Of the three popular backlink reporting tools (Majestic, Moz, Ahrefs), Ahrefs provides the most useful link data. Even in other areas of SEO, Ahrefs seems to always keep their toolsets fresh. They continually add in useful tools and features that make other software suites less relevant. The most recent addition is their site audit tool which provides a beautiful visualization of technical site issues.
It is very expensive for one user. Many companies are forced to share a login because purchasing additional user licenses is cost prohibitive for a small agency. Most small agencies and startups would only utilize the tool a few hours per week. Competitors are offering an unlimited user package, which is quickly becoming a tempting offer as their platforms improve.
Ankit, you have very nicely explained the difference between SEO and SEM. I understood them to be part of it each other, but never gave it a proper thought. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a technique that helps raise up our (search) rank bring more traffic to our website. While Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a larger concept that includes SEO as well. Internet Ads are an important component of SEM.
Pros: While there are plenty of SEO-related CRMs out there, SEMRush unifies all the essentials under one roof, while also including actual actionable SEO-hints and strategies right on your dashboard. There is even social media tracking and posting built in, so you don't even need to go find another software for that. It really does wonders for building a brand and maintaining brand awareness and mentions.

Thanks for the article, really gives some clear insights.I am currently testing out Ahref’s and have tested Moz and Semrush in the past as well. In my opinion Ahref’s UI is the best and clearest. I will have to test Moz and Semrush again i am afraid to be sure which one to start using. Have been using SE Ranking for rank tracking mostly but have noticed rank positions are not accurate most times.
Love how you just dive into the details for this Site Audit guide. Excellent stuff! Yours is much much easier to understand than other guides online and I feel like I could integrate this to how I site audit my websites and actually cut down the time I make my reports. I only need to do more research on how to remove “zombie pages”. If you could have a ste-by-step guide to it, that would be awesome! Thanks!
Pros: They have updated this product a ton since I first started using it. Every update has been extremely useful. I'm able to export a full SEO report for clients - this includes an overall site audit with a breakdown of the site/ what to improve, organic keywords, position tracking, backlink report, link building opportunities, sample PPC ads and they've newly added social media information that I haven't had the opportunity to test out yet. I just learned they offer certifications too so I'm excited to dig into those!
It's easy to use to in terms of just dropping in a domain or keyword for quick metrics. I also like that you can compare 5 domains. It has been really easy for me to teach our content strategists how to use the tool, even thought they are not as technically savvy. This was the first tool I learned to use for SEO, and it's definitely easy to catch on as a beginner and you do not need extensive technical knowledge.
Still I double check to see what softwares are providing the real results. Some are lacking in a few areas and some use the same Google Keyword planner to fetch keywords. When it comes to keywords and PPC you need a lot. When it comes to keywords and website optimisation you need comptetitor analysis. This is done from several sources to ensure the best data is gathered. Using the free version of SEM Rush it is limited in what it provides. Would also love to see the insides of the GURU account. Thanks again for a great read.
Ahrefs make use of two link updates in your website - the Fresh Index and the Live Index. Fresh Index which updates at a longer time frame. It shows the dead links on your website, giving you the chance to change or reclaim the dead link. The Live Index, on the other hand, makes link updates every 15-30 minutes. This provides you with the chance to see regular link updates on your website.

SEMrush is hands down the best tool for keyword research. I love that you can do competitor analysis and find the keywords people are searching to go to your competitor's site. You can add all your projects in one big dashboard and see a quick overview of your keyword rankings (I do this every other day to check if my sites were penalized/keywords dropped). The reporting feature is also a great alternative to Google Analytics and we send automated reports to our clients.
I thought I was the only one confused between these two tools. I wasn’t sure which SEO tools to use and whether I should prioritize Ahrefs over Semrush or the other way around. I know they have different features. When it comes to keyword research, Semrush is better, but for backlink analysis, it’s Ahrefs. This comparison helped me decide which one to get. Thanks for the article! The comments above also helped me in my decision. 

As of September 2014, YouTube's own keyword tool stopped working. It was moved over to Display Planner's AdWords video keyword suggestions. To use it, you need to have an Google Ads account. Just like the non-existent YouTube keyword tool, it was created to facilitate paid video and ads promotion. Which is why keywords that you will find there might not be closely related to the topic that you want to cover.
Setting up the SEO Writing Assistant is pretty easy and is available at present only for the Google Chrome browser and WordPress. It is compatible with Google Docs which is a good start. To begin with, you need to head over to the download page, log-in (if you don’t have an account one will need to be created), choose to install the browser plugin and activate it post installation.

Ahrefs boasts the best link database among any system out there. It does most everything -- link monitoring, alerts, calculated metrics, the richest clickstream blend out there, and much more. Its UI is cluttered in a good way and the company has quick and polite support. And Tim Soulo -- the public face of Ahrefs -- has done a ton of good for the SEO community.
The team at Ahrefs have done an excellent job of building a comprehensive product that includes tons of useful features without succumbing to bloat. Nearly everything that's added to the tool has a use, and it's able to do more for less than most other similar platforms I've used. It's also stable and their customer support has been, in my experience, top notch.
Brian, I’m going through Step 3, which is referring to the one version of the website. I found a very good free tool (https://varvy.com/tools/redirects/) to recommend. It checks on the redirect and gives you a visual number of hops. More hops mean more delay. For example, if I use your manual method to check on https://uprenew.com, all looks good. However, if I use the tool and check, I realize there is an unnecessary 1 hop/delay, whereby I can fix it. Hope this helps. : )

There’s a reason why over 2 million people worldwide are using SEMrush. The reason is SEMrush gives you access to a ton of tools that you can use to find traffic generating keywords, analysing your competitors sites, find and fix your website SEO related issues, check out the top performing keywords and pages of your site, compare domains, track your keyword rankings and the list goes on.
Brian, I’m going through Step 3, which is referring to the one version of the website. I found a very good free tool (https://varvy.com/tools/redirects/) to recommend. It checks on the redirect and gives you a visual number of hops. More hops mean more delay. For example, if I use your manual method to check on https://uprenew.com, all looks good. However, if I use the tool and check, I realize there is an unnecessary 1 hop/delay, whereby I can fix it. Hope this helps. : )
SEMRush boasts of a number of tools which are aimed at improving SEO and content marketing as a whole. The primary goal of these tools is to help users laser focus their efforts on what matters to drive the most targeted traffic which consequently improves conversions. That said getting to grips with these tools for a newbie can take some time but which is made easier thanks to SEMRush’s various blogs and tutorials.
Another excellent feature is the ability to create keyword lists. It allows for the creation of 50 lists, which is great for anyone working on several websites or even several pages on a single website with each one having a separate set of target keywords. You can easily create and organize your workflow across numerous projects and then assign keyword lists to every client. Once again it is an excellent feature for professional SEO experts.
SEMrush is one of the most comprehensive SEO and SEM tools out there. However, it is not a tool for the budding entrepreneur who is still getting to grips with laying out their website or has no idea what a landing page is. It is a powerful tool that requires a degree of experience. Some tools are obviously more complex than others. Then there are tools that some businesses may never use. Though in the grand scheme of things the goal of every feature ranging from its backlinks monitoring to keyword research, competitor analysis is to give you a leg up on the competition.
Pros: While there are plenty of SEO-related CRMs out there, SEMRush unifies all the essentials under one roof, while also including actual actionable SEO-hints and strategies right on your dashboard. There is even social media tracking and posting built in, so you don't even need to go find another software for that. It really does wonders for building a brand and maintaining brand awareness and mentions. 

Under “Top Organic Keywords” section when you click full report, you are allowed to checkout only first 10 results. It helps me understand which keyword is sending maximum traffic to my competitor’s website. I analyse the keyword for its competitiveness if in case I want to target it. Alternatively, using it as a seed keyword, I perform keyword research through Long Tail Pro.
Semrush has helped our organization in different ways as it not just improved our website ranking but also enable us to make our clients happy by providing the best results. Semrush helped us by letting us know about the backlink opportunities. The tool also allows generating performance report which saved our time as we were able to send SEO performance reports to our clients any time.
Provides a way to track the effect of link building activity and demonstrate the impact on search traffic. Excellent for competitor analysis. Helps with researching what content to produce, which competitors are gaining in search and why, which keywords your site could realistically aim to rank for, and gives you enough information to plan how to do it.

Keyword explorer, which was released few weeks back is one of the most exhaustive tools that we have see off late. Keyword Ideas, Phrase Match and KD help content marketers to align their content marketing efforts with organic search trends. Apart from that from an on page point of view, the tool gives everything that modern age webmaster need to track their overall performance.
Knowing how well your website is ranking is an essential part of doing SEO. It is important because it tells you how much all that hard work is paying off in the way of search engine ranking position or SERPs. Which of your pages are ranking, i.e., product, content, blog, etc. The Position Tracking tool allows you to monitor your regional, national and local rankings for any of the keywords you’re targeting.
AHREFS is certainly a great tool for bloggers and internet marketers. You have explained every functionality in great detail. I liked the link intersection part. It provides ou with a great opportunity to get backlinks from sites which are usually linking to your competitors. Further, its adds to the fact that these types of backlinks would be easier to get as compared to the ones that we search manually for any website. Plus, these would be niche specific too!
It will also track how many shares your article got on Twitter, Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn. Additionally, it is possible to dig deeper and see the overall number of shares that have changed. It also allows you to track backlinks your article may have received and provide you with a so-called trust score in addition to a page score of the source of every backlink.
This feature can definitely help your SEO campaign, specifically, your link building campaign because you now have the capability to see all of the domains that removed your link from their content, and you can contact the webmaster to see if you can reclaim the lost link – this means that you now have the opportunity to either improve or continue your outreach and overall link building goals.
Keyword Research: a lot of clients don't know what queries to go for, they just assume their best product is what's best to focus on. SEMrush helps determine what users actually search for. Competitor Research: again, most clients don't know who their true competitors really are. Site Audit: easily find and fix crucial issues in client websites that quickly increase organic search results. And there's so much more!

SEMrush is an extremely popular SEO software which encompasses a host of tools for social media, website audits, rank tracking, etc. It is considered the gold standard when it comes to competitive analysis features. The features provide users with valuable information about their competition, link building, display advertising, organic search, and paid search. All that information allows you to see how well the competition is performing which in turn helps you decide which are the best strategies to use in your own SEO campaigns. Plus, it shows why some of the competition is doing poorly so that you can avoid what clearly isn’t working for them.
The pricing policy. I purchased the tool for 12 months in end of Jan 2018. This included 5000 SERP updates with a standard plan and all of a sudden, Ahref changed this back to 1000 without any warning. Their pricing page wasn't even reflecting this change, and I was informed about that when talking to a support rep. I understand the Company wants to increase pricing based on improved tools, but when you have made a 12 months purchase in advance, you would expect this new pricing to apply by the end of your contract at least... Or potentially to be grandfathered in the old pricing. But No - Ahref will basically apply this very aggressively with no warning at all or heads up. It's sad, in fact very sad as it shows the company is definitely not customer-centric.
The Backlink Analytics tool can provide lengthy lists of competitor's backlinks that can be exported in spreadsheet formats. You can see your competitors backlink strategies including legitimate (blogs, directories) and illegitimate methods for gaining domain and site authority on Google. I also appreciate the keyword rankings, as it allows for easy reporting and tracking of SEO optimization strategies and keyword campaigns. Great tools for tracking keywords campaigns against similar business as well.
Semrush is one of the best alternatives for SEO and marketing research. The platform provides a wide variety of reports on almost all aspects of marketing: competitive analysis, rankings, link building, keyword research, site health, advertising and social media. And that's not even the full list! It's one of the best options for any marketer looking for an all-in-one marketing research solution.

Pros: I love how simple SEMRush is to use and how intuitive their UX is. I've used their topic research tool for clients and it has helped inform their entire content marketing strategy, from the calendar itself to the amount of paid/organic attention we give each piece of content. Their tool is always fast, loads quickly and is easy for novices to understand.


SEMRush is one of the best solutions I have found for discovering site errors, getting a great explanation on how to fix it, and even posting for social media. It covers end to end so many of the varied areas of SEO, that it's become an invaluable part of my business. My favorite has been utilizing the ranking tools to see how we compare against competitors, and also tips on getting featured snippets (which we achieved for one client this year!)
Keyword Research: a lot of clients don't know what queries to go for, they just assume their best product is what's best to focus on. SEMrush helps determine what users actually search for. Competitor Research: again, most clients don't know who their true competitors really are. Site Audit: easily find and fix crucial issues in client websites that quickly increase organic search results. And there's so much more!

You can hire me for as low as $2500 to do pure white hat SEO boosting this page’s authority and this site’s authority as a whole, which enables you to rank up higher in Google when you write a new post or it even boosts your already written live posts. You now have my email :) if you need me, just drop me an email, and we can take it on from there…
SEMrush Advertising feature helps in achieving the maximum ROI from your PPC campaigns. SEMrush gives you valuable data on your competitors’ PPC campaigns, like keywords, budget, campaign activities, and so on. Using these data, you can improve your own campaign and get the maximum ROI possible out of it. This not only helps you avoid certain mistakes, it also saves your time and cost. You cease from burning money in a campaign that gives no or least return.
Setting up the SEO Writing Assistant is pretty easy and is available at present only for the Google Chrome browser and WordPress. It is compatible with Google Docs which is a good start. To begin with, you need to head over to the download page, log-in (if you don’t have an account one will need to be created), choose to install the browser plugin and activate it post installation.
I've used a couple of SEO software programs over the last 4 years. Moz, Serpstat, SEM Rush and now Ahrefs. Since the bulk of my focus is actually building links, I think Ahrefs has the most reliable results. For example, if you checked the backlink profile of 10-20 websites on Ahrefs and compared to another SEO software provider, I bet that you would average at least 10-15% more results with Ahrefs. That can be a lot more opportunities! Their keyword phrase tracker seems to work pretty quickly and seems to be accurate.
The depth of your articles impresses and amazes me. I love all the specific examples and tool recommendations. You discuss the importance of backlinks. How important is it to use a tool to list you on directories (Yext, Moz Local, Synup or JJUMP)? Will Google penalize you for listing on unimportant directories? Is it better to avoid these tools and get backlinks one at a time and avoid all but a few key directories?
The feature allows users to check all incoming links from various URLs to their website’s domain and root domain. Plus, it gives them insight into their domain’s authority and geolocation. The anchor text linking to their website along with URLs, target web pages, titles of linking, etc. combined with the link’s weight of the competitor’s domain is more than enough information to form of a killer SEO strategy.
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