Hey, so a lot of newbies don’t know much about SEMrush and Ahrefs, and their experience with them is limited. They often find it hard to choose between the two. I’ll give you my personal comparison of the two tools.

In terms of interface readability: Ahrefs has a clean and straightforward interface, so you can see at a glance where a page needs optimization. For example, when I open a page, I can quickly see the keyword data and external links and know how to optimize it.

SEMrush, on the other hand, isn’t strictly speaking a purely SEO tool, it’s a tool for digital marketing as a whole, so it includes data on paid search traffic. This might not be professional enough for pure SEO people, but the overall interface is still readable.

In terms of backlink interface friendliness: Ahrefs has a simple backlink interface, without all the data analysis that SEMrush has. You don’t actually need all that data, as long as the necessary features are included. Users can filter out the content they want.

SEMrush, however, includes more data graphs in its backlink analysis, which makes it easier to understand the types of backlinks.

For keyword research: SEMrush is my favorite for this, because it can estimate the traffic of remaining keywords after removing the ones I don’t need. For example, some websites have a high proportion of brand searches, but I can remove the brand words and show the keyword data situation again.

Before removing brand words:

After removing brand words:

This way I can quickly determine the real SEO value after removing brand words. I couldn’t find this in Ahrefs, they only have a filtering function, but no presentation of filtered data.

When it comes to keyword difficulty, both SEMrush and KwFinder have their pros and cons. SEMrush takes into account the level of competition while KwFinder is pretty similar and it estimates the keyword difficulty based on the top 10 ranking. On the other hand, Ahrefs, which started as a backlink tool, its KD value represents more about the number of backlinks needed for the keyword.

From a practical standpoint, SEMrush is better and more suitable for most SEOs to judge the keyword difficulty. Ahrefs' judgment is more suited for backlink-related needs.

Competing keyword research:
SEMrush does not do a great job in this area and there are many unrelated keywords that come up. They are usually 30-50 search traffic, but if you think positively, you might be able to pick up some obscure long-tail keyword traffic. On the negative side, it increases the difficulty of the keyword.

Ahrefs does a relatively better job. The keywords that come out are more normal and what SEOs want. So in this aspect, Ahrefs has an advantage.

Ranking performance:
SEMrush’s ranking performance rarely changes, so it’s hard to see how much the SEO has improved after it’s done. This ranking change makes it look like there’s no change.

For the same URL in Ahrefs, it’s a different story:

The ranking change is so much more comfortable to see! Otherwise, we wouldn’t know how the SEO performed!

In conclusion:
Due to Ahrefs’ limitations on the number of reports, even if you buy the regular version, you’ll quickly run out of reports. So in cases where you are doing a lot of complex work such as keyword research, it’s recommended to use the shared version of SEMrush and then use Ahrefs to export the desired keyword list when you’re done with your research. This will save you a lot. SEMrush is great for generating report pages for clients and clients generally like it, while Ahrefs is more simple and commonly used by SEOs.

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