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!
General SEO research for writing new content pages on my company's website and looking at keyword gaps compared with competitors. It is very beneficial to see quick results and nice to be able to compare various domains in one view. An SEO tool is necessary when auditing pages on your site or other sites. I use it now internally, but used to work at an agency where I used it on websites in many different industries. It works well across different industries and has not lacked in terms of collecting more bizarre, unique terms.
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.
Basically, Google shows the autocomplete suggestions whenever you start typing anything into Google search box. It is in Google's best interest to show the most relevant keywords in the autocomplete suggestions. Keywords that would help Google to retrieve the most relevant websites and help users find the most relevant content for their search query.
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?
Top Referring Content – This displays the most popular page that links to your target website. They determine the popularity of the page through the number of social shares it has. You can use this to help your SEO campaign by knowing which page/website has a decent social media following, and you can partner with them for more link opportunities to improve your backlink profile.
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.
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?
The Advertising Research report is mainly intended to improve your advertising campaigns by providing a glimpse into what the competition is doing. You will find out how the competition is leveraging PPC investments by viewing their traffic, volume, CPC estimations, etc. for every keyword. Plus, you’ll discover valuable information which allows for businesses to improve their PPC system and work on reducing the advertising budget by yielding better results. After all, there is a lot you can learn from a seasoned competitor who may have spent thousands of dollars honing their campaign.
The thing that I liked the best about Ahrefs is that it contains a huge database of backlinks when I've checked my own website and my competitor's websites. This has allowed me to dig deeper and find out their exact linkbuilding and SEO strategies. Ahref contains a lot of tools and features that will make the life of an SEO professional or webmaster who wants more search engine traffic a lot easier. One of these features is the batch analysis feature. Basically, instead of entering your competitor's backlinks one at a time you could actually enter it once. This allows you to quickly check on the SEO metrics for a lot of competitor URLs in just one click.
Pros: SEMrush offers insight into all things digital. In my experience with a few similar tools, SEMrush is the most comprehensive and easiest to use. It offers insights, reporting, tracking and planning for our clients' digital programs. We can even gain tons of insights into prospects' current digital marketing initiatives which helps close leads. It integrates with numerous other tools and is definitely a tool that will be the leader for at least the next few years.

Ahrefs is a system that offers users with the world’s largest index of live backlinks. The service provides businesses of all sizes and individuals with a reliable and solid backlink checker tool that delivers detailed backlink profiles for any URL or website. This backlink application gives users with a very large and clear image of any website or URL’s background. Ahrefs allows users to see what websites link to a particular URL, they anchors that they deploy, how strong the backlinks are and more.


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.
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.
Cons: Unfortunately, despite being a comprehensive tool, you do have to keep in mind that not all the data is completely up to date or accurate. Not that it's unusable, but I did find myself wondering why it was showing my PPC campaign's "current real-time" ad was actually an ad I haven't used for 6 months. In addition, I found that many of the links in the backlink audit were not accurate.
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.
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
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.
Support for Multilingual Websites: Keyword research is available in 16 languages i.e. German, English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, Finnish, Danish, Italian, Polish, Russian, Turkish, Norwegian, Chinese and Swedish. So, regardless of the language or region, you’re targeting its possible to find the right keywords to reach them more effectively.
Ahrefs is an excellent tool for SEO and Content Marketing. However, it may not fit those who have a low budget, are casual bloggers or those trying to start a new niche. This is also not for webmasters who don't do frequent updates. Ahrefs is not cheap. But, with its ability to replace many tools and its unique functions, it can be worth the investment.

Hi Anil, a fantastic post. I would like to know your opinion since in my case I do not have the budget to keep two tools at the same time. I currently use semrush since there are things that I like a lot but I have doubts about the speed of the backlink audit tool. Recently I have encountered a problem in which semrush has not detected backlinks that were potentially dangerous to my website and this has hurt me. This part worries me a little because I’ve already seen the ears of the wolf. On the price-quality ratio of the two tools, would you continue with semrush or would you go to ahrefs? Thank you very much!


Important note: The code is already active and will remain active for the next couple of days only. It gives 14 day free access to SEMrush Pro account. You are required to enter the credit card information to sign up for the above trial, but you can cancel it at any time before the trial expires and if you forgot to, within 7 days after you get billed (guaranteed refund time). So you won’t lose anything if you are not satisfied with their features.
Overall: I have always had a positive experience with SEMrush. They are a supportive team and it is relatively easy to find up-to-date tutorials to help you to get the most out of their suite of tools. New features are being added all of the time, so the SEMrush team does a very good job of keeping pace with the changing world of SEO. They are clearly active in the community and work hard to share their expertise. With their 14 day trial offer you really cannot go wrong.

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 Keyword Research feature gives you tried and tested keywords that can help you in improving your website rank in Google’s and Bing’s top results. It also provides you with the value of these keywords in paid as well as organic search, and which top players are using them in their landing pages. There are ton of useful data outside Google Adwords.
With Ahrefs, users get the best backlink checking platform in the industry. With just a few clicks of the button, users have a crystal clear profile of any website or URL. From links to anchors as well as the strength of the backlinks, Ahrefs reveals them all in an instant. Users can also monitor backlinks and follow their growth overtime and deploy smart filters and advanced reporting features to quickly discover relevant data.
Ahrefs is incredibly comprehensive and straight forward. From keyword discovery to site audits I use ahrefs for all my SEO needs. It's the first SEO program I was introduced to when starting me SEM management career and has proven to be the best time and time again. I've used their competitors liker moz, SEM rush, and a couple other services- none of which have come close to stacking up.
The My Reports tool also enables the creation of custom reports complete with your business’s logo, annotations, comments, and other features. All of the custom report features exist to highlight and clarify your findings, structure, etc. You can also use pre-defined templates which makes it possible for anyone in your team to create a report and even schedule its creation.
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. 

Detailed breakdown of all our key SEO metrics and performance history. It's very easy to compare our performance against competitors, and identify new opportunities to improve. The "link intersect" tool is amazing! You can easily see who's linking to your competitors and not your site, and work through the report list to build your presence on those domains.
The other star feature of the Domain Vs. Domain tool is it provides you with a detailed report on the competitors’ domains. You can see all the common keywords their domains are associated with and compare their website’s position for each keyword to your own. This allows you to get some insight into what is working for the competition and mimic their success by optimizing your ad strategy and content marketing.
Google Webmaster SEO Starter Guide - Originally written for Google Employees to improve website performance with users and search engines. Related Terms: SERP - Search Engine Rank Position  |  PageRank (PR) - Named for Google Co-founder, Larry Page. The PR Scale of 0-10 rates a web page. In the past, rank was based on the number of high ranking links pointing to the website. Recently factors like relevance and quality have gained importance. This website's current PR rating: 
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.
The Competitive Positioning Map: It provides users with instant information of their direct competitors. The report is based on the domain’s natural traffic and the organic keywords they are ranking for in major search engines. The visual representation also shows rivals, your primary weaknesses, and significant strengths compared to the competition.
Finding the right keyword is extremely essential when you are trying to reach your target audience via organic search engines. This feature helps you dig out the keywords that can help you increase and improve your search engine ranking. Along with that, you can also know the content strategy your competitor might be using to drive the organic traffic to their website.
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.
It Gives a substantial amount of information in a simply usable file format and having the ability to export the data to excel, that makes adding SEM information in our reports easy. SEMrush can make carrying out keyword research, competitor analysis with super fast speed, which lowers our time spent collecting information and provides us additional time to utilize the metrics and gives much better techniques to our customers.

General SEO research for writing new content pages on my company's website and looking at keyword gaps compared with competitors. It is very beneficial to see quick results and nice to be able to compare various domains in one view. An SEO tool is necessary when auditing pages on your site or other sites. I use it now internally, but used to work at an agency where I used it on websites in many different industries. It works well across different industries and has not lacked in terms of collecting more bizarre, unique terms.

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!


The tool will help you see where a website’s traffic comes from; how their audience engages with their site; what devices visitors prefer to use; how multiple websites’ audiences overlap and much more. The market intelligence insights found in Traffic Analytics makes it one of the most powerful tools on SEMrush for market researchers, marketing managers, business development teams, and sales teams.


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.
Longtail Keyword Research Made Easy: Every SEO specialist knows that relying on just the top 3 or 4 keywords isn’t the right thing to do. While you should focus on them since they have the largest volume but each day there are people using thousands of long tail queries which generate significantly less traffic, but the keywords are easier to target. Interestingly, these long tail keywords combined present on average 70% of search traffic. SEMrush collects long-tail keywords with a search volume of around ten queries a year. The keywords are shown in ascending order by volume. Since they have less competition, it is easier for your website to rank for them. Over time they can become a significant source of traffic.
The overview section is the place where you can find everything you need to know about your website. It’s complete with numbers, graphs, and anything you need to see regarding the changes happening to your website. As an SEO professional, you need to be capable of adapting your SEO campaign on the spot. And with the data provided by Ahrefs, you’ll immediately know what to do to improve your site’s performance. 

Another function included in the backlink profile section is the data for Referring Domains. Basically speaking, it shows you the number of websites that are linking to the domain you’ve inputted in the search bar. So, in this instance, I’m using seo-hacker.com as the target website/URL, and the number of referring domains is shown with the corresponding details you will ever need:
Hi Faizan, glad you found it useful. Yes, SEMrush is definitely one of the best SEO tools out there. When you’re doing keyword research, don’t go for KD score, instead pick low volume keywords with 100 or even 50 monthly searches. And target long tail keywords so you can get traffic from multiple keyword phrases. It might take a good 3 months to get the traffic from search engines if you go that way.

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
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.
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