Ahrefs launched a free SEO tool that offers SEO and site diagnostic data. It’s called Ahrefs Webmaster Tools. I took a test drive of the tools and I have to say I’m very impressed with the usefulness and of the on-page and off-page SEO data.
What it is:
It’s a tool that is limited to providing on-page, off-page SEO data for a verified site.
Some folks thoughtfully began asking questions about possible privacy issues and if Ahrefs would seek to use customer data.
So I asked Ahrefs about this.
1. The GSC verification is just for verification?
Yes. GSC verification was released a few weeks ago and it is a very convenient method to verify website without adding DNS records or uploading files.
2. Is Ahrefs currently using any data from free accounts?
3. If Ahrefs decided to use the data, would they anonymize it?
Using anonymized data is just an idea. We are considering using anonymized data… and look only at keyword, position, impressions and ctr.
This is an idea only and we did not try it yet. GSC data is a low-quality source because it counts bot traffic, the same with any Google provided traffic estimation. This is why we say “we might use”.
4. If Ahref decided to use the data in an anonymized manner, would they ask permission first or send notice in an updated privacy statement?
We are always compliant with all regulations and transparent with our users, especially when it comes to ethical issues.
Dmitry Gerasimenko, Founder and CEO of Ahrefs tweeted the following statement:
“Currently we don’t use any data from GSC besides the list of websites for ownership verification. “Might” means we will explore if aggregated data can help us build better models but we don’t do it now. So it might seem weak but it is best way to describe the state of things.”
Ahrefs Webmaster Tools Overview
The Ahrefs Webmaster Tools is refreshingly simple to use. The navigation is intuitive with data pretty much exactly where you would expect it to be. Data is seemingly no more than one to two clicks away.
Contributing to the frictionless user experience is the liberal use of tooltips. At every point where you might wonder what something is about, there’s a an unobtrusively gray question mark icon that when clicked supplies the needed explanation.
Even the choice of the light gray color for the tooltip icon shows how well planned the interface is. The icon does not intrude on the workflow, contributing to the frictionless user experience.
Webmaster Tools Dashboard
The dashboard of the tool is appropriately simple. It features a readout of:
- Health Score
- Domain Rating
- Referring domains
- Organic Traffic
- Organic Keywords
- Disavow links tool
All the sections (except the Organic traffic section) can be clicked through to in-depth reports. Navigating directly to website information is super easy and intuitive.
Disavow Link Tool
The Disavowed Link tool is a management tool that helps create and maintain disavow lists in an organized manner. A user can upload a spreadsheet or manually add URLs and domains.
The disavow data will be used by Ahrefs to ignore the specified URLs in reports and it can also be exported for upload to Google Search Console.
Clicking through the Health Score icon reveals SEO data related to crawl status, crawling errors and warnings, HTTP status response codes (200, 301, 404 and 500). It’s a general overview of the success of a site crawl.
The 500 status response code is especially important feedback because it can alert you to server or database issues. For example, an improperly configured server will give up and begin serving 500 response codes.
Ahrefs Backlink Tool
The backlink tool offers an overview of the backlinks with the ability to review specific kinds of backlinks.
For example, a publisher can narrow down the selection of links by restricting to one link per domain or all links from each domain.
Ahrefs Backlinks Filter
The tool can selectively restrict the view to the following variables:
- Link type (dofollow, redirected, .gov, etc.)
- Platform (blogs, eCommerce, forums, etc.)
- Traffic (by date)
- Word or Phrase
Word or Phrase Backlink Filter
The “Word or Phrase”backlink filter is hands down my favorite filter. You can enter .org into this tool and filter the backlinks so that it shows you all of the .org backlinks.
You can enter the word “resources” and discover all the sites linking to you that have that word in the URL.
The Word or Phrase filter includes or excludes whatever word or phrase you enter into it.
That’s a killer feature that is useful in many ways. It’s a powerful way to identify quality or low quality links or to find specific kinds of backlinks in a profile.
There are limits to how many URLs are crawled and how long data is retained.
• Monthly crawled URLs – 5,000 per project
• Data retention – 3 months
• JS rendering – yes
• Backlink index – “Live” only
• Rows per report – 1,000
• Rows per month – 100,000
• Export rows per report – 1,000
• Export rows per month – 10,000
Advanced SE reports:
• Content gap – 10 rows per report
• Link Intersect – 10 rows per report
• Competing pages/domains – 10 rows per report
• Top pages/subdomains/paths – 10 rows per report
Ahrefs Webmaster Tools Verdict
Ahrefs Webmaster Tools is a killer service. There are so many features packed into this tool there is more to it that I haven’t even covered.
It’s hard to believe that something as useful as this is free. The attention to detail, focus on usefulness and ease of use make this a top SEO auditing tool that every web publisher should be using.