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My Unbiased Ahrefs Review [& Why It’s My Favorite SEO Tool]

Reviewing

ahrefs

Level Intermediate
Category Backlink Analysis Tools
Blogging Tips Score
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5/5 ahrefs Reviews

Our BloggingTips Breakdown

ahrefs is my favorite tool, hands down bar none. Whether I am doing keyword research, tracking competitors, or figuring out how to silo content on my websites, ahrefs makes the process easy simple and intuitive. While the platform is a bit expensive (I don't agree with their newly-launched pricing model), the tool is still worth every penny.
Overall
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5 out of 5.0
Ease of Use
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5 out of 5.0
Customer Service
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5 out of 5.0
Value for the Money
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5 out of 5.0
Features
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5 out of 5.0

Cons

  • Updates rankings every 5 to 7 days instead of daily
  • Keyword explorer can suggest random words
  • Pay-per-click features can’t compare to competitors

Pros

  • Newly-launched pricing model is a bit expensive for beginners
  • Must pay for extra users on every plan
  • Keyword explorer can suggest random words
  • Pay-per-click features can’t compare to competitors
  • No free trial option for the entire dashboard
  • Automatically charge you for additional data if you exceed your plan
5 /5 User Reviews
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Contact us for Questions

I’ve been using Ahrefs for nearly half a decade. Ever since, I rarely turn to other tools to guide my SEO and content strategy, monitor search ranking, or optimize performance. Ahrefs is simply that feature-rich.

Owing to this everyday interaction with Ahrefs, I’ve identified its best use cases and some areas where competitors like Semrush perform better.

Unlike many others, this Ahrefs review isn’t to sell you on the tool. It’s a hands-on evaluation of how the tool works, what you should expect and what you shouldn’t.

An Overview of Ahrefs

Founded in 2010, Ahrefs is a comprehensive suite of SEO tools businesses, content marketers, and bloggers use to build an online presence and grow search engine visibility organically.

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I use Ahrefs daily to conduct keyword research, generate content ideas, manage backlinks, track website ranking, audit site performance and conduct comprehensive competitor content and backlink analysis.

How Ahrefs Works

Like search engines, Ahrefs crawls the entire web to collect, process, and analyse information to give users data and insight about what people are searching on Google (and other search engines) and how they can leverage that data to power their online growth.

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According to this Cloudflare Radar report, AhrefsBots is the world’s third most active web crawler, following GoogleBots and Bingbots. It’s also the most active crawler among other SEO optimization tools.

The Core Features I Use The Most With Ahrefss

Before we proceed, you should be aware that Ahrefss doesn’t offer a free trial.

The only trial option is the free Ahrefs webmaster tool, a cutdown version of its Site Explorer and Site Audit suites, and it’s even with limited access.

That said, getting started with Ahrefs is simple. Once you sign up you need to set up at least a project.

A project is simply a website (yours or your client’s) whose SEO data you want to access or work on. To do that, you’ll input the URL of the website.

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Next, you must verify the site’s ownership. Select any verification option and complete the process.

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Once you’ve done this, you’ll be taken to your dashboard, where you’ll see a general overview of your projects (websites) with top-level info like Ahrefs Ranks and Backlink details.

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With that, you are ready to start using the following Ahrefss features.

Site Explorer

Site Explorer is one of Ahrefs’s most powerful features. This feature allows me to analyze any website’s organic traffic and backlinks.

All I need to do is input the website URL or pages into the Site Explorer.

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I love this feature not only because it shows me an overview of my site’s overall performance on a single screen, but the fact that I could do the same to my competitors’ sites and dig deeper makes it even more interesting.

I can see their top keywords, the number and sources of their backlinks, the amount of traffic they receive, and how it changes over time. That’s all I need to outrank them.

Keyword Explorer

Unlike other Keyword research tools, which provide data only from Google, Ahrefs provides search data from all major search engines, including Bing, YouTube, Amazon, Yandex, and more.

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It’s super easy to zero in on keywords in Ahrefss.

Once I input a keyword, I’ll see information such as its monthly search volume, keyword difficulty score, CPC data, and many closely related keywords.

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One of my favourite sections in Ahrefs Keyword Explorer is the SERP overview section.

Here, Ahrefs gives you the top 10 SERP results for the specific keywords.

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You’ll see their domain rating, backlinks, and the estimated traffic each receives. You’ll also see the word count of each page, which can be very helpful when deciding what content depth you need to outrank them.

Rank Tracker

As I target keywords and invest time and money in content production, I want to see how my website ranks in search results for those targeted keywords. Ahrefs Rank Tracker allows me to do that.

This feature helps me discover whether my site’s ranking for target keywords is stagnant, improving, or declining over time, which helps me adjust my SEO and content strategy.

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This tool works the same as other rank Trackers: input the keywords you’d like to track and see how your site ranks for those keywords.

Rank Tracker also helps monitor ranking for different locations, which is important for local SEO. I can also check how performance differs by device.

Site Audit

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Site Audit is one of the most valuable features of an SEO suite. This tool crawls a website to find technical SEO issues that search engines detest and often cause low ranking.

Anytime I use the Site Audit tool, Ahrefs scans all the pages on my website and returns a detailed report on issues such as broken links, redirects, and 404s in an easy-to-understand format.

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It also suggests ways to fix them, making it easy for me to get their website back on track.

Every website audit tool assigns an overall site health score after scanning. Ahrefs does the same. This score reflects my website is health regarding several technical SEO metrics, such as loading time, meta tags, duplicate titles, etc.

Advanced Filtering and Sorting

I’ve tried many SEO tools, and I can say this: No tool on the market matches Ahrefs’s filtering and sorting functionalities. Ahrefs puts tons of filtering options at your fingertips, which makes it super easy to pinpoint searches.

For example, when you use Site Explorer to check a competitor’s backlink profile, the result could be hundreds of thousands of links.

But let’s say you are only interested in their best-performing links. You can find them easily using the “Best Links filter”.

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To make life easier, tons of other filters, such as URL rating, estimated traffic, link type, etc., are also available.

Content Gap

In addition to top-level competitor analysis, Ahrefs content gap features let you quickly find keywords that your competitors are ranking for, which you aren’t.

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You only need to run the competitor’s domains against yours in the Content Gap tools, and you’ll see a list of keywords you are missing out on, like below.

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Link Intersect

Like the content gap tool, this tool helps you find sites with backlinks to your competitors.

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This is a very handy tool for finding link-building opportunities.

Ahrefs Alerts

You can use Ahrefs alert to receive regular notifications about actions on your site and your competitors. These include when a new link is acquired or lost, keyword ranking changes, and web mentions.

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Simply input the URL of the website and select the actions whose alert you want to receive.

Where I Think Ahrefss Could Improve

Despite many updates over the years, Ahrefs’s interface could still be more intuitive. Using it as a beginner involves a learning curve. While Ahrefs Keyword Explorer does a great job, Ahrefs isn’t the best tool for generating new keyword ideas.

In Brian Dean’s analysis of Keyword research tools, Ahrefss returns more keyword suggestions than any other SEO tools. However, some keywords it generates are, by a distance, unrelated to the inputs.

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The research also finds that SEMrush is a better tool for generating relevant keyword ideas.

Starting at $129 per month for the Lite plan, Ahrefs is not the most competitively priced service out there. Plus, at this pricing point, Ahrefs gives restricted access to some of its most important features, like the Keyword Explorer. So, if you are a casual blogger or marketer on a tiny budget, you’re unlikely to get the most out of Ahrefs.

My other grime is with Ahrefss Rank Tracker. It doesn’t update daily. For even its highest-tier plans, the best you’ll get is once every three days. This could be a deal breaker if SEO is the crux of your marketing.

Finally, Ahrefs doesn’t have a mobile app, even if it will be for basic features. Competitors like Semrush have.

How Much Does Ahrefs Cost?

Ahrefs is neither cheap nor the most expensive all-in-one SEO tool. The company offers four main pricing options: Ahrefs Lite costs $129 monthly, and the standard and Advanced plans cost $249 and $449 per month, respectively.

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Each of these plans offers the same core features. They only differ in the amount of data you can access. It’s the more you pay, the more data you get.

For instance, the Lite plan lets you track only 500 keywords, while the Agency plan gives you up to 10,000. The same goes for other features such as backlinks, site audits, keywords, etc.

But there are a few exceptions to this rule. Here’s one: Content Explorer is not available on the Lite plan.

Does Ahrefs Offer Discounts?

No. Ahrefs categorically states on its official website that it never offers discounts and no longer offers a free trial.

In the past, Ahrefs offered a 7-day trial for $7 to new users. Unfortunately, as of this writing, this option is no longer available. You can only save up to 20% or get up to 2 months free for purchasing an annual plan.

Is Ahrefs Worth The Cost?

It depends on where you are in your SEO journey and what you want to achieve with the platform. Ahrefs is expensive, so you have to be sure you need all the features it offers before investing in it.

It might not be worth it if you are a casual blogger or new marketer, as you can’t get overwhelmed by the extensive data Ahrefs provides.

However, to professionals, Ahrefs would be very much worth it.

Alternatives to Ahrefs

For some of the things Ahrefs lacks, there’s always an alternative you can turn to. Below are the top 3 Ahrefss alternatives.

Semrush

Semrush is the closest alternative to Ahrefs on the market. It offers nearly the same features and has a similar price point, starting at $129.95 monthly for its Pro plan.

While both functions overlap, Semrush is functionally more generous. Though with limited access, it offers a 7-14-day free trial, whereas Ahrefs doesn’t.

Semrush is more popular among content marketers, who emphasize content quality and performance.

Ahrefs is the favorite of SEO professionals who invest their time in building backlinks and technical SEO.

Moz Pro

Moz is an Ahrefs alternative that’s slighly more affordable.

Starting at $99 per month, Moz offers a generous 30 day fully free trial which let’s you acess all it has to offers before commitment.

In terms of features, Moz isn’t as robust as Ahrefs.

Moz’s basic plan is a bit too restrictive; you can only perform up to 150 keyword queries per month.

Ahrefs doesn’t limit the number of queries you can perform; it only varies the amount of data you get according to your plan.

While Ahrefs offers extensive data sets in its SEO reporting and analysis, Moz data are fewer but more in-depth. It’s quality over quantity.

Spyfu

Both Ahrefs and Spyfu offer comprehensive backlink analysis, but Spyfu specializes more in competitor keyword analysis, helping you understand their paid and organic search strategies.

Ahrefs doesn’t offer a comprehensive tool set regarding PPC, which is Spyfu’s bread and butter.

The platform focuses on PPC research and ad campaign analysis. It makes it effortless to find competitors’ top-performing ads and targeted keywords.

If you run ads for your business, Spyfu is a better tool than Ahrefs. Spyfu pricing start at $39 per month.

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User Reviews

Steve Johnson
Overall 5
3 May 2024
5.0 Ease of Use
5.0 Customer Service
5.0 Value for the Money
5.0 Features

Review

Ahrefs is a core part of my SEO tech stack, and is one of the tools that I use every single day. It’s worth the money, and helps me to drive tremendous results for my portfolio of websites. I highly recommend it.