competition
A new search field associated with “also talk about” list frequently brought up subjects by websites that talk about the researched subject
The Traffic Share section: can be looked at by obtaining the proportion of shared traffic by the sites present on the search results page relative to the keyword searched.
This section is about the site dedicated to technical SEO analysis. It allows you to explore the site on a global scale and to keep track of the health of a website over time.
Let’s look at the different sections in more detail
It lets you analyze the main metrics of different page of the site and to compare the different crawls in time:
- Organic Traffic: tells you if the page is active, meaning if it receives organic traffic
- HTTP Status Code: shows the status code that each web page sends, so that you can check the redirections or broken links
- Depth: the number of necessary clicks to reach the page from the homepage
- Is the page indexable: shows the indexing problem of pages
- Number of Incoming Links: the number of links inside the page
This lets you run an analysis linked to the profile of the link of the site. For each link it analyzes the starting page and the destination, the HTTP status code, the anchor text and other information such as:
- Href attribut language
- Canonical tag
- Type of URL
- Indexing problems of the target site
- Distinction Nofollow / Dofollow
- Internal/External Link
We’ve already seen that the structure of internal links play a crucial role for a site, for this reason, Ahrefs offers a tool to take advantage of all the lost opportunities and place links in the best anchor text.
Analyze the same metrics as the Page Explorer but by making a subdivision in the site structure. It can be, for example, by categories or parts of the site (blogs, files, products, etc.)
So, you picked some keywords with the help of the Keyword Explorer, created content and now?
The next step is to track keywords to measure the results of your digital marketing strategy.
Thanks to the Rank Tracker it is possible to insert a list of keywords to track and at any moment have:
- Average Position
- Organic Traffic
- SERP Features (videos, pictures)
- Position Changes
Furthermore, if in your strategy you chose to work on different semantic groups, for example by taking advantage of semantic clusters it’s possible to add tags to be able to distinguish each group of keywords and to do an even more detailed analysis
Still related to the strategy that you need to put in place in order to take advantage of the keywords found in Keyword Explorer, there’s content to create. Thanks to Content Explorer it’ll be possible to have a general view of the best product content for a given keyword so that you can understand what kind of information Google and the more general audience expect to get. It’s also helpful in understanding what sources of information would be better or worse, in terms of quality, for your site.
The main features aside, Ahrefs also offers more tools to improve companies’ marketing strategy. Let’s take a quick look at what they are:
- Alerts: let you receive notifications by email for new Backlinks, keywords or quotes for your site
- Ahrefs Ranking: the complete quality ranking of sites in Ahref’s database
- Domain Comparison: a comparison between two or more sites chosen by the user
- Analysis by Groups: allow you to track the main SEO metrics of a group of sites, up to 200, at the same time
- Ahrefs Toolbar: SEO metrics directly integrated into your search bar thanks to a Chrome or Firefox plugin
- Wordpress Plugin: by accessing your Wordpress structure it gives you tips on the content, the Backlink strategies and information on traffic directly from your site
As you could see, we’ve made an exhaustive list of all the quality features Ahrefs has to offer. Now it’s time to cover pricing.
The good news is that the software’s offered in four types of monthly subscriptions.
- Lite: Base version starting from $99 per month, limited amount of keywords tracked, 500
- Standard: Version starting from $179 per month which increases the number of keywords and in general the quality of information tracked by the site explorer
- Advanced: Version starting from $399 per month, up to three users, as compared to one in the previous subscription options, and more information tracked, sites, keywords, etc.
- Company: Version starting from $999 per month this version is completely tricked out with every feature possible, but is intended for marketing agencies who really need to keep track of multiple sites at the same time.
Who is Ahrefs For?
Another fundamental question before throwing yourself into buying a software is “Would this be good for my business?”
In theory this software is for every SEO and person in charge of marketing. The total package lets you have all the SEO metrics on a single platform. Furthermore, it lets you monitor multiple projects at the same time and in different countries, it’s completely adapted to international strategies.
But be careful of the number of users you have using Ahrefs, each additional user will cost you $30 more per month. If you have a decent sized SEO team then the subscription cost might skyrocket.
Let’s go through an overview of the reviews about Ahrefs that we found on the internet.
On different software review platforms we’ve found that the average reviews are quite high, between 4.6/5 and 4.8/5.
Let’s also look at the most frequent comments to understand the strong and weak points of Ahrefs.
Ahrefs’ Strong Points:
- The number of reference tools all concentrated on the same platform
- The keyword search tool which allows you to work on semantic clusters
- Excellent link creation tool
- Not a modern UX interface
- Missing a social media analysis
Recap of Ahrefs
To sum it all up, Ahread is an interesting solution due to its exhaustive features and ease of use.
We wholeheartedly recommend it to all who are looking for a central platform which enables them to have key reference information without having to use too many different software programs.
Furthermore, it’s a software that isn’t really that hard to use and offers info bubbles by each metric shown. Therefore it becomes an educational tool for beginners or novice entrepreneurs who have already launched a part of their business online and who need a tool to help them keep track of their SEO performance.
Our experience testing Ahrefs has always lead us to find two points of weakness:
- The quantity of keywords tracked: if you have a blog or a website with a lot of content, that also means you probably have a lot of keywords to track. With Ahrefs you can add them, but you’ll also be adding to your monthly bill. With the standard version you’re limited to only 1500 tracked keywords.
2. Organic Keywords Report 2.0: Excellent tool for analysis of keywords, but we were a bit frustrated that it’s not possible to take two different periods and see which keywords came out of a defined range without necessarily being completely lost. To better understand, if I compare the January with February on the Top 3 keywords, I’d be able to see on which keywords our site wasn’t popping up for but not those which might just have been on the Top 4-10
In any case we still have a very positive opinion about this software. Let us know what your experience has been like with the software and what you think about it by leaving us some comments down below.
Prices and features of Ahrefs
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