There are a lot of SEO marketing tools on the market, but one question that many people ask themselves is which one will be best for their needs. Today, we will compare Ahrefs vs SEMrush and help you decide which SEO marketing tool is better for your individual needs. There are many features to consider when making this decision, including keyword research features, backlink analysis, technical SEO tools, pricing and value, unique features etc.

In this post, I’ll put Ahrefs and SEMrush to the test. So, if you’re looking for a comparison of these two well-known SEO tools, you’ve come to the correct spot.

In this article, I’ll compare Ahrefs vs. SEMrush based on the following criteria:

  • Keyword Research functionality & capabilities
  • Backlink analysis tools
  • Tools for Technical SEO
  • Pricing and overall value
  • KPIs & any unique features
  • Additional valuable features & advice

Let’s get started!

Introducing: Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a popular link audit tool that is also well-known for its link research capabilities. However, in the last two years, they’ve introduced a slew of new functions.

Here is an article by Ahrefs mentioning the ‘9 Things That Only Ahrefs Can Do’:

  1. Generate millions of keyword ideas (across 170 countries).
  2. See newly discovered keywords every month
  3. See traffic estimations for all pages ranking in the top 10.
  4. See the ranking history for your pages for any keyword.

As a result, it’s now feasible to conduct an SEMrush vs. Ahrefs comparison. As of a few years ago, Ahrefs was entirely focused on just links.

Ahrefs now has a lot of features that make it a serious competitor to SEMrush, including:

  • Keyword research tools and features
  • Keyword Gap (competitor) analysis
  • Technical SEO features & tools
  • Position / Keyword Rank tracking

Introducing: SEMrush

The real standout feature of ‘SEMrush’ is the ability to keep tabs on your competition’s rankings.

Rather than wasting time sitting down and creating keywords, you may simply search for a competitor in SEMrush and get a complete list of keywords that they rank for.

As you’ll see, Ahrefs now includes a similar function. And we’ll compare the two later on.

However, it’s crucial to note that SEMrush began as a keyword research tool with emphasis on this area.

That being said, SEMrush has recently improved its feature game considerably.

In fact, you may utilize SEMrush to do any of the following:

  • Optimize your On-Page for SEO.
  • Examine your competition’s PPC campaigns.
  • Reverse engineer a website’s major traffic sources.
  • The ability to analyze log files
  • And lots more additional features

SEMrush has also begun to dabble in link analysis. They’ve had a link index for years.

What Is the Best SEO Keyword Research Tool?

To begin, I decided to determine which tool was the best for finding new keywords.

Let’s see who won.


Ahrefs’ 3 main features for keyword research are:

  1. Keyword explorer
  2. Organic keywords
  3. Content Gap

Let’s take a look at the various methods.

Keyword Explorer is similar to other keyword tools on the market.

Type in a word or phrase. And you’ll get a list of keyword ideas.

The fact that Ahrefs doesn’t simply show you search volume is what distinguishes Keyword explorer from the competition.

In addition, they show you how many CLICKS you’ll earn if you rank for that term.

Why is this significant?

It’s no secret that Google is using features to poach organic clicks from the SERPs.

This is all taken into account by Keyword Explorer.

For example, “Leonardo Dicaprio age” gets 12,000 monthly searches:

The answer appears in a Featured Snippet when you search for that term.

The majority of people don’t click on organic results because they’re not relevant to their search terms. As a result, only 1.2k individuals actually clicked.

The fact that you can expand the results to get hundreds of distinct keyword possibilities adds to Keyword Explorer’s appeal.

You may also learn how to reverse-engineer a competitor’s site by utilizing the “Organic keywords” report.


You’ll be able to access all of the keywords that a competing site currently ranks for in much the same way as with Ahrefs.

Again, this function is very similar to Ahrefs. There are, however, a few key differences. (For example, they provide distinct methods of calculating how much organic traffic a site receives from its first page rankings.) The thing that sets SEMrush apart here is the fact that you get A LOT more detailed keyword data in this report.

Ahrefs displays search interest, CPC, and competition in a straightforward manner. However, SEMrush provides you with a wealth of information on each term, including the search volume trend and number of results.

This depends on your needs. I like to concentrate on the most important metrics. I analyze many keywords, so I like having the additional data within SEMrush’s interface. So, if you’re a keyword researcher who must analyze 100 or more terms quickly, having everything in one spot is really beneficial. There’s also a more traditional keyword research tool from SEMrush, but again it’s all down to what you personally need.

You can view the search volume and competitiveness of a keyword like you would with most keyword tools.

You’ll get a list of alternatives based on what you’ve written.

The unique feature of SEMrush’s keyword research is that it incorporates data from Google PPC.

So, if you’re an in-house SEO or work for an agency, you’re probably managing both SEO and Google AdWords at the same time. And having access to both SEMrush’s keyword data and Ahrefs’ interface may be quite beneficial. Overall, I believe that SEMrush has a slight edge in this category. SEMrush gives you significantly more information (both SEO and PPC), making it a more well-rounded keyword research tool.

What Type of Tool Should You Use to Analyze Backlinks?

The next step is to see which tool offers the most comprehensive backlink checker functionality.

In terms of link research, I prefer Ahrefs to SEMRush. It takes less effort to see a site’s best links with Ahrefs. The pages that are linked to the most. As well as other factors.

This was yet another difficult one. However, when it comes to backlink features, SEMrush and Ahrefs are tied. The newly expanded index on SEMrush is fantastic. And the user interface has advanced a long way in recent years. However, I still open up a new tab and launch Ahrefs (mostly because it has a GREAT UI) when I want to study a site’s link profile.

Which Is The Best Tool For Analyzing A Website’s Technical SEO?

The next topic I wanted to explore was technical SEO analysis.

SEMrush wins out in terms of technical SEO tools. It has a more robust site audit function. In my opinion, it does a better job of letting you know what you need to focus on first.

Ahrefs has a decent technical tool kit, but it isn’t as strong as SEMrush’s, and there isn’t the same emphasis on prioritized advice.

What Is the Best Tool for Measuring My Site’s Positions?

Ahrefs and SEMrush both provide rank-monitoring features.

Let’s compare the two.


Ahrefs, like any other rank tracker, check your Google rankings for a list of keywords that you specify.

I looked at a few of the keywords, and the rankings appeared to be correct, according to Ahrefs. There’s not much else to add.


SEMrush also has a precise rank tracker.

That said, SEMrush has a few more features than Ahrefs. They also have a “Visibility” ranking.

The second feature that sets SEMrush apart from the competition is that they update their monitored keywords on a daily basis.

Ahrefs only update it once or twice a week (depending on your plan).

If you’re someone who needs to monitor rankings changes on a daily basis, then Ahrefs may not be sufficient.

SEMrush outperforms Ahrefs in terms of rank tracking. Both perform as intended by rank trackers: they track your ranks. However, SEMrush updates more frequently and has additional powerful functions.

What Unique Features Does Each Tool Have?

We’ve evaluated the most important characteristics of each program. Now it’s time to look at certain aspects that set Ahrefs and SEMrush apart.


In my opinion, the one distinguishing characteristic of Ahrefs over other SEO tools is “Content Explorer.”

If you’ve never used Ahref’s Content Explorer before, this is how this feature works:

Enter the name of a topic you’d like to write about…

You’ll also want to check backlinks, social shares and more for your chosen keywords in order to find out which content has performed well in terms of backlinks, social media interactions, and so on.

Ahrefs also offers a few “mini functions” that I find quite useful… features that many other tools lack. Broken backlink building is one area where I prefer to use Ahrefs. That’s because, in Ahrefs, I can quickly discover broken external and internal links. In fact, this basic function has saved me many hours of work.


SEMrush also includes some interesting features that Ahrefs doesn’t have. The most important is their comprehensive paid search software package. PPC with Ahrefs has essentially no tools at all. As well, SEMrush offers a plethora of PPC competitor analysis tools to help you optimize your Google Ads campaigns.

If you conduct a significant amount of local SEO, SEMrush’s “listings” tool can assist you in correctly creating your NAPs.

(And to help find NAP opportunities that you may have overlooked).

In terms of “cool feature,” SEMrush wins hands down. Both Ahrefs and SEMrush have features that no other tool offers. However, if you’re also running Google advertisement campaigns, SEMrush’s distinctive characteristics (particularly its comprehensive PPC software) are a must-have.

Which Tool Offers The Best Value?

Now it’s time to ask the question that’s probably on everyone’s mind: “Which tool provides the greatest value for the money?” This is, of course, dependent on a number of things.

For example, if you spend the majority of your day link-building, you’ll appreciate how quickly Ahrefs can find what you’re looking for. However, if you work as an agency that does PPC and SEO for clients, SEMrush provides a single tool (and a monthly fee). With that bit of housekeeping out of the way, here’s how the pricing breaks down for each product.

For $99, you get access to most of the vital features (like backlink analysis and keyword research). However, you aren’t able to utilize certain services like their historical index. So, yeah, the major restriction of the $99 plan is how much data you can extract from each function… for example, how many links may be viewed. And how many keyword reports you may create.

I recommend the Advanced Plan ($399/month) since I use most of Ahrefs’ features on a weekly basis. If you’re just getting started, the $99 plan is a good place to start.

SEMrush charges around the same as Ahrefs, which varies depending on which plan you are on (from $99 to $399 per month).

You can still use most of the core features with a $99 subscription, as you may with SEMRush. However, it is somewhat restricted. When it comes to pure value, SEMrush wins hands down. That’s because you get a comprehensive SEO software package AND Google Ads for the same monthly fee.

SEMrush Vs Ahrefs, Who Wins?

So, who won the battle between SEMrush and Ahrefs? I’ve personally used both since 2017. I’m happy to pay for each tool every month because I believe they work well together.  So, to choose a winner, I took many factors into account:

  • Backlink tools & features
  • Keyword tools & features
  • Customer Support & Value
  • New features & updates
  • Bugs, issues, and problems
  • Overall benefits & value

But if you had to pick just ONE SEO software to use, I’d go with Ahrefs if you don’t need any PPC data at all and SEMrush if the PPC data is valuable for your SEO strategy. You can’t go wrong with either program, but whether you need the PPC data will really help to determine which tool is going to be more convenient for you to use daily.

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