It is true that there are many SEO tools but without a doubt, two dominate the market, namely SEMrush and Ahrefs. That is why, in this blog, I am going to give you a detailed probe of the two. In the end, I would like you to make the right choice on which of these tools will help you propel your content.
However, I must agree that unlike SEMrush vs Moz comparison, this one is going to be tough. One of the reasons why it’ll be tough to choose is, the two SEO tools have almost similar features. Nonetheless, a candid review of each of these SEO tools will help you make a sober choice.
Before we even look at each of these tools, it’ll be prudent to talk about one of the most important questions that keeps popping up.
- Do You Really Need an SEO Tool?
- Introducing: The Two Competitors
- Comparison Between Ahrefs and SEMrush Based on Features
- Unique Things You Can Do With Each of Them
- SEMrush vs. Ahrefs: And the Winner Is
- Alternatives to SEMrush and Ahrefs
- Final Thoughts
Do You Really Need an SEO Tool?
The simple answer to that question is YES! SEO tools not only help you identify the right keywords to use but also the keywords’ difficulty when it comes to ranking. However, if you are still not sure whether SEO tools are necessary, I invite you to look at these six convincing reasons:
1. They Help Dissect Competitor’s SEO Strategy
Yes, a good SEO tool should be able to help you spy on your competitor. That way, you will not only know which keywords your competitors are using but also the strategy they employ to stay at the top.
Thankfully, SEMrush is among the esteemed SEO tools that can help you dig into your competitor’s SEO strategy. What is more, a good tool will help you know where your competitor is getting backlinks.
Knowing your competitor’s backlinks also helps you dig deeper into their content strategy, how they arrange their content, the anchor texts they are using and much more.
2. SEO Tools Help You Find High-Converting Keywords
When you started your writing journey, you heard of terms such as search volume and low-competition keywords. Well, that was a good starting point. However, there is more to that. One of the important things that matter in site ranking is search intent.
For instance, why are readers looking for certain information? Are they trying to solve a problem? Are they looking for free information? Do they intend to buy a product?
A good SEO tool should be able to help you find the right keywords that fit the searcher’s intent.
3. A Good SEO Tool Helps You Save Time and Money
Comprehensive SEO audit is not a joke! It takes a lot of time and resources. In fact, it is even more expensive if done manually. However, with the right tool, you will save a lot of time and money.
For instance, in a matter of minutes, a good SEO tool should be able to identify the following:
- Broken links
- Missing page titles
- Orphaned pages
- Poor page depth
- Missing meta descriptions
- Page server errors
- And much more …
For your information, some SEO tools such as SEMrush can help you pull this and dozens of other information in seconds. To make it even better, the process is automated.
4. They Help In Tracking SEO Progress and KPIs
While many webmasters gauge the progress of their websites in terms of ranking, a lot comes into play.
Metrics such as organic traffic and conversions are key for website progress. The only way to monitor these two basic things is by using a good SEO tool.
The other important thing in any online business is analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs). Yes, a good SEO tool should be able to help you identify among other things:
- Domain authority
- Social media comments if any
- Keyword rankings
- Sales if any
- Number of backlinks
- Form fills
5. Give Clear ROI to Clients
Good SEO tools help you showcase clear results to your clients. It is particularly important for SEO specialists or marketers to show clients not just the increase in the number of visitors to the site but also conversions – sales.
The only easiest and quickest way to pull out such data is by using an SEO tool.
6. Help in Visualizing and Conceptualizing Data
Trust you me; some people have had online businesses for years but getting the correct number is still a problem. It’s understandable that getting the right numbers is not a thing for everybody. Thankfully, an SEO tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs can help you not only know the right numbers but also visualize and conceptualize several figures.
What Does Data Visualization Mean?
Data visualization refers to a method of presenting data using charts and graphs. While many people find it hard to internalize data presented in graphs and charts, SEMrush and Ahrefs SEO tools present data in an easy-to-understand manner.
Data visualization is particularly important if you are monitoring your SEO progress. Analyzing facts and demographics makes it easy for you to initiate your marketing campaigns.
Introducing: The Two Competitors
As mentioned at the beginning, there may be many SEO tools in the market. However, Ahrefs and SEMrush dominate. These two SEO tools have been in the market for a long time and clients love them.
These tools have many benefits as well as a fair share of shortcomings. However, you have every reason to believe that if you use them properly, you will be able to propel your online business to greater levels.
When it was launched in 2010, this tool entered the market to help users analyze backlinks. Therefore, it is not wrong to say that initially, Ahrefs came as a backlink analyzing tool.
However, over time, Ahrefs has evolved. What started as a mere backlink-analyzing tool is today an all-purpose SEO analyzing tool. Unlike when it was launched, now, you can use Ahrefs to carry out a complete SEO audit.
Some of the things you can do with the help of the tool include content marketing and keyword research.
Without any hyperbole, it is easy to obtain data using Ahrefs. No wonder, when you compare Ahrefs with SEMrush, many people would prefer using the former. Besides, the tool has a super easy-to-use interface.
The sheer depth of your site’s data as well as that of your competitor also makes Ahrefs a great tool for novice and experienced webmasters. In short, I haven’t seen any SEO tool in the market that can beat Ahrefs when it comes to backlink analysis.
SEMrush entered the market a bit earlier in 2008. A group of IT specialists joined hands with SEO experts to bring forth a tool that has not only dominated the market since its launch but also helped webmasters deliver desired results.
From such humble beginnings, SEMrush has turned out to be among the leading SEO tools that deliver the needed results. The tool is ideal for those who want to carry out in-depth keyword research as well as link building.
If you use SEMrush in the right way, you are likely to achieve your goals. One of the goals this tool will help you hit is climbing up the Google search rankings, thus beating your competitors.
Quick Difference Table of Ahrefs and SEMrush
Perhaps, there is no better way to explain how each of these tools works than to use a comparison table. On the table below, I’ll only focus on the key things but you are free to dig deeper into the difference between the two tools in other areas.
|No. of Keywords for Google||So far, Ahrefs has attracted a database of more than 7 billion keywords||SEMrush has recorded over 20 billion keywords|
|Search Engines||It supports a number of search engines including Google, Bing, YaHoo, Amazon, and YouTube among others.||The tool’s online visibility management system specifically supports Google search engine.|
|Outgoing Links||The tool has the ability to provide you with a comprehensive list of outbound links.||Does not support this feature (you cannot know the number of outbound links).|
|Mobile SERP Rankings||The tool does not support this feature.||The SEO tool’s feature has the ability to provide domain analytics that help monitor mobile SERP rankings|
|Finding Most Popular Content on Every Topic||Ahrefs has an elaborate content management explorer that will help you to not only discover but also analyze top-performing content on almost every topic.||You cannot use SEMrush to do this function.|
|Free Trial||Ahrefs does not offer free trial||There is a free trial|
|SMM Tools||The tool does not have any SMM tool.||This premium SEO tool comes with Social Media Toolkit, a feature that helps in managing and tracking all of your social media profiles.|
* The tool has a user-friendly interface
* Has the biggest database of backlinks
* Highly responsive customer service support
* Wide range of other metrics/data innovating features
* Plenty training materials for users
* Regular update of the tool, which leads to bringing new features
* Extremely easy to use and navigate
* There is a free version of this tool, which is super helpful for starters
* The tool has an excellent team that provides ample resources for keyword research, content marketing, and competitor research
* The best SEO API in the market
* Lacks Google Analytics integration
* No free trial
* High pricing
* There are several restrictions as well as low limits especially when on Lite option
* The backlink analysis feature isn’t great
* At times, the too offers slightly inaccurate data
* High pricing
* The tool’s technical audit requires regular auditing
This tool has five packages namely:
Trial: $7 that runs for 7 days
Lite: $99 per month
Standard: $179 per month
Advanced: $399 per month
Agency: $999 per month
Apart from the free mode, SEMrush offers 5 options
Pro: $119.95 per month
Guru: $229.95 per month
Business: $449.95 per month
They also offer
Custom plans and
Comparison Between Ahrefs and SEMrush Based on Features
After that ‘basic’ comparison of the two SEO tools, it is now time to dig deeper. An in-depth comparison on how each of these tools works will be in order so that you can decide which one you will go for.
First, let’s start with the main reason why marketers use SEO tools.
Keyword research is an important part of site building and online business. If you do proper keyword research, you will not only rank for the keywords but your site will also have topical relevance. In the end, topical relevance translates to site authority.
In matters keyword research, three important things are worthy keeping in mind namely:
- Determining the ideal number of people searching for the keyword or specific phrase
- Finding out how easy or difficult it can be to rank for the keyword or specific phrase you’ve identified
- Finding other keyword suggestions
Thankfully, you can get all the information mentioned above by using either Ahrefs or SEMrush. To do that, simply go to the Ahrefs or SEMrush account and key in your target keyword or phrase into the ‘Keyword Explorer’ for Ahrefs or ‘Keyword Overview’ for SEMrush.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll expect the tools to show you among other things, keyword difficulty, the search volume, and a list of some of the related keywords that you can use.
On how each of these tools performs, here is a quick comparison table that will help you choose which of them you’d prefer:
|1. The tool shows a score of 1 to 100. The score of 100 means it’ll be VERY difficult to rank for that keyword.||1. Unlike Ahrefs, SEMrush makes use of a percentage score. However, like Ahrefs, a higher percentage score on SEMrush means it’ll be difficult to rank for that keyword.|
|2. Ahrefs provides a whole number when showing difficulty score||2. SEMrush uses decimal numbers when showing difficulty scores. With such a presentation, it means this tool gives you in-depth information with regard to knowing keyword difficulty.|
|3. Ahrefs allows you to make a list of keywords that you can always refer to whenever you want to thanks to the tool’s Keyword List feature||3. Like Ahrefs, SEMrush gives you the freedom to create a list of keywords that you can always go back to later. To do this, you need to go to the Keyword Manager tab.|
Our thoughts: Looking at the three points above, it is almost certain that the two tools give similar services thus they are all good for conducting keyword research. However, there’s one unique thing that seems to give Ahrefs an edge over SEMrush.
We agreed that Ahrefs shows you a keyword difficulty score. That is right. But there is more. The tool goes ahead to show you the number of quality backlinks you will need to rank for that keyword.
Unfortunately, SEMrush does not offer such a feature.
Basic domain analysis is among the key things SEMrush and Ahrefs can help you achieve. By doing domain analysis (whether basic or in-depth), you will have a candid picture on how your website is performing especially from the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) point of view.
Typically, there are two approaches to conducting domain analysis and both tools can help you achieve this.
The first approach is conducting a domain analysis on your website. That way, you will be able to see what part(s) of your website (SEO) needs improvement.
The second approach is to spy on the competitor. The aim of checking on your competitor’s website is not to see what keywords you’ll use but to check whether it is easy or hard to outrank your competitor.
It is also important to mention that both tools provide a straightforward approach when you are carrying out domain analysis. Let’s say, once you are on any of the tools’ dashboard, you key in the domain name you want to probe into the input box.
Performance metrics will pop up shortly after pressing on the ‘Enter’ button.
Some of the metrics you’ll expect to see on the dashboard include:
- Ahrefs presents the results as ‘Domain rating’, while SEMrush presents them as ‘Authority score ‘. The two give you information that tells you how well or bad your website or that of your competitor performs in the SERPs.
- The report gives you an estimate of the total number of people that visit your site or that of your competitor.
- You will also be able to see the sum of keywords your website or that of your competitor is ranking for.
- The report too gives you the total number of backlinks as well as external links pointing to and from your site or that of your competitor. Note that the more the links pointing to and from your website, the better for SEO.
- You will also be able to see a list of all competing domains, especially those that are ranking in the SERPs.
- The commonly used anchor text(s) for linking.
Here is another thing: the quality of the statistics given by both tools is almost at par. However, it is also fair to mention that Ahrefs carries the day even if it is something others may deem meager.
For instance, while it may take you a while to understand the statistics offered by SEMrush, Ahrefs presents the statistics in an easy-to-access format. Ahrefs displays the statistics at once!
As for SEMrush, you will need to do a few clicks here and there before you finally get all the statistics you are looking for.
For instance, SEMrush presents the statistics in a separate report (you need to do an organic research) before you get the intended report.
Ahrefs on the other hand allows you to see the traffic value (the amount of money that you would need to pay every month to purchase ads with the aim of delivering the equivalent number of hits on your site).
While some people claim that they can propel their websites without taking time to spy on their competitors, the truth is at one point they will. In fact, spying comes naturally and it causes more good than harm.
When it comes to ‘eavesdropping’ on what your competitor is doing or what backlinks come towards your site, the two SEO tools come in handy. In fact, it is simple to use the two tools when you want to look at the list of sites linking to your site.
You simply need to key in your domain name on a tab and a list of sites linking to your site will pop up. However, each of these SEO tools performs the task differently. The table below shows how each of them does the job.
Look at this table before you decide which of them you’d prefer:
|1. The SEO tool offers 165 millions of domains in its database.||1. SEMrush commands a whopping 729 million domains in its database.|
2. The tool provides rich information on backlink navigation, something that can help you make an informed choice whether it is a nice or bad link.
Some of these ‘rich’ information the tool provides include:
2. Like Ahrefs, SEMrush provides a lot of information on the backlinks.
Some of these valuable messages include:
Thoughts about the two: It may appear that the two SEO tools have the same ability when it comes to analyzing backlinks. As you can see, they provide similar data. However, these tools differ greatly in their manner of presentation.
For instance, while Ahrefs way of presenting information may look basic, SEMrush beats it by far. The latter provides the information and statistics in a very easy-to-read manner. The layout is very attractive.
Besides, the SEO tool presents facts and figures using easy-to-read graphs thus making it a better choice. Do not also forget that SEMrush provides an extremely large database of backlinks than Ahrefs thus carrying the trophy.
Technical SEO and Site Auditing
On technical SEO and site auditing, both tools deliver magic. The two SEO tools come with features that will not only help you determine the general SEO state of your website but also in doing in-depth SEO analysis.
The good thing about both tools is they will deliver accurate results on the things that may negatively impact your website especially when it comes to ranking. Some of the issues the tools will help you identify include:
- Missing headers
- Overused keywords
- Duplicate content
- SSL problems
- Website crawl errors
- Slow-loading content
- Bad images
Thoughts on the tools: The two give similar results. However, there is a bit that differentiates the two. For instance, when doing site auditing with Ahrefs, you will have to do it manually. Evidently, this will mean you will take quite a hell of time trying to figure out all the issues mentioned above.
SEMrush, on the other hand, delivers the information automatically. Thanks to the automation feature, you will spend little time trying to find out issues affecting your site.
In addition, SEMrush’s interface is user-friendly. The presentation is very easy to read and understand. There are no funny figures that complicate the whole process when using SEMrush. The interesting part is SEMrush’s interface gives you a list of suggestions that you can implement. Isn’t that amazing?
Broken Link Analysis
A broken link is not only useless but also one of the fastest ways of sending away visitors from your site. By doing broken link analysis, you are able to know all the links that worked for some time but broke down midway.
Thankfully, Ahrefs and SEMrush provide features that will help you identify all the broken links that once clicked lead nowhere.
If you prefer Ahrefs, you only need to enter your site’s domain name into the ‘Site Explorer’ section at the top. The second step is to click on the Backlink profile > then Broken backlinks. Within seconds, you will see a list of all broken links. Besides, the probe will reveal the sites those broken links were directed to.
SEMrush is also easy. To do this, you simply need to visit ‘Indexed pages’ and click on ‘Broken pages’. You can then export the results to either CSV file or Excel. From here, you can filter the links to find all broken links (404 errors).
Alternatively, you can conduct a broken ink outreach within the SEMrush platform. With this approach, you need to make use of a CRM pipeline and a mailbox connected to the account.
Which is easier to use in identifying broken links? – Although both tools are regarded the best in analyzing broken links, Ahrefs is easy to use. SEMrush on the other hand is involving. Unless you know how to use the tool, you might get lost along the way.
Are you wondering if it is still necessary to track your site’s ranking? Well, if you are a serious webpreneur, then you know it is important to know where your site is in terms of ranking. In other words, if anything, you’d want your site to rank on all keywords available.
By the way, as mentioned earlier on this blog post, site ranking is among the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of any site. Therefore, you need to monitor your site’s ranking on a regular basis.
Thankfully, the two tools come in handy. But to be sure which of them will deliver excellent results.
Here is a comparison table to help you:
1. For many years, Ahrefs did not have a rank-tracking feature. However, the platform introduced the rank tracker recently. This is a milestone in giving clients a chance to see how their businesses are performing online.
According to Ahrefs, the feature gives businesses 4 different types of information on the rank tracker dashboard
|1. Since its inception, SEMrush has had a rank tracking feature. Thanks to it, you can monitor how your business is performing. The feature gives daily performance metrics, something that helps you monitor how each keyword is doing on Google Rankings.|
|2. Ahrefs has a ‘competitors’ tab. On this tab, you will compare the progress of your site’s ranking with that of your competitor(s).||2. For custom set keywords, SEMrush keeps a record of how the keywords are performing on a daily basis. In case of any changes within the day, the feature pulls the results and records them in the database immediately they happen.|
|3. On the pages tab, Ahrefs displays a list of keywords that you have tracked and their corresponding pages.|
3. The tool helps you review the keywords you are targeting, giving you a comprehensive report on their standings.
At the same time, you will know about their search engine volatility.
|4. On the metrics tab, Ahrefs gives you all the necessary information on how to measure your keyword performance.|
4. This is where SEMrush performs magic. The tool allows you to track your keywords’ rankings on multiple languages even if the keyword was originally written in one language.
You will be able to see how the keywords are doing in different devices. Besides, you can see which geographical location a certain keyword is performing better.
|5. Thanks to the grossing tab, you are able to see how your keywords performed in the week that was, in the last 30 days or even in the last 90 days.|
5. SEMrush’s interface allows you to carry out an in-depth analysis. You will be able to check for the search engine volatility across multiple industries.
The feature makes it easy for you to watch out for things such as Google algorithm update as well as giving you a chance to compile the published report in a PDF format, which makes it easy to read.
Verdict on both tools’ rank tracking report: Both tools offer remarkable data. Thanks to the latest features, you are able to garner as much important information as you can. However, a closer look at the two brings up one main difference – the manner of presentation.
Ahrefs’ way of presenting the results is amazing. Unlike SEMrush that requires you to create multiple pages to see different results, Ahrefs presents all the information in the same dashboard.
With Ahrefs’ presentation, you can do everything on the same tab. What is more, Ahrefs’ report is more detailed than SEMrush’s report. Therefore, on rank tracking, Ahrefs carries the day.
Competitor Research and Analysis
SEO is not just about ranking. It involves many other things including what your competitors are doing and the strategy they are using to rank. It also involves what you can do to outrank them. From time to time, you’d find that some of the keywords that you thought your site would rank in are not anywhere on page one.
Still, even if they are, you will see that there is a site or sites beating you thus leaving you behind. A good competitor research can help you know what to do to counter your competitor.
On this table below, you will see how the two tools fair:
|1.When you click on the left side of the Ahrefs’ domain view tab, you will see a list of your competitor’s keywords that are outranking you.|
1. SEMrush offers a dedicated section on their platform, titled ‘Competitive Research’.
On this tab, you can see a list of all of your competitor’s keywords and their respective positions on Google ranking.
2. Ahrefs provides you with five tools that aid in carrying out your competitor-spying mission.
The tools include:
a) Content Gap
b) Competing Pages
c) Domain Comparison
d) Competing Domains
e) Link Intersect
2. SEMrush’s competitive research section has 5 tools that will help you carry out your research easily and fast.
The five tools are:
a) Domain Overview
b) Keyword Gap
c) Traffic Analytics
d) Backlink Gap
e) Organic Search
These tools go a long way in helping you not only analyze your competitor’s site but also in comparing it with your website.
In the end, you will know which strategies your competitor is using to rank. That means if you employ the same tricks or even do better than what your competitor does, you will outrank his website.
Thoughts on the two: Without a doubt, SEMrush beats Ahrefs in terms of carrying out competitor analysis. The tool gives an in-depth analysis, providing you with valuable options. In the end, chances are you may beat your competitor if you improve on your content based on the analysis.
When compared to other SEO tools in the market, Ahrefs and SEMrush have unique features. The two tools stand out among the best two. Thanks to the variety of unique features (some of which are updated regularly), the tools have dominated the market.
Here is a table that shows what each of these tools has regarding unique features:
This first feature gives you the ability to compare up to five websites at one go.
With SEMrush’s content analyzer, you can easily check how you’ve packaged your content in terms of keyword placement, length of paragraphs, sentence structure, and image and graph placement if any.
Content analyzer tool also gives suggestions.
2. Batch Analysis
This feature gives you access to a comprehensive report, which helps you compare different urls on your site.
2. Domain Vs Domain Comparison Tool
The good thing with this tool is you can compare two different domains at the same time and side by side.
By placing one domain on the left (your domain) and the other on the right (your competitor’s), it becomes easy to make good judgment because you see the results immediately.
Some of the results include the number of times your competitor has used the main keyword, which related keywords have been used on the article, and length of the article among others.
3. Link Intersect
This feature is exceptional in helping you identify and find link-building opportunities.
3. Backlink Audit Tool
Thanks to this tool, you are able to check the type of backlink. It can be a text, an image, form or frame.
This is an extension, which you can install on your browser. With it, you will be able to view individual page SERPs, domain rating, and backlink statistics.
5. Ahrefs API
Although this is an Ahrefs feature, it is used externally.
Thoughts on which of the two carries the day: On unique features, the two tools are at loggerheads. Although the table may show that Ahrefs has more unique features than SEMrush, the fact is the two tie.
Search Engine Marketing
Have you ever wondered how big brands make their money online? The secret is search engine marketing. Thankfully, you do not have to belong to the mighty to do search engine marketing.
With the right SEO tool, you will be able to perfect your game in the search engine-marketing realm. Fortunately, SEMrush’s interface comes with a feature that will help you achieve your search engine-marketing goal.
Thanks to this feature, you are able to see real time results such as PPC keyword data for ad providers such as Google AdSense. You will also get to see product-listing ads.
Additionally, SEMrush shows relevant statistics by providing you with the cost per click (CPC) map. The map is good in showing you the amount you are spending for such clicks in different regions.
Unfortunately, Ahrefs does not come with this feature. That means you cannot rely on Ahrefs to do search engine marketing.
Social Media Features
Social media integration is another SEMrush-only feature. The feature does not only help you share your content but also aid in the management and evaluation of social media marketing.
The other good thing about SEMrush’s social media feature is it is automated. In other words, you can schedule in advance all the posts you want to share via social media platforms. After scheduling and sharing your posts to your preferred platforms, the feature goes ahead to help you collect social media analytics.
The analytics are brought together in a common place, something that makes it easy to analyze the progress of your social media sharing and marketing.
Lastly, the SEMrush social media feature shows your competitor’s social media analytics. This is a plus because you can learn one or two things that will ultimately improve your social media conversions.
Unfortunately, Ahrefs does not support social media features.
Reporting & Integration
In terms of reporting and backlink integration, both tools offer remarkable features. The backink information on Ahrefs dashboard is rich and broad. Besides, the tool provides you a wide range of widgets, which you can use to add to your reports and custom dashboards.
The summaries are easy-to-digest because they show only important information such as the number of backlinks on your site and referring domains. This information is also accompanied by detailed data showing specific domains and links.
You are able to see how your backlinks are performing, identify new ones as well as aged links. The integration report goes further to show ratings, anchor data, broken links, and the last date of crawl.
On its side, SEMrush comes with a 7-pack dashboard. This pack offers competent backlink analysis and integration. With it, you can add the widgets to reports as well as to custom dashboards.
On the dashboard, you will also see Domain Score as well as Trust Score of all your backlinks and those of your competitor. You will also see the last time links, anchors, and IPs were seen. Besides, you will see detailed data on referring domains.
The other thing you will love about SEMrush’s reporting and integration feature is it will show you a complete breakdown of all backlinks and your site’s indexed pages.
Interface and Ease of Use
Usability is one of the basic yet important things on any SEO tool. Many people do not have the luxury of spending much time on a computer trying to figure out what is where. If anything, many webmasters spend a lot of money paying for services they would have done by themselves.
Because they do not have the time, they hire a SEO expert to do the job on their behalf. Therefore, an easy-to-use platform goes a long way in ensuring clients save on time.
Both tools are easy to use. However, an in-depth probe into the two will definitely reveal that Ahrefs’ user interface is easy to navigate. What stands out about this tool is that data is given prominence.
In other words, the screen will be dominated with the information that you’ve requested. Besides, the colorful graphics make it easy to understand and interpret the results.
In terms of overall performance, SEMrush is great. Although presentation of information may be a bit tricky to read and comprehend, the tool loads fast. Ahrefs on the other hand is somewhat slow, especially if you want to check multiple sites at one go.
Note that to give you the best experience, Ahrefs uses Keywords Explorer, Content Explorer, and Site Explorer features. All these features come with a search box located at the top corner where you can launch your research.
The good thing is the reports generated are arranged in an orderly manner, which makes it easy to read.
As mentioned earlier, SEMrush’s interface is somewhat cumbersome. Although the dashboard contains your project analytics, labeling is not clear. Because of that, navigating is more complex.
In the end, you will need to dig deeper and spend lots of time trying to figure out the exact thing you are looking for. That does not mean SEMrush cannot fit everyone. If you love interpreting visuals as opposed to words, then this is the right tool for you.
SEMrush’s visual data is presented in various formats including tables, charts, and graphs. Besides, you can do your email outreach directly on the platform, something that Ahrefs does not support.
Here is the comparison table showing some of the pros and cons of both tools:
* Provides bulky keyword research options
* Offers SERP previews
* Easy list exportation
* Shows competitive density
* Provides organic and CPC information
* Lists different types of available SERP features
|Cons||* Limited CPC data||* Does not support bulky keyword research|
Which is better? It is a matter of what you give preference. For an easy to read and understand interface, Ahrefs has the numbers. However, if it comes to faster loading and overall performance, SEMrush carries the day.
Pricing and Value for Money
This is where it gets juicy. In matters of payment, the two SEO tools have set their prices. Each of them has tried to set different prices that carter for different clients.
Clients could be individuals who are starting their online business or big agencies and conglomerates that want their businesses to stand out in the search engine.
The best way to compare the two is by looking at the comparison table below:
Trial version: $7 that runs for 7 days. This version is also referred to as Standard.
Lite: This costs $99 every month
Standard: You’ll pay $179 each month
Advanced: $399 per month
Agency: The required amount is $999 per month
Starting price: Free
Pro: You are required to pay $119.95 per month
Guru: $229.95 per month
Business: $449.95 each month
Also available are:
Our word on pricing and saving on payment plans: To ensure it gives its clients the best deal, SEMrush gives a 16% discount to clients who pay one year upfront. Besides, as you have seen, there is a free version for those clients who want to test the tool.
Ahrefs on the other hand will give you 2 months free if you make an upfront payment for a year. However, Ahrefs does not give clients a free trial of their SEO tool. Again, on which company is better in terms of payment plans and saving, it’d be hard to decide.
You have to look at your budget and the size of your company. For small and medium businesses, Ahrefs would be the best option. For those trying out something, have a big budget or running an agency, SEMrush would be the ideal SEO tool.
If you are looking for an SEO tool that offers free trial even if it is for a few days, I am sorry that Ahrefs cannot help you. It’s true that there was a time the tool used to give its clients a free trial but at the moment, Ahrefs DOES not give clients a free trial.
On its part, SEMrush gives all new clients a free trial. The SEMrush free version is aimed at giving you a glimpse of what the paid versions will give you. So, if you are out there trying to taste the waters, SEMrush is the best.
Even though Ahrefs does not offer a free trial, you can still test the tool with just $7 that goes for 7 days. The amount, which is considered meager, will help you draw a conclusion on which of the two tools you will settle for.
As you may already know, any business should have a channel through which it talks to its clients. Not all communication channels are good though. Some channels are ideal for a specific category of business while others are open to all business models.
A company that gives their clients a priority will always find a communication channel that suits most if not all of its clients. On matters of support, it appears that SEMrush takes the lead.
The company uses phone, chat, and email as the primary forms of communication. In that case, clients who prefer any of the communication channels can reach the company for queries, commendations, or for complaints.
Many clients prefer a company that has a ‘phone’ as their primary channel of communication because they can talk with the customer care representative one on one. A chat is not bad either but it might take a lot of time discussing a lengthy issue via texts.
Thankfully, SEMrush utilizes the three communication channels to satisfy their clients’ needs.
On their part, Ahrefs does not have phone support. The company makes use of email and chats. Unlike SEMrush whose customer support icon on their website is hidden, Ahrefs’ is more visible.
To talk to Ahrefs customer support, simply click on the icon located at the bottom right side of your screen. Once you click on the icon, a customer care rep will come to your aid immediately.
It may take you a few minutes of intense search before you locate SEMrush’s customer support icon because the dashboard is somewhat cluttered.
Our view on which is best in terms of customer support: Both companies try their best in giving their clients the best services. While SEMrush’s customer support system offers many options than Ahrefs, the two companies lock horns.
Why do the two tools tie when it comes to customer support? Here is the reason:
SEMrush has a win in the number of communication options, while Ahrefs’ customer support icon is more visible on the dashboard.
Unique Things You Can Do With Each of Them
It’s true that these SEO tools have many things in common. However, when you take your time to analyze each of them individually, you will realize a huge difference. This is particularly distinctive when you look at things such as traffic potential, backlink opportunities, advertising, and social media marketing.
First, let’s start with Ahrefs.
Of the two, Ahrefs is the only one that can give you accurate data on the keyword’s traffic potential. In other words, Ahrefs does not only show you the keyword difficulty and search volume but also the traffic potential.
With such rich information, you will decide to use a particular keyword in your website or not. Having information beforehand is also important in determining not just the number of backlinks you may need to rank for the keyword but also the amount of money you will use.
There is more to Ahrefs ‘traffic potential feature. You will also see what it will cost for each click (CPC) and clicks per search.
It is also important to know that Ahrefs boasts over 4 billion US search queries.
Lastly and most importantly, the traffic potential feature shows sites that are ranking for the keyword you are researching.
If you thought that good business practice means sitting in the office and ignoring what your competitor is doing, you are doomed to fail. In today’s business setup, you need to be aggressive if you want to beat the rest or at least remain afloat.
One of the best ways to know what is happening around you or who is moving what is finding backlinks. What is more, the spying goes beyond from just finding fitting backlinks to your site to your competitor’s backlinks.
If you do that, you are not only likely to see what your competitor is doing to remain at the top but also to find sites that can help you achieve what your competitor has achieved.
Thanks to Ahrefs’ backlink feature, you can now find quality backlinks for your site. These backlinks are the same that link to your competitor.
What is more, you will get more important details such as when your competitor acquired the backlink, which page the backlink is directed to, and whether it is a ‘nofollow’ or ‘dofollow’ type of link.
According to Ahrefs, Content Explorer is a searchable database with over 1.1 billion web pages. The database is complete with dozens of other proprietary metrics. Some of the metrics that can be of importance to you include:
- Word count.
- Publish date.
- Organic search traffic.
- Last updated date.
- Number of referring domains.
- Live or broken links.
- Domain rating (for the parent website).
Thanks to these and other details of the content explorer feature, you are able to achieve more. For instance, there are potentially three ways the content explorer tool can help in link prospecting.
1. Find thousands of blogs to pitch
It is no doubt that the most powerful backlinks would come from relevant and high-authority sites that have never linked to your site before. To be able to find these sites, go to Content Explorer at the top of your Ahrefs account and find pages that have your target keyword(s).
The next step is to filter the results, looking at the Domain Rating (DR) that you are comfortable with. Your target should be finding a page per domain.
Use the ‘unlinked domains’ that appear on the highlight and find the high-authority sites that haven’t linked to your site before.
If you do it properly, the task should not take more than one minute before you find a list of sites that you can pitch for link building.
NB. The sites you find are those that talk about the same things as your site but they have never linked to you in the past.
2. Finding broken links
You can find and fix broken links using the Content Explorer feature. Remember that this feature shows backlink broken links and not just any other links such as interlinks.
3. Finding low-competition topics
Content Explorer is also unique in finding low-competition keywords/topics that your site can easily rank for without building any links.
To do this, key in relevant words, phrases or topics and filter those with zero referring domains. If you find topics, keywords, or phrases with 300-1000 monthly searches, then you know you are on the right track.
Do not be surprised to get a keyword that gets up to 1000 monthly organic visits without any link building.
Research and Automate Internal Linking
If you are struggling with interlinking your content, let Ahrefs help you fix this. While internal linking plays an important role in individual page ranking, many website owners often underestimate the exercise. Instead, they put a lot of emphasis on external link building.
As it were, external link building (backlinking), does not guarantee individual page ranking. Instead, when done properly, it tends to put your site (not individual pages), in a favorable position in the Google search ranking.
To find how your site is performing in terms of internal links, go to ‘Best by Links’, a report that is under Site Explorer tab. While there, direct your attention to ‘Internal tab’. You will be able to see all internal links to each page.
The good thing about Ahrefs internal linking audit is it shows all the incoming and outbound links to a page. Besides, it indicates whether the link is a dofollow or nofollow.
At first, the probe shows figures (the number of links coming and going out of page). To know the exact link url, you will need to click on the number. In turn, it will open the whole list of urls (individual) pages that are coming or going out of the page.
It is true that internal links do not play a big role in bringing money to your site or even help much in overall site ranking. However, the more the visitors stay on your site, thanks to proper interlinking, the more likely they will click on some ads or products.
For now, that is all about Ahrefs’ unique features together with their uses in creating a robust online presence. Now, it is time to shift our focus to SEMrush.
SEMrush’s Listing Management Tool
According to SEMrush, the Listing Management Tool is a product of intense work that was done a few years ago in collaboration with Yext. The tool is designed to boost local SEO with the aim of distributing information automatically to the most powerful directories.
Although the tool is currently used a lot by online businesses, it was originally designed to help brick and mortar establishments reach their marketing goals.
Some of the listings the tool targets include:
- Phone numbers.
- Business names.
- Business hours.
- Photos of premises and staff.
- Physical address.
Thanks to the tool, local businesses that are based in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, the United Kingdom and Germany can do the following among other things:
- Improve their visibility.
- Maximize engagement with their clients (whether it is from their single location or from multiple locations).
- Ensure there is accuracy on the most critical information.
Because there is extensive collaboration with Yext’s Knowledge Network, the tool is able to circulate most relevant data across major authoritative directories as well as intelligent services. Some of these most authoritative directories, which benefits businesses include:
- Amazon Alexa;
- Apple Maps;
What More Can the Listing Management Tool Do?
Apart from ensuring, the most crucial business information is disseminated to authoritative sites, SEMrush LMT goes ahead to help in doing the following:
Data Distribution and Update – the tool updates and distributes the most important business information. In case there are changes that need to be made, LMT enables you to update all the information at once. If you add your business website to a fresh directory, chances are you can get backlinks from authoritative sites.
Review Management – the tool collects all the reviews on your business that you can later respond to via Facebook or Google My Business.
Local Ranking Heatmap – LMT aids in keeping tabs on matters regarding your site’s SEO status. That means you can track up to five keywords as long as it is on a hyper local level. The rankings are then shown through a heatmap within a specific area.
Social Media ToolKit
When SEMrush announced that its social media toolkit would be free to all users, many people did not believe it. However, after some time, it was evident that SEMrush was serious about the statement.
With the social media toolkit, it is possible for webmasters to schedule social media posts conveniently in a matter of seconds.
Besides, through the social media manager, you are able to spy into and analyze your competitor’s strategy as well as performance on the various social media platforms. Some of the notable social media platforms you get to analyze include Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
To be able to analyze your competitor’s site, you add the domain name and tally the site’s progress in comparison with your site.
Apart from analyzing your competitor’s site, the SEMrush social media toolkit can help you:
- Schedule your posts;
- Track post/page performance;
- Get real-time site analysis and insights;
- Boost posts;
- Create ads.
Advertising is one of the important parts of any business. Gone are the days when businesses did not advertise their services because as opposed to now, there were few businesses.
To stay on top of the game, you need to carry out several advertising campaigns on a regular basis. That is where the SEMrush advertising toolkit comes in handy.
However, you may still ask:
What is SEMrush Advertising Toolkit?
The SEMrush Advertising toolkit helps online businesses plan and execute Google Ads campaigns. On this toolkit, you will have access to all the apparatus that will benefit you as you embark on setting up Google Ads campaign.
With this toolkit, you will be able to not only research your preferred niche and study your competitor’s previous campaigns, but also be able to set up an authoritative advertising campaign.
Individual tools in the kit will also help you cover three most important processes namely keyword research, Ad research, and competitive analysis.
Competitive Analysis – this should be the first step when planning for an advertisement campaign. In other words, you must know what strategies your competitor is using to beat you.
Thankfully, the SEMrush Advertising Toolkit will show you everything you need to know about your competitor. Top on the list will be the keywords your competitor is using to bid on the various ad copies the competitor is ranking on.
Keyword Research – upon a successful research of the keywords your competitor is using to scale his website, you are going to carry out your own research. During the research, the tool will reveal among other things:
- Keyword gap(s);
- Ad history;
- Keyword overview.
Ad Research – Ad research is the last action after competitive analysis and keyword research. At this stage, you want to carry out a research with the aim of finding the right ads that will bring you desired bucks.
It’s still at this point that you have the choice of analyzing the visual aspect of your competitor’s ad strategy. Alternatively, you can evaluate and restructure your list of keywords using the PPC keyword tool.
You need to find engaging ads because they can draw the attention of your readers, who in turn will stick around a while longer.
SEMrush vs. Ahrefs: And the Winner Is
Do you still remember what we said about each of the SEO tools on SEO auditing, rank tracking, search engine marketing, ease of use, keyword research, topic research; link analysis, social media features and identifying link building opportunities among others?
Now, let’s break down this further with the aim of identifying the best SEO tool to use.
We can agree that SEMrush has much data that not only relates to SEO but also PPC. SEMrush can help you identify toxic links, is great for generating link-building campaigns, and has phone support as opposed to Ahrefs. Besides, the tool seems to be generous in giving additional reports, some of which you may not need.
Ahrefs on the other hand, beats SEMrush on the following key areas:
- Ahrefs keyword research strategy is great. While SEMrush works with one search engine – Google, Ahrefs allows you to conduct your keyword research for other search engines. These search engines include Google, Bing, YaHoo, Amazon, and YouTube.
- It is arguably reasonable to say that Ahrefs’ interface is quite easy to use compared to SEMrush. What is more, even at a glance, the information Ahrefs gives you is digestible!
- With Ahrefs, you can add as many user accounts as you want.
- The SEO tool allows you to work with unlimited websites as long as you can verify ownership.
- Ahrefs broken link analysis is super easy and fast.
- If you are on higher-tier plans, Ahrefs allows multiple users to access your account. In other words, there is no suspicion on who is accessing your account(s). With SEMrush, you will be required to pay for the extra seat(s) irrespective of your plan.
- Lastly, Ahrefs is a budget-friendly SEO tool. With just $7 you can do several things in 7 days. Isn’t that amazing, compared to SEMrush’s whopping $119.95 per month for Pro plan?
Alternatives to SEMrush and Ahrefs
Although we have given credit to SEMrush and Ahrefs, they are not the only SEO tools in the market. You can find other alternatives that can equally give you a place to start.
In this section, I will briefly talk about six SEO tools you can try in case you do not want to spend $7 per week for Ahrefs or a whopping $119.95 per month for SEMrush.
If for a long time you’ve underestimated Ubersuggest, I’d request you give it a second thought. The tool is one of the best. In fact, if I were to rank in terms of positions from 1 onwards, Ubersuggest would take position 3 after Ahrefs and SEMrush. Why?Because with Ubersuggest you can do among other things:
- Keyword research
- SEO audit
- Backlink analysis
- Topic research
- And more …
The SEO tool is ideal for those that are starting their SEO campaign. Besides, the tool offers free and paid versions. Their monthly paid plan (Pro) goes for only £29.
This is not just an SEO tool. Instead, Mangools brings together five tools that can prove to be effective in your online marketing campaign. Mangools’ KWFinder and LinkMiner are among the tools that can help you start your online journey.
The other good thing about Mangools is if you choose the yearly plan, you will be required to pay just $29 per month!
C) Moz Pro
This SEO tool has been around for some time and already, it has made a name for itself among professionals. Keyword Explorer, the only tool Moz Pro has updated after many years is a good tool.
If you are looking for long-tail keywords, Moz Pro is the real deal.
That said, Moz Pro has two setbacks that stand out. The first of these is the company charges $99 per month for its services. The second thing is they take years to roll out an update. That means the company is not really at par with the likes of Ahrefs and SEMrush, which update their tools regularly.
If you have read about this tool, perhaps you have realized that their slogan is ‘’the best monitoring tool in the market for keywords and backlinks.’ Well, the fact is this tool is not a bad one.
For instance, the ‘Disavow Tool’, will help you identify high volume/low competition keywords. Apart from that, there isn’t really much the tool can help you with. In fact, the tool pulls much of its data from other tools such as Moz and Majestic.
While Ahrefs pulls up to 10,000 rows of backlink data, Monitor Backlinks pulls only 4,000. In addition, you cannot depend on this tool to pull some important information such as organic traffic report, domain comparison, or even competitor analysis.
There is no doubt that Majestic is one of the dated SEO tools but it still has some significance. This tool is focused 100% on delivering results on backlinking. Therefore, if you are looking for a wholesome SEO tool, Majestic will let you down.
However, if your aim is to strengthen your backlinks, then Majestic is the deal. In fact, do not be surprised that the tool may pool many authoritative backlinks than SEMrush in some sites. Having said that, the tool’s UX is truly dated.
Majestic’s payment plan starts at $50 per month.
Have you ever heard of BuzzSumo? Compared to a majority of the SEO tools listed above, BuzzSumo is geared towards content marketing. With that, you may wonder why this tool is considered Ahrefs and SEMrush alternatives.
To be honest, try as you may, your content would be useless if it has all the other aspects but lacks SEO and content marketing, which BuzzSumo tends to solve. Mention tracking, one of the features of BuzzSumo plays an integral role in finding content that has many social media shares.
As mentioned from the start, comparing Ahrefs and SEMrush is like comparing two superpowers – something that can give you a headache. Both tools stand out in delivering what they are designed to do.
Nonetheless, one can always have an edge over another in some areas.
For instance, while SEMrush is great in technical SEO and content marketing, Ahrefs is exceptional in link building, backlink analysis, user-friendly interface, easy delivery of reports, and ‘friendly’ payment plans.
Nonetheless, you can still make use of both tools if you want to achieve exceptional results.