Ahrefs vs. SEMrush

AHREFS vs. SEMrush : Competing SEO Tool Competition

When you are looking to build an impactful website, using SEO tools is vital to your success. Fortunately, several tools are available, but many decide to choose between AHREFS vs. SEMrush. These popular tools help you understand how to analyze your domain name, research keywords, audit your site, and do much more.

Both of these tools are highly respected, but once you begin using a website, it is good to commit to one analytical SEO tool. This is why we will look closely at why you need to know the differences between AHREFs vs. SEMrush.

Why Use AHREFS or SEMrush?

AHREFS and SEMrush help web developers analyze and optimize their websites so they can move up the ranks in popular search engines. They give web developers an understanding of what content will attract new visitors through organic search traffic.

These two tools offer keyword recommendations for blog posts. They also provide suggestions for backlink websites. Most importantly, they help you audit your website to see what is helping and hurting your ranking. These are the commonly used tools on AHREFS and SEMrush, but they also offer more in-depth analysis to help grow your website.

Overview of SEMrush

SEMrush is an internet toolkit that helps web developers with their content marketing. The site conducts keyword research, tracks the competition, and audits blogs. It makes research-based backlinks suggestions and tracks AdWords and SERP results.

The website has a massive database of millions of domains and keywords. Companies like PayPal and Forbes use it. It offers limited free information to non paying customers while providing robust data to paying customers.

Overview of AHREFS

AHREFS is an SEO solution that helps web developers optimize their digital marketing. The website helps web developers find out what backlinks to use and how to get the most out of SEO.

AHREFS offers information and analytics about backlinks, content, keywords, and ranking. It also will audit your website so you can keep track of its SEO health. Like SEMrush, AHREFS also offers some limited information for free and has pricing plans that include healthy amounts of useful data.

Let’s look at how both sites can help you build your website and increase your rank on search engines.

Keyword Research

Inexperienced web developers often stumble across AHREFS and SEMrush while conducting keyword research. Both of these sites help developers understand how keywords rank, using information about the following:

  • The number of people using keyword phrases
  • What websites are ranking high with those keywords
  • Showing how individual keyword rankings are difficult to break into
  • Recommending other keywords

To use the keyword research tools, you enter the keywords, for instance “Dog Food Reviews“, you want information on into the Keyword Explorer and Keyword Overview search bars. The sites respond quickly with numeric search volumes, scores regarding difficulty, popular sites, and similar keywords.

When giving information, SEMrush gives a percentage to differentiate keyword difficulty. AHREFS gives a number out of 100. The higher the score for both sites, the more difficult it will be for your website to rank with that keyword. SEMrush gives a percentage with the number following the decimal. AHREFS uses a whole number.

As SEMrush uses percentages, the keyword research is considered more refined when compared to the whole numbers on AHREFS.

Both sites allow users to build their list of keywords. When you do this, you can check how your keyword scores evolve. When looking at keyword difficulty scores, there isn’t much difference between AHREFS and SEMrush.

AHREFS Keyword Research

There are some details that separate AHREFS vs. SEMrush. AHREFS shows the challenges with ranking, and it shows what backlinks will help your rank on page one. It also estimates how many clicks you should get from organic searchers. It tells you what search engines beyond Google will help you rank with any given keyword, making AHREFS better in keyword research, in our opinion.

Building and Analyzing Backlinks

If you want to grow your website, you need other websites to link to you. Backlinks, the external sites that link to yours, are necessary to get your SEO ranking to grow. Both websites will share a list of backlinks for any domain name.

Backlinks Databases

When it comes to backlink databases, the numbers don’t lie. SEMrush has nearly seven times the amount of backlinks in their database than AHREFS. Clearly, SEMrush can offer a more accurate analysis of backlinks. Interestingly, both sites have unique benefits for backlinks research.

For example, AHREFS has a comprehensive list of backlinks connected to Shopify.com, while SEMrush has more backlinks for BigCommerce.com. If you use a Shopify account, then you probably aren’t too concerned with backlinks on BigCommerce.com, and vice versa.

Backlinks Tools

When looking at AHREFS vs. SEMrush, you want to compare the tools and reports they share. Both sites provide information about the following:

  • The links you should follow
  • The links to avoid
  • Backlink locations
  • Domain status
  • Types of domains (.edu, .gov, etc.)

Since both sites share the same information, the only difference is the way they present it. SEMrush uses graphics to showcase stats in a way that is easy to interpret. AHREFS shares one stat more deeply: anchor text. The site shows the anchor text and what surrounds it.

Both sites also share a tool called “Link Intersect,” which allows users to see what a backlink would look like from your website. Then, you can see what it looks like on competitor sites. You can also see what websites link to your competitors’ sites and not to yours. SEMrush shows you four websites. AHREFS shows three.

Auditing Backlinks

There is one avenue where SEMrush beats AHREFS with backlinks: Auditing. SEMrush audits backlinks to determine which links will harm your website rather than help them. Once you see what SEMrush finds, you can request that Google disregard them.

Then, SEMrush will help you build your backlinks by sharing a list of websites you should ask for a backlink from. SEMrush shares this information in a style that looks like customer relationship management. The backlinks are used as prospects rather than listing them in a basic spreadsheet.

SEMrush Backlinks Tools

SEMrush is better at helping with backlinks when compared to AHREFS. The added backlinks auditing and the more extensive backlink database gives SEMrush the edge in this department.

Overall Site Auditing

Websites need constant auditing. Without it, they end up with broken links, useless keywords, and other critical problems. AHREFS and SEMrush both have site-auditing tools that show how well the technical and SEO aspects are performing.

The two sites use similar auditing tools that look for weaknesses on your website. Both sites look for:

  • Missed keywords
  • Slow-loading or duplicate content
  • Crawl errors
  • Absent headers
  • SSL issues

Which is Better at Auditing?

When comparing the two sites, SEMrush is slightly better. The auditing tool is more user-friendly than the tool on AHREFS. SEMrush uses a to-do list, where AHREFS asks you to make your own to-do list.

SEMrush has an SEO checker that audits your site, then offers suggestions for improvement. SEMrush prioritizes the recommendations, which can include:

  • What keywords will help your page
  • How to get featured as a Google snippet
  • How to improve meta descriptions
  • What your blog lengths should be

To make things even better, SEMrush also explains why the improvements will help your website.

User-Friendly Interface Design

Any type of online tool needs to be easy to use. Of course, websites can provide tutorials for users, but the best sites are truly intuitive. When it comes to SEMrush and AHREFS, the designers at AHREFS had a better understanding of intuitive design, making the site more user-friendly from the start.

When looking at the two sites side by side, users notice that the AHREFS menus are logically designed. The dashboard groups related information together in a way that makes sense. Users appreciate that AHREFS has a design that lets them see the site “at-a-glance.” Intuitive design enables users to go where they need to go without clicking around and wasting time.

SEMrush is also user-friendly, but AHREFS is slightly better. The issue that differentiates the two sites is that SEMrush gives more data, so more menu items are organized.

SEMrush gives information in graphs and charts, so you will like the site’s design if you are a visual learner. You will also appreciate how SEMrush gives you so many options for organizing data and breaking down the auditing information.

Free Trials

Both AHREFS and SEMrush offer some information for free. They also offer free or low-cost trials before they ask you to commit to a contract. AHREFS offers a seven-day trial period. SEMrush offers a 14-day free trial.

Both sites offer quick demos on their trial pages, so you can see what they offer before you commit. Once you’ve used the trials, you cannot use them a second time.

Additional Content Marketing Features

A popular feature on both AHREFS and SEMrush is the content-marketing toolbox. The suite of tools gives users ideas for blog topics, auditing capabilities, and keyword ideas. It also scans the web for mentions of your brand.

If you want the content-marketing toolbox, you have to pay extra for it. These features are significant time savers, especially if you struggle to create blog ideas. SEMrush has more extensive features than AHREFS has, but they both provide value for the extra money.

Customer Support

Robust websites like AHREFS and SEMrush come with useful support services. Fortunately, the sites are well-built, so users do not have to use support services very often. SEMrush offers slightly more support than AHREFS in the form of phone, chat, and email. AHREFS only provides chat and email support channels.

Even though AHREFS only has two channels of support, they are easier to access. On all pages, AHREFS has an icon – a large question mark. The icon contacts a customer support representative, who will respond immediately.

SEMrush offers customer service differently. To access it, you must scroll to the bottom of the page to find customer service contact information. Fortunately, you do not have to maneuver further through the site to get phone numbers and email addresses.

Cost of Services

Software as a service (SaaS) apps are often cheap, but AHREFS and SEMrush don’t fit that typical description. The services they offer are robust, so they charge relatively high prices for them.

Some customers might be surprised to see the costs of the services. But, once you consider all of the data you can access, the prices start to make sense.

SEMrush offers three price points:

  • Pro
  • Guru
  • Business

SEMrush offers a 16% discount for users who pay for the year in full. Enterprise users can build a custom service with SEMrush. With a custom service comes a customized price.

AHREFS offers four price points:

  • Lite
  • Standard
  • Advanced
  • Agency

AHREFS offers a discount of two free months if users pay for the entire year in full.

Both websites share all of the features and the amounts of searches, keywords, and more. It is good to look closely at all of the features and services at each price point before deciding. If you have several users, you might need to upgrade your services or pay for additional users.

Adding Users

SEMrush plans are only for one user. If you need to add users, the price increases per month per user. Each plan has a cap on the number of users you can add, with the Business plan having the highest cap of nine users. All others only allow two additional users.

On AHREFS, you can add three or five users on the Advanced and Agency plans.

Project Limits

Both of these sites have limitations on the projects you can build with them. AHREFS offers more opportunities with up to five projects in the Lite plan. In SEMrush, you can only build three projects at the Pro plan. In the Guru plan, you can make 15 projects in SEMrush. Meanwhile, in the Standard plan, AHREFS lets you create up to 10 projects.

The top plans give users the ability to create 25 projects, or, you have the option in AHREFS to pay an extra charge to create more projects.


Before you decide which SEO tool to use, we wanted to share the answers to some commonly asked questions.

Why do I need an SEO tool?

Web developers and content markets benefit from using SEO tools to streamline their work. Instead of guessing what keywords to use or what backlinks to seek, SEO tools like SEMrush and AHREFS do most, if not all, of the research for you.

Having access to SEO data lets you focus on what you do best – build websites, run your business, or create marketing campaigns.

Which is better: SEMrush or AHREFS?

Both websites have pros and cons. We suggest using the free trials before you sign up for one of these sites. SEMrush has more data in it, but AHREFS offers a streamlined site with useful information, too. For example, we referenced how AHREFS has data about Shopify, while SEMrush doesn’t. Details like these can help guide your decision.

Do both sites offer tutorials?

AHREFS and SEMrush both offer tutorials. They both have robust blogs with information about updates and tools. If you have a question about anything on the two sites, you can access a plethora of information.

AHREFS calls its information center the Help Center. SEMrush calls its information center the Knowledge Base. For users who prefer video tutorials, both websites also offer video lessons and vlogs on YouTube.

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