Much like the flint and stone used by the prehistoric man, SEO tools are now the bread and butter for just about every marketer. In this very topical area of discussion, much of the debate among those in the industry comes down to one thing: SEMrush vs Ahrefs.

With both of these very advanced tools vying for the top spot, it’s interesting to see which emerges as the ultimate SEO assistant. As someone in relentless pursuit of the next big thing, much of my attention these days has been dedicated to studying and analysing SEMrush and Ahrefs.

In my post today, I do a quick side-by-side comparison of these solutions. Check it out and leave a comment about which is your favourite 🙂

Round 1: Keyword research and suggestions

For anyone with even the most limited understanding of what marketing comprises, keyword research is the most crucial part of getting your basics right.

When it comes to SEMrush, its ‘Keyword Magic Tool’ is excellent in terms of generating keywords ideas and keyword grouping to segment keywords by topic, as well as create up to 50 target keyword lists. It also runs its own Keyword Analyzer.

When it comes to Ahrefs, its ‘Keywords Explorer’ packs in some serious punch as well. Among some of its most notable features, users can even see how many clicks each of their keywords receive and how well they rank for target keywords, while targeting more general topics on their pages.

Winner: SEMrush does the basics well, but Ahrefs goes above and beyond with its special features.

Round 2: SEO API

If the term ‘API’ still seems a little too technical for you, let me make it simpler: APIs allow you to access a tool’s features and functionality without having to launch dedicated software.

While this seems like an odd area of comparison, you must remember that user experience can make or break any tool, regardless of how good it otherwise is. In this area, SEMrush is one of the most sophisticated in the market.

To this end, you can use its API key to request an almost endless amount of data including domain reports, keyword reports, URL reports and so much more. Using its features, you can even build on its functionality and customise it to your needs.

Ahrefs doesn’t do as well here, providing relatively limited functionality – beyond the basics – to users.

Winner: SEMrush

Round 3: Backlink analysis

Backlink analysis and building is a huge part of any sound SEO strategy. When it comes down to the SEMrush vs AHrefs debate, therefore, this area is one rife with competition.

With Ahrefs’ set of link tools, you can not only monitor your own links but those of your competitors as well. You can also view other data including when the link went live, whether they’re do-follow or no-follow links, anchor text and other pieces of crucial information.

When it comes to SEMrush, its backlink checker shows you all links redirecting to your domain, helps you conduct a thorough link analysis, and understand your domain authority apart from regular functions like checking backlinks and link geolocation tracking.

Winner: Ahrefs. SEMrush’s link tools are great but aren’t as sophisticated as those offered by Ahrefs.


Regardless of how amazing SEO tools are, price can be a make-or-break factor when it comes down to selection.

Ahrefs and SEMrush are priced very similarly, with only a slight distinction when it comes to both of their most popular plans: SEMrush’s Guru package is priced at $199, while Ahrefs’ standard plan is $20 cheaper, coming in at $179.

Winner: ???

SEMrush vs Ahrefs: Who’s the ultimate winner?

While the points I’ve considered above don’t cover the entirety of the SEMrush vs Ahrefs debate, I’ve dived into some of its most important areas of comparison.

While the points tally in favour of Ahrefs, you may find that SEMrush, with its superior SEO API, serves you better. The key, at the end of the day, is to find what works best you. As for myself? I prefer the latter.

If you’re on the look for insights on other seriously useful marketing tools, head to the Hype blog today!