23 Oct 2019

Ahrefs vs SEMrush: Which SEO Tool Has The Best Features?

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In the past, we've reviewed, very comprehensively, both Ahrefs and SEMrush individually.In today's post, we are comparing Ahrefs vs. SEMrush. Specifically, we're comparing the FEATURES of these two SEO tools. We want to help you easily make the best decision as per which of the tools to pick in terms of the features they pack, and by extension, the functions these features perform.But first, let's introduce the competitors.

 

INTRODUCING: AHREFS VS SEMRUSH

 

Ahrefs is an all-in-one, SaaS-based toolset for content, backlink, and general SEO analysis. It tracks and provides data about content, organic search, backlinks, etc., from all over the web, and constantly updates all its algorithms and databases to provide users with the freshest and most actual digital marketing data.While Ahrefs was initially best known as a backlink analysis tool, they've now added lots of new features, which qualifies it to be a direct competitor to SEMrush. Such features include:

  • Keyword research features

  • Keyword competitor analysis

  • Technical SEO tools (like a site audit feature)

  • Rank tracking

On the other end, SEMrush serves as a powerful and versatile competitive intelligence tool with which you can gain a full visibility into the marketing activities of your competitors on a multichannel level and as such gain an insight into the effectiveness of their marketing approaches.
But much beyond competitor analysis, SEMrush does a bunch of other search engine marketing related stuff as you'll see soon.Let's get on with the comparison of the features of these online marketing tools.[Exclusive deal for SST users: We were able to work out awesome deals with these two companies exclusively for YOU! For a limited time, we are offering you a 7-day trial of Ahrefs, which gives you full access to all the tools and features of your chosen plan (it's normally $99/mo and $179/mo). Again, we are also offering you 7-day free trial of SEMrush (it’s usually $99.95). Ensure you grab this deals before they end!]
 

AHREFS VS SEMRUSH FEATURES COMPARISON

If you look closely, you'll find that both SEMrush and Ahrefs pack features that are closely related or similar to each other.
For example:Ahrefs comes with features that support:

  • Content analysis

  • Keyword research

  • Backlink strategizing

  • Link building

  • Competitive analysis

  • Audience targeting

  • Position tracking

  • Technical SEO

  • On-page optimization

  • Content planning

  • Organic traffic analysis

  • And more!

And:

SEMrush comes adorned with features that support:

  • Competitor analysis

  • Comprehensive keyword research

  • Detailed SEO audit for blogs

  • Crawl auditing

  • Backlink tracking and strategizing

  • Social media marketing research

  • Pay-per-click advertising research

  • On-page optimization

  • Technical SEO

  • Position tracking

  • And a lot more.

With these closely similar features, it could prove a challenge to pick the best tool among the two especially if you're not ready to spend on both SEO tools at the same time. Let's see their features.

 

FEATURES OF AHREFS

Ahrefs has a robust feature set that is organized in sections — including Site Explorer, Keyword Explorer, and Content Explorer. Below is a section-by-section detailed information about the main features of Ahrefs.
 

SITE EXPLORER
 

Site Explorer is the first major section of Ahrefs. The features in this section allows you to dive deeper into researching any domain or URL, particularly those of competing sites.

The Site Explorer section is stuffed with quite a number of tools and covers some standard SEO metrics. Below are some of the tools on the Site Explorer section:

  • Backlink Profile Analysis

The backlink analysis tool allows you to see the websites that are linking out to similar sites or articles. This is essentially great for finding websites that will be more willing to link to your pages.


 

Ahrefs backlinks database is super huge with over 12 trillion known links regularly being crawled.

  • Organic Search

This is where Ahrefs displays results from the Google's first page based on a given keyword. It contains all of the information an SEO would want like domain rating and backlink counts.

Additional SERP features within this region include paragraph box, image pack, etc.

  • Outgoing Links

This feature gives you an idea of a target website's linking patterns: what websites they link to the most, which anchors they use, and if any of their outgoing links are broken.

  • Pages

This part of the Site Explorer called “Pages” allows you to quickly find out which pages on a target website have the most backlinks and social shares.

 Other tools in the Site Explorer section are:
 

  • Backlink Research: Ahrefs has the fastest backlink crawler in the industry and boasts the world's biggest index of live backlinks (over 12 trillion links), which makes Site Explorer the best tool for backlink research. The “Backlink” feature in Ahrefs lets you perform comprehensive backlink research on any site.

  • Competing Domains: Want to see your closest competitors based on the keywords you have in common? This part shows you that.

  • Paid Keywords: Additionally, there is a “Paid Keywords” section in Site Explorer. This shows actual PPC ads the site you are exploring runs. It even shows you an estimate of the paid traffic that resulted from the ad along with some historical PPC ad data.

  • Organic Keywords: Shows you the exact keywords that your competitors are ranking for in organic search results and how much traffic this brings them.

  • Calendar View: Ahrefs’ unique calendar view let you see new and lost backlinks trends.

  • Top Pages: This is a report on Site Explorer that shows the most visited pages of the site you are analyzing + the number of keywords the article is ranking for.

  • Anchor Text Table: With this part of Site Explorer, you can sort and view 1, 2, 3 or 4-word anchor text phrases.

  • Content Gap: This tool shows keywords that your competitors are ranking well for, but which you suck at.

  • Referring Domains: As part of the backlink tool, this feature shows you the count of referring domains (that is, all the sites with links back to your website).


 

KEYWORDS EXPLORER


The second major section of Ahrefs is one called Keywords Explorer.

Keywords Explorer is an impressive tool for discovering thousands of great keywords to rank for, analysing their ranking difficulty, and calculating their traffic potential. This section was recently updated so it's actually 2.0-ish.According to Ahrefs, “Keywords Explorer will get you loads of promising keyword ideas from the 4 billion keyword database and provide you with the most accurate keyword metrics.”Here are some of the features and elements that make Keywords Explorer stand out:

Keyword Suggestions/Ideas

Keywords Explorer runs on a huge database of more than 4 billion keywords, which is updated with fresh data every month, so that you never run out of keyword ideas. You can enter up to 10 “seed” keywords into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer and you’ll get a huge list with thousands of great keyword ideas.Keywords Explorer generates keyword ideas in four different ways namely “phrase match,” “having same terms,” “also rank for,” “search suggestions” (autosuggest).

 

Keywords Lists

This feature lets you create lists of your favorite keywords for future reference. Keyword Lists provide aggregate data for large groups of keywords. You can group up to 1,000 keywords in a list. For each list, you get super powerful aggregate information like histograms of the difficulty and volume of the group (categories).


 

Country-based Keyword Support

Most keyword research tools only run databases that return US-only results, but Ahrefs provides keyword support for over 100 countries.

 

SERP Overview and Ranking History
 

This section has a kind of overview of the front page of Google; meaning the “SERP Overview” report basically allows you to see the top-ranking results on Google, along with all their SEO metrics. This reports helps you quickly evaluate the SERP and understand why these pages rank where they do.

You also get to see the ranking history of pages for the past year.

 

Keyword Difficulty Score

The KD score feature calculates how hard it will be to rank for your keyword based on the current top-ranking pages, letting you find the “low-hanging fruit” among your keyword ideas.

“Search Volume”

Keyword Explorer's “Search volume” metric is extremely accurate thanks to the unique process Ahrefs uses to combine numbers from Google Keyword Planner with large amounts of clickstream data.

“Clicks” Metric 

Another impressive feature is “Clicks.” It shows the actual “click” data for your keywords. This is great for targeting only traffic-generating keywords, because a keyword may be receiving a high search volume but not necessarily a lot of clicks.

Advanced Metrics

Using a large volume of clickstream data, Ahrefs show you advanced keyword metrics almost no other tool will show you, like return rate, clicks per search, % of clicks, % of paid clicks, and more.

Return Rate

This data shows you how often people search for the same keywords again. Great for tracking the popularity of your target keywords.

Scatterplot

Ahrefs Scatterplot shows the relationship between keyword volume and difficulty. Ahrefs even estimates the number of backlinks needed to rank in top 10.
 

CONTENT EXPLORER


If you create or work with online content a lot, then Ahrefs Content Explorer might just turn out to be your next best companion. This section of Ahrefs is so impressive and data-packed that it'll literally improve your content strategy noticeably.

Content Explorer allows you to discover the most popular content for any topic — by backlinks, organic traffic, and social shares. It helps you find the most shared and 'linked-to' content, so that you can explore the best ideas for your new content.
Ahrefs states that “Content Explorer has over 2 billion articles in its index, and new ones are added every single day.”
With this huge collection, it's possible to get 1000s of relevant articles for every keyword you enter.Usability is easy: You begin by entering the keywords you desire to explore (or the URL). Content Explorer will analyze and return a huge, well-curated list of useful articles based on their "performance metrics" along with in-depth statistics for each article.
 This “performance metrics” is based on:

  • Organic search traffic — the number of visits a given article is generating from search per month.

  • Referring domains — the number of unique websites that are linking to the article.

  • Social shares — collected from top social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, G+, and LinkedIn.

This returned results are different from your average Google search in many ways:

  • It is mainly editorial content (like blog posts and articles) that you can actually use to analyze and devise your strategy

  • It has information specific to SEO

  • It shows key data for each article (like shares, traffic, etc.).

On Content Explorer, you can sort and narrow the results to dig up *really* specific results. For example, you can search for articles…

  • With a particularly specific word or phrase in the title or content

  • Published on a certain period (MM/YY)

  • Published on a site with a specific domain rating

  • Shared over xxxx times

  • Published in a given language

  • With a particular word count

  • Etc.

To do this, use the boolean operators and advanced search filters (search everywhere/in title/in content). Amongst other things, the search operators also allows you to include a term (boolean operator +) and excludes a term (boolean operator -) in the search query.
With this operators and filters, you can find the best results for specific types of successful content you want to create. For example, you may decide to create a blog post that will get a lot of tweets or a seasonal content piece that drives search traffic around the end of the year.
Apart from this, Content Explorer also lets you filter the results by:

  • Language

  • Social shares

  • Domain Rating

  • Backlinks

  • Traffic

  • Word count

Additionally, you can dive deeper into each piece of content without leaving the tool. Just click on the “Details” button.
By diving deeper, you'll be able to access the following set of data about each content piece:
 

  • Organic Keywords — for knowing the keywords a piece of content ranks for in search.

  • Charts — for knowing how a piece of content performs over time in terms of backlinks, search traffic and social shares.

  • Backlinks — for knowing how many backlinks are pointing to a piece of content and where they’re coming from.

  • Referring Domains — for knowing how many different websites are linking to this piece of content.

  • Anchors — for knowing all the backlink anchor texts pointing to a piece of content.

Based on some tests we run previously, we found that Content Explorer is very useful for outreach.

If you want to grab a list of potential people who could be interested in sharing your content, the social media data on Content Explorer is your best bet.Content Explorer shows very useful sharing information for each article covering Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Pinterest.
Apart from the number of shares, Content Explorer also shows the link to the searches on the social media sites themselves and the users that initiated the shares.
You can access a button that shows who tweeted a specific article. When you click on this button, it takes you to a table with all the people who have tweeted the article, along with information like tweet date, the website associated with the twitter account, and so on.

This is extremely useful for outreach and you can even sort and import the table.

Other features of Ahrefs include:

  • Ahrefs Rank

  • Domain Comparison

  • Batch Analysis

  • Ahrefs Alerts

  • Link Intersect

  • SEO Audit

  • Competitors Tab

  • SEO Toolbar

  • Ahrefs App

  • Ahrefs API

  • Chrome Extension

  • Rank Tracker

[Exclusive deal for SST users: We were able to work out awesome deals with these two companies exclusively for YOU! For a limited time, we are offering you a 7-day trial of Ahrefs, which gives you full access to all the tools and features of your chosen plan (it's normally $99/mo and $179/mo). Again, we are also offering you 7-day free trial of SEMrush (it’s usually $99.95). Ensure you grab this deals before they end!]
 

FEATURES OF SEMRUSH

SEMrush features are categorized into three sections — Analytics Reports, Tools, and Projects. And each of these categories are versatile and robust, with many different features and toolkits under each one. Let's explore each of these following a in a section-by-section format.

 

ANALYTICS REPORTS SECTION

 

This section of SEMrush is designed to provide you with key insights into your competitors’ strategies in display advertising, organic and paid search, and link building. Below are the features you'll find in the Analytics Reports section plus what you can do with each of them:

Organic Research

  • See competitors’ best keywords

  • Discover new organic competitors

  • Observe position changes of domains

Advertising Research

  • Uncover your competitors’ ad strategies and budget

  • Monitor and analyze ad copy and landing pages

  • Discover new competitors in AdWords and Bing ads 

  • Localize your ad campaigns

Display Advertising Tool

  • Get an overview of your competitors’ GDN strategies

  • Analyze competitors' display ads

  • Spot new publishers

  • View display ads from different devices

  • [EXCLUSIVE] Target the right audience with Audience Insights

Backlinks

  • Conduct a deep link analysis

  • Understand referring domains' authority

  • Check backlinks' types

  • Spot your links' geolocation

Keyword Research

  • Find the right keywords for SEO and PPC campaigns

  • Gather phrase matches and related keywords

  • Get long-tail keywords

  • Explore multinational and multilingual environments

Product Listing Ads

  • Define your product listing ad (PLA) competitors

  • Get insight into your PLA competitors’ product feeds

  • See your competitors’ best-performing PLAs

Traffic Analytics

  • Reveal any company’s website traffic and online performance

  • Monitor your competitors’ marketing activities and strategies

  • Discover new markets and niches

  • Understand your potential customers’ behavior and media consumption

  • Qualify leads, prospects, and potential partners

  • Research new opportunities for investment

 

TOOLS SECTION

The Tools section of SEMrush allows you to cross, combine and visualize SEMrush data to compare competitive domains and estimate keyword difficulty with a few clicks. Below are the features you'll find in this section and their functions:

Keyword Difficulty

  • Find keywords with less competition

  • Estimate keyword difficulty instantly

Domain vs. Domain

  • Set side-by-side domains' comparisons

  • See domains’ common and unique keywords

  • Visualize data

Charts

  • Compare domains with key visibility indicators

  • Conduct competitive analysis

My Reports

  • Gather all the SEMrush data in one elegant custom PDF report

  • Design your report using branding and commenting features

  • Share and schedule your reports to go out on a regular basis

Keyword Magic Tool

  • Get over 2 million keyword ideas

  • Use Keyword Grouping to segment your keywords by topic

  • Pick the best keywords and save them in Keyword Analyzer

  • Export your selected keywords to other SEMrush tools

  • Create up to 50 target keyword lists

CPC Map

  • Check the average CPC in your niche across different regions

  • Compare CPC vs. search volume to find “hidden gems” in your niche

  • Find unlimited ideas for A/B testing and experiments

  • Explore local competition in SEO and PPC

SEO Writing Assistant

PROJECTS SECTION

The Projects section allows you to launch global campaigns for your website and get all the necessary metrics regarding its competitors, keyword rankings, and on-page health from one place. Features in this section include:

Position Tracking

  • Track your positions for any keyword

  • Discover local competitors

  • Group keywords with tags

  • Target different devices

Site Audit
 

  • Check your site’s health with our SEO analysis tool

  • Prioritize SEO issues and decide what to fix first

  • Track SEO optimization progress

  • Find and fix hreflang mistakes

  • Ensure the security of your website with HTTPS checks

  • Detect all possible AMP implementation issues

Social Media Tracker

  • Develop a winning social media strategy

  • Track and analyze results

  • Build amazing reports

Social Media Poster

  • Post to all of your social accounts from one place

  • Schedule posts and manage your queues

  • Save time with social media automation features

  • Analyze your content's performance

  • Poster Chrome Extension

Brand Monitoring

  • Monitor your brand reputation

  • Discover new opportunities

  • Track backlinks 

  • Learn from your competitors

On Page SEO Checker

  • Analyze Google ranking factors affecting your website’s performance

  • Get actionable recommendations based on collected data

  • Carry out in-depth comparison analysis of Google’s top 10 performers

Backlink Audit Tool

  • Find all your backlinks using the Search Console integration

  • Discover and remove potentially dangerous backlinks

  • Send toxic backlinks to the Google Disavow tool

  • Keep your backlink profile clean with regular recrawls

Organic Traffic Insights

  • Unlock the ‘not provided’ keywords

  • Merge Analytics and Search Console data

  • Analyze keyword potential

Content Analyzer

  • Assess your website’s content

  • Measure the content you publish externally

  • Compare the performance of different content pieces

PPC Keyword Tool

  • Collect keywords through multiple channels

  • Manage and optimize keyword lists

  • Cross-match negative keywords [EXCLUSIVE]

  • Polish your keyword list with Recommendations

Ad Builder

  • Find ideas for your ad creatives and use them as a template

  • Create effective text ads right in the tool

  • Add relevant ad extensions

  • Build responsive HTML ads for your GDN campaigns

[Exclusive deal for SST users: We were able to work out awesome deals with these two companies exclusively for YOU! For a limited time, we are offering you a 7-day trial of Ahrefs, which gives you full access to all the tools and features of your chosen plan (it's normally $99/mo and $179/mo). Again, we are also offering you 7-day free trial of SEMrush (it’s usually $99.95). Ensure you grab this deals before they end!]
 

CONCLUSION

We hope this comparison of Ahrefs and SEMrush has been able to help you see how these two SEO tools stack up against each other in terms of the features they pack and what these features can do. And that you can now make an informed decision as to which tool to choose Feel free to share this post with anyone you think might need the information.

DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links, which if you click on them and ultimately make a purchase, we may receive a commission. This does not affect the prices of the items.

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