One the best keyword softwares out there and one that all the pro’s use but it don’t come cheap – That’s for sure.
So, what are the key features for Ahrefs?
- Comprehensive SEO toolset, including keyword research, content explorer, and site audit capabilities
- In-depth backlink analysis with an index of over 22 trillion known links
- Rank tracking for your website and competitors on multiple search engines
- Keyword research with various metrics, including keyword difficulty, search volume, and click metrics
- Competitive analysis to understand your rivals’ SEO strategy
- Web monitoring with real-time alerts for any changes to your website or competitors’ site
What’s great about Ahrefs?
- Obtain a clear and comprehensive view of your website’s SEO performance with in-depth reports
- Uncover opportunities and areas of improvement with the site audit feature
- Export detailed SEO analysis and review all organic rankings and clicks
- Track your website’s SEO health over time
- Understand the SEO strategies of your competitors and identify their strengths and weaknesses
What you need to be aware of:
- Ahrefs, while offering extensive features, has a learning curve and may take some time to fully utilize
- Its depth of data might be overwhelming for beginners in SEO
- Price point may be steep for small businesses or individuals
$99 per month (Billed Monthly) / $82 per month (Billed Annually)
- Access to all Ahrefs tools
- 1 user
- 500 tracked keywords
- Updates every 7 days
- 25 domains/urls for site audit
- 10,000 pages to crawl
$179 per month (Billed Monthly) / $149 per month (Billed Annually)
- Access to all Ahrefs tools
- 1 user
- 1500 tracked keywords
- Updates every 5 days
- 100 domains/urls for site audit
- 500,000 pages to crawl
Please note that Ahrefs also offers advanced and agency plans for larger businesses or SEO agencies with more extensive needs.
Ahrefs is a powerful SEO toolkit that provides a comprehensive set of tools to research and analyze websites, competitors, keywords, and backlinks. Founded in 2011, Ahrefs has become one of the most popular SEO tools used by digital marketers, SEO professionals, and webmasters.
In this detailed Ahrefs review, I will cover the key features, pricing, pros and cons, and who should use this tool based on my experience using it for SEO research and analysis. Read on to learn everything you need to know about Ahrefs and whether it’s the right SEO tool for your needs.
Overview of Ahrefs
Ahrefs started as a small CrawlBot project in 2011 with the goal of building the largest index of backlinks on the web. Today, Ahrefs has expanded into a full suite of SEO and marketing tools that include:
- Site Explorer for backlink research
- Keywords Explorer for keyword research
- Content Explorer for content research
- Rank Tracker for ranking monitoring
- Site Audit for on-page SEO analysis
- Alerts for backlink and ranking notifications
- Webmaster Tools for site tracking
At the core of Ahrefs is their powerful crawler, AhrefsBot, which crawls over 15 billion web pages every month. This allows them to have the largest link index after Google and provide incredibly detailed backlink data.
I rely heavily on Ahrefs for all aspects of technical SEO research from keyword discovery to backlink analysis. It’s an invaluable tool for understanding how a website ranks and identifying SEO opportunities.
Key Features and Tools
Here are some of the key features and tools that Ahrefs offers:
Site Explorer – Research backlinks pointing to any domain or URL along with metrics like domain rating, URL rating, and referring domains. Filter backlinks by type (e.g. dofollow, nofollow), anchor text, and more. See the top linking domains and pages.
Keywords Explorer – Get search volume and keyword difficulty estimates for target keywords. Discover long-tail variations and keyword ideas grouped into questions, comparisons, and intents. See the top ranking domains and pages for a keyword.
Content Explorer – Find the most shared and linked to content for a domain, URL, or keyword across the web and social media. Sort by social shares and backlinks. Useful for content research and ideas.
Rank Tracker – Track search engine rankings for important keywords and get weekly rank reports. See ranking history graphs and metrics like position changes. Set up email/Slack rank change alerts.
Site Audit – Crawl a site and get a full SEO audit identifying issues to fix like meta tags, indexability, page speed, security, etc. See an overall site audit score and how it improves over time.
Alerts – Get email or Slack notifications on new backlinks, lost backlinks, keyword ranking changes, and brand mentions across the web. Useful for link building and brand monitoring.
API – Access Ahrefs data directly in your own apps and scripts via their comprehensive API. Build custom reports, automate workflows, and more.
In addition to these main tools, Ahrefs provides a full set of support content including case studies, webinars, product tutorials, and an SEO blog. There is also an active user community on social media.
The main competitors to Ahrefs are SEMrush and Moz. Here’s how Ahrefs compares:
- Ahrefs has a larger link index but smaller keyword database compared to SEMrush. It excels at backlink research.
- Moz has a good link index but more limited set of tools. Their focus is on-page optimization.
- Ahrefs provides more detailed backlink data than SEMrush and Moz but can be more expensive.
- SEMrush has excellent keyword research and tracking tools. Ahrefs’ keyword data is useful but more limited.
- For small businesses and startups, SEMrush can be a more budget-friendly option over Ahrefs.
- Ahrefs includes social metrics and content research tools that the other tools lack.
Overall, Ahrefs is ideal for experienced SEO professionals who need powerful backlink analysis above all else. SEMrush is better for well-rounded SEO capabilities on a budget. Moz focuses specifically on site audits.
Ideal Users and Use Cases
Ahrefs is built primarily for technical SEO experts but can benefit other digital marketing roles as well. Here are the best use cases:
SEO Consultants/Agencies – The ability to deeply analyze a website’s link profile and discover new link building tactics makes Ahrefs extremely valuable. You can analyze client sites or competitors and identify link building opportunities.
Website Owners – If you manage a site and want to take SEO into your own hands, Ahrefs provides the data you need to identify issues and growth opportunities. The rank tracker and site audit are particularly helpful.
Content Marketers – For creating content that ranks, Ahrefs allows you to research topics, keywords, and competitor content that is already attracting links and social shares.
PPC Managers – The keyword and rank data helps optimize PPC campaigns. You can find relevant long-tail keywords and see search trends.
Outreach Professionals – Finding link prospect websites is easy with the backlink data. You can identify sites that are relevant and likely to link back to your site.
Ahrefs is likely overkill for novice SEO beginners at small companies. The depth of data requires SEO knowledge to apply effectively. However, it can work for skilled in-house marketers that need powerful yet straightforward SEO tools.
Plans and Pricing
Ahrefs offers four paid subscription plans:
Lite – $99/month Standard – $179/month Advanced – $399/month Agency – $999/month
The Lite plan is best for new users and small websites to get started. It includes:
- Access to all 7 core tools
- 100k keywords in Keywords Explorer
- 500k backlinks in Site Explorer
- 3 users
The Standard plan expands that to 1M keywords, 5M backlinks, 10 users, and higher usage limits. It can handle medium websites with more data.
Advanced removes most limits for large enterprise websites and adds white label reporting. Agency accounts get dedicated account managers.
Ahrefs does not offer a free trial. You can get $7 for 7 days which allows very limited access. Monthly plans are ideal for new users to test it out before committing to a full year.
I recommend starting with the Standard plan in most cases. It strikes the best balance of capabilities versus cost. The Lite plan is too limited and Advanced adds niceties but with rapidly diminishing returns.
Pros of Using Ahrefs
From my experience using Ahrefs for years, here are the major advantages:
- Huge link index provides the most comprehensive backlink data
- Very intuitive and easy to use interface
- Fast and accuratecrawl rates websites quickly
- Excellent analytical tools for technical SEO research
- Useful keyword data alongside Google Keyword Planner
- Content Explorer finds viral content opportunities
- Detailed help documentation and blog tutorials
- Active user community on social media for support
Ahrefs is my go-to SEO tool largely because of the unmatched backlink data. But it excels at providing clear, robust tools for site owners and SEO experts. The interface avoids clutter and makes complex data digestible.
Cons and Limitations
No tool is perfect though. Here are some downsides to consider:
- Expensive subscription plans with limited keyword data in lower tiers
- No free trial available which is uncommon
- Advanced features like rank tracking cost extra
- Missing some capabilities of other tools like SEMrush’s PPC integration
- Very limited social metrics compared to BuzzSumo and others
- Technical learning curve to extract full value from the data
The lack of a free trial and high monthly costs are probably the biggest barriers to entry. SEMrush can be better for social monitoring, rank tracking, and PPC while Moz dominates site audits. But no tool matches Ahrefs for backlink analysis.
Should You Use Ahrefs?
Ahrefs is an incredibly powerful tool for technical SEO tasks like discovering new link building tactics and monitoring backlinks. The wealth of data provides insights that other tools simply cannot match.
If you are an agency consultant, seasoned in-house SEO expert, or website owner obsessed with rankings, Ahrefs can give you a major advantage. The ability to deeply analyze backlinks and pick out optimization opportunities is invaluable.
However, it is overkill for novice SEOs and smaller companies on a tight budget. The Standard plan costs a hefty $179 per month. And you need search engine expertise to interpret the data and take action on it. SEMrush can offer a more affordable starting point.
But for growing agencies and brands playing SEO at a high level, Ahrefs is easily worth the investment. An SEO toolkit is incomplete without it. Just be sure to take advantage of the 7-day trial to confirm it meets your specific needs before committing.
What We think
Ahrefs has cemented itself as a premier SEO toolset and every serious website needs it in their stack. The unmatched backlink data, robust analytical capabilities, and intuitive interface make Ahrefs my top recommendation for technical SEO.
It does have a steep learning curve so expect an adjustment period to get comfortable with the features. But once you master it, Ahrefs provides the insights needed to outrank the competition. While the pricing tiers are premium, the value provided makes it a worthwhile investment if you can afford it.
Overall, Ahrefs remains my go-to SEO tool after years of use and I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you manage websites professionally, it’s a must-have subscription. Just be sure to take advantage of the 7-day trial to ensure it meets your needs before committing long-term.