The Best Link Building Tool You’ve Never Heard Of:

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I love SEO tools. I’m always building or looking for really cool tools. With the demise of Yahoo Site explorer, a number of companies are attempting to fill the void, including SEOMoz, Majestic Tools and Link Research Tools. My favorite Yahoo replacement is a tool that you’ve probably never heard of: ahrefs. They offer 5 levels of access (with one being free) and the others being grouped by the amount of reports and queries. Paid plans range from $49 to $499 per month.

This is a highly sophisticated toolset with tons of features.

Backlink Analysis

Starting with Site Explorer, input any URL to get all of the backlink info that you could ever need or imagine.

The summary provides a snapshot of Total backlinks, Ref pages, Ref ip’s, Ref subnets, Ref domains and domain types by TLDs. Also included is a list of backlink types (text, redirect, image, etc).

A series of tabs, allows you to drill even deeper into New Links, Lost Links, Anchor text, crawled pages and referring domains. All of this data is exportable to CSV.

Interpreting the Data

For competitive purposes, this is a great quarry to mine for backlinks. Backlinks are sorted in descending order by ALR rating (estimated number of visitors following that link per month). This makes it easy to identify the most valuable web pages for link acquisition.

This tool is also useful for keyword research and content development. Take a look at your competitors’ Ref pages anchor text & look for gaps to fill. It comes in pretty handy to detemine just how “natural” a competitor’s backlink profile looks as well.

SERPs Analysis

One unique feature of ahrefs is the number of language bases that are supported. In addition to the US & UK, you fill find support for AU,DE,FR,ES,IT,BR & RU. That equates to a database of over 50 million keywords refreshed every 30 minutes with a complete update every 30 days.

Simply enter a url and voilà: every Keyword in the top 100 search engine ranking positions in Google, Yahoo/Bing will appear.

A quick snapshot is provided giving you the stats on the total  number of keywords in the top 100 SERPs, the search traffic and the CpC value.

I like to use the Daily stats to look for trends (e.g., Panda hits). This is particularly useful when doing background research for a prospective client.

Website Comparison

Sometimes the best place to start your analysis is with a comparison of competing websites. The Domain Comparison feature allows you to do just that.

Quite often this tool is able to separate the “imagined” competitors from the “real players.”


All subscription plans provide access to reports, which can be run for any url.

By running a report, you get a summary of all backlink data in a single location.

The Bottom Line

This review only scratches the surface of what this amazing SEO tool suite has to offer. If you didn’t find a feature that you were looking for, chances are it is there. Overall, ahrefs is is extremely user friendly. The navigation through the website is a breeze, and the sheer volume of data available is mind blowing.

Ahrefs has a user forum covering everything from general SEO to technical discussions and of course questions related to the website itself. For advanced users, there is a toolbar and API. Although I have not used the toolbar, I am testing the API in some new private SEO tools that I have in development. This is a comprehensive and powerful tool suite that EVERY link builder could use.

The Fine Print

Ahrefs also offers an affiliate program. Although I am an affiliate, I wrote this review as a paying subscriber and fan of the toolset (with no affiliate links:).


Chuck Price
Chuck Price started his internet marketing career in 2002 with the launch of Pro Web Promotion. Four years later, in 2006, he teamed up with Jim Boykin of We Build Pages (aka as COO, helping to grow the company from 6 employees to more than 50. Today he is the founder of Measurable SEO . You can follow Chuck @ChuckPrice518
Chuck Price
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  • Vijay

    Great tips. I have built a couple of websites and its the time when I should start applying the tricks to increase the rank and traffic. Thanks a ton.

    • Chuck Price

      This is a terrific tool for helping you develop an SEO campaign

  • Matrus

    It is one of the most important tool to know for SEO agencies. It courious that you have introduced it just now.

    • Chuck Price

      I agree its a great tool, yet relatively new to the market as compared to the “old standards”

  • filedeli

    I think I must try these kind of tool, I am a newbie with SEO and that is why I am exploring my knowledge with some kind of SEO tool what could give a huge traffic to our website. I would just like to ask is these expensive?

    • Chuck Price

      Hi filedeli – Start with the free version ~ it doesn’t get any cheaper than that:)

  • Karl Thew | Static Shift

    Great…another tool that I need to pay for! I’ve checked it out quickly and it looks brilliant. If only they showed a bit more on the free version 🙁

  • jobi p

    good post.. have two website now one 3 months old and one 11 days old . never tried seo before ,, it high time i start.
    thank for you wonder post Chuck

  • Chuck Price

    Hi Jobi:

    Thanks & I hope you find this tool useful.
    Good luck in your SEO 🙂

  • Jan-Pieter

    Hi Chuck,

    Nice post, i had never heard of this tool before 2 days ago, i red it somewhere about link building tools 2012.
    I just subscribed for free, and it is really bringing fast and interesting link building metrics. There are indeed some nice new features what are actually not in link building software like, Cemper, Majestic, Open Site Explorer etc.


    Great tool. Used it yesterday.

  • Hussain

    I love ahrefs it gives full control to check the competitors backlinks and get maximum benefit from them.

  • Johny

    this time I use google analytics only, I will try this tool. Thank you for sharing this.

  • James Ranger

    Is there an update to this? I’m seeing comparisons coming out on blogs all over the place now, with some saying that Majestic SEO is better and some saying AHREFs is better. They both have affiliate programs so it’s difficult to see who is actually being truthful, or it may just be down to the websites they used for examples, don’t know.

    • Chuck Price

      Hi James:

      You are perfectly correct in being skeptical, due to the potential conflict of interest. I still use ahrefs. Not because i think it is superior to majestic – it ‘s debatable as to which offers the most in depth and freshest content. I just prefer the ahrefs GUI and usability.