When looking to improve the ranking of your site on search engines, one of the essential elements is the choice of keywords. A strategy, however careful and relevant it may be, cannot bear fruit if it is based on erroneous or irrelevant data. This is why the choice of keywords is so important.
It is therefore easy to understand the reluctance of professionals to rely on keywords chosen without apparent methodology. Indeed, rather than indulging in unfounded guesswork or guesswork, it is always more useful to use online tools to find the keyword every time. Among these tools, SEMrush and Ahrefs are among the most popular. It seems that no consensus has yet been reached on which of the two is the better. In this comparison, we will go around the question by analyzing the functionalities, ergonomics, major advantages and even the cost.
Ahrefs and SEMrush: What is it about?
Both Ahrefs and SEMrush are organic SEO and marketing optimization platforms. Both are considered essential all-in-one kits for web and social marketers, bloggers and more. In fact, it would be hard to find online industries that have nothing to gain from SEMrush and Ahrefs . This is the case with online businesses, for which they are very useful.
These tools are not, however, free. To access the functionality of these platforms, you will need to subscribe to monthly plans of at least $ 100. For this price, you will be entitled to a real arsenal of tools and solutions such as: keyword analysis, keyword suggestions, keyword tracking, analytical statistics, content suggestions , monitoring on social networks, analysis as well as position tracking on search engines, spying on competition, domain comparisons, optimization of advertisements, and much more…
If you need a quick summary of the comparison between these two platforms, you can consult the table below. However, consider testing these platforms to make up your own mind. For this purpose, the free trial periods offered by each of these platforms will do the trick.
|Tools||Price||Functions||Keyword search||Keyword tracking  Competitor analysis|
|Ahrefs  ⭐⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
1. Ahrefs or SEMrush: Features
Any general comparison must first go through a more specific comparison of the number and type of features that constitute the arsenal of SEMrush and Ahrefs. Do these platforms offer solutions to find relevant content, to track its ranking on search engines, or even to access relevant analytical data?
This section does not pretend to go into detail , each tool and solution put forward by these platforms. That said, there are enough must-have features you’d expect to find on benchmark platforms. Their presence or absence at Ahrefs and SEMrush will allow you to tip the scales on one side or the other.
Below, some of the best features of Ahrefs:
- One intuitive dashboard and a simple interface allowing you to have a global vision of the health of your site and your ranking on search engines;
- The setting alert place for elements such as backlinks, mentions or new keywords;
- A site explorer for a detailed presentation of backlinks and relative search traffic to your site;
- domain comparisons ;
- A keyword explorer to find the keywords that will have the best impact;
- A position tracking tool in the results search engines;
- A content explorer for excellent suggestions;
- detailed reports with graphics ;
- A site audit allowing you to obtain a complete and meticulous analysis of your site. This point is particularly useful for identifying SEO problems and errors.
Here is a list of the main features of SEMrush:
- organic search to identify your competitors, know their best keywords from your competitors, and observe changes in position of the domains;
- advertising research with budgetary strategies and ad keywords; The backlinks to conduct detailed analyzes and determine the authority of the referring domains;
- An SEO writing assistant in order to optimize your content for the words- targeted keys;
- The verification of the keywords regarding their difficulty and related recommendations;
- The search for keywords with the support account of long-term keywords ne;
- Traffic analysis to monitor performance and understand the consumption behavior of your customers;
- Content analysis used to assess the performance of content of your site.
- The domain-to-domain comparison with visualization of the supporting data;
- detailed graphical summaries of all the relevant data;  The “ Keyword Magic Tool ” which provides millions of useful keyword ideas;
- The followed by the position of the site on search engines for any keyword;
- Site audit to have a global vision of the SEO health of your site;
- A tool for monitoring and publishing on social networks to manage all your accounts with a single tool;
These functionalities s are only a glimpse of the arsenal that SEMrush offers. Admittedly, this may seem too complex at the outset. On the other hand, it is above all a complete toolbox from which you will derive considerable advantages.
Verdict: SEMrush wins
In this respect, SEMrush clearly takes the lead over Ahrefs because of its greater number of features. Advanced users and online marketing professionals will therefore be able to make full use of it.
It must be recognized, however, that Ahrefs has chosen an interesting approach by simplifying the use of its tools. For neophytes, the abundance of SEMrush tools can be counterproductive.
2. Ahrefs or SEMrush: Pricing
As with any other comparison, pricing is a crucial factor. After all, you have to know how much your business or organization will have to pay to access all of the features presented above. From a financial point of view, is the return on investment interesting? Is pricing prohibitive for SMEs that need other tools to support their business?
Overall, the pricing grids of SEMrush and Ahrefs are very similar. Certainly, none of these platforms can be considered to be inexpensive. Also, the features to which they give access justify their prices. Indeed, a $ 99 monthly plan is not insurmountable for most businesses. Especially since SEMrush and Ahrefs will significantly improve the performance of your SEO and marketing strategy.
It is also useful to point out that you can save money by opting for annual plans. This is the case for Ahrefs and SEMrush.
- Lite : $ 99 each month for a user, a total of five projects, 500 keywords monitored at most, 25 domains for the explorer of sites, a site audit, 100,000 lines per index for the backlinks index, 25 keyword reports, and the analysis of the 20 best search engine rankings.
- Standard : $ 179 monthly for a single user, up to 10 projects, with 1,500 keywords tracked, 100 domains for the site explorer, 10 site audits, a total of 1 million lines compared to the index of backlinks, 100 keyword reports, analysis of the top 100 search engine rankings.
- Advanced : $ 399 per month with 3 users, a total of 25 projects maximum, up to with 5,000 keywords followed, 250 domains for the site explorer, 25 site audits, analysis of the 100 best class ements of search engines, in all 5 million lines compared to the index of backlinks and 200 keyword reports.
- Agency : $ 900 per month for 5 users, maximum 100 projects created with 10,000 keywords tracked, up to 100 site audits and 1,000 domains for the site explorer. You will have 10 million lines compared for the index of backlinks, 1,000 keyword reports and once again the analysis of the top 100 search engine rankings.
- Pro : $ 99.95 monthly giving the right to 10,000 results per report, a daily limit of 3,000 reports, results on social networks, traffic sources; rankings and much more.
- Guru : $ 199 per month for all previous features, a quota of 30,000 results per individual report; a daily limit of 5,500 reports generated, extended limits, historical data, a content marketing platform and white label reports.
- Business : $ 399 monthly for all the functionalities of the above plan, a maximum of 50,000 results for an individual report, a limit of 10,000 reports for a single day, extended limits, API access, Google Data Studio integration, sharing options and white label reports.
- Company : You will need to contact SEMrush for custom pricing as well as specific volumes. You will also benefit from dedicated training, special extensions, personalized keyword databases, and an unlimited analysis tool for the largest sites.
Verdict: Ahrefs prevails  Although the pricing is not that different between these two platforms, Ahrefs offers standard pricing of $ 179 which is absent at SEMrush. This gives users more flexibility when choosing their subscription.
In addition, annual prices are relatively lower at Ahrefs than at SEMrush. It should also be noted that the pricing at Ahrefs is strictly based on volume. In sum, you pay more for reports or tracking additional keywords.
While at SEMrush, you are billed for access to additional functionality. Which means you may end up paying more for tools you don’t use.
However, SEMrush still gives the option to customize its Enterprise plan. There is no doubt that Ahrefs would be willing to do the same. However, the information is not specifically presented on its site.
3. Ahrefs or SEMrush: User Interface
Like SEMrush, Ahrefs offers reports and analytical data directly in the dashboard. Ahrefs has a simplified configuration process during which it will be necessary to inform your competitors, the domains and keywords desired. However, SEMrush takes you faster to the dashboard so you can start analytics faster.
The comparison of the user interface is based on criteria such as what is immediately available in the dashboard. Then, the ease with which we carry out different actions such as finding content ideas and finding the ideal keyword for your next publication.
Whether it’s your dashboard or its user interface, Ahrefs is less crowded than SEMrush. The overall presentation is also different. Indeed, the main menu is located at the top of the page. Similarly, the search bar only takes into account the domains. Which is less versatile than SEMrush.
That said, the analytical data presented on the dashboard at Ahrefs is practical. You have a complete vision ranging from the rankings of your domain on search engines to the referring domains of backlinks.
 With Ahrefs, navigating from one tool to another is simple, regardless of the user’s level of mastery. For example, you can go to the Keyword Explorer to consult the keywords to target. To go then to position tracking, just one click is enough.
Ahrefs also has useful tooltips like those from SEMrush. Just hover over the elements for which you want more clarifications and the detailed explanation will appear.
There is a field reserved for searches. You can enter a domain, keyword or any other element you want to explore. The headings are located on the left of the dashboard and links to key marketing points, projects, keyword analyzes, etc.
An appreciable element of the interface and the capacity given to the client access support resources from the dashboard. You will therefore be able to discuss with the support team and consult resources such as guides, blog articles, online seminars, news, etc.
Another remarkable aspect at SEMrush are the tooltips attached to almost all the elements of the platform. It is a very appreciated attention! Especially since not everyone is used to technical vocabulary like CPC, or other abbreviations and abbreviated terms which are common in the world of SEO.
As an illustration, the “Keyword Magic Tool ”has several sections for testing potential keywords. There you will find headers like Volume, Trend and KD%. But what is KD%?
As with all other headers in SEMrush, hovering over the title will reveal its definition. We thus discover that KD% is the Keyword Difficulty. A more detailed explanation is provided in SEMrush.
Each of these platforms has strengths and shortcomings in ergonomics. Moreover, the use that we intend to make of it considerably influences the appreciation that we will have of it.
For example, a person who prefers the sleek, modern and simple aspect will certainly lean towards Ahrefs which is simpler of use. However, the visual presentation of SEMrush presents more tools and gives direct access to support resources from the dashboard. You will need to make up your own mind after testing both interfaces.
4. Ahrefs or SEMrush: Position Tracking
Position tracking features are essential to dissect your ranking in search engine results. You can also compare your position to that of your competition.
Furthermore, you will have more careful control over the changes to be made to improve your position. For example, you will be able to determine that a competitor is using far more backlinks than you, although you are both targeting the same keywords.
Position tracking on Ahrefs is much easier to understand and take charge. This is explained firstly by the fact that it has a dedicated page on which there are no other crowds of tools.
To begin, you will first enter the domain name to test and a few keywords. By doing so, Ahrefs can evaluate your rankings for specific pages based on the keywords provided.
The results are also easy to understand. They report the average position, visibility, traffic and especially the difficulty of the keyword.
You can go to the keyword difficulty region to determine if this keyword is worth targeting. For example, a keyword that returns the indication “Super Difficult” would require hundreds (more than 370) of backlinks to rank among the top results. The game may be worth the candle for a known brand, but for a modest blog, it is not worth it.
Most of SEMrush’s position tracking tools are located under the heading “Projects”. You will find links to a Position Tracking tool, the SEO page verification tool, and even some tracking options for social platforms.
So many tools that will allow you to improve your ranking on search engines.
The SEO page verification tool is a good place to start. Although it does not take into account ranking data, it can import large quantities of pages from your site. After which, it generates strategies and ideas to improve ranking in search engines.
Then you can turn to the Position Tracking tool. The latter will ask you the domain name and the keywords to follow. For example, we could follow up with the keyword “WooCommerce Extensions” to see if the position goes up or down for certain publications on the site.
It takes a while for the information to be properly processed. However, once it’s done, you’ll have a bunch of useful information. These include traffic estimation, but also the times the site was ranked in the top 3, 10 or 100 for a specific keyword.
These reports are easy to understand. And it is always possible to go back to modify the tracking parameters.
Verdict: Ahrefs wins
Ahrefs is much more ergonomic than SEMrush when it comes to Position Tracking. It just takes a few seconds to enter the domain name and keywords. Then the decision to continue targeting the keyword can quickly be made. As well as the actions to be carried out to improve the position. Note, however, that SEMrush offers analytical data for social networks, which is a positive point.
5. Ahrefs or SEMrush: The Quality of Keyword Research
This element is not entirely dissociated from the previous point. You can’t talk about keyword research quality without mentioning the rankings in the search results. And this point focuses more on the decision-making process around the keywords. It is therefore not their follow-up on product pages, blog articles or the site as a whole that is the subject of this comparison criterion. Whether you choose SEMrush or Ahrefs, you will often have to use keyword research. It is therefore crucial to be interested in it.
From the Ahrefs dashboard, you can access the Keyword Explorer to find thousands of relevant keyword ideas with the analytical data that goes hand in hand. Note that it is possible to filter the results according to the search engines. If you only want to see results from Amazon, Google, Bing, etc., it’s entirely possible. Note also that you can enter several keywords to analyze them simultaneously.
You can for example keywords like “Camping Provence”, “Voyage Provence” and “Provence car rental”. For this series of keywords, the first result will display basic information. Namely, which keyword has a good volume of search and clicks.
Then, we can choose the promising keywords. For example, in this case it would be “Camping Provence.”
Results such as the search volume and the difficulty of the keyword are displayed as always. Also the real utility of this tool is at the bottom of the page. You’ll find plenty of keyword suggestions similar to your initial search. It’s a handy way to quickly see what other viable alternatives you may not have thought of.
For example, “Camping in Provence” has the same degree of difficulty, while having a significantly higher search volume than “Camping Provence”. In fact, we will have a more real chance of positioning ourselves by targeting this new keyword.
The main functionality of keyword research at SEMrush is called “Keyword Magic Tool”. It is an effective tool in which you can enter any keyword. It will provide you with a long list of suggested keywords from the same field. And for each of these suggestions, you will see what your performance will be.
SEMrush allows you to filter searches with very vague matches, matches for sentences or exact matches. It is also useful to specify that we can use the “similar” tab to find keywords that are similar to the one you have submitted.
For example, if we introduce the keyword “ best Shopify apps ”, you can find in the“ similar ”tab, keywords such as“ top Shopify apps ”or“ best Shopify store apps ”. Two alternatives that you might have missed otherwise.
In addition, each keyword is accompanied by analytical data such as keyword difficulty, trends, cost per click, and search volume. With all this information, you will have no trouble finding the right keyword to use for your SEO strategy.
Verdict: Ahrefs wins
If Ahrefs wins here, it’s because of his ability to simplify complex tasks. Indeed, the Ahrefs process is suitable for both beginners and more experienced users.
As for SEMrush, it seems to offer far more alternatives than Ahrefs in terms of keywords. If the quantity of suggestions is a priority for you, SEMrush may be the right choice. Besides, SEMrush really does not chew the work to the user when it comes to the effective choice of the keyword to target.
6. Ahrefs or SEMrush: Analyzing the Competition
Being able to analyze the competition is a pillar of a good SEO strategy, but we tend to forget it. We tend to want to trust our instincts and guess new keywords without assistance.
And wouldn’t it be more practical to identify the keywords that have already proven themselves on competition sites ? It would then suffice to choose some of them and to position themselves higher with better worked articles.
Both SEMrush and Ahrefs offer tools for analyzing the competition.
For domains , Ahrefs also has its comparison tool. It is quite similar to that of SEMrush. You can submit up to 5 sites, including your own, for a detailed comparison.
Ahrefs displays statistics such as domain rankings, images, backlinks, etc. It’s a way to gauge a site’s performance against others. And the specific information for improvement is not there.
In the sidebar of each site, there is also the section dedicated to Competitive Areas in Ahrefs. Here, we find a list of all direct competitors and a very useful graphic of overlapping keywords.
By choosing a competing site, the main organic keywords used on that site can be found in the results displayed. The best pages are also presented there.
This is not necessarily an indicator of the potential of the word- key. Maybe the pages and keywords are just too competitive. However, most of the time, these keywords do indeed have great potential, given that their effectiveness has been proven and that the competition could be weak. However, it is crucial to check the position and the volume of research. We can then test this keyword to decide, depending on its difficulty and if we can target it.
SEMrush is really a sandbox type environment where you can use all the tools at your disposal to spy on your competition and supplant it. There’s really no shortage of opportunities.
First, we can use “Keyword Gap”. It allows you to compare several sites to yours. We then draw a selection of popular keywords from all the sites, including the sites that rank best for each keyword. It is a succinct comparison tool that we cannot do without.
There is also Research of Topics which allows you to see the topics tackled by competing sites and which keywords can be targeted to beat them. If we search for example “WordPress form extension” and we obtain a list of headers and titles which we can use.
Among the competitive research modules offered by SEMrush, the Market Explorer deserves a closer look. It’s a simple search bar where you can enter a domain name. It then compiles the list of sites or articles close to the research carried out. You then have options for monitoring companies and markets, and a range of in-depth analytical data.
Verdict : SEMrush prevails
SEMrush has more competitive analysis tools to identify their relevant strategies and your own weak points. On the one hand, it can compare multiple sites to yours; on the other hand, it can also offer recommendations for content from competition and market analysis.