Top 5 Defining Features of Ahrefs vs. Semrush

Published 2021-05-17T06:00:00 by Bryan Miller

The success of any online business depends somewhat on the strength of its search engine optimization. While paid advertisements can help you bring in customers from different locations, the best way to bring organic traffic to your website is by making sure that your website appears towards the top of relevant search results. By optimizing your website for search engines, you can enhance the visibility of your website, which should pay dividends as you attempt to grow and obtain long-term success.

When you want to perform search engine optimization, there is a range of unique and useful tools that can aid you in this process. Two of the best SEO optimization tools are Ahrefs and SEMrush. Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO toolset that allows you to perform a site audit, track ranking progress, and analyze the competition. SEMrush is an online visibility management platform that provides site owners with tools for SEO, market research, social media, advertising, and content marketing. Both tools are known to be highly effective at helping websites gain visibility and improve ranking performance.

These two tools are considered to be competitors because they provide many of the same benefits to site owners who want to improve their websites. For instance, both tools can provide you with the best keyword suggestions that you can use to bolster your SEO efforts. They can also help you determine the difficulty of ranking for specific keywords and phrases. Both tools can perform an SEO audit of your website that allows you to identify how your SEO efforts can improve if you want to obtain better rankings. This article serves as a comparison guide between Ahrefs and SEMrush that should help you determine which tool is right for you.

Pricing for Ahrefs vs SEMrush

When you start to compare the differences between Ahrefs and SEMrush, you should first look at the pricing of the two tools. The cost breakdown for the SEMrush is:

  • Pro – $120 per month
  • Guru – $230 per month
  • Business – $450 per month

The base plan allows you to track up to 500 keywords and provides you with comprehensive analytics. While you receive extensive SEO features with the base plan, the higher pricing tiers allow you to unlock full functionality. If you decide to pay annually, you will receive a 17-percent discount on the total annual price. Keep in mind that a free trial is available, which allows users to create a project and track 10 separate keywords.

When looking specifically at Ahrefs, this tool is available in four packages, which are separated into:

  • Lite – $99 every month
  • Standard – $179 every month
  • Advanced – $399 every month
  • Agency – $999 every month

If you purchase the lite plan, you’ll receive many of the more important features that are available through this tool, which include keyword research and backlink analysis. However, features like historical research are only available in higher tiers. Both of these tools provide you with the ability to create five different projects when you purchase the basic plan. If you want to try out the Ahrefs tool, you can access the lite plan or standard plan for seven days, which should give you a better idea if the plan is worth the cost. Paying upfront for an entire year will give you two months of the plan for free.

You should also be aware of the different add-ons that you can select with each tool. When using SEMrush, one of the main add-ons available to you is “trends”, which costs $200 per month and gives you total access to features like benchmarking, traffic analysis, and competitor benchmarking. A local SEO add-on is also available for $20-$40 every month. When you obtain this add-on, you’ll be able to manage Facebook listings, monitor reviews, track local rankings, and send business information to various directories. Compared to SEMrush, Ahrefs doesn’t have any notable add-ons for you to purchase.

If price is the main concern of yours, both tools provide many beneficial features that are worth the cost. While the tools are expensive, they give site owners access to a substantial amount of data that are typically hard to come by. With this data in hand, you can improve your content marketing, SEO efforts, and website layout.

Keyword Research Features

keyword image features

When you’re considering purchasing one of these tools, you’ll find that both offer strong keyword research tools. These tools are also very easy to use. Keyword research is an essential component of SEO that involves:

  • Identifying the number of people who are searching for a specific keyword
  • Determining the difficulty of ranking for each keyword
  • Identifying which websites are ranking for the keyword you’re interested in
  • Obtaining suggestions for other keywords

SEMrush and Ahrefs are considered to be great at helping users perform keyword research. To search for a specific keyword, you can go to the “Keyword Overview” section in SEMrush and the “Keyword Explorer” section in Ahrefs. Once you enter a keyword, you’ll be provided with related keywords, sites that currently rank the keyword, search volume, and a difficulty score.

SEMrush provides slightly more precise measurements of keyword difficulty. As for Ahrefs, this tool provides users with the number of backlinks that are needed to appear on the initial page of search results for a given keyword, which can be very useful. Another advantage that Ahrefs has is that it performs extensive keyword research for up to 10 different search engines. In comparison, SEMrush only performs keyword research for Google.

Backlinking Features

Creating backlinks is very important for improving site visibility as well as your search rankings. Backlinking is a common practice that involves placing a hyperlink on one website that takes a user to another website when they click on it. Your performance in search engines like Google depends somewhat on how many backlinks lead to your website. If you want to measure your backlink performance, it’s important to look at the backlink database size for SEMrush and Ahrefs.

In general, the databank size is larger with SEMrush. The SEMrush tool consists of more than 800 million domains. In comparison, the Ahrefs tool contains around 180 million domains. As such, SEMrush should be better for backlink analysis. However, both tools can provide similar results. For one domain, Ahrefs could list out more backlinks than SEMrush. The opposite is also true. As for backlink tools and features, SEMrush and Ahrefs offer the country of origin for backlinks, domain types, the anchor text that was used, and lost vs. new domains. Many users believe that SEMrush displays all of this information more efficiently. However, Ahrefs is somewhat easier to use.

Site Auditing Features

site auditing features

Site auditing is a highly important feature that gives you the ability to measure your website’s SEO performance. If pages on your website aren’t ranking as high as you want them to on search results, a site audit will tell you why. The kinds of ranking issues that can be detected during a site audit include:

  • Missing headers
  • SSL problems
  • Slow-loading content
  • Crawl errors
  • Duplicate content
  • Broken links
  • Using too many keywords

Each tool provides you with the functionality necessary to perform a comprehensive site audit. The SEMrush SEO checker can be particularly helpful since it provides suggestions on how to effectively improve your SEO. These suggestions can include:

  • How long your content should be
  • Which keywords you should add
  • Which websites you should use for backlinks
  • How to enhance meta descriptions

Domain Analysis Features

Among the more useful features available through both SEMrush and Ahrefs is domain analysis, which allows you to obtain an overview of your site performance as it pertains to SEO. While performing a domain analysis on your website will help you improve your SEO efforts, it’s also possible to perform an SEO competitor analysis with this tool, which can be just as beneficial.

Performing a domain analysis is simple and straightforward with each tool. Once you enter a domain, you’ll obtain:

  • The number of keywords that the website currently ranks for
  • Competing domains
  • Most common anchor text
  • Number of backlinks that lead to the website
  • An authority score
  • An estimate that tells you how many visitors reach your website each month

If you’re interested in learning how many visitors reach your website, SEMrush may be the more accurate tool. SEMrush also gives you context on their estimate by telling you the accuracy of the estimate, which could be low, medium, or high. Another great tool available in SEMrush is a competitive positioning map, which gives you a visual display of how your site is performing when compared to other websites.


ahrefs vs semrush conclusion

Both Ahrefs and SEMrush are considered to be best in class when it comes to site and SEO analysis, which means that you can’t go wrong with either of them. Nearly all types of businesses that have an online presence use these two tools. If you want to measure site performance across multiple search engines, Ahrefs may be the better tool for you. Its pricing is also lower for businesses that need to create multiple accounts. On the other hand, SEMrush is ideal for businesses that would like a more comprehensive tool. Features like PPC data and phone support are only available with SEMrush.

No matter which tool you choose for your website, you’ll be provided with many great features that can help you identify areas of your website that need improvement, which is more important than ever. If you want your website to succeed and potentially move ahead of the competition, the site and SEO analysis feature available with these tools can help you reach these goals.

For instance, performing keyword research will make it easier to identify keywords that will improve your search ranking. The site auditing features will help you determine where your SEO efforts are lacking. Once you start taking advantage of the defining features of SEMrush and Ahrefs, your website’s performance should improve, which will help you gain more traffic and higher conversions.

Bryan Miller

Bryan Miller

Bryt Designs

Bryan Miller is an entrepreneur and web tech enthusiast specializing in web design, development and digital marketing. Bryan is a recent graduate of the MBA program at the University of California, Irvine and continues to pursue tools and technologies to find success for clients across a varieties of industries.

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