Ahrefs isn’t going anywhere.
It’s one of the most popular SEO tools today, and it’s clear that it’s here to stay.
But if you use (or have used) Ahrefs, you might be wondering:
Do I really need everything in the Ahrefs toolset?
Am I getting the best value for my money?
If these questions bug you, you’re not alone.
Marketers and SEOs like you are considering viable Ahrefs alternatives to build their own customized, cost-effective suite of SEO tools.
Why Should You Consider Ahrefs Alternatives?
People who have used Ahrefs for years are beginning to reconsider their decision as they find that the tool isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be.
One of the biggest pain points is the high cost—Ahrefs starts at $99 per month for the cheapest plan.
There’s no free trial
For marketers on a tight budget, this is a deal breaker. Many start out not knowing what they’ll get from the tool, and would appreciate the chance to tinker with it for a while to see what it has to offer.
The absence of a free trial period ties you to their product as you’re unable to test out if it’s a good fit for your business.
To cover for the absence of a free trial, Ahrefs offers a paid trial at a reduced rate—$7 for a 7-day trial. This fee is non-refundable whether you decide to subscribe or not at the end of the seven days.
You can’t customize your plan
Ahrefs is a full set of SEO tools. When you pay for a plan, you get access to all of them.
This might be useful for large SEO and marketing agencies, but in many cases, you’ll find that you’re paying for more features than you need.
Many Ahrefs alternatives offer a smaller number of features, with more flexible plan and pricing options. This makes it easy to pick and choose a few tools that offer only what you need for your business, and still pay less overall.
Essentially, you can get more tools for the price of one.
Newer competitors are getting ahead
A cursory look at review boards proves this point.
With newer competitors to Ahrefs being a lot cheaper and more flexible in their features and pricing, they’re starting to upend the popular tool.
Even though Ahrefs has always been (and might always be) an industry leader, they aren’t as infallible as they used to be.
22 Affordable Ahrefs Alternatives to Build Your Own SEO Toolset
Now, let’s explore 22 cost-effective options for your bespoke SEO toolset.
These tools are broken down by the features you can find in Ahrefs. Under each of these features, you’ll find Ahrefs alternatives that can match those features for less money, more effectively or both.
Backlink Checking and Analysis
1. Monitor Backlinks
Monitor Backlinks provides all the important backlink features available in Ahrefs, and more—for a competitive price too.
You can customize your plan based on how many domains you want to manage, with prices starting at $24.90 per month.
There’s also a free trial for new users, which you can sign up for here!
With Monitor Backlinks, you can track your backlinks over time and see all the details for them like the date the link was added, the linking page, anchor text, follow/nofollow status and heaps of quality metrics such as Domain and Page Authority, Spam Score, Citation Flow and Trust Flow.
You’ll receive automatic email notifications of new and lost backlinks (similar to Ahrefs Alerts). But Monitor Backlinks will also notify you of link status changes, such as a followed link becoming a nofollow link.
This way, you’re always one step ahead with your link building campaign.
You can also disavow problematic backlinks right from the Monitor Backlinks tool, and keep your site safe from spam.
Get detailed backlink reports in graphs and charts, and export them as CSV files for sharing or further analysis.
You can see reports on your top linked pages, top anchor texts, followed vs. nofollow backlinks, and more.
And for quick backlink checks of a competitor or other website, you can use the Free Backlink Checker to see any domain’s top 300 links.
2. SEO Spyglass
Ahrefs give you a lot of backlink features to work with, but if you don’t really need the whole shebang, SEO Spyglass is a great option.
It’s available to download as offline software. There’s a free version which limits you to 1,100 links per project, or you can upgrade to the Professional or Enterprise version, both of which cost a one-time fee.
With the tool, you can analyze all the backlinks of a specific page or domain along with their PageRank, anchor text and page title.
You can analyze a linking site against over 50 different metrics including domain reputation, anchor texts and social mentions.
You can also use the tool’s free audit software to generate reports on websites.
The paid version of SEO Spyglass maxes out at $299.75, which is the equivalent of a three-month subscription with Ahrefs. By all indications, this is a better deal.
This is another major behemoth in the SEO niche. Majestic rivals all the top tools in the space in both features and adoption.
In terms of the toolset, Majestic matches the Ahrefs offering when it comes to backlinks. However, it also offers extra features including the bulk backlink checking and analysis tool, and its own Citation Flow, Trust Flow and Topical Trust Flow metrics.
You can compare competitors’ backlinks and domains, and dig deep into site analysis by looking at referring domains, anchor texts, new and lost links, and more.
With Majestic, you also get a few other tools including the Moz toolbar for browsers (which I’ll cover in more detail in a later section).
You can use Majestic for free without registration, but the features are quite limited. Luckily, the subscriptions are very reasonable—pricing starts at $50 per month, with higher price tiers available.
Keyword Rank Trackers
4. Monitor Backlinks Rank Tracker
Yep, Monitor Backlinks has a rank tracker too—and you don’t have to pay any extra for it! As well as monitoring your backlinks, you can also use this tool to monitor your keyword rankings and your progress over time.
The top of the page shows you a summary of your rankings, your average rankings over a set period, and your average rankings compared to your competitors.
Scroll down to add specific keywords to track, and see their current search engine ranking.
From here, you can also organize your keywords into groups, tag and label them for easy classification, and filter your keyword list by a range of filters including search volume, ranking, ranking change, keyword text and more.
Plus, you can add your main competitors to Monitor Backlinks to track their rankings in line with your own. This feature can give you some great insights into your competitors’ keyword strategy, what’s working for them and what’s not.
This Rank Tracker tool comes automatically included with the main Monitor Backlinks tool.
AuthorityLabs focuses on doing just one thing—keyword rank tracking—and doing it well.
With this tool, you can monitor your keyword rankings on all the major search engines, including Google, Bing and Yahoo. You can also see the estimated search volume for each keyword.
AuthorityLabs lets you drill down your keyword tracking to specific locations, such as a country, city or zip code. This is an invaluable feature if you’re doing local SEO and need to track your keyword rankings in a certain area.
You can also track mobile rankings, add competitors and track their keyword rankings alongside yours, and organize your keywords into groups.
After all this, you can then set up scheduled reports, export CSV or PDF reports, or give your clients a public link to view their ranking results.
AuthorityLabs starts at $49 per month to track 250 keywords and 50 domains. Make sure you sign up for the free 30-day trial to get access to all the features without having to hand over a credit card.
6. Pro Rank Tracker
Pro Rank Tracker is a web and mobile app for tracking keywords over multiple regions and locations.
Its flexible, cloud-based format means you can access it from anywhere—which is one thing you can’t do with Ahrefs. If you have a remote team or are on the road a lot, Pro Rank Tracker is one of the easiest ways to stay updated on your rankings.
I like the quick stats on the dashboard—they give you a big-picture view of your performance, with things like recent ranking changes and how many keywords you currently have in position 1, the top 3, the top 10, etc.
You can also export these ranking results from the dashboard in multiple formats, like Excel, PDF and CSV.
Pro Rank Tracker lets you schedule reports, too—another feature that Ahrefs is lacking.
There’s a free trial available, and if you like the tool, plans start at $49 per month.
7. Mangools SERPWatcher
SERPWatcher is one of the five tools in the Mangools SEO set. This is a great-value tool—you can get the entire Mangools set, including SERPWatcher, on a basic plan for $29.90 per month.
SERPWatcher is a very strong keyword tracking tool that monitors your ranking changes for any keywords you’ve added.
It has everything you need on one screen. As well as your list of tracked keywords, it also displays metrics for your site like unique organic traffic, number of estimated visits, ranking distribution and dominant index.
SERPWatcher makes it easy to track and analyze your ranking results from within its interface.
MozBar (Moz’s toolbar) is a powerful Chrome extension for carrying out quick SEO audits of webpages on the fly.
As you browse the web, just turn the extension on to see the Domain Authority, Page Authority and number of links each page has.
You can also click on “Link Analysis” for any of the results to be directed to Moz’s in-depth analysis of the site using their Link Explorer tool.
It gives you more information about the site including its number of ranking keywords, won and lost backlinks, and ranking trends over time.
MozBar also links with the Google Analytics backend to sync all your SEO efforts on one platform, and integrates with social media.
On all these fronts, MozBar bests the Ahrefs toolbar. Plus, it’s free!
One of the oldest SEO toolbars in the business, SEOquake started as a simple backlink lookup tool—but it’s grown to offer so much more.
Download the free Chrome extension to get a data-rich analysis of any website that you visit, in real time.
As well as the site’s internal and external links, you can also find out its Alexa ranking, Google and Bing index status, and SEMrush Rank.
You can check the keyword density of a page or site, and even compare different URLs or domains to see their SEO metrics side by side. Plus, you can export all your results as a CSV file for offline use.
Overall, SEOquake is one of the most powerful SEO toolbars, and unlike Ahrefs, it’s completely free.
Keyword Research and Analysis
When it comes to keyword research, you don’t want to pay a ton of money—especially when so many keyword research tools are free! Ubersuggest is one of those.
It’s the new kid on the block, and it packs in a ton of features and data that you can access for free. Just search for a keyword and you’ll not only get suggestions for related keywords, but also its search volume, trend, difficulty and cost per click.
It’s a nice, simple tool that gets the job done well. It includes longtail keywords in its suggestions, and an overview of the current SERP for that keyword so you know who you’re up against.
Given that the tool is still relatively new and under active development, there’s a promise of newer features to come.
AnswerThePublic compiles heaps of keyword suggestions by extracting optimized Google search phrases.
Just type in a keyword to start and the tool will return keyword suggestions based on the most frequently searched keywords on Google. This helps you pinpoint exactly what your customers want to know about your product or service.
You’ll get a huge range of results, which you can display in a visualisation circle or as a list of data, or download to your computer as a CSV file.
The keyword suggestions are divided into questions, prepositions, comparisons, alphabeticals and other related keywords. These lists help you find out what customers are searching for so you can build content around it.
While AnswerThePublic gives you heaps of keyword suggestions to work with, it doesn’t tell you any metrics about those keywords such as search volume or competition. So you might need to supplement it with another tool like Ubersuggest to get the full picture when doing keyword research.
You can use the tool for free for a limited number of searches per month, after which you can choose to upgrade to the Pro plan for $99 per month. Yes, it’s quite costly—but you’ll probably find that the free plan is more than sufficient for most people.
12. Google Trends
Google Trends gives you access to Google search patterns for keywords, which can be very handy when researching timely or trending topics in particular.
Search for a keyword to get a report on its popularity, history and trend over time. The tool also includes geo-location tagging that shows you which regions are searching for this keyword the most.
Again, you don’t get any specific keyword data like search volume, difficulty or cost per click. But Google Trends is a great tool to use for initial keyword research ideas, plus it’s free and has a very gentle learning curve.
In the realm of content analysis, BuzzSumo is akin to a household name. The tool is both as feature-packed as it is friendly to use, and it’s hard to find worthy competition.
When you search for a topic, you’ll see the top-performing content for that topic. The success of the content is measured in engagements (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit and total) and number of links.
This makes it possible to identify themes in successful content, and create your own successful content that does better than your competitors.
BuzzSumo, in addition to offering all of Ahrefs’s content analysis features, also sports an impressive integration with social media and reporting feature.
There’s a free trial available for new users, and paid plans start at $79 a month.
This tool is one of the best for tracking your brand’s mentions across the web.
From your dashboard, you get round-the-clock monitoring of your mentions in a newsfeed that you can easily scroll through, and you can even connect your social media accounts to manage them from the tool too.
That way, you can like and reply to mentions as they happen.
On most fronts, Awario stands toe-to-toe with Ahrefs’s mention monitoring feature, but the excellent social media integration and ability to organize and label campaigns puts it on top for me.
Plus, you can get an Awario plan for the very reasonable price of $29 per month (and there’s a free trial, too).
Perhaps one of the strongest contenders in mentions tracking is Mention. Its features match the offering of the Ahrefs alerts tool with a lot of important extras to spare.
In areas like data visualization and filtering, its offering is on par with Ahrefs. But in the area of accessibility, it blows the competition out of the water. Mention is available for use on both web and mobile platforms, unlike Ahrefs which is strictly web-based.
It also integrates with 27 online tools against Ahrefs’s count of seven. Top of these integrations are popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Slack.
Mention even lets you search for relevant influencers that can help you boost your brand reach and get more online mentions.
The tool starts at $29 per month for a paid subscription, and of course, there’s a free trial to play around with first.
16. Monitor Backlinks Competitor Links
Appearing on the list again is Monitor Backlinks, this time for its powerful competitor analysis feature.
The Competitor Links section of the tool allows you to add your main competitors, after which Monitor Backlinks will automatically track their backlink profile for you.
You’ll be able to see the links they’re earning and determine how they’re earning them, and then you can go get those links for yourself!
Along with quality metrics for each link such as Trust Flow, Citation Flow and follow/nofollow status, you can also track the overall performance of your competitor’s site with their total number of backlinks, unique domains, site speed, Trust Flow and Citation Flow.
You can get all this included with the main Monitor Backlinks tool. Sign up for your free trial here.
SpyFu is the tool you need if you want to reverse-engineer your competition’s success. It’s especially valuable to spy on all your competitors’ adverts and paid ad campaigns, with data from as far as 12 years back.
You can see their ad test history and targeted keywords, and SpyFu even helps to suggest profitable ad keywords based on your competitors’ campaigns.
In essence, it’s a tool that spies on your competitor’s campaign strategies for you.
To get the bulk of the data, you’ll need to subscribe (plans start at $33 a month). But there’s also a free competitor analysis tool that you can use without registering, which lets you do spot checks on your competitor’s website performance.
Search for any domain to see an overview of where they stand, including some of the top keywords they’re ranking for, ranking trends over time, clicks from Google (organic and paid), new inbound links and more.
SimilarWeb is one for tracking your competitors’ organic traffic sources, which can help you craft an iron-clad organic SEO strategy.
The tool gives you loads of data about your competitors’ traffic acquisition, audience and behaviors. It’s probably the closest thing you’ll get to seeing their personal Google Analytics data for yourself.
Search for a website to analyze and SimilarWeb reveals things like:
- Their top traffic sources in terms of device, search engine, direct link, etc.
- The geographic locations of their organic traffic
- The referring domain and destination domain of the traffic
- Social media traffic
- Their display ads
You can use SimilarWeb for free with limited data, or subscribe to a paid plan to get unlimited results per metric, up to three years of traffic data, and heaps more. You’ll have to talk to a consultant to get customized pricing, but my own research shows starting prices at around $59 per month.
Serpstat is a powerful analysis tool that allows you to search for a competitor’s domain to get a look under the hood of their SEO and PPC strategies.
You can see their organic keywords, search engine traffic, visibility and traffic trends, pages with the highest visibility, backlinks and more.
One of my favorite features is the batch analysis, which lets you analyze and compare up to 200 domains all at once.
You can choose the parameters of the comparisons (visibility, traffic, ads, keywords, etc.) as well as the particular locations and search engines to focus the analysis on.
Serpstat lets you conduct these on-the-spot checks for free, with a generous limit of 30 per day. If you want to increase your limits, you can subscribe to a paid plan which starts at an affordable $19 per month.
Reporting and Analytics
20. SE Ranking
SE Ranking is fantastic as a reporting tool and packs in a ton of features compared to Ahrefs’s reporting and analytics offering.
It integrates with Google Analytics to give you complete data, and you can track and report on a range of key SEO metrics including rankings, backlinks, competitors and traffic.
The report generator lets you customize your reports in different ways with an easy drag-and-drop interface.
Just specify the metrics to output in the report and the reporting period, and add any explanatory notes to the report (a handy feature if you need to explain the data to clients). You can even white label the reports with your company branding.
Reports can be exported in different formats including CSV, PDF, XLS and HTML.
And the best part is, after trying out SE Ranking with a free 14-day trial, you can then sign up for as little as $7 per month. Compared to the cost of Ahrefs, this is a steal.
API and Integration
DataForSEO is an API service that allows users to link custom applications to their DataForSEO account, and then use the link to pull real-time SEO data to their application.
You get plenty of documentation to help you or your developer get started on the project. Some of the services you can access include:
- Keywords Finder API — to research keywords and get new keyword suggestions
- Keywords Data API — to get more data for keywords, including search volume, competition level and cost per click
- Competitor Data API — to analyze competitors’ traffic sources, pageviews, average time on site, etc.
- Rank Tracking API — to track keyword rankings on all search engines and in all locations
The cost of using these API services is quite reasonable for the rich details that they provide.
DataForSEO a credit model where you pay for a number of credits to use for the API service you want. Prices start at $0.57 per 1,000 keywords.
This API service offers plenty of SEO data in multiple formats. You can request to view each SEO metric in isolation or view multiple metrics at once.
Matomo’s API services include:
- Analytics Web API — shows data on page visits, keyword suggestions, backlinks, site traffic, etc.
- Tracking Web API — shows tracking data on search engine rankings, keywords, Domain and Page Authority, etc.
Matomo also comes with detailed reference guides and documentation to help you understand the platform.
You can get a 30-day free trial of the Matomo API, after which you’ll have to subscibe to continue using the services. Pricing starts at $9 a month.
And there you have it—22 solid Ahrefs alternatives to build a custom SEO toolset that works for you.
Pick and choose the tools you need to reduce your costs and get superior results!