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?
There are numerous SEO tools out in the market, however, if link building is the topic at hand, then I honestly think that using Ahrefs is enough. Starting with the dashboard – just input the details of your site and your keywords, then it will give your potential competitors. It’s easy to use and it also has one of the best features for finding broken links, curating skyscraper articles, and link reclamation.
The CPC Map is a handy tool which will give advertisers a good overview of the prices they can expect to pay for a particular niche in a particular region. However, the tool still needs more work, and the markets need to be expanded further especially into non-English speaking territories. That said the ones it currently operates in are pretty big and most people will be targeting English speaking regions anyways, so it is still worth exploring.
We use the tool mainly to help with our SEO clients. Personally, I like the rating tool on the page. I think it's a great way to compare your page with the top 10 ranking pages for a specific keyword. The site audit in particular can offer quick answers. SEMrush is our main SEO tool and really does it all, especially with the massive updates from last year. Track keyword ranking positions, offer some keyword search tools and compare the domain with others related to it. You can also automate reports that are labeled blank. It also performs domain analysis, tracking of backlinks and audits of sites that we use all the time in our SEO business.
Hi Anil, both are great SEO tools I would say because I’ve been using both of them for a long time now. SEMrush offers even more incredible features and their databases are even bigger and regularly get updated when compared to Ahrefs. But as you said, Ahrefs is equally good and I really like their keyword analysis data to be precise when compared to any other tool.

Pros: What I like most is that Semrush offers a lot of useful features and they are constantly adding new ones and developing the tool. Positions tracking is only small part of it - you cancreate different projects to automatically track changes in positions for keywords that are important for your business - for ex. by geo location, which is very useful for an international business.
Get Product Feed Insights: While Google AdWords may use keywords to decide if an ad should be shown product listing ads tend to manipulate the product feeds. So, the competition’s PLA feed is a secret, but that’s where this feature comes in. The Position Report generated shows keywords that are signaling their listing to show ads, their PLA’s ranking in search results, the PLAs that are popping up for each keyword, and a promoted product’s price and title amongst a few other things.
Ahrefs also helps users dig deep into their competitors’ search traffic with the Positions Explorer tool. You can easily see the keywords the competition is ranking for in the search engines as well as the keywords they are spending on for their advertising and marketing campaigns. Even better, you can see the flow of organic and paid traffic they are receiving.
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.
Keyword research is the bread and butter of any SEO campaign. You can’t have a SEO campaign without a defined list of primary and secondary keywords along with long and short tail keywords. It is so important that we don’t think that there is an SEO tool out there that does not have a keyword research tool in one form or the other. However, SEMRush’s keyword research tool is amongst the best.
One of the biggest predictors of your SEO success is the difficulty of the keywords targeted. The more difficult and highly competitive that keyword is the more effort, time and money it will require. Even though it is a generalized SEO statement using the Keyword Difficult Tools helps to predict if you’ll be able to rank for that keyword. It uses a number system and overall system which ranks the keywords based on how hard it is to target.
We use the tool mainly to help with our SEO clients. Personally, I like the rating tool on the page. I think it's a great way to compare your page with the top 10 ranking pages for a specific keyword. The site audit in particular can offer quick answers. SEMrush is our main SEO tool and really does it all, especially with the massive updates from last year. Track keyword ranking positions, offer some keyword search tools and compare the domain with others related to it. You can also automate reports that are labeled blank. It also performs domain analysis, tracking of backlinks and audits of sites that we use all the time in our SEO business.
Competitor backlink audit – Analyse the link profile of your competitor and research the opportunities, to match your, or even better outperform your competitors link profile and subject authority. When performing an competitor backlink audit you should also analyse inbound links pointing to top performing pages, so you don’t miss out on valuable link opportunities.
Pavan, I would suggest you to give a try to it. Its a win-win situation for you as you will have free access to SEMrush pro version worth $47 for 14 days and you are not going to lose anything. If you like it, continue using it. With the kind of features SEMrush is offering, there is no alternative as such. With SEMrush, you can track 500 keywords with Pro version (price $99.95) and with Moz, you have to pay $99 for tracking 300 keywords only. So feature wise, SEMrush is much better than Moz or any other SEO/SEM tool available in the market.
However, if possible, I would like you to expand a bit on your “zombie pages” tip..we run a site where are definitely enough pages to delete (no sessions, no links, probably not even relevant with the main theme of the site, not even important for the architecture of the site)..Nonetheless, I am not very sure what is the best technical decision for these pages…just deleting them from my CMS, redirecting (if there is a relevant alternative) or something else? Unindex them on Search console? what response code they should have? ..
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.
The CPC Map is a handy tool which will give advertisers a good overview of the prices they can expect to pay for a particular niche in a particular region. However, the tool still needs more work, and the markets need to be expanded further especially into non-English speaking territories. That said the ones it currently operates in are pretty big and most people will be targeting English speaking regions anyways, so it is still worth exploring.
SEMrush is so feature rich it's like your most favorite desert and after dinner drink all in one - with second helpings included! The keyword data, the social posting tool, the competitor data and more is simply incredible. The training tools, special webinars, and all the support SEMrush offers clients is of tremendous value over and above all its functionality as an SEO/SEM tool.
It is also an excellent tool for anyone searching for relevant long-tail keywords that apply to their business. Long-tail keywords help to create more opportunities for ad campaigns, copy, content, and anchor text which boosts SERPs. All of the best keywords that you’re interested in targeting can be combined into one list for easy later reference that way you have all the required data on hand when needed.
SEMrush is an online visibility management and content marketing SaaS platform ensuring businesses get measurable results from online marketing. Trusted by over 3,000,000 marketing professionals, SEMrush offers solutions for companies in any industry to build, manage, and measure campaigns across all marketing channels. With 30 tools for search, content, social media and market research, data for more than 140 countries, SEMrush is now a must-have solution for all companies serious about online
The tool also helps you discover and follow the hottest topics in your niche via the nifty hashtag reports. You can see which hashtags are making posts more engaging and take a peek at what your competitors are doing. Plus, it allows you to see who has mentioned you, your brand or products with a comprehensive “Mentions” report. The report also helps you discover PR opportunities.
Here’s where SEMrush pro free account comes in handy. When you enter any of your competitor’s website URL in the backlink section on SEMrush, it gives you the details of the Page Score (newly launched this feature), the titles of the backlinks and URL’s of source along with all the additional details like Anchor text, External links and Internal links to the URL you enter.
There are two ways to try SEMrush the first is to use our nifty little widget. Just enter the keyword or your website to get a detailed report. The report will outline things like keywords, search volume and a couple of other things. It gives you a sort of taster as to what kind of potential it has to offer, so you know what to expect when the tool is applied in the real world. The widget will convince most people if the tool is something they need from the get-go.
Guess I’ve overlooked more than a few things that SEMRush has to offer. I’ve used it here and there in the past, primarily for PPC projects for me or a client. Content marketing is more of a foundation than a tactic for me personally. Looking like SEMRush can make things easier for me in regards to content research/marketing. Good guide and insights Matthew. Work smarter, not harder, right…
Thank you for the great checklist. It is really useful and gave us a couple of new hints on optimization process. We’ve been using WebSite Auditor and found it exremely helpful in site’s structure and content analysis, bringing all the statistical information on the validation errors, social mentions, duplicate stuff, etc. under one roof. Still there is so many different SEO information you sometimes cannot understand what to start with. Fortunately you answered this question. Thank you again!
Removing Cross Group Negative Keywords: Cross-group negative keywords are bound to happen when you use the modified or broad match feature in your campaigns. These terms cause ads to compete with each other, and your CPC will grow as a result. However, while it is time-consuming to remove cross group negative keywords the ‘cross group negatives’ button will save you a great deal of time. You will stay on budget as a result and avoid competing against your own ads.
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.
A few years back we decided to move our community forum from a different URL (myforum.com) to our main URL (mywebsite.com/forum), thinking all the community content could only help drive additional traffic to our website. We have 8930 site links currently, which probably 8800 are forum content or blog content. Should we move our forum back to a different URL?
What's not to like? There are comprehensive tools to make your search engine marketing (SEM) as strong us possible. With organic and paid search insights, you can find ways to align your keyword strategy and PPC strategy to meet your budget and understand what you're up against and, subsequently need to do. Within a keyword, you can analyse the types of content you are up against: long form, white papers, long blogs, video, if the term has PPC copy topped and tailed, if a snippet exists.
The audit is for all pages and not only one. What happens in the majority of the cases is that pages / posts have similarities so you can group them together. For example the pages of a website may be ok but the blog post pages may be missing titles. It’s a lot of work especially for a 500 pages website but you can start from the most important pages first and work your way to the rest 

Pros: This is about the best all-around SEO software that you can find. It does a good job at about everything and doesn't have a lot of weaknesses. The competitive analysis is really the best reason to buy the software, it's comprehensive and gives you a good look at potential competitors. There are always new features being added and tested which is fantastic and gives the software good value. Some features are better than others, but the audit and competitive analysis really are fantastic. I've used the software in various forms including Business, Guru and free. The free version gives you a taste, but the full experience is generally worth the money. Guru is worth the extra money over Pro as it gives you branded reports and the ability to manage quite a few more projects. Exports and reoccurring reports are very nice and simple to set up.
Pros: SEMrush has grown as a big time favourite in the domain of SaaS in the past decade or so. It has captured all types of clients, big and small due to its versatility and powerful package. Some of the well known clients include Quora, eBay, BNP Paribas etc. It has been awarded the best SEO suite of 2018 by various agencies like MENA, SEMY US Search Awards.
The CPC Map is a handy tool which will give advertisers a good overview of the prices they can expect to pay for a particular niche in a particular region. However, the tool still needs more work, and the markets need to be expanded further especially into non-English speaking territories. That said the ones it currently operates in are pretty big and most people will be targeting English speaking regions anyways, so it is still worth exploring.
Many thanks for the insightful write-up on today’s approach to business building. I am particularly intrigued by your detailed explanation on keyword research and what better way to do it than to leverage on a tool that is a cumulation of years of marketing experience. SEO has evolved more and more into a complex and more buyer-focused process and I’m glad that there are people and tools like SEMRush to assist. Looking forward winning a copy.
Pros: Often we utilize SEMRush for a broad range of things related to digital marketing. The most important tool by far for my day-to-day job is the keyword ranking tool, since it's imperative that I can consistently demonstrate that we are outperforming competitors in search. The website SEO tool is useful as well but should be utilized with a grain of salt. We fixed quite a few small issues using suggestions from SEMRush, but it crawls pages that are set to noindex, so it often finds issues that aren't relevant to your actual ranking.
One of my favorite things is the SEO Ideas module where it gives you specific things you can do on each page that will help you improve your organic traffic. While you can figure some of this out through the normal audit, having these extra ideas helps with getting the creative juices flowing. There is also a very large amount of competitive research, content idea generator and so much more. It's astounding what all is there!
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