Ahrefs Review — All the Key Pros and Cons

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Ahrefs review

In this in-depth Ahrefs review, I’m going to put one of the web’s best-known SEO tools to the test.

I’m going to examine how it stacks up in terms of:

  • Domain analysis
  • Keyword research tools
  • Rank tracking
  • Backlink analysis
  • Link building features
  • Site auditing
  • Ease of use
  • Pricing and value for money
  • Support

…and more!

Let’s start with an important question…


What is Ahrefs?

Ahrefs is a product that helps you optimize your website for search engines.

Founded in 2010 by Dmitry Gerasimenko, it is now one of the best-known SEO tools available, with a client base that includes Netflix, LinkedIn, Uber and Facebook.

Ahrefs
Ahrefs

Ahrefs works by crawling search engines and websites for data, and giving you an interface that you can use to:

  • find out what people are searching for on Google and other search engines
  • create web content that is likely to generate traffic
  • identify link-building opportunities
  • tweak technical aspects of your site content so that it achieves a higher search ranking.

For example, based on phrases that you give it, Ahrefs can provide keyword suggestions that can be used as the basis for writing copy that is likely to perform well in search results.

It can also tell you how difficult it will be to rank for specific search queries.

It can suggest websites that it could be worth approaching for backlinks.

And it allows you to perform a technical SEO audit on your website to see if there are any technical improvements you can make to it that will help you get better search results.

That’s just scratching the surface though — there are many other features provided by Ahrefs that are designed to help you improve your search rankings. I’ll go through these in depth below.

Let’s begin with a look at something called domain analysis.


Domain analysis

The starting point for many SEO projects is domain analysis.

This simply means getting a basic overview of the ‘quality’ of a domain (how highly it ranks for certain phrases, roughly how much traffic it gets etc.).

Generally speaking, you perform domain analysis either on your own website — to see where SEO improvements could be made to it — or on a competitor’s, to see how hard it will be to outrank them in search results (and identify ways to do so).

Ahref's Site Explorer feature
Ahref’s Site Explorer feature — you use this to perform domain analysis in Ahrefs.

You might also perform domain analysis on a website in order to see if it’s worth approaching its owner for a link from that site to yours (a ‘backlink’). This is because attaining backlinks from high-quality websites can bring significant improvements to your rankings.

It’s easy to perform domain analysis in Ahrefs — you just enter a domain’s URL into its ‘Site Explorer’ tool, and you get an immediate sense of that URL’s backlink profile and how it’s performing in search results.

Ahrefs domain analysis results
Ahrefs domain analysis results

The results page you see after entering a URL into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer contains a lot of information. Key metrics provided include:

  • A ‘domain rating‘ (DR) score
  • An estimate of the total number of visitors to the website per month
  • The total number of external links / domains (‘backlinks’) pointing to the website
  • The total number of keywords the website ranks for
  • Anchor text commonly used in links to the website
  • The ‘traffic value‘ — the equivalent sum of money you’d have to pay on pay-per-click advertising to show links to your site at the top of Google search results
  • Historical information about the number of referring domains and the website’s domain rating over time.

(Clicking on most of these metrics will take you to detailed breakdowns of the statistics provided, which you can use to really drill down into the data.)

Of the above metrics, the one that gives you the quickest understanding of site quality is the ‘domain rating.’ Ahrefs calculates this based on the number of domains that point to a website (and their quality).

The domain rating metric in Ahrefs
The domain rating metric in Ahrefs

The higher this score, the more likely a website is to rank for competitive search terms, and the more valuable a ‘backlink’ from it to your site will be.

Now, what’s important to remember about Ahref’s Site Explorer statistics is that while they are based on hard data, they are ultimately estimates based on that data.

In most cases, this is absolutely fine. Since nobody really knows the inner secrets of search engines’ algorithms (other than the engineers working for the relevant companies!), search engine optimization is always a process that involves working off best guesses.

Traffic estimates in Ahrefs
Traffic estimates in Ahrefs

In my experience, the only area where you might need to treat the Ahrefs’ results with a bit of caution is traffic statistics. Based on the analytics data that I have access to for various websites, the ‘organic traffic’ figures provided by Ahrefs can sometimes be quite inaccurate.

So, it’s best to treat the traffic stats in Ahrefs as something that gives you an indication of site popularity. You can use these figures to help you put your site into context against those of your competitors, or identify websites that clearly generate enough traffic to make it worth approaching them for backlinks (or other marketing collaborations).

You can view some of the Ahrefs data on a per-country basis — by using the ‘countries’ dropdown provided, you can view organic traffic, keywords and traffic value for your chosen country.

Toggling data by country
Toggling data by country

Overall, the domain analysis features of Ahrefs are very strong — no complaints here.

Now, let’s take a look at its keyword research features.


Keyword research using Ahrefs

Keyword research generally involves four main things:

  • finding out how many people are searching for a given keyword
  • establishing how difficult it is to rank for that keyword
  • identifying who is already ranking for that keyword
  • getting suggestions for other ones.

Getting access to all the above information is very straightforward in Ahrefs.

Getting keyword data in Ahrefs

To get keyword data in Ahrefs, you need to use its ‘Keywords Explorer’ tool. This is accessible via the main navigation.

Ahrefs ‘Keywords Explorer’ tool

Before conducting your research, you’ll need to choose a search engine to get the data from — Ahrefs provides keyword information from 10 different engines.

Choosing a search engine in Ahrefs
Choosing a search engine in Ahrefs

It’s worth pointing out that the availability of data from such a wide range of search engines is one of Ahrefs’ strongest selling points. Many other well-known SEO tools, including Semrush and Moz, only really give you detailed data from Google.

In most cases, given its huge market share (around 92% of all search queries worldwide!), Google search data is what you’ll be most interested in — but there are times when getting an understanding of what’s happening on other search engines will come in really useful.

For example, having access to YouTube search data is invaluable to anyone who is interested in generating more views for their video content.

Once you’ve entered a keyword into the keyword explorer tool, you’ll see:

  • its ‘keyword difficulty’ score
  • the number of searches per month for that keyword
  • some suggestions for alternative keywords to target
  • list of the sites that are ranking for it.

This information is presented in a simple dashboard format; but clicking on individual items will let you drill down into the data in more depth.

Keyword research results in Ahrefs
Keyword research results in Ahrefs

As with domain analysis, Ahrefs lets you perform this research on a per-country basis, with a dropdown menu letting you view keyword research data for individual territories.

Per-country keyword research

Keyword difficulty scores

The most important metric returned by Ahrefs’ keyword explorer is probably the keyword difficulty score.

Ahrefs uses a score out of 100 to indicate this — with a higher score indicating that it’s going to be harder to rank for a keyword.

As you can see from the below screenshot, Ahrefs can also give you an indication of the number of backlinks (links from other sites’ content to yours) that you will need to source in order to start ranking in the top 10 results for a particular phrase.

Estimate of the number of backlinks needed to rank in top 10
Estimate of the number of backlinks needed to rank in top 10

This is a great little feature, and one of my favourite things about Ahrefs’ keyword research tool.

However, you should note that it is only provided for Google keyword research — you won’t get a similar ‘backlink estimate’ for Bing, Yahoo etc.

Search volumes

Another key metric returned by Ahrefs is the search volume for a particular phrase — the number of people searching for a keyword per month. Knowing this is key, as there is generally not a huge amount of point in trying to rank for a keyword that nobody is searching for!

Search volume
Search volume

In addition to the topline monthly search figure (highlighted above), Ahrefs also gives you an indication of the number of times per month that people click on organic results for that keyword.

In the screenshot above, you can see that of the 92K searches that are made for ‘hot chocolate’ each month on Google, 34K lead to clicks on the organic results.

You also get to see how much it would cost to generate a clickthrough using PPC advertising ($0.90 in the example above), and a ‘clicks per search’ ratio (the proportion of people who search for a phrase then click an organic result — 0.37 in the example).

This information is all laid out in a pretty digestible way, and makes it easy to see if a keyword is worth your time.

In terms of how accurate the information provided is, this is ultimately quite hard to say, as each SEO tool uses its own data sources and algorithms to surface the data.

For perspective though, I did some small-scale tests on the keyword research features of Moz, Semrush and Ahrefs, and I typically found that the search volume figures given by Ahrefs were a bit lower than those provided by Semrush, and a bit higher than those generated by Moz.

Keyword suggestions

Although a few keyword suggestions will be surfaced when you enter a keyword into Ahrefs’ keyword explorer tool, to get detailed suggestions based on a phrase you’ve entered, you need to use its ‘Keyword Ideas’ section, which is located to the left of the main keyword overview dashboard.

Keyword ideas menu

Within this there are three types of keyword suggestion reports to choose from: matching terms, related terms and search suggestions.

Keyword ideas reports
Keyword ideas report types

The ‘matching terms‘ report gives you a list of keyword suggestions that include your target keyword; the ‘related terms‘ report shows you a list of keywords that might not include it, but which Ahrefs thinks might be relevant anyway; and the ‘search suggestions‘ report gives you a list of relevant Google ‘autocomplete’ suggestions.

Google 'autocomplete' suggestions
Google ‘autocomplete’ suggestions

Which set of suggestions is for you will depend on the type of keyword research you’re doing, but all will give a comprehensive range of keyword suggestions that you can drill down into. The trick here is to identify phrases that have both reasonably high search volumes and a low keyword difficulty score.

A ‘traffic potential’ score (pictured below) helps you further evaluate the merits of a particular keyword — this lets you know approximately how much traffic you’d get if you ranked number one for a given term.

Traffic potential data in Ahrefs
Traffic potential data

In each type of report, you’ll find useful filters that let you spot the ‘juicy’ or ‘untapped’ phrases for which it may be possible to rank for.

Keyword research filters in Ahrefs
Keyword research filters in Ahrefs

Whilst not particularly hard to use, one thing that could make these filters slightly more user-friendly would be a more straightforward keyword difficulty score filter — the one provided requires you to enter in numerical ranges.

Ahrefs' keyword difficulty filter
Ahrefs’ Keyword difficulty filter

This is good from a granularity point of view, but some users (novices, perhaps) might prefer a simple ‘very easy / easy / hard / very hard’ style dropdown, like you get in Semrush:

Semrush's keyword difficulty filter
Semrush’s keyword difficulty filter — due to its more obvious categorization, it is a little more straightforward to use than Semrush’s

Another omission in Ahrefs is data around search intent — again, something that you’ll find in Semrush.

Search intent data gives you the context about a keyword — for example, a particular phrase might be being entered into Google for ‘navigational’, ‘informational’, ‘commercial’ or ‘transactional’ purposes — and you can use this information to decide whether or not to try to rank for that phrase.

These omissions aside, Ahrefs gives you a wealth of keyword data to use — and from a wide range of search engines too — when planning an SEO campaign.

Competing domains

When conducting keyword research, you obviously have to keep an eye on the domains that already rank for the phrases you’re targeting — if a bunch of really high-authority websites are already ranking for your chosen keyword, it will obviously be much harder to rank for that phrase.

Competing domains are really easy to identify in Ahrefs — you just scroll down to the bottom of the Keyword Explorer > Overview screen, where you’ll see a list of them, along with their domain rating scores, the URLs of pages that are ranking, the number of backlinks they have pointing to them and more.


Rank tracking

‘Rank tracking’ (or ‘position tracking’) is the process of monitoring how your content — or that of a competitor’s — performs in search engines for particular keywords over time.

It’s easy to set this up in Ahrefs — you go to its suitably-named ‘Rank Tracker’ section, enter a domain name and the keywords you’d like to track, and you see a report showing you how that site is currently ranking for those keywords.

The 'Rank Tracker' feature
The ‘Rank Tracker’ feature in Ahrefs

You can also track on a per-country or, remarkably, even a town/city basis. (This is a more granular approach to position tracking than you’ll get in competing platforms).

Rank tracking by location
Rank tracking by location

As time goes by, and more data about the site you’re tracking comes into Ahrefs, you’ll be able to monitor the progress of your attempts to rank more highly for your chosen phrases.

Viewing search position changes over time in Ahrefs
Viewing search position changes over time in Ahrefs

If you like, you can set up email notifications about your current ranking status — and schedule these to be sent out automatically to you or clients on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

(Note that daily updates are only available if you upgrade to Ahrefs’ ‘Rank Tracker Pro‘ service — more on this later).

An Ahrefs weekly rank tracking notification email
An Ahrefs weekly rank tracking notification email

All in all, the rank tracking features in Ahrefs are strong. However, one thing that you should note about them is that they are only available when you assign a domain to one of your Ahrefs ‘project slots.’

I’ll come back to project slots in more depth shortly, but basically you only get a limited number of them as part of your Ahrefs subscription (with the number available depending on how much you pay per month).

So, particularly if you’re on an entry-level Ahrefs plan, you may find yourself unable to perform quite as much rank tracking as you might like.


Backlink analysis

How strongly a piece of content performs in search results depends heavily on how many ‘backlinks‘ — links from other sites to it — point to it.

To perform backlink analysis in Ahrefs, you need to enter a URL into Site Explorer tool. This then gives you access to detailed ‘backlink profile’ data that lets you see

  • who is linking to that URL
  • what anchor text is being used in those links
  • what sort of domains (.edu, .com, org etc.) link to it
  • if any links pointing that URL are broken.

The point of having this data is usually so that you can ‘reverse engineer’ the SEO success of a competitor — by knowing who’s linking to their site, you can approach the same websites asking for a link to yours.

The Ahrefs 'Referring Domains' report
The Ahrefs ‘Referring Domains’ report

Ahrefs’ backlink data provided is laid out clearly, and lets you see when a particular domain has gained or lost links, along with the value of the links in question (i.e., the ‘domain rating’ and ‘URL rating’ scores for each linking URL).

How accurate this backlink analysis is, of course, depends on the size and quality of the Ahrefs link database.

At time of writing, Ahrefs claims to have 29.8 trillion backlinks in its database, which makes it a bit smaller than those of key competitors Semrush (43 trillion) and Moz (43.1 trillion).

(Ahrefs argues that size isn’t everything and that each tool counts links differently — you can learn more about Ahrefs approach here).

I was curious however to see how this played out in some real-world tests, so I performed some backlink analysis on some quite different sites to see how Ahrefs fared against leading competitors Semrush and Moz.

In these (admittedly small-scale) tests, I found that the number of backlinks found by each tool was actually pretty similar, with Ahrefs performing better on websites with larger number of domains linking to them — it seemed to identify more linking domains than Semrush or Moz.

For example, when I ran the Shopify domain through all three tools, Semrush found links from 1.79 million domains to it; Moz identified links from 2.1 million and Ahrefs 2.69 million.

But running a small business website through Ahrefs, Moz and Semrush yielded different results. For example, my friend James’ music PR company website Prescription Music PR was identified as having links from 451 referring domains by Ahrefs, 646 by Semrush and 521 by Moz.

As I continued the tests, this pattern continued — sometimes Ahrefs picked up more links; sometimes the other tools did. If there was a trend to be discerned, it wasn’t that the smaller link database always led to a smaller number of backlinks being surfaced — it was more that it depended very much on the websites being researched.

But on paper at least, Ahrefs’ link database is on the smaller side than those of its leading competitors.


Link building in Ahrefs

Many prospective users of Ahrefs will be interested in using it for backlink building. After all, the more quality links point to a website, the higher it typically ranks in search results.

There are three core tools provided by Ahrefs that faciliate backlink building:

  • its Site Explorer tool, which gives you a list of backlinks to any domain you specify
  • its Content Explorer, which lets you identify sites that are authorities about particular topics
  • its Alerts feature, which can let you know when one of your competitors has acquired a new backlink.

Let’s discuss each briefly in turn.

Using the Site Explorer to identify link building opportunities

Using Ahrefs’ ‘Site Explorer’ feature is probably the simplest way to identify link building opportunities.

You enter a URL into it, and you’ll get a list of all the backlinks that Ahrefs can find which point to that URL. You can then try to find contact details for those domains, and approach their owners for a backlink.

Now, whilst this Ahrefs feature definitely gives you valuable data for backlink outreach purposes, what you won’t get here — and which you do get from key competitor Semrush — is a way to manage the outreach process.

In Semrush, you are given a CRM-style tool to keep tabs on any link building campaign; this gives you a ‘sales pipeline’ style approach that you can use during outreach. Not only that, but Semrush lets you connect your email account to it, and actually surfaces contact details for the websites you identify as targets.

Semrush's domain prospecting feature
Unlike Semrush (pictured above), Ahrefs doesn’t give you a tool to manage the outreach process.

With Ahrefs, you end up exporting a list of links to Excel, researching contact details yourself, and making notes on a spreadsheet regarding who you’ve contacted or not. You might also end up using an email marketing app to send out your pitches.

It all amounts to a more manual process than you might like, and one which involves more a lot more tools / apps.

So the data provided is great — but you’re going to have to be prepared to do stuff with it!

Using the Content Explorer for link building purposes

Ahref’s “Content Explorer” feature gives you a really nice, simple way to identify websites that are worth approaching for a backlink.

You simply enter a topic into the tool, and it provides you with a list of high-authority pages and posts about that topic.

The Ahrefs 'Content Explorer' feature
The Ahrefs ‘Content Explorer’ feature

You’ll also get a list of ‘top authors’ that are particular experts on the topic, and where available, their Twitter details, which can help you contact them.

Top authors data

Again, it would be nice if a bit more contact surfacing was going on — in the form of some author email addresses being provided — but this is nonetheless a useful way to identify good backlink outreach targets.

Using Ahrefs Alerts to spot backlink building opportunities

Finally, there’s ‘Ahrefs Alerts’ to consider as part of your backlink building toolkit.

This lets you enter a competitor’s URL into it, and you’ll then receive regular email alerts containing a list of all the latest sites linking to that URL.

Ahrefs Alerts

This gives you the opportunity to contact the owner of the linking websites, asking that person to link to your website too.

Advert for Ahrefs

Broken link building

Broken link building is an important SEO strategy.

It involves finding a broken link (one that no longer leads anywhere), recreating the ‘dead’ content that it used to point to, then asking anybody who used to link to the dead content to link to your new content instead. This approach allows you to build up new backlinks to your content.

In order to make the strategy work, you obviously need to be able to identify broken links, and Ahrefs makes it really easy to do this.

You just enter a domain name into Ahrefs’ ‘Site Explorer’ section and click Backlink profile > Broken backlinks. This then outputs a list of all that domain’s broken inbound links, and the sites where these links feature.

Finding broken backlinks in Ahrefs

Additionally, Ahrefs makes it very easy to spot broken outbound links too — i.e., links from your site to other URLs that don’t work any more.

It’s important to ensure that your web pages don’t contain any of these, as they can be interpreted as a sign of poor quality content by Google and other search engines (with negative implications for rankings).

To find these in Ahrefs, you just enter a domain into the ‘Site Explorer’ tool, go to the ‘outgoing links’ section and hit the ‘broken links’ option to view results.

The Ahrefs broken outbound link report

Site auditing

One of the key reasons that SEO professionals use tools like Ahrefs is to stay on top of the technical side of SEO. This is because Google and other search engines increasingly place a high emphasis on technical aspects of websites — like site speed, security, and mobile-friendliness.

Ahrefs helps you improve your technical SEO via its ‘Site Audit’ feature. During a site audit, Ahrefs crawls your site for issues that might be having a negative effect on your search ranking, including:

  • Slow-loading content
  • Missing alt text
  • SSL problems
  • Crawl errors
  • Missing headers
  • Duplicate content
  • Broken links
Site audit results in Ahrefs
Site audit results in Ahrefs

Overall, you’ll get a very useful report from this process and a good picture of your site health.

But worth a particular mention is the fact that Ahrefs now includes detailed Core Web Vitals data in its site audit reports.

Core Web Vitals metrics in Ahrefs
Core Web Vitals metrics in Ahrefs

Core Web Vitals are an important new set of targets from Google relating to the speed, responsiveness and stability of a website, and sites that meet them can receive higher rankings in search results.

In Ahrefs you get two different types of Core Web Vitals stats: ‘field data‘ which is based on real user experience of your website (this comes from Chrome users) and ‘lab data,’ (performance data collected within a controlled environment).

This means that Ahrefs has an advantage over competitor Semrush here, because Semrush only provides Core Web Vitals metrics based on lab data.

Advert for Ahrefs

Interface / ease-of-use

Ahrefs’ interface consists of a horizontal menu of options at the top of the screen; when you click an item, a sub-menu giving you access to more features appears on the left.

The Ahrefs interface
The Ahrefs interface

This is a fairly traditional-style approach to navigation, and one that should feel familiar to most users.

The menu options on the left are grouped together in useful and intuitive categories — backlinks, keyword research, high-performing pages etc.

There is a lot of data to contend with — this may feel a bit overwhelming at first, but you soon get used to it (and the whole point of tools like Ahrefs is, of course, to provide you with a lot of data!).

Increasingly, Ahrefs is taking more of a ‘data visualization’ approach to presenting data than it used to — and its clear graphs and other graphical presentation of SEO data do help make all the metrics provided more digestible.

As with other leading SEO tools, it would be good if the Ahrefs’ interface could be made to work better with smartphones however — it’s not ‘responsive’, meaning that if you log into Ahref on a mobile device, you see the standard desktop interface.

The means having to read very small text and doing a lot of pinching and zooming, as the screenshot below highlights.

To be fair, it’s unlikely you’d want to do an awful lot of SEO research on a phone. However, it would be good if a mobile version of Ahrefs was available that let you access some core data easily on a mobile device — position tracking perhaps, or new backlink notifications.

As things stand, there are no Android or iOS apps available for Ahrefs at all.


Pricing and value for money

There’s no way round it: SEO tools like Ahrefs are, by comparison to a lot of other digital tools, very expensive.

Ahrefs pricing

That’s fairly understandable however, as with these sorts of solutions you’re not just paying for functionality, you’re paying for access to huge quantities of data, including a lot of competitor intelligence.

Ahrefs offers four main pricing plans:

  • Lite — $99 per month
  • Standard — $179 per month
  • Advanced — $399 per month
  • Agency — $999 per month.

These fees are fairly comparable to those charged by key competitors Moz, Semrush and Majestic (that said, Majestic offers a lower monthly plan for $49.99 per month, but it is considerably less functional than the entry level plans provided by its competitors).

The key differences between the Ahrefs plans involve:

  • the number of users who can access your account
  • the number of projects you can cater for
  • the number of reports you can pull per day
  • the number of keywords you can track

Let’s zoom in on these quickly.

Number of users

You don’t get many ‘seats’ on any Ahrefs plan — on the ‘Lite’ and ‘Standard’ plan, only one user can access your account at a time.

The ‘Advanced’ and ‘Agency’ plans improve matters slightly, with limits of 3 and 5 user accounts respectively.

User account pricing in Ahrefs
User account pricing in Ahrefs

On the plus side, additional seats are not extortionately priced — you’re looking at a $30 per user additional fee if you’d like to add a seat to your account.

This compares favorably with the equivalent Semrush seat costs (which range from $45-$100 per month per additional user), and is also more reasonable than the Moz fee for an additonal seat ($49 per month).

For the record, neither Moz or Semrush give you many seats either — Moz applies similar user account limits to Ahrefs, and Semrush only gives you one seat, regardless of plan type.

Number of projects

It’s important to be aware that if you want to use Ahrefs’ site audit or rank tracking features, you can only do so on domains that have been added as ‘projects.’

And how many projects you can add depends on the Ahrefs plan you’re on — you get 5, 10, 25 or 100 on the Lite, Standard, Advanced and Agency plans respectively.

These limitations won’t necessarily be a showstopper for every business — but if you have a lot of sites that you need to manage SEO for concurrently, or do quite a bit of competitor analysis, they might cause problems.

However, the good news is that with Ahrefs, expanding the project count is pretty affordable — and in some cases free.

For a start, additional projects are charged at just $10 per month each. This gives you a really flexible way to increase your project count; competing platforms don’t offer a similarly low-cost way to do this.

And, if you can ‘verify’ a domain with Ahrefs, it doesn’t count towards your project limit!

Verification simply means proving that you have editorial rights to or ownership of a website; you can do this by

  • connecting your Ahrefs account to Google Search Console
  • uploading an HTML file to the website’s homepage
  • adding a TXT record to the website’s DNS configuration
  • adding a HTML meta tag to the website’s homepage.

The combination of the $10 per additional project fee and the ability to work with an unlimited number of verified domains means that the project limits gives Ahrefs an edge over competing SEO tools.

For me, the approach to project verification represents the best-value aspect of Ahrefs’ pricing structure.

Ahrefs project verification
Ahrefs project verification

Number of reports

Although Ahrefs is fairly generous when it comes to project limits, it is much less so when it comes to the number of reports you can pull per day.

On its entry level plan, you can only pull 175 domain analysis and 175 keyword research reports per week, which is very low by comparison to Semrush’s equivalent 3000 limit.

Similarly, Ahrefs is very ungenerous when it comes to the number of rows it will output in its reports. While the entry-level Semrush and Moz plans give you keyword research reports featuring 10,000 results, Ahrefs’ equivalent limit is just 1,000.

As you go up the pricing ladder, the Ahrefs limits become more generous — but are still not as good value as those provided by other SEO tools.

Number of keywords you can track

Another key difference between Ahrefs pricing plans involves the number of keywords you can track. On the ‘Lite’ entry level plan the limit is 500; this rises to 1500, 5000 and 10,000 on the Standard, Advanced and Agency plans respectively.

(These limits are fairly consistent with those of competing SEO tools).

If you need more flexibility on this front however, you can buy a ‘Rank Tracker Pro’ add-on. This lets you track up to 100,000 keywords (and also lets you get daily updates on position tracking — the standard Ahrefs plans only let you get updates every 3-7 days).

This upgrade is very expensive though — a 1,000 keyword tracking limit costs $100 per month, and a 100,000 limit costs a massive $10,000 per month.

Is there a free trial of Ahrefs?

Given the that the monthly costs of Ahrefs are not insignificant, you might be wondering if there’s a free trial to avail of. Well, unfortunately, there isn’t! However, you can try it out for 7 days at a cost of $7.

This is actually very reasonable given the quantity of data you get to access for this sum of money — it’s enough to complete a SEO project with if you’re smart with your time!

But that said, this fee contrasts poorly with Moz’s offering, a 30-day fully free trial.

And, although Semrush’s trial is normally only available for 7 days, occasionally the company provides a more generous 30-day one too. This is the case at the moment — for a limited period you can access the longer Semrush trial here.


Customer support

SEO tools like Ahrefs can be quite complex to understand, so the availability and format of customer support is often a key consideration for users.

You get two channels of customer support with Ahrefs: email and chat. This contrasts positively with some competing products (Moz and Majestic), which only offer email support; but the lack of phone support contrasts negatively with Semrush, which provides it.

On the plus side, Ahrefs makes its contact details easy enough to spot — a live chat box is visible at the corner of each page, with estimated wait times listed on it, too.

Accessing customer support in Ahrefs
Accessing customer support in Ahrefs — the chat window is available at all times in the dashboard

There’s no ‘search our help pages before we show you a phone number’ stuff to go through either — help is usually pretty immediate.

Ahrefs support is available in several different languages — you can use a language switcher at the bottom of the interface to switch to the one that’s relevant to you.

Available customer support languages
Available customer support languages

However, if you’re on the Ahrefs help resource portal — help.ahrefs.com — it’s not immediately obvious how to find support in a different language, or see which ones are available. It would be better if there was a prominent ‘language switcher’ option available on this too.


Ahrefs review conclusions

Overall, Ahrefs is a great solution for most SEO projects. It gives you access to a wealth of information that, used judiciously, can help users significantly increase the levels of organic traffic to their websites.

It’s easy to use, works with more search engines than key competing products, and, thanks to its ‘domain verification’ system, can let you work with a large number of projects cheaply.

It’s not without its flaws though: there’s no free trial, its reporting limits are ungenerous, and its rank-tracking add-on is very expensive.

It’s definitely worth serious consideration as an SEO tool, however; and I’ll leave you with a summary of the key pros and cons of Ahrefs below.


Pros and cons of Ahrefs

Pros of Ahrefs

  • It’s easy to use.
  • You can use Ahrefs to perform keyword research for a wide variety of different search engines including, significantly, YouTube — key competitors usually only provide search data for Google.
  • It gives you access to all the key tools typically needed for a SEO project: keyword research, backlink analysis and site auditing.
  • Carrying out broken link analysis (both internal and external) is extremely easy in Ahrefs.
  • It lets you audit Core Web Vitals performance easily, and gives you access to both field and lab data in one place.
  • Its generous ‘domain verification system’ means that Ahrefs can let you work with a large number of websites relatively cheaply.
  • Adding additional ‘seats’ for Ahrefs is fairly inexpensive, especially by comparison to its competitors.
  • A low-cost trial is available (but we’d prefer an entirely free one!)

Cons of Ahrefs

  • There’s no free trial.
  • The report limits are ungenerous.
  • It’s link index is smaller than those of key competitors Moz and Semrush.
  • There’s no phone support.
  • There are no built-in contact surfacing or project management tools available to help you with backlink building.
  • There’s no mobile app for on-the-go SEO work.

Alternatives to Ahrefs

Ahrefs is one of the best-known SEO tools available — but not the only one! Alternatives include:

For more information about how Ahrefs compares to key competing tool Semrush , do check out our Ahrefs versus Semrush comparison.

And you’ll find our full Semrush review here, and our Semrush pricing guide here.

Finally, if you’re on a budget, you might want to check out a new tool called GrowthBar, which is available at a lower cost than most of the products listed above. A five day free trial of GrowthBar can be accessed here, or you can read our GrowthBar review here.

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