When Yahoo! Site Explorer shut down I was pretty bummed because there weren’t many functioning alternatives available. That was primarily due to the fact that most of the backlink analysis tools relied on Yahoo! Site Explorer’s link data. At the time the only two worthwhile data sources left were OpenSiteExplorer and MajesticSEO.
However, shortly after Yahoo Site Explorer shutdown I stumbled across this awesome new competitive intelligence tool I’ve been meaning to tell you about: Ahrefs Site Explorer.
Ahrefs is an advanced competitive research tool that allows you to explore backlinks for any website and also analyze SERP data, similar to the way SEMrush does.
One of the biggest complaints I have with many of the new tools in the marketplace is that they leave out a ton of important information, like they nofollow attribute, which is an essential part of link research.
Not Ahrefs though! This tool puts all of the crucial data on the table for you to use as you wish. Just about everything a professional link builder or hyperlink researcher needs is a laid out perfectly for you on the main page, or is just “1″ mouse click away.
In addition to the tremendous link data provided through Site Explorer, Ahrefs also provides a number of important social metrics, such as Google +1s, Tweets, Facebook Likes and Shares.
Here are some of its highlights:
One of the key highlights for me is the ability to view links that were dropped, and when, by selecting the Lost links tab, then choosing a date. This is extremely helpful for tracking which backlinks my site’s are losing. That way I can dig deeper when I lose an important backlink, and then ask for the link back or consider finding a reasonable replacement.
It’s also useful for finding correlations between dropped links and lower search engine rankings.
Individual links are ordered by Ahrefs Rank, which is apparently a value that Ahrefs assigns to each link source; however, I couldn’t find any information on their site explaining it specifically.
In addition to Site Explorer, Ahrefs also allows subscribers to add and track a number of websites ongoing. Through Reports you can dig deeper into each website and view additional summary reports and graphs. One of the best things is that it doesn’t use up any of your daily query allowance. Free account holders can track an unlimited number of their own domains and up to 3 competitor websites.
Bonus Tip: You can get even more free competitor link data by signing up and adding a few competitor websites using the Domain Reports tool. For instance, when I was testing as a free account holder, Site Explorer only provided me with detailed information for the first 5 backlinks of the site I was testing, whereas I was able to the see complete details for ALL of the same website’s backlinks using Domain Reports.
When I stumbled across Ahrefs I first thought it was another site put together by the folks who built SEMRush – which is a good thing because I love its interface. So, if you’re familiar with SEMRush, then using Ahrefs for keyword research should be a breeze. However, its Serps Analysis tool is so straightforward even a preschooler could probably figure it out.
By using the SERPs Analysis tool you can get an idea of which profitable keywords in your niche are sending the most traffic to your competitors’ websites by viewing the top organic and paid keywords your competitors are ranking for on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Using that data you should then be able to compile a list of keyword opportunities for your own sites too.
Enter a domain name or URL to get:
The one major item it lacked was the ability to search by keyword; however, you can click on individual keywords to get a short list of the top websites ranking for it.
Ahrefs offers a basic plan starting at only
$49/mo $79/mo, which is fantastic for individual site-owners/webmasters, and or beginners. None of Ahref’s direct competitors are offering similar plans, which also makes this an affordable option for people like myself who wears many hats in my business and doesn’t have all of the time in the world to be analyzing competitors.
With over 50,000,000 keywords already, and over a trillion website stored in it’s independent database, Ahrefs looks to be a real player in the competitive research market. The tools are well-organized and simple to use. Its interface is intuitive, quick, and provides just about everything desired by beginners and professional researchers alike.
The data is extracted from the top 2 search engines, Google and Bing, and it proclaims to update its index extremely fast – every 30 minutes, with the most important pages being crawled more often.
If you’re a small business and in the market for a tool like this, then you might want to jump on board now, in case prices go up. Unfortunately, about the time Yahoo! Site Explorer went offline several other tools in the marketplace skyrocketed to a point that seems to high to me to pay for individually. For which I started recommending using a tool like Raven instead, because it combines many of the top niche tools in one place.