“No website can stand without a strong backbone. And that backbone is technical SEO.” — Neil Patel
Does your website SEO keep you up at night? Do you feel you know enough about SEO to be dangerous but not enough to get the results your brand needs for success? Are you waiting for Neil Patel to appear on your doorstep like a knight in shining armor?
If the answer to any or all of these questions is yes, we can help. There is no need for angst, sleepless nights, or Neil Patel. With the game-changing SEO tools available through the Ahrefs platform, you'll feel like an expert in no time.
And Ahrefs isn’t just a backlink authority checker, it is much more than that. It’s a digital marketing platform that provides valuable information about your website’s SEO and helps you make those important optimization decisions. It is our most recommended SEO tool for tracking your SEO data, managing keywords and backlinks, and generally setting up your SEO strategy so you can sleep at night.
5 Core Ahrefs Tools
There are five core SEO tools within the Ahrefs platform, each with its own function. Within each core tool, several sub-tools perform an essential task. Let's take a look at the five core Ahrefs functions first.
1. Site Explorer
The Site Explorer tool researches the keywords your competitors are ranking for in both organic and paid traffic. You can also view how your brand ranks compared to the competition. This is important because the tool helps you see what keywords your audience is using and what content they are searching for.
With this information, your site can be more competitive. Ahrefs monitors over 150 million keywords in the U.S., so you are guaranteed a pretty accurate picture of the state of the search traffic for your vertical.
Site Explorer also reviews your backlinks and compares that to your competitors. Ahrefs boasts they index over 14 trillion links, so you are sure to find every URL linking to your site. This information will help you measure the quality of your backlinks compared to your competition, which can lead you to develop a more strategic plan to earn higher authority backlinks.
2. Content Explorer
You've heard from experts that your content is key to driving traffic to your site and improving your ranking. The Ahrefs Content Explorer tool suggests relevant topics for reach and popularity by analyzing over 2 billion articles for SEO factors like organic traffic, social shares, and how many site links. It can also assist you in researching your content once you settle on a topic. You'll have a better understanding of how your content will rank with this SEO tool.
3. Keyword Explorer
You know how critical keywords are. But do you know the most relevant and lucrative keywords for your site? Ahrefs' Keyword Explorer tool has over 3 billion keywords in its database, which can be really helpful in planning an effective keyword strategy.
The SEO tool gives you traffic predictions based on how frequently a keyword is searched, and it will tell you how difficult it will be to rank for that keyword. Another critical function of the Keyword Explorer function is the ability to see which keywords generate clicks on sites, which can help you choose the highest-performing keywords.
We've recommended Ahref's Keyword Explorer in this blog as one of the best keyword research tools available. The benefits are outstanding.
4. Rank Tracker
If your Google rank is top of mind, Rank Tracker is a great SEO tool to monitor your Google ranking on desktop and mobile. Rank Tracker sends you daily, weekly, or monthly reports. You'll view how many clicks land on your website from organic search traffic and your average position in search results based on your most relevant keywords. Also, Rank Tracker will compare your data to up to 10 competitors in three key areas: ranking progress, search traffic, and SERP features.
Rank Tracker is an essential tool that shows you how your site's rank changes over time and how you can improve that ranking.
5. Site Audit
The last core Ahrefs tool is Site Audit. You do not have the time to check your website for errors or problems constantly. Site Audit takes care of that for you. It will analyze your site for common SEO problems like slow page loads and broken links. Site Audit crawls all the pages on your website, flags all possible SEO issues, and provides recommendations on how to fix them. You won’t stress about your SEO because you’ll know when problems arise and how to fix them.
Six Free SEO Sub-Tools
So, now that you've got the lay of the land within the Ahrefs platform, let's drill down to some of the more beneficial free tools within each function that help you become the SEO expert you always knew you could be.
1. Backlink Checker
A recent experiment by David Farkas at The Upper Ranks found that Ahrefs Backlink Checker was far more accurate than others in providing live links. The free version of the Backlink Checker is updated every 15 minutes. Simply type in your URL, and a backlink profile is created within seconds.
The free profile includes your domain rating (the strength of your website’s backlink profile compared to the others on a 100-point scale), the number of backlinks to your site, and the number of domains linking to your site. It also gives you the top 100 backlinks and top five anchors. This free SEO tool is a great place to start your backlinks research.
When you sign up for an Ahrefs account and link your website, you will receive a backlinks report in your dashboard. This report goes even deeper than the backlinks checker tool. It will include your Ahrefs rank (the strength of your website's backlink profile compared to the others in the Ahrefs database) and your URL Rating (the strength of your page's link profile on a 100-point scale).
The report also shows the number of keywords your URL is ranking for in the top 100 and the estimated monthly organic search traffic. In addition, there are very powerful filter functions, so you will analyze only the data you care about.
2. Broken Links Checker
The free version will show you how many broken links are on your site and how many broken links are pointing to your site. It will also list the top 10 of each category and the reason why the link is broken. This information is valuable if you’re worried about the quality of your backlinks.
You can receive a more robust broken link report when you subscribe to the paid version of Ahrefs. That report lists all broken outbound and inbound links and includes the reason for each break. It also shows the referring domains, traffic, and keyword information for each broken link so that you can prioritize your fixes.
3. Keyword Generator
If you need to research keywords that will rank, Keyword Generator pulls relevant keywords from the Ahrefs database of more than 8 billion searches. You can enter up to 10 words or phrases for Google, Bing, Amazon, or YouTube. A paid version of Keyword Explorer will add more search engine options.
Every keyword is assigned a Keyword Difficulty metric, which estimates how hard it is for that keyword to rank in the top 10 organic search results on a 100-point scale. The report also estimates the average monthly searches for each keyword over the last 12 months. The report then creates 10 phrases and 10 questions using the original keyword and provides metrics.
For more suggestions, you must pay for a subscription. With a subscription, you can also find new keywords with low difficulty scores and high traffic potential or review key SEO metrics for the current top-ranking pages for those keywords. You can then create lists of your best keywords in your dashboard to track your progress.
4. Keyword Rank Checker
Once you've settled on keywords and added them to your SEO strategy, you should track how well they rank compared to your competitors. Instead of manually typing each keyword into Google, the Ahrefs Keyword Rank Checker does it automatically.
The free report will show your rank for the keyword, your domain rating, your URL rating, the number of domains linking to your site through this keyword, and the estimated organic traffic. You'll also see the top five ranking pages for the keyword, including their placement in SERP.
The paid report will also include search volume, Keyword Difficulty score, historical rankings, and competitors' rankings over time. It's easy to check your progress and compare it to competitors with these historical features. You can also identify the visibility, average position, the number of owned and tracked SERP features, and local rankings for keywords. The SERP analytics are especially robust and could be very useful if you have a brand that relies on local foot traffic or regional search volume.
5. Website Authority Checker
If you want a quick view of how your website is "perceived" on the Internet, the free Website Authority Checker will show your site's domain rating. Remember that this is the strength of your website’s backlink score compared to the other websites in the Ahrefs database.
The checker will also tell you the number of backlinks your site had and the number of sites linking to yours. For more details on how you compare to other websites, you’ll need to pay for a subscription.
6. Webmaster Tool
Ahrefs Webmaster Tool supports the Site Audit and Site Explorer functions. It will identify any site issues and help you fix them. It is a more robust tool than Google Search Console (GSC), which can be tempting to rely on since it is free and from Google.
Ahrefs Webmaster Tool is also free and infinitely more helpful. It monitors more than 100 possible SEO issues while GSC only monitors a couple. And it gives more detailed help than GSC.
SEO does not have to be a mystery or an ordeal. We recommend Ahref's digital marketing solution to develop your SEO strategy. Some of the best Ahrefs SEO tools are free, but a low-cost subscription will give you more functionality and more significant insights into your website's performance.