In this resource guide, we are going to look through how to use the Ahrefs Site Explorer Tool.
Which has recently been made free to users who join Ahrefs Webmaster Tools.
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What is Ahrefs?
Ahrefs is trusted by SEO and marketing professionals worldwide as the ultimate toolset for SEO, powered by industry-leading data. Ahrefs provides the tools you need to grow your search traffic, research your competitors and dominate your niche.
You can use these tools to see the performance of your website, information on backlinks, your top pages, and keywords your pages rank for. Used by many digital marketing professionals across the industry, Ahrefs provides valuable and actionable information.
Using the Site Audit Tool? See my troubleshooting guide for the most common issue: ‘Fetching robots.txt took too long’.
What is the Ahrefs Site Explorer Tool?
The Ahrefs Site Explorer Tool combines several powerful SEO resources into one interface. With data about backlinks, keywords, pages, referring domains and much more. Learn more about each report below.
This has been updated with information from the most recent update of Ahrefs Site Explorer Tool.
I have also included some tips along the way.
- Overview Dashboard
- Backlinks Profile
- Organic Search
- Outgoing Links
The overview dashboard gives you a quick glance at all the data and information collected. Ahrefs own URL rating and Domain Rating show as the green and orange circles. Lots of the information in this top strip shows change indicators.
Scrolling down you will be able to see tables that outline your Backlink profile – this includes; Ahrefs rank, Referring domains, Referring pages, New & lost referring domains, New & lost backlinks, CTLDs distribution and Anchors.
On the right sidebar you will how many pages of your website have been crawled for this report, what types of referring domain links your website has, types of backlinks, and the URL rating for those backlinks.
This simple overview report shows a quick insight into the performance of your website.
Most of the information on Ahrefs can be exported as a CSV file, with customisation on how it is exported. Export the first 1000 rows, or customise what you want. Look for the ‘Export’ button near the top right of most tables.
The backlinks profile reports all the backlinks you website has across the internet. The report shows you the; referring page, DR and UR ratings, and the where the referring page links to your website.
This is a great tool to see how many other website’s link to your website, and see if there are opportunities for collaboration or more backlinks.
The backlinks profile includes 6 areas;
- Backlinks: New, Lost & Broken
This report will list all the backlinks your website has, and splits them into; New, Lost and Broken.
You can see which website has a broken or a lost backlink for your website. Go to these websites and see what the problem is, is could be easy to fix. For example, it could be that you profile needs updating on a citation website, or that you can contact the owner of the website to fix the link.
- Referring Domains, New & Lost
This report lists all the domains that have a link, of some type, to your website. Here you can see if any dodgy sites are linking to you, and look to disavow them. You can see new referring domains by date, and lost referring domains by date.
The anchors report shows a list of text that is used to link to your website, you can also see how many backlinks anchors have. For example, you could see that ‘my-website.com’ is the most frequently used anchor text for backlinks.
- Referring IPs
This report groups all referring pages and domains by the IP address of each website, and by the subnet that the IP belongs to.
- Internal Backlinks
This report shows you all the internal links on your website, with details if they are redirects, and if the links are broken.
Internal links are very important, and help Google to determine the authority of pages on your website. Ensure all your internal links are to live pages, and try not to link to redirects.
- Link Intersect
With the link intersect tool, you can entre 3 domains, and see what other websites are linking to them. Using competitors, you can see what domains your competitors have links from.
The organic keywords report shows which keywords people search, that shows a link to your website. With this report, you can see;
- the keyword,
- the volume of that keyword (how many times on average it is searched),
- the position of that keyword (where you website shows),
- and the link that shows.
This is an extremely valuable way to see how and what your website is ranking for. If you want to push for a cetin keyword, or boost the rankings of your website, use this to see how well your website performs currently – and build on related keywords and phrases.
In some cases, I find that a website is ranking well for a keyword I had not even thought of. Optimising the website for these keywords can help improve overall rankings.
The organic search report includes 8 areas;
- Organic Keywords, New & Movement
The organic keywords tool shows what keywords show your website on Google. It also shows what rank those keywords hold, the keyword difficulty, and the estimated traffic from that keyword.
The new organic keywords 2.0 now includes historical data to show how your website rankings have changed over time. This is currently in beta.
The New Organic Keywords report shows what groups new keywords (that your website is ranking for) are in. Ahrefs have 3 keyword groups, based on positions in Google. Each group corresponds with what position that keyword holds on Google.
Top 3 positions, 4-10 positions and 11-50 positions.
The Movement Keywords Report groups keywords by date, and shows if there has been any movement for that keyword. This report is a bit cluttered and difficult to read, the new 2.0 version is much more user friendly.
Most keyword tools use variations of groups for keyword positions, but one thing stays the same.
If a keyword is in position 1-10, it is on page 1 of Google. Anything over 10 is on page 2. Most items in position 1-3 are close to the very top, if not the top of the search results. But bear in mind that if there are featured snippets or Google My Business profiles, a position of 1, 2 or 3, might not be above the fold.
- Top Pages
This report lists your website’s top pages by the estimated monthly traffic. With this report you can see how many keywords rank each, and what are the most popular pages of your website.
- Top Subfolders
This report list the top pages of your website, by subfolder. In other words, this reports shows how the sub pages of your website ranks collectively. For example, how well your ‘/blog/’ pages rank collectively.
- Top Subdomains
If your website has any linked sub domains, these will appear in this report with details about estimated traffic and ranking keywords.
- Competing Domains
This report shows a list of websites that rank in the top 10 search results for the same keywords that your website targets.
- Competing Pages
This report shows other website’s pages that are competing with pages of your website, based on your ranking keywords. This will show other website’s pages that rank for similar keywords.
- Content Gap
The content gap tool works the same way as the link intersect tool, you can entre up to 3 domains, and see how your website compares. With the content gap tool you can see what keywords your competitors rank for, that you don’t – and what content they are posting.
If you can see a competitor on the competing domains or pages report, see what keywords they are ranking for. Then look if you can optimise your website better. You never know, you might just steal some of their traffic.
There is lots of useful information in the pages report. Not only can you see the URL rating for your website pages and referring domains, but you can see if they are redirects. You will also be able to see how many backlinks a certain page of your website has.
The pages report includes 3 areas;
- Best by Links
This report shows how may external links and referring domains a page on your website has, and how much estimated traffic that page receives.
- Best by Links’ Growth
This report shows which pages of your website have seen the most growth in referring domains, over the last 1 day, 7 days and 30 days.
- Top Content
If you have a blog on your website, this report ranks those pages by the total number of social shares they have generated across all social networks. (That are currently tracked by Ahrefs).
If you see that old content on your website is performing well, it could do even better if you update it.
But don’t go crazy – you don’t want to loose what made it rank in the first place. Maybe tweak the formatting, add some new internal linking, and even some new CTAs. If you the time and resources, you could even update the images or add some new ones.
The outgoing links report shows how many domains your website links to, and where those links are. You can also see if any of those links are broken.
The outgoing links report has 3 areas;
- Linked Domains
This report shows a list of domains that your website links out to.
This report lists link anchors. An anchor is text on a website that has a link to another page or domain. This report shows all anchor links for your website, and how many links are external and internal.
- Broken Links
The broken links report shows a list of all the broken URLs your website is linking to, and where those links are.
You can see the referring page – where the link is, and the ‘anchor and link’ – this shows the anchor text, and the broken link.
External Links are links from one website to another. Internal Links are links to the same website. Be sure to check your internal links, as this is were broken and 404 links can cause the most issues.
Most broken links on a website are because the page does not exist anymore, or the page has moved. If you find a broken link, look for the correct link, and update accordingly.
The last section is Paid Search, this will show details on any Ads you are running on Google and can provide further information on PPC Keywords and Landing Pages. I rarely use this section, but I have found that the Google Ads platform has more data.
Now that you know all there is to know about the Ahrefs Site Explorer Tool, why not explore your own website?
As a digital marketing consultant, I use Ahrefs’ tools everyday to monitor, analyse and improve websites I work on. I would 100% recommend Ahrefs Webmaster Tools for anyone who manages websites, or works in SEO on a daily basis.
If you want to use all the tools Ahrefs have to offer, you will need to sign up for an account and pricing plan. Pricing plans start from $99 per month.
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