I find it refreshing how websites have evolved over the years. When I first started one, what I only knew was to continuously update the design every few months and update it with fresh content every day.
Now, I have excellent access to a multitude of SEO tools that I can use to make content and increase my website’s rank efficiently. These tools have been used by various websites so that they can be as high-ranking as TechCrunch, Lifehacker, and Ann Handley.
In this article, I will be giving my honest review on Ahrefs, one of the many available tools I used to raise my website. My goal is to help you decide whether this fits you well for your needs.
Before diving into the app, here’s a video that you should watch to remind you why having SEO on your website is essential:
Ahrefs is a paid SEO software suite. It is known to be one of the most extensive website crawlers next to Google.
It is known to be a tool that various website owners use for their research and analysis to effectively optimize theirs for different search engines.
Even if its focus has initially been for backlink analysis, it has added various features over the years for its users to make use of it entirely to keep one’s website on top of every new content published.
Relevant: Also read my review of Uber Suggest here
Tools and Features
In this section, let us explore the five main categories of Ahrefs:
- Backlinks Explorer
- Keywords Explorer
- Content Explorer
- Rank Tracker
This feature of Ahrefs is where you can view a detailed profile for your website or your competitor.
It has three parts:
- Organic traffic research
This module helps you view which keywords your website’s competitors are ranking for and which pages bring the most traffic from search engines.
- Backlink checker
To learn whether your competitors have used any of your websites in their content, this is where you can view them. This module will help you also check whether their profiles have quality backlinks so that you can decide which ones you can include in your future content.
- Paid traffic research
Finally, this part is where you can learn whether your competitor is investing in paid search advertising. Aside from that, you can also learn where they use this paid traffic.
How to use
To use this module, open Ahrefs and navigate to its “Site Explorer” module. You are then redirected to a screen that would ask you to enter a website’s URL, and it will bring up a generated report of its backlinks, metrics, and organic traffic.
Tips and Tricks
To avoid nofollow links, after bringing up the URL’s generated report in the Site Explorer, go to “Backlinks” → “Link Type → “Dofollow.” Use the generated list of links to use for your future content and help you and your competitor gain backlinks to each other.
You can also check which backlinks are present in two or more websites that you can add to your future content by going to the top navigation → “More” → “Link Intersect.”
Now, if you want to know which topic you should do to get the most number of clicks for your website, you can check a website’s “Best By Links” after looking one up using this module.
In this article, they cited an example as to how the author was able to gain a ton of clicks after learning from Ahref’s report of the website Moz that their ultimate guides brought the most traffic.
As I have mentioned that this is the application’s main focus, they have a database of search queries, one of the world’s largest that came from a third-party company.
They cited that they have a bank of over 7 billion keywords with updates every month. Aside from that, it is retrieved from 171 different countries.
This data is also retrieved from different search engines such as Google, Youtube, Bing, and Baidu.
Aside from that, they also feature how hard it would be to rank using any keyword searched, an estimate of how many clicks it can bring to one’s website, and whether you can rank while using a specific keyword while targeting a general topic in your content.
If you want to research the SEO strategy that any one of your competitors used to make theirs work, Ahrefs also includes SEO metrics, ranking history, return rate, percentage of clicks, and percentage of paid clicks.
After getting all this info, the suite also features a save function so that you can go back to these and keep yourself up-to-date on that keyword.
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How to use
You enter a keyword into their Keywords Explorer module. It then brings up a report that includes search volume and keyword competition.
Tips and Tricks
Keep in mind the following metrics in this module’s report to choose between which two or more keywords to make content first:
- Return rate – how often people search for a keyword more than once
- Number of clicks – how often people browse the content of this keyword
- Difference between clicks on paid results versus clicks on organic results – compare clicks made through investing in paid results versus clicks made through organic search results
- Clicks per search – number of times a user clicks an article related to this keyword
- First page results of the keyword – learn whether you reached the first page of results for the content you wrote for the keyword and which one of your competitors reached this level.
If the previous module features statistics on a specific keyword, this module features items that would help you assess your content with other websites’ contents.
You can search their database of content based on the following filters:
- Published once/Republished
- Published/First published date
- Social shares
- Domain rating
- Referring domains
- Organic traffic
- Number of words
- Traffic value
Aside from looking at results based on those filters, one can also check more details of each published content to learn more about why it is over performing or underperforming. This module also features a chart of trends for any topic of your choice over time, including information on brand mentions and the amount of content your competitors are publishing.
Users can also check this module against published content for live links, dead links, and referring domains. It will help you get an idea of what article you can make into newer content for your webpage and get a lot of backlinks at the same time.
Aside from these, you can also check for which topic you want your article to be backlinked to using their “Highlight unlinked domains” feature. You can also opt to look for unlinked mentions as well using your website’s brand.
How to use
For this module, all you have to do is visit Content Explorer and enter a keyword or topic into its search bar.
Then, it will show you a list of articles where you can sort by date, language, and word count, among others.
Tips and Tricks
Make sure to check this list regularly when finding a new topic to write about for your website. Doing this will help you not only get clicks due to organic search results but also clicks from social media websites.
Speaking of competitors, Ahrefs also has a feature that would help measure how competitive you are in your search rankings. After entering a list of keywords, a list of countries per keyword, and a list of competitor URLs, Ahrefs generates a report about your rankings.
The report generated will feature at least these three things:
This section of the report will show how much of the clicks came from organic search traffic landings.
- Average position and traffic
If you want to know how high up or low you are in the search rankings, this section shows a snapshot of your progress over time.
- Positions distribution
For this part of the report, you can choose how far your website has come based on the ranking groups determined by the application’s data.
How to use
After clicking on the “Rank Tracker” tab in Ahrefs, it shows a screen that lets you enter keywords of your choice.
After entering the keywords, Ahrefs then shows metrics, including the number of written content for it and which website URL ranks the highest among them.
Tips and Tricks
Update this list regularly with keywords you are aiming to write about or which topics you have already written. Doing this will help you plan out how to rank higher for past and future content at the same time.
In this main module of Ahrefs, it helps provide you regular updates based on these three items: web mentions, new backlinks, lost backlinks, and new keywords.
On new backlinks, the application can provide whether a particular website has gained or lost backlinks. If you are thinking of increasing your ranks, this is helpful as you can gauge your competitor’s activity and build a counter-strategy against it.
Aside from learning your competitor’s backlink activity, the application can also give you information on what they have to say with your brand or your competitor’s brand. It can also help you learn not only which keywords you can write in your future content but also be able to find future backlinks for each of them as well.
How to use
Navigate to the Ahref tab “Site Audit,” enter your website on the screen that follows and determine how deep the crawl will be in the screens that follow.
For a more in-depth tutorial on how to use it, check out this video:
Tips and Tricks
According to Databox’s interview with James Pollard, he says that these features should be used by all users of Ahrefs as soon as they get it. Doing this will help owners, like you, get a better view of your website and know how to position yourself for growth by fixing any weaknesses found by the said module.
As mentioned at the beginning of this review, this SEO tool is a paid software suite.
On their website, there are three kinds of plans you can choose: Lite, Standard, and Advanced. Aside from that, you can opt for paying every month or purchase a plan for a whole year. Among them, only their Lite and Standard plans have a 7-day paid trial access and can alone let one user make use of them, trial or not.
Aside from their price, they also list which of their features are associated with each of the modules I explained in the previous section of this review. For example, the recently lost backlinks to historically lost backlinks under the Site Explorer feature will not be shown to the Lite subscribers while Standard and Advanced subscribers have access to this.
As they have claimed to have an updated database with regards to website metrics, this is a strong consideration when it comes to getting this product for yourself. Aside from that, they also have support for you to compare different websites per keyword and content.
Their enormous database then displays its data through a minimalistic navigation interface. It helps make the information easy-to-read.
While I was using this, I noticed how I had to get used to using it at first. Emma Jansen told Databox in an interview that she experienced this too while using the software. With that in mind, that means getting used to this software is easier if you know SEO to the point where you are familiar with the related metrics such as click-through rate (CTR) and search rankings.
Filtering their massive database to get the needed data can also be a daunting challenge as Haines says to Databox that it took him an hour or two to just enter keywords on the software’s Site Explorer.
Meanwhile, Hundrev cautions future users that the software may not be able to get their data regarding SERP ranking as up-to-date as possible when using the software. Also, Bassos points out that there is a daily limit to using the Site Explorer tool on some plans as well.
In short, Ahrefs is a paid software application where you, as a website owner, can do your research. From checking which keyword gets the most clicks to how far your website ranking is, it can help you not only chart how you want your website to grow but also keep abreast of current trends in content at the same time.
On the other hand, getting around the interface can be daunting when you get it for the first time. Aside from that, you would have to make sure you have enough funds to not only try out whether it is a good fit for your SEO needs and then extra to subscribe to the plan of your choice.
Overall, I believe that this application is suited for website owners who are earning enough from their content to get this much-personalized info of themselves and their competitors.
Was this review of Ahrefs helpful? If you want to increase your website’s rankings, here are a few more articles you can read if you want to learn more:
- Tips to conduct technical SEO audit
- Review of Ezoic: Features and how to use
- Top 9 search engines of 2020
Let me know in the comments below what other SEO guide would you like to see on my blog?