Ahrefs vs Semrush: Which SEO Tool Is The Best? 

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Ahrefs vs Semrush:

A showdown between two SEO titans.

Ahrefs and Semrush have been at the top of the SEO industry for years.

They have continued to improve their features and develop very loyal followings. I’ve personally been using both of them for over 8+ years.

But for most people…

You only want to use one of these SEO tools. So which one should you choose?

In this blog post, I will compare Ahrefs and Semrush’s best features and answer the famous question…

“Which tool is best overall?”

So, let’s get started!

Ahrefs vs Semrush: Introducing The Competitors

Ahrefs and Semrush both have some great SEO features worth taking advantage of.

Here’s a quick introduction if you don’t know much about both tools.


In the blue corner, we have Ahrefs.

Ahrefs was founded in 2010 as a website explorer tool. Since then it has grown into a fully-fledged all-in-one SEO tool.


Packed inside the easy-to-use interface are a ton of powerful SEO features.

You get everything you need to execute high-quality SEO campaigns without the complexity of most SEO tools.

Ahrefs’ top features include:

  • Detailed SEO Dashboard – High-level view of your SEO campaigns with the most important metrics.
  • Site Explorer – Powerful competitor research tool.
  • Keywords ExplorerKeyword research tools that help you find quality keywords fast.
  • Site Audit – Complete technical and on-page SEO website auditor.
  • Rank Tracker – Track all your target keyword rankings in different search engines.
  • Content Explorer – Research new content ideas and find link-building opportunities.

Ahrefs has a great suite of tools to execute any SEO campaign in any niche.

Don’t forget to read my full Ahrefs Review to see all of the powerful features you can take advantage of.

Access to Ahrefs best features for FREE with Ahrefs Webmaster tools.


In the red corner, we have Semrush.

Semrush is an all-in-one SEO and marketing tool.


It has changed a lot over the years, starting off as just a Firefox SEO extension called SEO digger in 2008.

It was then renamed SEOQuake and finally developed into a complete SEO tool where it was again renamed Semrush.

Semrush is an incredibly powerful market research tool with data on just about anything you need. While the bread and butter of Semrush is SEO, it has content marketing, PPC advertising and social media features as well.

Semrush’s top SEO features include:

  • Keyword Magic tool – Powerful keyword research tool that finds thousands of keyword combinations for your SEO campaigns.
  • Site Audit – Get a comprehensive analysis of your website and actionable steps to fix any issues.
  • Position Rank Tracker – Track your site (or competitor’s) keyword rankings in Google.
  • Backlink Analysis – Monitor your backlink profile and find link-building opportunities.
  • Competitor SEO Analysis – Uncover your competitor’s SEO strategies with everything you need to run a complete competitor analysis.

As you can see, Semrush also has a powerful suite of SEO tools to effectively execute SEO campaigns.

Check out my Semrush review to learn everything you can do with Semrush.

Ahrefs vs Semrush: The Ultimate Comparison

On paper, both Ahrefs vs Semrush look similar.

But you need to dive beneath the surface to really get a feature vs feature comparison.

I have broken this comparison into 8x rounds:

  1. Keyword Research Features
  2. Domain Analysis
  3. Backlink Analysis
  4. Technical SEO Audit
  5. Rank Tracking
  6. Interface & Easy Of Use
  7. Customer Service & Support
  8. Pricing And Best Value For Money

Let’s jump in!

Round 1 – Keyword Research Features

If you can’t find great keywords for your campaign…

It’s doomed from the beginning. Good keyword research tools let you dig in deeper to find those hidden gems that aren’t obvious.


Ahrefs’ primary keyword research tool is called Keyword Explorer.

They have a huge keyword database with 19.8 billion keywords across 10 search engines in 171+ countries. 4.4 billion of those keywords are for the US alone.

That’s a lot of keyword data.

Keyword Explorer works similarly to other keyword research tools. You type in your seed keywords and Ahrefs will provide you with data for that keyword-

  • Keyword ranking difficulty
  • Search volume
  • CPC
  • Trends

ahrefs keyword research

You can also see a global breakdown of keyword search volumes by country.

With Ahrefs you can research up to 10,000 keywords in one go. If you are handling an enterprise SEO campaign, Ahrefs has the power to do it.

Need some more keywords for your campaign?

Keywords Explorer takes the 10 most popular keywords related to your original seed keyword to generate thousands more keyword suggestions. It does this with 6 different methods-

  1. Phrase match
  2. Having same terms
  3. Also rank for
  4. Search suggestions
  5. Newly discovered
  6. Questions

ahrefs keyword suggestions

This will give a huge list of potential keywords to search through.

Now you’ve got a bunch of good keywords… How do you determine which ones are right for your campaign?

This is where Ahrefs makes keyword research a breeze.

Keyword Explorer uses advanced metrics and modelling to help you calculate a return when you rank for any keyword.

Here’s how it does it-

  • Clicks – Average number of clicks organic search results receive from this keyword.
  • Clicks Per Search – Average number of search results a person clicks on after searching for the keyword.
  • % of Clicks – The percentage of searches that end up clicking through to a website in the search results.
  • % of Paid Clicks vs Organic Clicks – The percentage of clicks paid vs organic search results received.
  • Return Rate – Unique metric that shows which keywords get repeat searches from the same person.

ahrefs advanced metrics

While these metrics are based on modelling, you can use this data to make better keyword decisions to get the highest ROI possible every single time.

Ahrefs also allows you to do keyword research for 10 different search engines including Google, Amazon, YouTube, Bing and more.


Semrush keyword research tools are also very powerful.

You’ll get access to their massive index of 20.8 billion keywords across 141 countries.

This is bigger than Ahrefs, but the difference isn’t likely to significantly impact your keyword research overall.

Like Ahrefs, you can’t start by using some seed keywords, or you can type in a competitor’s domain to see their keyword rankings.

Semrush provides much of the same essential keyword metrics such as-

  • Ranking difficulty
  • Search volume
  • CPC
  • Trends

semrush keyword overview

But Semrush shines with the volume of data and information that they provide.

You get TONS more in-depth keyword data on the main report and additional graphs to provide more insights.

This is especially valuable if you are interested in PPC metrics.

One of the cool metrics that Semrush does have is estimated traffic. This metric gives you an idea of how much traffic you are likely to get when ranking for a keyword.

This helps you understand which keywords are worth targeting.

What about keyword ideas?

Semrush keyword ideas tool is called Keyword Magic. You get thousands of keyword ideas in seconds using-

  • Containing Keywords
  • Broad Match
  • Phrase Match
  • Exact Match
  • Questions
  • Related Keywords

keyword ideas and variations

And more. This is similar to Ahrefs in the way that it works.

Semrush also has tons of filters to process lots of keywords quickly to find the hidden gems that aren’t as obvious.

keyword magic tool

One of the biggest benefits of using Semrush is SERP analysis. Semrush has done a great job at providing a wealth of information about the SERPs.

You can…

  • Track position movements for specific keywords
  • See the visibility of each competitor

Not only that but you can also see the title and meta description being featured by each website in the SERPs.

Winner: Which Tool Is Best for SEO Keyword Research?

The winner for Keyword Research goes to Ahrefs (only just).

Ahrefs vs Semrush: Keyword Research

Ahrefs keyword research tool-suite is:

  1. Easy to use
  2. Helps you find valuable keywords quickly

You can get the important metrics easily and dive deeper whenever you want. You also get an extensive keyword database across 10 search engines, not just Google.

There’s no doubt that Semrush does provide more data overall. But it’s overwhelming and at times unnecessary – most people just won’t use half the features.

The only significant benefit of Semrush is they include solid PPC data, which might benefit specific users.

Truthfully both keyword research features are pretty similar.

But Ahrefs data is more usable as they provide better metrics that helps determine whether a keyword is worth targeting.

Doing keyword research on budget? Check out my list of free keyword research tools.

Round 2 – Domain Analysis

One of the great features that both tools offer is domain analysis. This simply means getting a general snapshot of how good any website is from an SEO perspective.

Good domain analysis tools make it easy to research a competitor and quickly see the overall SEO performance.


Ahrefs domain analysis tool is called Site Explorer.

It gives you a high-level view of any website’s organic traffic and backlink profile.

Within seconds you can see:

  • Any website’s backlinks
  • The number of referring domains
  • The organic ranking keywords

Ahrefs also estimates how much traffic a website is getting.

ahrefs domain explorer

These key metrics give you a quick overview of any website and how it’s performing organically.

Want to measure the authority of a website?

Ahrefs’ core authority metric is called Domain Rating” (DR) and it’s one of the most popular authority metrics used by SEOs.

Overall, DR measures the relative authority of a website based on its backlink profile and the ability of that website to rank in the SERPs.

Want to see if a competitor’s search traffic is growing?

The Organic Search tab in Site Explorer shows two important graphs:

  • The 1st graph shows the organic traffic growth (or decline) over time.
  • The 2nd graph shows how many organic keywords the site ranks for over time.

organic search tab

This makes it easy to visualise any website’s organic performance.

When reviewing any website…

You need to check out the backlink profile. If your competitors are acquiring high-quality backlinks, it won’t be long before they are breathing down your neck in the SERPs.

In the Backlink profile within Site Explorer, Ahrefs provides all the data you need to see any website’s backlink growth.

backlink profile tab

There is a ton of information here. You can see-

  • The number of referring domains
  • The number of referring pages
  • Domain rating growth over time
  • New and lost referring domains
  • New and lost backlinks

And even the top-level domain distribution and the location of each backlink.

Ahrefs has done a great job making all of this information accessible in an easy-to-use interface. They have even added a Paid search tab where you can see:

  1. If the website is running paid search ads
  2. What those ads look like

Within minutes Ahrefs allows you to review any website and get a comprehensive overview of its SEO performance.


Semrush has a comprehensive domain analysis tool.

While the report might initially look overwhelming, it contains a ton of valuable information that you can leverage.

Right at the top of the domain analysis report, you’ll see the websites:

  • Authority Score
  • Organic Search Traffic
  • Paid Search Traffic
  • Backlinks

semrush domain overview

Semrush’s authority score metric is comparable to Ahrefs’ domain rating metric. It is a reliable indicator out of 100 that estimates the ability of the website to rank in the SERPs.

The organic overview in the Semrush Domain analysis tools has a lot of information.

Like Ahrefs you can see organic traffic and organic keywords growth with visually appealing graphs. But Semrush has a couple of unique data points in the organic section of the domain analysis.

Firstly you can see any website’s ranking keywords broken down by search intent:

keyword intent overview

This cool feature lets you see the keyword distribution to get an idea of what types of keywords they are targeting.

Want to see how a website stacks up against key competitors?

Semrush adds two widgets that feature the main organic competitors and a competitive positioning map.

competitor overview

This gives you a good ‘at-a-glance’ indication of:

  • How a site performs against key competitors
  • The general size of each competitor in the SERPs

Semrush has everything you would expect to find when it comes to the backlink overview.
You can see the sites:

  • Total backlinks
  • Referring domains
  • Nofollow vs Dofollow links
  • Referring domains by location

…And so much more!

backlink overview

While this section doesn’t contain as much information as Ahrefs, it does a thorough job to get a good overview of the site’s backlink profile and strengths.

Paid search is another place that Semrush shines in Domain Analysis.

You’ll see-

  • Top Paid Keywords
  • Paid Position Distribution
  • Main Paid Competitors
  • Competitive Positioning Map

semrush ppc overview

Like Ahrefs you see a sample of text ads the site is running.

The top paid keywords section tells you which keywords perform best in the campaign.

You could potentially take these keywords and immediately apply them to your own campaign to start generating similar results.

Overall, Semrush has a comprehensive domain analysis tool that provides in-depth and usable data for any site.

Winner: Which Tool Offers The Most In-depth Analysis?

Semrush narrowly takes home the win for domain analysis.

Ahrefs vs Semrush: Domain Analysis

It provides the most in-depth analysis while providing important data upfront.

The one thing that Ahrefs does get over Semrush is the ease of use. You get a clear overview of any domain and the data is usable.

There is no doubt that both tools have comprehensive domain analysis tools that will work well for any SEO campaign.

Semrush just packs in more info and a couple of unique metrics to take the cake here.

Round 3 – Backlink Analysis

Backlink analysis is an interesting round for both SEO tools.

Historically Ahrefs has always been the backlink king.

But Semrush has invested a lot of money and resources into their backlink tool suite.
Here is the backlink breakdown for Semrush vs Ahrefs.

Backlink Database Size

The size of a backlink database matters.


The more links you have indexed in your database, the more accurate your analysis and link building features will be.

Backlink database size forms the foundation of link building and backlink tools.


Ahrefs has long been the trophy holder of backlink databases.

They boast the largest world’s largest index of live backlinks – second only to Google.

Ahrefs has 26.9 trillion internal backlinks and 3.4 trillion external backlinks. That’s a massive database of links.

ahrefs backlink index

How do they collect all that link data?

Ahrefs has the second most active web crawler outperforming other search engines like Bing and Yandex.

Every minute they crawl over 5 pages!

This is what allows Ahrefs to keep such a fresh live backlink database. As a user, this is good news for you. You can be confident that their authority metrics such as:

  • Domain Rating
  • Ahrefs Rank

…are good measurements of your website’s overall authority.


Historically backlink analysis tools were the weakest point of Semrush.

To say their backlink database was lacking was an understatement.

But in 2019, they completely redid their link building and backlink tool suite and have improved significantly.

Today, Semrush claims to have a backlink database of over 43 trillion backlinks.

That’s a lot…

semrush backlink index

You might be thinking – “that’s way more than Ahrefs”.

That’s true, but…

You have to realise there are two different types of backlink databases:

  1. Historical backlinks
  2. Live backlinks

Historic indexes serve as records of the backlinks that have existed in the past but aren’t necessarily live today.

Semrush doesn’t say whether their 43 trillion backlinks are live backlinks or just a historical record.

Ahrefs only counts live backlinks in their backlink index numbers. But if we just take each tool by the numbers they publish, Semrush does have more.

Both Ahrefs and Semrush allow you to enter any domain to view all of it’s backlinks. Ahrefs is great for analyzing backlinks but Semrush outperforms it in terms of backlink database size, reporting tools, auditing and building new links make SEMrush a better option.

Backlink Tools

Link building and backlink analysis are crucial for SEO. Backlink tools should help you find quality backlink opportunities and build links more efficiently.


Ahrefs allows you to quickly see any website’s:

  • Backlinks
  • Referring domains
  • Dofollow vs nofollow links

ahrefs backlink tools

This makes it really easy to compare websites quickly.

Ahrefs has a nice backlink gap tool that allows you to see backlinks your core competitors have but you don’t.

This is one of the easiest ways to see how you stack up against competitors quickly.

The backlink tools inside Ahrefs allow you to:

  1. Compare any websites
  2. See where you need to improve

What about link building?

Ahrefs makes backlink research easier.

In minutes, you can find thousands of potential link-building opportunities using any of the top link building strategies.

link building with ahrefs

One of my favourite backlink tools that Ahrefs has is web monitoring. Any time you get mentioned online, you get an email from Ahrefs and can reach out to secure the link.

link building alert

The Ahrefs intuitive interface makes link building efficient and effective.


Semrush has been investing in its backlink tools.

Research any website’s backlink profile to get all of the important backlink information.

Semrush provides a ton of backlink filters so you can get specific on the types of links a website has. They even go as far to categorise each link by industry so you can see how you stack up against your competitors.

semrush backlink analytics

This tool also lets you know what kinds of sites you should be trying to get more links from. But when it comes to turning that research into link building opportunities, Semrush isn’t as fluent…

You’ll need to dig around more to find those quality links.

One unique tool that Semrush does have is its outreach link building tool.

link building tool

You can find and reach out to prospects from within Semrush. While in theory this sounds good, the tool itself feels a little clunky.

But it could be a nice feature to have!

Backlink Auditing

Backlink audits are an important feature.

You need to protect your backlink profile and ensure that it remains strong to increase your domain authority.


Backlink auditing is Ahrefs’ speciality.

You get a comprehensive list of your entire backlink profile.

Ahrefs referring domains and backlink graphs make it easy to quickly identify negative SEO attacks by showing spikes in your link acquisition rate.

An important part of backlink auditing is identifying links from irrelevant top-level domains (TLD). Ahrefs has a tool suite that lets you see:

  • Every backlink TLD
  • The location of that link

It’s easy to see spammy links from dodgy sites.

top level domain distribution

You can check for spammy anchor text with the Ahrefs anchor test map tool.

anchors matthew woodward ahrefs

Lastly, Ahrefs uses “Domain Rating” (DR) to measure the overall authority of any backlink. This is a reliable metric you should be taking advantage of.

You can identify websites with a low DR and remove them quickly.

On top of that, Ahrefs allows you to create disavow reports with the tool to quickly get bad backlinks disavowed.


Semrush has a similar suite of backlink auditing features to Ahrefs.

It’s just not as comprehensive.

You can get a complete list of your backlinks and see each link’s “Authority Score” (AS).

authority score

Basically, Authority Score is Semrush’s version of Domain Rating.

It’s easy to spot low AS backlinks that need to be removed.

Semrush also provides a toxicity score for each link.

toxicity score

The higher the number, the more damage this link could do to your SEO.

This feature allows you to:

  1. Find toxic links
  2. Remove them from your site

Like Ahrefs, Semrush allows you to see your backlink profile anchor text to identify spammy anchor text that needs to be removed.

There’s no doubt that Semrush will allow you to perform comprehensive backlink audits on any website.

Broken Link Building

Why highlight broken link building specifically?

It’s one of the best link building strategies that many people use. It’s also important that a backlink tool should be able to identify:


Straight off the bat, Ahrefs actually has a broken link building tool built into the platform.

And it’s really powerful.

broken link building tools

Simply add your target websites to Ahrefs and click on the broken links tool.

This shows you any web pages that have broken links.

Now it’s just about finding a substitute and doing outreach. Easy, right?


Semrush also finds broken links quickly, but it’s not as straightforward.

You can add a competitor’s website to the backlink analytics tool. After gathering all of the website’s backlinks, you’ll need to tick the “Target URL” error box.

semrush broken link building

This gives you a list of dead links to review and see if they are fit for broken link building.

Winner: Which Tool Is Best For Analysing Backlinks?

Ahrefs is still the king of backlinks and takes this round comfortably.

Ahrefs vs Semrush Backlink Analysis

Despite Semrush investing a lot into its backlink features, Ahrefs is far better for:

  • Analysing backlinks
  • Completing backlink audits
  • Finding link building opportunities

While Semrush claims to have the biggest backlink database, tons of independent tests show that Ahrefs can find more links most of the time – including my own.

It’s the same result I had with Majestic when I tested their claims with Ahrefs vs Majestic.

Ahrefs backlink analysis tools are better and far easier to use.

They speed up backlink audits and link building – helping you be more efficient. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Round 4 – Technical SEO Audit

If your website has technical issues… It just won’t rank well.

So now, let’s look at which tool is better at identifying technical SEO issues and turning them into opportunities.


Ahrefs has recently upgraded its site audit tool.

It’s quickly gone from relatively basic to quite advanced.

ahrefs site audit

From the get-go, Ahrefs will give you 3 core site audit metrics:

  • Your health score
  • UR’s crawled
  • URLs that have errors

This gives you a quick look at where your website is at in terms of technical SEO health. Ahrefs provides you with a complete list of things you need to fix.

This is broken down into three categories:

  1. Errors
  2. Warnings
  3. Notices

found website issues

It’s easy to prioritise which tasks you need to focus on first and get to work. You can click on any of the issues to reveal a complete list of affected URLs.

urls affected by issues

What kinds of issues does Ahrefs detect?

Ahrefs identifies all of the major technical issues including:

  • Slow loading pages
  • Broken links
  • Canonicalisation
  • Internal linking errors
  • Redirects
  • Metadata

You can also get a good look at your site structure to ensure that it’s friendly for users and search engines.

Ahrefs Site Audit is robust and will help any website identify and fix its SEO issues.


Semrush is known for their site audit tool.

It’s long been held as one of the best site audit tools available and they have continued to improve and update it.

As soon as you run a site audit, Semrush will give you an overall health score and key metrics for each technical part of your website.

semrush site audit

This gives you way more information upfront and allows you to dive into certain aspects of your website immediately.

Similarly to Ahrefs, Semrush breaks SEO issues into three categories:

  1. Errors
  2. Warnings
  3. Notices

Semrush conveniently provides a “Top Issues” list so you can get to work fixing all of your important website issues first.

Ahrefs does this too… But Semrush does it better.

It’s easier to get on top of the most important problems quickly.

One of the unique things I love about Semrush is their internal link distribution report.

internal link distribution graph

The report breaks down how your internal links are set up. Ideally, you want high authority pages linking to newer pages that need more authority.

The internal link distribution report lets you know if your website’s authority is flowing in the right direction.

These kinds of site audit features are what make Semrush so good. It goes above and beyond the standard auditing features.

You get real suggestions that provide opportunities for you to improve your SEO – not just fix the problems.

Check out my 4 step SEO audit case study to see how regular SEO audits can help your website grows.

Winner: Which Tool Has The Best Technical SEO Site Audit Feature?

Semrush is the winner of the technical SEO audit round.

Ahrefs vs Semrush: Technical SEO Audit

While both tools have similar features and do an excellent job identifying technical issues, Semrush makes the information more usable.

Semrush’s site audit tool has a few more unique features that help you take your technical and on-page SEO to another level.

Round 5 – Rank Tracking

Staying on top of the progress of your campaign is essential. That’s why you need a solid rank tracking tool.

Here are the results of Semrush vs Ahrefs in rank tracking.


Ahrefs’ rank tracking tool is called Rank Tracker.

It lets you monitor your keyword rankings on both desktop and mobile in 170+ countries.

Setting it up is super easy:

  1. Add your list of keywords
  2. Choose the countries
  3. Add your competitors

add keywords

Ahrefs will start tracking your ranking positions in each country for each keyword.

To go with their position tracking features, Ahrefs have built-in a bunch of graphs and charts to help you visualise your results:

  • Visibility graph
  • Average position and estimated traffic
  • Keyword position distribution

visibility graph

This makes it really easy to see how your SEO campaign performs and whether your website is improving.

What about featured snippets and rich results?

Ahrefs shows you if your URLs get featured results in the SERPs. You can also see if the top 10 ranking websites have any features in general.

I love this feature because:

  1. It lets you see what featured results your website is getting vs your competitors.
  2. It tells you which keywords you can optimise to get more featured results.

But one of the best things about Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker is competitor analysis.

It’s one thing to keep an eye on your own website, but what about your competitors?

You can monitor your top 10 competitors and see their-

  • Ranking progress
  • Search traffic
  • SERP features

competitor rankings and traffic

It’s easy to keep your finger on the pulse of any keyword you target.

Ahrefs shows you all of the data you need to make good decisions and monitor your entire campaign.

But there’s one massive downside to Ahrefs Rank Tracker…

Ahrefs only updates your rankings once per week. Yuck!

weekly rankings updates

While most ranking tracking tools update data daily, you’ll have to wait for an entire week to see your rankings progress.

Note that it is possible to pay extra to get daily updates, but I consider daily tracking a standard feature.

This is a huge drawback to using Ahrefs as your sole rank tracking tool.


Semrush has 3 different tools for rank tracking.

The goal is to give you more than just a standard rank tracker for your campaigns.

keyword position tracking

Position tracking is a breeze with Semrush. Similarly to Ahrefs, you get the standard ranking tracking tools like:

  • Keyword ranking positions
  • Ranking distribution
  • Ranking progress overtime
  • Ranking URL
  • Featured snippets

keyword tracking features

But one of the unique features that Semrush has is competitor discovery.

Semrush will identify similar domains competing for your target keywords.

You can then:

  • Monitor their organic traffic
  • Track their performance

competitor keyword rankings

The Competitor Map shows you to what extent each website competes for your keywords and traffic. The bigger the circle, the higher the level of competition.

This is a great feature that allows you to grasp who your main competitors are and which websites are growing.

But Semrush doesn’t stop there…

You get many more features that allow you to deep dive into the SERPs.

With Semrush, you can track the volatility of the SERPs over the last 30 days.

serp volatility

This means you can see:

  1. How updates are affecting the search results as they happen.
  2. Emerging competitors who are ranking higher and higher.

Semrush even goes as far as to give hints on why they think the search results are changing with messages in your dashboard.

Most SEOs fear Google algorithm updates. With Semrush, updates become an opportunity to take advantage of:

  • You can see what’s happening in (almost) real-time
  • You can make adjustments before your competitors do

It’s worth noting that Semrush allows for super targeted ranking tracking at city and even zip code levels. Ahrefs can do major cities but won’t let you go as far as zip code.

Need to keep up with SERP data for Google ads?

Semrush uncovers your competitor’s PPC strategy.

You’ll be able to see important metrics like:

  • What keywords they are bidding on
  • Where they rank in the Google ads pack

You’ll also be able to estimate how much traffic they get and how much it costs them each month. If you need to see PPC data for Google, Semrush has you covered!

There is no doubt that Semrush has developed a complete rank tracking tool suite that helps you take advantage of the SERP data and improve your own campaign.

It’s powerful and gives you all the information you need to make informed decisions.

Winner: Which Tool Is Best For Rank Tracking?

Semrush wins the rank tracking round easily.

Ahrefs vs Semrush: Rank Tracking

Semrush is a more robust rank tracker and has a ton more features to take advantage of. You’ll also get your keyword positions updated daily – even on the entry-level “pro” plan.

Ahrefs Rank Tracker is solid and accurate. But it lacks advanced features and only updates rankings weekly, making this round an easy win for Semrush.

Want to focus on mobile tracking? Check out the best mobile rank tracking tools.

Round 6 – Interface & Ease Of Use

All SEO campaigns are built around data.

But when you are processing large amounts of data, you need a good user interface to make it manageable.

Bad user interfaces make it harder to get the insights you need to continuously improve your campaign. Which tool is easier to use?

Let’s find out.


From the moment you log in, Ahrefs feels intuitive and easy to use.

Even though there are tons of features built-in, you never feel overwhelmed.

ahrefs user interface

Ahrefs have developed an interface that is clean and simple to navigate. Dashboards and data are laid out logically and information is grouped together in a relevant way.

Getting more done is faster with Ahrefs.

Ahrefs have also done an excellent job at providing you with enough important data without too much.

Want to dive deeper?

When you are ready to look deeper into specific metrics you can do it.

This creates a nice flow between accessing important information quickly while still having the ability to jump down the rabbit hole when needed.


Semrush has also done a good job to make its user interface appealing and usable.

But there is no doubt that Semrush takes a minute to adjust to.

semrush interface

This is partly due to the amount of data available and also how the platform is designed.

This isn’t to say that it’s terrible…

But compared to Ahrefs, it’s just not as intuitive.

From rank tracking to backlink analysis, every major tool doesn’t feel as slick. Even though I have been using Semrush for years, I still find myself getting lost at times.

If you plan to use Semrush, you’ll have to spend a good chunk of time learning the platform before you can start to take advantage of it.

Winner: Which Tool Is The Most User-Friendly?

Ahrefs is definitely more user-friendly.

Ahrefs vs Semrush: User Interface

All of their tools provide information that is digestible and easier to understand.

They have done a great job at delivering powerful features that are easy to use.

Ahrefs will help you complete SEO tasks quicker and with a lot less clicking around.

Round 7 – Custom Service & Support

Ever sat on the phone for ages waiting for a customer service representative?

For premium SEO tools – That’s not an option.

So, this is how customer support compares for Ahrefs vs Semrush.


Ahrefs offers support by:

  • Live chat
  • Email

live chat with ahrefs

Live chat is really responsive and you’ll almost always get a response within 3-5 minutes, which is…pretty impressive I must say.

Ahrefs also has live support 24/5, so you can contact them anytime on weekdays.

Ahrefs also has a huge amount of:

  • Blog posts
  • Tutorials
  • Videos

…to help you with all of their tools and to guide you through the SEO world in general.

On topf of that, the Ahrefs customer support team is friendly and knowledgeable, so you can get issues sorted quickly.


Semrush offers support by:

  • Live chat
  • Email
  • Phone

contact semrush

Semrush does operate 7 days a week but with limited hours. This can be tricky if you contact them in a different time zone, but it isn’t a big issue.

When they are online Semrush replies within 3-5 minutes.

Like Ahrefs, Semrush has many blog posts, tutorials and videos. You will be able to learn everything about Semrush from these, including learning SEO in general.

Semrush has also created free SEO courses where you’ll learn the fundamentals of SEO using the Semrush tool suite.

Winner: Which Tool Offers The Best Support?

This round is a draw.

Ahrefs vs Semrush: Customer Service

Both tools offer great support that is efficient and helpful.

There are several ways to get in contact and the hours of operation of customer service agents will suit the majority of people regardless of what tool you go with.

Round 8 – Pricing And Best Value For Money

Finally, we are at the last round. This is a big question that’s probably on your mind…

“Which tool offers the best value for money?”

Here’s the answer.


Ahrefs pricing starts at $99 per month for the lite plan and goes up to $999 per month for the enterprise plan.

ahrefs pricing

For $99, you’ll get access to all of the main features like backlink analysis, domain analysis, keyword research etc…

But you don’t get Ahrefs unique Content Explorer tool or their historical index.

For most website owners and even SEO freelancers, you’ll find that the lite plan will probably suit your needs.

If you run an SEO agency or have an SEO team, you’ll probably need to look at the Standard plan and above.

I have the Ahrefs Advanced plan because I take advantage of Ahrefs features every week.

I recommend taking the Ahrefs trial to see which plan is best for you.


Semrush is slightly more expensive than Ahrefs.

Semrush pricing starts at $119.95 per month for the Pro plan and goes up to $449 per month for the Business plan.

semrush pricing

You can get a custom enterprise plan if you want it. Semrush will put it together based on your needs.

The Semrush Pro plan for $119.95 per month will give you access to most Semrush features. You won’t get any of their content marketing features and historical data index.

Like Ahrefs, the Pro plan will suit most business owners and SEO freelancers.

Agencies and larger companies will likely need to upgrade to the bigger plans.

My blog readers get an exclusive 14-day free trial, so you can see which Semrush features you need before choosing a plan.

Winner: Which Tool Is The Best Overall Value?

Ahrefs offers the best value overall.

Ahrefs vs Semrush: Pricing

It’s 20% cheaper than Semrush and you get access to all the tools you need.

Even as you upgrade to higher plans, Ahrefs offers better value for money, offering better features overall.

Ahrefs vs Semrush: And The Winner Is…


I can confidently say that Ahrefs is better than Semrush. But not by a huge margin.

Here are the results of each round for Ahrefs vs Semrush:

Ahrefs Semrush
Keyword Research
Domain Analysis
Backlink Analysis
Technical SEO Audit
Rank Tracking
User Interface
Customer Service Draw Draw
Pricing & Value For Money

Aside from taking the most rounds, after using both tools for many years, Ahrefs is the tool I constantly come back to.

The Backlink analysis features and keyword research tool make Ahrefs a clear winner.

Their web crawler is also more active than Semrush, which means their data should be more accurate.

The Ahrefs user interface does make a big difference and my SEO team at Search Logistics prefers using Ahrefs when they are executing campaigns for clients.

My advice? Take advantage of the Ahrefs trial and see for yourself.


Wrapping It Up

There you have it!

That was a long review with some interesting results.

If you have made it this far, I want to thank you for sticking around. I am sure you have a much better idea of the differences between Ahrefs vs Semrush.

Hopefully, you have been able to work out which tool will suit you better.

Now I want to hear from you…

Which tool do you like best?

Use the Ahrefs Trial and the Semrush Trial to give them both a go.

Then come back and let me know in the comments which tool you preferred overall.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ahrefs is better than Semrush. After a detailed analysis, Ahrefs is better for backlink analysis, keyword research and overall value for money. Ahrefs is also easier to use than Semrush making it faster to execute SEO tasks.
Yes, Ahrefs is worth the money. Ahrefs has the second most active web crawler which means it collects a ton of data. The data is what makes Ahrefs worth paying for. Whether it’s keyword data, backlinks, or comparing domains, Ahrefs has a huge amount of data, making it well worth the money.
Semrush is far better than Moz. They collect more data than Moz and have more tools and features. Semrush does far better with keyword research, site auditing, ranking tracking and backlink features.

What Are Your Thoughts?

3 Responses

  1. SemRush has been our all time favourite, but with the constant change in the digital world there is a demand for more enhanced and responsive tools. Could you list down your favourite tools for SEO?

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