Ahrefs Review: The best backlink explorer tool
Ahrefs is one of the best backlink explorer tool available in the internet. It competes really well by having its amazing features with other backlink explorer tools like MOZ’s OpenSiteExplorer and Majestic SEO backlink explorer. They have their own backlink index which is fresh and growing in huge daily.
In this article, I am going to review Ahrefs tool.
This tool is very useful in exploring the backlinks of a particular website. It also helps in giving the social media insights of the sites you want. In SEO, it is the most recommended tool for analyzing your competitor’s backlinks.
With Ahrefs tool, you will get a lot of information about your competitor’s SEO practices, so that you develop better strategies than your competitors.
Though Ahrefs tool is not cheap, it does provides a lot of data for the price you pay. Their initial plan comes for $99 per month. If you buy annual subscription, you will get a discount and the final price would be $82.5 per month. Their initial lite plan is limited to 5 campaigns only and it can track up to 300 keywords. You can only able to export reports up to 5 million rows per month using lite plan. If you want greater limits then, you should get standard or an advanced plan. These prices may change with time, as of now, I have already mentioned the current rates in the above.
Ease of Use:
Ahrefs has a very easy to use user interface. But since it offers many other SEO tools in just one platform, it may take some time to adapt to its user interface.
They are not available 24 hours a day, so unless you are from USA, you have to wait few hours in order to hear from them. But their support is good, if you have any problems, you can always reach to them.
- Ahrefs has an amazing site explorer where you will get information about the most recent backlinks information of any site you want. If you want to know what backlinks your competitor is building, you can get the most recent data with Ahrefs site explorer.
- Ahrefs content explorer helps in finding new ideas for your blog. You can simply enter a topic name in the content explorer and search for the posts which are being shared a lot across the internet.
- It also has Positions explorer where you can check your top keywords which are bringing you good organic traffic and you can do the same for your competitors also.
- It also offers excellent crawl reports where you can able to see critical data of your site.
- The keyword tool still needs to be improved as it is limited to basic features only
- Many bloggers prefer using the Standard plan in Ahrefs. But it is a bit pricier for a newbie blogger who is just starting out.
On overall I must say, it is one of the essential tool every content marketer should possess. If you are serious about improving your search engine visibility of your site, you should always stay one step ahead of your competitors. For researching your competitor’s content marketing strategies, Ahrefs tool will work flawlessly. It gives you up to date link information about where your competitors are building links. So that, you can stay ahead of them by overcoming their content marketing strategy and mixing your own strategy.
To help you understand in a better way, I am going to explain the features that Ahrefs is offering to its customers. If you are serious about your marketing, you will learn a lot from competitor research using Ahrefs tool.
According to Hubspot, the more content you post, the better traffic you will get to your site. If you are already publishing content in your blog from a very long time, you might have understood how it will be like to get traffic from the content we post.
Image source: Hubspot
As you can see in the above image, blogs with more than 400 posts tend to receive double traffic than blogs with posts less than 300. And you can also see, there is a steady increase in the traffic with the increase of blog posts.
Many popular blogs like SearchEngineLand posts around 5 – 10 posts daily and it’s obvious that it receives more traffic than any other SEO blog. As we all know, creating content does not come in cheap, if you are writing by your own, it takes lot of your time and efforts, if you are hiring someone to write for your blog, it costs money. Everyone will publish content expecting that they will get traffic for the content they post.
But, the truth is, out of 100% of our content, only 20% of your content will bring you good traffic. So how to know which content will bring you good traffic? By having the right insights about your competitors, you will have better idea on how to do a better content marketing to get good traffic. Ahrefs will do a very good job in providing insights about your competitor’s content marketing techniques.
Ahrefs is a comprehensive suite which provides access to SEO and social tools where you can analyze your competitor’s SEO and social marketing techniques and then you can compare your website with them and understand what is working for them and what is not working for you.
In this article, I am going to explain the amazing features of Ahrefs and how you can use them for your content marketing.
Why you need Insights?
What if I ask you to sail the boat in a sea without a compass? It will be hard for anyone to sail without having a compass, because they don’t know where they are going without a compass. Marketing is also same, if you don’t have any insights to follow, it will be hard to see success. Every successful marketer first analyzes their competitor and tries to do better than their competitor which will help them to gain more traffic.
Suppose, after you have analyzed your competitor’s site, you will get some insights like what content is bringing good traffic to them and what are the strongest links for them? If you have these kind of insights, you can try to do better than your competitors and thereby you can get better traffic than them.
Here are the top four reasons why you need some insights in your content marketing strategy:
Spying your competitor
Know what keywords are bringing them good traffic to their website? And how are those keywords performing in search and social media?
If you can able to find answers to the above questions, you can create a better content with the same keywords your competitor is getting traffic from, so that you too can get benefit by getting good traffic and also your website will perform better in search and social media networks.
Get new content ideas
Know what type of content your competitor’s are creating and see which type of content is getting more shares and likes.
For example if your competitor has created a content on 5 Keyword Rank Tools which has gotten too many likes and shares. Then, you can create similar content to attract those visitors to your blog too.
Get Backlinks data
From which websites your competitors are getting backlinks from? What type of content is getting more backlinks?
If you can get answers to these questions, you can easily build links to your website by creating such type of content in your website. For example if your competitor has gotten a link from MOZ’s website for the content on How to get Wikipedia backlinks? Then you can create similar content in your website and try to reach them that you have better content than them.
Finding Like Minded People
The people who share, like and retweet your website are the most important people for your website. If you can find those people, and engage with them, you can increase your website’s engagement and get more traffic.
Myths you should know first before you buy Ahrefs:
No doubt Ahrefs is an amazing tool. It helps me in finding new backlink opportunities for my blog and also gives me new content ideas. But one thing people need to understand before buying Ahrefs is that it only offers great features but you are the one who is going to use those features. It won’t do the work for you. You have to do the work with those features.
You have to set sometime for it in order to use this tool. Since, it has lot of tools in it, you need to set aside some time to make use of those features. Many people think like, if I buy this service, it will automatically do the job for you. But it won’t. Of course, it has some amazing tools which you need to use in order to find out new link opportunities and new content ideas. Without spending some time on this tool, you won’t get any usefulness from it.
So buy this service only if you think you can dedicate sometime for researching with Ahrefs.
Without spending some time on Ahrefs, you won’t get any benefit buying that. Apart from that you will lose your hard earned money if you don’t spend any time on it. If you still think you can dedicate sometime, continue reading this article.
I will show you
- How to increase engagement rate for your posts with Ahrefs
- How to do a better keyword research
- How to find high quality link opportunities and avoid private blog networks.
- How your competitor has attained good rankings
Who should not buy Ahrefs
- Don’t buy this if you are just a casual blogger. As you won’t get any benefit from its deep insights. At the end you won’t make any profits if you don’t know how to make use of these deep insights.
- Don’t buy this, if you are in a niche which was not known by anyone. You won’t get much data from this tool, if your niche is not so popular.
- Currently the lite plan for Ahrefs is $99. If you are on a low budget and you can’t afford this much money, don’t go for it.
- If you are not a regular blogger, you won’t get much value from it.
Finally, let’s dive into Ahrefs review:
The following are the amazing features of Ahrefs
- Crawl Reports
- Site Explorer
- Content Explorer
- Positions Explorer
- Keyword Explorer
- SEO Toolbar
- Domain Comparisons
- Link Intersect Report
- Batch Analysis
After you have added your website to Ahrefs, you will be able to see the crawl report of your website which will help in finding how your site is performing.
Below is the snapshot of my site added to Ahrefs
For example in the above, I can able to see the critical and non-critical errors for my site. If I fix those errors, it will help in increase my search engine visibility.
If you click on Performance block in the right side of your Ahrefs tool, you can able to see the load time of each page in your website. If you have high load time means, it will affect your performance. Here is an article from MOZ about how site speed impacts search rankings.
So, if you have high load time for your pages, try to improve your site speed to get better performance.
With Ahrefs, you can also view which pages are generating 404 errors. Review the pages which are broken and fix them, because if you have too many broken links means, it will impact your search engine rankings in a negative way.
Apart from that, In Crawl Report, you can also analyze your content, Titles, Meta Descriptions, Meta keywords, H1 and H2 tags. This will help in finding any duplicate titles you have in your content.
With all these features, you can do a better on page SEO for your website which will help you for better search engine rankings.
Read >> On Page SEO Techniques in 2016
The number one tool in Ahrefs is its site explorer. Actually, the company Ahrefs got popular with its site explorer tool only. Most of the marketers spend tons of time exploring competitor’s backlinks with this tool.
Site Explorer offers a lot of features in a single tool. With this tool, you will be able to get your domain rank from Ahrefs for your website, your domain rating, number of backlinks, referring domains etc.
You will be able to compare your website’s referring pages and domains for different months. Slow growth in your referring domains indicate poor promotion of your website. You need to have good number of referring pages in order to get good number of backlinks.
Here is how it looks like
Ahrefs has the best index of links and with this you will be able to get information about the most recent backlinks you have acquired for your domain.
You will be able to explore the following features with Site Explorer tool.
- The number of backlinks your site has
- Type of backlinks your site has (Nofollow, dofollow, Redirect, SiteWide, Educational, Governmental etc.)
- Your estimated domain and URL rating
- CTLD’s distribution of your backlinks which tells where your backlinks are distributed in the world.
- Anchor text cloud, where you can find out which anchor text was used most and how much percentage each anchor was used.
- With Top referring TLD’s, you will be able to find from which TLD you have got backlinks from.
- You can find the number of social shares your website has. For example, you will be able to see the number of Facebook shares, Google plus, LinkedIn shares and Pinterest pins.
- Apart from all these, you will be able to export all these features to CSV or PDF file.
Usually, you can’t do anything with this much amount of data, but you will be able to get a quick glance on your website’s link profile. If you are doing a SEO consulting, you will be able to give a lot information to your clients using this tool.
- Top Pages
Site Explorer offers Top Pages option where you can able to view the top pages of any website. These top pages are the pages which performs really well in the search engines for that particular website.
With this feature, you can able to view your competitor’s top performing pages in the web and try to replicate their content, so that there will be more chances to get more traffic by attracting new visitors.
For example, in the above, you can see my top posts and the number of backlinks they have. You can also see the number of social shares each post has. You can get the same data for your competitor URL’s also. Using these details, you can apply the same marketing techniques which your competitors are using for ranking their pages.
- Grossing Pages
With Grossing Pages feature in Site Explorer, you will be able to explore the top grossing pages for your website, which will help in finding which pages are earning more links are.
With this cool feature, you can explore the top grossing pages in your competitor’s website and create a better content than them and reach out to the blog owners who has already linked to your competitor’s website and suggest them your link saying you have better content than them.
It is a great way to attract new backlinks to your website.
With this Links feature only Ahrefs got famous for. Existing tools like Open Site Explorer from MOZ, their link indexing is very slow, and you won’t able to get backlink data quickly. But with Ahrefs Site Explorer, you will get the most recent data of your backlinks.
This tool also offers a Disavow tool where you can disavow bad links in your website’s link profile.
- Disavow Tool
Some spammers may try to bring down your website’s rankings by building too many spam links to your website. For this, Google has officially recommended to disavow bad links using Google Webmasters Central.
It is an advanced feature in SEO, use it carefully if you really needed it for your website. Even Google issued a warning before you use this tool. Here is the warning
Ahrefs offers a tool where you can create a file which contains links to disavow and upload them in your Google webmasters central.
It is very simple to disavow links in Ahrefs. Just check the links you want disavow and click on Disavow URL’s.
If the number of URL’s you want to disavow are more, you can save all those URLS in a file and upload it to Ahrefs.
- Sorting of Links
You can sort your links basing on your requirements using Ahrefs filter option. Site Explorer has inbuilt filter option to filter the backlinks. If you want only nofollow links data, you can get that using its filter option.
- Nofollow Links
- Sitewide links
- Educational and Governmental links
- Sort Links by platform (WordPress, Ecommerce, Message Boards etc.)
- Sort links by language also.
This feature is useful when finding which links are brining good value to your website.
- New / Lost Links
With New / Lost links feature in Ahrefs, it is easy to keep track of your newly acquired links as well as the links that got dropped recently. In Site Explorer, you will be able to find the new and lost links between specified time periods. If you want to know what are the links you have acquired between the month of January and February, You can do that in Site Explorer and the same thing applies for lost links too. Here is how you can find that.
In the above screenshot, choose the time period you want see the backlinks acquired or lost. And then, you will be able to find the link data below.
There are very good benefits with this feature, with new links data, you can reach out to the website owners who linked your website recently and get engage with them, so that you can increase the chances of repeated links from them.
And it is a good way to connect to the blog owners from where you lost links recently and notify them about the link down. So, that you can always maintain your link profiles.
Here is the email template if you would like to connect with the blog owners.
For New Links
Hi (Blog Owner Name),
My name is (Insert Your Name Here) and I am the owner or editor of the blog (your blog address).
Today, while I was browsing my website analytics, I saw you linked to one of my content (insert link here) from your site.
I just wanted to say Thanks for linking my website in your content. One day, if I find anything relevant to my content in your site, I will be glad to link back to your site.
Just let me know if you need any help J
The goal of the above email is to just get in touch with the blog owner, next time if your content is in good place to get a link from them, you can gladly ask them for a link back.
For Broken Links
Hey (Blog Owner Name),
My name is (Insert Your Name Here) and I am the owner of the blog (Insert Your Blog Name Here).
I just wanted to let you know that, one of your page recently went down and it is returning a 404 error. In case if you would like to fix it, here is the link (Please insert the URL for the page which was broken).
(Insert Your Name here)
Here also, the purpose of this email is to get in touch with the blog owner. Once you establish a good communication with him, you can pitch him for more links.
- Broken Links Backlinks
Site Explorer will also help in finding the broken links in a particular site. It can help in finding broken links in your site, so that you can fix those broken URL’s for better performance. It is also helpful in finding new backlink opportunities.
You can reach to the blog owners who has some broken links and let them know about their broken links and also pitch them with your content recommendation to link in their content.
- Content Explorer
Content Explorer helps in finding top shared content across the web. This is a great way to get new traffic by building new content. Just enter the topic related to your niche and check the results. You will be shown with top shared content across the web in your niche. Once you get the results, you can replicate the same content and publish the article in your website which can attract new audience to your blog.
In the above example, I have searched for “Content Marketing” keyword in content explorer. Now, I am presented with top shared content on “Content Marketing”. If you write a new article on the above suggested topic and publish my article in my blog, I may have the chances in attracting new audience to my blog.
You can also filter the results which you got in content explorer. You can filter them based on time, like if you wanted to get top shared content in past 24 hours, you can do so by using the filter option.
You can also find the number of social shares acquired by these top posts. With this, you will be able to find how much popular this content is and decide whether to replicate or not.
Content Analysis Breakdown
This is another good feature in Ahrefs. You can actually see the content’s performance before you even decide to recreate in your blog. Once you think that this type of content can bring good performance in your blog. You can create similar content on your blog to attract more audience.
As you can see in the above picture, you can see different graphs shows the distribution of organic keywords, traffic, backlinks, referring domains of that content. Once you find all these details, you will know whether creating this type of content in your blog will get your more visitors or not.
More number of shares, backlinks and good traffic means, you should definitely recreate the content in your blog.
- Positions Explorer
This is another cool feature of Ahrefs. Just enter the domain name in the positions explorer to get more details about that domain. You will get details like who are the top 10 competitors for that entered domain. What is the estimated organic traffic coming to that site? What are the organic keywords which are brining good traffic to that domain? What are the top pages for that domain? And many more features.
If you click on the Top Pages option in the right hand side of the dashboard, you can get the top pages for that domain. It’s important to have this data about your competitors because many sites will get most of the traffic from long tail keywords. If you can able to find what those pages are, you can create similar content in your blog to get more traffic.
With positions explorer, you can also get information about the PPC keywords a domain is using. If your competitor is using PPC also for promoting their website, then you can easily know from what keywords he is attracting new traffic to his site.
- Keyword Explorer
Keyword explorer is another great tool in Ahrefs. With keyword explorer you can get relevant keyword suggestions. Just enter the keyword you want to get long tail keyword ideas in the search bar. After hitting enter, you will be shown with relevant keyword suggestions under the results.
In the above, I have entered “seo tools” as a search term and after hitting enter, I got the above keyword suggestions. This is very useful when you are lost and have no ideas on which topic you should create content. This tool will help you in giving new content ideas.
- Domain Comparison
With domain comparison, you can compare up to 5 domains against each other. See below for example.
In the above, I have compared three domains, and you can compare a lot of metrics against each website. This will gives an overview on each site.
- SEO Toolbar
Ahrefs has its own toolbar for both Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. It gives quick details of each site while you browse or search in the Google search.
As you can see in the above, it gives details like
- URL Ranking
- Domain Ranking
- And Social Shares
If you browse a website, Ahrefs toolbar will display information about that site in the top of the page. See below for screenshot.
Finally, with lot of features for $99, it’s worth to have this tool for your marketing purposes. If you are serious about your website and wanted to improve its rankings and wanted stay ahead of your competitors all the time, then you must possess this tool.
Share your comments below if you have any.