If you are a website owner who isn’t a pro in SEO, the Site Audit feature within Ahrefs will help you to uncover some of the SEO issues that are pulling the rankings of your website down.
Within the site audit, you can add multiple projects (websites) and get a detailed dashboard with the Last Crawled Date, Status, Health Score, Number of URLs Crawled, URLs with Issues, and the next scheduled Crawl.
On clicking on the individual projects you have added, the dashboard expands and displays three months of data for each factor listed above.
On clicking on the Status “Complete”, you get to see a deeper look at the issues that are causing the Ahrefs Health Score to drop.
Ahrefs has divided the issues into three types:
These are marked in red and rightly so because you must fix them on priority, or else they can negatively affect SEO.
Warnings: Though these are issues that you must consider fixing, there are chances that you may have done some of these purposefully. For example, 301 redirects or noindex.
hese cannot be considered issues, but when you go against the SEO conventions. For example, Multiple H1 tags, title length too long etc.
While you get the top SEO issues hurting your website within the overview dashboard, you get to see a detailed view of it with more issues by clicking “View all issues” within the left navigation bar.
Just below that you have Crawl Logs, which show the instances when the Ahrefs crawler visited your website along with the details of the number of pages and resources fetched.
The next option you have is to Bulk Export all the data fetched by Ahrefs separately.
In the next tab, you have the different Site Audit tools such as Page Explorer, Link Explorer, Link Opportunities and Structure Explorer.
Here, you can find an overview of individual pages and assets within your website, their organic performance and the HTTP status codes.
On clicking on the individual links within the page explorer, you get a holistic view of all on-page SEO factors within the page.
This is where you will find the report of both internal and external links within your website. Here you can filter the links based on parameters such as Internal, External, Link Resource Type, Canonical and Hreflang.
This tool makes it easy for you to identify the canonical pages and broken internal and external links, which greatly improves the overall site score.
Google has reiterated that internal links are important for SEO rankings and the link opportunities tool within Ahrefs helps you do exactly that.
This tool gives you a heads up about the link opportunities that you missed out in the pages within your website. What it also does is to identify those keywords that have decent search volume and determine the article that is best to link.
This feature within Ahrefs allows you to get a hawk-eye view of all the folders and sub folders within your website. The data within this report helps you to understand the number of pages and assets within each folder.
Additionally, this dashboard also gives you the details of the pages that are rendered with HTTP error status codes so that you can fix them at the earliest.
In the next section, you get to see a slew of reports that correspond to the individual on-page SEO factors such as Internal Links, Indexability, Duplicates, Page Speed Experience etc.
If you intend to see each of the on-page factors separately, this is the tool that you must use.
As an SEO, this is the feature that I use the moment I login to Ahrefs. If you want to see a complete overview of the on-page, and off-page aspects of any website, all you need to do is enter the domain name or the specific URL and hit the search button.
In the overview, you get:
Ahrefs Rank of your website:
Ahrefs rank denotes the backlink profile strength of your website when compared to the one that’s ranking in the #1 position in the Ahrefs database.
Ahrefs has a 100-point scale to show the strength of your individual URLs. This is based on the link profile strength of that particular URL you have entered in the search box.
While the URL Rating is based on the link profile strength of a particular URL, the Domain Rating is the aggregate score derived after considering the overall link profile strength based on the same 100-point scale.
Number of backlinks:
Here you find the total number of backlinks that your website currently gets. The number is usually higher than the referring domains as the same domain might be linking to your website from multiple pages.
Number of Referring Domains:
This is the number of unique domains that are linking back to your website.
Here you find the total number of keywords for which your domain is currently ranking on Google for. Please note that Ahrefs excludes any keyword that’s ranking in a position below 100.
This is an estimated total number of organic traffic received by your website. This is a relative number based on the number of keywords ranking, the search volume and the ranking positions of those keywords in search. You will get a much more accurate number if you link your search console account with Ahrefs.
This is the total value of the organic traffic you get to your website. Basically, this shows you how much you have spent on PPC for driving organic traffic.
Just below the overview of the key metrics, you see Overview 2.0, which is nothing but an updated Ahrefs dashboard with the same data but displayed using a graphical representation.
Backlink profile lists tools that you need to understand the types of backlinks you get and help you find more link opportunities. Additionally, you can also find the internal backlink (internal links) that are present on your website.
The first feature is the backlinks tool which gives you the complete list of backlinks earned by your website. Here you may find multiple backlinks from the same domains and use filters available to sort backlinks the way you want.
You can sort based on:
No-follow, do-follow links
The domain rating of sites linking
Types of backlink
Organic traffic of the linking domain
You can also find new and lost backlinks along with the history of how your website has performed in terms of backlinks that were discovered during that period.
As a website owner, you don’t want high-quality backlinks to pages that end up with 404 errors. During the analysis for writing this post, I found Stan Ventures had a lot of broken links, as we had updated a few URLs last year during the website revamp.
You can fix broken links by either reaching out to the sites or doing a 301 redirect so that the link juice is passed on to the new page when Google crawlers find it. Though the second one might take some time, you are left with no other options if the website owner doesn’t respond.
The tool allows you to filter do-follow and no-follow broken links, and also helps you to identify priority sites based on their traffic and DR.
While the backlinks feature displayed multiple links from the same domain, the Referring Domains feature in Ahrefs displays the number of domains linking back to your site.
There are multiple filters available here to sort the domains. Some of them include:
Additionally, you can use the history option to identify new and lost domains during a particular time period.
You can see all the different types of anchor text that other websites have used to link to you by clicking anchors.
Here you can see Stan Ventures is getting a majority of its backlink from branded keywords. You can also find that the most authoritative website using our brand anchor text has a DR of 91.
Additionally, you can see the number of referring pages that use the anchor, the links to the target, new links, lost links and the number of dofollow links.
This report groups all the IP addresses that are linking back to you. Each IP represents a linking domain and AHREFs try to group it in Subnet. This is a great report to refer to if you want to check if PBNs are linking to your domain.
Internal backlinks are nothing but the internal links within the individual pages of your website and subdomains.
This is a handy tool to check if you have accidentally marked internal links in your website as nofollow.
Link Intersect Tool
This is a dream tool for anybody who wants to outrank the competitors by building quality backlinks. What it does is to identify the backlinks that your top competitors share but the ones you have missed out.
When you see the same domain linking to multiple competitors, it’s a good sign as these sites have higher chances of giving you a backlink.
If you want to see a complete overview of how your website is performing in organic search, this is the tool that you should definitely use.
Under the organic search tab are some of the most widely used reports within Ahrefs.
This report gives you the complete list of keywords that are ranking for your website.
You can sort them based on the country, ranking position, traffic, keyword difficulty, search volume, SERP Features, and the number of words in the keyword.
This report also comes with a handy feature to help you identify keyword cannibalization. The tab Multiple URLs Only, which is by default turned off when turned on, can help you identify pages that are trying to rank for the same keywords.
This dashboard also gives you the option to see the ranking position change over a chosen period.
Top Pages Report:
Top pages report gives you a graphical representation of the number of pages indexed, the keywords ranking and the traffic they generate to your website during a particular duration, which can be set within the dashboard.
You can see the same details below the graph, but this time for individual URLs within your website. In this detailed view, you get additional information such as the total value of the organic traffic, the changes, the top traffic-driving keyword, its search volume and the current position.
Though this may seem similar to the top pages report, the data can be crucial depending on the type of website you manage.
While subfolders may not matter a lot in blogs, that isn’t the case with e-commerce websites that categorize products into categories which are usually subfolders.
This report gives you a complete overview of how many keywords are ranking for a particular subfolder and the kind of traffic it receives for individual pages.
Again, this report matters the most for websites with different subdomains driving traffic.
If you are an SEO, knowing your competitors decides the course of action. The competing domains report gives you a complete overview of the competing competitors for the same keywords as you.
Knowing them and adapting your SEO strategies based on what has worked for them is a big determiner of your SEO success.
You can see in the above report that Bright Edge has 10% of its keywords similar to that of Stan Ventures.
While the earlier report gives you the list of competing domains, the competing page report is a drilled-down version of it that shows you exactly the competing pages on Google search.
In the above screenshot, you can see the pages that are competing with our
Search Engine List
blog on Google.
Additionally, there are keywords that are unique to the target and also common among the competing websites.
The first version of your content may not be adequate to rank you on top of Google. Instead, you have to keep adding and removing content to ensure you finally make it to the top.
Of course, backlinks play a significant role, but without perfectly crafted content, the number or the quality of the backlinks you get doesn’t matter; it wouldn’t rank on Google.
So, suppose you think your website is missing out on significant organic traffic. In that case, the content gap audit can help you identify the currently missing keywords on your content and the ones that your competitor has managed to rank successfully.
By adding these keywords within your content or by updating it with more context and relevant topics that discuss the missing keyword, you improve the chances of outranking the competitors and making it to the top of Google search results.
In the content gap dashboard, you can add the top competitor’s URLs and then yours under “But the following target doesn’t rank for” and see the keywords you have missed out ranking for.
Miscellaneous Quick SEO Reports
There are a few other quick SEO reports that you can access within the Site Explorer dashboard. You can see them listed under Pages, Outgoing Links, and Legacy. We are listing only SEO tools here; Ahrefs also has reports for paid campaign analysis, which has been purposefully excluded from the list.
Best By Links:
In this report, you can see the pages with the highest number of backlinks within your site.
You can sort this report based on the number of referring domains, dofollow and nofollow links.
On the top, you can also find an option to check the pages that receive the highest number of internal links.
Best By Link Growth:
This is yet another backlink-based report that shows the page that’s showing significant growth in terms of gaining backlinks.
You might be wondering why there is a lot of focus on backlinks. I’ve found Ahrefs as a tool for authentic off-page data analysis; when it comes to on-page, I prefer Semrush. Of course, that’s just a personal preference.
This report shows you the pages that are getting more social engagement. The report displays the shares on Twitter and Pinterest.
This is one report that I feel Ahrefs must consider adding more data points as it’s impossible to assess the top page just using the number of referring domains and the social engagement in two platforms.
This is a report of all the domains that you have linked from your website.
You can see the pages that are linking if you click on the links from the target option in the filter area.
Here you will find the most used anchors on your website.
As the name suggests, a broken links report comes in handy when you want to identify the 404 pages that are linked from your website.
If you want to quickly find the new backlinks earned and the backlinks lost, this legacy tool within Ahrefs does the job for you.
You get a complete report of the number of new backlinks earned by your website over a period of three months and also the list. You can sort these links based on link types, platform, language, and traffic. Additionally, you can filter by one link per domain.
Similar to the New and Lost backlinks report, the legacy tool section also includes New and Lost Referring domains. This yet again has a similar interface, but the only filtering option is to filter based on TLDs.
On clicking lost, you get a similar report with the number of lost backlinks along with the same filtering options.
Here you can find all the anchors that are linking back to your website. The most used anchor comes by default on the top.
You can filter the anchors based on the number of dofollow links, referring pages, and first seen. Additionally, you can filter by the number of words in the anchor.
Under this filter comes New and Movements. On clicking new, you can see all the new keywords that are newly ranked for the website on Google.
On the other hand, movements give you a day-by-day analysis of the keyword ranking fluctuations of your website.
While the site explorer tool gives complete data about the pages in your website and that of your competitors, the keyword explorer tool is there to help you with the most important aspect of SEO – keyword research.
One of the interesting things about the keywords explorer tool is its ability to provide keyword data not only for Google but also for YouTube, Amazon, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex and a few other search engines as well.
In this review, we will do keyword research for Google as it’s the most used search engine.
The data-rich dashboard features the Keyword Difficulty, the Search Volume in the country you have selected, the traffic potential of the keyword if you make it to the top of Google and the global search volume.
Just below the graphically represented panel, you see:
Related Keyword ideas
Questions that are frequently asked with regard to the keyword you have entered
The other keywords that are ranking for the websites in the top position
The keywords that the top competitors also mention in the content.
Scrolling down, you can see the list of top 11 websites that are currently ranking at the top of Google for the chosen keyword.
You can see that Stan Ventures is currently ranking in the 5th position. You can see the relevant data of each page that has made it to the first page of Google, including:
It looks like we got great content, but the lack of quality backlinks is what’s causing us to remain in the 5th position.
Under keyword ideas, you get Matching Terms, Related Terms and Search suggestions report.
This report shows you the other related keywords that contain the target keywords used. Within this report, you can choose between search terms and search phrases.
While the phrase match report gives you the list of keywords that come in the same order of the words that you’ve entered, the term match report gives you the list of keywords with the same words entered but in a different order.
Additionally, you get a slew of sorting options within the dashboard which includes filtering based on:
You get two additional options in the left panel, Terms & Parent Topics.
Parent Topic lists the generic topics, which is the keyword driving the highest traffic to the page and is also ranking for the keyword you have entered.
On the other hand, when selecting terms, it will list modifiers that can expand the intent of the keyword you have entered.
When a website ranks for a short-tailed keyword, there is a high chance that it’s also ranking for hundreds of long-tailed related keywords.
The related keywords report within Ahrefs gives you the list of subtopics for which the websites that are ranking for the keyword you have entered rank for.
Within the dashboard, you can see two filters, Also rank for and Also talk about. While the former gives you related keywords that are ranking in the top 10 positions for the websites in addition to the search phrase you have entered, the other one shows the keywords that are frequently used within the content of the websites that are ranking in the top 10 positions.
You also get all the filters that we saw in Matching Term to further improve your keyword research.
In this report, you will find the search suggestions on Google while the user types in a search phrase.
You can see a whole list of long question-based terms closely related to the keyword entered showing up in the list. It becomes so handy to understand the users’ intent and to come up with subtopics for the content being written.
This dashboard also features all the filters that we found in Related Keywords and Matching Terms.
As the name suggests, this filter helps you identify the domains and pages that are getting the highest traffic share for the keyword you have entered.
You can either choose to see the traffic shared by Domain or by individual pages. Both ways, there aren’t any filters available. By default, the dashboard shows you the website/page that’s getting the highest organic traffic and the ranking position.
Content Explorer Tool
SEO isn’t only about on-page and off-page factors. The content that goes into individual pages plays a critical role in deciding where the page will rank on Google.
The Content Explorer tool within Ahrefs is a goldmine for anyone who wants to create content that search engines want to rank.
On typing in the topic that you intend to write about, the Content Explorer will show a graph that represents the topic trend.
This graphical representation shows you the number of pages on the web that are already talking about the topic you have entered.
The ups and downs in the chart represent the fluctuations in the trend. This helps you to identify if the topic is still relevant or not.
If there are fewer websites writing about the topic, this could be an indication that the trend has declined and there isn’t much organic traffic that you can generate by publishing an article about the topic.
However, if you see the trend sustaining, like in the example I provided, that means the topic is still in discussion, and a lot of websites and authors are writing about it.
What this also means is you have tough competition ahead of you if you intend to rank higher on Google. You can also notice the names of the authors who have already published articles related to the topic listed adjacent to the chart.
At the top of the chart, you can see a slew of filters that can help you to identify pages that were never updated, constantly updated, and published recently. Additionally, you can filter them based on the platform where the content was published. The tool also has an option to filter pages that are currently inaccessible.
The result of each action you do with the filters is reflected in the results that show up below in the dashboard.
Yet again, you can find a handful of filter options.
Filter By Page
Here you can find the pages that are currently discussing the topic that you have searched for. However, by default, Ahrefs displays the pages from high DR sites.
If you don’t want to see multiple pages from the same domain, you can tick the One Page Per Domain option. Additionally, you can exclude the homepage and subdomains.
If you want to identify the content that is driving the highest organic traffic, you can do that by choosing the same from the sort option. You can also filter based on the number of referring domains linking to the pages.
Filter by Author
Here, you can find the authors who have written content about the topic you have entered. Additionally, you can find the number of followers they have on different Twitter and their recent activities. You also get to see the number of websites that have published articles from the same author.
The list of authors is, by default, sorted based on the highest number of organic traffic received for the page that covers the topic you have entered. Adjacent to that, you can find the average traffic value as well as the number of referring domains to the particular article.
Filter By Website
The third major filter within the Content Explorer dashboard is filtered by Websites. Here you can see the websites that have published articles related to the topic you have entered. By default, the sites are sorted based on the traffic received.
On clicking the total page, you can see the list of related articles and the same authority metrics you saw in Filter by Pages.
Filter by Languages
The last filter within the Content Explorer tool is filtered by Languages. This feature allows you to find the pages related to your topic which are published in different languages.
Additionally, you can see the total traffic and the traffic value of pages published in each language.