Semrush VS Ahrefs – Detailed Features and Use Case Comparison

semrush vs ahrefs

In the world of SEO tools, Ahrefs and Semrush are industry leaders, each equipped with unique capabilities. Ahrefs, with its massive database and cutting-edge analytics, is a favorite for backlink analysis, keyword tracking, and in-depth SEO audits, catering to those who rely on detailed data insights. Semrush, offering a broad spectrum of marketing tools, excels in comprehensive digital marketing strategies, encompassing SEO, content marketing, competitor analysis, and social media tracking. This comparison aims to thoroughly dissect their functionalities, helping users understand the best fit for their SEO and marketing needs.


Ahrefs stands out as a comprehensive, multifaceted tool that has carved a niche for itself among digital marketers, SEO professionals, and content creators. Renowned for its extensive database and cutting-edge features, Ahrefs is more than just an SEO tool; it’s a robust suite designed to enhance online visibility, track website performance, and unravel the intricacies of internet marketing.

Link Builders prefers Ahrefs as the best tool for helping to discover and qualify backlink opportunities. It’s also very useful in analyzing keyword rankings and a ton of other capabilities.

At its core, Ahrefs is built around the principle of data-driven decision-making. With a vast repository of information on backlinks and SEO metrics, it empowers users to conduct thorough website audits, analyze competitors, research keywords, and strategize content with precision. This tool goes beyond mere keyword tracking; it offers a holistic view of web analytics, encompassing aspects like site health, backlink profiles, and market trends.

Whether you’re a small business owner seeking to increase your online footprint, a content marketer striving for higher engagement, or an SEO agency handling multiple clients, Ahrefs adapts to a variety of needs and scales. Its user-friendly interface, combined with powerful analytics, makes it an indispensable asset for anyone looking to improve their website’s search engine ranking and online presence.

In a field where search algorithms and online behaviors are constantly shifting, Ahrefs keeps pace by regularly updating its features and expanding its database. This commitment to innovation ensures that users are always equipped with the latest tools and data to stay ahead in the competitive landscape of SEO.

ahrefs dashboard

Ahrefs Dashboard

The Ahrefs Dashboard offers a comprehensive view of SEO projects, enabling users to monitor key SEO metrics effectively. Key features include:

Health Score and Domain Rating: These metrics give insights into website health and domain strength.

Referring Domains & Backlinks: Track the quantity and quality of backlinks.

Organic Traffic & Keywords: Analyze traffic sources and keyword performance.

Unlimited Project Tracking: Add and monitor numerous verified projects.

Google Search Console Integration: View GSC data directly, with extended data retention beyond the default 16 months offered by GSC.

Portfolios for Multiple URLs: Monitor aggregated metrics of various URLs, useful for comparing competitor websites, content by different authors, or client’s content.

Project Organization: Sort projects into folders for easy management and sharing.

Keyword Lists Management: Manage and share keyword lists, especially useful in enterprise plans.

Email Notifications: Configure alerts for updates on project performance.

These features provide a streamlined and efficient way to manage and enhance SEO efforts, catering to various aspects of SEO management from a single platform.

Ahrefs Site Explorer

The Ahrefs Site Explorer is an advanced SEO tool designed for comprehensive website analysis. It offers deep insights into two main areas: Organic search traffic and Backlink analysis.

Organic Search Report: Users can explore the keywords a website ranks for in search engines, the estimated traffic these keywords bring, and the ranking history of individual pages.

Backlink Profile: This feature allows users to see which websites link to the target website, the quality of these backlinks, and how the backlink profile has evolved over time.

Paid Traffic Research: Site Explorer also delves into a website’s PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns, revealing the keywords they’re bidding on and the structure of their ad campaigns.

Content Research: Users can identify which pages of a website attract the most traffic, offering insights into content strategy and performance.

Outgoing Links: It also tracks the outbound links from the target website, offering a view into their link-building strategies.

Comparative Analysis: The tool allows for side-by-side comparisons of different websites, useful for benchmarking and competitive analysis.

These features make Site Explorer a powerful tool for anyone looking to understand their own or competitors’ SEO strategies comprehensively. 

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

The Ahrefs Keywords Explorer is a comprehensive tool for keyword research, equipped with a vast database and a range of features for detailed keyword analysis. Its capabilities include:

Broad Database: Access to over 7 billion keywords, with data from 171 countries and 10 search engines.

Keyword Suggestions: Thousands of keyword ideas based on the seed keyword, including questions, newly discovered, and related keywords.

Keyword Difficulty Score: An estimation of how hard it would be to rank for a keyword.

Clicks Data: Insights into the average monthly clicks for a keyword.

Parent Topic Identification: Understanding the broader topic a keyword belongs to.

SERP Overview: Analyzing the top-ranking pages for a keyword.

Positions History: Tracking the ranking history of top pages for a given keyword.

List Management: The ability to save and categorize keywords for future reference.

This tool is essential for anyone looking to optimize their SEO strategy with targeted, effective keywords.

Ahrefs Site Audit Tool

The Ahrefs Site Audit tool provides a comprehensive analysis of a website’s SEO health. It crawls all accessible pages and evaluates them against 160+ pre-defined SEO issues. Key features include:

SEO Health Score: An overall score assessing the website’s SEO performance.

Performance Analysis: Identifying slow pages and issues with CSS or HTML sizes.

HTML and Social Tag Review: Checking for issues in title tags, meta descriptions, H1 tags, Open Graph tags, and Twitter cards.

Content Quality Assessment: Evaluating word counts and duplicate content issues.

Localization and Link Analysis: Addressing hreflang issues and reviewing internal and external link integrity.

Customizable Audits: Ability to create custom filters and issues.

JavaScript Rendering: Analyzing JavaScript-dependent pages, crucial for modern web frameworks.

Mobile Website Crawling: Adapting to Google’s mobile-first indexing.

Cloud-based Operation: Offering flexibility, automatic updates, and scheduled crawls.

This tool is ideal for in-depth SEO analysis and tracking improvements over time.

Ahrefs Rank Tracker

The Ahrefs Rank Tracker is a tool for monitoring keyword rankings. It offers features like tracking Google rankings on desktop and mobile across different countries, visualizing SEO progress through interactive graphs, and analyzing SERP features. Users can segment their keyword data with filters, tags, and pages, and integrate Google Search Console data for extended insights. The tool also allows for competitive analysis, comparing your data with up to ten competitors in key areas such as positions, traffic, and SERP features. Additionally, it provides advanced metrics for each tracked keyword and scheduled email reports detailing keyword ranking changes.

Key features include:

Desktop and Mobile Tracking: Monitors keyword positions on both desktop and mobile platforms across different countries.

Visual Progress Tracking: Interactive graphs to visualize SEO progress over time.

Segmentation and Filtering: Organizes keyword data with filters, tags, and pages for detailed analysis.

SERP Features Analysis: Examines the presence of various SERP features for tracked keywords.

Competitive Landscape Insights: Compares keyword performance against up to ten competitors.

Google Search Console Integration: Combines GSC data with Ahrefs for extended insights.

Advanced Keyword Metrics: Provides detailed metrics for each keyword being tracked.

Scheduled Reporting: Sends regular email reports on keyword ranking changes.

This tool is tailored for those looking to monitor and understand their SEO performance in-depth. 

ahrefs content explorer

Ahrefs Content Explorer

The Ahrefs Content Explorer enhances content research with its extensive database and analytical capabilities:

Expansive Database: Over 14 billion web pages indexed for diverse content ideas.

Advanced Filtering: Sorts content by SEO metrics, social shares, and language.

Traffic and Backlink Analysis: Evaluates the organic traffic and backlink profile of specific pages.

Social Shares Tracking: Monitors the social media performance of content.

Identification of Low-Competition Topics: Finds niches with high potential and low competition.

Guest Blogging Opportunities: Identifies potential sites for guest posts.

Competitor Publishing Monitoring: Tracks how often competitors publish new content.

Unlinked Mentions Discovery: Finds brand mentions without links for outreach opportunities.

Broken Link Building: Unique database of 404 pages for link building strategies.

Ahrefs has a TON of Data

Ahrefs’ big data capabilities are extensive, featuring a high-capacity infrastructure and an efficient web crawler, AhrefsBot. With 90 petabytes of storage and a powerful server network, they process enormous amounts of web data. Their crawler performs 8 billion page crawls daily, contributing to their substantial content and keyword indexes. The Content Explorer encompasses 12 trillion web pages, while the Keywords Explorer includes over 10 billion keywords from 171 countries. Their backlink database, one of the largest, contains 30 trillion external links and tracks 3 trillion known URLs. This robust setup allows Ahrefs to offer detailed, up-to-date SEO data. 

Ahrefs currently sits at #7 on Cloudflare Radar’s list of bots ranked by number of requests. It’s the most active web crawler in the “search engine optimization” category. For comparison, Semrush ranks #39, and Moz ranks #18.

Ahrefs Pricing

Ahrefs offers four pricing plans, each designed to cater to different user needs and expanding on the features of the previous tier:

Lite Plan: It’s the most affordable plan, ideal for individual marketers or small businesses. Key features include a limited number of projects, a site explorer, keyword explorer, site audit, rank tracker, and basic reporting capabilities.

($99/month): Includes 5 projects, 500 tracked keywords, site explorer, and site audit features. Ideal for solo marketers.

Standard Plan: This plan builds on the Lite Plan by increasing the limits on tracked items and adding more features. It’s suitable for growing businesses and freelance SEO professionals.

($179/month): Expands to 10 projects, 1500 tracked keywords, and adds historical data access. Suitable for small teams.

Advanced Plan: Targeted at larger teams and small agencies, this plan offers even higher limits and includes additional features like historical data and more advanced reporting.

($399/month): Increases limits to 25 projects, 5000 tracked keywords, and adds content explorer. Targeted at larger teams and small agencies.

Agency Plan: As the most comprehensive option, it’s designed for large agencies and organizations with extensive SEO needs. It offers the highest limits and full access to all Ahrefs features.

($999/month): Offers 100 projects, 10000 tracked keywords, and highest data limits. Designed for large agencies.

Each plan incrementally increases the number of reports, data rows per report, and tracked keywords, and adds more advanced features as the price increases.


Semrush is a comprehensive digital marketing platform offering a range of tools for SEO, content marketing, market research, advertising, and social media. It provides features like keyword research, technical SEO audits, competitor analysis, content optimization, and social media posting and tracking. Additionally, it offers tools for PPC campaign optimization and agency solutions for client management. Semrush is designed to help users improve their online visibility, understand their competition, and create more effective marketing strategies.

Semrush offers a broad range of features across several digital marketing disciplines:

SEO: Tools for site auditing, keyword research, and backlink analysis.

Content Marketing: Content creation, optimization, and analytics tools.

Market Research: Features for competitive analysis and market insights.

Advertising: PPC keyword research and advertising strategy tools.

Social Media: Social media management and analytics tools.

These features cater to various aspects of digital marketing, from SEO to social media management. 

Semrush Keyword Research Toolkit

The Semrush Keyword Research Toolkit provides a comprehensive suite of tools for effective keyword analysis:

Keyword Overview: Offers a snapshot of key metrics for individual keywords.

Organic Research: Analyzes competitors’ keywords and rankings.

Keyword Magic Tool: Generates a wide range of keyword ideas.

Keyword Gap: Compares keyword profiles between competitors.

Keyword Manager: Allows for organizing and tracking selected keywords.

These tools collectively assist in uncovering valuable keyword insights for SEO and content strategy.

Semrush Keyword Overview Feature

The Semrush Keyword Overview tool provides a comprehensive analysis of keywords, featuring search volume trends, keyword difficulty assessment, cost-per-click evaluation, and competitive density insights. It also analyzes SERP features, trends over time, and details for both organic and paid searches, including ad copies for PPC campaigns. This tool is pivotal for SEO and PPC campaign optimization, offering a detailed understanding of keyword performance and competition.

Semrush Organic Research Feature

The Semrush Organic Research tool provides insights into competitors’ SEO practices and organic keywords. It includes analysis of rankings, traffic, SERP features, and performance over time. Users can also benchmark domains, research top-performing pages, and use advanced filters for deeper keyword analysis. This tool is vital for identifying opportunities and challenges in organic search strategy. 

Semrush Keyword Magic Feature

The Semrush Keyword Magic Tool is a sophisticated tool for keyword research. It provides a database of over 20 billion keywords, offers keyword suggestions, and allows users to analyze metrics such as search volume, keyword difficulty, and cost-per-click. The tool also categorizes keywords into groups and subgroups, making it easier to manage keyword strategies. It’s particularly useful for identifying long-tail keywords and understanding user intent.  

semrush keyword gap

Semrush Keyword Gap Analysis Feature

The Semrush Keyword Gap Analysis tool enables detailed competitive keyword analysis. It allows comparisons of up to five domains simultaneously, identifying both unique and common keywords across competitors. The tool is versatile, providing insights into organic, paid, and product listing ad (PLA) keywords. It also supports URL-level comparisons, making it easier to understand specific content strategies. This functionality is key for identifying competitive SEO opportunities, discovering low-competition keywords, and strategizing SEO and PPC campaigns effectively. 

Semrush Organic Traffic Insights Feature

The Semrush Organic Traffic Insights tool offers a multifaceted approach to analyzing a website’s organic traffic. It uncovers hidden keywords, integrates Google Analytics and Google Search Console data, and provides detailed metrics for website performance such as user behavior and goal completions. This tool is essential for identifying opportunities to enhance website visibility and for gaining a comprehensive understanding of organic search performance.

Semrush SERP Tracking Feature

The Semrush SERP Tracking tool enables detailed tracking of search engine results page (SERP) positions for targeted keywords. It provides insights into ranking dynamics, competitor positions, and features like snippets and local pack listings. This tool is instrumental for understanding and optimizing search engine visibility and tracking SEO progress.

Position Tracking

The Semrush Position Tracking tool is a comprehensive feature for monitoring website rankings for targeted keywords across search engines. It offers various functionalities such as tracking rankings distribution, segmentation using tags, analyzing top-performing landing pages, and competitor discovery. The tool also provides insights based on devices and locations, identifies opportunities in featured snippets, and addresses keyword cannibalization issues. It’s designed to give a holistic view of a website’s search engine performance, including visibility, traffic estimations, and average positions.

SERP Volatility Sensor

The Semrush Sensor tool is designed to monitor daily changes in Google’s rankings, providing insights into the volatility of the SERP on a scale from 0 to 10. This tool helps users understand fluctuations caused by factors such as technical issues or ranking algorithm updates. It includes features like email and browser notifications for significant SERP changes, custom keyword tracking, analysis of volatility across categories and countries, and a Winners and Losers report to identify domains most affected by updates. This tool is valuable for adapting SEO strategies in response to Google’s frequent updates. 

Semrush Rank

The Semrush Rank feature offers a proprietary scoring system to evaluate and compare the online presence of various domains. It provides insights into domains attracting the most traffic from organic search. The tool calculates rankings based on estimated traffic from Google’s top search result pages and includes historical data dating back to 2012. It also facilitates analysis of paid and organic keywords and associated costs. This feature is key for understanding competitive online performance and traffic trends.

Semrush Pricing

Semrush offers three pricing plans: Pro, Guru, and Business. The Pro plan, aimed at freelancers and startups, includes basic functionalities for SEO, PPC, and SMM projects. The Guru plan caters to SMBs and marketing agencies, offering extended features like content marketing platform, historical data, and Google Data Studio integration. The Business plan is designed for agencies and enterprises with large web presences, providing advanced options such as API access, extended limits, and sharing options. Each plan has increasing capabilities and features, tailored to different professional needs and scales.

Pro ($119.95/month): Suitable for freelancers and startups, includes basic SEO, PPC, and SMM tools.

Guru ($229.95/month): Aimed at SMBs and marketing agencies, offers content marketing platform, historical data, and Google Data Studio integration.

Business ($449.95/month): For agencies and enterprises, provides API access, extended limits, and sharing options.

Each plan caters to different scales of operation, with increasing features and capabilities. 

Semrush Technical SEO Tool Feature

The Semrush Technical SEO Tools feature includes several key components:

Site Audit: Offers a high-speed crawler for website analysis, identifying technical SEO issues.

On Page SEO Checker: Provides tips for improving specific website pages.

Log File Analyzer: Helps understand Google crawler interactions with websites.

These tools collectively assist in optimizing website performance and technical SEO health. 

Site Audit

The Semrush Site Audit feature provides a thorough analysis of a website’s technical SEO. It scans for over 140 site health issues categorized into errors, warnings, and notices. The tool prioritizes these issues based on severity and frequency, allowing users to focus on the most critical areas first. Users can customize prioritization rules, integrate with Google Analytics, and review technical SEO audit reports on crawlability, site performance, internal linking, HTTPS security, and international SEO aspects. The tool also offers features to compare different crawls and progress reports, enabling continuous monitoring and improvement of a website’s health. 

On Page SEO Checker

The Semrush On Page SEO Checker is a comprehensive tool for improving website rank. It identifies weaknesses on web pages, offering actionable steps to enhance rankings by analyzing data from Semrush and Google. The tool provides strategies for optimizing high-performing pages, suggests backlink opportunities, highlights technical SEO issues, and gives semantic, content, and user experience improvement ideas. It also offers insights into SERP feature opportunities, making it an essential tool for on-page SEO optimization. 

Log File Manager

The Semrush Log File Analyzer tool provides insights into how search engines interact with a website. It assists in understanding crawl behavior, detecting technical issues, and optimizing crawl budget. The tool analyzes log files to provide detailed reports on search engine crawling patterns, distinguishing between desktop and mobile activity. This functionality is crucial for SEO professionals aiming to optimize their site’s search engine visibility and performance. 

Semrush Backlink Analysis Tools

The Semrush Link Building and Prospecting Tools provide a comprehensive approach to building a strong backlink profile. Key features include Backlink Analytics, which discovers and tracks inbound links, and the Backlink Audit Tool, which monitors and cleans up backlink profiles. The Backlink Gap tool provides insights on link prospecting and outreach, while the Bulk Backlink Analysis tool scales up the analysis of competitors. Additionally, the Link Building Tool helps acquire reputable backlinks through consistent outreach campaigns. 

Backlink Analytics

The Semrush Backlink Analytics tool offers comprehensive backlink analysis. It helps identify and monitor inbound links, distinguishes between link types (text, image, form, frame), and analyzes linking domains, subdomains, URLs, and their categories. The tool also evaluates the authority and location of referring domains, checks IP, TLD, and location distribution, and employs the Authority Score to gauge the impact of these links on SEO. Additionally, it tracks backlink types, including sponsored and user-generated content, and provides insights into the geographical distribution of backlinks. The Network Graph feature reveals a domain’s link network, identifying connections between referring domains.

Backlink Audit Tool

The Semrush Backlink Audit Tool provides comprehensive analysis and management of a website’s backlink profile. It evaluates every link with over 50 parameters to determine their value, assigns a toxicity score to assess the health of the backlink profile, and offers personalized insights and recommendations for handling suspicious links. Users can organize links into keep or remove lists, and it integrates with Google Search Console for a broader backlink view. Regular recrawls ensure continuous monitoring of the backlink profile. Additionally, it connects with Google Analytics to identify top backlink-attracting pages. 

Backlink Gap

The Semrush Backlink Gap tool is designed for competitive backlink analysis. It allows the comparison of up to five domains to identify common and unique referring domains. Users can analyze results to discover missed backlink opportunities and prioritize them based on Authority Score. The tool enables export of data and filtering results by metrics like traffic and category, assisting in effective link-building strategy formulation. 

Bulk Backlink Analysis

The Semrush Bulk Analysis Tool allows for analyzing up to 200 websites or URLs simultaneously. It’s designed for efficient assessment of competitors’ backlinks, helping to streamline the process of SEO prospecting. The tool enables sorting of backlinks by type (text, image, form, frame) and nature (follow, nofollow, sitewide), aiding in the dissection of backlink strategy patterns. This functionality is key for developing effective link-building strategies and understanding the backlink landscape of the market. 

Link Building Tool

The Semrush Link Building Tool is designed for effective backlink acquisition. It identifies potential backlink sources, gathers contact information, and manages outreach campaigns. Users can track their campaign’s progress, including active, broken, lost, or rejected backlinks. This tool helps in refining outreach strategies and optimizing the backlink profile for better SEO. 


This comparison between Ahrefs and Semrush highlights their unique features and strengths in the SEO and digital marketing landscape. Ahrefs is celebrated for its extensive database, which is essential for backlink analysis, keyword research, and content strategy. Its tools like Site Explorer and Keywords Explorer provide deep insights into organic traffic, backlink profiles, and keyword analysis. Ahrefs is particularly preferred by link builders and for its data-driven approach.

Semrush, on the other hand, offers a broad spectrum of tools encompassing SEO, content marketing, market research, and advertising. It excels in technical SEO audits, competitor analysis, content optimization, and social media strategies. Its toolkit, including the Keyword Overview, Organic Research, and Keyword Magic tools, is geared towards comprehensive competitor analysis and organic traffic insights.

Both Ahrefs and Semrush cater to different aspects of SEO and digital marketing, with Ahrefs focusing on detailed SEO analytics and Semrush offering a wider range of marketing tools.