Ahrefs Review: In-Depth
Ahrefs is an SEO and keyword management suite that the experts trust. This service analyzes business links and domain performance to help clients stand out. Plus, they can take advantage of competitor insights. This is a great way to boost their buzzword profitability. This software may come at a higher price tag, but it also boasts professional resources.
Ahrefs Key Features
This service offers complete SEO analysis for businesses. Clients can sort through their backlinks, domains, and buzzwords. The system will reveal where they’re outperforming others and where they can improve.
- Competitor Insights
- Content Explorer
- Keyword Research
- Link Repair
- Rank Tracker
- Website Audits
Ahrefs Review: History
Dmitry Gerasimenko founded Ahrefs in 2010. He already had years of experience in technology. At age 15, he built a search engine, and he’s been working hard ever since. Ahrefs began as a backlinks index. This eventually became a key component of the larger service. Today, the brand has a multinational staff of over 50 core members.
- Headquarters is in Singapore
- It has its version of Alexa Rank (Ahrefs Rank)
- The Ahrefs backlinks index updates every 15 minutes
- Services are available in 14 languages
- The site crawler processes up to 8 billion pages daily
Ahrefs Features & Technical Details
Check this section for a review of the service’s primary benefits. It turns out that this system does more than scan for SEO success.
Search engine optimization encompasses quite a bit of work. Fortunately, Ahrefs has all the resources brands need. This includes identifying broken and lost links. Clients can clean up their websites and improve their domain’s Google ranking. Speaking of which, the system assigns each site an “Ahrefs Rank.” This analyzes things like keyword profitability and Web traffic.
- Backlink Tracking
- Competitor Insights
- Domain Ranks
- Keyword Research
- Link Management
- Mobile Compatibility
- Site Audits
- User Dashboard
Part of the software’s appeal is its ability to run site audits. This is a tremendous help to brands. They can identify opportunities as well as areas of improvement. One aspect they need to look at is how well their buzzwords perform. Another important detail is inbound and outbound links.
- Competitor Insights
- Keyword Filters
- Link Management
Features in Detail
Here’s a more in-depth look at how each of these tools works. Check out what makes this system so competitive, even after a decade in this niche.
The first thing an Ahrefs customer needs to do is create a project. The user dashboard is straightforward and makes this process quite easy.
- On the right-hand side, there is an orange button that says, “+New Project.”
- Click this and then type in the specific domain or URL.
- From there, all related content and insights will go into that folder.
After people create their project, they can start using the dashboard tools. The blue taskbar at the top of the page has various tabs. One of them says, “Site explorer.”
This is the crown jewel of the system. It was the original backlinks index that the founder created back in 2010. Today it is a comprehensive tool that will provide analytics, search filters, and more.
Individuals may want to take some time to explore the interface. The dashboard can look quite cluttered at first glance. On the bright side, there are plenty of resources and features here. The left-hand side shows an overview menu that lists:
- Backlinks profiles
- Organic searches
- Outgoing links
- Export options
Top Pages Tab
It’s obvious what this section of the dashboard shows. This is where anyone can view the highest-ranking web pages.
- The list is based on how much organic traffic each page drives.
- It also reveals ranked keywords and linking root domains.
Clients use this to see how competitors are doing.
Top Content List
This is a similar feature that shows the best pages within a specific URL. The rankings reflect backlink data and social metrics. Again, customers can look at the competition and see which content performs better. It’s a way to spot prolific influencers in a given space, too.
Sort by Links
Users can look for the pages with the best incoming links. They can sort the findings by external or internal links, too. People can consider this the top content. Only the rankings reflect domain referrals. This is helpful because it reveals the highest-performing backlinks assets.
Speaking of backlinks, this feature shows the pages with the most links growth. It does this by doing a site crawl.
Clients can pull up the results and see a webpage’s success over a day, week, or month. It’s a great way to determine what’s working for a competitor. Brands can use these findings to inform their strategy.
That left-hand overview menu has a section called “Paid Search.” Here, customers can click “PPC keywords” to pull up valuable reports. This will tell them which buzzwords and key phrases are most profitable.
The analysis reveals a list of words from the top page insights. This shows which key terms are helping them land on Google’s search engine. The tool also looks through ads.
This is one of the system’s most well-known features. It’s a link checker, but it does much more than that. Customers can use it to collect valuable data from a website. This includes new or broken links, as well as anchor text.
To access this tool, click the “Backlinks profile” option in the left-hand menu. There are other subcategories like referring domains, IPS, and internal backlinks.
Within that previous tool, there is a “disavow” feature. This makes it easier for influencers to clean up their sites. In effect, they’re clearing away any bad links. These are links that could direct visitors to the wrong website or a 404 error.
This can be a tricky task, but Ahrefs simplifies the process. Users can create a distinct “disavow” folder. There, they can upload their Webmaster and cleanup tools. This keeps all cleared links in the same location.
Customers can sort through their links to make viewing easier. There are several different categories:
- Edu/Gov links
- Nofollow vs Dofollow
- Platform type
- With/without redirect chain
Platform type refers to the URL, such as WordPress or Squarespace. Developers may prefer to sort them by language. This includes Java and Python, among others. Traffic reflects organic visits to the website. This function helps identify valuable links that drive more traffic and clicks.
New & Lost Links
Before looking at new, lost, and broken backlinks, it’s good to know the difference.
- New links happen when a blogger or another brand references a client. This could take place in a blog post, article, or review. It’s a great chance to introduce oneself. It could lead to an online partnership or connection.
- Lost and broken links are the ones that go bad. They either redirect to nothing or the wrong website. If businesses see a blogger or influencer using a busted link, it’s worth reaching out. Ideally, brands would be checking on this every few months.
Repair Broken Links
New backlinks are great, and it’s always a good thing to see these. If a brand finds a broken link, they must do their best to repair it. The best way is to reach out to the person who shared the URL. It could be a blogger, influencer, or another business. Customers should try to find a contact email and reach out.
Fix Inbound/Outbound Links
The platform also allows users to find inbound and outbound links in need of repair. On the overview menu, scroll down to “Outgoing links.” Then, click on the “Broken links” subcategory. This will reveal a list view of backlink errors. Again, it’s best to contact the original poster and ask them to fix it.
Finally, Site Explorer helps clients find research on competitors. Under the “Organic search,” click the “Content gap” option. This will bring up rival pages and domains. The system identifies high-performing words that the competitor has. This makes it easy for customers to see what’s missing from their URLs.
The next primary feature on Ahrefs is the Content Explorer. This reveals which headlines and articles people are sharing the most. It’s a useful tool for analyzing the market and brainstorming new ideas.
At the top of the page, type a subject into the search bar. This will show the most popular content in that niche. Customers can apply various filters:
- Date published
- Number of shares
- Domain rating
- Referring domains
- Organic traffic
- Number of words
Make a Specific Search Specific
Content Explorer has an advanced search function to the right of the bar. Clicking this reveals a new toolset of features. There are different ways to filter out top results:
- Content in a URL
- Specific sites or domains
- Particular author
- OR and AND keywords
There are more filtering options for marketers. They can specify a time frame between 24 hours and all time. The system will reveal the most popular content based on the keyword. This is a good tool to have on hand for viral news. It’s one way to guarantee more shares and organic traffic, too.
Finally, customers may want to see some performance metrics. To do this, they must click a specific link result. From there, they’ll get an overview of its stats. This includes referring domains, number of backlinks, shares, and more. Again, they can specify a time frame to get more accurate readings. Lots of marketers use this feature to analyze SERP insights.
It took a while for this feature to become popular with users. Yet, it’s one of the most powerful options on the site. The company says it’s the best online tool for researching keywords.
- The Explorer pulls up thousands of relevant phrase ideas for SEO purposes.
- It also analyzes each suggestion’s accuracy, search volume, and difficulty score.
Clients can review the term’s potency across several search engines and sites, including:
Search SERP Competition
To get started, users can enter several seed keywords. These are the words or terms that branch off into other buzzwords and ideas. The Explorer can support up to 10,000 of these at once. The overview page will show specific data for each search engine.
- Clients should be aware that they can only access 100 reports per day. It might be better to lump a few seeds together.
- The overview screen reveals each keyword’s density, volume, clicks, and CPC.
- Customers can also see the parent topic.
Analyze SERP Positions
On the left-hand side, there is an overview menu. Look for the “Keyword ideas” category. Beneath that, there are different search criteria, such as:
- All keyword ideas
- Also, the rank of
- Having the same terms
- Newly discovered
- Phrase match
- Search suggestions
This is a huge help because marketers can specify which recommendations they want. For instance, they may want suggestions that contain the exact phrase or term. They might prefer a new database entry so they can create unique keywords.
Find SERP Opportunities
This large database is crucial to winning the SEO game. That said, it can be overwhelming to sift through all the lists. Ahrefs offers filters to help clients find prime opportunities. First, they need to click “All keywords ideas.” At the top of the screen, there are different sorting tabs:
- Word count
- SERP features
- Difficulty score
Keyword Difficulty Scores
Marketers need to understand keyword difficulty, but they shouldn’t rely solely on it. The software calculates these values based on backlinks. The fewer referring domains that appear on Google’s first page, the better. Here is Ahrefs’ scoring system:
- 0-10: Easy, less than 10 domains
- 10-30: Medium, 11-36 domains
- 31-70: Hard, 37-200 domains
- 71-100: Super hard, 220+ domains
Rank Keywords & Topics
People might want to rank for extra keywords without creating more Web content. They can use the “Top Pages” analysis for this. Clients search for a #1 term or phrase. On the overview screen, they can look in the “Parent topic” column to find more ideas. Clicking the parent link will reveal dozens or hundreds more keywords. This provides lots of content ideas and saves tons of time.
This feature makes it easy to create target keyword lists. Depending on the plan, subscribers can save a least 500 phrases. For each word, they can see insightful data and reports. Filters help them sort through various metrics such as:
- Average position
- SERP features
Marketers can get daily or weekly reports, too. This includes competitor rankings and grossing metrics. Customers can use this tool for several sites and across different geographic locations.
Subscribers can add their website to the Ahrefs database. This allows them to do site audits and reveal any holes in their SEO strategy. The software performs a site crawl on all the webpages. Then, it will create a log of reports. This covers all kinds of topics, such as:
- Content quality
- External pages
- HTML tags
- Incoming/outgoing links
- Internal page performance
- Social tags
This system has more to offer outside of its main toolkit. Here is a review of the other features clients can take advantage of.
Domain Comparison Reports
This option lets users compare up to five competing domains. They can get updated readings on several crucial metrics:
- Crawled pages
- Domain rating
- Referring domains
- Social followers
The software will show the highest-performing one in bold. It’s a good idea to run this comparison every few months.
This humble toolbar works for Chrome and Firefox. It uses the Ahrefs database to find results like the root domain and keyword difficulty. They can also look at deeper insights such as social shares, backlinks, and URL ratings.
This is like the Content Gap feature. The difference is that it shows which blogs and websites link to competitors. It’s a great way to find new growth opportunities. Clients can see what rival sites are doing and then change up their strategies.
API & Other Apps
There is an API that developers can use to automate tasks. The basic API is free. Some people build apps with this, or they create extra tools. Before they do that, they should check out the platform integrations. Ahrefs works with Majestic, Moz, and SEMush.
Plans & Pricing
Ahrefs offers four subscription packages. There is a plan that appeals to almost every agency and brand. While there isn’t a free trial, customers can get a week of full access for $7. Check out a review of each tier below.
Lite: Kickstart SEO Research
This is the cheapest package, but it’s expensive. It comes with a 7-day trial of all the features. After that, Lite users will have limited access to some tools. It allows single users to work with up to five campaigns. This should be fine for one marketer or blogger, but the pricing is a bit steep.
Number of Accounts: 5
- Ability to compare domains
- Automatically tracks up to 5 websites
- Monthly lost backlink reports
- One full week of unlimited access
- Tracks 6 months of content metrics
- Expensive for a basic subscription
- Limits on alerts and results
Standard: Most Popular Option
The Standard package is a great choice for SMBs or smaller agencies. This plan increases tracked keywords to 1,500. It also updates the data at a faster rate. Clients enjoy half a million page crawls each month. Buy more if they need them $50 per 500,000).
Number of Accounts: 10
- Access all backlinks index data
- Best for small biz/agencies
- Research 3,500 URLs each month
- Supports up to 10 websites
- Updates every 5 days
- Affordability might be an issue
- No daily reports
Advanced: For Serious SEO Growth
Number of Accounts: 25
- Auto-track 25 websites
- Daily backlink reports
- Full SERP position history
- Multi-user access
- Updates every 3 days
- Limited to 40 new keyword alerts
- Very pricey
Agency: No Limits on Research & Insights
This is a very expensive subscription, but it can support entire teams. It also allows up to 100 projects. Users can access hourly reports and real-time updates. They’ll also maximize their Site and Content Explorers, as well as site audits. Most people won’t need this plan, but for those who do, it’s all-inclusive.
Number of Accounts: 100
- API access
- Daily alerts
- Retain one year of data
- Track thousands of keywords daily
- Larger teams may need to purchase more user seats
- Super pricey
Pricing & Key Features Comparison Chart
Check out a side-by-side comparison of each subscription. Most people opt for the Standard or Advanced plans. This chart makes it easier to find the most suitable option.
|# of Users||1||1||3||5|
|# of Accts||5||10||25||100|
|Backlink Index||Live Only||All||All||All|
|SERP History||6 months||6 months||All-time||All-time|
Terms & Conditions
Ahrefs controls and operates all the services on the site. The physical address is 16 Raffles Quay #33-03, Hong Leong Building, Singapore. When people use the system, they give the company permission to send communications. For the most part, this is electronic mail and marketing materials.
Subscribers must provide true and accurate registration information. They cannot reproduce, duplicate, trade, or sell part of the software. Sign-up requires a valid email address. The company is not responsible for lost passwords or log-in details. Individuals may not use any bots on the site or within their accounts.
There are a few ways that the enterprise collects client information. The system can pull customer data from third-party service accounts. This includes Facebook and Twitter log-ins. The software takes data from WordPress, Facebook, and Google Ads. The Ahrefs website contains cookies. Individuals can opt-out of data collection by emailing [email protected]. They also have the right to access their information at any time. If they wish, clients can request that the company erase their details.
The company’s refund policy is in the Terms and Conditions. It states that the business has no obligation to provide refunds. The 7-day trial has a strict no-return policy. People who buy a monthly package can send a request within 48 hours. The billing team may deny that request if they see high user activity on the account.
It’s a good idea to look at the business’s support policies. This can provide a better idea of what kind of service to expect.
The software’s website does not list a telephone number. It looks like clients need to find another way to get in touch. The good news is that there are other contact options. Check out the examples below.
There is a customer service email that customers can try. They may send questions or concerns to [email protected]. It’s not clear if this method is the most responsive. The website has lots of other useful resources that might serve better.
Visitors to the website can scroll to the bottom and click the “Contact us” option. When they do, an online chat box will appear in the right-hand corner. It looks like the Customer Success team operates this service. People can select from pre-made questions and try to find suitable answers.
The Ahrefs website has a Help Center page. Here, individuals can scroll through dozens of articles and blog posts. Popular topics include ‘Getting Started’ and ‘Other Tools.’ There is also a search bar at the top where people can type in a specific subject. Ahrefs Academy has marketing and blogging courses available. Some of them are free.
Quality of Service
The Ahrefs Site Explorer is a top-rated service on Trustradius. It has a 9.1 out of 10 based on 140 reviews. The website has 3.7 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot. There are 38 reviews here. The company is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau. Most reviewers agree that the software has a great backlink checker. Other perks include competitive analysis and increased Web traffic. On the downside, most people say that the pricing is too high.
It seems that this system is a good fit for SMBs. Yet, there could be other demographics that could enjoy the software. Here is a brief look at different customer types.
A smaller company would get a lot of use out of this service. They could do well with the Standard or Advanced plan. The only potential issue is the cost. Yet, the tools would help any industry or brand.
An enterprise with a mid-sized marketing team should check out Ahrefs. They’ll find almost everything they need to boost organic traffic and searches. Plus, the rates are better suited to more established companies.
Many corporations and agencies already know about this service. That’s because it is a popular choice among marketers. Those that can afford the highest plan should look into it. They’ll be able to manage countless searches and crawls for dozens of projects.
A contractor or independent entrepreneur could try the trial version. It’s not free, but $7 is manageable. They’ll be able to access unlimited features for seven days. This is a great opportunity to test things out and get more insights.
Pros & Cons
There’s no doubt that this software is here to stay. It already has a loyal clientele and lots of positive reviews. Businesses and influencers of all sizes and industries turn to the Ahrefs toolkit. The most obvious benefits include boosting website traffic and increasing brand awareness. The biggest pitfall is subscription pricing.
- Clients can access content ideas and suggestions
- Complete SERP tools and reports
- Great competitor analysis
- Its link database can't be beat
- Lots of support and useful resources
- The Content Explorer has tons of filtering options
- 'Top Pages' provides deeper insights and research
- It's very expensive, even on the Lite plan
- Reporting could be more accessible and faster
- The service is a popular and trusted brand
Since Ahrefs is expensive, some people may need to seek an alternative. The good news is that there are plenty of other options. Check out six potential services below and how they compare.
This Boston-based SaaS focuses on marketing analytics. It also helps with publishing and advertising insights. Organic traffic reports highlight new areas of growth for businesses. This also allows brands to look at industry benchmarks and compare.
2. Majestic: An Affordable Alternative
Majestic’s Lite plan is good for SEO beginners. The pricing is more approachable, too. Users get access to the keyword generator as well as the system’s free tools. They can filter results by topic, language, country, and more. The Link Context feature allows brands to do website audits.
Consider this system a super-spy in the world of SEO. Clients can compare AdWords data to save time and do less work. They’ll also check PPC and negative match recommendations. Spyfu reveals every Google search, organic rank, and more. Other benefits include keyword grouping, and sales lead info.
4. Serpstat: Data & Research at a Great Rate
With this service, customers can also look through backlink, keyword, and competitor research. They’ll find SERP historical data and market share fluctuations. The platform helps with PPC and mobile rankings, too. The basic plan includes API access, traffic distribution, and much more.
5. Similarweb: A Prime Package
Similarweb offers useful resources to marketers, advertisers, and content creators. There’s a free version that brands can check out before subscribing to a plan. This service is more expensive, but it’s one of the most comprehensive. Perks include traffic ranks, website analysis, and industry benchmarks. Customers are the first to know about emerging trends and new influencers.
6. Ubersuggest: All-in-One, Perfect for Beginners
This service belongs to tech expert Neil Patel. It’s free to use, or individuals can subscribe to a paid plan. The basic package is affordable and supports five projects. Users receive 100 daily reports about rankings, keywords, and top pages.
Ahrefs & Alternatives Comparison Table
For those who still aren’t sure, check out this chart. These are the top features to expect from an SEO tool. See which providers out-perform the competition. Take note that this table reflects the basic plans only.
|# of Users||1||1||1||1||1||10||1|
|# of Accts||5||3||1||1||10||5||5|
|New Keyword Alerts||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
Is Ahrefs Worth the Money?
It’s easy to see why some people might hesitate to try this service. The price tag is higher than other tools, but there’s a reason. The system already has a solid reputation, and it’s always improving. It allows marketers to view organic site traffic, competing keywords, and more. The extensive backlinks reports are impeccable.
How Accurate is Ahrefs?
The software is known for its accuracy. Some SEO metrics can, indeed undergo rapid changes. An example is CPC, which Ahrefs measures. For these kinds of values, the system takes the best average. Other things, like keyword search volume, receive regular updates. Some reports change monthly, but others refresh every week or daily.
Marketers should remember that engines like Google only update every 30 days.
Is Alexa Ranking Reliable?
Lots of people look at Alexa rankings to see the amount of traffic on a website. This is fine, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. AR is not the most accurate system out there. It displays a lot of newer websites and blogs, so there is variation. The values can go through huge changes on a daily basis.
What is a Good Ahrefs Rank?
Besides the Alexa rankings, marketers may want to look at their Ahrefs rank. This value determines backlinks strength across a group of websites. Again, bloggers should look at several sources, not just this one. A ranking could go down even if the backlinks remain the same. It could be that a competitor got stronger, and that’s why the blog value dropped. On average, brands want this domain ranking to be at least 60.
Strong SEO Features for Faster Results
For a decade, Ahrefs has remained a strong contender in SEO toolkits. Its services don’t come cheap, but they’re well worth it. All kinds of industries and professionals turn to this system. It’s a one-stop-shop for deep research, insightful recommendations, and much more.
Plus, it’s helpful for web optimization beginners. If you have experience with this software, let us know in the comments.