26 Sep How to use ahrefs to increase Website Traffic in 2020
How to use ahrefs to increase Website Traffic
What is Ahrefs and how can it help you
Ahrefs (not ahreafs, ahregs, arefs, aherfs, ahefs or aherefs) is a paid tool but, without a doubt, it is very worth it because it has the best index of links on the Internet. The most accurate and complete. To start, you can try it for free for 14 days, after which to continue using it you will have to contract one of their subscription plans:
What do I like the most about Ahrefs
Ahrefs is undoubtedly one of my go-to SEO tools. Yes, it is paid, but it is worth it.
In addition to its link index, it is also very good at finding broken links on other websites and on your own. With it you can also analyze the links of the competition and find websites to do guest posting.
Ahrefs is also very interesting to analyze the backlink profile of your own website because it has a “live” index in which you see the links that have been lost over time. There are other tools, like Majestic, that also have these kinds of options but Ahrefs is above all of them.
In addition, it is growing in possibilities, because before the only tool that showed the keywords for which a website was positioning itself was SEMrush and now Ahrefs also has that function and gives much better results.
Since Google’s Keyword Tool Planner no longer shows exactly the monthly searches, but rather ranges, Ahrefs has put a lot of money into making a tool to replace it. Right now they are working on that keyword planner, which still has a lot to do, but it looks really good.
1. The dashboard
Once you enter your Ahrefs account, the first thing you see is the dashboard. The tool is already translated into Spanish almost 100% and is available, in addition to English, in French, Italian, German, Dutch, Polish, Turkish, Swedish and Russian, so you can choose to work with the language you prefer.
Depending on the contracted plan, you can add a number or another of websites to track.
These sites will always appear on this main screen with a short graphical summary of their top updated metrics.
From here you also have access to the Reauthorization Links and the Rank Tracker to check how the positioning of the keywords of each website is going.
If we directly put a URL in the search engine above, it will show us a complete X-ray of that website, with metrics and graphics. Take, for example, the Wikipedia address:
Do not panic, now we will see little by little what each thing is and how it is used.
Rank Tracker reports
After adding your site or websites to the Dashboard, Ahrefs will ask you to indicate all those keywords that you want to control, one per line or separated by commas, and the country, region, province, city or address of its potential users.
Once you have done that, the tool will monitor the positioning of all our keywords and will send you reports to your email.
You can also go directly to Rank Tracker at any time and see the current ranking for all these keywords, with charts included when there is already a history to show, of course.
Also depending on the contracted plan, you will have a maximum quota for this functionality that allows you to monitor links, new keywords and mentions.
What can this do for you? First, of course, to know when any of your websites have been linked by others. But also to “spy” on the competition. Put that you want to know what new links a rival of yours gets to try to achieve them too with the aim of surpassing him in positioning.
Ahrefs can do that task for you by informing you of the new backlinks that the page you put up receives. Monitoring that is simple. Simply enter the URLs of the pages you compete with in Alerts – Links, and Ahrefs will email you alert every time it detects new links to them.
With the same Alerts tool you can also receive notifications for new keywords (to add others to those already indicated when you first log in to Ahrefs) and also for mentions.
With the alerts of new keywords we will be able to know if each of our keywords have risen or fallen in position (they go by groups of bands), and see new opportunities that arise naturally.
If you click on the Explore button of your added websites you can see the detailed report, although, yes, we would already be in the next section of the general menu, the Site Explorer:
Returning to Alerts, we have to see the third option: notifications for mentions. This is very interesting because it allows you to know when someone quotes you or a keyword on their website that you have included as a mention alert, even if they did not necessarily have a link.
Apart from helping you to know who is talking about you or about a topic that interests you, it can be useful for your link building. You have it to the egg: if they have mentioned you, or a topic that you address on your website, they will surely have no problem linking you.
But for this they must know that you exist. Just contact and offer it. It will not always work, but you will be giving yourself visibility in the worst case.
3. Site Explorer
Have you ever stopped to think that the main reason why one website links to the contents of another is because it has nothing of its own on the same topic that is worthwhile?
Your website is hardly unique in a theme, so you will have to compete with others so that people link to yours instead of to that of your rivals.
In that “war” you will only be the winner if you offer something better, more complete and attractive than the rest. If your content offers a lot of value, solving problems, doubts, training or entertaining the user, it will end up being linked naturally.
Ahrefs can help you do that with their Site Explorer tool.
Its search engine offers you exact url limits, by prefix, without subdomains or with all its subdomains. In any case, when entering the url it automatically detects which type it is quite right:
First of all, you will have to find out if your competitors have something “special” on their websites. Find out what they do to attract backlinks.
Let’s say we sell gifts and one of our main competitors is La Tostadora. We put your domain in Site Explorer, we search and it shows us a lot of information about that website:
We are going to give you now, in the Pages section, located in the left side submenu, to search for “Best by links”, which will show us which specific pages on that website have a greater number of backlinks:
If before that, in the filter “All HTTP codes” we indicate 200 OK, it will show us the “clean” results, avoiding pages with errors or redirects.
Apart from that, we also have two other search parameters to obtain more restricted results, by platforms and by language:
From there we can analyze the results and see what works best for you. In this case it is easy to see that they are your personalized t-shirts.
We can sort everything by any of the indexes that each result offers.
For example, if we click on Dofollow it will show us which pages have the most of these types of links.
The same can be done for the URL Rating, the number of Referring Domains, Nofollow links, Redirects, and even when they were detected for the first time and the last time they were reviewed:
This same procedure can be applied in the search for the best pages by link growth (in the last day, week or month), by shares in the five main social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn and Pinterest) and even by better content (greater number of social shares in networks).
With all these valuable information possibilities that Site Explorer offers, we can copy the formula for success of our competitors.
In this specific case, we should make content and offer as products personalized t-shirts of this or that type, according to our interests, to attract backlinks naturally.
If you consider it unfeasible to carry out these contents, have these products, or you think that you will not exceed the ones that already have them, it will be time to draw up your own strategy and try to differentiate yourself and exploit niches that your competition may not have explored yet. For example, personalized t-shirts with holograms, to say the least.
Often times the secret to success you may already have and don’t even know. It will only be about putting focus on something so that it starts generating links.
When you make good content, do not think that it is enough to publish it, period. At that point it will be time to “move” it so that it reaches as many people as possible.
For that you can put an ad on Facebook, for example, with what you will gain traffic, but if what you want is to attract backlinks you have to make it reach people who may be interested in linking to that content.
How can you do that? Simple: contact the websites that have linked content from the competition similar to yours.
To do this, enter the urls of those pages of your rivals in the Site Explorer and go to the “Referring Domains” report, which is inside the Links Profile to see where they get their backlinks:
As always, you can filter those results. In this case, by the type of link and by the TLD, its suffix or extension (.com, .es, .info, .org, etc.):
You can also restrict the search according to other parameters, such as Fresh Index (active backlinks in the last 90 days) or Live Index (only those that are active since the last crawl, and are updated within 24 hours to 30 days) ; and the indicators of each result: Domain Rating (DR), Ahrefs Rank (the tool’s own ranking that analyzes the quantity and quality of its backlinks, with 1 being the best grade); total number of links, how many of them are dofollow and the date they were first detected.
Now it is only about contacting the websites that interest you to suggest that they link your content.
More things. In Site Explorer we can also see in Links a report that shows all the pages that link to the web that we indicate, including the new ones, the lost and the broken ones.
Being able to locate broken links in a url can be very useful. If we know that there is a website where we want to have a link, we can place its url here and check if it has any broken links. If so, we can offer you a link to our content, even if it is made expressly for that.
It is a quid pro quo: the owner of that website fixes a link and you earn the link you wanted.
In Site Explorer we can also see the referring domains, that is, the sites from which the links that a web has come from, both new and lost:
In the next section we can see the Anchors, that is, the list of anchor text terms of those links that point to the web on which we have made the search:
In “Best reference content” it shows us the most popular results among those who link us, taking as a criterion the number of times they have been shared on social networks:
The “Backlink Profile” menu closes the reference IPs report, which groups together all the pages and domains referring to the IP address of each website and the network to which this IP belongs:
Position in the top 3 of Google
To appear on the first page of Google, that is, among the first 10 results of a search, it is not enough just to have backlinks.
The objective should be to be at least in the top three, which are the ones that take the bulk of the organic traffic, and the great challenge to reach the first place, the one that eats the most of the cake.
Ahrefs also allows us to generate backlinks on “automatic pilot” and some tricks to go up positions in Google.
Let’s start from a base: well-positioned pages tend to attract links naturally.
If in Site Explorer you put the URL of a page that ranks first in Google for a certain keyword, you will probably see a graph of growing backlinks.
Let’s do the test. We search for “Calaveras” in Google and the website www.decalaveras.com comes out in first position, which is mine 😉
This is the graph that shows the domains that link to it:
How does this and any other top-ranking page get its new backlinks?
The process is logical: someone searches for an answer to a question on Google and clicks on the first result. If the content satisfies you, you keep the address of that website.
If that person has a page and writes on that topic, they will make a helpful web link that helped you.
These new links help that website to stay in the first position, so it constantly receives new links.
Trying to overcome something like that is difficult, but not impossible. You must constantly generate as many or more backlinks than that top 1 page.
Ahrefs can help you in this task by informing you, through alerts (in point 2 that we saw before), of the new links that a specific page receives.
Thus, knowing that so and so has linked menganito, you should try to achieve that link too.
The hard work is getting those links to replicate for your page. A good tip is to make these alerts for the top5 pages, so that you will have a wider range and if you do not achieve some, you can try others.
In any case, relying on this tactic as the only weapon to achieve links is not advisable because you will always slip back.
If you want to overtake your opponents on the right you need something else. Knowing how to see some of the common patterns that these websites use to achieve their links is one of those ways.
We go to the Organic Search section. Your first option is to display organic keywords (the keywords that a website ranks in Google search results and that are in the top 100), with the ability to see new ones and those that have been registered movements (by days, from today backwards).
We see in this example those of the digital edition of the newspaper El País:
In “Best pages” we list the pages of that website based on the organic traffic they report.
This information is gold when it comes to proposing our content to compete with other websites in our niche.
By looking at the pages that are bringing you the most traffic, we can analyze them to see the reasons and try to emulate their strategies.
The following sections show the «Competing domains», that is, the websites with which copper is battled; the «Competition Pages», the same as the previous one but for specific pages, as its name indicates; and finally, a very good utility, the «Content Gap», which allows us to search at our discretion and with customizable fields which keywords position one or more websites, but which in turn do not position for another:
How to steal organic traffic from your competition
To begin with, we are going to obtain a detailed list of who our competitors are, although surely you already know which ones are the main ones (those that appear in the first positions of Google for your niche).
Ahrefs shows you that list in a very simple way. Enter the domain of your website or that of someone from the competition in Site Explorer and go to the report “Organic Search” – “Competing domains” (they have not fully translated the website into Spanish).
We are going to search for an online store in a very competitive sector, that of online footwear:
The next step, now that we have the list of their rivals, is to find which pages give them the best performance.
Although a website is powerful, not all its pages are equally powerful, so we want to know what its true traffic engines are.
To find out, within Organic Search, we will go to «Best Pages».
We are going to choose the main competitor of Sarenza.com, which is amazon.fr:
As a result, we are shown which pages on amazon.fr get the highest search traffic, quantifying it; the number of keywords they position, the main keyword, as well as the estimate of the monthly search volume and position.
If you do this with the top 10 competitors you will get a list of all their best pages.
Now it is a question of knowing the links that these pages have and where they come from. We have seen before how this is done, but individually.
To save effort, and since we have a list of URLs compiled, we can use Batch Analysis Express, a utility found in the last section of the Ahrefs general menu, generically called “Tools”.
In Batch Analysis Express, copy and paste the list of URLs and you will extract the link metrics.
We are interested in seeing the “Referring Domains” to know how many different websites are linking to each of the pages.
Next, you just have to see the “bargains” on this list. For example, see if there are pages that get a lot of organic traffic and only have a few links from different sites.
Your goal will be to replicate all these pages on your website, starting with the easiest ones.
Be careful, when we talk about replicating we are not referring to copying them as is, but to having similar thematic pages on your website and, whenever possible, improving them.
We already saw the next section of the Site Explorer side menu -Pages- at the beginning of this point, so now we go to Outgoing Links.
This report details which websites the page we indicate is linking to.
Let’s see which websites elmundo.es links to:
We can also know the anchors used for the aforementioned links, as well as the broken links, which for SEO reasons we would be interested in fixing if the website were ours.
We have now reached the penultimate section of Site Explorer features: “Paid search”.
Here we can check the paid keywords of a website, if it has them, the ads and the top landing pages.
We see here the paid keywords of the fashion ecommerce Zalando.es:
The last feature of Site Explorer is “Export”, which is used to download in CSV or PDF format any of the reports we have been viewing.
Keep in mind that any search in Ahrefs can always be restricted with the metrics or parameters that accompany the results, so the possible customization is maximum.
4. Content explorer
One of the headaches for SEOs and content creators is finding ideas that appeal to users.
But even finding themes that a priori seem very promising, they may not work up to what we had imagined later.
When we create content, we usually trust that it will perform well in one of these fields. Or in all, if possible:
- Social networks. We strive to have the greatest possible echo in the social media, which if achieved translates into an immediate influx of traffic to your website.
- Rank well in Google for lots of relevant keywords and generate a steady stream of organic traffic
- Attract backlinks, which will allow us to obtain greater traffic from search engines and also from referrals.
The best way to ensure the success of our content is to analyze similar ones that performed well and use their same formulas.
How can we do that? Using Ahrefs Content Explorer.
It is, as its name suggests, a browser that shows you the most shared content for any topic you want.
Ahrefs Content Explorer is the tool that will allow us to know what possibilities we have of achieving backlinks with this theme; how much potential organic traffic we can get with our keyword and which websites might be interested in linking to our article.
Simply put your keyword in the Content Explorer to get an exhaustive list of articles on the subject in question.
Once we are clear about what the subject of our article is going to be, we will investigate what content around that already exists.
When doing the search, you can choose to have your terms appear on any site on the web, pages or videos, or only in the titles or in the content.
Let’s search, for example, “unisex store”:
First, we can choose if the results contain the terms unisex shop in any part of the article, only in the title or only in the content.
If we do not limit, the default search is “Everywhere”, that is, it will show all the results where «shop» and «unisex» appear somewhere in the publication:
We can see that it indicates the total number of results, in this case 451. Each of them is shown with a lot of useful information:
- An image, when you have it.
- The url.
- A text entry as a summary or introduction.
- The total number of words in the article.
- Its publication date, to be chosen at your discretion or for specific periods (last 24 hours, last week, last month, previous year …)
- Your data from shares on social networks, specific, total and an average index (Twitter, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn and Pinterest)
- Your Domain Rating, which shows the strength of the backlink profile for that particular website. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 1 to 100, the latter being the strongest.
- Your “Referring domains”, that is, how many different websites are linking to this article (as a general rule, the more they do, the better you will rank in Google)
- Your organic traffic, or the visits that this article is getting each month from search engines.
- Who Tweeted, to find out in connection with the Twitter API (see last section of Tools) who has tweeted the article.
- Details. This button displays a submenu whose first visible option is a series of graphs made from data seen before, but displayed in an evolution table:
In addition to that, in Details we can see the backlinks, referring domains, anchor text and organic keywords by which the article is positioned. All this with detailed information in each of the sections.
Now that we have seen everything that is offered to us about each result, we return to the main search bar.
If we put quotation marks in our search terms we will refine the results, since it will only show the sites where the words “unisex store” appear together and in that order:
We have gone from having 451 results to only 9.
The tool also allows you to search for those keywords, as we said, by title or content:
In the “Advanced Search” function we are indicated the particular Ahrefs footprints that we can use to restrict searches according to a series of parameters, such as certain sites or domains, authors, approximate writing (for when we are not sure how to write something ), etc:
Whatever our initial search criteria, Content Explorer offers additional filters to narrow the results to our liking:
- Publication date: you will know if your content is timeless or expired, if it is valid or even if it is a trend.
- Times shared in networks.
- Domain rating.
- Referring Domains.
- Organic traffic.
- Number of words.
- Highlight unlinked domains: This feature will highlight articles from domains that do not have links to the web that we indicate in this option.
The results obtained can be sorted by relevance, oldest, most recent, total shares, etc.
You may have heard that the more backlinks a page has, the better it ranks in Google and the more search traffic it gets. But if you sort the results in the Content Explorer by “Referring Domains” and “Find Traffic”, you will see that this is not necessarily always the case.
Because an article that becomes viral on social networks may not have links and present very little organic traffic, for example.
You must create your content, therefore, based on the main objective you pursue.
So your job is to identify the common features of the articles that have already achieved that goal that you want.
To make your work easier and to keep your information, with the “Export” button you can save all the data obtained in your searches in a document.
Investigate the competition
If you’re not sure what to write about, take a look at what others in your niche are doing. For that, you just have to put the domain of your competitors in Site Explorer and see in the Pages section what themes they used and did well.
Thanks to the filters that we have explained before, you will be able to see which articles get the most organic traffic, which ones have more backlinks, which ones worked on social networks, which ones had the best results in a given period of time, etc.
Analyzing what has done well for your competition is a good way to get ideas to create content. The difficult part is carrying them out, of course 😉
5. Keywords Explorer
When you look for organic traffic, what you usually do is find a good keyword to position, create content around that keyword, promote it and try to get links to it. The steps are correct, but this is not the proper order.
The first thing to do should be to analyze with whom you are going to “fight” for the top positions in the searches.
After having discovered an interesting keyword, you have to identify the websites that already appear at the top for that search and learn why they are there. Without doing that it will be difficult to overcome them.
You can see on Google who your competitors are, but Ahrefs, with its Keyword Explorer tool, is going to give you much more useful and relevant information.
Enter your keyword in the Keyword Explorer and at the bottom you will get a SERP report with the first page of the search results, along with the most common SEO metrics.
Take, for example, “superhero costumes”:
The next step is to find out what makes that list the “best search results” for “superhero costumes.”
Google values many factors when it comes to showing a website in the top positions, but the most determining factor, and without which the rest alone will be of little value, is quality content that offers the best user experience.
So, open the results that the SERP report returns, see what their pages are like, what they offer and how they present it. Draw conclusions and think about how you can improve all that you have seen.
One of the frequently asked questions is how many backlinks are needed for a content to appear among the first search results.
If we go back to the SERP report you can see that each result includes the number of domains that contain at least one link to their website:
As a general rule of thumb, if you want to reach top 1 for any keyword, you will have to get more backlinks than any of the top ranking results. In this case more than 4.
But keep in mind that this is indicative, because not only the number of links influences, but the quality.
The link from a page with a lot of authority is worth more than several links from spam sites.
Therefore, the raw number of linking domains only serves to get an idea.
Some links can be built manually, others can be the result of promotional campaigns, and others, the most interesting ones, come to you naturally when someone links you because they consider your content of interest.
Ahrefs has features that can help you identify your competition’s link acquisition patterns.
Checking all the links in the top 10 pages would be a very heavy task. Just focus on the main ones.
We copy the url of the top 1 result and go, inside Site Explorer, to the «Reference Domains» report:
By default the results are sorted by DR (Domain Ranking), which shows the most powerful linking websites first.
But you can sort them based on the Ahrefs Rank, the total number of links, how many are dofollow or by the detection date.
You can also view them by Fresh Index or Live Index, as well as search for new and broken or lost links.
Another report, the “Best reference content”, shows the most popular pages that link to that website, based on the number of shares on social networks.
As always, you can sort them according to the parameters that you are most interested in knowing. As standard it is sorted by UR (URL Classification), thus displaying the most powerful link pages first.
Reviewing the best backlinks of your competitors is how you will be able to realize how they achieved them and what type of page you need to build to obtain the same type of links.
Ahrefs can help us to improve the ranking of our pages, but also to find keywords in our industry that our competition does not have.
First of all we are going to get a huge list of keyword ideas thanks to the Keyword Explorer.
Simply put some generic keywords related to your niche in the tool, focusing the search on the country you want, in this case Spain, and go to “Keyword ideas” and then mark “All”.
Let’s take “lips” and “lip” as examples:
The keywords chosen were very generic and that is why we have obtained a whopping 21,130 results.
We can narrow the search with some of the tool’s parameters, such as the difficulty of the keyword, the monthly search volume, the CPC, the clicks, the click per search or CPS, the return ratio, SERP, the revision date. and soon the Parent Topic, still in beta.
To determine the traffic potential of a keyword, we must look at two metrics: its difficulty and its search volume in the selected country.
On that last variable, Google has changed the landscape a lot in recent times with its featured Rich Snippets. That is, offering a direct result in the first position, or rather a zero position, which solves the doubts of users without necessarily clicking on any of the results in the SERP.
For example, if we want to know how old Pau Gasol is, this happens:
You get the answer instantly, so even though the keyword, in this case “Pau Gasol’s age”, has 100 searches per month in Spain, only 29 of those people who look for it end up clicking on a result. Just a third:
Despite this, the monthly search is still a valid criterion to filter the list of keywords.
But it never hurts to check whether searches for a keyword are then translated into clicks.
When we are already clear about the traffic potential of our keyword, we must know how difficult it would be to position it in Google. That’s what the Keyword Difficulty metric tells us.
It is measured on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being the greatest difficulty, and it takes into account the number of backlinks from the pages that make up the top 10 results for that search.
In the case of the keyword “lips”, the difficulty is minimal. But if we seek to “buy shoes”, things change:
In the first case, it tells us that we would need links on 2 websites to appear among the top 10 positions, while in the second it would be 77.
We can see that for each search we do in Keywords Explorer, we are shown numerous data and ideas are suggested:
- In a graph we can see the difficulty of the keyword we are looking for, along with its search volume (including how many of those searches generate clicks and how many do not)
- The rate of return (the number of times a user does the same search again, although it is a relative value and only useful to compare keywords with each other)
- Clicks per month (divided into organic and paid)
- The global volume (with its figure and percentage for the main countries).
- The parent topic, as we mentioned before, in the testing phase.
In “Keyword ideas” they provide us with keywords that contain the same search terms, in whatever order, to others for which they also position the top 10 pages, as well as search suggestions that arise with the function of “Autocomplete”.
All of them accompanied by their monthly volumes. From there we can get very interesting opportunity keywords .
Within that summary, below and before the general SERP report you can see a position history of the same search.
As for the left side menu of the Keywords Explorer, it allows you to restrict searches or see expanded options that we have seen before.
Finally, it also includes a Traffic section, to see the domains and pages that have generated the most organic searches with that keyword:
And, finally, a section to directly access “My lists”, with those that you have previously saved.
We arrive at the last of the sections of the general menu of Ahrefs.
Your first option, Apps, shows SEO applications that developers create with Ahrefs data.
The idea is for subscribers to extend the power of the ability to connect to third-party applications and use the data that really matters.
All listed applications are able to get index link data after connecting to Ahrefs subscription.
For its part, the Ahrefs API is presented as a more powerful way to unlock the full potential of the tool with world-class data. It is flexible and can adapt to your needs:
Ahrefs Rank is a search engine that allows you to see the top 60 positions on its interface, but also what position the web that you indicate occupies:
The domain comparator offers to compare up to a total of 5 websites, showing in the results the referring domains and IPs, number of links, types of links and graphs of changes in each site:
Ahrefs Seo Tool Bar is a bar that monitors positioning metrics for individual pages, domains and within SERPs:
Batch Analysis Express we have already seen and explained it in the Site Explorer section, in one of the examples.
And finally there is Link Intersect, which is similar to the previous one, only that in this case what it shows is who the websites that you put are linking to (as many as you want) and in turn they do not link to another (the latter being optional) .
Very useful to take advantage of your competitors’ links:
And so far this Ahrefs tutorial, do you have any questions or do you know other functionalities of this SEO tool? Tell me in the comments, ok? Thank you!