The SEO face off – Semrush Vs Ahrefs, which is better? Who is SEO tools champion? It’s generally agreed that Semrush and Ahrefs offer two of the best SEO tools, but which SEO tool is best?
Two giants of digital marketing. In a sense, two fierce competitors. However, how do they compare? Which of these two fantastic SEO tools should you use to improve your search results?
Our aim in this article is to provide a full-on review of these two SEO software giants. We look under the hood and search the nooks and crannies. The idea being to ascertain which is better. And to answer the question:
Ahrefs vs Semrush: Which SEO tool should you use?
The outcome is our biggest SEO tools review, ever. This Semrush vs Ahrefs comparison has taken a monumental effort from the team to pull off. In the end, our labor of love was worth it, because the article makes compelling reading. Even if we say so ourselves 🙂
First, one or two things about the geeks and nerds behind the tools…
SEO Face Off – Ahrefs Vs Semrush: Two of the Best Paid SEO Tools
In the Red Corner, Semrush
Headquartered in Boston, Semrush is made up of 800 specialists in four countries. Their goal is to create the best competitive intelligence solution for all digital marketing spheres. Today Semrush has over 6 million users worldwide. Its keywords database contains a humongous 20 billion keywords with 145 geo databases and over 801 million domains.
Semrush is an established and exceedingly efficient toolkit for digital marketing used by more than 6,000,000 specialists from around the world. The suite comprises over 40 tools to aid web developers, content marketers and creators, SMM and PPC specialists, PR and Brand managers.
In relation to SEO, Semrush has won 14 international awards as best SEO software suite. These awards include the Best SEO Software Suite of 2019 in the European Search Awards, and in the United States Search Awards. Semrush offers SEO specialists an assortment of reliable auxiliary and essential tools.
And in the Blue Corner, Ahrefs
Based in Singapore, Ahrefs is a multinational team. It began its backlinks index in 2010, eventually becoming the source of data for Ahrefs’ first version of Site Explorer. When launched, Site Explorer disrupted the stagnant field of backlink analysis. It kick-started a new round of competition among SEO tool providers.
The Site Explorer has become one of the world’s best backlink analysis tools. It has arguably the largest index of live live backlinks. Today, Ahrefs updates their index with the freshest backlinks on the web every 15-30 minutes. And their crawler processes up to a monumental 8 billion pages a day! Ahrefs uses backlink data to calculate its proprietary metrics: Ahrefs Rank, Domain Rating and URL Rating.
Ahrefs is trusted by SEO and marketing professionals worldwide as the ultimate toolset for SEO, powered by industry-leading data.
Ahrefs crawls the web, stores tons of data and makes it easily accessible via a simple user interface.
Which tool is Better to Use in SEO, Ahrefs or Semrush?
As I said, we decided to look under the hood, and test drive these two amazing software. However, we chose to do it differently. We opted to conduct this SEO tools review in a way that is unique to us here at Astute Copy Blogging.
This is what we did:
We reached out to established SEO specialists and seasoned internet marketers to help us with our review.
And we gave them one condition:
They must have used both Semrush and Ahrefs extensively.
Let’s break this down…
We asked our experts about their experience of using Semrush and Ahrefs. We also told them to assess and rate the software in terms of:
• Keyword research features
• Domain analytics
• Backlink analysis
• Content creation
• Ease of use
• Pricing, support and value for money
We heard from 24 experts in the SEO industry. They met our criteria in terms of having tried out both Semrush and Ahrefs considerably. Out of this, we shortlisted 12 who provided the most relevant, insightful and unbiased review.
The outcome was two reviews in one: An Semrush review and an Ahrefs review!
The 12 Wise Men and Woman – Meet the SEO Experts
Now, let’s meet and greet our 12 brilliant experts who will answer the question, Which SEO Tool is Best? They will say ‘hi’ to us in alphabetical, first name order:
Avinash Chandra is Founder & CEO of BrandLoom
Brandon Amoroso is Founder & CEO of electrIQ.
Bruce Hogan is Co-Founder & CEO of SoftwarePundit
Colin Ma is Founder of OC Tech Alliance
Dan Bailey is President of WikiLawn
Drew Johnson is Owner of More Tour Bookings
Erico Franco is Inbound marketing manager at Agencia de Marketing Digital
Malte Scholz is CEO & Co-Founder of Airfocus
Pranay Anumula is Product Marketer (SEO) at Keka HR
Richa Pathak is a Digital Marketing expert at SEM Updates Blogs
Roman Kim is SEO Manager at
Steve White is Founder & CEO of Spaced Digital. He is an SEO specialist
Dashboard Overview: Dashboard of Semrush & Ahrefs
Is Ahrefs Worth the Money?
We will answer the question as to whether or not Ahrefs is worth the money later on in this review. But for now, this what the Ahrefs interface looks like:
As you can see from the above image, the Ahrefs dashboard is well laid out. And you get a humongous amount of data on any domain name. At a glance, you can see the domain rating, number of backlinks, referring domains, organic traffic, traffic value and much more.
Is Semrush Good?
Great question! As we progress in this review, the answer to the question, “is Semrush good?”, will become apparent. For now though, this is what the Semrush dashboard looks like:
Not surprisingly, the layout of the Semrush dashboard is similar. It is well laid out. And you can get a monumental amount of data on any of the over 710 million domains in their database. Information provided includes authority score, organic search traffic and paid search traffic. Others are backlinks profile, keywords by country, traffic trend and a lot more.
Which is Better Ahrefs vs Semrush?
Time for the test drive.
Our experts are ready. We are also set!
If you’re up for it, let’s dive straight into how these amazing products compare.
Keyword research features. What is the best keyword research tool?
Most people who invest in paid SEO tools do so because of the keyword research tools. This should be no surprise, as every new content needs to start with keyword research. So let’s evaluate Semrush and Ahrefs to see how they measure up in this key area.
But first, there are some significant differences between these two SEO giants in this area.
Let’s start by looking at the contrast between these tools in terms of keyword research. As you can see from the table below, there is an overlap in functionality of both tools. However, at 20 billion, SEMrush has more than twice the number of keywords that Ahrefs has. On the other hand, Ahrefs covers 9 more search engines than SEMrush.
|Number of Keywords |
|20 billion||8.7 billion|
|Search Engines||Google, YouTube, Amazon, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, Baidu, Daum, Naver, Seznam|
|Clicks Data for Keywords||Clicks potential metric (mostly based on SERP Features)||Clicks (shows estimated number of clicks for the keywords per month)|
Now, let’s appraise them to see what they have to offer.
Semrush keyword research. How do I use Semrush for keyword research?
To begin, simply log into Semrush. Now, go to the Keyword Analytics tab which is located to the left side of the dashboard.
As you can see, under the Keywords Analytics tab, you have the Keyword Overview and Keyword Magic Tool. You also have the Keyword Manager, Ad History and Keyword Difficulty tools.
Click on Overview. Next, type one of your topics into the search box in the middle of the screen as you can see below. Then hit the green “Analyze” button.
Let’s experiment with it, using our keyword “bluehost”. Note that you can enter up to 100 keywords at a time.
You’re instantly provided an incredible amount of data. This includes global volume, keyword difficulty and results on SERP, as you can see below:
If you scroll down, you see even more data such as keyword variations, questions and related keywords.
Scroll further down, and you can see the SERPS analysis. Here you can view the SERPS pages. You can also get a SERP breakdown analysis for the analyzed keyword. This is to help you evaluate the competition.
How do you use the Semrush Keyword Magic Tool?
Now, let’s click on the Keyword Magic tab. Straight away, we’re given even more data on our chosen keyword “bluehost”.
Here is what’s amazing about the Keyword Magic Tool.
You can build your most profitable SEO or PPC campaign, get over 20 million keyword ideas. You can also use Keyword Grouping to segment your keywords by topic, pick the best keywords and save them in Keyword Manager.
With Keyword Magic Tool, you can export your selected keywords to other SEMrush tools and create up to 50 target keyword lists
How to use Semrush Keyword Magic Tool.
Here’s how to use the Keyword Magic Tool. To get started, you just need to enter your chosen keyword into the search bar. This keyword is your seed keyword (red arrow). In the case of the example below, it is “bluehost”.
The Magic tool will generate a complete listing of the various terms related to your seed keyword. This will show up in the table in the middle of the page (blue arrow).
The most popular seed keywords would result in the tool showing millions of related keywords in the table. To the left of the main table are the groups generated by the Keyword Magic Tool (green arrow).
Using Match modifiers
The tool gives you modifiers that you can use to get more specific results from your seed keyword. You can choose Broad Match, Phrase Match, Exact Match, or Related, as you query your seed keyword.
Another way to modify your search is with the Questions button. When you click this button, you only see keywords in the form of a question, as you can see below.
Question-based keywords and common questions can be a great way to find ideas for blog posts. As well as campaigns, featured snippets to target and more. With a question-based keyword, all you have to do is provide a direct answer.
Ahrefs keyword research. How do you do keyword research with Ahrefs?
The Ahrefs keywords tool is the Keywords explorer which is located to the top of the dashboard.
How do you do keyword research with Ahrefs? To begin, simply click on the Keywords explorer tab. You’re given a search box in the middle of the page. Just insert one or several seed keywords into the search box and get thousands of relevant keyword suggestions.
To experiment with it, let’s enter the seed keyword “bluehost”.
The Keyword explorer instantly provides an overview of our keyword. As you can see below, it provides an incredible amount of data. This includes keyword difficulty, search volume, clicks and global volume. And to the left of the dashboard, keyword ideas.
Here is another thing you get, which is pretty awesome!
With the search volume, you also get the percentage of clicks and those who do not click. For example, as you can see below, the search volume for the keyword “bluehost” is 381,000. It has 62% clicks and 38% non clicks.
This should help you in deciding whether or not the particular keyword you’re targeting is worth the trouble. Because with Google now offering snippets, a lot of people no longer click through!
If you scroll down, you can see a SERP overview for your keyword.
Scroll to the bottom of the page, and you see the all important Keyword ideas. As you can see from our example, they include “bluehost login”, “bluehost webmail” and “bluehost webmail login”. You also get the questions, keywords you can also rank for, and newly discovered keywords.
Which Tool is Better to use in SEO, Ahrefs or Semrush?
Domain Analytics looks at the specific keywords that a site is ranking for. The purpose being to compare SEO or PPC reach between competing sites. Here too, there are some crucial differences between Semrush and Ahrefs, as the table below reveals.
Mobile SERP Rankings
Side by side comparison between keyword profiles for PLA keywords
Number of domains for Side by side comparison between keyword profiles
|Up to 5||Up to 10|
Now let’s take both of these amazing tools for an intense appraisal. Let’s find out who is better at domain analytics.
Ahrefs domain analytics
Let’s start with Ahrefs.
Ahrefs’ domain analytics is performed in the Site Explorer tool. It is a very versatile tool. It is able to show how well any domain, URL, subdomain (e.g., blog.domain.com) or subfolder (e.g., domain.com/blog/) is performing in organic and paid search. Plus it can also give other high-level SEO and backlink metrics.
Here you can also see your competitors’ historical performance in the organic search tab.
As you can see below, Amazon has a phenomenal 227 million organic keywords and a monumental 654 million organic traffic!
Click the Organic Search tab on the left of the dashboard. This will reveal whether a competitor’s organic traffic is increasing or decreasing over time. In addition, you can see a breakdown of your competitor’s traffic by country.
Here you can also filter the organic traffic graph to see data for any of the 150+ countries in the Ahrefs’ database.
Using the Organic Search tab, you can see how competitors get the bulk of their traffic. See your competitor’s top keywords, and uncover the five keywords that sending them the most organic traffic.
As you can see from the table below, the top five keywords sending Amazon traffic are: amazon, amazon prime, amazon.com, amazon smile and well, amazon!
Fascinating, isn’t it?
Semrush domain analytics
Semrush aims to give you the most comprehensive competitive intelligence tools for your online marketing.
The Domain Analytics tool is located to the left of the dashboard, as you can see below. When you click on it, it reveals the following additional tools: Overview and Organic Research. It also shows Backlinks (which we will come to next in the review), Advertising Research, PLA Research and lots more!
When you click on the Overview tab, you see a search box called Domain Overview in the middle of the page. This is where you can get instant insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors or even prospective customers!
To evaluate this tool, let’s enter Amazon.com into the Domain Overview search box.
We’re promptly given the Domain Overview of Amazon.com. This is an insane amount of data, including authority score, organic search traffic and paid search traffic. And as you can see, you can even add up to 3 competitors for purposes of comparison.
When you scroll down, you have even more data. This time, keywords by country, traffic trend, and top organic keywords.
A bit further down, and we have data about the main organic competitors. And we can immediately see that Amazon’s main organic competitors are Ebay, Pinterest, Walmart, Wikipedia and Youtube!
Scroll further, and you have even more data. This times, we have information about the main paid competitors. Here we can see who Amazon’s main paid competitors are. Microsoft, IBM, Shopify, Hostgator and Wix.
Ahrefs vs Semrush: Which SEO Tool Should You Use?
This is where the rubber hits the road!
But first, a backlink is basically a link from one website to another website. Backlinks are still a major factor in Google’s organic ranking algorithm. That’s because when one website links to another, it means they believe the content is important. It’s a kind of signal to search engines that the other website endorses the content they’re linking to.
In particular, high-quality backlinks can help increase your website’s ranking position and visibility in search engine results pages (SERPS). Therefore, quality link building and backlink maintenance should be at the heart of every SEO strategy.
Ahrefs and SEMrush have some of the best website link analysis tools on the planet. But which of them is better? Which SEO toll should you use?
As you can expect, there are some significant differences between them. So, let’s kick off by looking at the major differences, which are displayed in the table below.
|Ability to make a detailed analysis of toxic backlinks, |
toxic score and toxic markers
|Backlink Audit Tool: toxic links analysis with option to outreach||No separate tool (but you can find some toxic parameters in Site Explorer)|
|Separate tool for link building|
Link Building Tool with full advanced workflow for outreach
|No separate tool and no option to outreach|
|Integration with Google Analytics and GSC|
|Option to find links that have been removed with a very accurate first found date||No||Yes|
Website link analysis tools – Semrush
SEMrush gathers new backlinks daily and adds them to their database. The database is updated publicly every two weeks. Therefore, you can track any new and lost links within no more than two weeks from either being created or removed.
With the Backlink Audit tool, you can analyze your backlink portfolio and see suspicious or toxic links that could potentially lead to a Google Penalty. From the tool you can add these links to a disavow list. You can then send your disavow list to Google to dissociate your website from the dangerous links.
The Semrush Backlink tool is located on the left of the dashboard under the Domain Analytics tab.
When you click on the Backlinks tab, search box opens up in the middle of the page, as you can see below. As you can see, Semrush had over 28 trillion backlinks in its database at the time of writing.
Let’s assess and appraise this tool. To do so, let’s see if we can find any information on the backlinks profile of the hugely successful Huffington Post.
When you type “huffingtonpost.com” into the search query, you’re immediately presented with an unbelievable amount of data. This includes the number of referring domains and the total number of backlinks. You also see the number of monthly visits and total number of keywords. It even reveals the top anchors!
Scroll down for even more data.
As you can see below, you have the referring Domains by Authority score and the backlink types. It also reveals whether the backlinks are do-follow, no-follow, sponsored or UGC!
The data here is very valuable.
It can be handy for different link building strategies. For example, using this data, you can seek out opportunities. Openings for guest blogging or writing, blogger outreach and broken links building.
If you scroll further down, there is yet more data. Here for example, you can see the Link Profile distribution. You can also see domains with similar profiles as well as the top pages on the queried website.
How to disavow backlinks
If you scroll to the very bottom of the page, you come to the Backlink Audit Tool. This is a unique tool, which Ahrefs doesn’t have, although Ahrefs does have some toxic parameters in Site Explorer.
It is one of my favourite tools in Semrush, it’s simply amazing!
And here, I could let my emotions run wide. But I will do my best to control my enthusiasm.
To start the process of getting rid of all toxic backlinks easily, simply click on the green “Go to Backlink Audit” button.
As you can see, the Backlink Audit Tool instantly conducts a backlink audit and gives you the Backlink Audit Data. It also provides an overall Toxic Score, which in the case of Huffington Post is low.
You then have the option of going to Projects to find out if there are any dubious backlinks that you should get rid of.
Should we try it?
Why not? Let’s click on the blue “Go to project” button.
We’re instantly taken to Projects.
However, we have some pretty helpful initial information which are highlighted with the red arrows below. If you’re happy with that, click the green “Ok, got it!” button (cue the blue arrow).
Next, you find yourself in the Backlink Audit Tool itself. And straightaway, you can see that there are two backlinks that are potentially dubious. This is because of their high toxic score.
If you click on the drop-down, you get more information. You’re told about the toxic markers. The Tool also reveals why it considers the backlinks potentially toxic.
You now have the choice of either keeping the backlinks if you think the Tool is wrong or getting rid. If you want to get rid of them, simply click on the drop-down besides the “Delete” tab (see the arrow below).
Presently, you have two options. Move the links to “Remove” List, where you contact the webmaster and ask them to remove the link. Or move them to “Disavow” List. Here, you can download the backlinks as a .txt document, upload the list to Google and ask Google to disavow the links!
A really helpful tool, if you ask me!
You even get an email!
If you don’t complete the tasks, you also get a follow-up email from SEMrush.
As you can see below, I received an email about the backlinks profile of Huffington Post. It basically reminds you of the actions you need to take.
Ahrefs backlink checker
Ahrefs probably has the largest index of live backlinks.
And here is what is even more extraordinary.
Ahrefs updates their Backlinks index with the freshest backlinks on the web every 15-30 minutes.
The Ahrefs Backlink tool is located in Site Explorer to the left of the dashboard. With this fantastic tool you can check out the backlinks pointing to any domain, URL, subdomain or subfolder. Use the drop-down to select your preferred mode. You can check out all your competitor’s backlinks.
To access the tool, go to Site Explorer and enter a competitor’s website to see all their backlinks.
Let’s continue with the Huffington Post.
As you can see below, you instantly receive a ton of amazing data including the fact that Huffington Post has 55.6 million backlinks.
Now, let’s click on the Backlinks tab, which is located to the left of the Ahrefs dashboard.
As you can see, we now instantly have an incredible amount of data to work with.
Here are some of the breathtaking things about the Ahrefs Backlinks tool.
You’re able to look for links that you can potentially replicate. Here are a few filtering and sorting options that may help with this:
- Set the “dofollow” filter to show only the value-passing links
- Set the language filter to exclude foreign-language links
- Sort by the Traffic column to prioritize links with the power to send referral traffic
- Set the Traffic filter to a value greater than zero to exclude low-quality pages with little or no traffic
- Filter for Content links to see contextual, in-content links
However if for any reason, you find the tool a bit difficult to understand, you can always ask for help. Simply click on the “How to use” tab, as you can see below.
Content is one area where there is a lot of daylight between the two tools.
And as the table below shows, Semrush seems to have the upper hand by some distance.
Ability to check the SEO potential
and originality of a piece of content in real-time, which is available for
Google Docs and WordPress
|Solution for improving your web |
pages SEO by getting a list of ideas
and recommendations based on
(On Page SEO checker/SEO
|Ability to audit a website’s |
|Ability to see the report with |
the results of the success of
the external content efforts
|Yes (Post |
|Ability to track the online |
mentions of any word or
phrase you wish to track
|Yes (Brand |
|Ability to find the most |
popular content on every topic
(in Content explorer)
Semrush SEO Content Template
With this tool, you can analyze your rivals’ content and get ideas to write optimized, winning content. Please note that this tool is only available on the Semrush Guru and Business plans.
This is how to use the Semrush SEO Content Template tool.
Navigate to the SEO Content Template tool on the left of the dashboard. Click on it and enter the keywords into the search box in the middle of the page. These are the keywords you want to target with your content. Click on the green “Create SEO Template”.
The tool will analyze content on the Google’s top 10-ranking pages for your target keywords. You will then receive recommendations on how to create an SEO-friendly content.
In addition, Semrush has an amazing tool called the SEO Writing Assistant. It is located to the left of the Semrush dashboard just under the SEO Content Template.
The SEO Writing Assistant is an addon for Google Docs and WordPress. It’s an intuitive tool that grades your new content for search engine optimization as you write it.
To use the tool, simply navigate to the left of the Semrush dashboard and click on the SEO Writing Assistant. Next, click on the green “Get recommendations” button.
You will then see the Quick Checker. You can either type your content or paste your content here. It is super easy to use.
This is how it works, in three easy steps.
Step #1. Get add-on for Google Docs and WordPress. Navigate to the Google Docs add-on store and install the SEO Writing Assistant add-on by clicking the “+ FREE” button.
Step #2. Turn on add-on in Google Docs. To use the Semrush Writing Assistant add-on, first go over to the Google Docs menu and turn it on. You need to do this every time you want to use the tool.
Step #3. Check your content in real time. Simply type or paste your content into the Quick Checker. As you do this, your content is automatically checked for SEO-friendliness based on your target keywords.
Semrush Content marketing platform
Semrush Content Platform allows you to conduct topic research by giving you the full picture of what your audience needs. You need either the Guru or Business plans to have full access to the Platform.
This is how the Content Marketing Platform works. First, find a topic in Topic Research.
The Topic Research tab is located to the left the Semrush dashboard. When you click on it, the Topic Research search box appears in the middle of the page, as you can see below.
Now, enter your topic into the search box. For the purpose of this assessment, I have typed in “best competitive intelligence ideas”. Next, click on the green “Get content ideas” button.
You’re then instantly presented with amazing headline ideas, questions and subtopics.
Then of course, there are over 50 content ideas from Google Analytics, Google Alerts, Competitive Advantage, Similarweb, Market Research and much more!
As you can see from the image below, when you click on Mind Map, you instantly get a ton of content ideas. The suggestions you receive include headlines, questions and much more.
You can then click on the SEO Content Template tab to the left of the dashboard to get ideas and recommendations on what to do in order to rank the content. Simply amazing!
From the part highlighted in red, you can see key recommendations. Usually these will be in terms of semantically related words, backlinks, readability and text length.
I thought I should pop this article into the Quicker checker. Just for a bit of fun!
As you can see below, it does an amazing job of checking your article, to make sure it is SEO friendly!
Next, optimize your article in the SEO Writing Assistant. Finally, measure your results in Post Tracking!
Ahrefs Content Explorer
Here I will attempt to answer two questions:
- What is Content Explorer?
- How do I use Ahrefs Content Explorer?
The Content Explorer basically helps you to find top performing content for your research. The tool is located to the top of the Ahrefs dashboard. Simply type any keyword into the search bar. The tool will then reveal a list of the most popular web pages based on those keywords.
Now, you can choose how queries are matched using the dropdown options.
Here you will find a whole bunch of data for each search. You can see key SEO and social metrics for every web page, including Domain Rating and referring domains. You can also see organic traffic, traffic value and social shares.
There’s even information on the the top authors!
All you’ve got to do is simply mix and match the filters to refine the results to suit your particular interests.
How to find Low-hanging Content Opportunities using Content explorer.
To do this, first search for a topic. Next, filter for pages with no referring domains that also get a good amount of organic traffic.
For instance, in the example below, I have chosen the topic or phrase, “mailchimp alternatives”. I’ve filtered it to zero referring domains and organic traffic from 500.
500 monthly organic traffic is a decent amount of traffic to target.
My search brings up 20 pages that match my criteria.
Usually, such pages revolve around uncompetitive topics. They will also have search traffic potential that you can rank for with few or no backlinks. This is what is now generally referred to as low-hanging content opportunities.
By clicking on the “Organic keywords” tab under the “Details” menu, you can see which keywords each page ranks for.
As you can below, our search throws up over 1,000 low-hanging content opportunities.
How awesome is that?
Semrush Vs Ahrefs [2021 Review and Pricing]
Pricing, Support, Ease of Use and Value for Money
The two tools are both subscription based.
This can be either monthly or annual. Usually, you get discounts for annual subscriptions. How do they measure in terms of pricing? What of support, ease of use and value for money?
As you can see below from the image below, Ahrefs has 4 price plans:
• Lite – $99 per month
• Standard – $179 per month
• Advanced – $399 per month
• Agency – $999 per month
There is a 2 months free period with the annual billing.
Ahrefs does not offer a free trial. It however offers a 7-day trial for $7!
SEMrush also has 4 price plans, as you can see from the image below. These are:
• Pro – $119.95 per month
• Guru – $229.95 per month
• Business – $449.95 per month
• Enterprise – Price on application
SEMrush offers a variety of free trials – 7-day, 14-day and 30-day trials.
What the experts said
In terms of pricing and value for money, I would say the winner is Semrush. You get so many more reports with Semrush. Plus all the project tools to monitor your website.
Also, you get way more rows of data in your exports compared to Ahrefs. However, in terms of support, both have great support teams!Drew Johnson
For support, we’ve never had to use this. That being said, Ahrefs gave us 14 days for free on our next bill due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was a nice gesture.Stephen White
In terms of pricing, both tools offer similar features at similar
prices. The only point of difference is that Semrush offers a higher number of keywords to track as compared to the Ahrefs tool.
There is no significant difference in terms of support. Both tools offer a lot of options to learn the tool better, help users set up the account and start with the tools.
You can connect with them using chat or phone. You can also email them directly. They have a huge knowledge base to learn the tools with ease.Richa Pathak
As per my personal experience, I found Semrush much easier and better to handle. It gives me a better user experience throughout the tool. I love all the options and UI of the tool. It makes it worth paying for.Richa Pathak
For ease of use, I would say the winner is Ahrefs. If you want straightforward reports that are accurate, use Ahrefs. However, I think Semrush is great, once you play around with it for a bit.Drew Johnson
Additional Areas of Difference
There are some additional areas of difference between Semrush and Ahrefs. We will simply highlight these in passing, using tables to showcase the differences.
The Competitive Intelligence Add-On is a new feature recently introduced by Semrush.
It has two key tools, the Market Explorer and Traffic Analytics. With the Market explorer, you can basically dive into a niche and instantly gain insight into your target audience and their interests.
This is invaluable, if you’re going into a new market, even if it’s in a different country.
With the Traffics analytics tool, you’re able to instantaneously gain cognizance of your competitor’s traffic. Here you can analyze the competition, find gaps, and develop an informed marketing strategy.
As you can tell from the table below, this is unique to Semrush.
|COMPETITIVE INTELLIGENCE ADD-ON||Semrush||Ahrefs|
Solution to dive into a niche and understand your target audience and its interests
|Yes (Market Explorer)||No|
Get insights about your competitors traffic
|Yes (Traffic Analytics)||No|
You can do much more, including:
Scrutinize your rivals’ paid traffic. Assess their organic traffic. And reveal how they generate traffic.
What if you could ‘spy’ on your competitors’ websites and:
• See their top web pages, including cart, trial, and checkout success pages
• Identify new any landing pages that they promote
• Reveal their most popular products, service, and categories
With this tool, you can!
How to Access the CI Add-On
The Competitive Intelligence Add-on is located within the Competitive Intelligence Toolkit. Simply navigate to the All Tools section of the dashboard and click on the Competitive Research Toolkit tab, as you can see in the image below.
You will then see the box shown in the image below. To the left of the dashboard, you will be able to access the CI Add-On.
The CI ADD-ON tab will be highlighted when you have signed up for it.
What would you give to know how your competitors generate traffic? This tool will give you unbelievable insight into the competition.
It will reveal your competitors’ marketing mix by their traffic sources — direct, search, referral, paid and social. You will be able to find out the countries where traffic comes from. It will even show you the websites that are visited before and after your competitor’s site!
The tools help you analyze the competition’s top content and their social media engagement. You can do a lot here including uncovering the topics that generate the most backlinks and mentions.
With the tools, you can identify your direct and indirect competitors and their market shares. You can also pinpoint any new competitors and their market shares. Here you can effectively find areas for improvement within your industry.
The tools also help you spot the industry seasonal ups and downs to aid your preparation. Optimize your strategy through the in-market audience demographics and interests.
Semrush Vs Ahrefs – Other Tools: The Semrush Toolkits
One of the major advantages of Semrush is the wide range of tools it has on offer. The Semrush suite unbelievably versatile. It has over 45 tools for SEO as well as content, advertising, competitive research, reporting and social media management.
Social Medial Management (SMM) Tools
Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising Tools
|Yes||Only small Paid Search section in Site Explorer|
|Automated Listing Management Tool||Yes||No|
|Ability to find leads who need your marketing services||Yes (Oppty)||No|
|Ability to fully automate traffic acquisition and give instant access to hundreds of premium traffic sources||Yes (Traffic Jet)||No|
|Ability to order traffic-driving content||Yes (Marketplace)||No|
Most of these tools can be accessed via the Semrush All Tools tab.
Start by clicking on the All Tools Tab which is located on the left of the dashboard.
This will lead you to the box in the image below.
Here, you will see the following tabs: SEO Toolkit, PPC Advertising Toolkit, Social Media Toolkit, Content Marketing Toolkit, and the Competitive Research Toolkit.
Now, let’s take a quick look at each of these Toolkits:
Semrush offers unparalleled depth and versatility. Semrush is perfect for conducting market research. It is also great for competitive analyses on a website’s closest competition on the SERPs.
The SEO toolkit has five main workflow categories: Competitive Research, Keyword Research, Link Building, Rank Tracking, and On Page and Technical SEO.
One thing is certain when you follow the flow of this toolkit. You will cover all bases of your website’s SEO!
Semrush is great for many things. It is perfect tool for pay-per-click (PPC) specialists. Why? Because it allows for tons of data – keyword research and competitor analysis. This gives PPC specialists the tools to plan and track their performance of their paid search campaigns.
The Advertising Toolkit has three main workflows: Competitive Research, Keyword Research, and Ad Creation.
Social Media Toolkit
This being the 21st century, you know that social media is an important tool for businesses. If properly harnessed, it can be a fantastic tool for bringing traffic to a website. The challenge is to work out how best engage and grow your audience.
The Social Media Toolkit offers two unique tools – social media tracker and social media poster. These tools work to:
- Track your social competitor’s strategy; and
- Plan your social media campaigns in a calendar.
Content Marketing Toolkit
The goal of the Content Marketing Toolkit is to enhance your SEO rankings through high quality content. The Toolkit helps to optimize your content to rank organically. The top tools in the Content Marketing Toolkit include:
- Topic Research
- SEO Content Template
- SEO Writing Assistant
- Content Audit (Projects)
- Post Tracking (Projects)
- Brand Monitoring (Projects)
The Competitive Research Toolkit
The Semrush Competitive Research Toolkit on Semrush is the spy engine. It looks at the strategies of your competitors, and gives you the research you need to make data-driven marketing decisions.
You will have access to everything that works for your competitors revealed from every possible angle – Organic Search, SEO, Advertising, Content and PR, and Social Media.
Conclusion – Semrush Vs Ahrefs: Which Is Best SEO tool?
In a moment, we will come to the Review Summary.
But first, which is the best SEO tools among the Semrush Moz and Ahrefs? This probably is an unfair question, since we haven’t analysed Moz as part of this review.
So let’s rephrase.
Which is better Ahrefs vs Semrush? Or would you rather say each software has areas where they are better than the other? If so, which areas?
Also, is Ahrefs worth the money?
And is Semrush good?
Let’s find out from our 12 SEO experts.
Semrush vs Ahrefs – What our experts said
I love both Semrush and Ahrefs. Both are great tools, and I would recommend either – depending on the situation.
I like Semrush for a few reasons. First, it’s great for beginners. While it’s not easy to use, the reports are very helpful. Also, the variety of reports and tools you get are great for the money. Especially the features in the Projects section of the platform.
Ahrefs is great when I want to dig into some reports and see what is going on with a site. While the total features might be lacking, the accuracy of reports is much greater than Semrush.
I use both, as I run these reports for multiple clients according to their needs. Like I said, I love Semrush for its Project tools such as Position tracking, Backlink outreach, and more. However, when I need the best data I use Ahrefs.
It’s difficult to pick a winner. It really depends! If you are advanced and know exactly what you are looking for and need the best data possible, go with Ahrefs.
However, if you need some more features. And if you want to do more than just pull reports, then pick Semrush.
For me, it’s a tie.Drew Johnson
Ahrefs has the advantage of having more accurate data than its competitors. However, the parameter that indicates the keyword difficulty sometimes suffers from precision problems which do not occur with Semrush.
Another important point is that with Ahrefs you can search for other search engines like YouTube and Bing. These bring interesting insights to your search.
Semrush wants to be an all-in-one tool for SEO and Inbound Marketing, not only SEO. Semrush is also more focused on technical research for SEO. It is not so strategic in terms of SEO compared to Ahrefs. But Semrush has a very good keyword research tool.
Semrush has an integrated PPC tool that makes it possible to see a Google Ads campaign simultaneously with your SEO research. You can’t compare with Ahrefs which completely ignores the PPC world.Erico Franco
I prefer and recommend Semrush.
Ahrefs and Semrush are the top two all-in-one online search platforms. Both come with several tools that online marketers can use to generate more traffic through organic and paid search.
The tools they have in common include:
• Keyword Research
• Competitive Research
• Keyword Rank Tracking
• Backlink Analysis
• SEO Site Audits
• Content Research
• Traffic Analytics
While both software solutions can be used for the same things, they have different strengths. Since they’re priced very similarly, companies should select the best solution for them based upon the features they need most.Bruce Hogan
What is most Powerful Semrush vs Ahrefs?
Here’s some more of what our experts said
I’ve always seen Semrush as a more general SEO tool. It has a bit of everything and can give you metrics for almost anything you could possibly need.
By comparison, Ahrefs started primarily as a backlink analyzer. Though they’ve added many more features, that’s the core of the program and the promise made on the tin. If backlinks are your primary source of SEO, it absolutely excels.
I’ve used both for the features I most need, and have some
comparisons I can make.
In terms of researching keywords, they’re both pretty robust. They have roughly the same sets of tools and can drill down to the same results. Unless you’re looking for an absurd amount of keywords – many of which won’t apply.
Semrush offers way more volume. Ahrefs filters out a lot of irrelevant results. However, which tool to use depends solely on your SEO approach.
If backlinks are your primary focus, absolutely go with Ahrefs. If you want to dip your toes into a lot of different pools, Semrush can give you that versatility.Dan Bailey
I’ve used Semrush from the initial days when it was announced as a keyword research tool. Ahrefs, on the other hand, was a complete SEO tool from start.
So, I used Semrush for my keyword research and I was pretty happy with the results.
Slowly Semrush started stepping up as a complete SEO tool. Although the features are good, the Semrush database isn’t that great for me. Particularly, when compared to Ahrefs in terms of backlinks and the results.
Ahrefs now have their Keyword explorer section. Although I don’t rely on it because a few of the metrics can go horribly wrong. The keyword difficulty at times gives 0 or single-digit but in reality, it’s super difficult to rank. Also, the features related to keyword research in Ahrefs are limited. Whereas, in Semrush, they have additional features like search volume trend, number of results, etc.
Although everything looks good in Semrush for keyword research, the problem is their UI. When compared with Ahrefs, it feels too cluttered, whereas Ahrefs is a clean one.Pranay Anumula
Coming to the Backlinks part, there is no competition for Ahrefs. The database is huge and the live index is on point. It has options like linked domains, outbound domains (which is helpful for expired domain findings) and showing the text around the links. They make your life easy.
If I wanted to pick one then the obvious choice is Ahrefs. However, if you have the budget then it’s better to go for both Ahrefs and Semrush.
Both are fantastic tools. Making a choice between them usually gives people a headache, as they’re both great. At every agency I’ve worked at, this question is nearly always asked… Why are we paying for both? Don’t they both do the same?
Both tools can give you a load of useful information about your own website and about your competitors in many different ways.
If I had to pick one, it would be Ahrefs. The backlink data is miles ahead of Semrush and the keyword data is just as good.Stephen White
Which are the best SEO paid tools, Ahrefs vs Semrush?
Ahrefs vs Semrush – Here’s more of what our experts said
I have used Ahrefs and Semrush both in my previous roles as a marketer in an agency and for my own company. The apps are similar in nature and their prices are identical. But there are nuances that make them different. In short, I think Ahrefs is better suited for in-house marketers while Semrush is better for agencies.
First, Ahrefs’ keyword data is more accurate and granular. And the suggestions that it throws your way are truly invaluable.
On the other hand, Semrush has more power in the reports department. If you have several websites that you manage and track, you can see all the information at a glance. It is a much better tool for agencies and freelance SEOs that need access to their entire website fleet at a single click.
All of this made me choose Ahrefs as my tool of choice for my own company. If I were running an agency, I would definitely go with Semrush as my first choice.Malte Scholz
Both Semrush and Ahrefs tools are competing head to head. They aim to to help us gain a deeper understanding of our websites. They also provide precious data from search engines. The thing about SEO tools is, the more information they can give, the better they are.
Semrush has plenty of features which makes it a professionals dream. They are:
• Advertising research to know ad budgets and specific keywords
• Competitor research possibility
• Traffic analytics
• Backlink tools
• Search engine position tracking
• Keyword research with long-tail keyword capability
• Domain comparisons.
• Keyword Magic Tool for keyword ideas.
• SEO writing assistance
• Social media tracker/poster.
On the downside, for beginners the dashboard can be a tad intimidating. As with a higher number of features, it is also priced a little higher.
On the other hand, Ahrefs carries the punch with an intuitive dashboard. It has a more friendly interface.
Ahrefs also has these fantastic tools:
• Domain comparisons.
• Alerts for backlinks, mentions, and new keywords.
• A site explorer to see search traffic.
• A keyword explorer for best results.
• A search engine rank tracker.
• A site audit for finding SEO issues.
Semrush and Ahrefs are similar in pricing. Overall, for us, Semrush gives better and accurate results. Although it takes a bit of getting used to, once that’s done, there is a lot of useful data available. Plus it has excellent assistance for writing.
We are also into Social media, and have a ton of workload off our backs due to the Semrush Social media tracker/poster feature.Avinash Chandra
Semrush and Ahrefs are both SEO analyzing tools that SEOs use to do a variety of SEO tasks. Tasks such as competitor analysis, backlinks analysis, track rankings, and research keywords. While both are good tools, I personally enjoy Ahrefs much more because of its feature set, ease of use, and usability.
For domain analysis, broken link analysis, site auditing, and backlink analysis Ahrefs wins this hands down. It has a much more powerful crawling feature so it finds a lot more backlinks than Semrush does.
Ahrefs also has better domain recommendations than Semrush. Although, I must say SEMrush is catching up quickly. They are pouring a lot of resources into this capability. And it is likely to overtake Ahrefs within the year.
Ahrefs and Semrush have a similar starting subscription cost at $99 and $119.95. Given Ahrefs’ better features and usability, I would recommend Ahrefs to anyone getting started in SEO.
However, if you have the budget it is ideal to have both. In some instances of domains and keywords, one tool will have better data than the other.Colin Ma
Both SEMrush and Ahrefs are great tools for keyword research. Ahrefs is great for organic keyword research. It also provides you a ton of useful metrics like clicks, parent topic, keyword ideas, etc.
On the other hand, SEMrush offers you an all-in-one keyword tool. This helps you with both organic content research and PPC ad research.Richa Pathak
Ahrefs Vs Semrush
Here’s more of what our experts said
There is significant overlap in functionality of both tools. Both are capable tools for investigating backlink profiles, performing keyword research, and tracking rankings of important keywords.
Where the tools differ is in the breath of their indexes.
If you are an in-house marketer with a smaller budget, Ahrefs would be my go-to. You have access to the biggest link and keyword index, and the interface has a short learning curve.
On the other hand, if PPC spend is significant to your marketing strategy, Semrush is a clear winner. The tool just contains a lot more PPC ad data about your competitors.
If you’re working for a medium/large agency, you can probably justify subscribing to both tools. And then you can pick the best features of both.Roman Kim
When it comes to SEO, there are two top tools to use. Those of course are Semrush and Ahrefs.
However is one better than the other?
Well, here at electrIQ marketing, we have to say it all comes down to preference.
This is mostly because they both emphasize similar features including: link analysis, competitive analysis, keyword research, and rank tracking. Similarly, they both lack advanced capabilities when it comes to running technical audits which can be problematic.
Still, when you put them side by side this is how they compare.
Semrush is very straightforward to use. It is best when it comes to competitive intelligence tools. These tools help uncover competitor strategies and behaviors that help expand organic search reach.
We all know that through Semrush you can access competitor SEO and PPC strategies. However, one of the highlights of this software has to be its on page SEO Checker lists. That’s because of the ways to optimize your rankings through target keywords.
Additionally, their site audit tool helps to identify SEO issues and maintain SEO health of your site. Not to mention that it has a better overall Application Programming Interface (API) in our opinion. This allows you to choose certain tools and features without accessing the entire program.
Although it has tons of great features like the ones mentioned, an issue with this tool has to be its backlinking analysis, which is fairly faulty.
As for Ahrefs, it specializes in backlinks, keywords, and traffic level. Meaning that it has better backlinking tools than Semrush.
Their Rank Tracker tool is especially accurate. However when it comes to its competitor audit tools, it’s pretty much the same as Semrush. It’s greatest weakness is its API platform, which is weaker compared to the one hosted on Semrush.Brandon Amoroso
Ahrefs Vs Semrush – A Look at Some Killer Features and Attributes.
It’s important to know the killer features or attributes of a product or service before you buy. That’s because these are the essential qualities that prove so useful as to become the main reason for acquiring the product or service.
Within the context of our review of Ahrefs Vs Semrush, these are the attributes and features that you should consider before you part with your money for either Semrush vs Ahrefs.
Ready to look at some of these killer attributes? Awesome!
Then let’s dive in.
|Killer Attribute or Feature||What Makes the Attribute or Feature Indispensable?||Ahrefs Vs Semrush – Which SEO Tool is Best and Why?|
|Accuracy of Data for|
Search Volume for Keyword research.
|SEO and marketing professionals keyword research tools, and these rely on keyword data. For keyword research to be reliable, the data it relies upon must be accurate and constantly updated.||The recent demise of Jumpshot has highlighted the fact that Semrush has the most updates and the most accurate data for search volume for keyword research.|
For those who may be unaware, Jumpshot provided click data to various SEO tool providers that used that data in different ways including in keyword research tools. And, if any keyword research tools relied heavily on Jumpshot data, then accuracy of their data would be affected, post Jumpshot.
We recently conducted an experiment, where we analysed the data of three of the top keyword research tools – Ahrefs, Moz and Semrush.
All these tools provide keyword overview data with search volume numbers and historical trends, keyword difficulty, and other metrics.
Our research shows that Semrush is currently the only source of reliable keyword data among the top SEO providers.
|The Size of the Keywords Database |
|Does size matter?|
Well, this is one area where size definitely matters 🙂
The more keywords in the SEO tools database, the better your keyword research, and the better your SEO and PPC campaigns. So the size of the keywords database is absolutely fundamental.
|You will find below, the respective sizes of the keywords database for Ahrefs vs SEmrush. And it’s from their published official stats:|
Ahrefs: 7.8 billion keywords
Semrush: 20 billion keywords
Semrush has the largest keyword database of all the SEO tools! And at over 20 billion, Semrush database is nearly 3 times bigger than the Ahrefs database.
|Accuracy of Position|
|A crucial aspect part of any worthwhile SEO strategy is knowing what is working (and what isn’t).|
One key way of finding out what’s working is the ability to keep track of your site’s position in SERPs using specialised tools.
|All Semrush price plans come with daily data updates and mobile rankings as standard. Plus as an Semrush user, you can get additional keywords by default, with no additional payments or add-ons required. The Semrush Position Tracking Tool is perfect for SEO and marketing specialists because it provides basic tracking functionalities as standard.|
For Ahrefs, as you can see from their price plan, you need to upgrade to either their Advanced price plan ($399/m) or their Agency price plan ($999/m) to have tracked data every 3 months with mobile ranking.
On other hand if you would like daily updates, mobile ranking, and up to 100,000 keywords, then you need to upgrade to Rank Tracker Pro after subscribing to any plan (for an additional 50$ for every 500).
|SEO Reporting||An SEO Report provides an overview of how a website is performing in Google and the other search engines. Their focus is usually on domain metrics, organic traffic, and rankings. However, a good SEO Report can also showcase any work done by an SEO freelancer or SEO agency.||Ahrefs does not offer a|
separate service for any reports. Ahrefs users cannot therefore cannot create or schedule custom reports.
On other hand, in Semrush you CAN quickly and easily create a SEO Reports. These SEO Reports will let you track all the KPIs you need.
Semrush makes it easy for you to create amazing, visually appealing custom PDF reports. With Semrush you can also have Branded and White Label reports, plus report scheduling and integration with GA, GMB and GSC.
|How do you protect yourself against spam or negative SEO caused by toxic backlinks? And if you’re hit with the dreaded Google penalty, how do you recover? Just to put that into context, every month Google initiates more than 400,000 manual actions against websites and processes 20,000 reconsideration requests from webmasters.|
You need a good SEO tool to combat and prevent those link penalties from happening again.
|Semrush users cab detoxify their backlink portfolio and strengthen their SERPs rankings by getting rid of potentially harmful backlinks.|
The Semrush Backlink Tool provides a detailed analysis of toxic backlinks, toxic score and toxic markers. There is also the option of outreach.
Unfortunately, Ahrefs does not currently have any toxic
|Content Marketing Platform||Content creation is the process of creating written or visual content, and making them available.|
Why is it important? According to Hubspot, “Content creation is the ultimate inbound marketing practice. When you create content, you’re providing free and useful information to your audience, attracting potential customers to your website, and retaining existing customers through quality engagement.”
So you want an SEO tool that makes content creation a breeze.
|The Semrush Content Marketing Platform provides an all-encompassing approach to content marketing with content optimization and creation tools.|
The platform is feature-rich and has many unique features that that are designed to take your content creation to the next level. Check out the following features: SEO Writing Assistant, On Page SEO Checker/SEO Content Template, Content Audit, Post Tracking and Brand Monitoring.
Ahrefs has the Ahrefs Content Explorer which has the ability to find the most popular content on every topic.
However, it is not as robust and versatile as the Semrush Content Marketing Platform.
Semrush Vs Ahrefs – Review Summary
Semrush and Ahrefs are two of the best SEO tools currently available. Although the two software solutions can be used for the same things, they have differing strengths.
Semrush is better for keyword research and competitive analysis. Semrush has a larger keyword database than Ahrefs, with almost 20 billion keywords. In addition, Semrush lets you see more keyword results in its reports than Ahrefs. The Semrush Keyword Magic tool is the most efficient way to access this information.
On the other hand, Ahrefs is better for backlink analysis and SEO site audits. Ahrefs has a larger backlink database than Semrush, and updates this database more frequently. As a result, the tool surfaces a greater number of backlinks for your website and competitor websites.
Semrush or Ahrefs?
Semrush Vs Ahrefs – Our Verdict
In our view, Semrush just about edges it. Yes, Semrush wins this contest!
However, it is a very close call. And it’s probably down to perspective.
That’s because in reality, it’s very difficult to separate these two SEO giants and choose a winner.
Having said that, we must point out that here at Astute Copy Blogging,
- We love Semrush,
- We use Semrush; and
- We highly recommend Semrush!
However, we will gladly pay for both tools every month because they complement each other very well. And they do this in many different ways.
Our advise will be to use both software if you can afford them.
If not, try them both and choose the one that best suits your needs and unique circumstances.
Now Your Turn – What Tools Do You Use For SEO?
This is the SEO conversation of the year. Semrush vs Ahrefs: Which SEO tool is best?
It’s what every body is talking about.
What about you? What tools do you use for SEO? Do you use any of these SEO tools:
Are SEO Tools Worth It?
What do you think? Want to share your thoughts?
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