Last Updated on April 13, 2022 by Scott Charleboix
Which SEO tool is better? There’s been a lot of discussion about Ahrefs vs SEMRush and it’s not an easy decision to make. So this post will help you decide which one to ultimately choose. The last few weeks I’ve been wrestling with which primary SEO Tool to use so I’m going to get both programs (SEMRush and Ahrefs) where you can try out the programs for 7-days and during that time I’m going to find which of the SEO Tools that’s better in a side-by-side comparison. The bottom line of this post is to find out what’s the best “overall” SEO tool so that you can help make your keywords rank in Google.
Let me preface this post by saying that I started this post with having the free version of SEMRush and the alternative version of Ahrefs with Ahrefs Webmaster Tools. I’m looking at comparing two very popular SEO tools to see which one that I prefer over the other.
I’m going to write the post with an open mind that I’m not expecting an outcome either way. That way I’ll be able to evaluate both in a fair manner.
For your information, I’ve already written a post called Free Ahrefs to improve your SEO and within that post I examined how you can use the free alternative to get just as good results from Ahrefs in their free alternative program called Ahrefs Webmaster tools. That way you’re saving yourself a bunch of money but getting some of the main benefits that Ahrefs a leading SEO report.
The information that you get is the same as from Ahrefs but at a free cost! In that SEO Ahrefs tutorial, I showed snapshots of each of the applicable tools so you can see what they have to offer and then you can pull down the same applicable report for your website.
In this post, I’ll be able to compare some of the same things that I talked about in the article regarding Ahrefs Webmaster Tools but this time I’ll be using the data extracted from the premium version of Ahrefs.
An additional reason that I’m writing this post is to promote a post that I recently wrote called Blogging for Beginners with Ahrefs SEO Tips. It’s notes that I took from the Ahrefs Blogging for Beginners Course that makes a complimentary cheat sheet for when you’re following the video that I highly suggest you take a look at. Just using my cheat sheet isn’t enough to get the full benefit of the Ahrefs course.
Now I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Brian Dean wrote a similar both called Ahrefs vs SEMrush: Which SEO Tool Should You Use? back in July of 2019 (nearly 2 ½ years ago). He’s been using SEO for quite a considerably longer time than myself where I’ve only been using SEO for 1 ½ years.
I’m not going to use the same criteria that he used to make his determination.
Here’s a memory tickler for the things that I want to be on the lookout for in each of the two programs. That way I can check them off the list after I mentioned them.
- ☒ SEO Dashboard / Domain overview
- ☒ Looking at competitor keywords
- ☒ Looking at competing domains
- ☒ Looking at keyword positions (tracking)
- ☒ Volume
- ☒ Keyword Difficulty (KD)
- ☒ Backlinks (shortly discussed)
Last but not least I’ll be checking my post called 7 Ways for How to Measure your SEO for additional metrics that you should be keeping track of that are mentioned in the post to ensure that they’re included above. That way there’s a comprehensive list of KPIs (key performance indicators) for you to emulate.
Since both programs are beneficial for optimizing your content for SEO I don’t have that as a separate category but I’m going to factor in which that I would recommend on the aesthetics of the SEO report that’s provided in the SEO dashboard.
I’m not factoring in the size of their database or how often they update their keywords because I wouldn’t know where to look for that information.
To be consistent in this post I’ll be starting with Ahrefs and then following up with SEMRush because that’s where they fall in the alphabet.
Which SEO tool is best for keyword research?
When you get to the bottom of SEO one of the most important aspects that you can use to build and improve upon your SEO is using the “right” keywords.
I realize that some of you may not want to invest in an SEO tool. As I pointed out in my last post called Blogging for Business with Ahrefs SEO Tips there’s a primary goal that bloggers should be reaching to achieve where there getting consistent targeted traffic and that traffic is converting into leads and sales.
In addition, I’m a firm believer that SEO traffic far outweighs the advantages of viral traffic. The principal advantage in SEO traffic is that you don’t have to publish as often.
If you stay the course of using free SEO tools, you’re not likely as easily going to be able to reach the goal that’s described below
Your goal in writing your articles should be to: Publish a few articles and make them rank in Google which equals a passive source of new customers.
In two other posts I’ve already reviewed both of these SEO tools; however, they weren’t compared in a side-by-side comparison of how you can use them for free.
Ahrefs – Free Ahrefs to improve your SEO – I examined how you can use the free alternative to get just as good results from Ahrefs in their free alternative program called Ahrefs Webmaster tools. That way you’re saving yourself a bunch of money but getting some of the main benefits that Ahrefs a leading SEO report has to provide for your site’s SEO overview and for free.
SEMRush – 7 Ways for How to Measure your SEO – There are several ways to measure your SEO, in this blog post called How to measure your SEO I’ll provide you with some of the best ways to measure your SEO. I’ll also be providing you with SEO metrics and the SEO Tools to measure those important metrics.
and it was also discussed how to use it in a post called 4 Free Best Content Optimization SEO tools in 2022 and attention was focused on the SEMRush Content Marketing Dashboard.
One of the principal differences between SEMRush and Ahrefs is that in the last post Blogging for Business with Ahrefs SEO Tips it was suggested that you shouldn’t make your content marketing decisions based on the search volume of the keyword that you want to use, rather you should look at total search traffic of top-ranking pages.
Instead, Look at the total search traffic of top-ranking pages.
I’m about how to make it easy. I don’t want to go through a whole bunch of top-ranking pages and
randomly guess which one will be better for us to rank our blog posts. I’d like to find a quick metric that will quickly provide the best “guestimation” (you won’t find that word in a dictionary) for what keyword will work best.
Analyzing a Keyword’s Value in Ahrefs
This is a good opportunity to move our attention to Ahrefs at this time that provides such a tool in their program called Keywords Explorer.
Here’s a snapshot for the previous post that I just wrote with the keyword of Blogging for Business.
Breaking down each of those four components in the Keyword Explorer (from left to right) we have:
- Keyword Difficulty
- Traffic Potential (and lastly)
- Global Volume
Here’s a closer look at each of the four components and what each of them mean (from Ahrefs)
Keyword Difficulty gives an estimation of how hard it is to rank in the top 10 organic search results for a keyword on a 100-point scale Learn more. To rank for a keyword the higher the keyword difficulty, the harder it would be to rank for that keyword. Therefore you may not want to use keywords that rank as “Hard” (as it did in this example) if you want them to rank.
Analyzing keyword difficulty in Ahrefs
The Ahrefs Keyword difficulty score uses four factors of:
- 0 – 10: Easy, less than 10 domains
- 11 – 30 Medium. 11 – 36 domains
- 31 – 70 – Hard, 37 – 200 domains and 71 – 100 Super Hard, 200+ domains
The keyword difficulty score tells you hard it would be to rank a webpage on the first page of Google for a particular keyword.
- However, despite its value, Keyword Difficulty should not be the only factor affecting your keyword choice. We recommend that you use it as the first filter to sort through the massive number of possible keywords.
- The further choice of keywords must be based on a complete and detailed SERP analysis. No SEO tool can do this work for you, because every case is unique. But you will find all the necessary data for analysis in the SERP overview Ahrefs provides.
An estimation of the average monthly number of searches for a keyword over the latest known 12 months of data.
Traffic Potential shows the sum of organic traffic that the #1 ranking page for your target keyword receives from all the keywords that it ranks for. Values are cached and might differ slightly between reports.
Pro-Tip: For whatever targeted keyword that you decide to write you’ll want to include the top-ranking result from the traffic potential into your post. What I prefer to do is to simply put it at the end of the post as a Suggested future reading or work it into the post naturally.
Lastly, we have Global Volume and Global search volume shows how many times per month, on average, people search for the target keyword across all countries in our database. Learn more
SEMRush has the same type of Keyword Difficulty
The SEMRush Keyword difficulty score uses six factors (from SEMRush’s article called Keyword Overview) of:
- 0 – 14; Very Easy – GREEN
- 15 – 29; Easy
- 30 – 49; Possible – YELLOW
- 50 – 69; Difficult
- 70 – 84; Hard – RED
- 85 – 100; Very Hard – For a new website these would be exceptionally hard to compete for and require an extensive amount of SEO, and very good content
I’ve color coded the keywords which are the best to shoot for in terms from best to worst. Green being the best, yellow for in between, and red for I wouldn’t waste your time on these.
Because SEMRush has six factors of scores and Ahrefs use four, SEMRush has a slight edge over Ahrefs. The ball gets handed to SEMRush for the touchdown (Super Bowl Sunday tomorrow so I’m looking forward to the big game).
Analyzing a Keyword’s Difficulty in SEMRush
When you launch a Keyword Overview report, Semrush will provide you with an initial assessment of a keyword’s value similar to the Keyword Difficulty in Ahrefs. Here we’ll compare the same keyword Blogging for Business to see how it compares to in SEMRush.
The thing that remained the same was the keyword difficulty showing the exact same score of 68% and a rating of Difficult. So according to SEMRush it has a better chance of getting ranked that Ahrefs reports.
Now let me draw your attention to what is nice about SEMRush at the bottom of the Keyword Overview Report pictured below (it didn’t have any related words, so I omitted that part from the picture).
There you’ll be able to see keyword variations, the volume amount and again the Keyword Difficulty Score which is color coded. Looking at this example, the best opportunity I would suggest is to look for an opportunity that has a green indicator. In this case the best chose would be first blog post for a business with KD% of 26, and a nice volume of 90.
Another helpful thing to do is to look at the questions (on the right) that can be incorporated into your post.
If SEMRush is a little too steep you can still get the questions for keywords from Keysearch. That’s the go to program that I like to use to find questions that are pertinent to certain keywords.
Pro-Tip: For keyword research a good habit that I’ve gotten into (and I’d suggest that you implement a similar strategy) that was suggested in an unknown post is that you should put your keywords in your draft post.
That way you can quickly have them at hand to check and see which one has the best keyword difficulty, Site Difficulty, and Volume. In addition, you can also be sure to have them on hand so that you can quickly add them into your SEO plug-in. The one that I highly prefer is Rank Math SEO because it puts its emphasis on improving your keyword strategy. As opposed to Yoast SEO looking at your spelling and grammar.
After you’ve input your keywords, be sure to delete them from your draft. For the purpose of this post, I’ll include them so that you can see the methodology that I use to help rank my posts.
- Ahrefs vs SEMrush
- SEO Tools
- Improving your keyword strategy
- Rank Tracking
- Keyword positioning
- Outreach opportunities
In Ahrefs you can find a similar report to SEMRush by going to Keywords Explorer (which we discussed earlier) and type in your keyword. Let’s continue with our example of Blogging for Business to see what it will pull.
If you remember we have already looked at the top portion of the report and this information is in the middle section of the report. I’ve broken down into two sections so it’s easier to read:
The nice thing about Ahrefs is that you can put in a bunch of filters to narrow down a variety of choices. The way on how to do this was thoroughly discussed in the Blogging for Business with Ahrefs SEO Tips post. However, the information is quickly discussed because Tim Soulo knows how to do this so well that he just flies through how to set the filters that you may have to watch the video several times in order on how to set a narrowed down version of what you’d like or look for Ahrefs videos that might discuss it in an easier fashion to follow.
One of the things that I didn’t comment on earlier is that with Keyword Explorer if you click on View all you’ll get a very comprehensive list of results to provide a ton of keyword suggestions.
How to run a search for competitor’s sites?
This is how you look at your competitors to see the keywords that they are using on “their” site.
In Ahrefs you can simply go down to Competing Domains in the Organic Search tab. There you’ll easily be able to see a list of some of your competing domains, the keywords that are unique to target, the number of common keywords and their percentages, and the competitor’s URL.
Ahrefs Competing Domains
So here’s an example that you’d want to pick your competing domain and plug in their domain name in the “Organic Keywords” report (located under Organic Search tab). In this example, I’ve selected LearningSEO.IO as the domain name (which gets entered at the top of the report).
With this handy dandy feature in hand, you can look at “all” of the keywords that your competitor ranks for on their domain. So LearninSEO.IO is ranking for 1,186 keywords.
In the next example, I’ll show you my own keywords that I rank for and I hope that your taking a good mental note of this technique to look at your competition which is a golden SEO ticket.
In SEMRush you need to head to Organic Research (located under the Competitive Research tab)
In this image (below) you can see how my SEO has grown by utilizing the principles of Holistic SEO.
This is a good utility to see if your SEO is improving by looking at your organic keywords and looking for an upward trend (as in the example below) that’s in the graph above and a closer look below of the upward mobility of keywords thanks in large to Rank Math SEO.
Again: this feature is basically the same as Ahrefs with some minor differences.
(For example, they have different ways of estimating how much organic traffic a site gets from their first page rankings).
Since I’m not overly familiar with how to use SEMRush and Ahrefs for the next few pages I’ll be bouncing around a little so I hope you’ll bear with me as I look for things where you can take advantage of to improve your site’s SEO.
SEMRush Competing Domains
For this example, I wanted to check shemeansblogging.com one of my competitors. However, I wasn’t readily able to find what I was looking for that’s comparable to Ahrefs. I did find an SEMRush article that discussed competitive analysis and showed six reports on how to find competitors called Run Competitive Analysis.
Competitive Analysis is a foundation of digital marketing. If you know who your biggest competitors are, you can gather insights into what they do well and build your own strategy to outperform theirs. SEMRush offers 6 main reports to find competitors based on the following criteria:
- Organic Competitors Report (based on shared organic keyword rankings)
- Backlinks Competitors Report (based on shared backlinks)
- Advertising Competitors Report (based on shared paid keyword rankings)
- PLA Competitors Report (based on shared Google Shopping keyword rankings)
- Position Tracking Competitors Discovery (based on a custom list of target keywords)
- Market Explorer (based on common website categories and audience interest)
At the current time I have the free plan with the 7-day trial period and I’m not able to provide you with a screenshot that you could use from the Backlink Analysis report (under Link Building Tab). So I’ll do the next best thing and at least show you the screen that you’d access the information (below).
Since I don’t have a screenshot for what it looks like this is what is would look like for your Backlinks Analytics report.
In this respect the points go toward Ahrefs (that’s easier to find your competitors and provides more useful information to improve your SEO). Ubersuggest provides some good opportunities for looking at your competitors that are discussed in my post called 3 Steps to get 10000 Visitors in 3 months.
SEO Dashboards for Ahrefs and SEMRush
This is a judgmental call. But when you look at the two SEO dashboards my eye is drawn more to the Ahrefs Dashboard then the SEMRush dashboard for its visual appeal and the main SEO metrics are right at the top of the report (i.e., backlinks, referring domains, organic keywords, and organic traffic (the target website, subsection, or URL’s estimated monthly organic traffic from search Learn more).
The Ahrefs Dashboard has two versions of a dashboard that you can look at (below is option 1 and Overview 2.0 the 2nd version below that). So your getting two dashboards for the price of one program. That’s a bonus in Ahref’s favor.
The other reason that I prefer the 2nd Overview is to look at your organic traffic and your referring domains which are important metrics to keep track of when your documenting your SEO progress.
Which Tool Is Best for Analyzing Backlinks?
Backlinko is an industry leader in SEO who has specialized in teaching people how to make backlinks and if you haven’t heard has sold his business to SEMRush.
I don’t spend a considerable time analyzing backlinks and I personally haven’t found any benefit from analyzing them that I would be able to suggest to improve your SEO. Other than to find that you might have other people stealing your content which is a total hassle. You can file a DMCA complaint to have them removed; however, I didn’t find it worthwhile to have them removed even though I have the badge and certificate located on my site.
A fellow blogger suggested WordFence plug-in and adding their IP address to block their site so I’m going to give that a shot before I post this next article.
If this is your cup of tea, I’d suggest that you read Brian Dean’s article “Ahrefs vs SEMrush: Which SEO Tool Should You Use?” for more information on how to compare the two where he didn’t notice much difference between them.
No clear cut winner that I can visibly see.
Which Tool is the Best Technical SEO Site Audit Feature?
A principal reason that you should have (in addition to using them for keyword research) is to use one of the two programs for analyzing your Technical SEO. What problems do you have and what opportunities are afforded to you so that you can improve upon them?
Below are the screenshots from each of the two SEO Tools.
Ahrefs Site Audit
In Ahrefs you can get your health score by going to the dashboard (1st image) or clicking on the Site Audit (2nd image).
Ahrefs gave me an overall health score of 96%. The site audit feature in Ahrefs provided me with an overview of URLs crawled, my health score, and total issues. However, an important note is that Ahrefs didn’t provide me with how to improve the identified errors (from that page). In that respect, Ahrefs lost some major brownie points. I think the favor will be leaning in the direction of SEMRush Site Audit for technical SEO optimization.
SEMRush Site Audit
In SEMRush you can get your health score by going to the dashboard (1st image) or clicking on the Site Audit tab (2nd image). Note: When you click on Site Audit, SEMRush will bring up the project and you’ll need to click on the project to see your site audit page.
The health score from SEMRush was slightly lower at a score of 87% and wins the vote in this category because all you need to do is drill down to the item of interest for more details and it’ll provide an overview of SEO opportunities. I had a total of 16 pages that indicated that they had slow load speed and I haven’t been able to determine how to fix that issue (even though I have WPRocket).
I suspect that the lower score is because with SEMRush I was only able to crawl 100 pages unless you get a higher plan to crawl more pages (for that reason the favor goes to Ahrefs).
Of the 772 notices that I have the screen below is very helpful to show where you can improve upon different facets of your SEO so this will be the next area that I’ll be focusing on for improvement.
I’m going to focus on looking the 66 URL’s that have a permanent redirect so I can learn how to fix that particular issue. Having too many redirects can hurt your SEO. I don’t remember doing that many redirects so more than likely it’s a plug-in issue that I’ll need to resolve.
The other issue that is a high priority is the one that says I have 68 pages with more than one H1 tag. That will be an easy issue to fix. Sometimes the headings aren’t readily easy to see. The way to navigate around that is to open your post in WordPress and click on the “I” (info) button which shows you all of the headings so that you can quickly go to each of the headings and update them.
Again, SEMRush wins this respective area. To be quite honest with you I was leaning in the direction of Ahrefs before I wrote this post and now, I’m thinking SEMRush would be a better alternative. I’m not going to quantify this version over the other because I believe it comes down to a personal issue of how you’re going to use the program that should persuade you on which one to purchase.
I was looking in Ahrefs for how to find the depth of your site structure as indicated in Brian Dean’s article but wasn’t able to find out how to get to this information. More than likely it’s there but I’ve only been using the program for one-day so I’m sure I’ll run across it.
Knowing how deep your pages are going away from the homepage is important because you should be able to get to a page within 3 clicks or less (and have green lights across the board). When I run across it, I’ll share how to get that information).
However, I was able to find something that’s very beneficial to fix you in Broken Backlinks (under the Backlinks tab). Here you’re able to see if you have any 404 errors.
Why you’re getting a 404 error?
A 404 error indicates that the webpage you’re trying to reach can’t be found. You might see a 404 error because of a problem with the website, because the page was moved or deleted, or because you typed the URL wrong.
SEMRush gives you a list of things to start working on right away (located at the bottom of the Site Audit report).
SEMrush has a very cool “internal link distribution” report to ensure that your site’s link authority flows in the right direction for your internal links. The trick for the best SEO (with the use of your internal links) is to have internal links that go from pages with high-authority to pages needing more authority.
To get to that report we go to our Site Audit report again and this time you’ll click on the View details under the Thematic Reports called Internal Linking (in this example, it’s the one with 87%).
In this Internal Linking report (from SEMRush you’ll be able to see the depth crawl report as well).
In addition, on this report there’s one other aspect that you should focus which is located on the lower bottom right called pages passing most Internal LinkRank (ILR). The thing that should be on top (or near the top) for your Internal LinkRank should be your homepage. Because that’s what drives traffic to the rest of your site. Not that it has more outgoing links but has a higher ILR score (as in the example from my site, PinArtwork SEO).
Ahrefs is more suited for keyword research. But there’s other programs you can use for Keyword Research which cost a lot less than Ahrefs.
In the area of Technical SEO SEMRush has a lot more features to improve your SEO. One of the other reasons that I am more drawn to SEMRush is the Thematic Reports that are in the Site Audit Report.
Which Tool Is Best for Rank Tracking?
Both SEO Tools Ahrefs and SEMRush have rank tracking tools to look at your keyword positions (tracking). So I’m going to pull them up respectively to see what they provide.
Before we pull that up let’s look up Rank Tracking or keyword tracking?
What is keyword tracking?
Keyword tracking is essentially the activity of “monitoring the position of your website for specific keywords.” It’s a process that allows you to get important data and metrics about specific keywords and shows how well your website ranks for those exact keywords.
Ahrefs Rank Tracking (keyword positions)
In Ahrefs you go to Rank Tracker (see below) and the click on the image to the left of your project.
The plan that I have is the Lite Plan for $99 and with Rank Trackers allows you to track 500 keywords. I personally am looking for a plan that you don’t have to manually type in your keywords and will pull them up for you automatically. Ahrefs provides a useful feature that will provide your keywords for your organic traffic that you don’t have to manually type in (located under Organic Search tab).
In one of my last posts I learned how you can take advantage of looking up your site “image packs” with using the free version of Ahrefs Webmaster Tools in my post called Free Ahrefs to improve your SEO. This Organic Keywords report is a place for you to find those image packs. With Ahrefs you’re able to sort on the columns; however, you’re not afforded that same opportunity with SEMRush which requires that you upgrade to another higher plan to accomplish that task.
I personally don’t like the Rank Tracker report for Ahrefs and don’t plan on wasting my time utilizing that feature since it requires manual intervention. As I alluded to earlier, a better alternative is to use the Organic Keywords report.
In the Organic Keywords report you’ll want to look at the column labelled SF which stands for SERP Features. It’s the SERP features that appear in search results for a keyword. Learn more.
For example, my Star Trek post for Star Trek Original Series poster falls into five SERP Features: sitelinks, people also ask, top stories, video, and image pack. I don’t readily know if SEMRush has this capability or not so that’s going to require some more time to play with using the program.
Before I forget if you want to get a recommendation on how you can improve your posts for their keyword position standings, I’d strongly recommend that you download the Ahrefs SEO plug-in from Ahrefs Webmaster Tools (available for website owners only).
The program will prompt you with what needs to be updated or what requires do nothing (because it’s ranking well). A very helpful SEO utility to get your posts ranked higher in Google. It also provides an overview of the performance of the post and recommendations to take at the bottom (after you click on the update button located to the far right).
Now let’s turn our attention SEMRush for their position tracking.
SEMRush Rank Tracking (keyword positions)
In SEMRush go to Position Tracking (located under Keyword Research). There you’ll need to “manually” enter the keywords that you want to track. I entered just 5 keywords and it’s already taking a long time to populate the results because it’s gathering the keywords data and pulling from a lot of resources.
Once you’ve actually put all of your keywords into the position tracking report this could be a very beneficial report to use.
After you’ve entered all of your keywords into the report you’d be able to track them by the top ranking distribution report (see below) by clicking on Rankings Distribution tab.
The hands down winner for rank tracking (keyword positioning) between these two is obviously SEMRush that provides more features that you’re able to benefit from using that come with experience from using the program.
How do the SEO Tools stand apart from one another?
Up until now most of the features have been the same across the board. But now I’m going to dig a little deeper to find the unique aspects of the two programs.
Ahrefs unique tools
One of the reports that I’ve been wanting to try and couldn’t get into it earlier with the free version is the SEO Tool by Ahrefs called Content Explorer. The benefits from Content explorer let you search for any word or phrase and get relevant pages with useful SEO and social metrics.
I’m a huge Trekkie fan so for this example I’m going to type in Star Trek to see what pops up. You type in a topic that you want to write about and then it will populate with content that has already performed well for backlinks, social shares, etc.
Since I’m a fan of Pinterest I set the parameters to Pinterest shares (which doesn’t show up in the picture below) so that I could look exclusively at websites that use Pinterest and do some outreach to them if the keywords match up. This resource in Ahrefs allows me with the plan that I have to look up 1,000 pages which is a substantial number of outreach opportunities.
Periodically you’ll want to use this feature on your own website to see if you have any broken links, but the way that I like to use is it to look at other sites to see if they have broken links that I might have a good fit for one of “their” broken links and approach them with a personalized e-mail or leave a comment on their blog. Sometimes it’s not possible to reach the user because they don’t have a contact e-mail, contact page, or comments section. But it pays to try so that you can get those backlink ops.
SEMRush unique tools
In SEMRush there’s a utility called Keyword Magic Tool but at the moment I’m unable to access it (even though I thought I had purchased the program). I’ll need to contact the SEMRush support to see what’s up with that because I should be able to access that information. I keep getting notified that “You’ve reached your free 10 requests per day limit.” This is persuading me that I might just get Ahrefs because I didn’t run into any issues with it.
What’s best for the overall value?
Which of them will give us the most for our money? That’s going to depend on what I addressed earlier, how you plan on using the program.
- Ahrefs is more geared toward keyword research
- SEMRush is more geared toward optimizing your On-Page SEO.
The pricing between the two for the low end of each program differs by $9 or $10.00 (+ tax). Either one of two programs is going to be a good investment to improve your SEO. As Brian Dean indicated “you can’t go wrong with either tool”.
I don’t think it’s prudent to get both SEO programs because that’s a lot of money and it’d more economical to chose one over the other so you’re not spending twice as much per month ($200 a month).
Keep in mind I haven’t been using these programs long at all (one whole day). I’m giving you my opinion on a cursory usage of both SEO platforms.
What I don’t like about the $99 plan of SEMRush is that you’re getting a lot of features, but it’s limited in some respects. That you don’t have that issue in Ahrefs that gives you the whole kaboodle (at least to my knowledge). It will probably prompt you with a few extra bennies that you can get here and there but not quite as often as SEMRush.
Here comes the moment that I need to decide who the winner is and even though I didn’t want to calculate who the winner is, I think that’s the best course of action to see who gives you the better value.
Taking into account the factors that I mentioned at the front of this post is how I’ve formulated which one that makes a better choice.
|Technical On-Page SEO||1|
From this tally taking a hard and very critical look at each aspect the winner is SEMRush by a very slight margin. Since they are so close the SEO tool that I personally prefer to use if you had to pick one or the other is Ahrefs and use the free version of SEMRush that doesn’t provide all of the bells and whistles but should get you by for the most part.
Wait I’m not done yet, I went and took another look at SEMRush and there’s a utility that I didn’t notice earlier called the On-Page SEO Checker (located within the Site Audit report). Where it says 42 ideas for pages.
The total just edged from 3 for Ahrefs to 5 for SEMRush.
What that feature (On-Page SEO Checker) does is look at a myriad of topics to improve:
- Strategy ideas
- Backlinks ideas
- Semantic ideas
- Content ideas
- SERP Features Ideas
- Technical SEO Ideas
It’s a very difficult decision because I really like both programs. I was hoping that this post would point me in the direction of Ahrefs but at the front of this post I wanted to be fair and impartial and looking at the raw numbers for me personally SEMRush would be a better choice.
So I’ve decided that what I’m going to do is to pick SEMRush as the winner and I’ll still be able to get a lot of benefits from using the Ahrefs for Webmasters version for free. That way I’ll be able to get a lot of the benefits from both programs.
But if you had to make me pick ONE tool to use for SEO, I’d have to go with Ahrefs.
I’ve made my difficult decision as to which one to choose, what’s your SEO tool going to be?
Are you picking SEMRush or Ahrefs?
I would really like to hear what you think by leaving a comment below. Thank you.
Deciding which SEO tool to use is one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make because they are two expensive programs that will both benefit your SEO. In case you still need more information to make your decision. I’ve added some images and Pinterest pins (the ones with PinArtwork on the image) with links to a few more sites that explain how they discuss which SEO tool is better in the comparison of Ahrefs vs SEMRush. Since I’ve made a pin that combines two of the images, that particular pin doesn’t have a link to both sites, so click on the image (not the Pin).