Are you wondering what Ahrefs can do for you?
I have for everything covered for you in this extensive Ahrefs review.
Ahrefs offer a suite of SEO tools that you can use for optimizing your website or your client websites.
Ahrefs is trying to do what SEMRush has done for the SEO industry, but in their style and a tool worth keeping an eye on. They don’t offer 14 days free trial like SEMRush does or designed for modern agencies, but there are many features of Ahrefs that set them apart.
Well, in this mega-review of Ahrefs, you will learn:
- Notable Ahrefs features and how to use them
- Performing SEO Site Audit with Ahrefs
- Hidden gems of Ahref
- How Ahrefs can help you grow your online business?
If you have never tried Ahrefs until now, I suggest you to signup for 7 days trial account and add your domain name to see your ranking and keywords that you rank for.
While it scans your domain to give you solid information about your ranking and where you stand, let me help you understand more about Ahrefs.
What is Ahrefs and why it’s popular:
Ahrefs is a SaaS based SEO suite which let you check any domain (including your competitors) domain ranking, keywords ranking, backlink profile, Site structure and a lot more.
Ahrefs was launched in 2011 as a backlink analysis tool and currently, their headquarter is in Singapore. In the past few years, Ahrefs has added all the features a modern digital marketer needs to perform various SEO activities.
At the time of writing this Ahrefs review, here are tools that you can use in Ahrefs:
- Keyword research: (We will dive deep into it in a moment)
- Find search traffic of any website
- Keyword gap tool
- Backlink gap tool
- Backlink profiling tool
- Internal link audit
- Site SEO audit (Cloud-based)
- Disavow tool
- Content Explorer
Before we move to the review part, let’s understand some of the terminologies of Ahrefs:
Click: find expected CTR from Google Search
This is part of the Keyword explorer feature of Ahrefs. Using Clicks, you can gauge how many clicks you can expect if you rank #1 for a target keyword. Let’s understand this as an example:
Here is the search query I used “warren buffet net worth”
And Ahrefs is showing this keyword receives about 3.4K monthly searches but if you see the “Not clicked” column just below it which shows 85% and “Clicked” column shows only 15%. That means, 85% searchers are not likely to click on the result as they might be finding the results within SERPs.
Here is what the result shows for the same query in Google SERPs:
This is an important piece of information when you are performing keyword research.
Ahrefs has their own metric called Ahrefs rank that is based on the strength of a website backlink profile. Along with Ahrefs rank, you can also see domain rating and URL rating of any domain and a web page.
Domain rating (DR):
Domain rating is a proprietary Ahrefs’ metric that shows the score of a domain name backlink profile on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 100. DR is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 100, with the latter being the strongest
URL rating (UR):
UR is similar to DR but it’s for individual pages. What interesting here is, they take an account of both the internal as well as external backlinks to give a score. They also consider the damping factor and respect the ‘Nofollow” attribute while calculating the UR.
You can find all the SEO metric and terminology of Ahrefs on the official page here.
Ahrefs Review: Top features you should be using
Alright, it’s the time when you learn about a few notable features of Ahrefs. Do remember, Ahrefs is not just a tool but a suite of SEO tools, and I’m covering just a few of them here and others you need to discover yourself by playing with Ahrefs.
Here we go:
What is Ahrefs Keyword explorer:
Keyword explorer let you perform keyword research on the following platforms:
The keyword explorer is complemented by Keyword list feature which let you save the keywords while you performing the research.
You can use the pre-built filter on the left side to populate more keywords. Using Include feature, you can filter keyword based on “Awareness”, “Consideration” or “transaction stage”.
Do pay attention to KD (Keyword difficulty) store to find keywords that you can rank easily.
The parent topic feature is something you should pay close attention to as by targeting one parent topic, you could rank for hundreds of keywords. I will discuss the complete methodology in the coming days.
What is Content gap by Ahrefs ( Quickly find keyword opportunities )
This feature let you find profitable keyword opportunities that you are not encashing on.
You can quickly compare your domain with your competitors to find out what keywords they are ranking for, which you are not. This is another great way to find profitable keywords by performing Competitor Analysis.
Backlink audit feature:
Head over to Site Explorer and enter the domain name for which you want to find the backlink profile.
You can use the backlink profile to do a lot of things:
- Broken link building
- Internal backlinks (This is a new feature)
- Link intersect
How to use Link Intersect tool by Ahrefs:
This is perhaps one of the most talked features of Ahrefs.
Using link intersect feature, you can find sites that link to your competitors (or their pages) but don’t link to you (yet). What interesting here is, you can compare your domain with up to 10 domains to find those link building opportunities.
Usually, this lets you find those link building opportunities which are easy to build.
Ahrefs Content Explorer:
Ahrefs content explorer is quite different than any other content explorer you have ever used.
This one is designed for finding easy to win link opportunities and competitor analysis. Content Explorer by Ahrefs also let you find the most popular content around any topic or from any website. You can sort content based on social share or backlinks.
In the search box, you can type any topic, and it will show you the most shared content on the web. You can filter the results by date and language or pick from available filters. You can also include or exclude certain domains from the results to refine your search.
Using Ahrefs content explorer, you will be able to do the following:
- Find republished content of any website
- Find broken links around any topic (Link building opportunity)
- Check the publishing frequency of you vs. competitors
- See the trend of any topic
- Find a hot topic on your competitor website
Fix keyword cannibalization
This is another less known feature of Ahrefs Suite. You can use the ranking explorer feature to find if any two or more pages on your domain are fighting for the same keyword. This is a common SEO issue with a large and old website.
The SERP position history will help you quickly see which all pages are competing for the same keyword. You can then decide if you want to prune, consolidate or even delete the page. If you are suffering from Keyword cannibalization issue and need help fixing it, let me know in the comment section below. Based on the number of requests, will publish a guide on fixing the issue of Keyword Cannibalization.
Ahrefs toolbar: (Chrome and Firefox)
Ahrefs also offers a Chrome and Firefox toolbar that let you see vital SEO metrics within SERPs. To download the Ahrefs toolbar, head over to this page and depending upon the browser you are using, download the correct extension.
Now, let’s take a look at the Site audit feature of Ahrefs. I have covered in depth of how Ahrefs Site audit feature works and how you can use it for your domain name.
How to use Ahrefs Site audit feature:
A site audit is one of the fastest ways to find major SEO concerns on a website. Ahrefs site audit tools require you to add a domain name, and it crawls your website just like Google does to give you suggestions that you can implement to improve your site’s overall SEO.
- Login to your Ahrefs account, and click on Site audit at the top to get started.
- Click on new projects and add the domain name you want to audit. You can use it for your domain as well as your competitor’s.
- It’s a good idea to check out their help video to have a better understanding of all the feature (I have marked the help video link with an arrow in the below screenshot).
If it’s your domain, you should verify ownership using any of the listed methods. This will speed up the crawling and a recommended step if you are crawling your website.
For unverified domains, Crawl speed is limited to 1 request per 2 sec.
Once you have are with all these settings, its time to run the first crawl. Click on start project and Ahrefs will start working its magic.
Depending on the size of the website and your settings, it could take a few hours or days to complete the crawling. Once it’s done, you will be able to explore your crawled data and take necessary actions.
Let’s jump right into it.
Click on projects again and click on the status column of the project that you wish to see the data for.
This will take you to the data overview page which will look something like this:
Depending upon the segment of technical SEO you would like to fix first, you can start exploring the options. I was not happy with the performance report as I felt it was not accurate. However, it may be normal because there are a lot of factors in play to get the right performance report.
If you are someone who understands technical SEO, you should explore the data explorer page and play with existing presets or create your own presets to get meaningful data.
Even when you are exploring the data, filters are going to help you the most. My suggestion for you, start experimenting with data explorer and filters from day one to make most out of it.
Here are a few things you should do first to improve your technical SEO:
- Identify pages with high loading time and fix it
- Find heavy images on your website and find a way to optimize it
- Find broken links (Internal + external) and fix it
- Find orphan pages and link to them if necessary (this could also be done with Yoast SEO plugin)
- Find pages with missing HTML tags
Ahrefs also boasts of a feature called To-do which I found to be the most usable. With this feature, you can mark any issue as a task and later export it into excel format. You can then work with your team or even freelancers to get the issue resolved.
For any existing Ahrefs user, this site audit feature is pretty helpful if used correctly. The simplicity of the interface and helpful videos makes this tool friendly beginners and experienced users alike. As technical SEO has become more essential than ever, this is going to be one fantastic tool to have in your arsenal.
Ahrefs plans, pricing & trial:
Ahrefs offers 4 different plans named:
- Lite: $99/month
- Standard: $179/month
- Advanced: $399/month
- Agency: $999/month
When you purchase an annual plan, you save 20%. However, before you make an annual commitment, it’s recommended to take their 7 days trial which cost only $7. The Standard plan is the minimum that you should aim for if you need features such as broken pages, daily brand monitoring.
If you wish to cancel your account before 7 days, you can drop an email to support[at]ahrefs.com. You can also upgrade or downgrade plan anytime by sending an email to their support team.
Available payment methods:
You can pay via credit card or PayPal.
Ahrefs trial account:
The trial account gives you access to Ahrefs Lite and/or Standard plans and there are no limitations. If you are looking for Ahrefs discount or promo, unfortunately, there is nothing available as such.
However, the 7 days trial is enough to explore all amazing features of Ahrefs and once you are comfortable with it, you can continue using Ahrefs for your website or for your client websites.
Also see: Take 14 days trial of SEMRush
Conclusion: Ahrefs review
Ahrefs has been adding a lot of new features and as their development cycle is fast, you can expect a ton of features in the coming days.
The user interface is another most talked feature of Ahrefs. Moreover, this SEO suite is designed to be user-friendly that you will find out as soon as you start playing with it.
The best thing you could do is, grab the Ahrefs trial, create a new project and add your website to do the heavy work of SEO auditing. Once it’s done, simply start fixing your site for a few things such as:
- Top pages with broken links
- Find pages with most UR and pass on link juice to other important pages of your website
- Use content gap to find new content ideas
- Use link intersect tool to find link opportunities
- Use site audit feature to fix elements of the website as suggested above
- Competitor analysis
- YouTube SEO
Overall, Ahrefs is an upcoming SEO Suite that you should consider using.
This may require a detailed comparison. However, at this moment I find SEMRush to be better in terms of features and value for money. From the UI perspective, Ahrefs definitely looks modern, but SEMRush is more popular and favorite among SEO Professionals for its features.
Unfortunately, Ahrefs does not offer a trial which is a standard practice in the SEO tools industry. Though, you can try their tool for 7 days by paying $7.
- Have you used Ahrefs before?
- How’s your experience of using them?
- Do let us know the pros and cons of Ahrefs?
- What do you use Ahrefs for?
I look forward to seeing your meaningful comments. Do share this review of Ahrefs with others on your favorite SEO forums.
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