Having a versatile SEO tool can be game-changing for your business.
And that’s why, today, I am going to review Ahrefs.
It is one of the most popular search engine optimization tools and I also placed it at the top of my best SEO tools 2021 list.
For business, it is vital to stay at the top of their SEO game. After all, if they lapse in their approach, they are going to lose tons of search engine traffic to rivals.
That’s why it is crucial to get the best tool out there.
Before I go forward and look at what Ahrefs has to offer, I can already recommend it to you.
Yes, it is that good.
But is it the right pick for you?
Well, you will be able to answer it by the end of the review. If you know my rating, then you can check it below.
Table 1.0: Ahrefs Rating
|Features||It has plenty to offer. You get access to the rank tracker, website research, content explorer and much more!||4.9|
|Ease of Use||The UX team at Ahrefs has done a great job as it shows in its ease-of-use. You can easily move between different Ahrefs features and make out how they work in most cases(without the need to contact support or reach documentation)||4.7|
|Price||Ahrefs is not cheap. It can be costly and you need to pay it monthly. However, it offers features that constantly help you improve your business and hence is worth the investment. So, if you can use it to impact your business, then it’s worth the price.||4.5|
|Documentation||I think documentation plays a key role in enabling users to make the most out of the tool. Ahrefs does that by providing excellent documentation.||4.9|
|Support||I found the Ahrefs support system to be responsive.||4.6|
However, if you are impatient, just like me, check out the Ahrefs Quick Glance table.
Table 1.1 Ahrefs Quick Glance Table
|Ahrefs in NutShell||A complete SEO toolset|
|Starting Price||$99 per month per user|
|Best For||Agencies, marketers, small and medium businesses, enterprises|
Ahrefs had a humble beginning. If you look into its history, you will find that it was a link building tool way back in 2012. At that time, it was famous to the extent for the features that it offered.
It quickly became the best backlink analysis tool that fuelled its growth.
However, the Ahrefs journey started in 2010 when they released their backlinks index in 2010. It was technically, the first version of the Site Explorer that Ahrefs has to offer.
And now, Ahrefs is one of the biggest SEO services providers that updates their backlinks every 15 minutes. Their crawler is one of the best as it crawls over 8 billion pages per day! That’s impressive considering the internet’s diversity and reach.
Have you ever thought about what makes Ahrefs so special? Well, it is their data. They collect petabytes of data that you use to optimize your site for search engines.
Their crawler is what makes it all possible. Like search engines, the Ahrefs crawler also crawls the web 24/7, updating rankings, links, and other important data needed.
They are using 2000 servers, 64K CPU Cores, 400 TB RAM, 40 PB+ HDD and 10PB of SSD, and that’s all in-house to power all the infrastructure.
When it comes to content and keyword index, the numbers are amazing as well!
They constantly crawl new content at 40 million new pages per 24 hours whereas their keyword index has access to 10.2 billion keywords.
Big data plays a crucial role in your success, and you can check more about their data and reach on their big-data page.
Ahrefs offers a great SEO toolset. Yes, it is a collection of tools.
It gives you what you need when it comes to SEO. It is true to its features and it is up to how to utilize it in its best possible way.
But, how do you know that Ahrefs is for you?
You can get your hands dirty by trying out their $7 free trial. It is a seven-day trial where you only need to pay $1 per day to access all the tools that it has to offer.
You can activate their free trial for two of their plans: Lite and Standard. You can toggle between them as per your liking within the trial period and make use of it to learn about the product.
Before you ask me, no, $7 is non-refundable. You can ask for cancellation within 48 hours of the transaction, but then again the right to provide a refund remains with them.
If you are still not interested in investing $7, then you have one more option.
The Ahrefs Academy.
It is a place where you can learn about the tool without the need to invest in anything.
All you need to do is move to Ahrefs Academy. There you will find two interesting courses.
- Marketing with Ahrefs
- Blogging for business
Both courses are in-depth and walk you through the key elements with Ahrefs. Infact, the second course, “Blogging for business,” is my favorite as it gave me insight not only on Ahrefs but how to grow my business and get more customers. Yes, it’s that good. And, all of these are for free!
So, you have two ways to get to know Ahrefs yourself. Once is their trial and other their amazing courses. This makes them extremely accessible to new audiences/users and that’s what I am trying to showcase here.
Ahrefs has a great onboarding process. Once you login to the backend with your plan or a free trial, you are treated with more resources!
That’s great onboarding practice and helps new users to get started easily.
Below the section, you will be able to add your first project.
Let’s add my own personal site, Techaltair.com, for reference purposes only.
After you click on “Add project,” you now have to select the scope of your project.
The scope determines if you want all your webpages to be crawled including HTTP and HTTPS. You also get the choice of including sub-domains, exact URL, path or domain.
Once, everything is selected according to your preference, you can click on continue.
Next, you need to verify ownership by using a DNS record, HTML file or HTML tag. I used the HTML file as it is easy to simply copy-paste the file for verification.
In the last step, “Site Audit,” you need to set the schedule site audits. It regularly checks your site for 100+ SEO issues and notifies you when it finds any issues.
You may also want to check the crawl settings to customize how Ahrefs bot crawls your site.
If your site is not completely new, you will be able to see instant statistics about it on the dashboard. You can add multiple projects and are only limited by your plan.
And, yes, they will contact you through email once the site audit is complete!
Well, you are now set to make full use of Ahrefs. To learn what it has to offer, let’s go through its key features/tools one by one.
Site Explorer is a way to look deeply into a website or a URL. Yes, with this handy tool, you can go through any website on the internet and learn about its search traffic and backlink profile.
This makes it a great tool to learn about your competitors or one of their specific pages.
So, if you are curious about how your competitor is ranking their page, you can simply type the exact URL and see everything uncovered in front of your eyes.
Last week, I wrote about the best antivirus software for 2020. To learn about the competition, I used the site explorer feature. There, I typed the Tomsguide.com article on the same topic.
As you can see, I founded some key information about the page including the referring domains, organic keywords, organic traffic and backlinks! I also got access to the UR(URL Rating) and DR(Domain rating). All of these statistics enabled me to learn about the competition and how strong they are when it comes to ranking for the same keyword.
On the same page, I also checked its backlink profile.
Clearly, it is gaining good backlinks for the past three months which is enabling it to rank higher.
You can also learn about the organic search and as well as the
If you want to go further into the URL, you can also check out the new, lost and broken backlinks including referring domains. These options are available on the left menu as shown below.
But, the main fun starts when you start exploring whole domains with the site explorer tool as you can use it to explore your competitors. For example, you can learn about your competitor and how they go ahead with their search engine optimization strategy.
Ahrefs also lets you do a proper keyword research. Their keyword explorer tool is a complete solution to your keyword research and with it you can search different search engines including Google, Bing, Amazon, YouTube and even Yandex.
To get started, you need to select the search engine for which you want to do keyword research and then type in the keywords either by comma or newline.
Before you go and search for the keyword(s), you can also choose to change the location where you want the data from. As you can see from the above screenshot, we have selected the United States. This is really helpful as it lets you do local targeting and learn how the keyword is performing in a particular area.
The tool will return key aspects about the keyword(s), including keyword difficulty, volume, clicks, and CPC. You can further expand the keyword details by clicking on it.
If you click the “PS5” keyword, you will get the following information with decent graphs to visualize them.
This way you can find out the best keyword to target for your business by finding out keywords that are easier to rank. You can also compare keywords and make decisions accordingly. It also generates new keyword suggestions which is better than other keyword research tools.
But, one thing that I also noticed is that the keyword suggestions are not always related to your query. This means you need to go through some unrelated keywords and then create a customized keyword research report.
If you do not want to go through the process of refining keyword suggestions, then I would suggest checking out SEMRush which provides better and more in-depth keyword suggestions.
Site Audit is the next core tool that I am going to cover. The tool lets you complete site audits and learns about the technical problems with your site.
To get started, you need to click on Site audit at the top menu. From there, click on “new project” and then add the domain name. You can run site audits on any site of your choice, including competitors. If you own a site, it will help you customize the crawl and get better results out of it. So, if you add a site that is not yours, the crawl speed will be limited to one request per two seconds.
However, not all of your competitors will be crawlable. To test this, I tried to crawl a popular WordPress based site, www.codeinwp.com. The tool straight away gave me a 403 error, which means that the site is configured to block crawl requests like these, but are open to Google search engine crawlers. This is done to protect the site information from competitors or malicious actors looking to find vulnerabilities.
So, what I did is run the crawler on my own site. At the time of writing, the crawling is still going on, and it already found tons of issues on my site.
Overall, the site audit tool is excellent for figuring out your own site’s technical problems and looking at competitor sites, only if they are crawlable.
The rank tracker is one of my favorite tools in Ahrefs. With it, you can track keywords and their rankings. To make it useful, you need to put in at least one keyword to track. The keyword will be tracked by the tool and how it changes over time.
Sounds cool, right? However, the rank tracker is limited when it comes to updating ranks daily. If you choose the Lite plan, the update frequency is set to seven days. In comparison, the standard is set to update every five days. The advanced and agency plan updates the keyword position every three days.
If you are in a highly competitive market, the update frequency is just not good to meet your needs. Also, the SEO world is changing rapidly and if you are serious about protecting your business from the competition, then you need to always stay up with the change. Also, not all clients are ready to wait seven days to see an update.
Content Explorer is an excellent way to explore and learn about your top-performing content. By doing so, you can create prospects that help you further grow or learn about your competitor’s content marketing strategy, tweaking it to meet your requirements.
All you need to do is enter the topic and search for it in either title, content, or URL. You can also search for it everywhere to get the best result.
Here, I tried to find out about the best SEO tools. As you can see, you can search by pages, authors, websites and languages
Ahrefs comes with tons of other tools that help you in your SEO campaign. Some of the notable tools include the following.
- Link Intersect: It is a handy tool that lets you learn about websites that are not linking to you but your competitors. This way you can pitch them and create a backlink profile.
- SEO toolbar: Get access to most of the Ahrefs through the SEO toolbar available for Chrome and Firefox.
- Domain comparison: Let you check backlinks profiles of five different domains side by side. This gives you insight on how your competitors are doing and make changes based on it.
- Batch analysis: Let you create a single report where you can put up to 200 URLs. You can create it directly from the browser or even export it.
- Ahrefs rank: Check the top sites ranked based on Ahrefs ratings.
- Alerts: Set up alerts for your campaigns.
Ahrefs provides support via email, phone and chat support. You can access support directly from the dashboard. All you need to click is the question mark arrow in the bottom right of the window.
Once clicked, it will open up a few options including access to Ahrefs Academy, Help Center, Suggest a feature and chat with us.
The help center is where you can learn about the essential stuff about Ahrefs. It is the gold mine where the Ahrefs team and experts answer most of the common questions. There you can get starting guides, tutorials and FAQs.
The “Chat with us” button lets you connect with their team and they generally reply under five minutes. Here, you can directly ask questions regarding your problem.
Ahrefs plans start from $99 per month per user(lite plan). You can get it down to $82 per month per user if you opt for the yearly plan. That’s a long commitment. Anyway, their lowest plan gives you access to the five campaigns, 175 domain crawls per week using the Site Explorer tool, 500 tracked keywords and 350 reports per week using content explorer. As you can see, there is a limitation on every single aspect of the tool.
In my testing, I found that you will hardly reach those limits if you are a business. However, if you are an agency, then you need to go for higher plans.
Their standard plan increases your limitation by 2-3x that of the Lite version with only an 80% increase in price. On the other hand, the advanced plan is a substantial increase in price, $399 with greater access to the Ahrefs toolset.
Lastly, they offer the agency plan at $999 per month. To learn more about their pricing, I suggest you check their pricing page.
There are a lot of things to like about Ahrefs. It is definitely a good toolset which offers excellent user interface and user experience. Almost everything is intuitive and if it is not, you can click on the question mark symbol against the feature to learn more about it.
To summarize, I liked the following things about Ahrefs:
- Great data pool
- Great user experience and user design
- 7$ seven day trial
- Good documentation and courses
- Amazing site audit features
- Great keyword tool
- Link intersect
And, what about the dislikes? Well, I think Ahrefs can better their game in the following aspects:
- Provide better keyword suggestion
- Daily update keyword tracking
- Limited PPC features
Ahrefs is a versatile toolset. It has everything that a business needs to do search engine optimization and increase their traffic.
However, it is not the cheapest out there. With the price starting at $99 per month per user, you have to spend around $1200 per year on the tool. That can be too much for startups or companies that are just starting out.
For businesses or agencies with the right budget, Ahrefs can be a game-changer.
Also, if you are looking for a tool with proper keyword-management and organization, then the tool is not for you.
So, are you getting Ahrefs or other competitive SEO tool? Comment below and let us know.