Double Your Traffic and Income: The Most Detailed Ahrefs Review Ever

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VIEWS: 10922 Views CATEGORY: SEO READING TIME: 15 Min To Read UPLOADED ON: 10 Dec 2018

When it comes to search engine rankings, the competition is fiercely brutal.

For instance, if you performed a search on Google for a term like “SEO,” you'll get 671,000,000 results in just 0.50 seconds.




But out of this, only about 10 can make it to the front page; and 83% of searchers don't click past the first page.




Question: How can you gain the upper hand in such a stiffly competitive setting?


While “creating great content” is certainly a thing, using an SEO tool will help you:

  • Choose content topics more strategically

  • Do keyword research more intelligently

  • Find link building opportunities like a boss

  • Find people that are more likely to share your masterpiece of a content

  • Spy on your competitors to see what they are doing, what they may be missing, and some possible ways to kick them in the butt out of the top 10.


All of this contribute towards pushing your content to page #1 and drive precious traffic to your site.

In this review, we take a completely detailed look at one such tool — Ahrefs.





We will show you how Ahrefs can help you boost your SEO through features that support:


  • Content analysis

  • Keyword research

  • Competitive analysis

  • Audience targeting

  • Backlink strategizing

  • Position tracking

  • Technical SEO

  • On-page optimization

  • Content planning

  • Link building

  • Organic traffic analysis


the tools you get with ahrefs



Ahrefs is an all-in-one, SaaS-based toolset for content, backlink, and general SEO analysis.


Ahrefs tools home page



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.



There are many benefits that Ahrefs provides. On a general level, Ahrefs helps you improve your position in search engines results pages (SERPs) and increase your website traffic, which ultimately means more income. You can deploy smart filters and advanced reporting features to quickly discover relevant data, grow your search traffic, research the competition, and monitor trends and backlinks.




Here are some specific things you can do with Ahrefs:


  • Finding low‐hanging content opportunities by looking at your competitor’s high traffic pages

  • Finding out how your competitors are acquiring backlinks, then replicating their strategies

  • Finding low competition keywords (with high traffic and business potential)

  • Keeping an eye on your ranking progress

  • Getting new link opportunities on autopilot using “Alerts”

  • Detecting critical SEO issues that are hurting your website’s performance in Google

  • Finding guest blogging opportunities in seconds

  • Finding gaps in your content strategy

  • Fixing your broken backlinks (and links) to preserve “link juice”

  • Finding your competitors’ broken (or redirected) pages to uncover massive link opportunities.


If you want more visitors on your website and would like to get your content and SEO strategies right, then Ahrefs is for you.

This is irrespective of whether you are a one-guy business, a small startup team, an agency, or a big organization.


start trail of 7 days




On landing on the homepage of Ahrefs, you'll be immediately greeted with highlights of everything Ahrefs stands for. To get started, just sign in and you’ll be redirected to the dashboard where you can input new projects and do a whole other bunch of stuff.

But you'll first have to sign up. Here's a link for a 7-day trial.

Just as it is with most SEO tools, Ahrefs packs a bunch of information. But the user-interface is still pretty clean considering the amount of data it presents.

This makes usage and navigation easy.

Being a SaaS tool, Ahrefs does not need any client-side installation.

All you've got to do is log in, provide Ahrefs with the site, keywords and competitors to track and the rest is like magic. Ahrefs even has an auto-recommend feature with which it suggests keywords and competitors based on its analysis of your site.

After this, you'll just have to deal with each section (or feature) where you can analyze various metrics and graphs for SEO, Pay Per Click (PPC), social media data, etc.



Ahrefs has a really vast set of features (organized in sections). Below are the main features of Ahrefs, discussed section by section:




This is the first major section of Ahrefs. The Site Explorer is where you can dive deeper into researching any domain or URL (especially that of competitors).








This 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).





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.




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



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 our tests, we found that Content Explorer is pretty 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, Pinterest, and GooglePlus.

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.




The above features we've discussed under each section aren't all that Ahrefs offers. Here are the other features you'll find on the toolset:


  • Ahrefs Rank

  • Domain Comparison

  • Batch Analysis

  • Ahrefs Alerts

  • Link Intersect

  • SEO Audit

  • Competitors Tab

  • SEO Toolbar

  • Ahrefs App

  • Ahrefs API

  • Chrome Extension

  • Rank Tracker


Let's talk a little about the last one, Rank Tracker, because it is quite useful for SEO strategy, too:


  • Rank Tracker


So Rank Tracker lets you monitor your Google rankings on desktop and mobile across 170 countries.


start trail


You can chart your performance against your competitors’ to see how you stack up. To start, simply enter or import a list of keywords, add multiple countries per keyword and enter your competitors’ URLs. Ahrefs will start tracking data and send you updates as often as daily (based on subscription plan.)



With this, you can get a history of:

  • Visibility — See what percentage of clicks from organic search traffic land on your website.

  • Average position & traffic — See a snapshot of your progress over time.

  • Positions distribution — Track your ranking positions segmented via groups – Positions #1–3, Positions #4–10, Positions #11–50, and Positions #51–100.



Ahrefs runs four pricing plans including $99, $179, $399, and $999 per month. You get a whopping 20% annual discount if paid upfront. The $99 plan is a lite subscription, thus it is somewhat limited in that you can't access all of Ahrefs’ features with it. Obviously, Ahrefs is an expensive tool, but as plans get more expensive, update frequency and data limits increase.

The downside is that Ahrefs has no free plan like other digital marketing tools, but they offer a 7-day trial at $7 and a 7-day money-back guarantee if you're not happy with a full package.


Ahrefs direct competitors include SEMrush, Moz, and Majestic SEO. We wrote a full-detailed review of SEMrush earlier. You can check it out. More reviews about other SEO and content tools are coming soon on this blog.



Although Ahrefs pricing is mostly on the high end, we think it is worth it given the enormity of the features, information, data, and details it has.

If you're on a tight budget, we recommend going with the $179 plan. Despite showing tons of data, the user-interface is quite clean and the tools are generally easy to use. But if you get lost, try to focus on a dataset until you're able to master every part of the platform.


Whether you're a blogger, a full-fledged online business, a team of experts, etc., Ahrefs can come in as a truly handy addition to your marketing arsenal. Expect to use it for all things content, SEO, backlinking, keyword research, finding broken links, curating skyscraper articles, link reclamation, and much much more.


Here's the link to the 7-day trial again.





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