AHrefs review: An insider look at the premium features

Read my AHrefs review to learn about the tool's best features and capabilities, as well as my thoughts on how to use each for a practical SEO analysis.

About a month ago, I wrote a post on my favorite SEO tools. In that post, I mentioned the tool AHrefs and I said this, “In my experience, AHrefs is relatively similar to Majestic, though maybe not as rich with features. When choosing between the two, it’s likely to come down to personal preference.”

Shortly thereafter, Tim Soulo, the head of marketing at HRefs contacted me to let me know that while he appreciated the mention in my article, he felt my description was “inaccurate.”

I’d formed that opinion based upon sporadic use of the tool over the years. The tools have been historically relatively similar, and as I’ve preferred Majestic over the years, I’ve had no reason to come back as much as I should have.

That said, I still knew it was a great tool and warranted mentioning in my list, even if I didn’t use it all the time.

Getting to the AHrefs review

Tim was nice enough to upgrade me to a premium-level membership so that I could poke around some of the tool’s new features and maybe just maybe rethink my opinion of the tool.

After testing out the tool for about a month, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the upgrades and have come to appreciate the tool’s capabilities.

While I won’t yet call it an enterprise-level tool, I am now of the opinion that it is a far more valuable tool that I’d originally thought. While I don’t know if this is their business goal, I don’t think they are far away from being an enterprise-level solution.

So a month later, I’ve resolved to eat a little crow, and I thought it would be nice to give everyone a quick review of the tool’s features in case you hadn’t had the chance to use AHrefs – and may have been of the opinion that I was (right or wrong).

For posterity, I’ll be comparing the tool below to Majestic.

AHrefs: The main dashboard

The main dashboard is fairly straight-forward and user-friendly. It incorporates overall domain scores, technical health, link portfolio information, and keyword tracking/rankings.

Upon sign-in, this is a much more organized default dashboard than Majestic’s.

Hrefs review: Main Dashboard #2

AHrefs: Site explorer

This tool is the core feature of AHrefs and what I remember from my historic experience with the tool. This is where you get the in-depth analysis of your link portfolio, as well as where the tool is most similar to Majestic.

The main site explorer dashboard:
AHrefs review: Site Explorer #1

The referring pages timeline helps you understand macro-level link trends:
AHrefs review: Site Explorer #2

The top-content report helps you to identify top-performing pages:
AHrefs review: Site Explorer #3

More reports including link distribution, anchor text, etc.
AHrefs review: Site Explorer #4

AHrefs: New & lost backlinks

Similar to Majestic, they offer a new and lost backlinks report, which can be extremely helpful in understanding what content is generating new links, as well as where you might focus your link reclamation efforts.
AHrefs review: New and Lost Backlinks Report

AHrefs: Domain comparison

Similar to Majestic, you can easily compare link metrics between domains. The AHrefs UX is actually more similar here to Moz’s than Majestic’s.
Hrefs review: Domain Comparison #1

AHrefs: Batch analysis

The tool also offers a quick batch analysis feature which can help you go well beyond the 5-domain restriction from the domain comparison tool. Majestic also offers this, though AHref’s is far more user-friendly.
Hrefs review: Batch Analysis #1
Hrefs review: Batch Analysis #2

AHrefs: Link intersection

This is where I think this tool really begins to surpass the capabilities of Majestic. Essentially, you can query who links to certain sites but not others in order to find missing link opportunities. This is really powerful!

Enter your sites here:
Hrefs review: Link Intersection #1

And get a clean output with detailed link opportunities:
Hrefs review: Link Intersection #3

AHrefs: Link disavow

Easily create a link disavow file to submit to Google. To my knowledge, Majestic does not offer this service.
Hrefs review: Link Disavow #1
Hrefs review: Link Disavow #2

AHrefs: Positions explorer

This is another of the core features that really takes this tool away from just being a link analysis tool into something more much comprehensive. This type of functionality is not broached in Majestic at all and is a big competitive advantage.

You can get a good overall feel for your site’s traffic, competitors, and keyword rankings, although I’m unclear where they source their traffic information and/or how accurate it is by and large.
AHrefs review: Positions Explorer #1

Maybe it’s just my result, but I didn’t find the positions heatmap to be super-helpful, but I did like to Top 5 organic keywords/pages feature.
AHrefs review: Positions Explorer #2

Though I’m unclear on where they source their data, I really like this report in terms of showing all of the specific keywords that your site ranks for and specifically which URL’s. I liken it to BrightEdge’s Data Cube tool.
AHrefs review: Positions Explorer #4

You can even break the report down by pages and get a feel for which pages are doing the heavy-lifting on your site.
AHrefs review: Positions Explorer #5

Once you’ve used the tool for a while, you can also get a glimpse into rank-trended for these keywords – though they aren’t necessarily tracked.
AHrefs review: Positions Explorer #6

AHrefs: Tracked keywords

The tool offers keyword tracking capabilities – something which is typically reserved for enterprise-level tools. While they don’t aggregate anything into keyword groups like a tool such as BrightEdge, they do offer mobile rank tracking which is not something that even most enterprise tools offer (save for BrightEdge).

Majestic does not offer this capability.
AHrefs review: Tracked keywords #2

AHrefs: Content explorer

The content explorer is another of the tools in AHref’s tool belt that set it apart from Majestic and take it more into the realm of an enterprise analysis tool. You can utilize the content explorer to gain an understanding of trending content, whose ranking, all the way down to detailing the signals that these pages are generating.

Very powerful stuff when it comes to competitive analysis, content research, etc. Again, outside of Majestic’s ability to showcase link signals at the URL-level, they don’t really do anything like this.

A generic head-term:
Hrefs review: Content Explorer #1

A long-tailed keyword:
Hrefs review: Content Explorer #2

AHrefs: Keywords explorer

This tool is another of the major tools that AHrefs offers and is akin to the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. While I certainly trust Google’s data more and am not 100% certain where AHref’s sources their data from, it is still a solid tool that will help you understand keyword search volume trends and high-value modifiers.

Majestic doesn’t even get close to this sort of feature.
Hrefs review: Keywords Explorer #2

AHrefs: Content alerts

Another cool feature – get alerts anytime they find a new piece of content related to your keywords in their index. Very similar to Google Alerts.

You can set it to scan daily, weekly, and even real-time for your chosen target keywords.

Majestic does not do this.
Hrefs review: Content Alerts #2

AHrefs: Email notifications

Similar to the above, you can also get email notifications for your sites, which can apply to overall domain health (tech), new/lost backlinks, as well as keyword rankings. This is a powerful feature that can allow you to address issues quickly.

Again, Majestic does not do this.
Hrefs review: Email Notifications #1

AHrefs: Domain health

What I was most surprised about was the domain health feature. This tool offers a relatively comprehensive ability to pick up on key technical elements affecting your sites and allows you to automate and track the progress towards addressing each issue over time.

In terms of the level of depth, it was similar to a tool like Deep Crawl – which is impressive as that tool focuses only on technical SEO and doesn’t give you everything else.

Additionally, it prioritizes issues by severity which is a nice thing.

Majestic doesn’t offer anything like this.
Hrefs review: Domain Health #2

So, what’s missing?

Obviously, the tool is really strong, but I don’t want this post to come off like an advertorial. There are some opportunities for the tool to improve if it wants to become enterprise-level, which seems to be the way it’s going.

Here’s a few things I’d like to see:

  • Better ability to group/tag keywords
  • More information on share of voice
  • Integration with analytics platforms (so that traffic can be actual rather than estimated)
  • More influencer identification and outreach capabilities
  • Some sort of opportunity forecasting capability (e.g. CTR + visits = $)
  • On-site page-level analysis features (related to keyword-tracking, outside of just technical SEO)
  • Client report distribution & white-labeling
  • More advanced side-by-side competitive comparisons (outside of links)
  • Project management & workflow features

Bonus:

If you’ve read this far – I applaud and thank you! As a reward, I highly recommend this video from the AHrefs YouTube channel by on stealing SEO traffic from your competitors. I watched the whole thing and really enjoyed how they’ve taken the power of their tool and applied it in a competitive analysis setting.

Really great stuff!
[youtube id=”WJG-4THsYMo” autoplay=”no”]

Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated for this post. I felt as if my original opinion truly was inaccurate, and I felt compelled to refresh my perspective and showcase the tools features.

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