Ahrefs Review & Tutorial (Pricing Included) 2019

Pros:

  1. Best Keyword Research tool
  2. Only tool with largest links database
  3. Constantly updated with new features
  4. Can be used for both, Content Marketing and SEO
  5. From Site explorer to Rank Tracker & Site Audit, everything is available

Cons:

  1. No free trial available
  2. A little expensive for beginners

Are you looking for a detailed Ahrefs review and tutorial?

Then you’re in the right place.

Because today I’m going to show you everything you need to know about this tool to make an informed decision before you go and start spending your money.

The best part?

I am not going to try to sell you this tool. Instead, I will review it based on my years of experience of using this tool.

Let’s get started.

➤ What is Ahrefs?

Ahrefs is an essential tool for every SEO and Content Marketer to grow the search traffic, research competitors and monitor the niche. Ahrefs helps you learn why your competitors rank so high and what you need to do to outrank them.

Most of the SEO professionals today use Ahrefs for checking the backlinks to their websites or blogs.

But, the tool is not limited to backlink research alone. It can perform a whole lot of other things as well.

Ahrefs is not an SEO tool in the singular sense, but in essence, it is an SEO tool suite. There are several things that Ahrefs can do like keyword research, link analysis, rank tracking, competitive analysis and web monitoring.

In a recent study by Brian Dean of Backlinko, Ahrefs was considered as the best backlink checker in the market based on a lot of factors like link index size and freshness, feature quality and quantity, value, user interface etc.

The tool comes with the six major functional areas.

  • Keyword research
  • Backlink analysis
  • Competitor research
  • Rank tracking
  • SEO monitoring
  • and Content management

These six core areas can help provide a value for money proposition not just for seasoned SEO professionals but also for newbies.

I will explain all of these features one by one in the next sections.

Ahrefs by the numbers…

Before talking about the tools offered by Ahrefs, let’s see some numbers first.

Like Googlebot, Ahrefs also has a bot.. known as Ahrefs bot.

Ahrefs bot crawls the web 24/7 collecting, processing and storing large amounts of data.

The Ahrefs bot is the second most active bot after Google and it powers the 12 trillion link database for Ahrefs toolset. Every 24 hours Ahrefs crawler visits over 6 billion web pages and updates the index every 15-30 minutes.

Backlink Index (Source)

Domains in index
174 million
Pages in index
278 billion
Internal backlinks ​​​​​in index
15 trillion
External backlinks ​​​​​in index
2 trillion

*as of 28th March 2019

Content Index

Total content index size
1.1 billion pages
Number of metrics updated (every 24 hours)
72 million
New pages discovered (every 24 hours)
1.8 million
Full update frequency
Every month

Keyword Index: 7.6 billion keywords. 10 search engines. 171 countries

Google
5.1B
Youtube
642.7M
Amazon
124.9M
Bing
92.2M
Yahoo
133.9M
Yandex
72.1M
Baidu
2.7M
Daum
1.5M
Naver
14.2M
Seznam
7M

Backlink Analysis

This is what has made Ahrefs so famous in the SEO industry. If you are into link building, you need Ahrefs more than any other tool.

It offers you a complete overview of all the data with respect to the link profile of any site.

The Site Explorer can help you find all types of links – lost, broken, do-follow and no-follow right away. You can also use different filters if you are looking for a specific category of backlinks.

Some of the filtering available include similar link grouping, all links, platforms, languages and link types. You can even use the inbuilt search bar to find any specific link.

There is a ‘Fresh Index’ option that displays the links found through the crawling operations in real time. This is updated every 15 to 20 minutes and provides you with a more realistic view of the backlink profile of your site.

Additional Backlink tools

While you can find most of the links related things within the Site Explorer, there are a few secondary tools which fall under the ‘More’ section.

The Link Intersect Tool can help you explore the websites that are linking to your competitors, but not to your site.

Batch Analysis is another useful tool that can let you get Ahref’s metrics in bulk for multiple URL’s.

It is an excellent tool for link prospecting. The Domain comparison is yet another interesting tool embedded within.

Keyword Explorer

This is the area that we will be interested more from the context of this post.

Of course, several tools solely focus on keyword research. However, I like the cleaner, streamlined and an organised approach that Ahrefs uses.

The fact that the Ahrefs keyword explorer has been considered to be one of the best tools in SEO industry stands proof to its efficiency.

Also, Ahrefs keyword explorer has access to the largest ever keyword indexes.

It can give you thousands of keywords suggestions as more than 3 billion keywords powers its database.

You have access to the complete keyword volume as well. This is one of the features that take a great leap when it comes to the other players like Google Keyword Planner.

Ahrefs search volume is pretty accurate compared to other tools such as MOZ, Ubersuggest or SEMRush as both, GKP (Google Keyword Planner) and Clickstream data powers it’s keyword databse.

In sharp contrast to other tools, Ahrefs keyword explorer supports over 100 countries.

And, one of the features I love the most about this tool is that it shows you the “Clicks” metric also.

Currently, Ahrefs is the only tool that shows the estimated number of clicks for the keywords which can help you deicde if the keyword is worth the time and efforts or not.

Also, you will find several advanced metrics that are helpful. Some worthy mentions include return rate, clicks per search, % of clicks, and % of paid clicks.


Recently, Ahrefs has updated its keyword explorer and launched the new version as Keyword Explorer 3.0.

The keyword ideas are generated based on…

  • Phrase match
  • Having same terms
  • Also rank for
  • Search suggestions
  • Newly discovered
  • Questions

I really like the Having same terms, and Questions tab in this tool.

You can easily search through all the questions users search related to a particular topic and use them in your content to rank for more long-tail keywords and for featured snippets as well.


Ahrefs Keyword Difficulty score is also different as compared the score provided by other similar tools.

The KD score is a weighted average of the number of referring domains to the top 10 search results.


You can also review the SERPs from within the keyword research tool.

The SERP overview gives you data of top 10 search results to start with and you can click on ‘show more’ to load further load the search results to analyse them.

You will get data of AR (Ahrefs rank), DR (Domain rating), UR (URL rating), backlinks, referring domains, organic traffic, keywords and the search volume of the keyword for which the page is ranking.

Note: In the newest version of the keyword explorer, Ahrefs has added 9 more search engines:

  1. YouTube
  2. Amazon
  3. Bing
  4. Yahoo
  5. Yandex
  6. Baidu
  7. Daum
  8. Naver
  9. Seznam

All of this data is powered by Clickstream.

The User Experience

One of the things which I liked the most with Ahrefs is the way the interface has been arranged.

The dashboard is easy to navigate.

And the simple interface works great for both, new and advanced users.

The user interface is quite interesting enough and offers you a simplified dashboard with plenty of useful information.

The default keyword explorer looks like this –

The default metrics available are…

  • Total Search Volume – This represents the total average search volume estimated for the keywords you have entered.
  • Volume Distribution – This will provide you access to a visual representation for the search volume for each of the keywords you have entered.
  • The total number of clicks – This represents the total number of estimated clicks for the keyword. Like we already mentioned, this is a perfect metric in contrast to the search volume displayed by most of the keyword research tools.
  • Difficulty Distribution – This indicates the difficulty in ranking for each of the keywords in a visual representation.

➤ What is Ahrefs Rank?

Ahrefs is an essential tool for every SEO and Content Marketer to grow the search traffic, research competitors and monitor the niche. Ahrefs helps you learn why your competitors rank so high and what you need to do to outrank them.

The Metrics tab lets you explore the metrics for each of the keywords.  The metrics available here will include-

  • Keyword Difficulty Score – This provides you with input about the difficulty for the keyword on a score of 0 to 100. The data is based on the page level link data. That makes it reliable.
  • CPC – This is the popular metric and shows the approximate pay per click for the keyword.
  • Volume – This refers to the search volume for the keyword per month.
  • Clicks – The likely number of clicks you would be able to achieve. This is an estimate and can be a very useful metric in choosing your keyword.

How to Use Ahrefs Keyword Explorer?

Though, Ahrefs looks easy to follow … the lack of reports can make it a little confusing to use it if you have been used to the concept.

Here is a good strategy you can employ –

  • Go to Keyword Ideas on the right-hand side menu bar and choose All.
  • You should get a list of keywords based on the broad keywords entered by you.
  • You can narrow down your search to specific keywords by opting for multiple granular search options.

How to Find Low Competitive But Very High Search Volume Keywords in Just 2 Minutes?

Even if you only need a tool for keyword research and if you can afford it, Ahrefs is the best tool available.

You can quickly search for thousands of keyword by entering the seed keyword in the Ahrefs keyword explorer.

As I use Ahrefs almost daily, I use some filters to quickly filter the keyword list and get a few keywords on which I can work.

Let’s now see how you can do the same…

Case: Keyword research for a new site.

For a new site, we will look for more long tail keywords as they are less competitive and your chances of ranking initially will be higher even without a lot of off-page SEO.

Let’s take an example of a gaming site.

Now the ‘best gaming laptops’ is a seed keyword.

Now go to Having same terms and set the KD (keyword difficulty) to 5 maximum.

Then you will get a list of keyword you can easily rank for even if you are starting with a brand new site.

You can set the KD according to your needs and filter the keywords. Volume, word count, CPS (clicks per search), CPC are some of the very useful filters availble for you in the keyword explorer.

Keyword ‘intel 8th generation gaming laptops’ has a search volume of 450 with a KD of one, 1.38 CPS and over 80% of organic clicks.

You can also check the ‘Questions’ tab to get more long tail keywords.

Ahrefs Pricing

Ahrefs prices begin at $99 per month.

The Lite plan comes with the option for one user and five campaigns, include 500 tracked keywords per week, 25 domain crawls per day in the Site Explorer tool, one Site Audit project and only 25 searches in the Keyword Explorer per day.

Here are the plans available with varied benefits and features –

Lite Plan

Plan charges at $99 per month. It gives you access to one user, five campaigns, 500 tracked keywords per week, 25 domain crawls per day in the Site Explorer tool, and only 25 searches in the Keyword Explorer per day.

Standard Plan

The plan charges are $179 per month. It comes with access to 10 campaigns, 1,500 tracked keywords updated every five days instead of weekly, 100 domains per day, and 100 keyword searches per day. Standard plan is best for Small and Medium businesses.

Advanced Plan

This plan is charged at $399 per month. This tier gives you 25 campaigns, daily updates on up to 5,000 tracked keywords, 200 keyword searches per day, more access to the backlinks and rankings indexes, mobile ranking, and up to three user logins.

Agency Plan

This plan is chargeable at $999 per month. This plan gives you access to all the features offered by Ahrefs. This includes access to Site Explorer, Content Explorer, and Keyword Explorer.

This plan is best for SEO and Content Marketing agencies and big corporations.

Sadly enough, Ahrefs does not offer you any free plan with any limited features as such.

You can sign up for a free trial of 7 days for $7.

The Ahrefs API can pull the following metrics –

  • Domain Rating (DR)
  • Backlinks
  • Referring Domains
  • URL Rating (UR)

Ahrefs SEO Toolbar

The SEO Toolbar is one of the unique offerings of Ahrefs.

It is a browser add-on and is available for free to download on Chrome and Firefox.

The toolbar helps you get access to the SEO metrics on the go and check it for any of the pages you visit – directly in the browser.

You can analyse the SERPs for any keyword you visit in Google or you can visit the site directly to get an overview of all the metrics of that site in your browser.

Some of the metrics that the toolbar can help you with include:

  • Ahrefs Domain Rating (DR)
  • Ahrefs URL Rating (UR)
  • Ahrefs Rank (AR)
  • Number of backlinks
  • Number of referring domains
  • Estimated organic search traffic
  • Number of ranking keywords

The above image shows how easily all the useful information is integrated after every URL and you can get an overview of the site without opening it separately in Ahrefs saving you a few minutes everytime you do competitor research.

Another advantage offered by the SEO toolbar from the keyword research point of view is it lets you find the essential metrics just as you type in the search queries into your address bar.

You do not need to go in the Keyword Explorer if you want access to the basic parameters for the keyword analysis.

The toolbar shares the following metrics right away –

  • Search volume (global and country-specific)
  • Keyword Difficulty (KD)
  • Clicks
  • Cost per Click (CPC)

Click on any of the metrics if you are looking for additional information or a detailed analysis.

Clicking on a metric will instantly take you to the corresponding page for the analysis. No more need to input the Ahrefs website or enter the keyword once again.

You can download the toolbar from here.

Ahrefs API Access

Every Ahrefs account will provide you access to the Ahrefs API access.

The API credits will be dependent upon the type of plan you have. You will be able to use the API access with a host of other SEO tools like Screaming Frog.

You can opt for the multiple needs of the users. It is quite flexible and can be used efficiently with any of your exact requirements.

A few other features that Ahrefs packs in…

Since we are focussed on the keyword research for the sake of this compilation, we will discuss the other features offered by Ahrefs in a slightly simplified manner.

Site Explorer

This is the most important tool of Ahrefs which lets you know a lot about your site. This includes complete information on top content and backlinks.

The dashboard will provide you access to the complete information at a glance. It will give you access to the domain rank, the number of backlinks, referring domains and organic keywords to name just a few.

The ‘Top Pages’ section provides you information on checking the best pages in terms of the traffic received.

It gives you access to the top pages and tops 100 organic search results, the number of linking root domains, the top keyword, and its search rank.

PPC Reporting is a feature that assists you in understanding which keywords are profitable for the site. You can use this data to find the profitable keywords.

The Backlink profile is yet another exciting tool and has been the strength of Ahrefs since long. It can help let you remove the bad links and repair dead or lost links.

Content Gap assists you in finding out which keywords the competitors are ranking for, and you don’t.

This can help you arrive at the right list of keywords you should focus on and create content for.

Note: Currently Ahrefs supports 13 languages: English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, and Turkish.

So, you can head to the top right-hand corner and click on the “account” icon. You’ll be able to see the Language option and click on your desired language.

Content Explorer

This section on Ahrefs provides you with a complete information on the content being shared on your website. It can help check out the possible content ideas.

You can make use of the Content Explorer section in three major ways –

  • Find the content that can be shared – You can curate the content that can be shared over social media. Create useful and top content from the content explorer and share it across your social media properties.
  • Find New Content ideas – Content explorer can help search your target keyword and find the most shared content on this data.
  • Find those who can share and influence the content – You can use this to find influencers who can reshare your content by tweeting your similar content to them.

Rank Tracking

The section lets you track the list of target keywords. If you are on their Lite plan, you can track up to 500 keywords. The Standard plan tracks up to 1500 keywords.

The section provides you access to multiple reports –

  • Overview Report: This shows you the complete details of the site rankings.
  • Competitors Report: Compare your website performance with your competitors.
  • Metrics Report: Check out your performances based on the keyword metrics like keyword difficulty, Cost Per Click or CPS.
  • Grossing Report: This can help track all the SERP changes over time.

Site Audits

This is one of the newest features introduced on Ahrefs. This will help you in monitoring your website or blog.

The tool will crawl your website and detect any of the technical issues or other on-page SEO issues. It can go a long way in promoting the performance of your site and help you find problems that may negatively affect your SEO prospects.

It also comes with an option where you can check the content at a glance like duplicate titles, lack of meta descriptions, more than one H1 tags or other similar issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Ahrefs a good long-term solution?

Yes, Ahrefs is good for long-term as well.

How to see mobile traffic in Ahrefs?

Unfortunately this is not possible. You can only check the website organic and paid traffic in Ahrefs.

How to do keyword research for local client using Ahrefs?

You can use the Ahrefs keyword explorer by selecting the country of your choice to find the local keywords and then use the site explorer to dig deep to plan a SEO strategy.

How do tools like Ahrefs get search volume data?

Ahrefs get all the data from GKP and then they pair it with clickstream data to create a model that gives very accurate search volumes for almost any keyword.

Note: Clickstream data is anonymized data from the apps and plugins that you add to your browser.

Is Ahrefs rank tracker accurate?

Yes, Ahrefs rank tracker is pretty accurate and you can even track SERP features, see position increase/decrease and get daily/weekly report of your rankings.

How to use Ahrefs link intersect?

You can use Ahrefs Link Intersect tool to easily find sites that link to your competitors (or their pages) but don’t link to you.

You can visit this page for a more detailed tutorial.

How to get Ahrefs premium account for free?

There is no free trial with Ahrefs now and you will have to pay if you want to use this tool.

How is Ahrefs domain rating calculated?

Ahrefs DR (domain rating) shows how strong the backlink profile of any given website is. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 1 to 100, with the latter being the strongest.

The Concluding Thoughts

Ahrefs is perhaps one of the best and prominent SEO tools. It offers you more than just keyword research. The toolset comes with plenty of extra features and tools that assist you in the constant monitoring of your site.

It may not be cheap, but still, the list of features and functions justify the price.

Sign up for the free trial at $7 and explore the services offered for seven days. I am sure you will never look back.

Have Questions? Ask Me Anything About Ahrefs in the comments or contact me directly.

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