Looking for a quality Ahrefs alternative? Read on.
Let me start by saying that Ahrefs is a solid all-in-one SEO toolset.
In fact, Ahrefs has been an important part of my SEO stack for several years.
It allows you to:
- Run technical site audits
- Perform keyword research
- Gain valuable content insights
- Check the backlink profile of any site
- Track keyword rankings
But it’s not the perfect tool for everyone.
Some may think it’s too pricey and want a cheaper or free alternative.
User may feel the functionality, such as rank tracking or technical SEO audits, is better served with a standalone tool.
Others may prefer the user interface or find the data more accurate in other tools.
There are a lot of reasons why you might be looking for another option, and an equal number of alternatives to consider.
In this guide, we’re going to take a close look at the top 8 free and paid Ahrefs alternatives, highlight their key use cases, and discuss how they compare to Ahrefs.
To make it easier to navigate, we’ve broken out the alternatives into the categories below:
Best All-in-One Ahrefs Alternative: SEMrush
SEMrush (aff.) is a leading all-in-one SEO platform that excels in all the core SEO areas – Competitor analysis, Keyword research, Rank tracking, Content and Technical audits, Backlink audits and analysis, and white-label reporting.
SEMrush boasts over 6 million users, including notable brands like eBay, Quora, and HP.
And it’s a tool I’ve been using for over 7 years as an integral part of my SEO and PPC toolset for both personal and client projects.
SEMrush contains a huge set of tools that rival most of the standalone SEO tools in each category below. There’s loads of firepower under the hood, for a relatively low monthly fee.
SEMrush' keyword database (20B keywords) is almost twice as large as Ahrefs' (10.2B keywords), and the platform provides daily desktop and mobile ranking updates for all users, in addition to white-label reporting options.
On the other hand, Ahrefs does not currently provide the capability to create and schedule custom reports, and users will need to be on their Advanced plan ($399/mo) in order to receive up-to-date (every 3 days), and mobile rankings data.
While improving a lot in recent years, one area SEMrush falls short of Ahrefs is with the user interface in a couple of their toolkits. Plus, I still find myself using Ahrefs more for competitor backlink analysis.
But overall, SEMrush provides an immense amount of data and insights to drive your SEO, and broader digital marketing campaigns. You’ll find that it gives you an almost unfair behind-the-scenes look at your competition.
Since Ahrefs is an SEO toolset, I've kept the comparison focused only on the SEMrush SEO toolkit, and broken down the key features and use cases below.
The Traffic Analytics tool lets you find out which channels – organic, paid, referral, social – are driving traffic to any site. And then check estimated bounce rates, average visit duration, and other engagement metrics.
It’s like SimilarWeb and Google Analytics had a baby.
Enter any website, and you’ll discover:
- Which channels drive the most traffic.
- Which websites drive the most referral traffic.
- Which subdomains or subfolders get the most visits.
- Which pages/posts pull in the most organic traffic.
- Which individual keywords generate the most traffic.
- Which countries send the most traffic.
- How traffic and engagement varies by device type.
The Traffic Analytics tool provides an all-access backstage pass to your competitor’s entire traffic strategy, which is not something that Ahrefs currently provides.
If you're interested in trying the Traffic Analytics, use this free 14-day trial, and follow along with the traffic analysis template I put together below:
SEMrush gives you access to a huge database of with almost 20 billion keywords through several tools.
Use the Keyword Overview report to:
- Check search volume, number of results, keyword difficulty, volume trend, SERP analysis, and more.
Use the Keyword Magic tool to:
- Get loads of related search terms divided into subgroups and question-based topics from your seed keyword.
Use the Keyword Gap tool to:
- Get a side-by-side keyword comparison of up to five competitors and analyze the common keywords shared by each site, the total keyword overlap, and all of the untapped opportunities to target.
SEMrush has been voted the #1 keyword research tool by over 100 different experts. The tool makes it easy to find loads of new keyword opportunities, and they constantly update their databases to provide the most accurate search volume data.
That said, I still prefer the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer user interface as it is a bit easier to analyze SERP data, which is important when it comes to qualifying keywords opportunities.
The SEMrush Position Tracking tool lets you track keyword ranking changes from an international level, all the way down to a local level, and across all device types.
You can use the Position Tracking tool to:
- Check rankings across tags, devices, locations, and different SERP features.
- Compare your target keywords performance against competitors.
- Monitor SERP feature movements and quickly spot new opportunities.
While reporting and filtering options are similar, SEMrush' data appears to be more accurate, and is updated daily, whereas you have to be on Ahrefs’ Advanced plan ($399/mo.) to access desktop and mobile rankings data, which is only updated every 3 days.
This is the reason I use SEMrush for rank tracking across personal projects, as well as client rank tracking at the local, national and international levels.
SEMrush also integrates with Data Studio and many other 3rd party tools to add another layer to your reporting.
The SEMrush database contains trillions of backlinks which you can access via several tools:
Use the Backlink Analytics tool to
- Monitor your backlink profile, so you can reclaim any lost backlinks.
- Analyze competitors’ backlinks at scale to find their most powerful links.
- Identify unlinked brand mentions.
Use the Backlink Gap tool to:
- Compare the backlink profiles of up to five competing websites, so you can quickly identify backlink opportunities that you're missing.
Use the Backlink Audit tool to:
- Check your domain’s backlink profile for any suspicious links that may be toxic, and create a disavow file to send to Google.
The SEMrush backlink index has come a long way, and they now have tools like Backlink Analytics and Backlink Gap, which are definitely a solid option if you don’t want to pay for a dedicated link building tool.
But overall, I still prefer to use Ahrefs for most of my competitor backlink analysis, and general link prospecting efforts. They have largest index of live backlinks, and its updated every 15-30 minutes.
Technical SEO Audits
SEMrush's Site Audit tool lets you quickly analyze the health of a website. The report generates a list of prioritized issues so you can see precisely where the website is struggling.
You can use the Site Audit tool to:
- Identify issues like duplicate and thin content, broken links, HTTPS implementation, crawlability and indexation problems.
- Audit the desktop or mobile version of a site, plus include or exclude specific pages.
- Compare crawls side-by-side from different points in time to see how errors, warnings, and notices have changed over time.
- Run on-demand audits and schedule auto re-crawls on a daily or weekly basis.
- Send audit action items from SEMrush directly into other project management tools like Trello.
My team and I prefer to use the SEMrush Site Audit tool over Ahrefs. You can run technical site audits from one central SEO project dashboard, which is especially useful when managing multiple clients.
We’ve found the tool to be easier to get up and running, and pull actionable insights from it.
We also like the ability to compare audits side-by-side in order to show progress, and send action items to external tools like Trello.
Local Listings Management
The Listing Management tool is a collaboration between SEMrush and Yext that saves you the time and effort of uploading and maintaining your local business listings.
Input your data once, and the tool keeps all the details correct on your website, local maps, apps, social networks, and review directories.
- Manage and publish local business information to dozens of authoritative directories, including Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Alexa.
- Edit or update listings to make them more consistent across the web.
- Track and reply to all your customers’ reviews in one place and manage your ratings.
Robbie says: This is a handy local SEO integration that allows users to centralize another element of their search campaigns. Ahrefs does not currently provide this functionality.
White Label Reporting
SEMrush’s Reporting tools let you build white-label PDF reports, so you can share the results of a website audit, present a competitive analysis, or show the progress of an SEO/PPC campaign with clients or colleagues.
You can also build professional branded campaign reports by dragging and dropping widgets into pre-built reporting templates using SEMrush and other data sources such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google My Business.
- Create branded reports from scratch or pre-built templates.
- Schedule reports for automatic email delivery.
- Build reports from SEMrush data and third-party sources.
Editor's note: SEMrush stands out with its ability to pull data from each of its toolkits into a single branded or white label report.
Right now, Ahrefs provides a nice reporting UI, but you need to jump between the different tools to consume the information. Whereas SEMrush brings it all together in one place, and allows you to schedule reports.
Best Free Ahrefs Alternative: Ubersuggest
Ubersuggest is a free SEO tool that can help you generate keyword and content ideas, analyze traffic, top pages, and backlinks for competitors.
Ubersuggest gives you access to over 6 billion keywords, 2 trillion links, and 1 billion pieces of content.
Use the Keyword Ideas report to:
- Find keywords, suggestions, questions, comparisons, and prepositions related to your search query.
Use the Content Ideas report to:
- Check how many times a topic’s been shared on Facebook and Pinterest. Plus, get an idea of keywords those pages rank for on Google and backlinks they acquired.
Use the Backlinks report to:
- Get a detailed analysis of how many backlinks and referring domains your competitors have, plus a list of the individual backlinks.
While Ubersuggest won't do everything that a tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs can do, or give you access to nearly as much data, it is still fantastic free alternative.
Ubersuggest also has some paid plans ranging from $29 - $99/month that offer more features and reports/queries per day.
Best Ahrefs Alternative for Beginners: Mangools
Mangools is a user-friendly, 5-in-one SEO toolset covering keyword research, site analysis, SERP analysis, backlink analysis, and rank tracking.
However, unlike Ahrefs and SEMrush, the tools aren’t integrated. So if you check a domain in KWFinder, you then have to go to Link Miner to check its backlink data.
While it doesn't provide as many use cases as Ahrefs, such as technical audits or content analysis, it does present a lot of valuable insights, it’s easy to navigate, and it’s more affordable.
Here’s how you can use the Mangools SEO toolset:
- KWFinder is designed to help you find long-tail keywords with low SEO difficulty, either by using seed keywords or your competitor’s domain.
You get a list of keywords with search volume and a “traffic-light” Keyword Difficulty (KD) rating so it’s easy to identify keywords that you can easily rank for:
- SERPChecker helps you qualify potential keyword targets. The report gives you a high-level summary with the KD score and average number of SERP features.
For each result page listed, scores are color-coded to identify the strongest and weakest competition.
- SERPWatcher lets you track keyword rankings and their search volumes in any location, on any device. It includes its own Dominance Index to check if you’re dominating the search results for your tracked keywords.
- LinkMiner lets you analyze the power of your competitors’ backlinks with its Link Strength (LS) metric. You can also see the link placement in the website preview rather than having to open a separate browser window.
- SiteProfiler lets you check the SEO authority of any website, including your competitors. You can check the health of a backlink profile, spot the most popular content of your competitors, benchmark your website against other sites, and discover audience demographics.
Overall, Mangools is a great budget-friendly Ahrefs alternative for beginners, that provides a ton of data in an easy-to-digest format. The tool makes it incredibly easy to find high-value keyword opportunities, and use a number of SERP data points to accurately qualify each opportunity.
While the Link Miner doesn’t beat Ahrefs’ industry-leading database of live backlinks, it still contains 9.5 trillion backlinks and pulls in Majestic’s trust and citation flow metrics.
The rank tracker is nothing to sneeze at either. You’ll receive daily rank updates across 52,000+ locations, on any device. You can also schedule interactive reports to be sent to your client.
Best Single Purpose Ahrefs Alternatives
So far, we've looked at the best all-in-one, free, and beginner alternatives to Ahrefs.
But, maybe you're not looking for a comprehensive all-in-one SEO toolset like SEMrush, and only want to invest in a tool for a specific use case, like content analysis, rank tracking or technical site audits.
Here are the best single-use case alternatives to Ahrefs.
Note: Both Ahrefs and SEMrush excel in all or most of these areas.
Best Ahrefs Alternative for Backlink Analysis: Majestic
Majestic is a standalone backlink analysis tool that’s been a head-to-head competitor with Ahrefs for years.
However, it has an outdated UX and doesn't provide any other functionality outside of link analysis. So, you pay a premium for a single-use tool.
Majestic uses some proprietary Flow Metrics to grade the quality and quantity of backlinks per domain. This data is a key differentiator against tools such as Ahrefs, and many other tools such as Mangool’s Link Miner integrate with Majestic to pull this data into their backlink reports.
Majestic also uses two backlink indexes – a Fresh Index and a Historic Index.
The Historic Index is huge and takes many days to build, so it’s always a few days old. The Fresh Index is smaller and updated quicker and more often.
Best Ahrefs Alternative for Keyword Research: SEMrush SEO Toolkit
The SEMrush SEO Toolkit provides access to a huge database of 20B different keywords, with accurate search volume data that can be used to find new keyword opportunities or analyze those of your competitors.
Use SEMrush' keyword tools to:
- Find your high-value existing keyword opportunities.
- Mine competitor keywords and top traffic pages with advanced filters.
- Perform URL, subfolder, and subdomain-level keyword gap analysis.
- Uncover question-based topics.
- Compare up to five competitors and uncover keywords they rank for, but you don’t.
Editor's note: I tried not to list the same tool twice here, but when it comes to analyzing existing keywords, mining competitors, filling content gaps, and building huge keyword sets, SEMrush's keyword research toolset is a leader on the market.
Best Ahrefs Alternative for Rank Tracking: AccuRanker
AccuRanker is the best standalone rank tracking tool on the market used by over 25,000 agencies, SEO professionals, and brands. It’s “next-level” functionality lets you track rankings in real-time, monitor the competition, and tie movements back to the traffic and conversions with the fastest (on-demand) and most accurate SERP data.
You can use AccuRanker to:
- Assess market performance with its unique Share of Voice (SoV) metric.
- Run accurate on-demand updates of ranking data.
- Track rankings across all major search engines, including Google, Bing, YouTube, Baidu, and Yandex.
- Map ranking data to traffic, goal, and revenue data in the Landing Pages report.
- Track 50+ SERP features available for all of your keywords with the aggregated SERP analysis report.
Ahrefs rank tracking functionality is solid, and the interface is very user-friendly. But, I still find the accuracy to be better with tools such as SEMrush, or a "next-level" standalone rank tracker such as AccuRanker.
Plus, you'll need to update to the Advanced plan ($399/mo.) in order to access mobile ranking data, and the rankings across all device will only be updated every 3 days, as opposed to daily with SEMrush, or on-demand with AccuRanker.
Best Ahrefs Alternative for Technical Site Audits: Screaming Frog
The Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a powerful site crawler that gathers data on almost every on-page and technical SEO element, including titles, headings, meta descriptions, site speed, UX, content length, duplicate content, broken links, file sizes, and more, in a matter of minutes, for sites of any size.
You can use Screaming Frog to:
- Analyze and identify page titles and meta descriptions that are too long, too short, missing, or duplicated across your site.
- Find internal and external broken links (4xx), server errors (5xx), redirect errors, and issues with blocked resources.
- Discover duplicate and thin (low) content pages.
- Identify large image files that cause slow site loading times.
- Map internal link structure to optimize your sitemap and find deep linking opportunities.
- Map data from third party data sources - Google Analytics, Search Console, Moz, Majestic, Pagespeed Insights and Ahrefs - to each URL across sites of any size.
Best Ahrefs Alternatives for Content Analysis: BuzzSumo
BuzzSumo helps you find engaging content topics in your niche and identify content advocates and influencers to help promote your content. Aside from that, it’s not going to offer much more help in your SEO campaigns.
You can use BuzzSumo to:
- Discover high-performing content topics so you can get more likes, links, and shares.
- Research and analyze loads of data points to inform your marketing strategy.
- Identify influencers to help promote brand awareness and specific campaigns.
- Track comments and trends to create “on topic” content.
BuzzSumo is probably a tool you’ll invest in when you’re more established. Until then, Ahrefs Content Explorer provides more than enough features to find content topics that can drive more traffic, engagement and/or links.
Surfer SEO uses a data-driven model based on over 500 ranking factors to analyze the Top 50 results for your target keyword.
You can use the results to optimize existing content assets and improve rankings, as well as quickly build content briefs for writers. Plus, you can use the Silo Planner to find content cluster topics and internal link opportunities fast.
You can use SEO Surfer to:
- Discover the perfect keyword density, common words, precise copy length, page structure, headers, and more for your content.
- Compare your page’s on-page optimization against the competition and make data-driven improvements.
- Build a link building action plan based on common backlinks from the top pages of the SERP.
- Uncover topical questions that potential visitors have and answer them within your content.
Surfer SEO is a new addition to my SEO toolset. It’s fantastic for using data-driven insights to guide on-page optimization across both existing and new assets.
Which Ahrefs Alternative Are You Going to Try?
Ahrefs is a top-quality all-in-one SEO toolset that allows you to:
- Run technical site audits
- Perform keyword research
- Gain valuable content insights
- Check the backlink profile of any site
- Track the ranking performance of your target keywords
- Perform deep content analysis
Depending on your business, you may want to invest in an all-in-one toolset or prefer to buy a specialized standalone tool, like Screaming Frog, Surfer, or AccuRanker.
But, if you’re looking for another SEO toolset that has a similar price point and can scale for sites of any size, SEMrush is the best all-in-one alternative to Ahrefs.