SEMrush vs Ahrefs: What is the Best SEO and Marketing Tool in 2020?

Well, luckily, there are two online tools that offer a number of options to improve your rankings and find the perfect keywords.In this article, we'll compare SEMrush vs Ahrefs to see which one you should go.

SEMrush vs Ahrefs


SEMrush vs Ahrefs: An Introduction to Both Tools

SEMrush and Ahrefs are search engine optimization and online marketing tools.

They are both considered premium solutions for online marketers, social media experts, bloggers, and more.In fact, almost any online business could benefit from SEMrush or Ahrefs – and they're especially important for ecommerce stores.

As mentioned, these are premium solutions, so the lowest price you'll pay is around $100 per month.

As for what you'll get from SEMrush and Ahrefs, here's what to expect:

  • Keyword analysis • Keyword tracking • Keyword suggestions Content suggestions Competitor spying • Social media tracking • Search engine classification and analysis • Domain comparisons • Reports • Ad optimization and more

Here's a quick comparison of SEMrush vs Ahrefs.After that, check out our in-depth comparison to see which one works best for you.Each of them has evidence, so we recommend testing both.

SEMrush vs Ahrefs
Tool Prices Features UI Rank tracking Keyword research Competitor analysis
SEMrush ⭐⭐⭐➕ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ahrefs ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐

SEMrush vs Ahrefs: Features

It all starts with features.Does Ahrefs have a content search area to fill your blog with articles?Does SEMrush provide useful reports for checking in search engine rankings?

We'll explore SEMrush vs Ahrefs to see which of them has the longest list of features, along with the most impressive ones.

Considering that both of these SEO and marketing tools are packed with features, it's impossible to cover every little function.However, there are many "must-haves" and unique features that we will touch on to help you decide whether to choose SEMrush or Ahrefs.


Here's a list of our favorite SEMrush features:

  • Competitor research to see the best keywords, organic competitors and position changes.
  • Advertising search with advertising budgets and keywords.
  • Backlink tools to conduct analysis and locate good places to get backlinks.
  • Keyword research with long-tail keyword support.
  • Traffic analysis .
  • Keyword control with keyword difficulties and related recommendations.
  • Domain vs domain comparisons.
  • Beautiful rankings.
  • A magic keyword tool to get millions of keyword ideas.
  • An SEO writing assistant.
  • Search engine location tracking.
  • A site check to see your SEO health.
  • Social media locator and poster.
  • A content analyzer to see if what you're writing is okay.

And that's just a taste of what SEMrush has to offer.It sounds a bit intimidating to some users, but it doesn't take long to start taking advantage of the long list of tools in SEMrush.

sperm hyphen


Here are some of Ahrefs' best features:

  • An intuitive dashboard and general interface to quickly see the status of your website and your position in search engines.
  • Alerts for things like backlinks, mentions, and new keywords.
  • A site explorer to see in-depth backlinks and search traffic.
  • A content explorer with excellent suggestions.
  • A keyword explorer to find the keywords that will give you the best results.
  • A search engine ranking tracker.
  • Domain comparisons.
  • Reports with graphic designers.
  • A site check for a full crawl of your website.This is great for finding SEO problems.

hyphen ahrefs

Winner: SEMrush

This is a no-brainer, simply because SEMrush has more features than Ahrefs.So, power users and online marketers will most likely appreciate SEMrush better than Ahrefs.

However, it is important to give credit to Ahrefs for simplifying the whole process.There will be many people who will see the overwhelming number of features as a downside of SEMrush.


SEMrush vs Ahrefs: Pricing

As always, pricing is a factor everyone wants to know.How much will your organization have to pay to use all the tools we've talked about?Will it be useful from an ROI perspective?Also, are prices too high for some small businesses that also have to pay for other tools to execute their trades?

Overall, SEMrush and Ahrefs are pretty similar when it comes to pricing.Moreover, they are not what we would consider economic instruments.However, the features packed into both should definitely justify the cost.After all, many businesses can quickly break even with the payment of $99 per month – considering that SEMrush and Ahrefs will dramatically increase your SEO and marketing.

Also, keep in mind that you can save money by opting for annual billing.This applies to both SEMrush and Ahrefs.

So, what prices do you expect from both tools?


  • Pros: $99.95 per month for 10,000 results per report, 3,000 reports per day, traffic sources, social media results, rankings, and more.
  • Guru: $199 per month for all the features of the previous plan, 30,000 results per report, 5,500 reports per day, extended limits, branded reports, historical data, and a content marketing platform.
  • Business: $399 per month for all features of the previous plan, 50,000 results per report, 10,000 reports per day, API access, extended limits, sharing options, Google Data Studio integration, and white label reports.
  • Company: You need to contact SEMrush for custom pricing and volumes, but you also get on-site training, special add-ons, custom limits, custom keyword databases, and unlimited crawling for larger websites.


  • Lite: $99 per month for one user, five projects, 500 keywords tracked, a site audit, 25 domains for the site explorer, 100,000 rows per report for the backlink index, analytics for the top 20 search engine rankings, and 25 keyword reports.
  • Standard: $179 per month for one user, 10 projects, 1,500 keywords monitored, 10 site audits, 100 domains for site explorer, 1 million rows per report for backlink index, analytics for top 100 search engine rankings, and 100 keyword reports.
  • Advanced: $399 per month for three users, 25 projects, 5,000 keywords monitored, 25 site audits, 250 domains for site explorer, 5 million rows per report for backlink index, analytics for top 100 search engine rankings, and 200 keyword reports.
  • Agency: $999 per month for five users, 100 projects, 10,000 keywords monitored, 100 site audits, 1,000 domains for site explorer, 10 million rows per report for backlink index, analytics for top 100 search engine rankings, and 1,000 keyword reports.

Winner: Ahrefs

Although the price isn't much different when comparing SEMrush vs Ahrefs, the Ahrefs tool has the $179 Standard plan, which lacks SEMrush.This gives users a little more flexibility in deciding how much to pay.

In addition, annual rates are slightly cheaper across the board with Ahrefs.You may also notice that Ahrefs bases its prices strictly on volume.Therefore, you'd pay more for additional reporting and keyword tracking, while SEMrush focuses on charging more for additional features, which can often mean you're paying for features you don't use.

In a note, SEMrush provides an Enterprise plan ready for customization.We're sure Ahrefs would work with you for an Enterprise setup, but it's not actually ready and listed on the website.


SEMrush vs Ahrefs: User Interface

SEMrush and Ahrefs both offer comprehensive reporting and analytics directly from their dashboards.Ahrefs has more than one setup process where it asks for competitors, domains, and desired keywords.However, SEMrush allows you to access the dashboard a little faster to start your analysis.

For the user interface, we like to take a look at the elements provided in the dashboard (for a quick look), then explore how easy it is to complete tasks like exploring new content and searching for the best keywords for your next blog post.

That said, read on to learn more about whether SEMrush or Ahrefs have the best interface.


The SEMrush dashboard has a few modules that you see right away.One of them is a quick analysis of your domains, with information about organic keywords, traffic, and ad keywords.

A search bar is there to type in a domain, keyword, and anything else you want to explore.The menu is located on the left side of the screen, with quick links to marketing information, projects, keyword analysis, and more.

We also like that customer support resources are provided directly in the SEMrush dashboard.This way, you can ask questions to the support team or browse resources like webinars, blog posts, and news.

SEMrush dashboard

Another area that is quite impressive about SEMrush is the description of information for almost everything in the program.This is a huge advantage considering that it can be difficult for people to understand acronyms like CPC or abbreviations that you often see in SEO tools.

For example, the Keyword Magic Tool has several columns to test some potential keywords.See headings like Volume, Trend, and KD%.But what the heck is KD%?

As with all column headings in SEMrush, hovering the mouse over it reveals the definition.In this case, not only do we learn that KD% means difficulty for keywords, but it provides a description long enough for you to understand better.

SEMrush Command Description


The Ahrefs dashboard and general interface are less bulky than SEMrush's.It also has a different layout, with the main menu at the top of the page.The search bar is only for typing domains, so it's more limiting than SEMrush.

We really like dashboard analysis in Ahrefs, considering you can see everything from search engine rankings to domain rankings and referral domains to backlinks.

hyphen ahrefs

All in all, jumping from one tool to another is simple for all users.You can go to the Keyword Explorer module and check which keywords you should target right now.After that, jumping directly to the tracking rank is done with a click of a button.

hyphen ahrefs 2

Ahrefs also has its own tooltip support tool, similar to SEMrush's.Hover your mouse cursor over something that's not clear and you'll see an in-depth explanation.

Ahrefs Tooltip

Winner: tie

This is difficult because both have strengths and weaknesses.

If you're more interested in a clean, modern, and simple interface, Ahrefs is clearly easier to work with.However, SEMrush integrates multiple tools into the screen, and you can access many customer support resources right from the dashboard.

This depends entirely on how you feel after testing both dashboards.


SEMrush vs Ahrefs: Location Detection

Ranking tracking features are great for understanding your position on search engines.You can also control how you compare to the competition.

Also, you can usually decide what changes need to be made to improve your rankings.For example, you may find that your competitors have far more backlinks to their content than you, even if you're targeting the same keywords.

Let's compare SEMrush and Ahrefs to see which one performs best in the rank-tracking arena.


Most of the rank tracking tools in SEMrush are organized in the Projects tab.You can find links to the on-page SEO Checker, a location tracking tool, and even some options for social media tracking.

Semrush position detection

It all looks promising for you to analyze what needs to be done to increase your rankings.

On Page's SEO Checker is a good place to start, although it doesn't necessarily provide you with rankings.It allows you to import a large collection of pages from your site.Next, generate ideas and strategies to improve your rankings in search engines.

After that, you can set up tracking of your grade.This tool asks for your domain name and what keywords you want to track.For example, we might monitor something like "WooCommerce plugins" to see if we move up or down in the rankings for some posts.

It takes a while to populate the information, but you have the ability to see everything from estimated traffic to the number of times ranked in the top 3, top 10, and top 100 for certain keywords.

Distribution of the SEMrush ranking

The reports are somewhat intuitive, and you can always go back to edit the items to track.


It is easier to understand the rank tracker on Ahrefs, mainly because there is a page for it without many additional features.

The process begins when you type in the domain you want to verify and some keywords.In this way, Ahrefs examines how well your rankings are on those particular pages for those particular keywords.

The results are easy to understand, with results such as visibility, average location, traffic, and keyword difficulty.

Ahrefs ranking monitoring

You can also go to the keyword difficulty area to see if it's worth targeting that keyword as well.For example, the keyword I tried shows that it's "Super hard" to rank for that keyword, estimating that I'd need about 374 backlinks to rank in the top 10.

This might be worth it for an established brand, but it would be better to skip for a smaller blog.

ahrefs difficulty of rank

Winner: Ahrefs

Ahrefs is much easier to use.It takes a few seconds to type domain names and keywords.Then, you can make a quick decision whether or not to go ahead with keyword targeting or figure out how to rank higher for certain keywords.

One of the advantages of SEMrush is the analysis of social rankings.


SEMrush vs Ahrefs: Quality of Keyword Research

Keyword research quality ties in some way to ranking tracking, but it's more about deciding the keywords you plan to use in the future, rather than keeping track of the keywords you currently have on product pages, blog posts, and the overall website.

Users of both of these tools frequently use keyword search options, so this is a pretty important area to look into.


The main feature for keyword research in SEMrush is called Keyword Magic Tool.It's a great solution where you type in any keyword you want and view an extensive list of suggested keywords and how you may be able to perform with each of them.

Keyword Magic Tool - SEMrush vs Ahrefs

SEMrush allows you to search based on keyword matches, phrase matches, and exact matches.We also like the related tab, which is a good tool for finding keywords that aren't exactly like the ones you typed.

For example, I typed in "best Shopify apps," and related keywords included "best Shopify apps" and "best Shopify store apps," two options I might never have thought of.

keyword overview - SEMrush vs Ahrefs

Beyond that, each keyword result provides metrics such as search volume, trends, keyword difficulty, and cost per click.With all this information you should have fun trying to figure out the right keywords to use.


When you're in the Ahrefs dashboard you can go to the Keyword Explorer tab to get thousands of relevant keyword ideas with the included metrics.

You can also target based on search engines.So if you only wanted to see results for Google or Amazon, it's entirely possible.

It's also nice to be able to type multiple keywords at once to analyze them together.

For our test I will enter some keywords for a travel blog.I go with "Wisconsin camping", "Wisconsin travel" and "Wisconsin car rental".

The first result tells us the basics, such as which keywords are useless and which keywords have a good search volume and clicks.

Wisconsin Kws

Then, the user is able to click on keywords that have potential.For example, the only one that looks attractive is the keyword "Wisconsin camping".

Results such as keyword difficulty and search volume are shown as usual, but the real strength of this area appears towards the bottom of the page.Here you can see all kinds of keyword suggestions related to that initial search.These are great for immediately seeing what other options you might have that you've never thought of.

Wisconsin Kws 2

For example, "camping in Wisconsin" has the same difficulty as keywords, but the search volume is actually higher than "Camping Wisconsin," making me think that I have a better chance of attracting more people to my site if I end up ranking for the keyword.

Winner: Ahrefs

Once again, Ahrefs wins for its simplicity and ability to break down some complicated tasks into something appealing to both beginners and advanced users.

To be honest, SEMrush seems to suggest a lot more keyword alternatives than Ahrefs.So, if you're interested in the number of keyword suggestions, SEMrush might have what you're looking for.But SEMrush seems to leave more work to the user when it comes to the final keyword decision.


SEMrush vs Ahrefs: Competitor Analysis

Competitor analysis is one of the most important parts of SEO, but it is often forgotten.It's easy to fall into the trap of using gut and thinking about keywords above your head.

However, wouldn't it be easier to find keywords that are already effective for the competition?So you could take some of those top keywords and try to rank them with better articles.

Both SEMrush and Ahrefs have competitor analysis tools, so let's see which one works best.


The best part about SEMrush is that there is no shortage of opportunities.SEMrush works like a blank canvas to test the competition and spy on them as efficiently as possible.

The first tool to use is the Keyword Space feature.This asks you to compare multiple websites with yours.It then provides a list of the most popular keywords on all those sites, along with which of them rank best for those keywords.It's a beautiful comparison chart that you can't beat.

kw gap

There's also a fantastic thematic research area to see what your competition is writing and which keywords are best for you to target and beat them.For example, I searched for "WordPress module plugins" and got a solid list of titles I could pull from.

topic search - SEMrush vs Ahrefs

Our other favorite competitor search module in SEMrush is called Market Explorer.The search bar asks you to type in a domain (like yours).It then reveals a list of websites or articles similar to what you typed. You have options to track these markets and companies, all with the help of superior analysis.

market explorer - SEMrush vs Ahrefs


A domain comparison tool is also available in Ahrefs.It's pretty similar to SEMrush's, where you type in up to five sites (your website and the competition) to compare them side by side.

Ahrefs shows metrics like domain ratings, backlinks, images, and more.This is a way to compare your site's performance to any other site, but it doesn't exactly give you any information on how to improve.

There's also a Competitive Domains section in the sidebar for each of your tracked sites (projects) in Ahrefs.In it, you will get a list of your most direct competitors along with a fantastic keyword intersection chart.

Intersection of AHREFS keywords

For more information, you would go back to the trusted Site Explorer and Content Explorer modules.The only difference is that you should type in a competitor's URL instead of your own.

For example, I chose one of the potential competitors for CodeinWP.After a quick search, you can scroll down on the results page to see the top organic keywords on that site.The first pages are also revealed.

Top Keywords - SEMrush vs Ahrefs

Now, this can simply mean that the keywords or pages are too competitive.But many times you will realize that these are great target keywords, as you know that they are effective and the competition may be low.It is especially important to check the volume and search position.Then, you can test that keyword to see if it's hard to rank it.

Winner: SEMrush

SEMrush has many other tools dedicated directly to finding the competition and figuring out what they're doing right and wrong.Not only can you compare multiple websites with your own, but you can also get content recommendations from your competitors and track the global market.

Ahrefs is by no means a bit overlooked in this industry, but it takes a combination of tools to truly understand what your competitors are doing.