How to Use Ahrefs for SEO and Digital Marketing Success

Ahrefs is one of the most powerful SEO and digital marketing tools available today. With robust keyword research, backlink analysis, content exploration and website auditing capabilities, Ahrefs provides invaluable insights to improve search rankings, increase organic traffic and boost conversions.

For more information read our Ahrefs Review for more details.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the key features of Ahrefs and how to utilize them for SEO and digital marketing campaigns.

Getting Started with Ahrefs

To use Ahrefs, you need to sign up for an account. They offer a 7-day $7 trial so you can test it out before committing to a paid plan.

Once signed up, you can access the various tools via the main dashboard or top navigation bar. The key sections we’ll cover are:

  • Keywords Explorer
  • Site Explorer
  • Content Explorer
  • Rank Tracker
  • SEO Toolkit

Keyword Research with Keywords Explorer

Thorough keyword research is the foundation of any successful SEO strategy. The Ahrefs Keywords Explorer allows you to generate targeted keyword ideas and analyze search volume, competition and optimization potential.

To begin keyword research:

  • Enter a seed keyword or phrase into the search bar.
  • Filter keywords by language, location, search volume, keyword difficulty (KD) and more.
  • View keyword ideas related to your seed keyword along with important metrics like search volume, KD, CPC and more.
  • Export keyword lists to CSV or PDF files for further analysis.
  • See historical trends for any keyword’s search volume and KD.

When reviewing keywords, look for low competition and high volume terms that align with your target audience and business goals. Keywords Explorer provides the data to identify lucrative SEO opportunities.

Gaining backlinks from authoritative, relevant sites is key for ranking higher in Google and other search engines. The Ahrefs Site Explorer allows you to research a domain’s backlink profile and identify link building opportunities.

To analyze backlinks with Site Explorer:

  • Enter a target domain or URL.
  • View total backlinks, referring domains, anchor text usage and other overview metrics.
  • Filter backlinks by type, location, domain rating and more.
  • Assess top linking domains and pages based on authority and relevance.
  • Discover opportunities to earn backlinks from similar sites/pages.
  • Analyze competitors’ backlink profiles for comparison.
  • Export backlink data to CSV or PDF format.

Regularly check your own site’s backlinks along with competitors’ profiles to guide your link building and outreach strategies.

Content Research with Content Explorer

Creating high-quality, optimized content is also crucial for SEO success. The Ahrefs Content Explorer helps you research what content performs best for target keywords so you can produce more effective articles, guides and other assets.

Here are some key ways to leverage Content Explorer for content optimization:

  • Enter a target keyword to view the top-ranking pages for that term along with engagement metrics like social shares and backlinks.
  • Analyze the content of these top pages for guidance on length, formats, key topics and more.
  • Discover related keywords and questions to cover for secondary targeting.
  • View linked assets like images and videos to inspire creative assets.
  • Monitor your own content’s ranking progress over time.
  • Compare your content to competitors’ for optimization opportunities.

Using Content Explorer ensures you have the data to produce content that truly resonates with searchers and drives more organic traffic.

Rank Tracking with Rank Tracker

Accurately tracking your website’s keyword rankings is vital for gauging SEO progress. The Ahrefs Rank Tracker provides reliable data to monitor rankings in Google and other search engines.

Key tips for effective rank tracking:

  • Add keywords you want to track rankings for along with target location/language.
  • Set tracking frequency from daily to weekly or monthly.
  • View graphical representation of ranking changes over time.
  • Export ranking data to share progress.
  • Compare rankings vs. top competitors.
  • Get notifications for significant ranking increases or decreases.
  • Integrate Rank Tracker with Google Analytics for conversion tracking.

Regular rank tracking provides key performance indicators (KPIs) to refine your SEO efforts and maximize rankings.

SEO Audits with Site Audit

Completing regular SEO audits reveals issues that may be hindering your website’s search visibility. Ahrefs’ Site Audit tool scans websites to identify on-page and technical optimizations.

To perform an effective site audit:

  • Enter your target URL to crawl or upload a sitemap.
  • Review overall site health score and key metrics like page speed, mobile optimization and more.
  • Address detected crawl errors that can block pages from indexing.
  • Check accessibility on mobile to improve usability.
  • Identify issues with duplicates, images, metadata and HTTPS that should be fixed.
  • Assess page-specific on-page factors including titles, URLs, headings and content.
  • Compare site audit results over time to measure optimization progress.

Conducting site audits with Ahrefs provides the roadmap to resolve problems, implement best practices, and improve SEO foundations.

Additional Ahrefs Tools and Features

Beyond the core tools outlined above, Ahrefs offers several other capabilities to support complete SEO and digital marketing strategies:

  • Alerts – Get notifications for new backlinks, mentions, ranking changes and other tracking.
  • Analytics – Connect Google Analytics for additional performance data.
  • Reporting – Create visual reports to share with stakeholders.
  • Campaigns – Group projects for consolidated tracking and reporting.
  • Bulk Analysis – Upload lists of URLs, keywords or domains for bulk analysis.
  • Ahrefs for Chrome – Browser extension for easy site exploration on the go.

Take advantage of these additional features to maximize productivity and customize Ahrefs to your specific needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Ahrefs provides powerful keyword research, backlink analysis, content research and site auditing tools for SEO.
  • Keywords Explorer enables expansive keyword research for targeting high-value, low competition terms.
  • Site Explorer allows deep analysis of backlink profiles and opportunities.
  • Content Explorer reveals top-ranking content to model and outperform.
  • Rank Tracker consistently monitors keyword rankings over time.
  • Site Audit identifies technical and on-page factors to improve.
  • Robust reporting, analytics, alerts and other features help customize and enhance your workflows.
  • Regularly using Ahrefs’ tools provides the insights needed to boost search visibility, traffic, leads and sales.

Ahrefs requires an investment but the sheer depth of data it provides pays dividends in the form of greater SEO success and return on investment. Approach it step-by-step to integrate it effectively into your organizational processes and reap the benefits over the long-term.


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