Ahrefs Review

For the 7-Day trial of Ahrefs, you get to try the Lite version and the Standard version. But the good news is that in either of these two plans you can try nearly all of the tools available.

Anything in RED below is unique or outstanding in my eyes.

When poking around under the hood I had a few questions and was pleased to see that they have live chat available and they respond fairly quickly. Moz has this as well.

When setting up my first campaign in ahrefs it had asked me what keyword phrases to track. Since this is a brand new client and new campaign I did not have any so I checked Google Search Console and entered three from there but as I scrolled down ahrefs already detected keyword phrases that the site ranks for already! This was a nice little surprise that Moz did not have. Although when I double-checked the ranking positions on a couple of them they were way off. Hmmm, a day behind maybe? Couldn’t they check them live? By the way, I checked from a clear proxy search.

Updated Note: When checking out the organic search section it was discovered that when the rankings were checked last varies so that would explain that. However, when you create a list of keyword phrases to keep track of rankings it is more frequent.

Out of 451 from my list ahrefs returned with 420 and SEMRush returned 100. It seems that the free trial only allows up to 100 but I was able to copy and paste 100 at a time and export the results until it gave me 364 total.

Here are the comparison results between three different SaaS services:

I have been a big fan of Moz over the years and by using the Google Search Console data I have found that Moz’s estimate on traffic was pretty close and everyone uses their own way of difficulty to rank. You just have to pick one base to use and stick with it instead of mixing and matching data. For consistency from most searched to least, you will see that each one is following the same general numbers.

Ahrefs search data looks very accurate to me.

Keyword Phrase Moz Low
Monthly
Searches
Moz High
Monthly
Searches
ahrefs SEMRush Moz
Difficulty
ahrefs
Difficulty
SEMRush
Difficulty
machine shop near me 30,300 70,800 21,000 60,500 27 9 54.71
metal fabrication 9,300 11,500 9,600 22,200 35 14 54.61
metal fabrication near me 4,300 6,500 5,200 12,100 42 8 57.06
sheet metal fabrication 2,900 4,300 4,800 8,100 32 15 54.36
metalworking 2,900 4,300 3,100 9,900 47 16 78.19
fabrication definition 2,900 4,300 3,800 8,100 49 20 89.93
custom metal fabrication 1,700 2,900 1,900 2,900 18 9 54.41
steel fabrication 1,700 2,900 2,300 9,900 30 18 50.75
fabrication shop 1,700 2,900 1,800 3,600 42 2 73.52
local metal fabricators near me 851 1,700 0 43 0

Site Explorer

When I clicked on Site Explorer and entered a domain name all of this information below was available to me.

Overview

Backlink profile

For the backlink profile, any information that you can think of is there. Any information that you can find on any other software and SaaS (software as a service) will be found here.

One thing to note is that for each backlink it shows an estimated amount of traffic and number of ranking keywords that backlink page has which is something a lot of ahrefs competitors don’t have. Also, it dates the first and last time the backlink was seen (crawled).

Displaying newly discovered backlinks in a calendar format is a nice touch. Another nice thing is you can list any lost or broken backlinks and contact the website owner to get them back if you want.

  • Backlinks
  • New
  • Lost
  • Broken
  • Referring domains (All of the information about the referring domain’s value is displayed here.)
  • New
  • Lost
  • Anchors
  • The Referring IPs (Referring IPs, Domains, and C-Blocks are all listed here.)
  • Internal backlinks (NEW)
    • This little bit of information gives me details on what internal pages point to another. In other words, it shows me what internal pages point to the home page, etc. This is very helpful when taking over a client’s website and you have to determine how their internal linking is set up.
  • Link intersect (Pretty nice and standard out there. Enter in a few domains and see who links to all of them then go after those websites to get links from as well.)

Organic search

When looking over the organic search section of ahrefs it displays everything in a nice fashion and with a click, you can see how it looks in the SERP (search engine results page).

  • Organic keywords
    • New
    • Movements
  • Top pages (This even shows how many keyword phrases each page ranks for! Also, ahrefs estimated value of the page. Unfortunately, you would have to upgrade your subscription to see more than 25 results.)
  • Top subfoldersNEW
  • Top subdomains
  • Competing domains
  • Competing pages
  • Content gap (Want to see what other competitor domains rank for? This section does that for you! Unfortunately, you would need to upgrade the subscription to see more than 10 results.)

Pages

  • Best by links
  • Best by links’ growth (This is a nice little feature. It shows which pages get the most backlinks overtime. You can use this to determine which website content is the most popular to help you make more pages like that one.)
  • Top content (This is nice as well because it shows you the top pages that get the most social shares.)

Outgoing links

  • Linked domains
  • Anchors
  • Broken links

Paid search

Below you can view information about your external Ad campaigns that you may have.

  • PPC keywords
  • Ads
  • Top landing pages

Export

  • CSV
  • PDF

Keywords Explorer

In the overview section, ahrefs gives you all of the basic information that you would expect along with a few extras that I will talk about below.

It gives you an estimated number of clicks from each keyword phrase. Not sure how they can make that accurate or not because depending upon how the SERP (search engine results page) is laid out, which website, ranking position, etc. will determine the clicks.

What’s really nice is that it sorts suggest keyword phrases in ways that I like it so I don’t have to do it manually. One way is that if it includes the main keyword phrase you typed in, questions that have to do with the keyword research, keyword phrases that rank for the main one also rank for…, and newly discovered keyword phrases.

Another nice feature that I saw is that they utilize tooltips when you hover over some places and for their help link it pops up in a new window so that I don’t lose track of where I am on the current page.

One thing that I noticed that ahrefs has that other software and SaaS (software as a service) does not offer is to give you the estimated number of searches and clicks for different countries.

The way that you can click through to see more detailed information on the pages is clean, does not make you lose your position and easy-to-use.

Overview
Ads historyBETA

KEYWORD IDEAS

  • All keyword ideas
  • Phrase match
  • Having the same terms
  • Also, rank for
  • Search suggestions
  • Newly discovered
  • Questions

TRAFFIC SHARE

  • By domains
  • By pages

KEYWORDS LISTS

You can keep track of your own keyword list here.


Site Audit

The section goes over page depth, overall site health, crawling issues detected, etc. All the data you need to track down and improve your website. After looking into this deeper I have found this area to be far superior when compared to the other ones that I have tested thus far.


Rank Tracker

The SERP features portion found under this section is useful to see how you appear in the search engines. Moz has just added this to their service.

From here you get an overview of how you are doing with:

  • Visibility (Clicking through gives you even more detailed information. Something that Moz does not do.)
  • Average Position
  • Traffic
  • Search Features
  • Positions
  • Competition
  • Location
  • Keywords

Content Explorer

When you enter a search phrase ahrefs bring you up a list that you can filter in various ways to give you an idea of what to write about. I have only seen this in a couple of SaaS (software as a service) and downloadable software out there. Just check out how many social shares a particular page has or how many backlinks that go to it to help you determine what to write about. Unlike SEMRush you don’t have to pay extra for a subscription to display the results.

Hell, after seeing #3 on the list sorted by Facebook shares made me share it with my Facebook profile as well!

SEMRush has the upper-hand on helping you create the content as well by typing in an article and it giving you advice on how to write it and use the meta tags while ahrefs just give you ideas. Which is good enough for me, but the extras that SEMRush is mind-blowing! Too bad it comes with an extra price though.


Alerts

In this section, you can set up email alerts to let you know if any domains have any increase or decrease in backlinks, start ranking for any new keyword phrases (which is really nice!), and any new content that relates to a keyword phrase that you type in that was found online.

These alerts can help you receive new rankings, get new content ideas, and keep an eye on your competition. With the ‘new content alerts,’ you can type in the name of your competitor to keep track of them or enter your company name to do some reputation management. There are many things you can use the ‘content alerts’ for. In the past, I set up custom alerts like this using Google Alerts.


Ahrefs Rank

Okay, what is ahrefs rank? It turns out that ahrefs shares it’s very large database on all of the websites it collected with you. Ranked from the best to the worst you can click on any URL and get quick details on it. Since there are almost 1 million results you can filter and search for particular domain names as well.

I was not sure how this could be helpful, but you can enter in any competitor’s domain and do some competition analysis on them.


Domain Comparison

You can compare up to five domains here to show you shared information between all of them to help you with finding patterns, business leads, linking sources, crawled pages, etc.


Batch Analysis

Batch Analysis allows you to check important SEO metrics for up to 200 URLs or domains quickly. Simply enter the list of targets and click Analyse.

This report will show you the number of backlinks and referring domains, URL Rating (UR) and Domain Rating (DR), estimated organic traffic, and the number of backlinks per type.

You can sort and export this data easily.


Link Intersect

With this section of ahrefs, you can find out what websites link to all of the domains that you enter. If the same website links to all of your competitors then you can use this list to get links from them as well. There is a filter where you can enter in your website so you won’t see backlinks that you already get a link from.


SEO Toolbar

While you are browsing around the net and looking at SERPs (search engine results pages) you can have ahrefs toolbar installed to give you quick data without leaving the web page. I have used other similar toolbars which I find useful to help me detect patterns. For example, I’ll take a quick look at the SERPs after doing a search to help me determine how they rank. If the keyword phrase is in most of the SERPs URLs then I will know that having the keyword phrase in the domain is still strong with Google for this particular topic. Or if there are a lot of social media shares for most of the SERP results then I would know that a strong social media presence is required for ranking for that particular keyword phrase, etc.


Ahrefs API

If you have a good developer and want to customize the data to show up the way you want it too or share it with your customers then you can use their API.


Apps

This just shows what apps out there already use the ahrefs API.


Reports?

I don’t see anything here to generate reports that you can share with your clients. This is a big surprise since this is ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS that need to be done. I did some digging and found this article from ahrefs on how to create one. Evidently, you have to create once on your own. With Moz, you can just pick and choose which sections to include for their reports and add the content of your own. Other SaaS (software as a service) you will have to be happy with what they provide you.

Ahrefs? You will have you to create it yourself. At least you can customize and make it EXACTLY the way you want though.

Update: Under the Site Audit section I noticed that you can print out reports there or save them as PDF files but only in this section.

Steal Our SEO Report Template (and Make It Even Better)

Conclusion

I had high hopes and really thought this would be the winner. Unfortunately, with the lack of being able to sync data from Google Analytics and Google Search Console to give you more accurate data plus without the ability to export pdf files or reports to send to your clients I’m afraid I would have to pass on this SaaS. 

A 7-Day Trial of Ahrefs

Instead, I ended up choosing SEMRush. You can read my review on SEMRush here.

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