ahrefs vs semrush

Ahrefs vs. SEMrush: Which SEO Tool Is King?

Google “SEO tools.”

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

What comes up?

If your SERP looks anything like mine, 2 of the results at the top of the page are SEMrush and Ahrefs.

Ahrefs and SEMrush are 2 significant industry-leading SEO tools because they offer huge feature sets, accurate data, and excellent user experiences.

But which one is better?

That’s the question we’re here to answer.

Feel free to skip to the comparison:

What Should the Best SEO Tool Offer?

A robust SEO strategy is indispensable for online success.

Why?

Because more than 50% of online traffic comes from organic search, and only about a quarter comes from paid search. Additionally, almost 97% of online content never receives any organic traffic.

Statistics

In other words, new people cannot find your business online unless you’ve taken the necessary SEO steps to ensure its visibility!

The only way to navigate the complexities of search engine optimization effectively is with an SEO tool, but many people struggle to decide what tool is right for their business.

What should the best SEO tool offer to truly elevate your website’s performance? 

We’re here to help you answer that question. Let’s explore the key features that make an SEO tool exceptional.

Site Audits

A solid foundation for SEO success begins with a thorough site audit.

A site audit is when a tool breaks down your entire website’s performance to tell you precisely what needs to change. 

The best SEO tools should thoroughly analyze your website’s structure, speed, and other technical aspects, including checking the following on-page elements:

  • Meta tags
  • Headers
  • Images
  • Content
  • Broken links
  • Many, many other elements

The tool then offers insights into how to fix any issues your site currently has.

A site audit is CRUCIAL for developing a high-performing site that’ll rank high on the SERPs.

Backlinks

Backlinks are an important part of optimizing your site, but many newer website owners are also confused about them.

Essentially, a backlink is any time another (preferably reputable) website links to one of your site’s pages. A top-tier SEO tool needs to have a robust backlink analysis feature.

This tool should include:

  • Monitoring the quality and relevance of backlinks
  • Identifying potentially harmful links
  • Understanding your competitors’ backlink strategies.

With this information, you can refine your link-building approach and strengthen your website’s authority.

Rank Tracking

Another under-appreciated aspect of SEO is rank tracking. Many people feel that launching their site with some SEO will be enough to land a top spot on the SERP.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Once you’ve started working on your SEO, you’ll need to know if your efforts are having any effect so you can adjust your strategy and improve with time.

That’s where rank tracking comes in.

The best rank-tracking tools offer:

  • Up-to-date rank tracking
  • Historical data
  • Localization features
  • Reports
  • Other specialized rank-tracking features

Tracking your ranks allows you to monitor your rankings over time, adapt your strategy accordingly, and understand how your site performs in specific locations.

Keyword Discovery

Keywords are the building blocks of SEO. Without a properly developed keyword strategy, your ranks will stagnate.

A comprehensive SEO tool should make keyword research and discovery easier by providing insights into search volume, competition, and trends.

It should also suggest RELEVANT long-tail keywords to optimize your content for better visibility. Many tools suggest hundreds of random keywords that don’t pertain to your current SEO strategy, which does you no good.

Look for tools that offer robust keyword research tools. These tools will help you fill holes in your keyword strategy and identify areas where your competitors are outperforming you.

Competitor Tracking

One of the most complex parts of SEO is navigating the competition you’ll inevitably have for the top spots on Google (or whichever search engine you’re targeting).

Understanding your competitors’ strategies is crucial for staying ahead in the SEO game.

The best way to understand your competitors? You guessed it: a good SEO tool.

The best SEO tools should offer advanced competitor tracking features, such as:

  • Allowing you to analyze your competitor’s keywords
  • Identify your competitor’s backlinks
  • Quickly compare your ranks with your competitor’s ranks

These insights help you identify opportunities, refine your strategy, and beat your opponents on the SERP.

Reports

Keeping track of your SEO performance can feel like a full-time job, taking away from the other aspects of running a business.

That’s where reports come in.

You can automatically schedule reports to be sent to you at preset times, so you only have to review the changes quickly and decide if anything needs adjusting.

A top-notch SEO tool should offer customizable, automatable, and easy-to-understand reports.

These reports should summarize key metrics, include visualizations like charts and graphs, and be exportable for easy sharing.

If you’re running an SEO agency, you should carefully consider the reporting capabilities and limits of any tool you’re considering. Reports can make or break your client relationship, so ensure your chosen tool helps you wow your clients!

Ahrefs vs. SEMrush: Battle of the SEO Tools

In this section, we’ll compare SEMrush vs Ahrefs to see which tool offers more value.

Specifically, we’ll look at 5 different categories to determine which SEO tool is best for you:

  • Pros
  • Cons
  • Features
  • Pricing
  • Reviews

Ahrefs

Ahrefs has long been one of the most popular all-in-one SEO tools, and for good reason.

This popular tool offers industry-leading features and capabilities that have helped people take their pages to the top of Google for over a decade.

Let’s talk about whether Ahrefs might be the tool for you.

Pros

  • High-quality features cover almost anything you could need in SEO (including every feature we recommend looking for above)
  • The UX is well-designed and makes many features manageable (although many more advanced features may still be complicated for newer users).
  • Plenty of resources and education available for those new to SEO
  • Free Webmaster Tools

Cons

  • The HUGE feature set can be intimidating and challenging to learn for beginners.
  • New Ahrefs plans are based on a credit system that a lot of users have been outspoken about disliking because the credits can be used up fast.
  • It can be cost-prohibitive for smaller businesses.
  • No free trial of the full program!

Features

For many people, Ahrefs is the best SEO tool on the market. Its extensive features allow its users to accomplish almost any SEO task.

Ahref’s core SEO tools include the following:

  • Backlink tools
  • Rank tracking
  • Keyword explorer
  • Site audit (for technical SEO)

Most of the core information you’ll be interested in will be summarized in the Ahrefs dashboard. The dashboard gives users an incredibly detailed look at many important data points:

  • Keyword movements
  • Backlinks
  • Site health
  • Organic traffic

Ahrefs

Users can then use specific tools to dive into these areas more in-depth.

Another key feature is the Site Explorer, which allows users to check on the backlink and keyword profiles of ANY site (including their competitors).

Site Explorer

Using the Site Explorer is one of the best ways to stay up-to-date on your competitors’ strategies and stay one step ahead of them.

Of course, Ahrefs has many other SEO features. I highly recommend signing up for Ahref’s Webmaster Tools for free before committing to pay for the tool to see if you like its setup.

Pricing

Pricing is where Ahrefs seems less appealing to many people.

You get a limited number of credits every month for some of Ahrefs’ features, meaning you can’t use every tool an unlimited amount of times.

If you pay monthly, Ahrefs starts at $99/month and goes up to $399/month (not including enterprise plans). Yearly plans are discounted by 2 months of cost.

Ahrefs Pricing

However, those considering Ahrefs should remember that only some of its plans come with all its features! Review the pricing plans to see if the plan that meets your budget offers the necessary tools.

Reviews

Ahrefs has an average of 4.5 stars, meaning that most of its customers are happy with the tool.

Some of the most common comments from happy customers refer to the accuracy, the wide variety of features, and the backlink tracking tool.

Ahrefs Review 1

Some of the more critical comments mention that the design can be clunky and that the price is higher than many wish it were.

Ahrefs Review 2

SEMrush

SEMrush is another full-featured SEO tool that has been a giant in the industry since its launch in 2008.

SEMrush also has a massive following and has helped many of its customers attain SEO success over the years.

But is it the right SEO tool for you?

Let’s take a look!

Pros

  • Offers a full suite of SEO tools
  • Covers all of the needs you might have for SEO
  • Includes marketing, social media, and content creation tools in addition to its SEO features
  • Free trial available

Cons

  • The extensive feature set carries a premium price tag that won’t fit many smaller businesses’ budgets.
  • The number of features may be overwhelming for someone just trying to get started in SEO.

Features

SEMrush offers social media, marketing, and content creation features. We won’t discuss those tools here since we’re mainly focused on SEO.

SEMrush’s core SEO features include the following:

  • Keyword research
  • Competitor analysis
  • Rank tracking
  • Backlink tools
  • Local SEO
  • Technical SEO

One of the best features SEMrush offers is its suite of keyword tools, which includes several tools designed specifically to make keyword research easier and faster.

Features SEMrush

Using these tools, you can find new keywords that match your current keyword profile, manage your current keywords, and discover gaps in your strategy to help you target strategic keywords.

Backlinks are hard to understand, but SEMrush offers multiple tools to help simplify them and help you build an excellent backlink profile.

These tools can help you identify low-quality backlinks and disavow them, launch backlink campaigns, and keep track of all your current backlinks.

SEMrush backlinks

Again, SEMrush offers too many SEO features to cover in one article. However, SEMrush does provide a free trial, which I recommend signing up for to see if SEMrush offers what you need.

Pricing

Many people’s problem with SEMrush is that it doesn’t fit in their budget. The tools it offers are great, but many people don’t have room in their budget to pay the premium price.

SEMrush starts at $129.95/month and goes up to $499.95/month. Discounts are available if you pay for an entire year upfront.

SEMrush pricing

Reviews

SEMrush has an average rating of 4.5 stars (identical to Ahrefs!). The most common positive comments are about the number and quality of the available features. Most people don’t even use all the features of SEMrush because it’s such a feature-packed tool.

SEMrush review

Those with more critical comments often mention the price and the difficulty of learning such a massive and complex tool.

SEMrush review 2

Why ProRankTracker Is the Best Option for Tracking Your Ranks

You probably need an all-in-one SEO tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush, but if you’re looking for rank tracking features, Ahrefs and SEMrush get expensive

ProRankTracker is a highly specialized rank tracking tool (that’s much more affordable for rank tracking), meaning it goes into depth on rank tracking and does it better than anyone else. Instead of trying to be a jack of all trades, it becomes a master of one.

Let’s talk about why ProRankTracker might be the right tool for your rank tracking needs.

Pros

  • Highly specialized rank tracking features like localization, historical data, and helpful charts and graphs.
  • Unlimited reports on ANY plan
  • Every plan comes with daily rank updates
  • 100% accurate rank tracking
  • Low cost
  • Full-featured free trial available

Cons

  • If you need a full suite of SEO tools, try one of the tools above. ProRankTracker is focused on tracking ranks as well as possible, so it doesn’t offer those other features.

Features

ProRankTracker offers some of the most advanced rank tracking features in the industry.

One of my favorite features is the ability to look at unlimited full SERPs to track the movements of every listing for the keywords you’re targeting. This rank tracking feature makes it easy to see who’s making moves. Then, you can take that information to determine your future strategy.

Features ProRankTracker

Another popular feature is the ability to generate UNLIMITED reports on any ProRankTracker plan (even the smallest plans!). If you’re an agency, the value of this feature is impossible to overstate. You never have to worry about exceeding your reporting limit.

ProRankTracker comes with more than 20 types of reports and notifications, so you can quickly generate the exact report you need. You can then schedule these reports automatically for you or your clients on a recurring schedule.

ProRankTracker reports

ProRankTracker also offers the Rankings Discovery and Keyword Suggestions tools if you need to develop your keyword strategy.

Rankings Discovery allows you to discover keywords that you ALREADY rank for with the click of a button. You can then invest some time into boosting these keywords to higher positions–but much less effort than developing a brand new keyword.

ProRankTracker Rankings Discovery

Keyword Suggestions takes the keywords you already target and suggests hundreds of new ones based on your current strategy. Here, you can find high-value, long-tail keywords that generate more results than generic keywords suggested by some other tools.

ProRankTracker Keyword Suggestions

Pricing

Fortunately, ProRankTracker’s pricetag is much easier for most businesses (of any size) to swallow.

ProRankTracker starts at just $49/month (or $39/month paid annually) for 500 tracked keywords! That’s more than 50% off the SAME number of keywords compared to SEMrush and almost 50% off compared to Ahrefs (which offers 750 terms for $99/month)!

ProRankTracker pricing

Additionally, ProRankTracker offers a 14-day free trial with ALL premium features enabled. Sign up for the free trial to see how much ProRankTracker can help your business succeed online!

Reviews

ProRankTracker has received an average rating of 4.5 stars. The most common positive comments center around accuracy, ease of use, and affordability. Many users also mention the depth of the rank-tracking tool suite.

Reviews ProRankTracker

More negative reviews mention difficulties learning the ProRankTracker user interface. However, notice in the screenshot below that this comment was posted in 2022 – this was the most recent review I could find below 4.5 stars!

Reviews ProRankTracker 2

In addition, the ProRankTracker team has since launched an overhaul of the UX, which has made the tool much easier to learn and use.

FAQ

Is Ahrefs or SEMrush more accurate?

When it comes to tracking your ranks, SEMrush is more accurate because it updates its data more frequently. For reference, Ahrefs updates its ranks weekly for users on the basic plan, whereas SEMrush reports that they update their ranks every 24-48 hours.

What is the difference between Ahrefs and SEMrush?

Ahrefs and SEMrush are excellent all-in-one SEO tools, but they aren’t identical. SEMrush offers social media and marketing features that Ahrefs doesn’t provide. That’s why SEMrush is the more popular choice. However, it has a significantly higher price tag to accompany the additional features.

Is SEMrush the best SEO tool?

The best SEO tool depends on your needs. Many people love SEMrush and swear that it’s the best tool on the market. Others say the same thing about Ahrefs. Ultimately, only you can decide what’s best for your business – try out the free tools offered by both and see what you like best.

Conclusion

So, who wins?

If budget isn’t a concern, SEMrush is the more comprehensive and accurate SEO tool that’ll meet almost any business’s needs.

However, most businesses have a limited budget and need the most powerful features with a lower price tag. 

In that case, I recommend trying ProRankTracker, which offers some of the highest-value SEO tools without the accompanying high price.

Whatever your needs, try all 3 tools and use your experience to help you decide which one is right for you.

Good luck!