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SEMrush vs Ahrefs (2021): Comparing All-In-One SEO Toolkits

Ever since Ahrefs developed new features to complement its topnotch backlink analysis tool, it started competing directly against SEMrush for the title of top all-in-one SEO toolkit. Today, both are considered among the best software suites for digital marketers in any industry. If you have the budget for only one of these SEO tools, here’s how to decide between SEMrush vs Ahrefs.

SEMrush vs Ahrefs SEO Tool Comparison Chart

SEMrush logoAhrefs logo
PriceTry for free at SEMrush.comCheck Price at Ahrefs.com
CampaignsPro: 3
Guru: 15
Business: 25
Lite: 5+
Standard: 10+
Advanced: 25+
Keyword RankingsPro: 500
Guru: 1,500
Business: 5,000
Lite: 500
Standard: 1,500
Advanced: 5,000
Pages Crawled per MonthPro: 100,000
Guru: 300,000
Business: 1,000,000
Lite: 10,000
Standard: 500,000
Advanced: 1,250,000
Keyword Queries per MonthPro: 250
Guru: 1,000
Business: 5,000
Lite: 700
Standard: 2,800
Advanced: 5,600
Results/Rows per QueryPro: 10,000
Guru: 30,000
Business: 50,000
Lite: 1,000
Standard: 5,000
Advanced: 25,000
Scheduled PDF ReportsPro: 5
Guru: 20
Business: 50
Lite: n/a
Standard: n/a
Advanced: n/a
Number of UsersPro: 1-2
Guru: 1-3
Business: 1-10
Lite: 1+
Standard: 1+
Advanced: 3+
Mobile RankingsYesAdvanced and above only
Social Media TrackingYesNo
Advertising ResearchYesNo
Local SEO FocusNoNo

Keyword Research and Rankings

SEMrush shows more keyword data and updates more frequently than Ahrefs.

SEMrush vs Ahrefs - Keyword Research and Rankings

SEMrush and Ahrefs both have impressive keyword research and rankings tools. You can find all the keywords your site is ranking for and do the same on your competitors. However, SEMrush shows more data per keyword term, such as position changes, search volume trend, and keyword difficulty. Ahrefs limits organic keywords results to search volume, competition, and CPC, though that does make its UI less cluttered if you’re not keen on the extra data presented by SEMrush.

The bigger advantage that SEMrush has over Ahrefs in this category is that SEMrush updates its ranking data almost daily. Ahrefs only updates your tracked keywords either every 7 days if you’re on the Lite plan, every 5 days on the Standard plan, and every 3 days on the Advanced and Agency tiers. Moreover, SEMrush adds a visibility score for an entire site along with more metrics. If you like staying on top of position changes on the SERPs, SEMrush easily comes out ahead in providing you up-to-date information.

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Another relevant difference between these SEO tools is that Ahrefs only includes mobile rankings in the Advanced and Agency plans. SEMrush makes mobile rank data available on all tiers, giving it the edge if you’re heavily marketing smaller campaigns on mobile devices.

SEMrush vs Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

Ahrefs has improved its Keyword Explorer tool to offer tons of keyword ideas that you can target in your campaigns. You’ll be able to see search volume as well as clickthrough estimates if you rank for that keyword, giving you a better idea of which new ones to go for. SEMrush’s Keyword Magic tool lets you do pretty much the same, including looking into your competitors’ keywords.

What SEMrush adds that’s not available on Ahrefs is Google PPC data. SEMrush provides more advertising research tools for paid search marketing. It’s highly useful if you’re part of an in-house marketing team or an agency that does SEO and PPC at the same time. Though Ahrefs presents a more easy-to-digest interface, SEMrush simply packs more info that you can use in your marketing efforts.

Site Audits and Optimization

SEMrush has a more comprehensive site audit tool than Ahrefs.

SEMrush vs Ahrefs - Site Audits and Optimization

The site audit tool in SEMrush tells you the overall health of your site depending on the number of SEO errors and warnings its pages have. You’ll get a quick glance at these critical figures and be able to deep dive into broken links, crawl errors, status code errors, and more. The Top Issues section is key in letting you know which areas need your attention right away. Moreover, it has an internal link distribution feature that shows whether your internal links are flowing from high-authority pages to those that need more.

Meanwhile, Ahrefs’ site audit tool doesn’t immediately present site issues that you need to look at. For instance, pages marked ‘noindex’ are a big factor in its website health score computation, even though it can be integral to your strategy to prevent Google from crawling certain pages. Moreover, you have to look further to see the real problems you need to fix, such as slow loading pages and clipped meta descriptions.

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SEMrush Content Analyzer and Ahrefs Broken Links

Both SEMrush and Ahrefs have noteworthy site optimization features that are unique to them. SEMrush’s Content Analyzer is a content audit tool that digs into your web pages to ensure that each one has all it needs to rank high in SERPs as well as be engaging to readers. This helps you improve existing content with rewrites or updates so you can provide visitors with the information they’re looking for. Ahrefs has a similar-sounding Content Explorer tool, but it’s more for topic discovery and researching already successful pages on any given keyword.

One very useful tool in Ahrefs’ arsenal is its Broken Links Checker, which does exactly what it says. You’ll be able to quickly find out any broken internal and external links within your pages, a big time-saver especially for large websites.

Competitive Analysis

Ahrefs has a better backlink checker but SEMrush includes advertising research.

SEMrush vs Ahrefs - Competitive Analysis

Years later and Ahrefs is still the top choice for many SEO experts when it comes to backlink analysis. Despite SEMrush increasing its link index massively, Ahrefs still has a more accurate and fresh index as it’s able to find new links and update its database faster. You’ll be able to scope out your competitor’s backlink profile, check out the best links on their pages, and find their best pages based on incoming links. This gives you a lot of opportunities for link building and outreach efforts, especially since Ahrefs integrates those into the platform.

Meanwhile, SEMrush provides your closest domain competitors based on the ranking keywords you share. They include multiple tools to find pertinent information on competitors, including top pages, keywords, and active backlinks. But the biggest advantage that SEMrush offers here is PPC data. You can take full advantage of knowing what keywords your competition is bidding on so you can plan your advertising campaigns better. Furthermore, SEMrush has added social media tracking and posting, so you can check out what competitors are publishing on their social accounts, too.

Overall, Ahrefs comes out on top for backlink research and analysis, since its UI is easier to navigate and process than SEMrush’s. It’s a key factor for such a time-consuming activity such as link building, which is a big reason why most SEO consultants prefer Ahrefs for backlink checking. However, there’s no question that SEMrush simply has more tools for digging up dirt, er, data on your competition.

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Reporting and Ease of Use

SEMrush lets you schedule reports to clients but Ahrefs is more user-friendly.

SEMrush vs Ahrefs - Reporting and Ease of Use

If you want to keep clients abreast of their SEO progress and ROI, SEMrush lets you schedule PDF reports that can be generated automatically and sent to multiple email addresses. You get a limited amount of such scheduled reports depending on your plan. Ahrefs only lets you manually create reports from most of its tools, with a few such as its Rank Tracker allowing regular email reports. Both allow branding reports with your company logo, if you’re signed up at a plan higher than the base one, but only SEMrush lets you fully white-label their reports (with the Business plan).

SEMrush has been working non-stop to develop new features and tools for its SEO suite. The number of things you can do with it can be overwhelming for new users. There are a lot of resources you can access from SEMrush themselves to help you discover their tools and navigate their platform, and you’ll want to take the time to do so. In comparison, Ahrefs is a bit more user-friendly. It has a more intuitive user interface for its tools, letting you find the information you need quicker and easier. This is also particularly helpful for experts who simply need the most pertinent data and want them on hand without too much digging.

If you’re looking to add multiple users on your SEMrush or Ahrefs plans, you should know that SEMrush charges much higher per additional user. Each user seat you add on the SEMrush Pro plan costs $70, increasing to $149/user on the Guru and Business plans. In contrast, Ahrefs simply charges an extra $30 per additional user seat on all plans, which is welcome news for in-house teams and agencies. Ahrefs is also more flexible in customizing your plan with additional projects and extra monthly site crawls.


SEMrush offers more value than Ahrefs for most marketers.


Best for digital marketers and agencies

SEMrush logo


Best for SEO specialists and agencies

Ahrefs logo

It’s tough to beat the value you get from SEMrush. You get access to a variety of digital marketing data you can use for SEO, paid search, and social media. As its plans are priced the same as Ahrefs, SEMrush is simply the better pick if you’re after a comprehensive suite of tools to market a website on all fronts. Agencies and consultants also benefit from regularly scheduled reports being sent to their clients in addition to the assortment of features they can utilize and information they can generate.

Those who focus heavily on link building will find Ahrefs to be more helpful and productive since you can find the data you need fast and easy. Ahrefs discovers new link opportunities quicker than SEMrush, and its backlink-related features are a step above, making it the recommended tool for SEO consultants and agencies. New SEO professionals and users in general should also find its interface easier to navigate and its data presentation easier to parse.

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Derick Bondoc