There’s a New Tool in Town to Help With Your SEO

Well, I say new, but it’s been around for a while, they’ve just made it free to start using it.

Now, this may be a bit of an anti-climax, but it’s worth reading as it can really help you out.

Ahrefs are one of the leading SEO online software companies, and they usually charge accordingly (read: quite a lot). They have realised that many people are priced out, and with the pandemic also exacerbating the issue, they have made it free to sign up.

This is big news as they give so much information about your site and competitor sites to push forward and claim the top spot in Google.

Ahrefs Webmaster Tools Overview

Getting Started

It’s really easy to set up, just head to their Webmaster Tools page and use the ‘Sign up for free’ button to sign up with your email.

Ahrefs Webmaster Tools signup

Next, you’ll need to give them access to your site, but don’t worry, this is a standard procedure for online software that needs to analyse a website. You can delete the connection to your site and the Ahrefs account any time.

The Dashboard

Once you’ve done that, you’ll see the Dashboard below, where the exciting stuff starts to happen.

Here, they have scanned your website and matched it up with their database to give you some sexy stats that you can use to improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and beat your competitors on Google.

Ahrefs Project Dashboard

First, on the left you have your overall score (Heath Score / Overview) which will need to be as close to 100 as possible, along with the number of pages ‘crawled’ (pages that Ahrefs could find), pages that redirect to other pages, broken pages/links, and pages that are blocked from being accessed.

Click this first section and it’ll take you to the Overview screen.

Overview

Here is a general look at how well your site is doing on Google.

Google hates errors, so this is a great place to find out if you have any so that you can sort them out (or someone can do it for you like your own freelancer or myself).

Ahrefs Webmaster Tools Overview

Crawled URLs

First, in the Crawled URLs section, clicking each of the Internal, External, and Resources links will take you to a list of each. Make sure none of them say 404, as they will need to be replaced or redirected to the nearest page or file.

404 means they don’t exist or can’t be found. Contact your web designer, or myself on the contact page, to fix this.

Found Links

This will give you a more in-depth look at your pages. I personally used this to find a 404 error where I was linking to another page incorrectly from a blog post. This is great to fix not only for Google, but users who click it expecting to see some content and they’re faced with an error page instead. Very unprofessional for us, and frustrating for them.

Uncrawled is usually a list of links that were found on your site which sent people to external websites like social media. Ahrefs doesn’t have access to those external websites, so you won’t have to worry about this.

Blocked by robots.txt is again usually a list of other websites that you’re linking to. They may not want their websites to be inspected by just anyone, so they’ll write this in a robots.txt file which will block anything that tries to take a look at the website files. Again, not necessarily a problem.

Health Score

The health of your site refers to the number of pages that have errors. If there are issues with 404 errors (deleted or moved pages) for example, then this score can be affected.

Google won’t look kindly on a site below the 90s, but always aim for 100.

Issues Distribution

A graph showing how serious the issues are. You’ll want this to be as minimal as possible, although there could be some for Notices even if you’ve done a good job.

Clicking on each will give a breakdown of the types of errors found, and if you click each one then you’ll see a detailed description of how to fix it.

Error Distribution

Pretty self-explanatory, you’ll want this to be as green as possible.

To see which pages need working on, click on each of the sections in ‘Crawled URLs distribution’.

Top Issues

Here you can keep an eye on all of the issues in one place. Just think how nice it will be to see zeroes on all rows.


How can I use this page?

This is arguably the most important page because errors on site will really hold you back — Google hates them. So, if you can fix them, work your way through the ‘Top issues’. If they don’t make sense to you, then hire a freelance developer or you can ask me to help on the Contact page.


Now go back to the previous page, or click on Dashboard in the top left.

Next is your Domain Rating which I’ll go into below.

Domain Rating

This is my personal favourite — you can see exactly what goes into making up the authority of your domain.

What do I mean by authority? Well, think of it this way: Is a brand new website without much content more important, or one that’s been around a while and posts really useful content on their blog?

The brand new site will have a Domain Rating of 0, while the other will have one much higher. A government site will be in the 80s or 90s. 100 is the maximum here.

Ahrefs Domain Rating

Along the top, you’ll see all of the factors that go into making your site as important as it is.

First, under the name of your site will be the Ahrefs Rank which shows you where you place among all of the websites they have information on. Pretty arbitrary if you ask me without context, but shhhh don’t tell them I said that.

Moving swiftly on, the UR is the URL Rating. If you just added the domain (e.g. mysite.com) in the search box above, then it will be the rating of the homepage. You can enter individual pages to see this number change to find out which are the more authoritative, with the rest of the information on the page changing to reflect the page.

DR is is the Domain Rating and will be the overall authority score of the whole site, and much more interesting. I prefer this over individual pages.

Next to that, you have Backlinks. These are links to your site from other websites, and hugely important. Note the italics on that word! The more websites that link to you, the more Google will take notice. Think of it as a vote of confidence.

Referring domains are the total number of websites linking to you, as opposed to Backlinks which are individual links from each site. Therefore, Referring Domains will always be much lower.

Organic keywords are another hugely (there I go again) important part of appearing on the first page of Google. You can click on the number to find out which keywords people are using to reach your site, along with the position you appeared in. Using the right words on the right pages enough times will get you noticed by Google. Again, there is too much to say about it here, but use the links to the newsletter and DIY videos above to find out.

Organic traffic is simply the number of people that are reaching your site from Google.

Traffic value is how much your current number of visitors would cost if you paid for Google Ads.

The section underneath with tabs for Backlinks, Organic, and Paid, can be used for a macro view across multiple years.


How can I use this page?

Firstly, if you see the graphs for ‘Referring domains’ and ‘Referring pages’ trending upwards over time then you’re doing a good job. It’s mainly for a general look around to see what is influencing your domain rating in a more holistic way. Don’t concern yourself with this page more than the others.


For now, hit the back button or Dashboard in the top left and we’ll return to the main page.

Next, we’re off to the helpful websites in Referring Domains.

Referring Domains

As previously explained, referring domains are websites that find yours interesting enough to link to.

This is great! Not only could their visitors see it and take a look at your website, but also, Google loves to see that others are finding your website linkworthy; a vote of confidence.

Ahrefs Referring Domains

As you can see, this is a long list of those websites. It’s beautiful. OK, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, especially with this. However, it’s great to see other people enjoying your work enough to tell others about it.

You will also see people trying to ‘game’ the SEO system by linking to your site with some strange looking domains in an effort to fool Google into thinking they have a legitimate website. Google is smarter than that. It’s an old trick that doesn’t really work so well these days.

So, let’s talk about the columns on show here.

The first, DR, is the Domain Rating that we were talking about before. The higher the number (maximum 100), the more it’s worth as a link to your site. 30-40 is pretty average, so you should feel very pleased with yourself if you have any that are above that.

Ahrefs rank is the same on a more granular level if you really want to tell them apart. They rank sites individually based on the insanely large database they have built.

Referring domains is an interesting one as it tells us how many backlinks our backlinks have; how many they’ve managed to acquire themselves.

Linked domains show how many websites they are linking out to — essentially, providing backlinks to others (you being one of them).

Organic traffic shows how many visitors the website gets per month. Take this with a pinch of salt though, as I’ve never seen anywhere recording this particularly accurately.

Links to target could be phrased differently to explain what it is with more context. Basically, it means how many links from the website are pointing to your website. What’s nice here is that you can click the number to see what the link says and which page it’s on.

Dofollow links are those that pass the most ‘link juice’ through to help your ranking on Google. If the number is lower than the ‘Links to target’ next to it, then they are using some Nofollow links. Dofollow are votes of confidence that you offer meaningful content, whereas, Nofollow tells Google not to take any notice. An example of Nofollow links would be in the comments section of websites where spammers could leave links to their own website to try and cheat the system by increasing the total number of Backlinks to their site. It doesn’t work anymore by the way — Google is wiser these days.

First seen is just when the Backlinks were first noticed by Ahrefs.


How can I use this page?

Take a look at the list and think whether you can use any of the websites again for a new link. If not, can you think of any that are similar to these who you could get in touch with for a link to the same page on your site? Again, for a thorough walkthrough of how to gain new backlinks, do the following:

Stay up to date with the latest articles from the newsletter or watch the DIY videos.


Done. Back to the Dashboard now please. You know what to do.

Backlinks

Next up is a list of Backlinks. You have just seen the websites that link to you, and now you’re seeing individual pages from those sites.

Ahrefs Backlinks list

Ordering by the quality of the page is very interesting (clicking UR along the top), but click on DR to see the rating for the whole website. This will be more important as you think about which sites you should be focusing on building more links with.

DR is the Domain Rating which shows the authority of the whole website.

UR is the URL Rating and this shows the authority of the individual page linking to you.

Referring domains are other websites linking to the page that links to you. Linkseption if you will. If it’s a blog post, this will give you an idea of how popular it is.

Linked domains show how many websites they are linking out to — essentially, providing backlinks to others (you being one of them).

Ext. is External, and this refers to the number of external links to pages on other websites like yours. This is similar to ‘Linked domains’ above, where this focuses on individual links rather than websites as a whole. They may be linking to multiple pages on a website, or maybe they are repeating the same link.

Traffic is similar to ‘Organic traffic’ on the previous page where it shows how many visitors the website gets per month. Again, take this with a pinch of salt, as I’ve never seen anywhere recording this particularly accurately.

Kw stands for Keywords: The number of words or phrases that people are typing into Google to find the page that’s linking to you. The higher the number, the more likely their page is to be found on Google. This is great for you because they could click on the link that points to your website.

Anchor and backlink shows what text is linking to you and the page it’s linking to.

First seen and Last check tells you when the link to your site was first noticed on the other website, and when the last check was to see if it was still there.

Similar, right at the end, will show other links from the same site.


How can I use this page?

In a similar way to the previous ‘Referring domains’ page: can you replicate any of these successes? Filter by DR to see which websites are the most important, and try to gain a new link on that site in a similar way.


Organic Traffic

Here you’ll see which pages are bringing in the most visitors, and more importantly, you’ll see which ones need improvement.

Traffic is the number of visitors that Ahrefs thinks you’re achieving. This is an educated guess. If you would like a more accurate number, you’ll need to add Google Analytics to your website. If you would like to know how to do this, do one of the following:

Stay up to date with the latest articles from the newsletter or watch the DIY videos.

Value is the amount Ahrefs thinks it would cost with Google Ads if you were to pay for the same amount of traffic to that page. Again, I’ll be covering how to use Google Ads in the newsletter and video links directly above.

Keywords are the words and phrases that are being used on Google where your pages are showing up. Add more highly related keywords to the page to rank for more.

RD is Root Domains which are individual websites that are linking to your own. Create useful and educating content which would be interesting to your ideal customers or clients (like this blog post) to gain more links to your website.

Top keyword is the word or phrase that is bringing the most people through to each page. Very helpful to know as you may be able to add it in a few more places on the same page to gain more visitors. Only use extra keywords where it feels natural though — don’t over do it. Google hates that.

Its volume is the number of times people use the ‘Top keyword’ on Google in any given month. Helpful to decide which pages to work on first.

Pos stands for Position, which is where the page is appearing on Google. Each page on Google consists of ten websites, so the first page includes 1-10. If the page’s position was 15 for example, this would be on page two of Google.


How can I use this page?

This is great for seeing which pages of your website are the most popular. You can improve the content further on the most popular ones for even more visitors. Also, if there are a few that aren’t doing well which should, then you know which ones need the most help.


Organic Keywords

Here you can see all of the keywords being used to reach your site.

Keywords are words and phrases that people type into Google to find what they need. Here is a list of the keywords that people used to find your website. If you don’t see any, then you’re not likely to have many visitors, if any at all. That’s OK though, it’s not easy — a lot of people are in the same position, I’m here to help.

Ahrefs Organic Keywords

Keyword is what they typed into Google before visiting your website. If you don’t have many, or any at all, then it’s likely that people aren’t finding you from Google. If they are visiting your site then it could be from word of mouth or other marketing and advertising that wouldn’t require Google.

Volume is the number of times people use the keyword on Google, whether they visit your site or not. This is great to know which ones are the most popular.

KD is Keyword Difficulty which is a scale out of 100, with 0 being easy to show up in the first ten pages of Google if used on your website, and 100 being almost impossible.

CPC is Cost Per Click, which is how much each visitor could cost with Google Ads.

Traffic is an estimate of how much traffic you’re likely to receive (monthly) from using the keyword on the given page.

Position is where the page is appearing on Google. Each page on Google consists of ten websites, so the first page includes 1-10. If the page’s position was 15 for example, this would be on page two.

URL is your page that is appearing when people search for the keyword on the left.

Upd. mean Updated which is when Ahrefs last checked.


How can I use this page?

Check this page to see if your website is appearing for any keywords. If not, a blog will help as you can write about lots of specific keywords to see which ones do well. You may also need to see what competitors are writing on their pages and add a few instances of important words.

The problem with this is that there’s a lot that goes into ranking for certain keywords, which I can’t cover here. I will be teaching you how to do it though, so sign up below.


Conclusion

Achieving a good position on Google for the first or second page is very difficult. Especially if you’re not sure how.

This article was only meant to cover the Ahrefs website and what you can expect when signing up (which I highly recommend you do). It’s great for keeping an eye on how your website is doing on Google and it provides so much detail.

Also, when signing up to Ahrefs, they send you email alerts when with important information which is really handy if you don’t have time to check very often.

If you’re looking for information on how to make your website show up on the first page of Google, as well as an in-depth look at Ahrefs, then you’ll need my DIY marketing videos.

Do you have any questions about anything in this article? What do you think of Ahrefs’ Webmaster Tools? Write a comment below — I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Stay up to date with the latest articles from the newsletter or watch the DIY videos.

You may also like Google Trackers Are Now Live.

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