Having trouble choosing the right SEO software for your marketing campaign? I can’t say I blame you.
There are simply too many options to choose from. And without trying each one, how can you know which one’s right for you?
But there’s no need to worry. We’re here to narrow down the field for you.
Today we’re pitting two well-known SEO tools: Ahrefs and SE Ranking.
What do they have in common? What sets them apart? Who are they for?
We’ll answer all of these and more starting with what each one can offer for online marketers.
- What Is SE Ranking?
- What Is Ahrefs?
- SE Ranking vs Ahrefs: How Are They Similar?
- How Are Ahrefs and SE Ranking Different?
- What’s Better About Ahrefs?
- What’s Better About SE Ranking?
- Who Should Get SE Ranking?
- Who Should Get Ahrefs?
What Is SE Ranking?
Compared to other SEO tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush, SE Ranking might not sound as familiar to some folks. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t hold its own.
As an all-in-one software, SE Ranking is full of features that can help you build a solid SEO strategy and understand your competitors better.
You can break down the software into different areas: keyword research, site audit, backlink research and monitoring, PPC research, reporting, lead generation, and social media.
SE Ranking lets you find keywords that you could use for your campaign. And not only does it find keywords on the most popular search engines, but it also lets you set the location (by country, city, or ZIP code) and device (mobile or desktop).
The Keyword Tracking feature lets you follow movements in the SERPs for your target keyword. It can even track activity in Google Maps and Ads.
But what about your competitors? Can you track them too? Yes, you can. SE Ranking lets you add up to five competitors. So you can see their page rankings relative to yours.
The Keyword Suggestion Tool lets you find new opportunities. Discover new words and phrases to target by entering a seed term (a URL works too). Then watch SE Ranking works its magic. It’s that simple.
As you can imagine, managing a lot of keywords can stress you out. Thankfully, SE Ranking has a feature called Keyword Grouping Tool that will cluster similar keywords together automatically, leaving you with one less thing to worry about. This can also help with your site architecture.
Finding on-page issues is difficult if you do it manually. So like every all-in-one SEO tool in the market, SE Ranking includes a feature that lets you address technical errors, missing tags, slow-loading pages, image analysis, and internal linking issues.
You get an overall score, giving you a better sense of what’s wrong with your domain and pages on a macro level. Individual issues are color-coded for easy viewing.
By addressing warnings and critical errors, you’ll improve your overall score.
And yes, you can check individual pages if that’s what you need.
Backlink Research and Monitoring
SE Ranking’s Backlink Checker lets you find backlinks that point directly to your pages. And once it does, the tool will evaluate the results and shows you all the metrics you need to determine their quality.
It will also let you know the status of the backlink, if they are do-follow or no-follow, how many domains there are in total, the anchor text used, trust ratings, and more.
The Backlink Monitoring and Management feature makes it possible to filter your backlinks and create a list you could submit to Google for disavowment.
You can even assign a budget based on a backlink’s market value so you could estimate the cost of your link building campaign. This specific feature is useful for those of you who run an SEO agency.
While PPC research may not be your priority at the moment, it’s still worth mentioning as SE Ranking comes with this feature built into it.
It works just like the Keyword Research feature. Only this time, there’s more focus on paid competitors and how their target keywords perform on search engines.
SE Ranking makes reporting a breeze with its B2B features.
For starters, SE Ranking has a Page Changes Monitoring tool that tracks any changes made to a site so you’re always on top of things. Not only can you see changes made by you and your team, but you can also create reports for your clients to show malicious activity and attacks made to their sites.
You can also submit white-label reports that use your agency’s domain, color schemes, and logo. There’s an option to select which team members will have access to this feature.
Or you could download the report for your own reference in .PDF, .CSV, .XLS, or .HTML format.
Looking to score more clients? SE Ranking’s Lead Generation feature can help with that. You can embed the On-Page Checker widget on your site and wait for users to start using it.
When they leave their email addresses, they end up in a list that you could then pass on to your sales team.
Note: This feature only comes free to those who subscribe to either the Plus or Enterprise plan.
Social Media Management
Use the Social Media Management feature to schedule and post updates across your social media channels right from SE Ranking.
SE Ranking will even suggest optimal times to post new content. Now you no longer have to log into every account you have just to connect with your followers.
One of the things that make SE Ranking unique is its customizable pricing structure.
There are three plans available: Optimum, Plus, and Enterprise. By default, they sell at $39, $89, and $189 respectively.
By changing the frequency by which you want the company to check rankings, the number of keywords to track, and how long you subscribe to the selected plan, you can get a significant discount.
For example: If you only check rankings weekly, select the annual billing option, and only track 250 keywords, the Optimum plan comes down to $18.6 per month.
That about does it for SE Ranking. And you can see, its features are nothing to scoff at.
But what about Ahrefs?
What Is Ahrefs?
Ahrefs is one of the most trusted SEO tools out there — and for good reason. Its robust software is packed with all the features you’ll need to optimize websites.
There are five features included in all plans: Site Explorer, Keywords Explorer, Site Audit, Rank Tracker, and Content Explorer.
As we talked about earlier, it’s highly important for you to regularly check your domain for on-site issues that could pop up.
And with Site Audit, you’d have nothing to fear as Ahrefs checks for over 100 different issues that could cause your pages to rank lower than expected.
These issues include slow pages, missing or duplicate metadata, incomplete social media tags, low-quality content, and linking problems.
You can define your own issues so that Ahrefs would watch out for specific errors that bug you.
The tool does a great job of explaining what every error means so you’ll know what you need to do to fix them. You can have Site Audit run automatically by scheduling the frequency, day, and time you want it to crawl your pages.
One could argue that Keywords Explorer is Ahrefs’ most powerful feature. Why? Because not only do you get reliable results, but you could also use the amazing filter options to come up with a really refined list of keywords to target.
You can find keywords for almost any major platform including Google, Yahoo, Bing, Amazon, and YouTube.
After Ahrefs produces its results, you’ll find a number of metrics you can use to gauge their quality. Perhaps the best metric to look at would be the keyword difficulty score or KD. This will tell you immediately how hard or easy it is to rank the keyword shown.
But you can also rely on other metrics like the keyword’s volume, clicks, CPC, and others.
And from Keywords Explorer, you can check the top-ranking pages for every keyword in the SERPs so you know exactly what you’re up against.
You can save newfound keywords into a list so you could come back to them at a later time.
Site Explorer is Ahrefs’ answer to competitor research. With it, you can go over your rival’s organic search traffic, backlinks, and paid traffic activity.
This opens the door to earning the same backlinks, bidding on the same keywords, or publishing similar articles as those who outrank you on search engines.
Needless to say, you need this feature if you want to outrank domains that target the same keywords as you.
As its name suggests, Rank Tracker keeps its eyes on SERP activity and lets you know if your pages rank for your target words and phrases.
Simply add your keywords, set the region where you want Ahrefs to pull the data from, and let Ahrefs handle everything.
And again, to help you manage all this information, there are filter options to scale down the results to only show what you need.
If you enter your competitors, you can directly compare your rankings with theirs. This gives you an idea of whether you’re starting to outrank them already or if you still need to change course and update your SEO strategy.
There’s an option to schedule reports so you’re alerted every time there’s a change in the SERP rankings.
Content Explorer is a great feature especially for those of you who need help with your content planning.
It’s your way of researching ranking pages based on the keywords you provide.
In the results, you’ll see the ranking page, its domain rating (DR), referring domains, organic traffic, traffic value, and social media shares.
Even better, it can help you find broken link building opportunities by finding dead pages with backlinks based on your niche.
Or how about entering your competitor’s domain and seeing the kind of posts they’re publishing? You can do that with Content Explorer.
You can even see which sites have not linked to you along with their metrics. Those who have a high DR, for example, are worth contacting for potential guest post opportunities.
That’s the reason why Content Explorer is so powerful and worth paying for.
There are four Ahrefs plans: Lite ($99/month), Standard ($179/month), Advanced ($399/month), and Agency ($999/month).
Ahrefs have an unusual pricing strategy. Most tools will increase reporting limits on higher level plans. But even on the highest Ahrefs plan, you only get 500 monthly reports across a number of their tools. And there’s little clarity as to exactly what is considered as a “report”.
It’s also worth noting that they bill for overages automatically and without any warning.
SE Ranking vs Ahrefs: How Are They Similar?
These are the things that both SE Ranking and Ahrefs have in common.
They Are Both Cloud-Based
There are no tools you need to download. And you can access both software from anywhere you want.
They are ideal for people who are always on the go or frequently change computers (at home vs at work, for example).
They Can Be Used to Spy on Competitors
If it’s competitor research you need, rest assured that Ahrefs and SE Ranking can handle it. You can figure out which sites link back to your competition, what kind of articles they’re publishing, and their strength and weak points.
They Are Both Good Keyword Research Tools
You can discover new keywords regardless of which of the two SEO software you choose. You can specify which region and what search engine you want them to pull data from. This is an important feature to have especially if you or your client wants to rank a local business.
How Are Ahrefs and SE Ranking Different?
These are just some of the ways Ahrefs and SE Ranking differ from one another.
|Price||Expensive considering their reporting limits. And they bill for overages without warning.||Flexible pricing and affordable plans. Especially affordable for those with lots of projects.|
|Filter Options||Ahrefs has powerful filters that allow you to remove unwanted results.||Yes, there’s a way to filter the results but we feel that Ahrefs’ options are better.|
|Content Analysis||Ahrefs has a great content analysis tool that’s quite useful for research.||While you do get an idea of what posts rank for the keyword you enter, the data shown is not as extensive as what Ahrefs offers.|
|White Label Reports||There is no way to customize reports to include your own branding and logo.||You can make white-label reports when you subscribe to the Plus or Enterprise plans.|
|Lead Generation||No, Ahrefs does not have a lead generation tool.||The Plus and Enterprise plans include a lead generation tool.|
|Free Trial||Ahrefs does not have a free trial. But you can pay $7 to feel it out for 7 days.||Yes, SE Ranking has a 14-day free trial.|
What’s Better About Ahrefs?
Consider Ahrefs if you need to:
- Organize Your Data — You can arrange data much more efficiently when you use Ahrefs.
- Update Your Content — Know which content people want based on keywords they enter.
- Audit Your Site — Site audits on Ahrefs yield better (and detailed) results.
(Note: remember – Ahrefs will bill you more without warning if you go over your monthly report limit.)
What’s Better About SE Ranking?
Consider SE Ranking if you need to:
- Work With a Team — The base plan (Optimum) already includes access for subaccounts. Plus, you can track your team members’ activity on SE Ranking.
- Report to Clients — The white-label reports make it easy to generate reports with your branding and logo applied to it.
- Reduce Your Marketing Costs — SE Ranking is way more affordable than Ahrefs.
Who Should Get SE Ranking?
SE Ranking is ideal for those who need an affordable all-in-one SEO tool. Their report builder is excellent, and their plans are affordable for large numbers of projects.
It’s far more than just a rank tracking tool. They have one of the largest databases of backlinks and keywords around.
Who Should Get Ahrefs?
Companies with deep pockets. Ahrefs offers very little value for money. Even on $999/month plans you only get 100 monthly reports. And they will bill you automatically if you go over those 100 reports.
This can lead to huge overspend.