Investing in SEO tools is always worth a try, especially if you want your website to succeed. As an online marketer, using SEO tools is the way to go.
When choosing the right tool for your SEO needs, there are crucial features to consider. These include rank tracking and keyword research.
Both Ahrefs and SEMrush are useful tools for effective SEO campaigns. Whatever SEO solutions your website needs, these platforms have rich tools for online success.
This article compares both the tools to help you decide which one to opt for going forward!
Search engine optimization helps you improve your site’s traffic, ensuring that your business or blog will be successful. So, using SEO tools can be a worthy investment.
If you’ve been searching for resources for your website or business’s SEO needs, you’re in the right place. In this article, I have covered Ahrefs and SEMrush—two of the most popular tools in the SEO landscape.
That said, I’ll be comparing based on keyword research, backlink analysis, technical SEO auditing, rank tracking, and competitor research. Without further ado, let’s put Ahrefs and SEMrush head to head to help you decide which tool has all your SEO needs.
Ahrefs has evolved from a backlink analysis tool in 2010 to a complete SEO solution. In the process, it has become a powerful resource for marketers and researchers alike.
Over the years, it has developed other SEO solutions, including site auditing, keyword research, and so much more.
Additionally, it’s also known for other unique features, including:
- Customized alerts for backlinks, new keywords, mentions, and more
- Domain comparisons
- Content explorer
- A comprehensive review of search traffic
SEMrush is the leading competitive research service for digital marketers, with features that can help you stand out from your competitors.
With more than 20 billion keywords for Google, the SEMrush Keyword Magic tool is the largest keyword database in the market.
Aside from these, SEMrush also upped their game with content optimization, competitor PPC campaign analysis, and log file analysis. Additionally, SEMrush also has reverse engineering for traffic sources.
Ahrefs vs. SEMrush: Which is the better SEO Tool?
Overall, both Ahrefs and SEMrush help you improve your website’s SEO game. They do this in different ways, but the main thing you get is information.
In turn, you can use the information to:
- See what exactly people are searching for in your niche
- Develop content that attracts organic search traffic
- Find out the opportunities of building links from other sites
- Modify your site’s technical aspects for better SEO performance
Now, which is the better SEO tool?
To help you decide, I’ll compare the two tools using different parameters. Continue reading to find an in-depth comparison of Ahrefs and SEMrush.
Keyword research is a tool that helps you decide which keywords to use in future content. However, it doesn’t do much to track those currently being used on your web pages.
When looking for SEO tools, keyword research is the most crucial area to compare platforms.
Ahrefs offers two main keyword research tools: keyword explorer and organic keywords.
Keyword explorer works like most keyword tools on the market. You type in a keyword, and then the platform generates a list of keyword ideas.
However, a unique feature of the keyword explorer is it’s not just a way to understand the search volume of keywords. It also enables you to see how many clicks you get for ranking a keyword.
Additionally, Ahrefs’ keyword research also supports several other functions, including:
- Keywords for various search engines, including Bing, Amazon, Naver, Youtube, and Google
- Clocking on keywords gives you suggestions about the initial search
- Showing you keyword options you might’ve not considered
SEMrush’s main keyword research feature is the Keyword Magic Tool that contains more than 20 billion keywords for Google. This tool allows you to analyze keywords, giving you suggestions so you can start improving your SEO.
The Keyword Magic Tool also lets you use modifiers like Broad Match, Phrase Match, and Exact Match. This way, you can get more specific results from your initial keyword.
SEMrush also has the Keyword Manager, which you can use to create keyword lists that you can use as a reference.
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Backlinks and backlink popularity is crucial for a site to perform well in search results. The more backlinks and the better the link profile, the better your chances of ranking higher in search results.
Both Ahrefs and SEMrush allow you to enter a domain name and find all backlinks to the site.
Ahrefs’ Site Explorer tool gives you valuable search data and comprehensive analysis of your site’s link profile. This tool also lets you analyze your competitors’ link profiles.
Some valuable information you can also get from Ahrefs include:
- Number of dofollow and nofollow links
- Backlinks’ country of origin
- Linking domain types
In terms of backlink database size, Ahrefs might come in short with only 165 million domains.
SEMrush’s Backlink Analytics tool is designed to give you an in-depth view of your backlink profile.
This way, you can see which sites are important for your ranking and which areas need the most attention. In addition, this tool also lets you view your competitors’ backlink profiles.
Aside from these, SEMrush has a bigger domain database with 729 million domains. It also provides valuable information, including anchor text used, backlinks’ country of origin, and even new vs. lost domains.
The platform also provides stats through graphs, making information easy to understand.
Technical SEO Auditing
Technical SEO is a big, big job if you want your site to achieve higher search rankings. It also helps search engines make sense of your website.
While other SEO aspects like link building usually sideline it, SEO auditing is equally important for better SEO performance.
That said, it’s important to conduct a technical SEO audit regularly so that issues don’t hold your site back from ranking in SERPs.
With Ahrefs’ Site Audit tool, you can get an analysis of your website’s current SEO status for more than 100 pre-defined SEO issues.
The tool provides:
- A complete analysis of your site
- Showing you an overall SEO score
- Key information
- Possible SEO issues
Not only that, but it also provides you with solutions on how you can fix the issues.
One of the most popular tools on SEMrush is the Site Audit tool.
This tool allows you to do a comprehensive SEO audit on your website and analyzes its overall SEO health. It also provides you with a complete list of issues your site has and recommendations to help you fix them.
The Site Audit tool lets you use over 130 checks for SEO issues, including common on-page issues like title tags and images. It also has checked for more complicated issues like HrefLang conflicts and format errors in sitemap.xml files.
The rank tracking method is a way of determining how well your SEO efforts are going. It also allows you to show how well your SEO campaign is impacting your website’s online visibility.
Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker helps you stay on top of your keywords in multiple locations (country level) and across devices. It also lets you see how your rankings for a particular keyword change over time.
The Rank Tracker gives you the option to add keywords that you’d like to track. You can also add up to 5 competitors so you can compare search rankings against them.
Once you use Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker, you’ll be able to keep track of your keyword and SEO campaign performance. It also allows you to monitor your competitors’ visibility in search and modify your campaigns accordingly.
The SEMrush Position Tracking tool enables you to track your target keywords. What’s good about this tool is that it’s one of the most accurate rank tracking tools that you can find.
Additionally, the Position Tracking tool lets you see your site’s mobile and local rankings, providing you a good look at your site’s SERP visibility.
This tool also enables you to add the keywords you want to rank for and track your positions on multiple devices. It shows you three important metrics: positions, visibility, and estimated traffic.
Another important SEO aspect you shouldn’t ignore is competitor research, which informs your SEO strategy. This aspect is especially beneficial for content strategies as well as link acquisition.
With this, you must have enough knowledge of your competitors in terms of SEO.
Ahrefs has a domain comparison tool that allows you to compare up to five websites: your website and up to four competitors. With this tool, you can also view useful metrics like backlinks and domain ratings.
More so, Ahrefs’ tool has a Competing Domains feature, allowing you to see your most direct competitors.
With SEMrush, you get more than just information on your competitors. The platform-tools allow you to test and spy on your competitors efficiently.
SEMrush has various tools that you can use for competitor analysis, like:
- Traffic Analytics helps you assess and monitor your site’s traffic and audience.
- SEMrush Organic Research gives you the information you need to make better decisions in your SEO efforts.
- Market Explorer allows you to create a customized dashboard of websites and articles based on keywords, phrases or domains entered.
Presently, you can’t get any free trial from Ahrefs. On the other hand, SEMrush offers a free version of its platform.
Here are the platforms’ pricing plans to help you get a better look at Ahrefs and SEMrush.
- Trial: $7 for 7 days (Standard/Advanced only)
- Lite: $99 monthly
- Standard: $179 monthly
- Advanced: $399 monthly
- Agency: $999 monthly
- Starting price: Free
- Pro: $119.95 monthly
- Guru: $229.95 monthly
- Business: $449.95 monthly
- Custom plans and enterprise solutions are also available.
Additionally, here’s a comparison of the two platforms’ basic plans.
|Basic Plan Features
|Ahrefs Lite ($99/month, 1 week for $7)
|SEMrush Pro ($119/month, with 1-month free trial)
|Number of Users
|Number of Keywords for Tracking
|Total Pages to Crawl
|Social Profiles to Monitor
Other Unique Features You Should Know About
Aside from the tools I’ve mentioned above, Ahrefs and SEMrush also offer other unique tools that you can use.
- The batch analysis gives you comprehensive reports that let you compare many URLs.
- The link intersect tool helps you find link-building opportunities.
- SEO toolbar is a browser extension that lets you monitor your domain rating and backlink stats.
- Ahrefs API lets you use the Ahrefs database externally.
- Content analyzer enables you to analyze the value of your site’s content.
- Domain vs. Domain Comparison Tool allows you to compare two domains side-by-side, helping you understand your competitor better.
- The backlink audit tool lets you check the different backlink types, including image, text, and form.
The Right Tool for Your SEO Needs
Ahrefs and SEMrush have their fair share of features, but you can select the right one for you based on important factors. These factors include those that I’ve discussed above, like SEO auditing and competitor research.
With this, you really can’t go wrong with either Ahrefs or SEMrush.
However, I suggest choosing Ahrefs if you want a cleaner UI and if you’re going to use other search engines besides Google. On the other hand, choose SEMrush if you want more SEO and marketing features and better competitor analysis tools.
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