How To Use Ahrefs? A Definitive Guide To SEOs & Content Writers!

Team TypeStack
Team TypeStack ...
Nov 29, 2022  . 12 min read
Table of Content

If you are trying to expand your online presence, using an online tool to enhance your SEO/ marketing efforts is critical to your overall strategy. ahrefs could help you in achieving this objective. However, you might be trying to figure out how to use ahrefs. So, we will give you a definitive guide about what ahrefs is and how you can use it.

What is ahrefs?

What is ahrefs - TypeStack
What is ahrefs - TypeStack

Ahrefs is an SEO software that offers tools for link-building, keyword research, analysis of where your competitors are going, and site audit to iron out the flaws in your SEO strategy.

To put it shortly, ahrefs is an SEO tool that will help your website rank higher in Google searches.

Why use ahrefs?

Why one should use ahrefs - TypeStack
Why one should use ahrefs - TypeStack

You may be thinking why you should use ahrefs. After all, you understand how SEO works. You know a thing or two about keyword research and link-building. You also understand how technical SEO could be critical in improving your search rankings.

However, understanding what SEO is and how it works may not be good enough. You must also possess the ability to improve your SEO efficiently. If you learn how to use ahrefs, you could develop that ability. ahrefs helps with different aspects of SEO, and you must understand how to use various tools offered on ahrefs.

Ahrefs terms and metrics

After using the ahrefs, you’ll notice that it consists of numerous terms and metrics.

(Example: “UR”, “ahrefs Rank” and “CTLDs distribution.")

However, it is difficult for ahrefs to explain the meaning of these things in plain English.

For instance, they define Domain Rating DR as: “the target URL’s backlink profile on a 100-point logarithmic scale (higher = stronger).”

Before getting into ahrefs’ key features, you must learn how to “speak ahrefs."

Here is a list of common terms you'll encounter while using ahrefs.

URL Rating (UR): It is the link authority that a webpage has. A combination of the quality and quantity of several backlinks that point to that page.

Domain Rating (DR): URL Rating applied across the site ( it is equivalent to Moz Domain Authority).

Anchors: It is a breakdown of the commonly-used anchor text in a site’s link profile.

Referring Domains: These are the various unique websites linking to the page or site you’re looking at. A high amount of referring domains relate to higher rankings on Google.

CTLDs Distribution: It is the breakdown of a site’s links by the top-level domain (.com, .edu. .de, etc.)

Ahrefs Rank: It's a worldwide ranking of a site’s link profile. For example, with Alexa ranking, the lower the number, the better the link profile.

Parent Topic: The broad/main topic that a keyword falls under (for instance, “link building” comes under the Parent Topic “SEO”).

Traffic Potential: It is the amount of traffic you will get if you rank in the #1 spot for that keyword.

Keyword Difficulty: How tough (or easy) it will be for you to rank on the first page of Google for a given keyword.

Keeping a tab on your competitors

Ahrefs competitor research tools help you discover where you stand when put against your competitors. As a business in any industry, you will want to know if your competitors are doing better than you. You will also want to know if your competitors are growing further or if they have maxed out. Most importantly, you want an edge over your competitors. 

Ahrefs' site explorer helps you track your competitors by showing the search traffic your competitors are getting. It helps you set prospective targets for yourself regarding the search traffic to be attracted.

What will ahrefs find out for you? 

While you can use ahrefs' site explorer to find out where your competitors stand, there are two things that you must keep in mind:

  1. You will only get data about website traffic. Ahrefs doesn't give you a break-up of the direct traffic, referral traffic, and traffic from social media networks.
  2. Ahrefs doesn't give you the real numbers. It gives you estimates, and there may be discrepancies between the actual numbers and ahrefs' estimates. But there is no need to worry about it. Generally, discrepancies are consistent for all websites within one niche. Even if your search traffic is under-reported, your competitor's traffic may be equally underreported.

Using ahrefs to plan your marketing strategy

Discovering where your competitors stand will help you set targets for your website. However, what you want to do is to formulate a strategy to catch up with your competitors. 

Ahrefs' site explorer comes to your rescue all over again. After you get track of your competitors, you can check the Top pages report. Here, you can find a list of your competitors' web pages classified according to the amount of search traffic. So, you can infer the kind of pages bringing your competitors' search traffic; and the content people are searching for in your industry. These factors help you formulate the correct strategy to boost the SEO of your website.

How to use ahrefs for keyword research?

How to use ahrefs for keyword research - TypeStack
How to use ahrefs for keyword research - TypeStack

Any SEO strategy must take into account keyword research. Using the right set of keywords boosts your search rankings at the outset. But how do you use keywords? It generally involves using industry knowledge and other manual tasks like tracking the keywords used by the competitors.

But ahrefs can change the rules of the game. The ahrefs keyword research is a powerful tool that helps you judge the popularity of search queries. You may have several keywords in your mind, and you can use the Ahrefs dashboard to find out where you rank for them. It helps you measure your progress.

Finding new keywords

Tracking your progress for the primary keywords is an essential thing to do. But let's accept it, you cannot compete for the popular keywords with the industry giants. You should therefore know how to use ahrefs for keyword research

Using ahrefs keyword explorer can help you discover variations of the popular keywords and more specific keywords. It is like landing on a goldmine. You are no longer searching for words you want your website to rank. You are now searching for keywords to improve your search rankings. You can therefore give your keyword research an edge over your fierce competitors by learning how to use ahrefs for keyword research.

Organic keywords and organic search traffic

This particular feature of ahrefs scratches millions of Google results to see which one is ranking for which keywords.

In simple words, when you enter almost any domain or URL into ahrefs, you can see the list of terms they rank for (and where they rank for them).

This enables you to understand how your site performs compared to the competition. Also, you can use it to keep tabs on how your site is doing (the data always keeps updating).

Now it's time to check some other features of ahrefs that can't fit in any one particular.

Ahrefs site audit to keep your website specifications up to date

All your keyword research is in place. With all those high-volume low-competition keywords you have fine-tuned your website content.

Yet, your website is not attracting a lot of traffic. The site explorer tells you that you lag behind your competitors. So, where are you going wrong? Probably, you are facing technical SEO issues. Search engines don't like websites with longer load times and duplicate content issues. Despite all human expertise, diagnosing technical problems on your website may not be that easy.

Ahrefs site audit comes to your rescue here. It will scan and diagnose the SEO issues on your website. It will scan your website for 120 common problems. It goes a step further. After the diagnosis, it will provide detailed recommendations to fix such SEO problems. 

You can also schedule recurring audits for your website and monitor your SEO health periodically.

How to use ahrefs content explorer?

Keyword research and ranking higher in Google search results are necessary for improving your website's SEO. But if you want to improve your SEO score, you should produce content that has good readability. You should create content that people would love to share on social media.

For tracing such content, you should learn how to use ahrefs Content Explorer. It gives you a list of articles getting shared frequently on social media 

You can further filter the content according to your own needs. The ahrefs Content Explorer allows you to filter the shareability of the content

Otherwise, you can draw a broad idea about the content that is working on social media.

Finally, you can find a drop-down menu in the top left corner of the Content Explorer. It helps you discover republished content. It gives you a better idea about why a specific write-up has performed better.

How to use ahrefs for better backlinking?

The external links on other websites that redirect users to your website improve your SEO score. The quality and quantity of such links affect your Google search rankings.

Learning how to get those backlinks is critical for your SEO score. So, you should know how to use ahrefs for backlinking. For backlink profiling, you can choose a competitor's website and paste the URL into the "Site Explorer". It will generate and curate all metrics of that site's backlinks, organic traffic, and other data. 

Hit the "Backlinks" tab in the sidebar and find many such backlinks. You can choose "Link type"- "Dofollow" for your convenience. You can further narrow down the results by clicking on the "One link per domain" or "Group similar links" button and avoiding checking each link. Once you have these backlinks, you can do many interesting things:

  1. You can track the pages that link to your competitor. It helps you understand your audience and the creation of content that they would probably backlink.
  2. You can also check the profile of your competitor to understand the kind of write-ups that are getting backlinked. If their writing style is getting them backlinked in the same niche, you should also get links from the same websites when you use similar write-ups.
  3.  As you research more about your competitors’ backlinking profiles, you may find everyone has some similar reference websites. And that’s the bulls-eye for sure! For every backlink you find, ahrefs allows you to search "Link Intersect" and find out the list of sites that got linked. Now, you know the websites that you have to target.

Other helpful features

Competing domains

Competing Domains are more helpful when you have just launched a new site or you have taken on a new client.

This report grants you the list of domains that are trying to or ranking for the same terms. Because this report shows you the SEO landscape for that site.

Content gap

Content Gap allows you to see keywords that your competitors rank for.

Analyzing a single website is more helpful. Also, if you find two competing sites that rank for a keyword, then there is more chance of you ranking for it too.

Paid search

Though ahrefs is primarily designed for SEO, it still consists of features to help with PPC campaigns.

You can use it by putting a competing site into ahrefs. And hit “Paid Search”:

This will help you see which ads generate the most traffic for your site:

How to see paid search traffic and keywords using ahrefs - TypeStack 
How to see paid search traffic and keywords using ahrefs - TypeStack 


If you want to stay on top of a site’s links and rankings, then Alerts is your key.

The reason behind this is simple; you can ask ahrefs to send you an email whenever you or your competing site gets a new backlink or starts to rank for a new keyword.

Domain comparison

Domain comparison is useful because this shows you how your site is compared to the competition.

Here's how you can use multiple tools provided on ahrefs:

Advanced ahrefs tips and untapped features

Easily find broken links

It takes a lot of hard work out of Broken Link Building on ahrefs. The reason is it shows you all the broken links on the site:

Find broken links of any website using ahrefs - TypeStack
Find broken links of any website using ahrefs - TypeStack

Analyze anchor text

Keyword-rich anchor text surely enhances your Google ranking, but only to a point. Also, keep in mind that if your anchor text is too optimized, you could get into a Google penalty.

This is why it is important to check out the 'Anchors' reports. In addition, you can make sure that your anchor text is created with generic anchors.

How to find anchor texts using ahrefs - TypeStack
How to find anchor texts using ahrefs - TypeStack

Best by links growth

This is great for figuring out what people in your industry are linking to.

Because it shows you pages that keep getting links presently (especially within the last day, week, or month)

Batch analysis

No matter at what level you are doing SEO, this is for you. Analyzing URLs one by one is pretty hectic; it helps you analyze up to 200 URLs at a time:

Find guest post opportunities

You can certainly use ahrefs to find multiple sites in your niche that accept guest posts. You'll find various videos on the Internet to learn how you can do it.

Top content

It may sound quite surprising, but there is a huge difference between content that gets linked to and one that is shared.

With the help of this, you can see what pages get shared most often on social media:


Now you may understand why almost every industry leader relies on ahrefs tools for their SEO. Unlike other tools, it does not provide you with a guesstimated report. Rather you can have a clear picture of where your website is standing in terms of SEO and how you can enhance it to reach the Top ranking. That’s why, if you learn how to use ahrefs, you will naturally get an advantage over your peers. It is more than a mere SEO software tool and can be a game-changer in your SEO strategy.