Ahrefs vs SEMrush Alternatives: The SEO Tool Wars

by Jaco

Ahrefs vs SEMrush Alternatives SEO Tool Showdown

RankTank often gets asked, what is our favourite SEO tool? Ahrefs vs SEMrush? or what is your favourite Ahrefs alternative? SEMrush alternatives?

The answer is simple, we’ve used every SEO tool out there. Hell, we even make them :), today I’ll try break it down for you by comparing Ahrefs and SEMrush in the RankTank external SEO tool showdown of the century.

Ahrefs vs SEMrush… Round1, Fight!

Let’s start with a simple comparison between Ahrefs and SEMrush. I’ve tried to compare the most relevant SEO tool features of each in the table below:

SEMrush Ahrefs
Keyword Research
Google Keyword Database 20 Billion 10.2 Billion
Keyword Click Data Metric based on SERP features Estimated number of clicks per month
Search Engine Support Google Google, Bing, Yahoo, Others
Domain Analytics
Mobile SERP Rank Yes, Mobile and Desktop No, Only Desktop
PLA Keyword Comparison Yes, Side by Side No
Comparison Domains (Side by Side) Up to 5 Up to 10
Link Building Link Building Tool with Outreach No Separate Tool
Link Detox Analysis Backlink Audit Tool with Outreach No Separate Tool
Google Analytics and GSC Integrated No
Removed/Lost Links No Yes
Outgoing Links No Yes
Competitive Intelligence
Competitors Traffic Yes, Traffic Analytics No
Target Audience Understanding Yes, Market Explorer No
Content Writing Yes, SEO Writing Assistant, Topic Research and SEO Content Template No
Technical SEO
On Page Improvements Yes, On Page SEO Checker / SEO Content Template No
Website Content Audits Yes, Content Audit No
External Content Reporting Yes, Post Tracking No
Brand Mentions Yes, Brand Monitoring No
Popular Content Finder No Yes, Content Explorer
JavaScript Rendering No Yes
Pay Per Click
PPC Tools Yes Partial, Site Explorer
SMM Tools
SMM Tools Yes No
Additional Tools
Listing Management Yes No
Marketing Leads Yes, Oppty No
Traffic Acquisition Yes, Traffic Jet No
Traffic Driving Content Yes, Marketplace No

Ahrefs Vs SEMrush Comparison… Round 2, Fight!

When comparing Ahrefs vs SEMrush there are immediately a few apparent differences. SEMrush is more focused on providing SEO tools to assist digital marketers with common SEO related tasks as opposed to Ahrefs which focuses more on providing SEO metrics in a cost effective manner.

Both SEMrush and Ahrefs have their own positives and negatives, but at RankTank we have a clear preference for SEMrush based on the amount of Google keyword data that SEMrush aggregates for each locale and device.

It’s important for us to be able to obtain both desktop and mobile keyword ranking data, just as we do with our own free Google keyword rank checker. SEMrush provides us with the most accurate keyword ranking data, more up to date and relevant than Ahrefs. We would know as we process about 1TB of SERP data per day through our own free SEO tools.

SEMrush Killer Features… Round 3, Fight!

Let’s look at some more Ahrefs vs SEMrush killer features which we believe set them apart from other professional SEO tools out there:

1. Monthly Search Volume (MSV)

At RankTank we make extensive use of SEMrush MSV data in all our keyword position checking SEO tools. You will even find this data in our RankTank Google Sheet Add-on.

Keyword search volume is important for use in SEO and PPC campaigns. It helps you to establish which keywords to bid on as well as what to bid based on volume. This assists with saving time and money while focusing efforts on the correct keywords.

2. Google Keyword Database

When comparing Ahrefs vs SEMrush, it’s clear that SEMrush has the largest Google keyword database on the market. The total number of keywords now exceed 20 billion and is great for giving you more ideas to enrich your SEO and PPC campaigns.

3. Accurate Keyword Position Tracking

Daily keyword position updates for both desktop and mobile keyword rank data makes SEMrush a great rank monitoring tool. Amazingly accurate when compared to our own keyword rank checker which monitors Google keyword rankings in real-time.

4. SEO Reporting

Organizing all your SEO data in one place is incredibly important. You can then easily create reports for yourself, your boss and your customers. SEMrush can create Branded and White Label PDF reports supporting scheduling and integration with third-party tools such as GS, GMB and GSC.

5. Backlink Detox

Just like the ever popular Link Research Tools, When we look at Ahrefs vs SEMrush we note the latter also provides the ability to analyze toxic backlinks with the option to reach out to webmasters to have these links removed.

6. Content Marketing

The bane of many an SEOs existence, SEMrush provides content optimization and creation tools with many unique features that will take your content marketing efforts to the next level. SEO Writing Assistance, On Page SEO Checker/SEO Content Template, Content Audit, Post Tracking and Brand Monitoring to name a few.

SEMrush Wins

We’ve been making use of SEMrush at RankTank for the last decade and in our opinion SEMrush is not only a great Ahrefs alternative, but also our first choice in external SEO tools when it comes to our blogs SEO here at RankTank.

Let me know your thoughts on Ahrefs vs SEMrush as well as any SEO tool alternatives you may want us to review in future?

Leave a Comment


Priya Sharma 19 April 2021 - 5:11 am

hi there! thanks for sharing this detailed difference between ahref and semrush this article is very informative and helpful.

Ranjit Kumar 15 October 2020 - 10:58 am

Yeah great article i just found what i want thanks for sharing these awesome ahrefs alternatives.
I personally use SEMRush pro and its gives lots of features in it.

Ranjit Verma

Dawid Lisowski 11 October 2020 - 5:29 am

Im admin of and so far I use AHREF only… Looks like a very professional tool for SEOS

Ahrefs deserves an honest fight 22 September 2020 - 10:34 am

You could’ve call this post “roast ahrefs”…

Tracy 12 August 2020 - 11:28 am

Thanks for your Ahrefs vs SEMrush comparison Jaco. 🙂

Jaco 12 August 2020 - 11:29 am

Thanks Tracy.

Boris 11 August 2020 - 6:53 am

Quite an insightful comparison between Ahrefs and SEMrush, I would however add that Ahrefs does come in at a lower price point, but if you add all the features and benefits up then SEMrush provides the best value for money to SEOs like myself.

Jaco 11 August 2020 - 6:54 am

Thanks Boris, we completely agree here at RankTank.

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