Ahrefs is an online paid subscription tool that allows you to view key SEO metrics.

It can be used to audit your website, uncover technical issues, provide you with new content ideas and provides a wealth of information when it comes to link building.

This guide is based on the Lite plan, there are even more features on the other plans.

Check out the plans here.

These are some of the cool features you may want to try:

  1. Site Explorer

    Site explorer allows you to analyse a website and view information such as the backlinks pointing to that site, the type of backlink, the number of referring domains and keywords.
    Jump to Site Explorer.

  2. Keywords Explorer

    Allows you to search for keywords to get an understanding of the traffic volume, how difficult it is to rank for those keywords and to get related keyword ideas.
    Jump to Keywords Explorer.

  3. Site Audit

    Input your website URL to find out if there are any issues with the website. Set the crawler to run at regular intervals so you can pick up any problems with your website health score.
    Jump to Site Audit.

  4. Rank Tracker

    Add your websites as projects and monitor the changes in average position in the SERP, different SERP features the site appears for and how many ranking keywords are showing for the website.
    Jump to Rank Tracker.

  5. Content Explorer

    Add a topic and get useful information on that topic from the SERP including the top ranking pages and all the metrics that go along with those pages.
    Jump to Content Explorer.

  6. More

    Perform batch analysis, domain comparison, set up alerts, Ahrefs APIs, Apps and more.
    Jump to More.

Site Explorer

Site explorer allows you to analyse a website and view information such as the backlinks pointing to that site, the type of backlink, the number of referring domains and keywords.

Feel free to skip to the Site Explorer section you are most interested in, or keep reading to see what’s in the tool:

Site Explorer Screen

To get started, navigate to Site Explorer from the menu and enter a domain or URL. Select the drop down menu to change the scope of the report. For example, if you want an analysis on a specific web page then select URL – Exact URL.

Alternatively, if you want to see a full report on the entire website, then select Domain with subdomains.

You will then get a dashboard screen similar to the below:

Overview Screen

A few things to point out on this screen:

Ahrefs Rank – This is a rank Ahrefs gives to the website, this is compared to all the other websites it has in its database and is based on the strength of their backlink profile.

UR – URL Rating. This provides a score out of 100, the higher the better, on the URL based on its backlink profile.

DR – Domain Rating. This shows the relative backlink popularity of the website compared with other websites in the Ahrefs database. Again this is on a 100 point scale.

Traffic Value – This is an estimate of the value of your organic keywords if you were to pay for them via Pay Per Click Advertising.

For more information on how Ahrefs creates their metrics and what they mean, visit their Ahrefs SEO Metrics Blog Post.

Backlink Profile Section

Backlinks

Click on Backlinks under the Backlink profile heading to see information about the backlink profile of a site path or particular web page.

Backlinks Screen

You can use the filters along the top of the results to narrow down the findings, for example: select one link per domain, or only show ‘Dofollow’ links.

To find out more about the context on the backlink, you can click on the links in the ‘referring page’ column. This will open that website in a new tab, so you can review the content and see more information about the page. Or you can quickly scan the ‘anchor and backlink’ column to see the link text and URL to get an idea of the context.

Filter by platform, such as: blogs, eCommerce, message boards, wikis and CMS, Language, Traffic Volume

Use the Word or Phrase input field to refine the list of backlinks to either include or exclude particular words. You can be more specific by selecting where the word or phrase might appear by selecting the ‘Target Any’ select menu.

You can show or exclude the keyword or phrase by URLs of referring pages, Titles of referring Pages, URLs of backlinks, Anchors or Surrounding texts, with an ‘any’ or ‘all’ option.

New, Lost and Broken Backlinks

New – find out which new backlinks have been acquired
Lost – find out which backlinks have been removed
Broken – find out which backlinks are going to broken pages

This is useful to analyse your own website to find out whether you may be able to recover any lost backlinks or broken links as well as tracking any new links to your site.

You could also do the same on a competitor website to see what type of content is getting lots of backlinks (New). This could give you some ideas for your own content.

If your competitor has lost backlinks and you have similar content, you could contact those websites and see if they can link to your content.

Equally if a competitor has broken backlinks and you have a comparable page to link to you could contact the webmasters who are linking to a broken link.

Referring Domains

The next report is the Referring Domains report, this shows the websites that are pointing to the website you are analysing.

Referring Domains Screen

This is useful for seeing which websites link to your competitors and identifying if there might be an opportunity to reach out to them to link to your website.
You can filter links to only see ‘Dofollow’ or ‘Governmental’.

Anchors

The Anchors report shows the text on other websites that contains a link pointing to your website. The anchor text reports can help you identify if your site might be subject to an SEO attack. For example, if many sites link to you with the same anchor text for a topic that is not relevant to your website, it could hurt your ranking.

Anchors Screen

You could also use this report to find out more about the websites linking to a competitor and what it is they are linking to.

Referring IPs

Use this report to see all referring domains and pages by IP address and subnet. This can be useful for finding referring IPs from the same network, which may indicate one person owns all these websites. As Ahrefs say on their site this might not be a negative thing however it could be a sign of a PBN (private blog network).

Internal Backlinks

This report shows all your internal links to other pages on your website. This is useful for identifying any issues with these links and may help you to identify where you need to add more internal links.

Link Intersect

Link Intersect

Input URLs or domains to show who is linking to these domains. In addition, you can add your own URL or a clients domain in the ‘But doesn’t link to (optional)’ field. This way you can find link opportunities or a list of sites linking to your competitors but who do not link to your site.

You can select to only show opportunities who link to all your competitors, as these may be more appropriate.

Likewise if there is a keyword you want to rank for, search for the keyword in Google and take the first few results and put them into the link intersect tool, then see who is linking to them but not you.

Organic Search Section

Organic Keywords

Click on organic Keywords (under the Organic Search sections) to see all the keywords a domain or URL ranks for. View information such as the:

  • Search volume for the keyword
  • Difficulty to rank for that keyword
  • CPC (cost per click)
  • Estimated traffic those keywords are generating
  • Destination URL

Filter by country, word count, SERP features, include or exclude keywords and filter by all the metrics above such as volume and position.

There are two sub-reports:

  1. New – displays keywords that have moved up to the next group of positions eg: from positions 11-50 to position 4-10
  2. Movements – Show you a history of ranking changes that Ahrefs has in it’s database.

Top Pages

Top pages shows you a list of pages on your website (or the website you are researching) which are getting the most organic web traffic.

Use top pages to see:

  • The pages on your competitors website get the most organic traffic
  • Which pages on your competitors website gets traffic but has few backlinks
  • The keywords your competitor is ranking for  (Click on the numbers select menu on the keywords column) – this can help you if you are writing content for your own website

For more tips on how to find your competitors pages that get web traffic:

Top Subfolders

This report ranks a website’s subfolder based on the amount of organic search traffic it receives.

Top subfolders seo tool

Use this report to :

  • Check out competitors and see which subfolders rank well and get traffic
  • Get ideas for your own website structure
  • Find content ideas (topics) that may not be very competitive by using the Keyword difficulty filter

Top Subdomains

Top subdomains ranks a website’s subdomains based on the volume of organic traffic.

This is useful to find out the variances in search traffic between the main domain and subdomains on a website.

Use this to:

  • Look at competitor sites to get inspiration on topics and site structure
  • Find content ideas which may be less competitive

Competing Domains

This report shows a list of competing websites that rank in the top 10 for the same keywords in your target (the URL or domain).

Use this report to find:

  • New keyword ideas that your competitors are ranking for but you are not
  • Filter by keyword difficulty to find the best opportunities

Competing Pages

This report displays a list of pages that appear in the top 10 for the same keywords as your target.

Competing Pages

Use this to:

  • Click on the number in the ‘Keywords unique to competitor’ column to see all the keywords
  • Use these keywords for inspiration for developing new content

Content Gap

The content gap report allows you to input competitor URLs to find out which keywords they rank for. Add your URL in the ‘But the following target doesn’t rank for’ field to get keyword ideas that you don’t currently rank for.

You can use the competing domains report to generate a list of competitor URLs if necessary.

Pages Section

Best By Links – The Best Pages by Incoming Links

Access this report under the Pages section under ‘Best by links’.

This report shows you a list of pages of the website or URL you are exploring based on the number of incoming links.

Use the buttons at the top of the report to toggle between internal and external links.

You can also filter by:

  • Platform (e.g: All, Blogs, Ecommerce, Message Boards, Wikis & CMS)
  • Language
  • HTTP code (e.g: All, 200 ok, 301 moved permanently, 302 redirect and so on)
  • Search in results input field

SEO tactics

  • Use this report on your own site and filter by HTTP code and select 404 to see if you have any broken links (both internal and external)
  • Do the same on competitor sites
  • Internal Linking Opportunities: find out which pages on your site have the most link authority, add a link to those pages to another page on your site to help grow the authority
  • Use this report to find out which pages of your competitors website has the most backlinks
  • This can give you content ideas or give you ideas on how to improve your own content
  • Try to get backlinks from the same websites if you have similar or better content than your competitors

Best By Links’ Growth

This report orders web pages by the total number of referring domains for the selected website by 1 day, 7 days and 30 days.

Click on the numbers under each column to view the link details, including referring domain, Domain Rating, Ahrefs rank, the date Ahrefs identified the link and the backlinks toggle with more even detail such as:

  • Anchor and backlink information (e.g: Image, Content, Canonical)
  • Keyword Count in the top 100 (Kw.)
  • Traffic (monthly)
  • URL Rating
  • Referring Domains
  • Linked Domains
  • External links from the referring page (Ext.)

This report shows you which pages have attracted the most links recently, which can help you determine:

  • Popular content topics
  • Where each pages’ backlinks have come from
  • Which keywords the page is ranking for
  • Which paid keywords are targeted
Best by links growth

Top Content

The top content report sorts pages by the number of social shares on platforms such as twitter, facebook and pinterest.

This report also allows you to view:

  • Referring domains
  • Total social shares
  • Social power (SP)
  • Published date

This report may be helpful in viewing:

  • Trends for content that is popular (most-shared) on social channels
  • Trending topics (by date)
  • Content pieces your competitors are getting the most social shares
  • Which content has the most backlinks

Linked Domains

This report shows which sites the targeted website or URL is linking to as well as the linked domains’:

  • Domain rating
  • Ahrefs rank
  • Referring domains (dofollow)
  • Linked domains (dofollow)
  • Organic traffic
  • Links from target (total number of links the target website is sending)
  • Dofollow – number of links that do not have ‘nofollow’ applied (from the target website)
  • First seen – the date Ahrefs found a link from the target site

This report is useful for reviewing the websites you are linking to and checking that the URLs are not being redirected to irrelevant URLs.

Anchors

The Anchors reports lists all the words used for the links on a URL or domain.

These can be viewed by internal and external links.

Anchors our going links

Click on the external or internal buttons to view the details including the referring page, anchor and when Ahrefs first found the link.

Use this report to see which pages you are linking out to – perhaps some of these links could be updated or replaced with links to your own content.

Broken Links

This report shows all the broken outgoing links on the selected website or URL including:

  • Referring page
  • URL rating (UR)
  • Internal backlinks
  • External backlinks
  • Anchor and Link
  • DP Check – Last time Ahrefs checked the destination page
  • RP Check – Last time Ahrefs checked the referring page

This report is useful to help you:

  • Fix any outgoing broken links on your website
  • Find opportunities from broken links on a competitors website

Paid Search Section

PPC Keywords

This report shows you all the keywords that a site ranks for in paid search results including:

  • Keyword
  • Ads – A preview of an ad as seen in paid search results
  • Block – whether the ad appears at the top or bottom of the SERP
  • Volume
  • Keyword Difficulty (KD)
  • Average Cost Per Click (CPC)
  • Traffic – Percentage of Paid Traffic that goes to that website by the given keyword
  • Results – Total number of organic search results for the keyword
  • URL
  • Last updated

You can further filter the results by volume, keyword difficulty, cpc, word count, language and you can include or exclude keywords. For example if you are running the report on a competitors website you may want to exclude their brand keywords.

This report can be used to:

  • See which keywords your competitors are paying for
  • View the cost per click to decide if you want to bid for those keywords
  • See which paid keywords send the most web traffic
  • See the copy that your competitors are using for their ads
  • Find low cost keywords with good traffic volume to bid on

Top Ads

This report appears as ‘ads’ in the left hand navigation and can be found under the paid search section.

Top Ads