SEMRush vs Ahrefs

SEMRush vs Ahrefs [2021] Which Is Better, And Why?

Through this post, I’m going to review, compare, and conclude – which SEO tool is best between SEMRush and Ahrefs?

To put it simply, we shall compare SEMRush vs Ahrefs in these below aspects –

  • Keyword Research
  • Backlink Analysis
  • Site Audit
  • Distinct Features
  • Pricing and value

But, before that, why I’m supposed to compare these two among plenty of other SEO tools?

SEMRush Vs Ahrefs: Why We Need A Comparison?

When you want to drive more organic traffic to your site either by or not outranking your competitions, you have to give these tools a try.


Ahrefs, indeed, a renowned backlink analysis tool in its early days. But, over the years, it adds-up more features to project itself as a comprehensive SEO tool like SEMRush. Indeed, this is one valid reason to compare Ahrefs with SEMRush.

With its tons of new features like keyword research, competitor keyword analysis, YouTube keyword metrics, etc. it becomes one of the closest competitors to SEMRush.



On the other hand, SEMRush is yet another jumbo in the SEO market to spy the competitor’s keywords and rankings. And, we all know that SEMRush started as a keyword research tool. But, today, it also plays well in the link analysis area with its backlink tool.


With the recent huge update to its link index, it ranks next to Ahrefs in identifying the most backlinks and how quickly it finds any new links of any fed domain URL.


To the bottom line, with these above data on their updates and improvements, both Ahrefs and SEMRush have a similar set of features.

Hence, it becomes an urge to write a comparison – Ahrefs vs SEMRush for SEOs and online marketers.

So, let’s dive into the battle between SEMRush and Ahrefs without further ado.

Ahrefs Vs SEMRush – Which Is Better?

The SEMRush and Ahrefs are two SEO tools that help you optimize your websites for search engines. They do the same but in different ways. Let’s dig that.

#1 SEMRush vs Ahrefs For SEO Keyword Research

First, let’s find out which tool is best in easing your keyword research and analysis.

Like any other keyword tool, SEMRush also gets you a comprehensive list of keywords that your site or your competitor’s site is ranking for.

SEMRush organic keywords

The tool displays the keyword data along with more metrics and filter options to sort or filter the keywords as you need.

It also helps you understand how optimized the page is to rank in different verticals of SERPs like Top stories, People also ask, Knowledge Graph, etc.

And, when it comes it keyword analysis, the tool fetches more in-depth data on any particular keyword you need to research. It includes global volume, keyword trend, etc. whereas Ahrefs basically gets you CPC, search volume, and competitions.


Using SEMRush, along with the keyword volume and competitions, you will also get a big list of keyword ideas in terms of keyword variations, related keywords, and question-based keywords.

Indeed, like SEMRush, Ahrefs also digs the target domain and fetches a massive list of organic ranking keywords. It also comes with required filter options.


But, arguably, the Ahrefs keyword metrics are not much popular like SEMRush Keyword Difficulty.

On the other hand, Ahrefs also displays wealthy information like SERP features but in a more organized way. Here is a sample; you will get the SERP details only when you click on ‘SERP’ batch particularly. That tweaks me when I don’t want to access the SERP features of all keywords initially.


On contrast, SEMRush looks highly cluttered.

Again, it depends on individuals. I find Ahrefs UI looks pretty to access the data. But, if you are an SEO specialist to analyze hundreds of keyword terms rapidly, then having a cumulative data at one place is pretty good.

Not just in SEO, SEMRush proves its keyword research dominance in PPC areas as well. It gets you ample data, including competitor’s ad copies from the Google PPC.

On the other hand, Ahrefs gets you the list of paid keywords of any typed in the domain that maybe not much helpful, like SEMRush PPC data.

There are still rooms for improvement in PPC areas of Ahrefs when you need comprehensive PPC data at your fingertips as SEO agencies who probably manage both SEO and paid campaigns.

To the bottom line, even though Ahrefs has a lot of extensive features in keyword research, SEMRush wins the game offering you lots of more data in both SEO and PPC as a well-matured keyword research tool.

#2 Comparing SEMRush And Ahrefs On Backlink Analysis

As we have seen above, Ahrefs is an ultimate backlink checker tool in its way, whereas; SEMRush enhances its backlink analysis features to compete with Ahrefs.

So, let’s see which the best backlink tool is finally. Here, I’m taking the Traffic Crow blog itself to test.

Ahrefs found a total number of 4,251 links, and SEMRush has got 13,506 backlinks. And in the case of referring domains, Ahrefs and SEMRush discover 537 and 781 referring domains, respectively. So, this shows that SEMRush has a larger link index.



Still, how Ahrefs remains the favorite backlink checker tool for most of the SEOs like me? Ahrefs allows me to grab the utmost details of any backlink with a sneaky preview. I don’t have to click more times to get what I want to know about a backlink.


The tool neatly shows me the text around the link that makes it easy to explore the exact link opportunities where your competitors have got links.

I find Ahrefs great to find the best pages by links, best links of any page, and even more with no much hassle. Even though SEMRush has got a larger index and fetches more, I find Ahrefs much easier to analyze any site’s link profile.

#3 SEMRush Or Ahrefs? Which Tool Is Best For Site Audit?

You can’t neglect technical SEO for any reason. Though you have done proper keyword research, great content, and backlinks, and when your site is ill, it yields nothing. So, how to make sure your website is healthy and bound to SEO.

Here is how these tools Ahrefs and SEMRush help you to audit a site for technical SEO.

Like Google Search Console, Ahrefs will get you visual graphs on URLs crawled, click depths, etc. Also, it estimates an overall SEO health score of any site you feed.

It takes several factors into consideration and notifies the noindex pages, slow loading pages, redirect chains, 404 pages, on-page issues, and even more.

Moreover, its ‘Site Structure’ provides you an idea about click depth – how far (in terms of clicks), your different pages are from the homepage.

Indeed, it’s good to have flat site architecture that is pages with no more than 4 clicks away from the homepage. So, Ahrefs makes your job easy to identify and optimize those pages and hence to attain an organized site structure. By which, you can also leverage the benefits of internal links to the core.

On the other hand, SEMRush has no way fails to offer such solid site audit features. It has its own algorithm to calculate your site’s overall SEO score to understand how SEO-healthy it is.

Over and above, it also finds out issues like errors in robots.txt file, HTTP status code errors, broken links, etc. Further, it lists things in priority to resolve the factors that greatly affect your SEO, first.

Then, SEMRush has a strategic internal link distribution report that breaks down how your internal links are distributed among different pages. This makes you easy to identify pages that don’t receive enough link juice and the authority pages that you use to distribute link equity. So, you can make sure the internal links are well set and flowing in the right direction.

Finally, both Ahrefs and SEMRush have an incredible set of features to audit how SEO-friendly a website is. To decide upon, SEMRush outranks Ahrefs since it does a great job of prioritizing things to do first.

#4 Ahrefs or SEMRush – Which Is BEST For Rank Tracking?

Both SEMRush and Ahrefs have rank tracking tools. Like any other typical rank tracker, Ahrefs lets you know where you rank for a particular set of keywords that you set to track. To verify its reliability, I have also manually checked the rankings on Google for particular keywords. It is trustworthy.

SEMRush, with its powerful rank tracker, gets you more beyond the ranking positions. It includes the visibility score, top keywords, rankings distribution, etc.

Most importantly, SEMRush rank tracker update keywords and its ranking status every day, whereas Ahrefs does it once or twice in a week.

So, SEMRush beats Ahrefs in this area with more robust rank tracking features.

SEMRush Vs Ahrefs: Which Tool Offers More Distinct Features?

Almost, we have compared some of the major features that any SEO tool must-have, like backlink analysis, keyword research, and site audit. Now, let’s look at some distinct features that one has, but the others don’t and vice versa.

It’s mind-blowing to use Ahrefs content explorer. When you plan to write on a specific topic, how will you make sure to create content that actually wins?

Just feed the topic into Ahrefs content explorer and see which content already gets more backlinks, engagement, and social shares (like what BuzzSumo do).

Also, it greatly helps to identify the broken link building opportunities saving more time with its ‘Best by Links’ and Outgoing Broken Links’ features.

Further, SEMRush has more unique cool features that any SEO and marketing professionals would love.

It includes brand monitoring, advertising research, social media posting, and tracking, etc. whereas Ahrefs has no such outstanding features for PPC and market analysis.

Most significantly, if you do more local SEO, SEMRush helps you to explore, prospect and set up your business NAP information online. So, frankly speaking, SEMRush has a wide range of unique features, especially if you are an agency that runs Google ad campaigns along with SEO.

SEMRush has its own writing assistant tool to check the SEO potential of your piece of content and originality in real-time (available for Google Docs & WordPress). Ahrefs doesn’t have such incredible tools for content optimization. Indeed, SEMRush gets you more personalized insights about your traffic flow with its Traffic Analytics tool.

In these specific areas, SEMRush wins over Ahrefs. But, in all the aspects we reviewed above, both Ahrefs and SEMRush have fierce competition in proving themselves. So, how to decide upon SEMRush vs Ahrefs?

SEMRush vs Ahrefs Pricing Plans

When you take pricing, both SEMRush and Ahrefs cost you almost the same. Considering value, SEMRush is worth as you get access to the entire set of SEO and PPC features, whereas Ahrefs is majorly SEO and link-building focused.

Get SEMRush Pro 14 Days Free Trial

As an affiliate partner, here we get you an exclusive SEMRush Pro free trial for 14 days. Before taking any hard decision, have a real-time experience, and make your choice confidently. Here are the simple steps to activate the SEMRush Pro free trial.

Step-1: Click on this special link to land on the Traffic Crow and SEMRush co-branding page.

SEMRush partner page

Step-2: Create a free SEMRush account or log in to your existing one.

SEMRush Pro 14 day trial

Step-3: In the next screen, fill the required fields and check-out. The promo code is applied automatically.

Now, you have got full access to SEMRush Pro plan features. Test the tool for 14 days and continue if you really loved it. Otherwise, anytime, you can cancel it within 14 days.

FAQ Comparing Ahrefs vs SEMRush

Here are some of the typical questions answered if you still find it hard to choose between these tools.

1) Which is better: SEMRush or Ahrefs?

If you are more into core SEO and link building, Ahrefs is best. Otherwise, I recommend SEMRush over Ahrefs if you an agency that works on all aspects of online marketing.

2) How this SEMRush vs Ahrefs review helps to choose between?

In this review, I’m comparing SEMRush and Ahrefs based on their keyword research features, backlink analysis, rank tracking, site audit, and even more to choose your suitable SEO tool.

3) What are other best SEO tools offering similar features?

SEO PowerSuite and Serpstat are two other SEO tools that are great alternatives to Ahrefs and SEMRush with an incredible set of features.

4) How to compare keyword difficulty SEMRush vs Ahrefs?

As an all-round keyword tool, the SEMRush keyword difficulty metric is most trusted and familiar among the users than Ahrefs metrics.

Final Words

From the debate SEMRush vs Ahrefs, no one can say that THIS is best for all since the need varies from user to user.

If you are serious about SEO alone and spend most of the time in link building, then Ahrefs is ideal. Alternatively, if you are an SEO or digital marketing agency that widely works on SEO, paid campaigns, and social media promotions, you must pick SEMRush.

Indeed, it’s really hard to make a decision. But, then list down your SEO and marketing needs. Choose Ahrefs if you purchase a core SEO tool and SEMRush if you do PPC alongside.

SEMRush vs Ahrefs: Which tool astounds to you? It’s your turn to make a choice.

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