A wide variety of tools and features can help boost your SEO and content marketing efforts through data and reporting, but understanding and managing your data can seem overwhelming if you are new to SEO analytics.
Our favourite search engine optimisation tool is Ahrefs. They’ve been around long enough to know what they are doing and are one of the most trusted SEO tools on the market.
To help get you moving, we’ve put together this blog as a guide to using Ahrefs so you can quickly grow your website traffic.
You can gain valuable insights into keywords, competitor performance, and various SEO strategies to improve your website’s visibility and success effectively by:
- Using Ahrefs for SEO Analysis: Ahrefs is a powerful online tool that offers insights into your website’s keywords, rankings, and competitors’ performance, helping you gain control over your website’s direction and growth.
- Analysing Competitor Performance: Ahrefs allows you to assess your business’s performance within your industry and analyse your competitors’ strategies to identify successful tactics.
- Utilising Ahrefs Features: Ahrefs offers various features like tracking traffic, content strategy gaps, linkable assets, Google trends, keyword ranking difficulty, identifying SEO issues, monitoring ranking progress, and finding valuable backlink opportunities to optimise your SEO efforts.
What is Ahrefs?
Ahrefs is an online tool for checking your business website’s keywords and rankings. You get a visual snapshot of where you and your competitors are in real time. The tool even updates throughout the day to let you know where you stand at any given moment.
To be clear upfront, Ahrefs focuses on website search traffic – organic traffic. It won’t consider direct traffic, referrals or anything that has come to your site from social networks or ads.
While the data is a lot to take in, it’s valuable enough to push through and get on board with so you have more control over your business website direction. Analyst tools like Ahrefs make it easy, and it just helps to have a pointer to know where to start.
Just think of the value you have by comparing your website performance against the previous month’s data to illustrate your business growth and monitor the effects of any changes or new content marketing strategies you have implemented.
Before you get too deep into SEO tools like Ahrefs, check out this simple guide to get your head (and website) around SEO strategies. You can get instant results that help you strengthen your website directions and SEO, build your confidence and knowledge at the beginner level, and work your way up to more complex analytics.
- Keep an eye on your competitors
- Traffic numbers
- Traffic direction
- Content strategy gaps
- Linkable assets
- Keep Up With Google Trends
- Research traffic potential
- Keyword ranking difficulty
- Locate critical SEO Issues
- Monitor your ranking progress
- Find the best backlink-building opportunities
How to use online SEO tools like Ahrefs
The big-ticket analytics are there for the taking. Here are the top features you can tap into with Ahrefs. You can get limited data results for free to get a feel for how it works and then pay to upgrade to the premium plans when ready to go deeper.
Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing
Every business owner wants to know how their competitors are performing. It’s not being nosy. It’s good business sense.
With Ahrefs, you get to look at how your business is performing in your industry, with numbers on your competitors and how they manage to do it.
Peering over your competitor’s shoulder is the most accurate way to check what works and what doesn’t, as they will engage a similar target market and potentially even the same customers. This way, you are comparing apples to apples rather than an accounting firm looking to Nike for comparisons – while Nike might be doing well, it’s a different market. It will need different website structures and strategies to win customers.
Competitor’s areas to scrutinise include:
You’ll get graphs that show your website traffic against your competition between requested dates; stats include:
- Organic traffic numbers
- Organic traffic trajectory – Up, down and plateau
- When you surpassed them (or when you are likely to if you continue your current trajectory)
Once you know the numbers, you can drill down to see which pages attract the most traffic. Is it blogs (if so, what topics), a home page or a landing page that excites everyone?
To use this, open the Top Pages report – this will give you a list of the various website pages in order of organic traffic received.
Note any emerging patterns in the most active and least active pages.
Content strategy gaps
As well as seeing how you compare, you can easily see what you are missing out on. If all your competitors rank for specific keywords that return high traffic numbers, you need to know about it and provide your own content that fits the bill.
The Site Explorer can give you a report on the “Content Gap”, which locates valuable keywords on other sites and missing from yours. It’s also a great way to get inspiration for new content and discussions.
Linkable assets go the opposite way to backlinks, where you create content other websites want to be connected with.
Having other websites linking back to your pages gives you incredible authority as far as Google is concerned.
Use Site Explorer to plug in the URL of your competitor’s pages. It’s best to target pages that attract a lot of links. Click the Best By Links report to discover the most linked pages.
You should be able to see patterns emerging for which pages and resources get more links than others. That will give you a clue as to what type of blog content is desirable to other online businesses so you can produce more of the same.
Some examples of content styles might be:
- Data research
- Controversial topics
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We are proud to have created a team of SEO experts who have real-world experience in ranking websites. Whether that be Technical SEO, Link Building, or Content Creation, we can help.
Keep up with Google trends
One of the most successful ways of boosting your SEO results is doing keyword research and applying keywords (including short and long-tail keywords) in your website content – mainly blogs and informative articles, as these can be easily replaced, updated and replicated.
Finding keywords, mainly which ones are doing exceptionally well, is not a one-and-done exercise. Desirable keywords are constantly changing as users’ buying and searching preferences change. It’s essential to keep on top of the “Now” keyword trends to keep producing content that ranks well and is desirable to your target audience.
Ahrefs has a Keywords Explorer report that tells you how popular a keyword you enter is and provides a search return for thousands of relevant keywords that might be useful, inspiring or rewarding for you to use.
While a super well-ranked term might prove to have too much competition for you to rank well, pairing these strong keywords with ones unique to your website and offer can help direct the right customers to your virtual door.
Research traffic potential
Rather than just relying on your primary keyword phrase, look for ways to reuse your top keyword in multiple ways. Say your #1 ranking keyword is seven words long. Find ways to rearrange those seven words and make mini-me versions three, four, five and six words long.
These don’t have to replicate the words exactly, and they might cover different aspects, like singular or plural (whatever is opposite to your keyword), spaces, non-spaces and hyphens to give you stronger reach no matter what different users might input.
- World’s greatest website searches
- Search world websites
- Web searches worldwide
- Greatest web search worldwide
Finding ways to use keywords in multiple and varied ways is how great-ranking websites manage their results. No website ranks well for just one keyword. It’s the consistent and varied use that shows Google your content talks about this topic in multiple and varied ways that provide education, entertaining and valuable content.
This also gives you access to more keyword phrases in your industry. You can use a keyphrase that doesn’t get an exceptional number of searches per month and still get incredible results when you break down the phrase and repurpose it repeatedly and uniquely throughout your content.
To get access to these reports, use the Ahrefs Traffic Potential tool.
The “extra keywords” shown in your report (or your competitors) will be listed alongside the #1 keyword ranking. It can help to examine other websites’ top-ranking pages and see how much of their search traffic comes from variations of their top search query to get a feel for how effective and flexible this is.
Keyword ranking difficulty
How popular a keyword is doesn’t necessarily reflect how successful it will be when you use it. Regarding attaining rankings, some keywords are straightforward, while others are simply impossible, no matter how prominent or well-known your business website is.
Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer Keyword Difficulty (KD) score helps you understand which is to target the keywords that will turn into results.
As well as offering scores from 0 to 100 (with zero being easy and 100 being impossible), you also get an estimate of how many quality backlinks you’ll need to receive to stand a chance of ranking. Just note that even scores of 70-80 are complicated and require some extra sweat. If your favourite keywords are listed in the more difficult rankings, you don’t need to abandon them. Just put in the work to make them count.
The KD metric is a great way to narrow down the filters on the thousands of keywords that might be recommended for you, so you can avoid those impossible or super hard ones and look in the attainable and valuable range.
Locate critical SEO issues
To help users wade through the millions of websites on offer (some more dodgy and inappropriate than others), Google has an overwhelming number of webmaster recommendations that, if followed to the letter across the board, will see your website rewarded by getting the Google blessing. The issue is catering to every requirement is downright impossible and time-consuming.
What it means is that an incredible piece of content can get overlooked entirely if it’s riddled with background SEO issues that you might not even know exist if you are not looking at the technical side of your website.
Fortunately, Ahrefs’ Site Audit can pull out any issues holding you back with more than 120 common SEO issues. It can identify and provide ways to make them disappear.
Monitor your ranking progress
Even if you have thousands of keywords (and you should do if you are using Traffic Potential), you can quickly monitor how you rank across all of them.
This is especially useful to newer websites that might not be ranking exceptionally well yet but will have some hits on keywords in more hidden areas. It’s also helpful in returning to your older blogs and seeing where they might be ready for a rewrite under some keywords lingering in the background.
Ahrefs Position History button and Site Explorer are great for showing the ranking history for your website pages and your competitors. Use Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker to keep an eye on your favourite keywords.
Find the best backlinks
As SEO experts, one of our most frequent undertakings is discovering effective backlinks and how to replicate them.
You can easily manage this yourself using the Ahrefs backlink tools. Copy the page URL ranking #1 in the keyword you want to use and select the Backlinks Report.
The result will give you the number of pages linking to the page. This is currently #1 using links.
Now you have a marketing page to dig into. Ask the owners of the listed pages if you can have your link substituted for the one currently there. It will fit right into the current content as the same offering. However, make a case that your article is of superior quality and will better serve their customers and list your reasons, which might be that you’re local like they are, for example.
While you’ll get some nos and some cold shoulders, the list will be long enough that you should get a few yes respondents as well, which will boost your rankings.
Having data on your website, performance gives you more control and responsiveness to shift your content marketing strategy to get high traffic and better rankings. Using SEO tools like Ahrefs is the fastest and most detailed way to track and predict your website and keyword popularity and compare your SEO and content rankings to your competition.
The five steps in this guide are a great way to get started without getting bogged down in technical analytics. You can also get results immediately by applying the suggestions and changes in Ahrefs reports.
If you have any questions, need to do some deeper SEO analysis, or would like help cleaning up any of the website errors Ahrefs uncovers, contact the team at Chillybin today. Let’s work towards getting you on Page 1 of Google!