As a digital marketer, could anything be better than being able to spy on your competitors’ SEO strategies, their keywords, their backlinks, and other aspects? Well, Ahrefs allows you to do all of these, and also offers its users the biggest backlink index than all the other tools. Ahrefs comes with a free trial period of 15 days; however, it is a bit on the pricier side. Through this Ahrefs review, I will walk you through the tool, thereby, helping you decide whether the tool is worth its price or not.
What is Ahrefs all about?
For those not acquainted with this SEO tool, the Ahrefs application helps you to analyze your site’s backlinks profile and your competitors’ sites effortlessly. Also, it comes in handy in exploring the most profitable keywords for both organic as well as paid search. In case you find yourself inept at finding relevant keyword ideas, Ahrefs comes to your rescue and provides you with the most accurate traffic estimations. Let us explore the unique features of this tool that make it awesome.
Get started with Ahrefs.
Upon entering a website’s link in Ahrefs search box, you will get the following information about the site.
- Ahrefs rank: The organic traffic to a website or URL determines its Ahrefs rank.
- UR (URL ratings): The UR determines the influence of the URL by the number of backlinks pointed to it.
- DR (Domain ratings): The large backlink index makes the domain rating of Ahrefs way more precise than the Domain Authority of Moz.
The Ahrefs tool gives you a graphical representation of how the referring domains and the backlink strength have developed over time. The backlink graph will help you to spot poor backlink creation on your competitor’s site. Thus, it allows you to use your competitor’s low growth of backlink profile to your advantage, helping you to create backlinks rapidly.
The graph for keywords and organic traffic aids you in monitoring how organic traffic to a site has grown over a period. You can analyze this graph and find out the search traffic that a website received at a specific time. The features mentioned thus far are only basic ones. Ahrefs comes with a host of powerful features that I will help you explore shortly.
What’s so special about Ahrefs’ Backlink profile?
Ahrefs’ backlink index isn’t just their greatest strength; it is also the best amongst all the other tools. When you enter the URL or the domain name, Ahrefs displays every backlink created for that URL or domain. What really impressed me were the many powerful filters that come along with this feature You get results with many useful filters like one link for every domain display, grouping similar links, the link type (Redirect, Gov, Edu, and Dofollow vs. Nofollow), and the platforms where these backlinks are posted. The Lite plan allows you to look up 100 URLs and 25 domains per day. The Standard plan, on the other hand, helps you look up to 500 URLs and 100 domains every day.
The Broken Backlinks feature helps you to know if visitors are being directed to the broken pages on your site. You can either fix the page or reach out to people to change the link leading them to your site. Thus, you can convert the links using the broken backlink feature. I used this feature to reclaim some of the links that were no longer in use.
Anchors help you to locate the anchor text in your backlinks. Filters like 2 words, 3 words, and 4 words will help you to figure out anchor texts for different lengths. Also, you can remove anchor texts from Nofollow links.
Spy on your competitors’ live SEO campaigns.
New/lost backlinks: This feature assists you in finding out at what time a backlink has been built. You can choose a date, and you will know which backlinks were created on that date. This feature enables you to find out the areas that your rivals are working on for generating backlinks. The “lost backlink” feature informs you about the lost backlinks. It is especially helpful for active guest bloggers who wish to know if a blog owner has removed their backlinks from their guest posts. In the absence of this feature, you will have to keep track of your guest posts manually and ensure that the backlinks to your site are still functional. Thus, it helps you to know whether your backlinks are live or not.
Know which keywords your rivals are using.
Upon entering the URL, you can see the organic keywords which are driving traffic to your competitor’s website. If you want to some fantastic traffic-driving topic ideas for your blog, this feature will come in handy. If some keywords help your competitor rank higher, they can help you too. The Pareto Principle states that 20% of your keywords drive about 80% of your traffic. How about using the top 20% keywords of each of your competitors? The results that you will get might just blow your mind.
Content gap: Through Content gap, you can find all the keywords for which you don’t rank, unlike your competitors. It informs you about the crucial areas that you should work upon, related to content. If your rivals can rank from a specific keyword, so can you. You won’t find this feature anywhere else.
What’s so cool about Best Pages?
Ahrefs displays the top performing pages according to the backlinks. The screenshot below displays top results which are the root domain. Then appear the top pages of my site with good backlink strength. Use the “HTTP codes” filter at the top to avoid the pages with 301 directions. This feature will help you to create backlinks quickly by publishing link-attracting proven content. All that you have to do is to go through the top pages of your investors to instantly get the pages with maximum traffic. Thus, you won’t have to go through the keywords at which your competitors are ranking. Isn’t that cool?
What makes paid search a boon for PPC marketers?
Running PPC campaigns has never been this easy and fruitful. Ahrefs not only enhances the return on your ad investment, but also lets you spy on your rivals, know their targeted keywords, and view the ad copies that they are using for those keywords.
Through this feature, you can also view the top landing pages that your competitors are using. Thus, you can easily find out all the pages that deliver excellent results for your opponents. If you are considering investing in advertising, then this feature can be of great help.
Content explorer: If you have used both the Ahrefs as well as the BuzzSumo tool, then you will know how the content explorer feature alone makes the entire BuzzSumo tool redundant. Using this feature, you will know the top shared content in every niche. After the results are displayed, it allows you to filter the results based on languages, date, referring domains, domain ratings, number of social media shares, organic traffic, word count, etc. Through these filters, you can find out precisely what you need.
The referring domains filter will help you to find viral content that attracts excellent links. This feature is very useful in generating content ideas for your blog posts that can go viral, thereby, earning links and social media shares.
This feature also lets you know all the people on Twitter who have tweeted a specific content on Twitter. Thus, it gives you a chance to know about budding social media influencers and build relationships with them.
If you operate in a niche where you have to cover viral news and content quickly, Ahrefs can be very useful. It allows you to identify viral content in any niche within a matter of hours. Instead of the topic name, you can enter your domain’s URL in Content Explorer. It will display all the popular content of the site. Clicking on the ‘details’ button below each of the presented results will help you to drill down the data further.
Ahrefs also displays the backlinks and organic traffic charts of the content, as you can see in the screenshot given below. Separate tabs allow you to explore backlinks and refer anchors, domains, and organic keywords for the displayed result. There’s no wonder what you can do after knowing your competitors’ data.
Keywords Explorer: The feature ‘keywords explorer’ effectively replaces the need for any keyword research tools. It makes keyword research quick and easy. All you need to do is entering your topic idea or seed keyword. Ahrefs will calculate how difficult the keyword is, and also give you the search volume for monthly local and global searches. The keyword filters are as follows.
- Phrase match: It will let look for the exact keyword.
- Traffic share: This filter will return the percentage of the seed keyword traffic obtained by every top 10 ranking blogs.
- Also rank for: Any content that ranks for your seed keyword might also be ranking for some other keywords. This filter returns those other keywords for which that content ranks.
- Having same terms: It returns the keywords that contain words of your seed keyword.
How about some fault-finding?
Although I am completely in love with the Ahrefs tool, a bit of nitpicking will do people no harm. While using this tool, I found certain areas where Ahrefs can improve, and can impress us through and through.
- Poor UI: Despite all its fantastic features, there is something about this tool that might not motivate rookies to try it. Ahrefs’ poor user interface might come across as very complicated for someone who is using the tool for the first time. With so many things adjusted into a single page, this tool, unfortunately, comes off as rather intricate and complicated.
- Displays limited backlinks: Although the tool is somewhat overpriced, what further burns a hole in the user’s pocket is the fact that Ahrefs displays only a limited number of backlinks. It charges for more money if you wish to view more backlinks created by your competitor.
- Overpriced: With a monthly charge of INR 8000, the price of the Ahrefs tool is somewhat on the higher side. The high cost will discourage many SEO professionals who are in their learning phase to let go of this wonderful tool. With so many features, only the ones with an accurate understanding of this tool and the SEO process can benefit from Ahrefs. For a novice, who is still trying to get the hang of the SEO work, investing money in this tool might only mean squandering their money.
I could only think of these three points, and honestly, I can’t think of anything that makes this fantastic tool look bad or worthless. Although its price is an issue, the ones who are more adept at using Ahrefs will find spending money on in this tool worth every penny. Ahrefs comes highly recommended to every SEO professional and digital marketer. Get a free 15-day trial and find out yourself if this tool is worth your time and money. While you are at it, do remember to share this Ahrefs review with your friends online. Have a nice time -:)
If you have been working steadily on your blog, and still not getting the desired traffic, then there is something fundamentally wrong with your approach. But you don’t have to worry. Getting traffic is not rocket science. Here are five easy tips to help you increase traffic on your blog.
- Be strategic about the content of your blog: There is no alternative to excellent content. You can achieve tangible results by merely enhancing the quality of your content. However, quality alone can’t get you there. You have to be more strategic with your efforts at content marketing. Your content should specific to a need. If you know your audience well enough, you will know what kind of content they want you to post. Your blogs can be funny, and witty, or educational and informative. Try finding the right balance between these two categories, and you will have a more diverse audience.
- Don’t hesitate to use keywords: If you want big-time traffic on your blog, then you must include SEO and keywords to your strategy. People get jittery about incorporating SEO techniques in their plan. But you must remember that SEO can do wonders for your blog when you do it the right way. Google will direct traffic to your blog, and the users will find all the information they are looking for on the web. The best thing about SEO is that you can link your blog to some of the other related blogs that you might have written on a particular subject.
- Targeting social networks correctly: While it is advisable to establish your presence across multiple social networks, you will soon begin to lose focus in your bid to excel with every social network. Try figuring out which social media network suits you the best. If your blog is heavy on visuals, you should post focus on LinkedIn. If your blog contains a social message, give your Facebook page some extra attention. You must figure out where the majority of takers of your content hang out and effectively target those platforms. Once you have identified your key networks, concentrate on them more. Ask your followers to share your content, so that your following keeps increasing.
- Optimize your page for speed: Your followers aren’t going to wait forever for your blog to load. If your page doesn’t come up fast, they will just hit the back button and move on to the next Google listing, which will most probably be that of your competitors’. Check out some of the WordPress plugins that will help you in creating a version of your blog that is specially optimized for a mobile device.
- Be friends with your competition: While this may sound weird, the truth is that building good relationships with your competitors will go a long way in establishing your dominance in your niche. Comment on blogs from bloggers in your field. Cite a blogger in one of your posts, and tag them in a tweet to let them know. The blogger will retweet and share that post that mentions them. Consequently, you will get more shares and traffic.
Ever wondered what impact does User-generated content make on your SEO strategy? You might have noticed that the popularity of UGC has grown significantly in recent years. Top websites are more than eager to share user-generated content on their platforms. Among the most shared UGC includes digital videos, blogging, podcasting, review sites, social networking, mobile photography, wikis, etc.
Believe or not, consumers act as your best marketers. It is more frequent that your potential customers trust other online reviews given by other customers to make a buying decision. This happens because we all are more open to accepting the opinions and suggestions given by our peers. You can always flaunt your product, but the sentiment that someone creates who is outside of the organization is even more impactful. By simply adding customer reviews on the website pages, you can increase your organic page visits greatly.
UGC, as a form of crowdsourcing, can immensely bring value to your website and SEO in following ways:
Provides SEO with qualitative content: Through user-generated content, you can always generate fresh and authentic content that acts as a key to keep your ranking on top. Brands need not require a lot of resources to create new targeted for SEO as the content is constantly generated by the users itself. This also indicates that the brands are not talking about their happy customers; instead, the customers themselves are talking about the brand.
Few sites, especially E-commerce websites often lack fresh content. In this case, UGC acts as a great solution to offer some content to other users looking for some information to evaluate the product or services. Having reviews also suggest that your site is active and credible for customers.
Acts as a great source for long-tail keywords: Long-tail keywords are very effective in terms to have your rank high. Having UGC help brands to know phrases that users generally search on the search engine which brands may not necessarily think of including to their customer marketing. Through UGC, you can be aware of trending topics in which your visitors are most interested in. Having comments or reviews, you have an opportunity to excel in your PPC campaigns as you can choose ideal phrases and keywords to optimize your overall SEO strategy.
When users post what they love about your product or service, they provide you an insight into what your audience is looking for. Knowing which long-tail keywords to use can make a huge difference in your ranking!
Enriches social media optimization: A well-executed content curation strategy is necessary to boost your SEO. Social media marketing and SEO are closely associated in a way that sharing content on social media platforms engages users and brings them to your website. This calls a great traffic to your website, which amplifies your SEO. This, in turn, improves your site visibility and indirectly pushes your ranking high on search results.
Sharing your customer’s reviews or images builds greater trust with your followers on Facebook or Twitter, which increases likes, comments, and shares. The more you engage your followers on social media, the more you attract more organic traffic to your website!
Offers great results for search engine queries: To evaluate a website, automated search engine algorithms use spiders that keenly look into the ratings and reviews provided by the customer. Also, to evaluate site’s reputation, search quality raters give ratings to the website manually according to its content originality, topic mastery, authority of the author, among various other tenets. Thus, the content provided by the customers help you to earn SEO points from quality rating systems and provides great results to search engine queries.
Just as top brands and companies are harnessing the use of user-generated content, you too can embrace UGC as an effective tactic to improve your overall organic search performance. Majority of customers today rely on Google for their buying journey and thus, it is important for you to grasp UGC as one of your strongest marketing tools to strengthen SEO.
Once your leverage on UGC, make sure to monitor your website on a regular basis. One negative review can badly impact your brand image if you take time to respond him/her. You will also need to select the right spam filter to prevent comment spamming, as it can harm your rankings, authority, and traffic. However, if managed appropriately, user-generated content is one of the best options to boost your SEO campaign.
Last week, webmasters saw a sudden ranking fluctuations in their website rankings. Even premium SEO tools witnessed a huge drop in rankings of key websites. This gave speculations about a new algorithm update. Google has now officially announced this broad core algorithm update.
The news is now confirmed that Google has rolled out another broad core algorithm update this week. This algorithm update was released on 16th April, Monday as confirmed by its official Twitter handle.
Google writes in its tweet that it usually makes broad changes in its algorithms to improve search results. They do this routinely throughout the year. Google added that some of its changes are focused on specific improvements while others are broad changes.
Many SEOs thought that the update targeted low-quality pages however, it was later confirmed that the update was closely related to content relevance. Google is adjusting rankings to ensure that searchers obtain best search results to their queries.
Google released a similar algorithm update early this month after it was explained that a “broad core” algorithm update is something that takes place routinely several times all through the year
However, if your ranking is also affected by this update, it does not necessarily indicate a low quality of your content. Instead, it’s more likely that your content needs to be more relevant to the users who are looking for the information.
Want to know the ways to filter referral spam in Google Analytics? You might find an answer here…
You can minimize or even eliminate the negative effects of fake traffic in Google Analytics. If you are a beginner, you must check out the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery and look out for referrer spam or block bots. While you look in the gallery, you can find some great resources there, but filtering referral spam requires a lot more.
Given below are some effective steps that can help you with the process the filtering spam or block bots in Google Analytics:
Identify which bots are harmful: Belief or not, bot all bots are not bad! There are plenty of bots which makes our search world go round. To cite some examples, these may include GoogleBot, BingBot, SpyFu, Deep Crawl, Screaming Frog, among various other bots. However, these bots are not dangerous for sites, or even for the visitors of the site.
The bots that can turn out dangerous for your site includes the ones that can seize your traffic, get through loopholes in CMS for the purpose of hacking and scrape your content. On the basis of your industry type, there are certainly some forms of bot traffic more harmful from others. Thus, it is important to figure out which bots need to be tackled.
In fact, it’s not always the bots that are harmful; there are many other referral sources that can send enormous traffic to ruin your data.
Carefully filter your Analytics Traffic: Before you start to filter out your bot traffic, you must know what is being taken out of your data set. This requires you to compare data. To do this, you can create a separate view in Analytics and name it like “bot traffic filtered.” This is how you can do it following these simple steps:
- Click on “Admin”
- Click on the drop-down menu, in the right column under “View”
- Select “Create new view”
- In the next step, be sure to set your time zone, which defaults to Pacific Time
Block bots in Google Analytics: Google provides you an “easy button” instead of doing it manually to block known bots. This can minimize your work up to 75 to 80 percent. The bots are regularly updated as Google keeps on finding new bots.
For your new view, you can select the “view settings” option and click the checkbox. This will exclude all hits from the known bots. Doing this will tell you what will happen to your traffic as soon you turn on bot filtering. But, before this, make sure that none of your important traffic sources are part of Google’s list of known bots. When you decide to roll it out in the main profile, add an annotation to explain changes and prepare people who view your analytics. All you need to do is click on the little arrow under analytics chart in Google analytics and follow the instructions.
Create a custom referrer filter: Google’s bot filtering system may work for a while, but certainly, there will be some other referrers which might send volumes of no quality traffic to your website. To identify these referrers, open the referrer list in Google Analytics and sort the data descending by bounce rate to bring 100% bounce rate to the top.
Using an advanced filter, you can filter the data to only highlight a number of sessions over a specific threshold. This can vary as per your traffic volume. Having this done, you can scroll down the list and pick sites that you want to add to your referral exclusion list. Once you get a list of the sites that you want to filter, cut them down to the main TLD.
In the process, you may also find some foul websites but make sure that you don’t visit them to check them out. Visiting them might make you a recipient of some unwanted malware or spyware. After your list is fully vetted, you can finally create a custom referrer filter.
Set up a bad referrer filter: Once you have a list of all the bad referrers that you want to block, create a new filter in the view that you had set up earlier for bad referrers. Remember not to do this at the account level, but only in the view screen. To set the filter, follow these steps:
- Select “Admin” option
- Select “Filter” under “View”
- Click on “Add Filter” and give a desired name to the filter
- Then Click on “Custom” and “Exclude”
- Select “Campaign Source” as your “Filter Field” and add all the domains that you want to exclude in the box
Be careful as you enter multiple domains that can create a mess. Also, make it a point to test your filter and update it regularly as you will get new domains to exclude now and then.
Block bot traffic: Now this step requires skilled expertise. This involves using .htaccess or web config in IIS, which acts as a backbone for the entire website. This must be handled cautiously as one wrong character can bring down your site completely. Don’t forget to make a backup copy and make sure that you have access directly to your server.
.htaccess file acts as a powerful tool for disposal as you can block a high volume of bot traffic from accessing your server. You will have to integrate this code into the existing .htaccess file:
Rewrite Engine On
Deny from 188.8.131.52
Allow from all
Following the above steps is an effective way to block high or low volumes of bot traffic which can place a high load on your server. As the list gets longer, it puts more load on your server that causes your site to slow down. Blocking the bots can reduce the load on your server and also ensure that these visits out of the Google Analytics. In case of serious security issue, you should contact your web host or system administrator to resolve the issue.
Great content can bring you better search engine ranking for competitive queries but URLs can make a big difference! It is a durable URL that actually accumulates links or signals over time and releases fresh content. It is also responsible to maintain your position at the top of search results. “Durable URLs” are all that you need to ensure long-term SEO success.
What is a durable URL?
Unlike disposable URL, a durable URL is the one that remains lasting and could be updated with new or fresh content later. During the process, it continues to rank for various keyword targets to maintain ranking signals. However, there are plenty of URLs which are updated very often but are not said to be durable URLs. It’s just a way of thinking about URLs which decides the future success through the accumulation of signals such as inbound links.
Having a durable URLs ensures that the content becomes a dynamic document rather than an inactive proclamation. The best part is, the content matching the query can be updated any time, throughout the year.
Durable and disposable URLs
A durable URL, particularly the resource name or slug, must not contain any dates, opinions, author’s name, adjectives or any information about the post. It should simply match the crux of target search terms or keywords. It must be highly simple, short, easy to read and free from clutter. For an instance, a write up about digital marketing, a sound URL slug could be: digital-marketing or business-promotion-digital-marketing etc. Here, you can simply update content without even bothering about changing URL every year or month.
On the other hand, disposable URL slug could be like digital-marketing-trends-2018 or promote-business-with-digital-marketing-trends-2018. In such instances, the URL must be redirected to a new location to accumulate ranking signals or query else, no accumulation occurs and old versions are maintained. To have a new version for the next year, a new URL should be created to match the content. Creating a new URL means that the webpage must start from the beginning, having no likes, shares, tweets, bookmarks or pre-existing links.
Making a choice…
The big question is, how to choose whether to use durable or a disposable URL?
It is not always a compulsion to choose a particular type of URL. different content or keywords demand different URLs.
There are certain types of content that work best with a durable content including:
- Critical content and other content targeting vital short-tail keywords
- Time-sensitive content, most based on annual reports or other annual listings
- Content where core topics remain the same
- Content which needs to be updated on a regular basis
- Content that targets high search volume target keywords
- Content targeting keywords which might have a shift in context overtime
On the other hand, types of content which might benefit from disposable URL includes:
- Content that can be used as a reference for future use
- Content with a specific point of view
- Author’s content which needs no modification in future
- Content with no search volume target keywords
- Content with longer tail-keyword targets
However, redirects can help to pass many ranking signals yet, having a strong initial URL that stands the test of time is irreplaceable!
How evergreen URLs work?
Evergreen URLs are need of an hour. Content may need updates but the underlying URL and basic topic usually remains same. Having a better understanding of URLs can allow your website to maintain fresh content without actually getting worried about pre-existing ranking, traffic or social signals.
Make sure to pick your original URL wisely and then you can always have a chance to make necessary changes to title, images, meta description or text body, even after publishing new piece of content!