Today we are going to compare one another to understand these platforms better.
Ahrefs has been known to be focused on links, though along the years they have developed a ton of features and have made themselves a severe competitor to Semrush.
Semrush provides a suite of SEO toolsets and offers the analysis of a website’s search engine visibility, making it an essential tool for SERPs.
The question most of us have, is how to choose between the two, and what is the difference between the two?
I will breakdown the comparison between Ahrefs and Semrush in terms of:
- Backlink analysis
- Keyword Research
- Some SEO tools
- Their unique features
So, if we look back, the main difference used to be that Semrush did start as an SEO tool, whereas, Ahrefs transitioned into one. Now that both provide similar features, we will try to focus on their differences.
Which Tool To Use For Keyword Research?
I have tested both Ahref and Semrush and realized that Ahrefs has an advantage over Semrush in keyword research on the search engines you can actually perform research for.
Search engines are searchable databases of worldwide content.
Ahrefs will provide you with data for ten (10) search engines:
While Semrush will provide only for Google, as of 2019, the Semrush database contained 21.1 billion keywords, 808 million domains for 190 countries and regions, 43 trillion backlinks, and 1 billion Google Ads.
Each search engine intends to provide users with the most informative and relevant results.
They estimate the organic traffic a website gets differently, but Semrush provides more in-depth keyword data when compared to Ahrefs.
Ahrefs will show:
- Search volume
Semrush will provide more data, such as:
- Search volume trend
- Number of results
People who do keyword analysis may find Semrush more useful, as they prefer to focus on quickness, and having everything you need in one place is a huge help.
But, the main difference between Semrush and other SEO tools when it comes to keyword research features is that you will also have data from Google PPC. The availability of both SEO and PPC data makes Semrush’s keyword research feature UNIQUE.
Both of these tools dominate the SEO landscape. In addition, Ahrefs provides two keyword research features to its users: keyword explorer and organic keywords.
The keyword explorer basically works like this; Write in a keyword, and get different suggestions, but what make’s it interesting is that besides the search volume, it will also provide you the data on how many click you’ll get if you decide to compete for that keyword.
You can also expand the results with keyword explorer to get different keyword ideas. Ahrefs also has a better UI experience, but despite these facts Semrush provides more insightful data when it comes to keyword research.
Backlink Analysis: Ahrefs or Semrush?
I will summarize backlinks quickly.
Backlinks or inbound links are links on other websites that drive traffic to your site. Backlinks are a reflection of your website’s popularity.
As mentioned above, Ahrefs started as a backlink tool and Semrush as a keyword research and tracking tool.
Ahrefs used to have a handful of features for link building, for example, “Best By Links”, which allows you to see what type of content is working for your niche.
On the other hand, Semrush had a feature called “Link building Tool”. This tool was designed to help you find link opportunities.
But, nowadays, Semrush has been investing a lot in its link index and backlink analysis. In some cases, Semrush found almost 2.5x more than Ahrefs regarding “Total Backlinks”.
Nobody wants to waste more time than is required for link building; in this case, UI plays an important role, as it will save you time.
Ahrefs and Semrush give you a preview of the text around each backlink, making it easier to understand why users link to a particular page.
Some users prefer Ahrefs for backlink analysis, as it has an extensive backlinks database.
Ahrefs confidently declares that they have the largest database of live backlinks, which includes over 160 billion unique URLs.
Additionally, Ahrefs has a range of features for analyzing backlinks, the ability to track new and lost backlinks, to detect negative SEO attacks, and to identify the strongest backlinks for a certain website.
While Semrush provides detailed analytics on backlink profiles, including:
- The number and quality of backlinks
- Top anchor texts used
- Pages linking to a website
You decide which one will suit you better in this case.
Site Audit Feature: Technical SEO analysis
This feature will determine your overall health score, giving you an idea of how SEO-friendly your site is.
Let’s see which tool is better for finding SEO problems.
Semrush will provide information such as:
- Crawled Pages
- Broken links
- HTTP status
- Internal Linking
- Site Performance
Semrush also provides recommendations to fix the issues and track the progress of your website’s optimization overtime.
It also has a remarkable internal link distribution feature, which will give you an insight into how well your internal links are for SEO ranking. For example, getting internal links from high-authority pages to those needing to improve their authority score is highly suggested.
And this feature allows you to see if your site’s link authority is moving in the right direction.
Ahrefs site audit feature also will give you an overall health score, which unfortunately, is based on the “noindex” tag. This is a problem for some websites as they intentionally do not want Google to index, and this gives a false health score.
Ahrefs will also let you know about issues such as slow-loading pages and meta descriptions.
Both these are issues that should be fixed, and it is nice to see that Ahrefs provides insight into real problems as well.
Have you heard about Ahrefs new feature? The “Structure Explorer” feature.
This feature will show you the distribution of HTTP status codes across different sections of your site. The higher the status codes or timeouts, the more you focus your attention to them.
Which one wins when it comes to technical SEO features? This one is a personal choice as well.
Ahrefs User Interface compared to SEMrush
Semrush’s UI is more cluttered compared to Ahrefs one.
Ahrefs UI is known for its comprehensive reports and analytics; it seems to have more of a configuration process where it will genuinely require information from you for it to provide insightful information back to you.
Semrush’s dashboard is more complicated than Ahrefs, at least for my taste.
Which One is Better for Rank Tracking?
Since both tools have the feature for rank tracking, we best compare the two.
Semrush regularly checks your ranking in Google for the keywords you feed.
It has a Visibility score, which will give you a score percentage of your site’s visibility, and what makes it exciting is that they update their tracked keywords every day.
- Position Tracking
Position Tracking allows you to track any keywords, domains, and competitors on Google.
Sensor Allows you to track the volatility of Google’s and Baidu’s SERPs based on daily changes in rankings.
Ranks will research the domains with the most organic visibility in global market.
Making this feature a vital one for Semrush.
Ahrefs Rank Tracking feature allows you to supervise your Google ranking on desktop and mobile across 150+ countries.
You can track your SEO’s outcome with this feature, as it provides interactive graphs, such as:
- Average position & traffic
- Positions distribuion
You can also get data on a total of 13 features.
With Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker (RT) charts your data will be compared against your competitors on three areas:
- Ranking progress
- Search Traffic
- SERP features
And RT feature will also send you email reports detailing the notable changes in your keyword rankings, with a sample of gained or lost SERP features.
Making RT feature a dominant one, especially when compared to Ahrefs competitors.
Ahrefs vs Semrush: Plans and Pricing
Both tools offer attractive plans and two alternatives when it comes to their pricing.
The monthly payment will cost more, whereas paying annually will save you close to $200.
Ahref’s every plan will come with one Power use, which can be consumed up to 500 times in a month.
Users are people that you can invite to join and be able to access your workspace. They are free to invite, and they will have to pay when they start using Ahrefs tools, excluding the Site Audit and Rank tracker.
These users remain free as long as they don’t pass their limit of five (5) credits each month.
The amount a user will be charged for depends on usage level:
- Inactive – 0 to 5, no fee.
- Casual – 6 to 100, $20/month, $200/year.
- Power – 101 to 500, $50/month, $500/year.
If you decide to pay annually, you will get two (2) months for free.
Semrush has three (3) different Plans & Pricing:
Each provides a different number of projects, keywords to track, keyword results, etc.
In conclusion, I would go with Semrush, as it not only provides more data, but also the pricing seems to be suitable for me.
To decide you need to weigh in many factors, it even depends in which field your business is. Consequently, it’s only your choice to make.