First things first. If you need tools such as Ahrefs to figure out if the site is “real” or fake you definitely shouldn’t spend too much money on tools in the first place.
I know that I am one of the rare SEOs that prefer to do everything manually, but tools do come handy in certain situations. And I am sure Ahrefs has its great sides but Ahrefs is now IN the same way MOZ was IN 7 years ago.
You can follow these trends on marketplaces such as Upwork where people search for “SEO experts”. Nowadays, usually you get a job description where an employee insists that “SEO expert” is Ahrefs savvy and they even want you to have a premium subscription over there if you want to apply for a job.
If you are a real SEO expert you will not allow your employee to explain you how you should do your job.
Imagine your client is in Oil industry and you start explaining how their approach to oil pumping is wrong and how they should change their equipment. You see, sounds stupid. That is why clients demanding Ahrefs or MOZ subscription from their employees is wrong. That is why you should avoid these morons, because they will stay behind your shoulder 24/7 telling you what to do.
“Hey Mr. SEO expert, can you hop on Zoom/Skype?”
“Dear sir, it is 4 AM and it is Sunday morning, you said that I am free on weekends”
“Yeah, but it is almost 5 PM in my time zone and I need you to tweak some code here for me, and to post 2400 blog comments followed by 500 comments on forums in my niche, I will give you a $5 bonus.”
“Yes kind Sir, you are a blessing from another world, derp derp”
And the time will come when people will realize that Ahrefs metrics are easily manipulated, especially, Organic Traffic values.
Here is the deal.
I have a small site that was getting some 30,000 to 50,000 visitors per month through Summer. But then in October the site got almost 100,000 unique visits. Big part of these visits was organic search, maybe 85-90%. Which is great, right?
Alexa has the accuracy and precision of Swiss watches compared to Ahrefs
Not according to Ahrefs, because they say that this site is now down to 4K organic visits compared to the period behind us and it is sitting at some 4K-ish visits. That is 96,000 visit less than what I really got.
They do state that Organic Search is an estimate and “not the actual search traffic data of a website. It’s not possible for all the variables in our traffic estimation formula to be 100% accurate”-is what they say. I know how no one ever trusted Alexa numbers because it used be easy to manipulate those numbers but right now I trust Alexa as I am sure they upped their data collecting game. It certainly does look like that.
Furthermore, if we are going to compare SEMRush and Ahrefs organic data for the aforementioned site, SEMRush gets better results as well. For the site that got 100K-ish visits in October, according to SEMRush traffic data, they say how this site is getting around 143,000 visits (in October), which is a very good estimate, which in turn means that SEMRush (which is in my eyes one of the best marketing and SEO tools in the market) recognizes the keywords and traffic sources better than Ahrefs.
According to Ahrefs this site ranks for around 6,000 keywords. According to SEMRush the same site is in top 100 for more than 8,000 keywords.
Who should I trust? Ahrefs or SEMRush?
My experience is telling me that SEMRush is the king and Ahrefs is way behind when it comes to traffic estimates. And since traffic is not good, this means that their KW cloud is also not as good as the one SEMRush has. On the other side is link profile and I find the one at Ahrefs better, but I could live with the one offered at SEMRush, here is why.
SEMRush shows 1.4K sites linking to the domain I talked about with 30K-ish links in total, while Ahrefs shows 1.2K referring domains with 25K-ish links in total. This difference may be connected with recently lost and recently found links, but the fact is that SEMRush is not behind when it comes to link crawling.
And to add MOZ on this pile, it shows 1.3K referring domains with around 25K links.
So, next time, when someone asks you what is your traffic according to Ahrefs, tell them they can shove it up their a**.