SEMrush vs Ahrefs for Content Creation: A Comparison


When it comes to SEO, you’re only as good as your tool–or at least that’s what we like to tell ourselves. And at Redefine Marketing Group, we’ve done the research. BrightEdge, SEMrush, Ahrefs, Conductor. You name it, we have experience with it. In this blog, we’ll compare SEMrush with Ahref’s features from a content standpoint. Which provides better competitor research? Which keyword tool is better? Which is better at making your life as a content manager just a little less hectic? Sit tight, because we’ll answer those questions and more in this in-depth comparison!

Tracked keyword updates

  • Ahrefs: Keyword rankings are updated every 3 to 7 days depending on the pricing plan. On the current “Standard” subscription plan, keyword rankings are being updated every 5 days.
  • SEMrush: The SEMrush database updates current rankings daily for all plans including their lower-tier pricing plan. This is especially helpful when tracking certain SERP features like the Featured Snippet.
  • Winner: SEMrush

Competitor research

  • Ahrefs and SEMrush both provide tools for competitor research. Both provide useful insights into a competitor’s keyword strategy. SEMrush provides a slight advantage in terms of up to date data because of their daily database updates while Ahrefs does provide a slightly larger keyword database, but is about a week behind in live data. 
  • SEMrush Advantage: While Ahrefs and SEMrush provide a great snapshot of the current competitor keyword landscape because SEMrush’s main focus is keyword research it provides a few competitor research tools Ahrefs does not.
    • Position Changes: In addition to providing competitor’s current keyword rankings, SEMrush also allows you to look at the historical performance of the competitor’s keywords.
    • Competitors: SEMrush provides a list of competitors based on similar keyword rankings. This is a useful tool to identify competitors that may not be direct competitors of services but could be taking up valuable SERP space.
    • Page Level Data: SEMrush provides page-level data for competitors. This can be extremely helpful when analyzing a specific page and what keywords are ranking per page.
  • Winner: SEMrush

Keyword research: Keyword Magic vs Keyword Explorer

SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool and Ahrefs’ Keyword explorer both provide excellent tools for keyword research. These are the main differences between both tools.

  • Category Grouping (SEMRush): “The special SEMrush algorithm will suggest keywords semantically related to your initial search and sort them into groups by search topic. This allows you to instantly find the right keywords for your campaigns. This is an excellent opportunity to build long-tail keywords and create keyword-rich content that will boost your rankings in Google.”  SEMrush

  • Broad / Phrase / Exact Match (SEMRush): The backbone of any successful campaign is keyword research. While Ahrefs does provide extensive keyword recommendations, SEMrush does manage to organize the data in a better form. By having the options to see keywords in Broad, Phrase, or exact match you are able to control how detailed your keyword list will be.
  • Related (SEMRush): This tab in the keyword magic tool will provide similar keyword recommendations.
    • While Ahrefs does have a similar tool to recommend additional keyword, the Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer is a newer tool by Ahrefs and not as developed as SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool.
  • Save Keyword List (SEMRush): SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool allows you to store up to 50 Saves list. This allows you to easily pick up your research where you left off. 
  • Multiple Search Engines (Ahrefs): Ahrefs allows the user to do keyword research for additional search engines including Google, Youtube, Amazon, Bing, Yahoo, and more.

  • SERP Overview & Top Keyword (Ahrefs): Ahrefs provides a SERP visualization tool that allows you to see the content and intent in the SERPs for your specific keyword. In addition, Ahrefs provides a Top Keyword column in the SERP Overview that allows you to see the top keyword for that URL even if it’s not the keyword you originally searched for.

  • Winner: SEMrush

Content Explorer (Ahrefs) vs Topic Research (SEMrush)

One clear advantage Ahrefs had over SEMrush was their Content Explorer features which crawls the SERPs of a query and reports back important metrics. SEMrush now offers a similar feature, Topic Research, which allows the user to perform all the same task as Content Explorer. 

  • Content Explorer (Ahrefs): One advantage that Content Explorer has is it provides the social media engagement stats for the SERP results. When social media is an important part of your campaign this can be very useful.
  • Content Explorer (Ahrefs): Content explorer also allows the user to see the historical trend of the amount of content being published across the web on a certain keyword. 
  • Winner: Ahrefs

The verdict is…..

As you can see, the winner is SEMrush. Need help creating great content? Our content team has you covered! 

Author avatar
Victor Lopez
Victor is an SEO specialist for Redefine Marketing Group. Victor's primary focus within his role at Redefine is technical SEO. He's also a Cal Poly Pomona alum with a Business Administration degree in E-commerce and minor Marketing.
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