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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

AHREFS: The Definitive Guide

If you own a blog or are into content marketing, you need to know about Ahrefs. It’s an SEO tool that helps you get organic traffic for your website. In this Ahrefs guide, we will explore the Ahrefs dashboard to the keyword, target keyword, broken link building, and more! So, let’s dive in.

Ahrefs Defined

Ahrefs provides tools that will help you in content strategy. This SEO tool will boost your domain rank in the search engine. Some of the marketing professional tools it contains are for keyword research, link building, rank tracking, competitor analysis, and site audits. 

Ahrefs Guide: It’s Uses

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You can use Ahrefs to check how your website’s overall SEO is doing. You can also analyze keyword rankings and link profiles. What kinds of keywords will be best for specific sites like Amazon, YouTube, and Google? What are the popular content topics getting the most likes and shares in social media? These are some of the questions that Ahrefs can help you with. 

Back in 2011, Ahrefs was mostly used as a simple backlink analyzer for websites. But, it’s tools have grown since then into a keyword research tool and much more. It gives you keyword ideas and content ideas for your blog posts. 

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Ahrefs is a great SEO tool for small content managers, website marketers, marketers, or agencies that help several clients with their technical SEO issues. It is also great for SEO consultants who advise website owners on how to improve their online traffic. 

What Does Ahrefs Cost?

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It has several packages that fit a range of business owners. Whether you want an annual or monthly billing, you can pick one according to your needs. Here are the different packages Ahrefs provides. This SEO tool does not offer any free trials as of yet. However, they do offer a $7 trial package for seven days. 

Ahrefs Review 

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While there are various other SEO analyzer tools available, we think Ahrefs is best suited for small business owners. Without going into a lot of detail, here’s a quick chart comparing Ahrefs with SEMrush. 

Technical SEO And Ahrefs Metrics And Terms That You Need To Know

If you are new to the game, you might get a little confused when reading technical terms like CTLDs, Ahrefs rank, broken link, link building, and such other terms. It’s completely okay because these are some tough SEO metrics that need some explanation. And, we are here with a complete Ahrefs guide to help you. 

Technical Terms Explained

Given below are some technical terms that you will need to know and understand to use Ahrefs for the best results. 

UR

It’s also called URL Rating. It indicates your website’s link authority. It is calculated by the number and quality of backlinks from other websites that refer to your website. 

DR

Also called Domain Rating. It’s like the URL Rating, but it is applied to the entirety of your website/domain. If we compare it with the tools provided by MOZ, it’s similar to Moz Domain Authority. 

Anchors

This Ahrefs tool breaks down what the most popular anchor text in a website’s link profile is. 

Referring Domains

This basically tells you the total number of unique websites that have linked to a website or web page that you are interested in. A higher number of referring domains means that the website has a high ranking in Google’s SEO algorithm. 

CTLDs Distribution 

This feature breaks down the website’s link according to the top-level domains. Some of them include .edu, .com, .de. 

Ahrefs Rank

This is the website’s link profile broken down keeping in view the worldwide rankings. If your website has a lower Ahrefs rank, it means that your website is doing well. 

Parent Topic

Parent topic refers to the topic under which different other topics can be put in. For instance, SEO covers topics like link building, live backlinks, backlink profiles, and such. And so, SEO will be referred to as the parent topic of these subtopics. 

Traffic Potential

This refers to the amount of traffic you can achieve at any given moment if you had the number one keyword ranking spot. To do this, you will have to focus on keyword research, keyword explorer, and level up your content explorer game. 

Keyword Difficulty 

It breaks down any specific keyword for you. It will show you what the keyword’s potential is. Ahrefs guides you on which particular keyword phrase can help you achieve a higher ranking in Google’s algorithm. 

Also Rank For

Also Rank For is a term used for different features that share similarities. Ahrefs will provide you with a bunch of keywords and ten other results that are correlated with those keywords. For instance, the “keyword magic tool” will Also Rank For “target keyword.” 

Now that we have dealt with the terms and metrics of Ahrefs guide, let’s jump into the many awesome features that Ahrefs offers us. 

Let’s Analyze Backlinks

Ahrefs backlink analysis is a major component of Ahrefs tools. We can extract plenty of important data from the Ahrefs backlink analyzer. How are your competitors doing? Do they have a better ranking? If so, why? Are there certain toxic websites that are building backlinks to the website? How can you use Ahrefs data to find link opportunities and get a higher ranking? These are just some of the questions that will be answered by our Ahrefs guide on the backlink analyzer.

Backlink Profile

You can look for a website’s backlink profile by inserting the website’s URL into Ahrefs “Site Explorer.” 

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As soon as you click on the search buttons, a list of organic traffic, metrics, and backlinks of that particular website will appear on a dashboard on your screen. 

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This can feel jumbled up. But, the good news is that Ahrefs provides features for you to skip the unnecessary information. In the overview section of the dashboard, there will be a bunch of options for you to go into. For example, if you want to check out new backlinks of that website, just click in “Backlink Profile, and then “New.”  

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A complete list should appear on your screen then. 

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If that website has loads and loads of backlinks, we would recommend you to go to “Link type” and click in “Dofollow” to get the optimum results. This way, all the important links to follow will appear on your screen, and you won’t have to bother skimming through the hundreds and thousands of Nofollow links. 

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Another way to make the process easier is by clicking on “Groups similar links” or “One link per domain.” 

All the categorizing features in Ahrefs tool will help you optimize your time better. This feature is all about checking out who are the websites that are linking to a particular website. This data will show you which areas to focus on. By putting these categorizing filters, you can get the necessary and important information without wasting your time and getting overwhelmed by the thousands of backlinks a website has. 

What To Do With Backlink Analysis? 

In general, you can utilize the acquired data in two different ways. Here’s what you can do. 

Find Link Opportunities From Your Competitor’s Website Backlink Analysis 

The best way to make use of this feature is to meticulously go through all the different webpages that refer or backlink to your competitor’s website. A competing website is a website that covers the same topics as you. Getting a higher rank than your competitor will make your website more visible than them. And that means more organic traffic, more followers, which leads to a strong base of loyal followers. And this is what makes a website successful. 

So, to look for websites that backlink to your competitor’s website means looking for websites that would link to your website instead of your competitor. For instance, if you are writing about technical SEO, backlink analyzes this keyword on Ahrefs. You will see a ton of websites to backlink to your competitor’s page for this topic. What you need to do is pitch your article to be backlinked rather than your competitor’s. Reach out to the blog post owner and pitch your articles. Repeat this with all the other websites. 

Analyze Your Competitor’s Link Profile To See Why They Are Doing Better Than You

Check out the way they are using backlinks. Mostly, the way to doing better on SEO is to do a lot of cross-referring on your website. And you can do this when you have original material or data. Original data are highly sought for. If you have one, other websites will surely use it and backlink to you. 

You have Ahrefs guide at your hand. Utilize the keyword suggestions and research tools appropriately and your search traffic will only grow higher. 

Link Intersect

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This feature is great but many have no idea that it exists. On the navigation dashboard, if you click on “More”, you will find “Link Intersect.” Insert multiple competing websites on the search box and hit search. A list of websites that link to all the websites that you put in the search list will appear on your screen. 

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If you are wondering why this is important is because it will give you a much clear view of which websites work in your niche. For example, with the Ahrefs backlink analyzer, you will see thousands of websites backlinking to a particular website. You don’t know why they are backlinking Yor competitor instead of you. Maybe the blog owners have a friendly relationship. 

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There are many other reasons. But, with Link Intersection, you will get websites that are backlinking to multiple of your competitors. So, it could mean that they are just not aware of your website. This is a clear link opportunity. 

Best By Links 

Best By Links reports a website’s pages that are the most popular. This could very well be Ahrefs’ best feature. 

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This feature will tell you what topics are popular on social media. Check out how these articles or blogs are written. How did they achieve so many backlinks? Focus on these questions and modify your content accordingly. 

Pay attention to this backlink checker and your organic search and traffic will get to new heights. 

Ahrefs Guide: New Backlinks

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These are the websites that are backlinking to your website or your competitor’s website now. These are the fresh link opportunities that you should not ignore. 

Online content marketing and digital businesses have grown very competitive. With more and more digital creators, SEO techniques get overused faster now. And once a technique is overdone, new techniques come in. So, old backlinks are almost equal to not being useful, unless it’s on a topic that is rare. New content is published every day, and so, you are likely to gain from new backlinks much more. 

Ahrefs Guide: Lost Backlinks 

A lost link basically means that a website that had backlinked to you removed that link for some reason or the other. Many times, this happens because a blog post was deleted or was updated. 

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The important thing is to not crib about lost links because this happens to everyone, and it’s natural in the search result process. Maybe the blog owner was focusing on his/her website’s search volume. 

What you can do with this information is to try and reclaim some of the legitimate lost links. Maybe reach out to those website owners, and ask if you can update your content to retrieve the lost link. Is the problem with the seed keyword or organic keywords? If these are changes that you can easily make, then do it. This way your relationship with other referring domains will also remain healthy. 

But mainly, you should just focus on new backlinks, keywords explorer, and link opportunities. 

Keywords Explorer

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If you use Ahrefs keyword explorer, you won’t need other keyword research tools. Why is that? We’ll get into that in this section.

Keyword Overview

With keywords explorer, you get tons of information regarding a keyword of your choice. As soon as you enter a keyword that you wish to search into the keywords explorer bar, you’ll find a number of cards. This portion is called the “Overview” portion where you get high-quality information regarding the term you searched for. It gives you an idea regarding the keyword difficulty, competition or search volume of that particular term.

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But there’s a difference between any keyword tool and Ahrefs keywords explorer. Here you can also see the “Return Rate” of that keyword and also the number of people that click on organic and paid results.

Keyword Ideas

Keywords are essential for your content to rank higher on Google. The “Keyword Ideas” section generally gives you various variants of the seed keyword that you were searching for. One thing is that it doesn’t give you new keyword ideas but provides you with enough simple variants of the seed keyword that you entered. Simply hit the “All keyword ideas” in the sidebar to get all long-tail variations of your preferred keyword.

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SERP Overview

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In this Ahrefs feature, you’ll find information on the web pages that rank in SERPs for your choice of keyword. You can get a comprehensive idea of the SERP history of that particular keyword, its rankings since the Ahrefs SEO tool started collecting data on keywords (in 2006) and the context of the web pages that use that particular keyword. You also get detailed information regarding the fluctuation of results surrounding that keyword in various search engine results. Now, why is this important to know? It’s important because if you suddenly come across SERP that has been consistent or stable over the past 12 months, then those are authoritative domains. Beware of those because it’ll be very difficult to rank over these with your website.

Moreover, this feature also breaks down the top ten results based on domain ranking, URL rating, backlink figures and so on. In the SERP overview portion, an interesting feature to note is the “Top Keyword” row. This column tells you which keyword brings in the highest amount of organic traffic. You’ll be lucky to unfold a new keyword which will help you grow while going through this row.

Keyword Research For Other Search Engines

The Ahrefs keyword research tool is now even more convenient as it can be used in a variety of search engines namely, YouTube, Bing, Amazon, Yahoo, Baidu, and Yandex. Moreover, this keyword tool can be used to find keyword data of various countries like the UK, Germany and so on.

Overall, for SEO marketers, this has become their go-to tool. This single feature will provide you with everything you need to know about keywords and its technical application for SEO growth.

Organic Keywords And Organic Search Traffic

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SEO is not all about keywords, but they play an important part in increasing your CTR, that is your Click through Rate. There are times when people look at your web page when it turns up on the SERP but do not click on the link to visit your website. This may decrease your potential SEO rankings. CTR determines how many people actually clicked on your web age and checked out your website. When you’re going for SEO content marketing, Ahrefs helps you to improve your CTR results using amazing SEO tools like the Ahrefs “Organic Search Traffic” and “Organic Keywords”.  Now, what exactly are these features?

Ahrefs Guide To Organic Search Traffic And Organic Keywords

These super useful Ahrefs tools are your personal guide to having successful SEO metrics. It doesn’t directly improve your Google rankings but it is like a study material that you need to increase organic traffic on your website. The organic keywords feature is a time-saver as it goes through millions of results on Google to check out the top rankings on the Google search engine for a specific keyword or keywords. This Ahrefs tool practically does your job for you. If you have a comprehensive idea of the top ranking websites on Google and the keywords for which they rank (which means the top ranks and the keywords they have used in those pages) then you can start prepping yourself to size up to your competitors.

You can pretty much input any URL or domain in the Ahrefs SEO tool and get an exact list of the keywords used by the top ranking websites on Google. You can also use Ahrefs to keep a tab on the performance of your website as well. People generally go for traditional methods if rank tracking but the process is a lot smoother with Ahrefs. This is because the data updates happen so often on Ahrefs that you don’t need to separately keep a tab on your ranking using any other method.

If you’re clear on the basic functionality of these Ahrefs features, we can dig into the next section.

How To Go About “Organic Traffic” And The “Organic Keywords” Features On Ahrefs?

With the help of organic keywords you can improve traffic on your website. And this actually works. You get an idea of your current search traffic and also Ahrefs metrics of the potential traffic on your website.

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You can see below how these metrics have changed over such a short span of time in the chart below.

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However, questions still remain? Can we believe in these estimated figures? How accurate are Ahrefs’ organic traffic estimates? You can find these out for yourself by using the Ahrefs tool for your link building and content marketing purposes. But to ease your conscience, we have a little study. According to an experiment, Ahrefs metrics showed that a particular site attracts 303k new visitors from Google per month.

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The real figure as shown in the picture below stands at 342k, as per Google analytics. That is a pretty good estimate that can act as an anchor for your website if you’re trying to grow on Google.

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Now, it’s true that you can’t take many actions with the Ahrefs data provided by these features but you can make use of this in a different way. The information you get from the organic search traffic and organic keywords feature in Ahrefs is like a benchmark that gives you a clear image of what is what. That is to say, it tells you where you stand and where others stand and gives you an exact list of the organic keywords used by the other sites to reach where they are. You can use those keywords ethically to improve the traffic on your website as well.

So, your real treasure kit is the comprehensive list of keywords that your competitor ranks for. Here’s an example of such a list.

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From such a list you can even get an estimate on the amount of traffic each of those top-ranking websites get from each term.

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You must be aware of the term Domain Authority. This is a search engine ranking score that calculates the estimated ranking of a website on the SERPs. This score is generally useful when you’re tracking the ranking strength of your website over a period of time or comparing different websites. Now, coming to Ahrefs, if you have a good DA (Domain Authority) then you can make use of this keyword research tool to get keyword ideas which can help you increase your organic traffic.

In short, this is like a shortcut into the entire process of keyword research.

Traffic Value

This is an underrated feature which gives you an estimate of all the traffic a website on Google gets from scratch. For your domain rank, the higher this figure the more valuable your site is. But there’s a key element you need to focus on. Say for example, your entire traffic comes from keywords with no commercial value then even if you have 1M visitors, your traffic is not worth much. However, if you have only 10k visitors from Google every month but the traffic consists of people with higher buyer intent then this will come up in your Traffic Value account. Traffic Value essentially marks if your site has quality traffic or not.

Content Explorer

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Content explorer by Ahrefs is a feature that lets you find the most popular content around any topic or from any website on Google. It is designed for your benefit. With this feature you can know about content that has the most social shares and not just backlinks. It’s like a shortcut version of BuzzSumo.

Find Popular Content Using Ahrefs Content Explorer

This is the main reason for using Content Explorer. It’s simple and convenient and also gives you efficient results in a matter of seconds. The most that you have to do is input a target keyword or a keyword of your choice or even a topic that you wish to search into Content Explorer.

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Once you enter your keyword suggestions, you’ll notice a list of all the articles that get the most shares on social media platforms.

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Now if you’re looking for the search result from a specific social media site, then you can even sort the shares of that site accordingly.

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Otherwise, this is also a favourable tool if you simply want to get an idea of what’s currently working on the market.

Sort By Traffic Value

This is an additional feature which helps you to use the metrics of Traffic Value to get a list of highly-shared content on Content Explorer. As mentioned previously, you can get an idea of how your site is doing using Traffic Value.

With content explorer, you can sort the results to know the list of popular content that brings valuable traffic at the moment.

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Find Republished Posts

Republished content means content that has already been updated using the same URL. Now, when you’re using the Ahrefs tool, you’ll notice a drop-down menu placed in the top left corner of your screen. This is where you find all republished content.

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What is the need for finding republished content? With this you can actually get a better idea of why a particular content piece did well before. If you find a particular post in the republished section that still tops the content explorer list, you’ll know that that piece has been relaunched or regularly updated to meet current demands.

Ahrefs Guide: Some Helpful Features

We’ve covered some of the broad topics, now it’s time to look up some random features in Ahrefs which can actually turn out to be helpful in designing content strategy and SEO marketing.

Competing Domains

Now, imagine if you have just launched a new site. You have a general idea about your potential competitors but when you’re a beginner trying to climb all the way up, you need a guide to give your ideas a direction. You’re bound to be clueless when you’re starting out because there’s a ton of competitors out there. This is where Ahrefs’ Competing Domains feature helps you.

This tool is not that useful when you’re in the game for a long time because you already have an idea about your competitors. The Competing Domains feature gives you a report containing the list of all the domains trying to rank alongside you for the same terms.

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With this feature, you can also look at the “Best By Links” page which gives you an idea regarding the types of content that works best in the market today.

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Content Gap

This is more helpful in terms of keyword ranking. As the name suggests, the Content Gap feature by Ahrefs shows you all the keywords that your competitors use to rank but you don’t. So, if you’re comparing your website against one competitor this feature can prove to be more helpful. Let’s use an example to understand this better. Suppose you put two of your competitors into the Content Gap feature.

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Then be sure to include your website in the field below, namely “But the following target doesn’t rank for.”

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Once you enter your website onto that field, you’ll find a ton of keywords that you could have ranked for but you didn’t use them in your web page. If you have this information ready at hand, you can easily start building your future content based on these target keywords.

Site Audit

If you’re familiar with Screaming Frog, then this is the web version of it. As the name suggests, Site Audit gets you a report containing all that you need to know about the health of your web pages. It inspects the various web pages in your site to curate a technical report on all your pages.

To use Site Auditor, go to your website’s homepage. You need to have patience because Ahrefs Site Auditor will virtually go through all your files. This could take a while ranging from a few minutes to a few hours depending upon the number of pages you have on your website.

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After that, Site Auditor will present a report to you containing a detailed technical report of your pages including the ones you’ve blocked using Robots.txt, redirected or the ones with a noindex tag.

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Paid Search

Even though Ahrefs is a SEO tool, it can also improve your PPC (pay per click) campaigns. Some Ahrefs features like Paid Search can help you identify the ads on competing websites which generate the most traffic. If you want to use this feature, go to Paid Search, put the name of your competing website and hit the button.

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You’ll immediately get a list of all the ads used by your competing website that generate the highest traffic for that site. Now you can use this to build an idea regarding the ads you want in your own website.

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Not only that another interesting feature is that you can also know which keywords send these sites the highest paid traffic.

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And also get information on which websites get visits from paid users.

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Alerts

This Ahrefs feature is useful when you want to remain on the top of a particular site’s rankings and links. How does this happen? You can use Ahrefs Alerts tool as a backlink checker. If you apply this feature you’ll get an email alert every time your competing site or your website starts to rank based on a new backlink or a keyword.

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Domain Comparison

You might have enough content but that is not enough. You constantly need to update your website. To do this, the best way is to know where you lack. If you get a comprehensive idea on where you stand, you can automatically start to rebuild yourself and fill in the gaps. The Domain Comparison feature of Ahrefs lets you do exactly that.  You can compare two to five sites using this Ahrefs tool.

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Once you enter your competitors’ sites, you’ll see that domain comparison will highlight where you lack. The picture below shows that the website lags in “referring domains.” If you have this knowledge you can stop content creation and focus more on link opportunities.

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Advanced Ahrefs Tips

In this section, we’ll deal with a couple of handy tips that might give you the edge in SEO marketing which you were looking for.

Broken Link Building

It’ll be a disaster if you have to find your entire site’s broken links and sort them manually. But Ahrefs makes it easier for you. It removes all the boring labor and gives you a list of all the broken links in your website at once. Then you don’t need to bother looking up “Check my Links” a thousand times a day.

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Analyze Anchor Text

You can improve rankings in Google using an anchor text rich in keywords. But this has a terrible downside to it. You need to keep in mind that your anchor text is not too optimized. This can cause you to suffer from a Google penalty. If you don’t want that, remember to go to Ahrefs “Anchors” report section to confirm that most of the anchor text uses branded or generic anchors.

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Best By Links Growth

This feature gives you a list of all the pages that are currently getting links. This is helpful because it gives you the latest reports (that are within the last month, week or even a day) which help you analyse better and gives you a clear idea of the latest linking actions in your industry.

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Batch Analysis

As the name suggests, this feature of Ahrefs allows you to analyze multiple URLs (such as 200 or less) in one go. With this feature, you don’t have to waste your time going through one URL after another. Instead, this is a quicker and more efficient method.

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Find Guest Post Opportunities

Check out this video to know all about how you can find multiple websites which have a similar niche to accept guest posts on their websites.

Top Content

If you operate mostly out of social media, this feature will be very helpful for you. This feature is finding the Best By Links for the highest shared content on social media platforms. Note that there’s a difference between being linked and getting shared. So, if you’re looking to increase share traffic on social media sites, we recommend this tool.

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So, if you don’t use the Ahrefs SEO tool yet, check out these amazing features and incorporate these in your SEO strategies to grow quicker and better.

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