It’s a complete SEO comparison review between Ahrefs vs semrush. After reading this guide with many scenarios and Comparison of Ahrefs and SEMrush, you’ll find the best SEO tools for your blog based on your needs.
If you’re looking for the in-depth features and comparison of these popular SEO tools, you’ve come to know from the best guide.
Alright, let’s compare Ahrefs vs. SEMrush based on the below features.
Keyword research features
Technical SEO tools
Pricing and value
Broken link analysis
Ease of use
Pricing and value for money
Support and more.
What are Ahrefs vs SEMrush?
Ahrefs and SEMrush are the popular tools or products that help to optimize your website or blog for search engines.
They are doing a lot of things to achieve their goals. However, the primary task of those SEO tools is to provide information to you.
The information helps you to:
- Create new content and update old content to attract the search engines.
- Find the opportunities to build links from other websites to your website.
- Change the technical architecture of your website to perform well in the search engine SERPs.
Both tools offer the best keyword suggestions (depends on the keyword phrases you enter) and you can use those phrases on your blog post to perform well in the search results.
Also it’ll let you know how tough it will get ranked for particular phrases.
They’ll also let you know the website details where you can approach for backlinks.
You can perform an “SEO Audit” and easily find if there are any technical aspects or improvements needed to do well in the search results.
These are just outlines of these popular SEO tools. There are many other features included on both SEMrush and Ahrefs to climb up in the search engine rankings.
Comparison of Ahrefs and SEMrush
In earlier days, Ahrefs is very well known as a best backlink analysis tool. However, in the last two years they’ve added many supporting SEO tools and features.
Today, Ahrefs has many useful features which made it a direct competitor to SEMrush.
The best SEO tools of Ahrefs including:
- Keyword research features
- Keyword competitor analysis
- Technical SEO tools
- Site Audit
- Rank Tracking
We must agree that SEMrush is a killer app and it helps the bloggers to spy on their competitor’s rankings.
You do not need to waste your time in order to find the best keyword for your blog post. You input your competitor’s blog post on the website and you’ll get a complete keywords list of your competitor within a minute.
Ahrefs also has the same feature; no doubt at all. We’ll discuss more on this later.
Also it’s very important to know more about SEMrush that it started as a keyword tool and later on they added more features on it.
Recently, SEMrush has added more wonderful features and it’s promoting itself in the race of best SEO tools.
Today, SEMrush is very popular in terms of:
- Optimize your blog content for SEO
- Analyze your competitor Campaigns (PPC)
- Analyze log files
- Reverse engineering method of a site
- SEMrush has a link index for more years.
Below is the recent comparison of Ahrefs and SEMrush index (Size and Freshness) – The result is SEMrush and Ahrefs tied in this competition.
Few weeks ago, SEMrush announced a big update on their link index.
The bottom line: Both Ahrefs and SEMrush have almost similar feature sets.
So it’s time to know: Which SEO tools are the best for beginners and experienced bloggers?
Let’s get started now.
Which Tool Is Best for SEO Keyword Research?
We’ll start with the best tool in terms of finding the new keywords.
Let’s get deep.
Ahrefs primary keyword features are:
- Keyword Explorer
- Organic Keywords
Let’s read how Ahrefs keyword features work!
Keyword explorer is the same as keyword tools on the market.
When you type in a keyword and you’ll get a list of keyword ideas as shown below.
Ahrefs NOT only shows you the keyword volume; it’ll give you a complete data of keywords.
You’ll get more details like how many “clicks” your keyword gets if you rank for that.
The reason why this is important that Google is packing the search engine result page (SERPs) with features which “Collect” clicks from the organic results.
Now the “Keyword Explorer” takes into account.
The search result per month of a keyword “leonardo dicaprio age” is 12K.
You can see the search result in the snippet.
Which shows 10% of all searchers (1.2K people) click on the organic result.
Along with this, by using keyword explorer tools, you’ll have an opportunity to get more keyword ideas by expanding the results.
Image source: backlinko
Also you can reverse engineer your competitor’s website using “Organic Keyword” report.
These are almost very similar to SEMrush.
As we saw in Ahrefs, you can see all keywords of your competitors and what it ranks for in SEMrush.
Both SEO tools features are basically the same with minor differences.
Both SEMrush and Ahrefs have their unique ways to calculate the organic traffic of your competitor or yours.
However, SEMrush has LOT More in-depth Keyword related information on this report.
Ahrefs data shows CPC, search volume and competition. However, SEMrush gives a TON of data like number of results and the search volume trend.
Based on your need, you can decide which SEO tool is best for your website.
If you’re a keyword analyst and look for more information about keywords related like analyzing 100+ keyword terms then SEMrush would be super helpful to go ahead.
SEMrush has in-built traditional keyword research tools and it has everything related to keywords in one place.
As other keyword tools have, you can get all keyword related information like keyword competition and keyword volume search data.
Also you’ll get a list of suggestions based on the keywords you typed.
The best part of SEMrush keyword research tool feature is, you will get more data from Google PPC.
So If you are running an agency or running many Google ad campaigns, SEMrush is super helpful by getting all data.
Overall SEMrush wins in this race battle by a hair.
Basic domain analysis is a basic overview which helps you to know how a domain is performing from an SEO perspective. Ahrefs and SEMrush are masters in doing the basic domain analysis.
You can run domain analysis on your own domain OR in your competitor’s domain to find the best ways to outrank your competitor in the SERPs.
Both SEO tools act quickly to bring the desired results in terms of domain analysis in a dashboard format.
Semrush and Ahrefs bring the data include:
An “authority score” which shows how well a blog or website performs in the search results.
You will get “an estimate of the total number of visitors” per month.
Total number of external links. We could say backlinks – pointing to your website. If you get more backlinks then your website performs well in SERPs.
Number of keywords your website ranks for.
Anchor text which is used in links to the website.
Though quality of the domain analysis in SEMrush and Ahrefs is the same, I would say that Ahrefs has a tiny-edge when we talk about the ease-of-access to the key stats.
If you check the ‘Site Explorer‘ tab in Ahrefs, you will easily be able to use the menus located in the left side screen. It helps you explore more like keywords, internal links, competing domains and more.
In Semrush, you need to click more in order to accomplish your needs. The reason could be domain analysis located under a big section ‘Competitive research‘. It has 5 different sections and all domain analysis related data.
As a part of domain analysis overview, SEMrush and Ahrefs provides you an estimated monthly traffic for your site or any site you’re analyzing.
Keep in mind, both SEO tools provide the Estimates only.
Based on a few tests on traffic data, the Semrush report is more accurate. Also SEMrush contextualizes its figure like high, medium and low.
This feature is really nice in SEMrush domain analysis which you won’t see in Ahrefs. This helps you to know how a site performs against its competitors. Also you’ll get complete information on how many keywords it ranks.
Both SEO tools are good to see geo location level like country traffic data for a domain. Semrush is particularly doing this. You will get a super view like ‘worldwide’ view and ‘country’ view top of its domain overview page.
The overall result is, both SEO products are doing well in the domain analysis related.
Ahrefs – Doing well for ease-of-use.
SEMrush – Great in contextualizing its traffic data.
The number of ‘backlinks’ of your site will decide its performance in the search results. Backlinks are the external links which are linking to your website.
We’ll test by entering the same domain name into both SEMrush and Ahrefs SEO tool. So we can check the backlinks details easily.
Backlink Database Size
Based on the statistics published by Semrush and Ahrefs, Semrush database of domains is bigger than Ahrefs ( as per 6 January 2021).
Semrush has 818 million domains and Ahrefs has 175 million.
This means, Semrush will be able to provide more details in terms of backlinks analysis.
When we test the same domain with these two different SEO tools (backlink) for backlinks, we can easily identify which is performing better.
We have tested with many different domains and the results continue with the same pattern. Sometimes Semrush provided more exhaustive results, sometimes Ahrefs did.
However, SEMrush has the larger database and would suggest it would be great.
Backlink Tools and Reports
Ahrefs and Semrush give you more valuable information about backlinks and all related stuff.
- Number of ‘dofollow’ links vs ‘nofollow’ links
- Country of origin of ‘backlinks’
- Anchor text used
- New domains vs. lost domains.
- Details of linking domain types (Govt. education etc.)
I honestly prefer Semrush the way it presents all this information. Semrush has more attractive graphs to explain the key stats.
Moreover, Ahrefs and Semrush both seo tools provide ‘link intersect’ tools.
This tool helps you to compare a URL of your website against your competitor URL. You can export the list of websites (results) that are currently linking to your competitor’s website (but not to you).
However, Ahrefs’s ‘link intersect tool is slightly greater than Semrush. The best part of Ahrefs is, you can compare a URL against 10 others, where SEMrush allows only 4 other websites. Here, I would say “Ahrefs” is the best and easier to use.
Backlink Auditing and Building
There are two useful backlink related features of Semrush which are not in the Ahrefs.
1. A tool called ‘backlink auditing’ tool which helps to identify ‘spammy links’ (toxic links) which lead you being penalized in the search engines or search engine results. You can easily take out the list of ‘spammy links’ and upload to Google as a ‘disavow’ file (Google ignores these uploaded links).
2. There is a tool called ‘Backlink building’, it analyzes your URL or domain and provides you a list of websites (target) to request for a new backlink.
The best part is, you’re not only dealing with a collection or URLs (spreadsheet), you’re dealing with a ‘CRM’ form of interface with every domain listed like a ‘domain prospect’.
You can easily send email directly within the Semrush interface by clicking the button beside the domain prospect as shown in the image.
This is an awesome feature of ‘Semrush’ and you won’t see a similar feature on ‘Ahrefs‘.
For me both Ahrefs and Semrush are doing great in terms of backlink analysis. However ‘Semrush’ is doing slightly better than Ahrefs, because it can easily take out the ‘toxic backlinks’ (spammy backlinks’ report. So I would say ‘Semrush’ is an excellent backlink building tool.
Site auditing helps to evaluate how your website performs from a ‘technical SEO and On-page SEO view. However, Semrush and Ahrefs offer a ‘site auditing’ feature.
When you execute site auditing on a website, it will find the issues which may cause a negative impact on the search rankings. Those are,
- Slow loading content
- Duplicate content
- Crawl errors
- SSL problems
- Overuse or repeated keywords
- Broken links
- Missing headers
It’s sure that both tools offer in-depth and technical related SEO suggestions for your website.
Also you can get contextual help with all SEO suggestions and how to resolve the problems found in the SEO audit.
Semrush On-page SEO checker tool
Many SEO experts like Semrush On-page SEO checker tool, as it goes into your website and provides you a list of actionable tips.
These tips will help you to improve your site’s each page based on the priority. Those include:
- What are the best keywords to add?
- What needs to be done in order to make your page appear in the ‘Google featured snippet‘.
- How to improve Meta descriptions and body copy?
- Websites details to approach for backlinks.
- Content’s length
- Internet links strategies and more.
Semrush ON-page SEO checker or tool is very easy to use and it’s a must have tool in your SEO tools collection.
Ahrefs also has an on page SEO checker tool, but the results and suggestion of this tool is more technical in nature. You won’t get much suggestion to improve your website content as Semrush does.
The bottom line is, I would strongly suggest my readers to go with ‘Semrush’ – a winning tool in terms of ‘site audit’ department. However, both SEO tools provide you better and useful information to improve your website and posts in terms of SEO related.
Broken Link Analysis
Both Semrush and Ahrefs offer the important SEO tactic ‘Broken Link Building‘.
What is the broken link? Broken link is a link that no longer values or leads anywhere.
Broken link analysis is a tool which involves finding a broken link in a post or website and recreating the ‘dead‘ content that used to point to.
And then contact them who used the ‘dead content link‘ and request them to link your new content instead.
This tactic allows you to create a new backlink to your site or content. If that particular link brings more backlinks to your site then your site has many chances to perform well in the search engine.
How To Check Broken Links in Semrush and Ahrefs?
In order to accomplish this task, you need to find the dead links which can be done by both Semrush and Ahrefs.
Ahrefs is doing well to identify the broken links easily.
Go To ‘Site Explorer’ enter ‘Domain Name’ – Backlinks > Broken.
Now, you’ll get a complete list of that entire domain’s broken (inbound) links.
Semrush also does this task, but it will take more time when you compare with Ahrefs. Its broken link building feature is not as easy as Ahrefs. You need to run a report of ‘backlink analysis’ and then navigate to:
‘Indexed’ page > Target errors
Now you can export the results as an Excel file or CSV file format.
From there you may easily sort out using the ‘filter’ option in the excel spreadsheet to identify using ‘404 error‘.
Where 404 errors stand for – BROKEN LINKS.
You may have come to know now that it’s somewhat an unwieldy process. However, the best of this process is, you can re-import this file or data to Semrush platform and you can do your broken link outreach directly. Also you can use your mailbox and CRM to approach the personal.
How to identify broken (outbound) links using Semrush and Ahrefs?
As a blogger or website owner, you must ensure that your web pages do NOT contain broken links to other sites. Broken links could be interpreted as a ‘sign of poor quality content’ by Google and all other search engines. This will decrease your website ranking in the search engine.
Ahrefs and Semrush offer this great feature to spot the broken outbound links. However, Ahrefs’ process is somewhat straight forward.
When you use Ahrefs to find the broken links you can get the details as quickly through,
‘Site Explorer’ > Outgoing links > Broken Links to get complete results
When you use SEMrush SEO tools, you need to do the repeated process like, running complete reports, targeting errors and then export to Excel to find out the broken link details. Looks like its a big process to do.
(Alternatively, you can accomplish this by running a site audit on your website in the SEMrush SEO tool to find out. However, you need to dedicate one of your project’ slot for this.)
Interface and ease of use of Ahrefs and Semrush
I’ll give a quick reply on that like straight answer for the question which SEO interface is very easy to use? Ahrefs is easier to use when you compare with Semrush.
Ahrefs layout, dashboard, logical fashion and menus are so clean and easily accessible than Semrush.
Using ‘Ahrefs’, you’ll get a ‘quick-at-a-glance‘ understanding of all stuff related to SEO information.
Using SEMrush, you need to do more clicks to get details. You need to often click and dig to bring the data you need. However, SEMrush gives more data with accuracy like graphs and PPC ad campaign data. So the complexity in SEMrush might have increased.
However, I’m NOT saying SEMrush is very hard to use and I want to be honest on this review.
If your motto is more data visualization, SEMrush is the good option to appeal.
Semrush surely wins hands down in ‘outreach tools‘ ease of use.
Its CRM based approach to link building – you need to spend more time to identify and contact prospects.
In Ahrefs, you can use the exported (Excel) data to import into other applications like email marketing tools, contact filters etc. for more outreach purposes.
If you want to get the data as quick as possible and digestible then ‘Ahrefs’ is the better option.
For project based work and need to get more data with more outreach purposes, obviously SEMrush is the better bet.
Pricing & Value for Money
Below is the comparison of Ahrefs and SEMrush.
You may think both SEO tools and ‘SaaS’ apps are expensive. However, those are understandable and acceptable. You’re not JUST paying only for functionality. You’ll access almost everything like lots of data, reports and intelligence of your competitors.
Pro: $119.95 / month
Guru: $229.95 / month
Business: $449.95 / month
Corporate users’ price will be negotiable when they create a bespoke ‘Enterprise‘ plan.
A 16% discount is available for the users who pay upfront for a year.
Lite: $99 /month
Standard: $179 /month
Advanced: $399 /month
Agency: $999 /month
The best part of Ahrefs is, you’ll get a 2 months free subscription when you pay for upfront price for a year.
Which is a Better SEO Tool? SEMrush Vs. Ahrefs
You cannot JUST decide in a single minute which SEO tools are best for your website or online business.
There are lots of parts and factors that will make the decision which SEO is suitable for your business like based on your budget and business requirements.
Number of Users
By default, all SEMrush plans come with ONLY one account. You need to pay for an additional fee for an additional user.
- Pro user – $45 /month
- Guru user – $80 /month
- Business user – $100 /month.
Ahrefs is somewhat generous in this regard. Ahrefs ‘Advanced’ and ‘Agency‘ plans can use 3 or 5 user accounts.
- Advanced plan – 3 users
- Agency plan – 5 users
Still, if you want to buy additional users then Ahrefs is really cheaper than Semrush.
Extra cost per user in Ahrefs is $30 whereas Semrush $45 – $100.
Project Counts on SEMrush & Ahrefs
Both Ahrefs and SEMrush allow you to create 5 projects on ‘Lite’ and ‘Pro‘ (entry plans) respectively.
Compare Semrush ‘Guru’ plan with Ahrefs ‘Standard plan’ – Semrush offers more generous, you can create 15 projects, whereas in Ahrefs 10 only.
Semrush Business plan ($445.95 per month) – 40 projects
Ahrefs Advanced plan ($399 per month) – 25 projects
In Ahrefs, you need to pay extra $10 per month for adding additional projects. However, Ahrefs’s pricing here is really commendable.
We observed from our testing that the important feature “Site Auditing” will ONLY be available if you’re working within a project OR else you won’t get it.
So if there is a situation to check or run site audits for many different websites then this could be really a headache. You need to always make a project slot free for any ‘ad hoc‘ task.
This is where SEMrush performs well with generous project limits. Gurn and Business plans are very particular on this.
Semrush Competitive Intelligence (Add-on)
There are few great Semrush features for analyzing the websites of your competitors that will NOT be available until you buy a ‘competitive intelligence’ add-on.
Market Explorer – Market shares, market players, audience gender, age and behavior, seasonal peaks and more.
Extended Traffic Analytics – Traffic sources, visitor engagement, historical data, desktop and mobile, audience overlap and geographical information.
Competitor Benchmarking – Potential to cross-compare up to 5 competitor’s websites.
Bulk-Traffic Analysis – Traffic data up to 200 prospects in a single click.
Top Pages – Web-traffic data up to 200 prospects with a single click.
It is really disappointing as this add-on costs $200 per month. However, all metrics here are considered worth of paying.
Reports / Day
SEMrush is really more generous when you talk about the reporting requests for each day.
SEMrush (even entry level plan) you can pull 3,000 domain analysis reports per day.
Ahrefs – 25 Reports ONLY.
This comparative generosity continuous as the pricing ladder go up:
Domain analytics report in Guru: $229.95 per month Plan – 10,000 per day.
Ahrefs Advanced $399 per month plan – JUST 250 reports only.
Are you working on the combination of SEO and PPC projects? If so, SEMrush offers better value to do better in these circumstances.
Semrush features more PPC data, more CPC competition and distribution data, PPC ad campaign planning tools and live ads.
Ahrefs provides you – CPC data for individual keywords.
Customer Support of Ahrefs Vs. SEMrush
To be honest, I did not have any worst situation to call or contact them for any urgent help. I have no much experience of both companies’ support teams.
This is really good for me for not having any need to contact the support team.
However, I would say that SEMrush has 3 channels of support team like chat, phone and email support.
Ahrefs does not provide any phone support to its clients.
Anyhow, both SEMrush and Ahrefs offer chat support which is located right bottom of their interfaces. The best part of SEMrush is, the phone number is easily visible and accessible.
As SEMrush offers phone support, so a bit of a WIN for SEMrush in terms of supporting departments, whereas Ahrefs won’t offer phone support.
FREE Trials – SEMrush versus Ahrefs
Ahrefs and SEMrush offer to try out their FREE product trial before subscribing to their monthly plans.
- Ahrefs offers a 7 day trial for either ‘Lite’ or ‘Standard’ plans for $7.
- SEMrush is a GREAT job here and allows you to try SEMrush product out completely FREE.
- In general, this trial lasts for 7 days. For a limited time SEMrush has made a 14 days FREE trial – available with this link.
- This trial period allows you to get generous data and access to the entire platform.
- However, you need to enter your credit card details to get access to the FREE TRIAL.
Conclusion: SEMrush Vs Ahrefs
Alight, we are now in the conclusion or bottom line. Which is better, Semrush or Ahrefs?
Both are really brilliant sources of SEO optimization and SEO data. I would like to use either of these SEO tools for my website and SEO related project.
However, based on your requirements and needs for our website, one SEO tool should be fit for our website.
Ahrefs is surely the best option to use for the business people who like to get more data from the many search engines.
Semrush is like a more feature-rich tool and it offers few things which are not available in Ahrefs like CRM-style, PPC, phone support, generous project reporting’s and more.
Below are the key reasons why you might use any of these popular SEO tools for your website.
What are the reasons to use Ahrefs OVER SEMrush?
Ahrefs performs well with keyword research of all different search engines. – SEMrush works only with Google.
Ahrefs is very easy to use than SEMrush and offers you ‘at-a-glance’ information and is more digestible.
It gives you an estimation of how many backlinks you may need to get top rank for a specific keyword. – SEM does not have that feature.
You can easily use broken link analysis with Ahrefs.
Ahrefs allows multiple user accounts- SEMrush allows 1 user account across all plans. (Doesn’t matter what’s your plan, you must pay for additional slots or seats).
You can add an additional user account with Ahrefs for a cheap price.
What are the reasons to use SEMrush OVER Ahrefs?
SEMrush offers more data related NOT only to SEO, but PPC also. If your motto is to cover these two then SEMrush is the better option than Ahrefs.
SEMrush project limits are generous.
Based on the products and database size, SEMrush database is very large.
SEMrush has efficiency to find the spammy links than Ahrefs.
Semrush auditing tools are very easy to use and more comprehensive.
It’s CRM style approach helps you to build the backlinks effectively without leaving the app. In Ahrefs, you need to use 3rd party tools to do so.
Semrush is very generous and allows you to take many numbers of reports. If you’re on a regular basis for backlink tasks then SEMrush is the good option. Semrush is 100% considerably better and of greater value than Ahrefs.
Phone support available in SEMrush and Ahrefs not offer phone support.
SEMrush offers FREE Trial – Ahrefs charges you to try their product.