Ahrefs In-Depth Review and Tutorial for Serious Marketers

by Corey Philip
December 14, 2020

6 Ways To Use Ahrefs

6 Fun Additional Features

20 Experts Consulted

999++ Hours Using Ahrefs

Brands that are big and on the up and up put out top-tier and consistent content to appeal to most of their target audiences. In fact, producing premium content is considered the preferred end goal for a lot of sites since this gains the trust of consumers and encourages them to stay loyal to the brand. Thus, 72% of online marketers believe that an effective content marketing tactic is creating high-quality content for your website. With this in mind, site owners must figure out how to gain website traffic through content that can ultimately bring in more profit and opportunities for their sites.

Veterans in this field are well aware of how most of the content they put out may not always succeed in increasing the number of their website visitors. Typically, only a few of the content you're publishing will contribute to your brand's growth and development. Ensuring this will even cost you a considerable amount of money.

About 59% of marketers have trouble keeping up with the demand for crafting unique and attention-grabbing content that can appeal to a broader audience. This is where SEO and marketing tools like Ahrefs come in to save the day. Read on to learn what you can do with it so you, too, can get more traffic and actually profit from it.

First Things First—What is Ahrefs?

Ahrefs is a multinational start-up company located in Singapore established by its CEO Dmitry Gerasimenko. This company provides e a set of software tools for site audits, rank tracking, link building, keyword research, and competitor analysis. It first began its operations in 2010, mostly for the purpose of analyzing backlinks. Today, it has expanded its features and services to become one of the top SEO suites on the world wide web.

Having a platform on the internet can be a complicated and intimidating path to take. Nonetheless, Ahrefs can help you comprehend how to properly manage your site. With the marketing insights it provides, you'll be able to formulate foolproof strategies that you can use in the future. All in all, the tools under Ahrefs can help site owners acquire a position at the top of the Google search rankings in no time.

How Ahrefs Works and Road Bumps You Might Encounter

Ahrefs can serve site owners in multiple ways.

  • First, as a site owner, you will be able to monitor your competition in terms of their content, performance, and profit.
  • Second, you can engage with your target audience and distribute more content on different platforms.
  • In addition, you will be able to build backlinks and know where to get them.
  • Lastly, you can discover fresh ideas for your content by looking at what trends are getting the most visits and shares.

In order to begin your journey to better and more refined website content, the first step you may need to take is to sign up for the Ahrefs 7-day-trial  at an affordable price of $7 with no hidden charges whatsoever. With the 7-day-trial option, users can gain access to the features that can be found in its Standard or Lite plans. You can familiarize yourself and get used to what the tool suite has to offer.

The process of setting up your trial account is fast and simple, making the most out of your time and allowing you to get to work immediately. Suppose you decide to commit yourself to Ahrefs fully, you can choose to purchase a Lite, Standard, Advanced, or Agency plan anytime from your account settings.  

Remember that investing in this type of software will only provide you with metrics, information and figures—it is up to you to make the most of these details and put them into action. There might be users out there that would spend money on marketing tools like Ahrefs and expect their jobs to be done for them. Sorry, but that is certainly not the case. As a site owner, you need to take time to acknowledge and take in the data that is handed over. Without your own method behind the madness of the numbers, you will end up seeing zero results after months of your subscription.

Don't Use Ahrefs If…

Despite the convenience and wide range of features that are found in Ahrefs, here are examples of people who might not exactly enjoy the benefits that this suite provides:

  • Inactive site owners
  • Market pioneers with newly developed products and services
  • Casual bloggers
  • Marketers who lack the budget 

This is because Ahrefs is not particularly an inexpensive investment for your domain. If you belong to any of the above, you might not be able to make the most out of the features that this marketing tool provides.

Getting Started with Ahrefs

Now that you've signed up for your free trial, the first thing you need to do is...

Create a project

The process of creating projects in Ahrefs is hassle-free and straightforward. In the dashboard section of your profile, simply click the "New Project" button.

The next step is to select from the different modes of adding depending on your project. If you already have a Google Search Console account, you don't have to input a lot of information during the initial setup. For this project, I chose to add my project manually.

You can then input the address of your desired webpage.

After a few more steps involving the ownership and scheduling site audit, you are then you're good to go with adding keywords and competitors that you wish to monitor.

Ahrefs can also send you alerts and notifications regarding your projects. After setting up your project, you are free to explore and make use of a great number of functions that can enhance content marketing for your sites.

The Most Awesome Things You Can Do with Ahrefs

Analyze competitor keywords and backlinks

Analyzing competitor keywords and backlinks is made easy through the data provided by the dashboard in Ahref's Site Explorer. This function presents the necessary statistics that can help you inspect organic traffic or backlinks growth of a competitor after some time. More specifically, the paid keywords, content gaps, website ranks, top landing pages, outgoing links, referring domains count, backlinks count, domain rating, anchors text table, and other related aspects are accessible through this function. You can therefore identify when competitors are currently in a vulnerable position, giving yourself a chance to subjugate the market. 

1. Run the Site Explorer Tool by entering the domain or URL you want to get an in-depth look of, and click the Search button.

2. It will then generate a report, the most notable sections of which are the Top 5 Organic Keywords...

The Top 5 Pages...

And the Backlink Profile!

View leading pages

Another great feature would be the top pages function under Site Explorer. What you can do here is view the leading pages with the most visits and interactions, otherwise called organic traffic. This function can instantly show you the top 100 keywords in the organic search results, including the search ranks, and as well as the linking root domains. Through this, you will be able to pick out your competitor's contents that are getting the most traffic and apply it to your own site.

Top Pages collates the page URLs (along with important data like top keyword and monthly traffic) that get your website the most traffic.

You can easily filter this by country depending on where your target audience is from. If you are targeting people from all over the world, just select "All countries."

Aside from taking a look at your own top pages, you can spy on your competitors! Find out what content is doing well on their website, and determine which you can outperform.

You can even see what keywords they're ranking for so you can target those, too.

Audit and monitor your website

Additionally, auditing and monitoring your website can be done through the Site Audit function. It can let you know the state of your website's performance through health score and any issues identified. This feature can serve as a guide for you to be aware of any on-site SEO complications that can negatively affect your site's ranking on the search engines. It even provides you with the solutions you need to implement to improve your website's health.

Starting a crawl for your website is as simple as clicking one button.

The Health Score section on the upper right will give you an insight on how your website is doing, SEO-wise. The higher the health score, the better.

If you want to find out why your health score is so low, scroll down to the "All crawls" section. You can then click on a crawl for more details, such as errors, issues and warnings.

It will open up to this page, which will give you an overview on your crawl metrics. Aside from health score, you can see the types of issues your website has, and how many links were crawled.

Clicking on a specific issue will help you figure out what URLs are affected and what you can do to resolve the issue.

Disavow toxic backlinks

Ahrefs also offers the Disavow Tool. This tool is useful for tidying up toxic backlinks that lead to your domain. These links are usually low quality and spammy. When you disavow a URL or domain, you are telling Google it is a threat to your website so it won't penalize you because of your toxic "connection." Through Google's method of denying the bad links, Ahrefs gives you an easier way to formulate a disavow file and upload it to Webmaster tools. Thanks to this function, you can quickly disavow a single link or even multiple links through the Disavow URLs button. 

Track top-performing keywords

Ahrefs also has a keyword explorer where you can track the top-performing keyword rankings on the internet. With this regularly updated feature, you can input up to 10,000 seed keywords all at once. Take note that Ahrefs Keywords Explorer has about 7.5 billion keywords, which is already impressive for a keyword research tool. But what's really impressive about this function is that it can show you like keyword volume and difficulty. You can even filter keyword performance by country through the Global Volume section.

Through the tool, you can figure out which keywords you can target for your own content. Metrics like Keyword Difficulty let you know how hard it would be to rank for the given keyword, while number of clicks will let you know how many clicks on average could you get from it. You can also see cost-per-click as well as which keywords get a higher percentage of paid versus organic clicks if you plan on running any PPC ads.

Overall, this one tool has so many features you can explore that will help both your content and ad strategy.

Under Keyword Difficulty, you can view different metrics such as volume filtered by different countries all over the world.

You can also identify how hard it would be to target a keyword through Keyword Difficulty. The higher the number, the more difficult it would be to rank for.

The page also includes the potential number of clicks you can get every month for that keyword, as well as the Cost-Per-Click if you plan on running any paid campaigns.

If you don't think the keyword is a good match, or would like to target more, you can always scroll down to the "Keyword Ideas By Search Volume" section.

The "SERP Overview" section is also useful to see what type of content you can create for that specific keyword.

Keep tabs on your ranking

Another function relating to keywords is the Rank Tracker feature. Through this tool, you can now keep tabs on your domain's keyword ranking. For up to 500 and 1500 keywords for the Lite and Standard plan, respectively, reports like overview, metrics, grossing, and competitors will be presented to you. It also includes the grossing tab that allows you to know how your keywords have improved, the metrics tab that helps you measure keyword performance, the competitors tab where you can monitor you and your competition's progress, and lastly, the pages tab where it shows group keywords organized by their equivalent pages.

The Overview section provides you important metrics such as what devices are performing well, or which locations you are ranking in.

Clicking the "Positions" filter will allow you to check how your keywords are ranking in search engines. SERP features will also show what type of content you are showing up in for keywords.

What I Like Most About Ahrefs

Ahrefs is undoubtedly one of the most excellent link databases and keyword research tools that you can find on the market. Along with that is an excellent list of features and functions that can help make your job easier and supply most of the needed metrics or information, Not to mention that all of these features are simple and user-friendly, so it will not be difficult to understand even for new marketers who are unfamiliar with how this works. The whole process comparable to a walk in the park. The company's active and receptive customer service is also appealing to potential clients. Ahrefs strives for the betterment of its products and services by continually working on new features and updates.

Room for Improvement

Despite the seemingly endless advantages from Ahrefs, there are still a few things missing. The company does not give enough importance to Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency (TF-IDF). TF-IDF allows your content to become more SEO-friendly by taking the time to upgrade your site's pages. Study shows that there was a 75% increase in website traffic when TF-IDF was applied. It is pretty unfortunate that there are no means of utilizing this strategy as a function or tool in Ahrefs. 

Other Features You Should Know About...

Out of all the functions of Ahrefs that I mentioned, there are actually a lot more tools that can contribute to your site's evolution and SEO health. Among the notable functions we will cover in future blog posts is the Domain Comparison and Batch Reports. You can collect comprehensive data to compare up to 5 different websites to get to know your competition more and "hack" their strategy.

Ahrefs also offers an SEO Toolbar extension for Firefox and Chrome, which gives you immediate access to different Page and Domain metrics like Domain Rating and URL rating. You can get more information about a domain through the SERP overlay and Domain or Page Level Stats. The SERP Overlay allows you to directly see essential stats under the website's address in the search results. At the same time, Domain or Page Level Stats lets you access specific stats of an address that can conveniently be located at the top of the page. The three combined are a great time saver if you're browsing through sites and you notice one you think you can use in your SEO methods.

There are also features like Link Intersect that shows you who's linking to competitors and top-ranking pages, but not you. This creates link opportunities that you can reach out to when appropriate so you can create high-quality backlinks for your website.

Recommended or Not?

Ahrefs can be a great instrument for serious and dedicated marketers who want to do everything they can to enhance the state of their domains. Even though it may be a bit pricey, it would go a long way if used correctly and effectively. Your website will reach the top ranks with the valuable information you can get from Ahrefs, thanks to plenty of its outstanding capabilities—as long as you know how to use the tool. Despite its great features, it is vital to actually take the time to acquaint yourself with and comprehend the data or else you won't get any results and development. 

Use it right, and you can transform how your business operates. For example, more consumers can reach your brand a lot easier. Along with that, it can even help your website become a more organized and effective domain in the eyes of your existing and potential clients. Taking control of these different aspects allow you to become the distinguished and legit brand you've always wanted to be. And the more traffic you get on your website, the larger the possibility of gaining more profit and establishing a reputation for your business. Isn't that what we all want?

About the author

Corey Philip

Corey Philip is a small business owner / investor with a focus on home service businesses.

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