Tool Review: Ahrefs

09 July 2021
by Archie Williamson
5 mins
Tool Review: Ahrefs

“Ahrefs is a fantastic platform with various beneficial elements allowing us to track both domestic and foreign SEO campaigns. The ease of the interface allows us to efficiently manage projects and check on the progress of our clients, and then juxtapose them against their primary competitors and more. I find myself using their tools every day; the ability to easily analyse inbound link profiles is particularly useful, as it massively simplifies the process of disavowing toxic links. The various tools complement each other to give a well-rounded overview of the progress of a site without becoming overwhelming.”
Lydia Fox, Outreach Executive

This Ahrefs review breaks down everything you need to know about its core features and can help you to build better SEO strategies and content marketing campaigns.

Ahrefs brands itself as an “all-in-one SEO toolset” that is feature-rich while being accessible for beginners. It was mainly a link building tool when it first launched but Ahrefs can now be deployed for a range of marketing and SEO tasks. That means you will be able to conduct keyword research, analyse your links and competitor’s backlinks, and dive deep into data to inform content creation and to optimise your site for search.

How many tools does Ahrefs have?

Ahrefs says it helps users “rank higher and get more traffic”. It offers five core tools to help marketers and SEO specialists achieve these objectives. They are:

  • Site Explorer
  • Keywords Explorer
  • Site Audit
  • Rank Tracker
  • Content Explorer

The Site Explorer should be your go-to tool if you want to check website traffic. You will be able to see what keywords you are ranking for and the pages that are driving traffic to your site from search engines. Ahrefs also claims to have the “world’s biggest index of live backlinks” and the fastest crawler – in fact, the scope of their crawler is second only to Google. In addition to research about organic SEO, you can also see what competitors are doing in terms of paid search.

As the name suggests, the Keywords Explorer is all about keyword research. Here, you will be able to brainstorm new ideas and find keywords that you can include in your content to rank for in search engines, as well as analyse their “difficulty” and traffic potential. There is also a treasure trove of advanced SEO metrics to dig into.

Optimising your site is another part of organic SEO. The Site Audit tool promises an “exhaustive website analysis” that will flag pre-defined SEO issues. You will be able to see if slow-loading pages or low-quality content is preventing you from ranking on Google, for example. Printable reports with visualised charts and graphs make it easier to act on the data and recommendations provided.

Meanwhile, the Rank Tracker will help you to monitor and make sense of your rankings. Metrics including visibility, traffic and average position will be shown for each of your keywords, and you can see whether your site is ranking for “rich results” in search like featured snippets, top stories, shopping and videos.

Finally, the Content Explorer allows users to research more than a billion pages to find “top-performing” content and trending topics. This is an excellent tool for finding articles that are widely circulated on social media, and you can even sort a site’s shares by platform. It is particularly powerful when combined with the Keywords Explorer.

What are Ahrefs’ strengths?

Keyword research

SEOs often focus their efforts entirely on Google but there is value in casting your net wider and targeting other search engines depending on your marketing objectives. Ahrefs says its Keywords Explorer tool, which can be used to “discover thousands of great keyword ideas”, supports ten search engines including Bing, Amazon and YouTube.

Users can view monthly search volumes for each of these just by cycling through them using a simple drop-down menu. The ability to track data for overseas search engines including Baidu in China and Yandex in Russia could be very useful if you want to manage content and SEO campaigns in new markets.

Ahrefs is also the only keyword research tool to include an estimated number of “clicks” for search terms. Google sometimes provides the answer to a query at the top of the page so you can use this metric to see if there is a disparity between search volume and the number of people actually clicking on a link.

Backlink profiles

Ahrefs specialises in keyword research but it comes into its own with backlink analysis. Backlinks or “inbound links” are the links that point from outside domains to your pages. These are great for SEO as they effectively nurture “ranking power” and are a signal Google uses within its algorithm to place the best content on the first page of search results.

Ahrefs allows you to audit your backlinks by creating a profile with lots of useful information including broken backlinks and new referring domains. One area where Ahrefs excels is its visualisation of backlink growth or decline over time. Users can hover the cursor over a graph and see exactly how backlinks have changed each day.

In addition to gauging your own link acquisition performance, you can also use the backlinks report to find pages that are linking to competitors. This information can be used for content marketing as you will be able to create a targeted blog or article that could then generate links to your site.

Traffic value

As you can tell by now, Ahrefs is an invaluable tool for keeping tabs on your competitors. While free software like Google Search Console tells you how you are performing, Ahrefs lets you analyse pretty much any site on the web.

The organic keywords and organic search traffic feature are valuable for this reason. It analyses millions of Google results and lists all of the keywords a site ranks for and even displays a “traffic value” figure that estimates the value of a website’s entire traffic stream from search.

The great thing about all of these tools is that you can use them to track competitors and apply effective strategies to your own content marketing and SEO efforts. Data updates regularly on Ahrefs so it might be easier for you to use it for traditional rank tracking rather than flipping between several third-party tools.

You can even get Ahrefs to send you weekly email reports that list all of the new keywords you are ranking for, which is a feature that usually requires a setup process elsewhere. All of this functionality adds up to a compelling one-stop SEO tool that can be wielded in different circumstances to support your strategies and campaigns.

If you want to work with an agency that is experienced in using Ahrefs for website audits, content marketing, and blog management, contact us today to discuss the services we provide.


Have a question?