Expert Marketers Guide On Using Ahrefs for SEO

Our Take

This is my favorite SEO research tool. we highly recommend it. You can track and monitor your progress as well as receive feedback about how you are doing.


10 of 10

Price$99 – $999 per month
Annual Discount2 months free!

What are Ahrefs?

Ahrefs has so many features that it is easy to get lost. Ahrefs allows you to simply look at your links and rank keywords.

Ahrefs Glossary

Every piece of software has its own set of jargon. This glossary will help you understand

URL Rating- Ahrefs uses Ahrefs to measure the quality and number of links that point to a URL. Higher search engine rankings correlate with higher link quality.

Domain Rating- Ahrefs’ measure of the quality of all URLs linking to a domain. Higher search engine rankings for all URLs coming from that domain are associated with greater link quantity and quality.

Ahrefs rank- Ahrefs ranks domains relative to all others on the Internet.

Backlinks: The number of hyperlinks that point to a URL.

Referring pages – A list that contains a hyperlink to another URL.

Referring Domains – The number of domains with a hyperlink to a URL. A domain can have multiple referring pages or backlinks.

Referring content – Ahrefs measures the relative traffic that a piece of content sends to a URL based on its popularity.

Anchors: This is the anchor text used in URL backlinks.

Sitewide/Not sitewide – Ahrefs’ classification for a link that shows where it appears on each page of a domain.

Fresh Index/Live Index, a new feature, aims to maintain a historical link index. Here is Ahrefs definition.

  • Live Index: All links that were “live” on Ahrefs’ last re-crawl
  • Fresh Index: All Ahrefs that have “lived” over the past three months (including those who were “dead”) on the last recrawl.

Ahrefs stated in this post, that they will add a historical index to all backlinks since 13 August 2015

Top pages – A list of URLs that rank at the top based on your criteria.

Ahrefs Dashboard

Ahrefs Dashboard lets you keep track of all your data. This will show you technical crawl errors and new referring domains.

The dashboard also allows you to track keyword rankings, content alerts, and more.

The Essential Features

Ahrefs dashboard features content alerts and keyword ranking. They can be a diagnostic indicator and an additional dimension to your analysis.

Alerts are useful for planning outreach and compiling competitive analyses. To receive alerts whenever new content is published using these keywords, you should target several keywords.

Fun Hacks

Email notifications are not always fun, but they can help you manage your time better and keep you on track.

Alerts and monitoring can easily slip away if we aren’t careful. Set them up when you’re able.

Site Explorer is Ahrefs bread-and-butter. You can enter URLs and view their backlinks. It now includes everything from SEO keywords to social media data to PPC information.

Ahrefs gathers this data by running an Ahrefs web crawler just like Googlebot.

Why? Site Explorer has a large index of links that closely matches Googlebot, but also extracts and overlays more data.

They extract anchor texts (the actual text of the link), backlink status status status status, backlink type, status, and social metrics, as well as IP address, HTTP status, and URL status.

Site Explorer is one of the most intimidating tools. It contains so much information.

Inbound Links are the first feature.

Top Content is the second most important feature. You can sort URLs by Ahrefs weighted importance score, links, shares, etc.

The third feature, Top Referring content, will show you the top content that has received the most traffic from other websites.

Broken Links, the fourth and final feature in Inbound & Outbound Links. This allows you to see links that are linked to URLs that no longer exist.

Site Explorer: What you can do

Ahrefs does everything that you can with other backlink checkers. If you prefer working in a different environment, you can export to Excel or Google Sheets.

Learn which marketing strategies are effective for your competitors

Find out who your competitors are linking from. Then, you can try to get them to do the same. Learn about industry best practices, then create your strategies.

Referring Domains might also be worth your consideration. This will group links according to the domain.

Learn What Content Works Well

It is easy to believe that everyone surfs the Internet within a “filter bubble.” “

Many marketers believe content that is shared will result in links.

Use the top content reports to find out what pages are performing well. Find out which content is most shared.

Is it important to send press releases? Can infographics be effective? Which piece of content do industry publications or competitors use to drive 80% share and link traffic?

The Top Content report can answer all of your questions.

Site Explorer provides a Link Intersect report. Site Explorer offers a Link Intersect report. You can input multiple URLs to determine which websites are linking to your competitors or industry sites.

Do you know of any industry publications that have links to your competitors but don’t link to you? Are you able to interview your competitors but not yourself?

The link intersects tool can help you find quick wins that level the playing field.

Find Influential Marketing Prospects

Combine the Inbound Links with Top Referring Content reports identifying websites that influence industry publications or competitors. Priorities are important when there are limited time and resources.

Keep track of your goals.

Influencers can sometimes not be in the market you are expecting. The most influential niches of REI are survivalists and travel hacking.

Broken linking is one of the most effective and consistent SEO strategies. Locate resources that are not available and rebuild them. Correct broken links on your website.

My complete guide to Broken Link Building is available. Ahrefs broken report will help you build broken links efficiently.

Site Explorer Fun Hacks

Take a look at Broken Outbound Links for large sites. Find all Inbound Links. Broken URLs may be linked to by potential clients of a link-building campaign.

You can also do the opposite.

Explore Wikipedia & Top Publishers

Link metrics can be pulled from Wikipedia URLs related to your industry. Search by subfolder to get marketing ideas.

This video demonstrates how we use these strategies. Although the design may have changed, the tactics are the same.

Get a top content report for your industry from a website. You will have links opportunities that aren’t available to other companies.

This video guide is also available.

Link to industry publications and Wikipedia pages. Click through to learn more about the journalist.

Get narrow results

Site Explorer can be used to search for specific URLs, subdomains, or subfolders, just like we did with Wikipedia.

Site Explorer (Search Data)

Site Explorer’s Search Data, formerly Positions Explorer, shows the keywords that a domain ranks for. It then estimates how much traffic it is getting and which pages.

It also tracks paid positions.

Site Explorer crawls Google Search result pages (SERPs) and then aggregates that data to create something you can search for. It then triangulates natural traffic to a domain with a standard click-through rate per place.

A few caveats are required. This applies to all traffic estimation software, including SEMRush, Compete, and others. This applies to all traffic estimation tools, including SEMRush and Compete. Be sure to manually verify key rankings against the Keyword Planner.

The main features

Ahrefs calculates how important keywords are (i.e. Ahrefs estimates the importance of keywords and provides traffic estimations based on those keywords.

While the overview function is extremely useful, it doesn’t make sense without context.

The Top Pages feature is available in both Organic and Paid sections and provides 80% of the tool’s value.

The PPC Ads and Top Competitors are two other notable features. This displays which domains are most likely to share the same search results as the domain you’re looking for.

What Site Explorer’s search data can do for you

Top Content for Other Websites

Site Explorer doesn’t provide exact numbers but it does show relationships and differentials among pages and keywords.

A URL can drive XX amount of visits per month but it can still be listed on the Top Organic Page. The traffic difference between the top URLs and the second URLs is accurate.

First, relative traffic volumes are accurate, even if they don’t match exactly. This rule also applies to landing pages. It continues this way for each URL. 20% of pages drive 80%.

What’s the point?

This information is valuable as they allow you to find and build relationships with other websites in your industry. You can use their information to help you search for the best terms.

You can see that almost all of the company’s organic traffic is from Garage Kit pages. This would make a great target for anyone in the industry.

You might also find that the most popular website winner is a throwaway piece that ranks for a broad term but is not competitive.

Learn from the best and most damaging content of your competition in any way that suits you. Ahrefs has created a video tutorial to explain this feature.

Do Better Keyword Research

Thinking laterally can be the most challenging challenge in keyword research. It can be hard to go from an obvious keyword to semi-synonymous keywords or complementary keywords that accurately reflect your audience’s intent.

This insight allows you to go from winter gloves “…, to “gloves, and winter “…”, to “mittens,” if you are a plumber.

Ahrefs position Explorer allows you to identify top pages and see other keywords they rank.

Do Better Competitor Research

Competitors in real life may be different than your search results. Ahref’s Competing pages and Competing domains, as well as the Content Gap tool, are excellent resources.

These tools are very helpful. This will allow you to determine the content that you should target.

Steal Ads

Copying a competitor’s ad ideas is easy with the Paid section of Positions Explorer.

SEOs are skilled at telling clients that their SERP competitors may not be the same as their real-world competitors.

Finding SERP competitors is difficult without using vanity terms. Ahrefs’ Positions Explorer may be used to add new terms to the mix.

Fun Hacks

Marketers can export keywords to Google Sheets or Excel.

You can filter by keyword or phrase length to eliminate brand and noise terms. Longer phrases will get you more information.

Content Explorer

Ahrefs’ Content Explorer shows the most popular content for any topic. Ahrefs data is also available.

Content Explorer looks similar to Site Explorer. It requires an understanding of the functionality of each feature.

The Essential Features

Content Explorer’s greatest feature is its ability to search by topic. Type a phrase to locate the most shared/linked content on the topic.

A large gap would be noticed in your results if Content Explorer’s first version was used. Selecting a topic will result in very few results.

Ahrefs makes it easier to find the right content. The Boolean Operators (ie. “search anywhere/in title/in content”) is where you’ll find your way.

Your excitement is palpable.

These can be used if you’ve used Google Search Operators and put a phrase in quotations.

These are great for filtering websites, excluding words, and defining dates (especially when it is about seasonal ideas).

Content Explorer must be approached to use boolean operators efficiently.

It is possible to get more Facebook likes by creating a blog post. To help narrow your search, you can combine, match and combine boolean operators.

Content Explorer: What can you do with it

Inform PR Strategy

A press release and prayer strategy is not the best PR strategy, especially when you want to get a quality pick-up from a major publication.

The best angle to attract readers is the most appealing one. Content Explorer will help you identify which pieces are popular and what type of content is preferable by a publication.

You can drill down and find out which topics are most popular among journalists.

This feature has yet to be released by Ahrefs. It can be used in conjunction with Google search operators for the best results.

Understanding a Topic

The curse, or knowledge is a theory that says the more you understand a topic the better you can view it from other perspectives.

This is a big problem in content marketing. Content Explorer will help you to understand what angles, facts, and language resonate with people on any topic.

See the commonalities among top performers

Content Explorer can help you determine the format of your content. Content Explorer will show that top performers all have videos.

Set Benchmarks

Positive stories can make a big difference to a company’s bottom line. However, it is not a universally applicable story. It can be used to refer to anyone depending on the context.

Moz and BuzzSumo conducted a study and found that 75% of respondents had zero shares or links.

BuzzFeed can then produce 1,000,000 shares across all platforms at any given time.

Purina Catfood may be able to create content that generates thousands or hundreds of shares because they are a big brand in the cat market.

GE may be a larger brand than Purina but it won’t get a lot of shares. They make aircraft engines.

Content Explorer will give you an idea of what a successful campaign looks and feels like.

Understanding Platform Types & Goals

According to Moz & BuzzSumo, links, and shares don’t always correspond. Shares on one platform might not always correlate with other platforms, such as Facebook shares vs. tweets from Twitter.

Content Explorer will help you find the best content to meet your marketing goals. Sort by links, not overall shares.

Fun Hacks

Click here to Author

Click through the Content Explorer results for a specific writer. This is useful for finding freelance journalists or guest posting opportunities.

Export Twitter Sharers

To see the tweets for each piece, you can export and view the Content Explorer results. This allows you to be sure you only get people who remembered tweeting the piece. Topsy still can export more.

The most immediate usage is to:

  • Targeted audiences can be created for Twitter advertising.
  • You have the option to create Twitter lists for later manual outreach. Save the most popular accounts for future outreach.
  • Send your data to one of the many Twitter tools to analyze the personas and related interests.

View URL Data

The Content Explorer results will show detailed link data and the keywords that are most likely to rank the content. These data are crucial for planning comprehensive content.

Keywords Explorer

Keywords Explorer lets Ahrefs pull and modify keywords from Google Search Autocomplete. This tool is similar to for SEOs who know their tools.

In November 2016, they launched Keywords Explorer 2.0.

This keyword tool is my favorite. I’ll cover some key concepts, but we strongly recommend you read the complete introduction for a deeper understanding of the features.

The main features

One feature of this tool is that it pulls many keyword variations from Google Searches in a very similar way to Google Autocomplete. These variations provide a better understanding of user intent and enable you to target longer-tail keywords.

With the launch of Keywords Explorer2.0, Ahrefs now pulls clickstream data. Clickstream data can be a little technical. More information can be found here. Ahrefs keyword data suffice to enable us to make marketing decisions.

You shouldn’t assume that the volumes are accurate, but they can help you select your target keywords and prioritize them.

What Can a Keyword Explorer Do

Keyword research can be done quickly in Ahrefs. To search for variations of your broad keyword, you can take and run Keyword Explorer.

Do in-depth keyword research

Modern keyword research goes beyond search volume and modifiers. Blue Winter Gloves is one of the most searched keywords with over 1000 searches per month. On each page, we should mention “navy” and “light” winter gloves.

These are the most important details. It is even more crucial to understand things like -.

  • What broad topic should the keyword be?
  • What kind of page would a typical user like to see?
  • What are the relevant lateral terms and complementary terms? (e.g. “blue mittens”).
  • What kind of site is the user looking for?
  • What terms do people ask before and after they are asked a particular query?
  • etc, etc, etc

Keyword research does not have to be complicated or overwhelming. However, it can be time-consuming to do it correctly at a large scale.

Ahrefs Keywords Explorer speeds up the process by integrating search engine results, phrases match ideas, parent topics, Search Suggestions, and pages rank directly in Dashboard.

Assess Keyword Difficulty

It is the most tedious and difficult part of keyword research to find out if your website ranks for specific keywords.

You don’t need to be able to win if you can’t do so. ).

It is easy to determine keyword difficulty.

Keyword Difficulty Scores are very helpful in helping you make the “first cut” when a keyword search begins. Ahrefs explains how works.

The Dashboard can be used to sort and arrange low-hanging fruit, as well as to create a realistic content promotion plan that will get your content noticed.

Calculate the Return on Investment

It’s difficult to predict the return on investment in SEO.

Keywords Explorer’s statistics on Clicks, Return rate, and clicks per search are sufficient to make such judgment calls.

To get an idea of the visibility and traffic that you can expect if your keyword is highly-ranked, you can view the Return Rate and clicks per search.

Other SERP Features

In the past, Google Search Results (SERPs) did not contain a collection of “10 Blue Links”. Google has been customizing SERPs more frequently since 2016 when they added features such as Rich Answers (Featured Snippets), Knowledge Graph Results, and People Also Ask boxes.

These rankings are often more valuable that a #1 ranking. Ahrefs Keyword Explorer may give some insight, but it is not enough to direct your manual research.

After you’ve entered a keyword into the Question tab, expand your SERP to view all special features. You can also see the “parent topic” of a keyword to help you find similar questions.

Fun Hacks

Find Guerrilla Keyword Angles

Making a “lateral” move toward a keyword target that isn’t competitive can be one of the most important wins in keyword research.

These are my favorite sources – but Ahrefs makes finding them even easier and quicker.

Search for SERP Competitors

It’s common to find that the industry competitors of your search terms are not the same as your own.

Use Keyword Explorer’s Traffic Share function. This will return a complete list of domains. Now you can take these domains and reverse-engineer the URLs to find the best keywords.

Broadness with Exclude and Include Features

This hack can be very simple but powerful. Search for modifiers instead of keywords.

Ahrefs includes & exclusions features that can be used to find high-volume keywords, rank them, and rank them.

Ahrefs Tools

Ahrefs Labs, Ahrefs’ collection of apps, takes Ahrefs data and turns it into something usable.

The Essential Features

Ahrefs Labs allows you to quickly manipulate large quantities of data. Site Explorer lists the majority of the tools.

Installing the SEO Toolbar in your browser is a smart idea. This will allow you to dive into SEO/Social Data while browsing the Internet and gain a better understanding of the most important information on websites.

The SEO Toolbar offers a SERP Overlay function. This pulls data directly from Google Search Results Pages and overlays it onto your Google Search Results Page.

The Ahrefs Top tool is interesting but we have yet to find a purpose for it.

Jon Cooper’s Link Miner App is highly recommended under Applications. It syncs directly with Ahrefs and pulls data to your broken link scan.

Ahrefs rank tracker can be very useful.

Next steps

Ahrefs is a very expensive tool, but it has an extensive feature set. Its utility will be limited by your creativity and knowledge about the features set.

Ahrefs are most effective if you have specific marketing objectives.

This is how we classify Ahrefs competitor SEO tools. Each has a common focus but overlaps with another channel.

  • Ahrefs: Primarily SEO, with some PPC data.
  • Semrush is an SEO tool, but it also includes full PPC and social tools.
  • Mangools, an SEO service that focuses on SEO, has lower data usage limits and is more affordable.
  • Moz: Primarily Education/Community with SEO and Social Components.
  • BuzzSumo- Primarily Social with SEO Contents
  • Majestic – Exclusively SEO-focused penalty analysis
  • SpyFu: Primarily SEO using PPC components.
  • Raven Tools: Primarily analytics with social and SEO components.

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