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SEMrush vs Ahref Review 2021: Search Result Comparison

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Unlike the competitor, which relies heavily on backlinks, SEMrush has a different focus:

They pay more attention to the internal structure of a website.

In fact, SEMrush has so many analysis functions, that to the initial user it may seem complicated, but to the people who have an agency, it is very useful.

For example, if you decided to create new content for your blog, they integrate with your Google Docs and do a real-time semantic analysis of the document you are using to write it.

In the end, they’ll suggest which keywords and where to include keywords, the ideal text size based on the competition, and which sites to try to get backlinks from.

Nice, isn’t it?

The history of SEM rush

Founded in 2008 by a small group of IT specialists, SEMrush is headquartered in 4 different countries with more than 400 employees worldwide.

Annual revenue is estimated at $ 3 million, and the company is led by its Russian-born CEO, Oleg Schegolev.

For those who do not know, Oleg also created the “SEO Quake”, a toolbar that you install in the browser and shows several details in real-time of the website you are on.

Very focused on international expansion, SEMrush has content (blogs, webinars, events) in several different languages, including Portuguese.

SEMrush’s backlink analysis

As we are talking about domain analysis , it is essential to make an equal comparison between all the tools.

Therefore, we will use the site of nytimes.com :

What we see in this analysis of domain backlinks:

  • 770.5 million backlinks were identified, coming from 1.39 million different domains (ahrefs shows 645M of backlinks coming from 960 thousand domains);
  • The site appears in searches for 43.95 million keywords (against 42.2M from Ahrefs);
  • The estimated organic traffic is 169.9 million monthly visitors (against 145 million by Ahrefs);

You will now ask me: why such a discrepancy between them?

I would say that for 2 main reasons:

  1. The scanning intensity of the crawlers : Ahrefs’ bots are much more active than SEMrush’s, consequently, they identify many more backlinks (3x more, in this example mentioned);
  2. The mathematical format of the analysis : SEMrush estimates traffic based on a keyword’s clickthrough rate (CTR), according to its placement. Ahrefs analyzes this according to the base purchased from Clickstream, which has real (and anonymous) data from users.

Therefore, for identifying backlinks, SEMrush is far from being an Ahrefs.

Measuring the difficulty of positioning a keyword

SEM rush also adopts the “authority” methodology to define how difficult it will be to position your site for a specific search.

Also using an indicator called “KD” (Keyword Difficulty), the tool measures the strength of the domains that appear first for that keyword, and delivers a 0–100% to measure the difficulty.

  • Above 80% : high difficulty, you will need to invest a lot in link building (generation of backlinks) to be able to compete in this search
  • Between 60% -80% : medium difficulty, not recommended for new sites, but much more attainable than trying to optimize for keywords above 80%.
  • Less than 60% : defined by them as the easiest terms to reach the top positions in searches.

Let’s use the same example of the keyword “seo”, filtering “India”:

In the overview of the analysis of keywords, we can see a volume of searches for “seo” in IN of 110.0 thousand per month.

Ahrefs, on the other hand, says that there are 84 thousand searches per month for the same term.

In other words, SEMrush shows a 22% higher number of searches for “seo”.

* Ahrefs chose not to use this official Google number and have their own search survey, which they say is closer to reality, which is really impossible to prove.

The function of “ Keyword Magic Tool “ leaves something to be desired when it comes to offering new words to be included in your content.

The level of difficulty of the keyword “seo”, according to SEMRush, is 90.78%.

The competitor reports a KD of 11 (also measured from 0 to 100).

That is, according to SEMrush, ranking a content for “seo” is extremely difficult, for Ahrefs, it is considerably easy.

This makes it very clear how dangerous it is to trust these metrics when doing SEO.

This huge difference can be explained by the following reason:

  • Ahrefs analyzes the difficulty of the term by measuring the strength of the specific pages that rank for that search (UR), and not the strength of the domain (DR).
  • SEMrush specifically measures the authority of the domains as a whole .

For example, if you search for the word “seo” on Google, you will find “https://searchengineland.com/guide/what-is-seo” in third place.

Ahrefs analyzes the specific strength of this “/ seo” page, while SEMrush analyzes the strength of the entire “https://www.wordstream.com/seo”.

We know that having a page within an extremely strong domain, but with few (if any) internal links pointing to it (known as “ orphan pages “), has no strength for SEO.

A page may be hosted on the strongest domain that exists, but without authority flowing within it, it is very difficult to conclude that it will rank.

Therefore, we believe that SEMrush’s difficulty analysis (based on domain authority) is not realistic today, and we chose Ahrefs KD as the most reliable for this type of analysis.

New Link Building and E-mail Outreach function

In our Proven SEO training we talked a lot about the importance of promoting all new content that you publish .

And one of the best ways to do that, is by contacting owners of other related sites, and informing them of the existence of your content.

There are hundreds of different scripts that can be used in this outreach process, and I am not going to go into detail on how to do this process here.

But I could not stop talking about this new function of SEMrush of Link Building :

While Ahrefs is the Swiss knife for SEO, SEMrush is a practically essential tool for all marketing agencies .

As I mentioned, they have many functions, and this can seem a little complicated for those who are new to the subject.

But for those who really need to analyze all aspects of Search Engine Marketing , SEMrush needs to enter the list of tools to be tested.

Other very useful functions of SEM Rush

It is not because SEMRush lost in the analysis of backlinks and in the metric showing the difficulty of ranking a keyword, which is an inferior tool.

On the contrary, as the name says, it focuses on “SEM”, that is, Search Engine Marketing, and its functions go beyond SEO .

  • Product Listing Ads (PLA) search : analyze your competitors who advertise on Google Shopping, great for e-commerce owners and agencies looking for opportunities to improve paid product exposure.
  • SERP Features : shows which rich snippets appear for a respective keyword, such as video, sitelinks, merry-go-round, knowledge graph, among others.
  • Gap Analysis (GAP) : makes a comparison between 5 domains and gives suggestions for keywords or backlinks that your competitors have and you don’t.
  • Topic Research : similar to the competitor’s content explorer, it gives very interesting tips for new content to be inserted on your website, based on the analysis of competitors
  • Writing Assistant and Content Template : shows what can be improved in your text, so that it makes it easier to understand Google for a given keyword, similar to the analysis that the Yoast plugin does, but also using competitors as a comparative basis
  • Listing Management : for those who have several businesses registered on Google My Businesses, he does this management showing what remains to be included in each one, giving suggestions for very nice optimizations
  • Lead Generation Tool : interesting for agencies to search for new SEO clients, just ask your potential client to insert an HTML code, and the tool will generate a report of what can be optimized, then send an email to them with all the information.
  • Personalized Reports : another very good function for agencies, you can create white label reports, using your logo, to show your client the result of your SEO actions
  • Social Media : allows you to identify all mentions of your website on social networks and has an internal calendar for making new posts on them.
  • Site Audit and SEO Checker : analyzes all content on your site and gives suggestions for improvements (such as removing duplicate content, adding rich snippets, changes to headers, goals, titles, creating backlinks already suggesting which sites might be interesting to contact, improvements in semantics, and technical problems that may be impacting your SEO actively. These are really useful functions for those who own large sites and cannot do all this analysis by hand.

How much does SEMrush cost?

The SEMrush value of USD 99 / month in the most basic package also leaves a lot to be desired, and prevents many website owners or small agencies from having access to the tool on a monthly basis.

Agency fees range from $ 199–399 / month depending on your need.

However, unlike the competitor, they are very flexible with testing and allow you to use all functions (in a limited way), for 7 days, free of charge.

During the registration process, they will ask for your credit card, and the subscription will be activated automatically if you do not request cancellation before the deadline.

Want to see a legal test of the tool in action? Put a domain down there:

Final analysis of the SEMrush tool

If you work with several sites and have a team to assist you, SEMrush can really have very positive participation in scaling your projects.

The number of functions related to marketing is really useful for those who have the operational capacity to act in all these aspects and actually use them.

On the other hand, if you do not have all this resource available to assist in the growth of your single site, you will not use even 10% of all its functions, making the investment a low-cost benefit.

Our tip, take the 7-day test. You can really change your agency’s service level with the help of the tool.Hemant

Freelance Web Developer. TWITTER @hemantvastav.Follow

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