I love SEO tools. I’m always building or looking for really cool tools. With the demise of Yahoo Site explorer, a number of companies are attempting to fill the void, including SEOMoz, Majestic Tools and Link Research Tools. My favorite Yahoo replacement is a tool that you’ve probably never heard of: ahrefs. They offer 5 levels of access (with one being free) and the others being grouped by the amount of reports and queries. Paid plans for this link building tool range from $49 to $499 per month.
This is a highly sophisticated toolset with tons of features.
Starting with Site Explorer, input any URL to get all of the backlink info that you could ever need or imagine.
The summary provides a snapshot of Total backlinks, Ref pages, Ref ip’s, Ref subnets, Ref domains and domain types by TLDs. Also included is a list of backlink types (text, redirect, image, etc).
A series of tabs, allows you to drill even deeper into New Links, Lost Links, Anchor text, crawled pages and referring domains. All of this data is exportable to CSV.
Interpreting the Data
For competitive purposes, this is a great quarry to mine for backlinks. Backlinks are sorted in descending order by ALR rating (estimated number of visitors following that link per month). This makes it easy to identify the most valuable web pages for link acquisition.
This tool is also useful for keyword research and content development. Take a look at your competitors’ Ref pages anchor text & look for gaps to fill. It comes in pretty handy to detemine just how “natural” a competitor’s backlink profile looks as well.
One unique feature of ahrefs is the number of language bases that are supported. In addition to the US & UK, you fill find support for AU,DE,FR,ES,IT,BR & RU. That equates to a database of over 50 million keywords refreshed every 30 minutes with a complete update every 30 days.
Simply enter a url and voilà: every Keyword in the top 100 search engine ranking positions in Google, Yahoo/Bing will appear.
A quick snapshot is provided giving you the stats on the total number of keywords in the top 100 SERPs, the search traffic and the CpC value.
I like to use the Daily stats to look for trends (e.g., Panda hits). This is particularly useful when doing background research for a prospective client.
Sometimes the best place to start your analysis is with a comparison of competing websites. The Domain Comparison feature allows you to do just that.
Quite often this tool is able to separate the “imagined” competitors from the “real players.”
All subscription plans provide access to reports, which can be run for any url.
By running a report, you get a summary of all backlink data in a single location.
The Bottom Line
This review only scratches the surface of what this amazing SEO tool suite has to offer. If you didn’t find a feature that you were looking for, chances are it is there. Overall, ahrefs is is extremely user friendly. The navigation through the website is a breeze, and the sheer volume of data available is mind blowing.
Ahrefs has a user forum covering everything from general SEO to technical discussions and of course questions related to the website itself. For advanced users, there is a toolbar and API. Although I have not used the toolbar, I am testing the API in some new private SEO tools that I have in development. This is a comprehensive and powerful tool suite that EVERY link builder could use.
The Fine Print
Ahrefs also offers an affiliate program. Although I am an affiliate, I wrote this review as a paying subscriber and fan of the toolset (with no affiliate links:).