Ahrefs vs Semrush — Which Should You Use?

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Ahrefs vs Semrush: which is better for your SEO project? In this post, I’m going to help you find out! I’ll show you how both products compare in terms of:

  • Domain analysis
  • Keyword research features
  • Backlink analysis
  • Site auditing
  • Broken link analysis
  • Ease of use
  • Pricing and value for money
  • Support

…and more.

But first…

What are Ahrefs and Semrush?

Ahrefs and Semrush are two platforms that help you optimize your website for search engines.

The Ahrefs platform
The Ahrefs platform

They do this in lots of different ways, but the main thing they give you is information — information that you can use to:

  • find out what people are searching for in your business’ niche
  • create new content that is likely to attract organic search traffic
  • identify opportunities for building links from other sites to yours
  • change technical aspects of your website in ways that will help it perform better in search results.

Both tools, for example, provide you with keyword ideas (based on phrases that you enter) that can be used to create compelling blog posts that are more likely to rank highly.

They’ll also tell you how difficult it will be to rank for specific phrases.

They’ll help you identify websites that it might be worth approaching for backlinks.

And they allow you to perform an “SEO audit” on your website to find out if there are any technical improvements you can make to it that will help you achieve better search rankings.

The Semrush SEO platform
The Semrush platform

I’ll go through all these features in depth as I progress through the comparison — starting with domain analysis.

Domain analysis

One of the most useful things you can do with Ahrefs and Semrush is domain analysis. This means getting a general overview of how a website is performing from an SEO point of view.

You typically 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 it in organic search results.

(And to find ways to do so).

Accessing domain analytics in Ahrefs
Accessing domain analytics in Ahrefs

Carrying out domain analysis is easy enough in both Ahrefs and Semrush — you just enter a domain and key metrics are returned quickly for you, in a dashboard format. With both tools, these metrics include:

  • An ‘authority score’ (Semrush) or ‘domain rating‘ (Ahrefs) that gives you an at-a-glance indication of how well a website is likely to perform in search results.
  • An estimate of the total number of visitors to the website per month.
  • The total number of external links — ‘backlinks’ — pointing to the website (generally speaking, the more of these the better from an SEO point of view).
  • The total number of keywords the website ranks for.
  • A list of key competing domains.

Overall, the quality of the domain analysis in Ahrefs and Semrush is similar, but Semrush surfaces a couple more metrics in its domain overview relating to branded traffic levels (searches where a site’s brand name is included in the query) and search intent (more on which later).

Traffic share by location in Ahrefs
Traffic share by location in Ahrefs

However, Ahrefs lets you see the traffic value of a domain immediately — i.e., the amount of money that you’d need to pay each month to buy ads that would deliver an equivalent number of hits to a site. This is an important piece of information.

The traffic value metric being displayed in Ahrefs
In Ahrefs, the domain traffic value is displayed as part of a domain overview report

In Semrush, you’ll need to pull a separate report (‘Organic Research’) to view this data. This isn’t the end of the world, but it would be nice to see this figure immediately on Semrush’s domain overview page (pictured below).

Domain analysis being carried out using Semrush
Domain analysis being performed in Semrush

The difference between Ahrefs’ Domain Rating score and Semrush’s Authority Score

Both Ahrefs and Semrush assign scores to websites to indicate how much ‘authority’ they have — a ‘Domain Rating’ or ‘Authority Score’ respectively. In both cases, a scale from 0 to 100 is used.

A Semrush authorithy score
An authority score in Semrush

These authority scores give you an indication of how likely it will be that content published on a particular domain will rank highly, or how valuable a backlink from it might be — the higher the score, the better that domain’s prospects on both counts.

The two products’ scores are calculated in very different ways however. With Ahrefs, the score is calculated entirely on the basis of backlinks, but Semrush factors in backlinks, site traffic estimates and ‘spam factors’ when calculating it.

(Among other markers, Semrush’s spam factors include an imbalance between links and organic traffic; an unnaturally high percentage of dofollow domains; and too many referring domains with the same IP address).

This theoretically makes the Semrush authority score more accurate than the Ahrefs equivalent. Despite this however, the Ahrefs domain rating score is typically used as the industry standard benchmark for evaluating the ‘quality’ of domains.

As part of their domain analysis overviews, both Ahrefs and Semrush give you reports detailing the monthly traffic to the domain you’re analysing — but it’s important to note that the figures provided here are estimates.

An organic traffic estimate report in Ahrefs
An organic traffic estimate graph in Ahrefs

During my own testing and research — using sites for which I have access to visitor data — I found that both platforms’ estimates were more accurate when ‘bigger’ websites were being analysed (i.e., websites with higher monthly traffic figures — 50,000 organic visitors per month or higher).

Unlike Ahrefs, however, Semrush gives you an indication of how accurate the estimates are likely to be — high, medium or low.

Semrush's explanation on how it calculates traffic estimates
Information provided by Semrush about the accuracy of its traffic estimates

(Note that you’ll need to navigate to a separate ‘traffic analytics’ section to access this data however — it’s not displayed on the domain overview).

Ahrefs gives you a bit more immediate context about traffic though, by plotting visitor numbers against a list of all known Google updates; this gives you a sense of how a site’s organic traffic has been affected by them over time.

An Ahrefs traffic estimate for a website, plotted against known Google algorithm updates
Ahrefs’ graph of traffic plotted against known Google algorithm updates

Now, the important thing to remember with either set of traffic stats is that they should generally be used to identify trends (i.e., is site A more popular than sites B and C?) — rather than being taken as absolute gospel.

To this end, both Ahrefs and Semrush provide you with ‘competitive positioning maps.’

Semrush's competitive positioning map feature
Semrush’s competitive positioning map feature is a useful tool for performing competitive analysis

These give helpful ‘at-a-glance’ indications of how a site is performing against key competitors, based on how many keywords it ranks for and monthly traffic estimates.

However, both platforms take a slightly different approach to competitive positioning — Semrush shows how your domain generally stacks up against competitors, while Ahrefs focuses on the performance of individual pages.

Ahrefs' competitive positioning tool
Ahrefs’ competitive positioning tool: unlike Semrush’s, it shows you how individual pieces of content fare against competing articles. The Semrush equivalent focuses on how a domain generally fares in search against competing ones.

On the subjects of graphs, although Ahrefs has been gradually introducing more of them to complement the data it provides, it’s fair to say that Semrush currently places a greater emphasis on data visualization than its rival — a lot of the domain analysis metrics you encounter in Semrush are immediately graphed.

In Ahrefs, you may find yourself eyeballing data tables more often than in Semrush (which isn’t always a bad thing, of course — it very much depends on context).

Both products’ domain overview pages make it easy to see country-level data for a domain thanks to their simple ‘worldwide’ and ‘country’ view switchers.

Semrush's "country switcher" option
Semrush’s “country switcher” option

But Semrush has the edge when it comes to historical data: so long as you are on a $249.95 ‘Guru’ plan or higher, you’ll get access to a simple dropdown menu that provides a domain overview for any month between January 2012 and the present day.

Accessing historical keyword data in Semrush
Accessing historical keyword data in Semrush

Although Ahrefs does provide access to historical data too, it doesn’t go back quite as far — information from 2015 to the present day is provided. And significantly, you’ll need to be on a ‘Custom Pricing’ Ahrefs plan to access this data (this involves negotiable — but high — pricing).

Overall, both products do well in the domain analysis department, with Ahrefs getting the points for making financial data more immediately accessible and Semrush winning when it comes to data visualization and affordable access to historical data.

Now, let’s take a look at keyword research features — a very important aspect of both Ahrefs and Semrush.

Keyword research features

Keyword research is generally about four things: 

  • Establishing how many people are searching for a particular keyword
  • Establishing how difficult it is to rank for that keyword
  • Finding out who is already ranking for that keyword
  • Getting suggestions for other ones.

Both Ahrefs and Semrush make it very easy for you to find out all the above information.

You just enter a keyword into their respective keyword research tools — ‘Keywords Explorer’ in Ahrefs, and ‘Keyword Overview’ in Semrush — and you’ll get the info you need straight away — search volume for that phrase, its keyword difficulty score, the sites that are currently ranking for it, and a list of related keywords.

Performing keyword research in Semrush
Performing keyword research in Semrush

Both platforms use percentage scores to indicate keyword difficulty — with a higher percentage indicating higher difficulty.

Viewing keyword analytics in Ahrefs using its 'Keywords Explorer' feature
Viewing keyword analytics in Ahrefs using its ‘Keywords Explorer’ feature

How do Ahrefs and Semrush calculate keyword difficulty scores?

The way that Semrush and Ahrefs calculate keyword difficulty is quite different.

Semrush factors in quite a lot of different parameters when calculating it — including the number of backlinks pointing to top ranking sites; country; the word count of a keyword; whether or not a keyword is branded; and search volume.

Example of a keyword difficulty score in Ahrefs
Example of a keyword difficulty score in Ahrefs

Ahrefs, by contrast, focuses solely on the number of backlinks pointing to sites ranking highly for keywords.

Semrush claims that their approach makes their difficulty scores more accurate; Ahrefs counters this by arguing that “backlinks are probably the only easily measurable confirmed ranking factor.”

For the record, I’ve found that generally speaking, Ahrefs tends to flag more keywords as easy to rank for than Semrush — an Ahrefs ‘easy’ score will often often equate to a ‘medium difficulty’ one in Semrush.

SERP analysis

When it comes to giving you an overview of the sites that are currently ranking highly for a given keyword in search results, I’d argue that Ahrefs does this better. This is because when it lists the top-ranking sites, it accompanies them with more data.

Semrush gives you five bits of ‘ancilliary’ data beside each top-ranking page, namely:

  • the authority score of the site that the page belongs to
  • the number of referring domains pointing to the URL
  • the number of backlinks pointing to the page
  • the estimated organic traffic to the page
  • the number of keywords that the page ranks for.

There’s a screenshot of these metrics below:

Semrush SERP analysis
Semrush SERP analysis

By contrast, Ahrefs gives you 10 pieces of data beside each search result — in addition to the metrics provided by Semrush, you also get the following information from Ahrefs:

  • an authority score for the domain that the ranking content is on (‘DR’)
  • the estimated value of the page’s monthly organic traffic
  • the top keyword the page ranks for
  • the monthly number of searches for that top keyword
  • the word count of the ranking page.

Of these, the most interesting is arguably the word count metric (which has been introduced quite recently as an Ahrefs feature).

Ahrefs 'word count' feature in use
Ahrefs ‘word count’ feature in use

Although Google says that the word count of a piece of content is not a direct ranking factor, it’s still interesting to know how many words the top-ranking posts for your target query contain.

This is because you could argue that Google’s userbase has decided that a particular word count answers a particular query in sufficient depth — and then use this as a guideline when creating your own content.

(At the very least you’ll know that when a top ranking page contains 5,000 words, a 500 word post is probably not going to compete with it.)

Identifying search intent

Semrush generally gives you more context about why users perform particular searches than Ahrefs, thanks to its useful ‘search intent’ categorization.

As part of the metrics returned for a particular keyword, you’ll see an ‘intent’ box highlighting the context in which a particular search is made:

Keyword intent data in Semrush
Keyword intent data in Semrush

In the example above, you can see that for the ‘chocolate brownies’ search phrase, the intent behind the user’s search is likely to be ‘informational.’

Semrush also automatically highlights when the search intent is likely to be ‘transactional’,’navigational’ or ‘commercial.’

These types of keyword search intent are defined by Semrush as follows:

Informational = the user wants to find a specific answer to a question

Commercial = the user wants to investigate brands or services

Navigational = the user wants to find a particular page or website

Transactional = the user wants to complete an action (i.e., a purchase or other conversion).

Keywords by intent data
Keywords by intent data in Semrush — this information is great for helping you identify the most profitable keywords

Now, Semrush’s keyword intent feature really comes in handy when you’re filtering keyword suggestions.

When you enter a phrase into Semrush’s ‘Keyword Magic’ tool, you’ll often end up with a very long list of suggested phrases — and this can be rather overwhelming.

But the ‘search intent’ dropdown menu helps enormously here, because it lets you exclude a lot of irrelevant stuff really easily and focus on the phrases that are most likely to be revenue-generating for your business.

Filtering keyword suggestions by intent
Filtering keyword suggestions by intent

As a simple example of this, you could simply filter keyword suggestions by ‘commercial’ intent to view those that are most likely to lead to purchases.

Now, Ahrefs is skeptical of treating search intent this way, with its CMO Tim Soulo recently saying the following about it on X (Twitter):

“We’re not big fans of shoehorning the search intent into 4 ambiguous buckets: Informational, Transactional, Bla-blablional, etc…”

So instead of applying these sorts of labels to search phrases, Ahrefs gives you an ‘AI-powered’ feature that aims to spell out the precise intent of the searcher when entering a particular phrase into Google.

The screenshot below gives you an example of this in action for our ‘chocolate cake’ phrase:

Now I understand, and to a degree share, Tim’s skepticism when it comes to search intent labels — there is a lot of nuance in SEO, and ‘catch-all’ labels can be misleading at times.

But that said, I don’t really like the new Ahrefs ‘Identify Intents’ feature, mainly because you can’t use it to sort or filter results in any way — i.e., to identify informational or commercial types of queries.

You can’t even use it to get the actual intent of the keyword you enter into Ahrefs’ keyword explorer tool — you are given intent information for the top ranking search results for it. In our example above, we are given search intent data for the title of the top ranking result — “The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe Ever” rather than the keyword originally entered into Ahrefs (“chocolate cake”).

If that leaves you scratching your head a bit, you’re not alone!

And the search intent information you get from Ahrefs you get is fairly vague — we are told, for example, that the reason why people are searching for ‘chocolate cake recipes’ is to ‘find various recipes for chocolate cake.’ I’m not really sure what you can do with that.

So, despite its potential to oversimplify search intent, I still prefer the approach taken here by Semrush.

Keyword lists and topic clustering

Semrush and Ahrefs both allow you to create lists of keywords that you can refer to any time you like — using their “Keyword Manager” and “Keyword List” features respectively — and view evolving keyword difficulty scores.

Creating a keyword list in Ahrefs
Creating a keyword list in Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer tool

The functionality on offer from both tools is pretty similar here.

Both services recently introduced ‘topic clustering’ features, too. The aim of these is to help you identify keywords that can help you build up topical authority on a subject (search engines can reward sites that cover all aspects of a particular topic in depth).

Keyword clustering in Ahrefs
Keyword clustering in Ahrefs

Of the two topic clustering tools, I prefer Ahrefs’ — it lets you cluster keywords more easily and into more logical groupings. It lets you cluster phrases that involve the actual keyword you entered more easily, while Semrush seems to give you a bunch of clusters that are related to it.

A topic cluster 'mind map' in Semrush
A topic cluster ‘mind map’ in Semrush

Additionally, when testing the Semrush keyword clustering tool, I found that some of the the topic suggestions and keywords surfaced were not always as relevant as I’d like; I had to study the output carefully to ensure that the suggestions were a good fit for my cluster content.

Overall the Ahrefs topic clustering tool is simply more intuitive, and it’s easier to make sense of its output.

Banner advert for Semrush

Using backlink data in keyword research

One thing I’ve always really liked about Ahrefs’ approach to keyword difficulty scores is that not only does it tell you how hard it will be to rank for a given keyword, it also tells you roughly how many backlinks you’ll need in order to rank for it in the top ten search results.

Ahrefs’ keyword difficulty score graph
Ahrefs’ keyword difficulty score is accompanied by an estimate of how many links you’ll need to rank in the top 10.

Semrush introduced this feature considerably later than Ahrefs, but it does now take a similar approach to this:

Backlink target data in Semrush
Backlink target data in Semrush

However, whereas Ahrefs will always give you data on the number of backlinks it thinks you’ll need to rank for a particular phrase, Semrush currently only returns this for some keywords.

In some cases, you’ll get a slightly vague message along the lines of “it will take a lot of on-page SEO and link building efforts to rank for this.”

Example of a 'very hard' keyword score in Semrush.
Unlike Ahrefs, you don’t always get a ‘backlink-building’ estimate from Semrush, especially where ‘hard’ or ‘very hard’ keyword difficulty scores are concerned.

For most queries that I tried out in Semrush however, the feature worked fine and returned an estimate of backlinks needed to rank.

Clickthrough estimations

When you enter keywords into Semrush and Ahrefs, both tools tell you how many searches per month they generate on Google.

However, Ahrefs goes one further here, because unlike Semrush it shows not only the volumes of searches but the number of clicks they’ll be likely to generate.

(This is important, because not all users click on organic results — some click on ads).

Clickthrough data in Ahrefs
Ahrefs shows you not just the search volume of a particular keyword, but the likely number of clicks it will generate

Ahrefs also shows you an extremely useful traffic potential figure — an estimate of the total number of organic visits that you could expect if you ranked #1 for a particular keyword.

This is different from a simple search volume figure, because it includes traffic generated by searches which involve variations of that keyword.

Below is an example of Ahrefs’ ‘traffic potential’ statistic in action. You can see that although the ‘online store builder’ keyword has a search volume of 1,000 per month, when keyword variations are accounted for, it has the potential to generate 4,000 visits per month to a site that ranks number one for it.

Traffic potential statistics in Ahrefs
The ‘traffic potential’ figure

In many contexts, this data can be invaluable for identifying less ‘obvious’ keywords to target — search phrases that don’t in themselves generate much traffic, but which have a lot of minor variations that will.

For me, the traffic potential data provided by Ahrefs is one of the strongest reasons for using it over Semrush.

Content gap tools

Ahrefs’ ‘Content Gap’ feature is arguably a bit better than the equivalent Semrush ‘Keyword Gap’ equivalent. Both let you enter your domain and those of some competitors, and show you a list of keywords that your competitor ranks for which yours doesn’t — but Ahrefs’ ‘content gap’ tool lets you evaluate your site against a lot more competing domains (10 to Semrush’s four).

Ahrefs' 'Content Gap' tool
Ahrefs’ ‘Content Gap’ tool

Search engines you can perform research for

The biggest advantage Ahrefs has over Semrush in keyword research involves the search engines you can actually perform research on. While Semrush only provides data for one search engine, Google, Ahrefs lets you perform keyword research for 9, including big hitters like YouTube and Amazon.

The search engines you can perform research with in Ahrefs
Unlike Semrush, Ahrefs lets you get data for a large number of search engines (Semrush only provides data from Google).

To be fair to Semrush, the emphasis on Google is pretty understandable, given its current dominance of the search engine market — nearly 91.37% at time of writing (source: Statcounter). But some users will definitely appreciate the greater flexibility provided by Ahrefs here.

The full list of search engines that it Ahrefs sources data from is as follows:

  • Google
  • Youtube
  • Amazon
  • Bing
  • Yahoo
  • Baidu
  • Daum
  • Naver
  • Seznam

(The fact that Ahrefs provides Bing data may in time become quite significant, given the rise of AI and Microsoft’s recent integration of ChatGPT into the search engine.)

However, what you should be aware of is that the data Ahrefs surfaces is considerably more detailed for Google than all the other search engines. Many of the most-useful metrics and features provided for keyword analysis in Ahrefs are only available for Google data.

Pay-per-click (PPC) research

If you’re looking for a research tool that gives you data on both organic search results and PPC, you’ll find Semrush to be the better option.

Advertising research menu in Semrush
The advertising research menu in Semrush

This is because it returns a larger amount of Google Ads data, including:

  • keywords
  • ad positions
  • competitors
  • adverts displayed
  • ad campaign history
  • landing pages
  • subdomains used in ad campaigns.

You get to see this data (and more) when you enter a domain into Semrush’s ‘Advertising Research’ tool.

Examining advertising research data in Semrush
Semrush is the better platform where PPC data is concerned

Ahrefs does show some PPC related info, but it’s more limited — you get to see the ‘paid keywords’ used to advertise a domain, headlines for the ads displayed and the landing pages used in PPC campaigns.

Advertising data in Ahrefs
Advertising data in Ahrefs

This data is displayed when you enter a domain name into the ‘Site Explorer’ tool and go to the ‘Paid search’ section.

Overall I’d probably say that Ahrefs has a bit of an edge when it comes to keyword research, because it lets you perform research for a considerably wider variety of search engines than Semrush, and its traffic potential tool — for which there’s no Semrush equivalent — is great.

Semrush’s keyword intent tool — for which there’s no Ahrefs equivalent — is extremely useful though, and if PPC data is important to you, the better tool is definitely Semrush.

(And, as we’ll see shortly, there are reporting limits in Ahrefs which limit the usefulness of its keyword research features).

Content marketing in Semrush and Ahrefs

In addition to providing keyword research tools, Semrush and Ahrefs also provide you with some content marketing features.

With Semrush, these come in the form of a ‘content marketing platform,’ a suite of tools that allows you to:

  • identify new topics to write about
  • use an ‘SEO writing assistant’ tool to help you craft search-friendly content
  • audit your existing content from an SEO point of view
  • identify keywords that your competitors are using in their posts

These features are definitely helpful in quite a few contexts and there aren’t really direct Ahrefs equivalents available. However, you do have to be on a more expensive plan — the $249.95 ‘Guru’ plan or higher — to gain access to them.

The Semrush 'Writing Assistant' tool
The Semrush ‘Writing Assistant’ tool

Ahrefs’ content marketing features are less extensive, but still useful — you can enter a topic into its ‘Content Explorer’ tool and view information about its overall popularity; the sites that are currently dominating the searches for that topic; and top authors writing about it.

Using Ahrefs to surface influential authors
Using Ahrefs to surface influential authors (in this case, people who write a lot about cake!)

In light of the increasing use of ChatGPT as a means to create web content automatically, you might be wondering whether Semrush or Ahrefs provide any AI-powered writing tools.

Semrush provides a built-in AI copywriting feature in the form of its ‘ContentShake’ app. This writes paragraphs based on prompts or headings you give it.

In my tests I found this worked pretty well, especially when I was prompting it to create factual — rather than subjective or review-based — content.

Example of content created using Semrush's 'AI bot' feature.
Example of content created using Semrush’s ‘AI bot’ feature.

However, accessing this feature involves extra costs — you’re looking at a $60-per month fee to access the app.

As for Ahrefs, it doesn’t yet provide an AI writing tool, but it has recently made a BETA version of an ‘AI content grader’ available. As its name suggests, this tool uses AI to evaluate your content and suggest SEO improvements to it.

Let’s take a look now at a very important aspect of SEO, backlink analysis.

A banner advert for Semrush

How well a site performs in search results very much depends on how many backlinks — external sites linking to it — exist for the site in question.

With both Ahrefs and Semrush, you can enter a domain name and see a list of all the backlinks to it that each tool can find.

Backlink database size

Based on the figures published by Ahrefs and Semrush, Semrush’s database of domains is considerably bigger than Ahrefs’, containing 808 million domains to Ahrefs’ 207.4 million (figures correct at time of writing).

Semrush backlink database and keyword database statistics
Semrush backlink database and keyword database statistics (correct at time of writing)

This means that in theory, Semrush should be able to provide more comprehensive data for analyzing backlinks.

Ahrefs database statistics
Ahrefs database statistics

I was curious to see how this played out in practice, however, so I conducted some simple tests on both tools’ ability to surface referring domains. These involved running some of the websites for ecommerce and design tools that we review through both Ahrefs and Semrush.

Here’s the number of referring domains found for each site by both tools:


So in my tests, there was a clear win for Semrush — its backlink analysis tool won 9 out of the 10 contests.

Of course, it’s important to note that this was a small-scale test — so you shouldn’t read too much into the results. However Semrush did seem to have a consistent edge when it came to the number of referring domains surfaced, suggesting that its bigger database may indeed translate into ‘bigger’ data.

Backlink reports and tools

In terms of the backlink analysis itself, both Ahrefs and Semrush give you LOTS of useful information about the backlinks that point to a domain, including breakdowns of:

  • the number of ‘dofollow’ links vs ‘nofollow’ ones
  • the country of origins of backlinks
  • anchor text used
  • new vs lost domains
  • linking domain types (government, education etc.)

I generally prefer the way that Semrush presents this information — simple but attractive graphs spell out the key stats in a way that helps you digest them easily.

Additionally, Semrush and Ahrefs both provide you with ‘link intersect’ tools (with the Semrush tool being called ‘Backlink Gap’ and Ahrefs’ being labelled as ‘Link Intersect’).

These allow you to compare a URL from your website against corresponding ones from competitor websites, and give you an exportable list of websites that are currently linking to your competitors, but not to you.

Semrush's 'backlink gap' tool
Semrush’s ‘backlink gap’ tool

Ahrefs’ link intersect tool gives you more fine grain information than Semrush’s, because it allows you to compare a URL against 10 others, while Semrush limits the comparison to 4 other websites.

When testing the Ahrefs’ link intersect tool, I found it a bit easier to use, too — the way it works is more self-explanatory (see screenshot below).

Ahrefs’ link intersect feature.
Ahrefs’ ‘link intersect’ feature can be used to surface link building opportunities

Backlink auditing and building

Semrush offers a couple of backlink-related features for which there’s no direct equivalent in Ahrefs.

First, there’s a ‘backlink auditing’ tool which identifies potentially ‘toxic’ links (spammy links that can lead to you being penalised in search results).

You can output a list of these links, which you can then upload to Google as a ‘disavow’ file (this asks Google to ignore them).

A toxic link report in Semrush — Ahrefs doesn't provide a similar feature.
Semrush provides comprehensive data on toxic backlinks

However, not all SEO professionals think that these sort of link spam identification tools are actually that helpful, and that a more manual approach to identifying poor-quality links works better.

(The Ahrefs team take this view).

And interestingly, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller is not a fan of the concept of toxic links at all, or the tools that identify them! In fact, Mueller has gone so far as to say that disavowing links based on third-party metrics is a ‘terrible idea.’

So, although some users may find Semrush’s toxic link tool useful in highlighting particularly awful backlinks, I wouldn’t view Ahrefs’ omission of a similar tool as a key reason to choose Semrush instead.

The ‘link building’ tool in Semrush is more useful, however. This analyzes your domain or URL and gives you a list of websites to target with a request for a new backlink.

What’s interesting about this feature is that you’re not dealing with a spreadsheet of URLs — you’re dealing with a more CRM-style interface, with each domain listed as a ‘domain prospect.’ 

'Domain prospects' in Semrush
‘Domain prospects’ in Semrush

You can click on a button beside each domain prospect to move it into different stages of a link-building pipeline, and send outreach emails directly within the Semrush interface (by connecting a mailbox — Gmail, Yahoo etc.).

Conducting link outreach using Semrush
Conducting link outreach using Semrush

This is a lovely feature, and there’s nothing similar available from Ahrefs. 

Overall, it’s fair to say that both Ahrefs and Semrush give you strong backlink analysis functionality — but for me, because of its excellent CRM-style backlink building tool, the winner in this area is probably Semrush.

Trying out Ahrefs and Semrush before you buy

Ahrefs doesn’t offer a free trial, but you can access a free cut-down version of its ‘Site Explorer’ and ‘Site Audit’ tools here.

Semrush, by contrast, offers an entirely free trial. Normally speaking, this trial lasts just 7 days — but for a limited period Semrush is providing a double-length version of its trial using this special link.

Broken link analysis and building

Broken link building is an important SEO tactic.

It involves…

  • finding a broken link (i.e., one that no longer leads anywhere),
  • recreating the ‘dead’ content that it used to point to, and
  • asking anybody who used to link to the dead content to link to yours instead.

This approach allows you to build up new backlinks to your content — and the more backlinks that point to your website, the better your content may perform in search.

In order to make this tactic work, you need to be able to identify broken links, and both Ahrefs and Semrush provide features to let you do this.

Ahrefs makes it extremely easy to find broken links. You simply enter a domain name into its ‘Site Explorer’ section and click the Broken backlinks option. This then gives you a list of all that domain’s broken inbound links (and the sites where these links feature).

Finding broken backlinks in Ahrefs
Finding broken backlinks in Ahrefs

Semrush’s broken link building feature is less easy to get at — you need to run a backlink analytics report, navigate to an ‘indexed pages’ section, click a ‘broken pages’ option and then export the results to an Excel or CSV file. You can then sort or filter this file to identify the 404 errors (broken links).

This is a bit of a fiddly process, but on the plus side you can reimport this file to Semrush and do your broken link outreach directly within the platform, using a connected mailbox and the CRM ‘pipeline’ approach referred to earlier.

But overall, I prefer the Ahrefs approach here.

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

Ahrefs and Semrush both provide you with a means to spot broken outbound links — but as with identifying broken inbound links, things are more straightforward with Ahrefs.

In Ahrefs, you just enter a domain into its ‘Site Explorer’, go to the ‘outgoing links’ section and hit a ‘broken links’ option to view results.

Accessing Ahrefs' broken outgoing links report
Accessing Ahrefs’ broken outgoing links report

In Semrush however, you have to run a site audit on your website to spot them. Once done, you go to the ‘warnings’ section of your site audit report, where you’ll be able to access a full list of problem outbound links.

Using Semrush's 'Site Audit' feature to identify broken links
Using Semrush’s ‘Site Audit’ feature to identify broken links

However, using this method of identifying broken external links will involve using one of your ‘project slots’, which isn’t ideal.

(More on project slots — what they are and why they matter — shortly).

A banner advert for Semrush

Site auditing

Both Ahrefs and Semrush provide ‘site auditing’ features that allow you to evaluate how well your site is performing from both a technical SEO and on-page SEO perspective.

Ahrefs site audit results
Ahrefs site audit results

During a site audit, both tools will look out for issues that might be having a negative effect on your search ranking, including:

  • Slow-loading content
  • Duplicate content
  • SSL problems
  • Crawl errors
  • Missing headers
  • Overuse of keywords
  • Broken links

Both tools provide you with an overall SEO health score along with a wide range of really useful technical SEO suggestions.

They also give you really good contextual help on what each suggestion means, and tips on how to address any problems found.

Contextual SEO help in Semrush
Contextual help on site audit results in Semrush

I particularly like Semrush’s on-page SEO checker, which goes through your whole site and gives you actionable tips for improvement for each page (in order of priority).

These can include suggestions on:

  • which keywords to add
  • steps you can take to make a page appear as a Google ‘featured snippet’
  • how to improve your body copy and meta descriptions
  • which websites to approach for backlinks
  • length of content
  • internal linking strategies…

…and much more.

Suggestions generated by Semrush's on-page SEO checker
Suggestions generated by Semrush’s on-page SEO checker

There isn’t really an equivalent feature in Ahrefs — any suggestions provided regarding how to improve pages are of a more technical nature — i.e., you won’t get the ideas for improving your content or link profile that Semrush also provides.

Another neat touch that you’ll find in Semrush’s site audit tool that isn’t present in Ahref’s is the ability to send SEO tasks that the system has identified as needing attention to the widely-used project management tool, Trello.

Sending technical SEO tasks to Trello
Sending technical SEO tasks to Trello using Semrush’s site audit tool

(If you don’t use Trello, a Zapier connection lets you send technical SEO tasks to other project management apps — or alternatively, you can use a simple CRM tool that’s bundled with Semrush to manage them).

Finally, both Ahrefs and Semrush’s site audit reports now includes an assessment of your site from a ‘Core Web Vitals‘ point of view.

Core Web Vitals are a set of targets relating to the speed, responsiveness and visual stability of a website; sites that meet them can receive preferential treatment in Google search results.

Core Web Vitals data in Semrush
Core Web Vitals data in Semrush

Ahrefs and Semrush both pull data from Lighthouse (Google’s free site auditing tool) to give you these Core Web Vitals metrics; so you’re not getting data here that you’d otherwise have to pay for. That said, it is useful to be able to view it in the dashboard of an SEO platform.

In Ahrefs you get two different types of Core Web Vitals data: ‘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). Semrush only gives you access to lab data, so Ahrefs has an edge here.

Overall, although I think that both Ahrefs and Semrush give you a wealth of useful information for improving the technical SEO of your website, I’d give a slight win to Semrush here, mainly because of the broader range of content improvement suggestions it makes, and the options it gives you for sending your site auditing issues to project management tools.

But there isn’t a huge amount in it.

Interface and ease of use

For me, there’s really not a huge amount in it, but my feeling is that, Ahrefs is — in general — slightly easier to use than Semrush.

Its interface is cleaner than Semrush’s; its menus are laid out in a slightly more logical fashion; and its dashboards seem to group pieces of information together in a more relevant, coherent way.

(However, during my tests I noticed that Semrush’s data loads considerably faster — Ahrefs can be more than a little sluggish at times, which won’t please users in a hurry, and isn’t great for workflow.)

The Ahrefs interface in use
Using the Ahrefs interface to get data on a target keyword

With Ahrefs, you get a really good ‘at-a-glance’ understanding of SEO information — whereas with Semrush, you often have to do slightly more digging, or clicking around the place, to get at the data you need.

That’s not to say that Semrush is particularly hard to use, and to be fair to the product, perhaps part of the reason for the increased complexity in Semrush is because it often makes more information available to you than Ahrefs (in terms of graphs, search intent data, PPC data and pipelines).

And if you like data visualization, the Semrush approach will definitely appeal.

Data visualization in Semrush
Semrush places a big emphasis on data visualization.

There is one area where Semrush definitely wins hands down in the ease-of-use stakes: outreach tools.

Its CRM-style approach to link building means that a lot of the time you can identify and contact prospects ‘in the box,’ whereas with Ahrefs, it’s more a case of exporting data to Excel which you then reimport into other apps (contact finders, email marketing tools etc.) for outreach purposes.

Ultimately, if you want to dive in and get easily-digestible data, Ahrefs is arguably the better bet. For project-based work and link building outreach, Semrush is the better option.

Pricing and value for money

Compared to other types of ‘SaaS’ (software as a service) apps, Ahrefs and Semrush are expensive. That’s understandable however, as you’re not just paying for functionality, you’re paying for access to a lot of data, including some pretty serious intelligence on your competitors.

Semrush pricing plans

Semrush offers 3 main pricing plans:

  • Pro: $129.95 per month
  • Guru: $249.95 per month
  • Business: $499.95 per month

There’s also the option of creating a ‘custom’ Semrush plan — fees for this are negotiable, as are features.

A discount of up to 17% is available if you pay on an annual basis, and there’s also a free trial available.

Ahrefs comes in 4 varieties:

  • Lite: $129 per month
  • Standard: $249 per month
  • Advanced: $449 per month
  • Custom pricing: negotiable, and only available on an annual contract

If you pay upfront for a year, Ahrefs give you two months’ extra access for free.

Ahrefs pricing plans (April 2024)
Ahrefs pricing plans

There isn’t a free trial available for Ahrefs, but you can make use of a free cut-down version of the tool, Ahrefs Webmaster Tools. This gives you access limited access to Ahrefs’ domain analysis and site auditing features.

In terms of which product is better value, this will depend in no small part on your business requirements (and budget).

That said, there are a few key things to zoom in on when trying to work out which offers the most bang for the buck for your particular organisation.

Advert (Semrush)

Access to key features

Semrush gives you access to all its important features on its entry level plan — the main limitations of its cheapest offering are mainly to do with how many projects you can work on, and how much data you can pull each month.

Ahrefs is considerably less generous here — on its entry-level ‘Lite’ plan, you miss out on a lot of key features, including its content gap, link intersect and broken link building tools.

This will effectively nudge anyone who’s serious about SEO onto the more expensive ‘Standard’ plan (which is nearly twice the price of the Semrush entry-level one).

Number of users

By default, all Semrush and Ahrefs plans only come with one user account.

With Semrush, you have to pay an additional monthly fee to add additional users to a plan ($45 per month per ‘Pro’ user, $80 per month per ‘Guru’ user and $100 per month per ‘Business’ user).

With Ahrefs, there are two different types of additional user accounts you can buy: a ‘power user’ account (this costs $40, $60 or $80 per month, depending on plan) and a ‘casual user’ account (an extra $20 per month).

Credit-based pricing in Ahrefs (April 2024)
Credit-based pricing in Ahrefs

The difference between the two types of accounts involves how many reports a user can pull each month. Each report that you pull uses up a ‘credit,’ with the number of Ahrefs credits provided depending on user type (‘power’ or ‘casual’) and plan. On the Lite, Standard and Advanced Ahrefs plans, power users get 500, 600 or 750 credits respectively.

To complicate things further, you can also add free ‘inactive’ Ahrefs users to your account — these are users who run 5 or less reports per month.

I’d say that certainly on the entry-level plans, all this makes Semrush better value when you add more users — simply because the number of reports that Semrush users can pull far exceeds the Ahrefs limit (more on this in just a moment).


Ahrefs and Semrush both let you create 5 projects on their entry-level plans (‘Lite’ and ‘Pro’ respectively).

As you move up the pricing ladder, and compare Semrush’s ‘Guru’ plan to Ahrefs’ ‘Standard’ plan, Ahrefs’ offering becomes the more generous of the two — you can create 20 projects to Semrush’s 15.

And Ahrefs has the edge again when you compare its ‘Advanced’ plan’s project limits to Semrush’s more expensive ‘Business’ plan — its project cap is 50, 10 more than Semrush’s.

And that’s not the only way that Ahrefs is more generous when it comes to project limits. This is because you can work with an unlimited number of ‘verified’ projects in Ahrefs.

Verified projects are sites for which you can prove ownership — this can be done via DNS records, HTML files/tags or Google Search Console.

Verifying domain ownership in Ahrefs
Verifying domain ownership in Ahrefs

This is extremely useful if you manage a lot of domains and are in a position to verify them in the ways described above.

A key thing I discovered when testing these two tools is that an important piece of functionality, site auditing, is only available in both if you are working within a project. So, for users needing to perform a site audit on a bunch of different websites, this could become a headache — although the project limits don’t render this impossible, it makes things more fiddly than you’d like — and you’ll effectively have to keep a project slot free for any ‘ad hoc’ work.

All in all, when it comes to project limits, it’s a win for Ahrefs.

Rank tracking

Rank tracking (also known as position tracking or SERP tracking) lets you track a website’s daily rankings for a custom set of target keywords.

And Ahrefs’ rank tracker is a bit more generous. On its entry level plan you can track 750 target keywords, while Semrush’s equivalent plan limits you to 500.

It’s a similar story as you further go up the pricing ladder, with Ahrefs’ rank tracking tools letting you keep tabs on 2,000 keywords and 5,000 on its $249 and $449 plan respectively; the equivalent Semrush limits on its $249.95 and $499.95 plan are 1,500 and 5,000.

However, by default Ahrefs only sends you weekly notifications on your tracked keywords, while Semrush’s position tracking tool lets you receive them on a daily basis. If you want daily updates from Ahrefs, you’ll have to pay an additional fee of between $100 and $250 per month (depending on plan).

Semrush add-ons

There are quite a few Semrush features that are not available without purchasing an add-on.

First up there’s the ‘Semrush .Trends‘ add-on. For an additional $200 per user per month (irrespective of plan), this gives you access to more detailed information on your competitors’ traffic and demographics.

There is also a local SEO add-on available ($20 / $40 depending on the features you need). The main functionality this gives you is the ability to:

  • distribute business information to directories
  • suppress duplicate listings
  • track local rankings
  • manage Google My Business and Facebook listings
  • monitor reviews and user suggestions.
Semrush's local SEO add-on
Semrush’s local SEO add-on

Recently, a content analytics tool, ‘Impact Hero,’ was added to the selection of add-ons. At $200 per user per month, Semrush describe this as “an AI-powered tool that breaks down your content by customer journey stages, detects the most impactful pieces, and provides recommendations for content that can perform better.”

(In many ways, Impact Hero resembles Google Analytics — my feeling is that users who have set up Google Analytics correctly and are using goals to track content performance and lead generation probably won’t need this add-on.)

And finally there’s the ‘Agency Growth Kit‘ add-on — this is for agencies who want to ‘white label’ Semrush data.

This lets you produce custom PDFs reports that have no Semrush branding on them; it also helps you list your business in a directory of Semrush certified agencies (probably the most valuable aspect of the add-on) and access client management tools.

The agency growth kit costs an additional $69 to $249 per month, depending on the plan you’re on and what precise features you need (the more expensive version gives you higher visibility on the Agency Partners platform, unlimited access to the Semrush CRM tool and access to a ‘bid finding’ tool that helps you identify contract opportunities).

Apps / integrations

In addition to purchasing one of the the Semrush add-ons discussed above, you can also add functionality to your Semrush account by investing in a third-party app from the Semrush app center.

Some of the Semrush apps that are currently available in its App Center
Some of the Semrush apps that are currently available in its App Center

39 third-party apps / integrations are currently available, with a focus that’s mainly on analytics and data; they range in cost from $10 to $169 per month, per user.

Key apps in here include Influencer Analytics, an app that’s designed to make finding influencer/content creator partners for your site easier, and AdClarity, an app that gives you a holistic view of your competitors’ advertising activity across lots of different advertising channels (display, social, video etc.)

(Eight free apps are also available; examples of these include a website speed testing app, a local listings checker app and a plagiarism checking tool).

Ahrefs doesn’t yet provide a similar ‘app store’, but depending on your needs, you can use its API to integrate it with other applications.


Semrush is much more generous than Ahrefs when it comes to the number of reporting requests you can make each month — for example, even on its entry-level plan, you can pull 3,000 domain analysis reports per day. This is considerably more generous than Ahrefs’ credit-based limit, which restricts you to 500 reports per month.

This comparative generosity continues as you go up the pricing ladder. While the Semrush limits increase significantly, letting you pull 10,000 reports per day on its Business plan, Ahrefs’ equivalent ‘Advanced’ plan limit is just 750 per month.


If you’re working on a mix of SEO and PPC projects, you’ll probably find that Semrush represents better value — as discussed above, you get considerably more data on Google ad campaigns that are associated with a particular domain (or have been in the past).

Social media

You can use Semrush to gain insights on social media activity related to your brand or a competitor’s. The platform connects to several popular social networks and gives you access to a dashboard that provides insights on followers, post reach and post engagements. You can also use these social media tools to schedule posts.

These features are fundamentally online marketing tools rather than SEO ones, and will be a ‘nice to have’ option rather than an essential piece of functionality for most users. But if you feel that a social media tracker or post scheduler is important to you, then you should note that there’s nothing really comparable in Ahrefs.

Customer support

Semrush has a clear edge in the support department, because it offers three channels of support: phone, chat, and email.

Ahrefs, by contrast, provides chat and email support.

Both Semrush and Ahrefs make it really easy to contact support — there’s a clearly support window icon present at the bottom right corner of each interface.

Accessing Semrush customer support
An easy-to-access live chat option is available at the bottom of both the Ahrefs and Semrush interfaces.

Ultimately, because Semrush offers phone support while Ahrefs doesn’t, it’s a win in this area for Semrush.

Free trials

As discussed above, with Ahrefs, no free trial is available, but you can use its suite of free webmaster tools to get some cut-down access to its ‘Site Explorer’ and ‘Site Audit’ features.

Semrush, by contrast, allows you to try the product out entirely free via a free trial. Normally speaking, this lasts just 7 days — but for a limited time, the company has made a double-length free trial available — you can access this via this link.

Ahrefs vs Semrush: conclusion

So which is better, Ahrefs or Semrush? Well, I would be very happy to use either of these tools for an SEO-related project — they’re both absolutely brilliant sources of SEO data. However I do feel that, depending on the context in question, one of these tools might prove a better ‘fit’ for your business than the other.

Ahrefs is a better option for users who need data from multiple search engines. It’s more generous when it comes to project limits, has easier-to-use broken link building tools, and the option it gives you to work with an unlimited number of verified domains is potentially very useful to certain business types too.

If I had to single out one particular Ahrefs feature for praise though, it would be its ‘traffic potential’ score — this gives you a really excellent way to identify keywords that are most likely to drive high levels of traffic to your site.

However, Semrush is the more feature-rich tool, offering quite a lot of things that are not available in Ahrefs, including detailed PPC data, CRM-style link outreach features, AI writing tools, more customer support options and, above all, much more generous reporting limits.

Taking everything into account, here are the reasons why you might wish to use one of these products over the other.

Advantages of using Ahrefs instead of Semrush

  • You can use Ahrefs to perform keyword research for a wide variety of different search engines — Semrush only works with Google.
  • Ahrefs is arguably a bit easier to use than Semrush, and gives you more digestible, ‘at-a-glance’ information.
  • It’s considerably easier to do broken link analysis with Ahrefs.
  • The Ahrefs ‘content gap’ and ‘link intersect’ tools let you work with more domains than Semrush’s equivalent tools do.
  • Its project limits are more generous.
  • Its superb ‘traffic potential’ metric gives you a really useful way to spot juicy keywords that you might have overlooked.
  • Its topic clustering feature is easier to use than the Semrush equivalent.
  • The word count feature, for which there’s no Semrush equivalent, shows you the length of top-ranking pages, and lets you get a good sense of what users and Google may be expecting from a content size point of view.
  • So long as you can verify ownership of a domain, Ahrefs lets you work with an unlimited number of websites.
  • It’s cheaper to add additional user accounts with Ahrefs.
  • Its rank tracking limits are more generous — if you can live with weekly, rather than daily updates.

Advantages of using Semrush instead of Ahrefs

  • Its pricing structure is much simpler and its entry-level plan gives users a lot more features than the Ahrefs equivalent.
  • Semrush is much more generous when it comes to the number of reports you can pull per day. If you envisage doing a lot of backlink or keyword research every day, then Semrush is considerably better value than Ahrefs.
  • Semrush provides a lot of data relating not just to SEO, but PPC too — if you want a tool that covers both areas, it’s a better option than Ahrefs.
  • The Semrush ‘search intent’ tool is great for identifying the most relevant keywords for your business (or those most likely to lead to purchases) — the ‘Identify Intent’ option in Ahrefs doesn’t compare to it in terms of quality.
  • Its site auditing features are more comprehensive and easier to use.
  • Semrush’s CRM-style approach to outreach means that you can create really great link building campaigns without ever leaving the app. With Ahrefs, you’ll need to use more third-party tools to do so.
  • Phone support is available for Semrush — but not for Ahrefs.
  • Its interface generally loads data more quickly than Ahrefs’.
  • Semrush doesn’t charge you extra for daily rank tracking notifications.
  • You get social media marketing tools with Semrush, but not Ahrefs.
  • A totally free and fully-functional trial is available — this is not the case with Ahrefs.

Alternatives to Semrush and Ahrefs

Semrush and Ahrefs are not the only options when it comes to SEO software. Alternatives include:

  • SpyFu
  • GrowthBar
  • SE Ranking
  • Moz
  • Serpstat
  • Mangools
  • SEO Power Suite
  • Majestic
  • Google’s keyword planner (this becomes available for free when you advertise on Google).

For more information about how Ahrefs and Semrush compares to Moz, do check out our Ahrefs vs Moz vs Semrush comparison (you may also find our Moz versus Semrush comparison and our Moz vs Ahrefs shootout helpful).

We also have a SE Ranking vs Semrush comparison available, and a ‘quick guide’ version of our Ahrefs vs Semrush shootout can be accessed on LinkedIn.

To learn even more about Ahrefs and Semrush, you can check out our full Ahrefs review here, watch our Ahrefs video review here, or read our full Semrush review here.

If you’re curious about SpyFu, check out our SpyFu vs Semrush blog post here (we also have a YouTube comparison of the two tools available).

Got any questions about Ahrefs vs Semrush? Leave a comment!

If you’ve got any questions about Semrush vs Ahrefs, do leave a comment below — I’ll do my best to answer them.

Similarly, feel free to share your feedback on this comparison in the comments section — this helps us improve our content.

Comments (24)

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Chris – great comparison! We have a well established NYC restaurant and clientele – 20+ years. We have used social media minimally to attract business. Between these two SEO resources is there one you think will be more optimal (Semrush vs. Ahrefs) for our needs. There is only one user. We should be doing more to increase traction, understanding their spending and dining habits and understanding from what areas our customers come from. We have a intl. and domestic clientele. Thank You. Bob

Hey Bob – thanks for the comment (and sorry for the late reply!). To be honest either of these tools would serve you well in terms of optimizing your website and finding keywords to target (but if there’s only one user involved I suspect Semrush will represent better value for you — you’ll probably be fine on its entry level plan, which has generous reporting limits for one user). To find out where your site visitors are coming from you’d be better served by an analytics tool like Google Analytics or Fathom Analytics, and to understand spending and dining habits you’ll probably need to look at the sales figures on whatever point of sale system you’re using to accept payment in your restaurant. Hope this helps a bit?

Hey Moh, thanks for your comment. Both tools have a similar learning curve; Semrush has an edge when it comes to pricing for newbies, however, as its entry level plan gives you more generous reporting limits. The main reason I’d go for Ahrefs over Semrush is to get access to its ‘traffic potential’ metric, which is a truly great feature (see details in the review above). But Semrush’s keyword intent tool – which is also really useful – is something that’s missing from Ahrefs! It’s a hard call, and my advice would be to try both out to see which you prefer before making a decision. But if you’re looking at it solely from a financial point of view, you’ll usually find that you get more bang for your buck with Semrush.

You need to look for the ‘Authority Score’ metric – this is Semrush’s equivalent of DR. You should see this when you perform domain analysis in Semrush. Some more details here: https://www.semrush.com/blog/semrush-authority-score-explained/

I have a few websites, all based on the same type of service. Auto Driveaway. Which one would be best, and most affordable, for someone with between 30k-40k visitors per year? I would love to be able to increase my traffic, through better knowledge and therefore better search results. Its overwhelming to say the least.

Thank you

Hi Mark, thanks for your query – yes, it can be tough deciding between these two products. My general take is that if your main focus is Google, then Semrush probably offers the most bang for the buck, because its project management tools are really good for managing link outreach (plus it does a bit of contact surfacing for you too).

If you are also doing a lot on YouTube, however, there’s a strong case for going with Ahrefs, as it includes data for the YouTube search engine and several others too.

There’s also the question of which one you find easier to use – I’d suggest trying both, having a play, and seeing if one product or the other jumps out at you as being more user-friendly, easier to understand etc.

Hope this helps a little?

A client just reached out to me and asked this question. I basically said in a sentence what you said over 4,000+ words; it’s a tie you need both 🙂

Thanks Simon – although I think one of these product will probably suit a lot of users perfectly well. Really depends on the context and whether you need access to non-Google search data.

Wonderfully unbiased piece, thank you. Started the trial for both. Have you looked at Sitebulb for the audit piece? It was recommended to me.

Thanks for the feedback Melanie! Haven’t tried Sitebulb yet, no, but will aim to look at it as we expand our SEO tool reviews section 🙂

Nice detailed comparison of the two most used tools in the SEO industry. I think you should include some result output comparison though?

Hello Chris, To be honest, Your Semrush and Ahrefs review and comparison is really genuine. You did not promote anything here and it’s natural flow.

However, I would like to use SEMrush. But after reading your guide, I’m happy that I’ve chosen SEMrush already. 🙂

Thanks SaranSaro

Hey, Nice detailed comparison of the two most used tools in SEO industry. I think you should include some result output comparison. For example, if you do a keyword research the result returned should have been compared.

Very helpful report, thank you. A key element for me is the visualisation aspect (for senior reporting to non-digital types).

I love and use both. As you said both are good at different things. They’ve both come in so much in the last 3 or so years too. I’ve used Ahrefs since the early days when it was just about backlink and SEMRush when it was SEO Quake and started as a keyword research tool. The other part of my toolset is Screaming Frog SEO Spider. It’s so quick and basic yet provides so much.

Thanks Michael. Screaming Frog is great too – particularly for checking that migrations have gone okay.

I think this is a really detailed report and very helpful, thank you! I’ll definitely need the seo audit and semrush is the winner here. But my feeling in general is that ahref is a bit better. I’m going to try both tools in the next week and decide then.

So after reading all that you don’t answer the question in the title whether or not one is better than the other. Thanks for wasting my time…

Thanks for reading the post and for the feedback Lee. I’d respectfully disagree — the post makes it clear that in certain situations, SEMrush is better, and in others Ahrefs. For a quick summary of those, check out the ‘Reasons to use Ahrefs over SEMrush’ / ‘Reasons to use SEMrush over Ahrefs’ sections at the very end.