Growing your online presence is not easy these days, especially with all the competition and endless alternative sources of information on the web, but the more visitors you get on your site, the greater the chances that someone will actually pay for something you offer. There are several important sources of traffic, including foremost organic search, social networks, and other websites – and none comes easy if you don’t manage it in a systematic fashion. Even those who start from scratch tend to realize the need for a professional tool at some point – be it because of the increased complexity or the need to expand beyond the obvious options.

Since you’re reading this, you’ve most probably heard of both Ahrefs and SEMrush; we’ve compiled a comparative analysis so don’t have to waste time researching which one is best for you. Let’s dig in:

SEMrush – the Online Marketing Swiss Knife

Having started as a primarily search engine marketing tool, SEMrush has evolved over the years to include SEO, SEM, Social media marketing, as well as content marketing and PR. When it comes to search engine optimization, here are some of the notable features SEMrush has to offer:

Competitor analysis – learn from others the smart way! You can have a better insight into what the best keywords are and what the target audience wants, as well as what topics are popular in your field. Exploring your competitor’s backlink profiles and traffic will give you the information you need.

Keyword analysis – targeting the right keywords is really important for search engines. SEMrush gives you the value of every keyword and the possibility to compare it with search volume, traffic, CPC estimation and other parameters. Once you have all the data, you can choose the most profitable keyword for you.

Site review – all of the things that are wrong with your site can be easily removed or changed with the Site Audit feature. Whether you just want to check your site’s health or take a look at SEO optimization progress, this is the feature you need. Not just that, you can also detect and correct minor SEO issues such as add missing tags, detect error pages and optimize every type of link.

If you decide to use SEMrush, you should expect to spend starting from $99.95 per month ($83 if you’re buying an annual subscription). Small and medium enterprises managing their growth phases can consider the Guru plan ($199.95 per month), while agencies could benefit best from the Business offer ($399.95 per month).

Ahrefs – the Heavy Artillery of a SEO Expert

Using Ahrefs provides the entire vertical of tools, from keyword search and content ideation to competitor analysis and rank tracking. Some of the most noteworthy components of the Ahrefs package include:

Site Explorer – provides you with a detailed analysis of backlinks, search traffic, and keywords of any site you’re interested in (including your own or your competitors’, or course). The tool has three sub-sections that focusing on a specific SEO aspect – Backlink Checker, Organic Traffic Research kit and the Paid Traffic Research kit.

Content Explorer – helps you identify trending and popular content from any niche. This is a great tool to search for new content ideas and analyze the prospects of your existing posts and pages in terms of both social sharing and linking potential.

Keyword Explorer – this tool allows you to estimate the value of your existing keywords as well as come up with new ones. The analysis is country-based, which might be especially useful for multilingual and multi-location projects. One of the most useful features of the Keyword Explorer is the proprietary keyword difficulty score developed by Ahrefs, which allows quickly estimating the competitiveness of a particular phrase and compile a corresponding link-building plan.

If you opt for Ahrefs, there are 4 pricing plans, starting from Lite ($99 per month or $82 with annual billing) and Standard ($179 per month), through Advanced ($399 per month), and Agency pricing plan ($999 per month). There is a 14-day free trial, which is a nice little bonus as compared to SEMrush, which requires an upfront payment for using its tools.

The Choice

Both SEMrush and Ahrefs are excellent toolkits if you need to boost traffic to your website, and each will be a significant help in your day to day online marketing activities. While many features they offer do overlap, some general recommendations can still be made when it comes to making the choice. If you’ve looking for an all-round solution for all your online marketing activities, SEMrush is a more versatile alternative: it covers all important web traffic channels, so you don’t have to pay for any other tools with specialized functions.

If, however, you’re already using other tools for your social media and SEM efforts, or if your primary focus is organic search engine traffic, Ahrefs is the ideal choice: it has everything a SEO expert might need, and maybe more – all backed by the largest proprietary search index outside of Google.

Have you used either (or both) of the above described tools previously? We’d love to hear what you think! Hit us in the comments section below:

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by Chloe Smith
A business consultant with a passion for writing, Chloe specializes in organic traffic, website rankings and search algorithms for Green SEO Perth, Media Gurus, and other professional platforms.

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