Ahrefs vs Semrush: Which SEO Tool Will Get You Better Results?

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Close up of hands on a keyboard with overlay of SEO tools on top transparent.
Having SEO tools at your fingertips can help you improve your search engine rankings and drive traffic to your website.

Picking the right SEO tool for your needs can be tricky. I compare Ahrefs and Semrush, two hugely popular options. They are some of the best, but which is the best? Both can boost your site’s SEO capability, but a few differences might make one option better for you. I delve into their core differences and most important features and give them a quick spin to help you decide who wins the battle of Ahrefs vs Semrush.

Visit Ahrefs Website | Visit Semrush’s Website

Keyword ResearchBlue checkmarkBlue checkmark
Backlink AnalysisBlue checkmark
Competitor AnalyticsBlue checkmark
Keyword Rank TrackerBlue checkmark
Customer SupportBlue checkmark
PricingBlue checkmarkBlue checkmark
Overall WinnerBlue checkmark

Keyword Research

Ahrefs’ keyword explorer determines the difficulty of ranking and tells you how many backlinks you need to rank on the first page. I like how it also allows you to arrange keyword ideas into groups. It also lets you ‘spy’ on a competitor’s site using an organic keywords report. However, their keyword suggestions do not have a relevancy score, and their PPC competitor research isn’t as strong as Semrush’s. Here’s a quick video showcasing Ahrefs keyword explorer.

With Semrush’s keyword magic tool, you can enter a seed word or phrase and get up to two million keyword suggestions. After spending time with the keyword magic tool, I find it really useful that you can arrange and filter the keywords by search volume, keyword difficulty, CPC (cost-per-click) data, and competitive density. It also provides SERP (search engine results pages) analytics, which is beneficial for anyone looking to improve their technical SEO performance. The one negative of Semrush here is its keyword difficulty tool, as it’s not always as accurate as Ahrefs.

Winner: Keyword Research

Both Ahrefs and Semrush have outstanding keyword research tools. Although Semrush offers more keyword data overall, Ahrefs offers more specific analytics regarding some features. I determine this a tie based on your specific keyword research needs.
Semrush logoahrefs logo 250

Semrush offers all of this and more. They also provide you with a toxic score for each backlink and the owner’s email so you can request they remove the link. Semrush has an enormous backlink database, much more comprehensive than Ahrefs. Plus, they have a link-building tool to assist with outreach campaigns. I like that Semrush’s backlink analytics tool lets you easily see a competitor’s backlink details, where you can drill down on their organic traffic and referring domains with more detail.

Semrush backlinks of amazon screenshot.
Semrush’s backlink analytics tool displays a competitor’s backlink details clearly with graphs, displays, and more.

Winner: Backlink Analysis

Although both Ahrefs and Semrush offer comprehensive backlink analysis, I find that Semrush is the clear winner for its additional backlink features.
Semrush logo

Competitor Analytics

I appreciate Ahref’s site explorer, which is easy to use and allows you to research your competitors’ keyword ratings, backlinks, and overall competitors’ online strategies. When you upgrade to their premium plans, you can also see broken backlink opportunities, content gaps, and more. Seeing this and a competitor’s top-performing content can help you identify opportunities and improve your website’s performance.

However, I think that Semrush pulls it out of the bag when it comes to competitor analytics. They have similar competitor analytics features as Ahrefs. But they also have many PPC features to help you maximize your Google Ads campaigns and how your competitors rank for various keywords and their organic competitors. For most businesses nowadays, good social media management is a huge part of their success. Semrush has a social media tracker to analyze your competitors’ social media activity so you can identify where you need to improve.

Semrush competitors of amazon screenshot.
Semrush displays how your competitors are ranking, along with their position. You can drill down to their organic search traffic, common keywords, and more.

Winner: Competitor Analytics

Ahrefs can certainly assist with your website’s success. But I think Semrush is the obvious winner when it comes to competitor analytics, as it offers a much deeper insight into your competitors’ performance.
Semrush logo

Keyword Rank Tracker

Both Ahrefs and Semrush provide users with keyword rank tracking tools to help you monitor your SEO efforts effectively. With Ahrefs, you can easily track the performance of your target keywords, providing comprehensive data on keyword positions, search volumes, and trends over time. I find it useful that you can track the performance of your target keywords across different search engines. But for daily updates, you need the higher plans.

Semrush also has a position-tracking feature, allowing you to monitor keyword rankings for organic and paid search results. You can drill down on organic keywords to see which words drive people to their site. Additionally, I like how you can set up customized alerts to stay informed about any significant changes in your keyword positions. With Semrush, you can assign a unique visibility trend to see how you perform in the rankings overall.

Semrush keywords for amazon screenshot.
Semrush offers users insight into organic keyword trends across several years, SERP features, and much more.

Winner: Keyword Rank Tracker

Both Ahrefs and Semrush offer valuable keyword rank tracker insights. But Semrush’s capabilities are slightly more advanced, helping you to stay ahead, which is why I deem them the winner.
Semrush logo

Customer Support

Semrush and Ahrefs provide informational blogs, how-to video courses, and host regular webinars by their SEO experts to help users get the most out of their services. Ahrefs and Semrush’s Academy have an extensive selection of educational SEO tools. Plus, they both have a help center where customers can reach further support.

The difference between them is that, when it comes to talking to an actual human rather than a bot, only Ahrefs ticks the box. Semrush’s team only offers email support, typically taking one working day to receive a reply. In comparison, Ahrefs offers email and a live chat option, which is great for users who like instant help.

Winner: Customer Support

If you like instant help, Ahrefs is the best option, thanks to their live chat facilities, which is why I deem Ahrefs the winner in this category. However, our SEO expert states that the Semrush team is always quick to help.
ahrefs logo 250


First, let’s compare Ahrefs and Semrush in terms of pricing. I’ve grouped them side by side according to their similar plans for easier comparison.

Ahrefs LiteSemrush ProAhrefs StandardSemrush GuruAhrefs AdvancedSemrush Business
Monthly Price$89$129.95$179$249.95$319$499.95
Tracked Keywords7505002,0001,5005,0005,000
Results Per Report2,50010,00030,00030,00075,00050,000

Both Ahref and Semrush offer an additional enterprise or custom plan for those looking for more than all of the above. These depend on your business needs, so comparing these higher plans isn’t easy. Ahrefs offers this plan from $899, whereas Semrush asks customers to contact them for a quote.

On the face of it, it would appear that Ahrefs is the clear winner, offering plans at a much lower rate and more projects, keywords, and results per month. However, Ahrefs has recently converted to a usage-based system, making comparing their prices more challenging. Not only does this make it hard for customers to budget, but it has also caused a lot of controversy among their existing customer base, who are legacy users.

ahrefs plan comparison new lite vs legacy lite.
Ahrefs’ new Lite Plan versus their original Legacy Lite plan, displaying how the new Lite Plan differs and what new users have gained and lost.

Semrush has higher monthly rates. However, you get everything in the plan you pay for without having to consider additional basic usage rates. Of course, both Ahrefs and Semrush have additional add-ons available. But if you pay for the Semrush Pro plan, you get everything in that plan. Meanwhile, with Ahrefs Lite, you get everything in that plan as long as you stay within your credit usage.

For example, the Ahrefs Lite plan comes with 500 credits. One credit is consumed whenever you open a report, apply filters, or request additional data. You are charged another credit if you reopen a report 31 minutes after initially opening it. Even the dashboard uses 1 credit per month, which I find bizarre. If you use up these credits before the month ends, you must purchase additional credits, which costs $31 for 500. Depending on the credits used, you could spend more monthly than you would with Semrush.

It’s a shame that Ahrefs no longer offers a seven-day trial for $7. However, it does have a limited suite of free SEO tools for those with a verified domain. Meanwhile, Semrush offers seven days of full access to all of their toolkits for free. As long as you cancel the plan, it defaults to a free limited account. I think it’s a great way for businesses to see if their toolkit is right before committing to a monthly subscription.

Winner: Pricing

Ahrefs is the cheaper option on the face of it. However, their pricing plan is slightly complicated, and some users spend more in total than they might with Semrush. In comparison, Semrush has a more transparent pricing plan. I call this a tie as it is usage-dependent.
Semrush logoahrefs logo 250

Overall Winner

After giving both Ahrefs and Semrush a spin, I feel the only slim advantage Ahrefs has over Semrush is that I find their platform slightly more user-friendly. Their dashboard and other pages are set out in a way that my eye finds more simple to follow. However, many users also comment that they prefer Semrush for this reason, so this is all about personal preference.

Aahrefs dashboard screenshot.
Ahrefs dashboard displays each project’s overview, where you can instantly see important changes in your website’s performance.

Investing in a reliable SEO platform like Semrush or Ahrefs can significantly improve your website’s performance and help you stay ahead of the competition. Ahrefs and Semrush are two of the best SEO tools currently available. Choosing between the two depends on various factors that ultimately come down to your personal preference, budget, and business needs.

Overall Winner

Ultimately, the difference between Semrush and Ahrefs is that Semrush offers a more comprehensive SEO package. Semrush pretty much provides everything Ahrefs does, but they have additional features on top of what Ahrefs offers that many users might find helpful. They also offer a free seven-day trial to see if it meets your needs and a clearer pricing structure if you subscribe. For these reasons, I conclude that Semrush is the clear winner.

Ahrefs is an excellent tool that offers many features similar to Semrush. But overall, I think Ahrefs has a fair way to go to compete fully with Semrush. Although they are less expensive at first glance, this may not be true for users needing additional credits. Plus, their new credit-usage pricing structure has left a sour taste in the mouths of many of their customers.
Semrush logo

Our SEO Expert’s Personal Experience

I’ve been a daily user of Semrush for over ten years. While I don’t have personal experience with Ahrefs, I do see a lot of complaints online about slow response times and the feeling of being nickeled and dimed along the way with price increases. Semrush has all of the tools I need to efficiently oversee our SEO operation and I couldn’t imagine switching away from it. If I need help with a specific tool or feature, their support team is ready and willing to lend a hand.

Jeff Butler, SEO and Analytics expert, We Rock Your Web

What About Other SEO Tools?

Ahrefs and Semrush are reliable tools that can take your website to the next level. Although we have looked at the difference between Semrush and Ahrefs, other fantastic SEO providers have different features you might want to consider. Check out our SEO tool showdown, where we compare the major SEO competitors.

Do you prefer Semrush or Ahrefs? Let us know which one and why in the comments!

Why Trust We Rock Your Web?

Emma constantly researches and reviews the latest online SEO tools, including Ahrefs and Semrush, and other tech, to help small businesses thrive in an ever-changing and challenging environment. As a freelance writer, she strives to create content that is helpful for her and her readers to improve their businesses. Emma works with a professional and experienced team to give her readers the best, most accurate, and most up-to-date information.

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The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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