How To Do Competitive Analysis Using Ahrefs SEO Tool

by | SEO

Nov 17, 2021

Do you want to identify your competitors? Are you looking to know their strength and weaknesses? In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about your competitors through competitive analysis using Ahrefs SEO tool. Get a quick step-by-step how-to guide for conducting analysis and discovering ways on how to improve your website.

Competitive analysis means assessing the strength and weaknesses of your competitors, that is, other businesses that provide the same product or services to an audience you are also targeting. Your competitors are also ranking for the same or similar keywords as you and linking to similar websites.

A competitive analysis will help you gather information about your biggest competitors in the market. You can then use this information to improve your own website by creating solid business strategies based on your research.

In this article, you’ll learn how to do that using the Ahrefs SEO tool.

Competing Domains

First, you need to identify your competitors by checking Competing Domains. To do this, log in to your Ahrefs account and tap on Site Explorer.  

Next, type in your domain or URL on the search box and search.

Ahref Site Explorer

After that, click on Competing domain under Organic search on the left-hand side of your dashboard. There, you’ll see a list of websites ranking in the top 10 search results for the exact keywords as the domain or URL you put. 

Competing domains - competitive analysis

The report also shows the following:

  • Common keywords that both you and your competitors are ranking for.
  • Keywords your competitors are ranking for, and you are not.
  • Keywords you are ranking for, and your competitor isn’t. 

From the competitive analyses, you’ll see main competitors that are ranking higher in the SERPs than you. 

Competitive analysis shreds

Take advantage of the keywords that your competitors get traffic for but you don’t and write content for these untapped keywords.

SEO Metrics

Next, take into account the following 5 SEO metrics as you analyze your competitors’ landscape:

  • Domain Rating (DR) 
  • Ahrefs Rank (AR) 
  • Referring Domains 
  • Estimated Monthly Search Traffic 
  • Estimated Top 100 Keyword Rankings 

You can find these metrics by clicking on Site Explorer and typing in the website. Many factors could contribute to why these competitors are ranking better. 

It is important to understand why your competitors are ranking higher in the SERPs than you. Check if it’s because of the strength of specific target pages, domain authority, no of keywords, or the quality of domains linking to them. All these can give you insight into where to improve and how to proceed.

Look for differences in these metrics. The more obvious one from the data should be your no one priority. Let’s say your competitor estimated top 100 keyword ranking is 2000, and yours is 500, then that should be something you should take a closer look at. 

To sort out this problem, I recommend the following. 

  • Target the right keywords. 
  • Optimize your content for your keywords while creating it.
  • Consider the searchers intent
  • Do a site audit and fix any technical issues you may have. 
  • Focus on the user experience. 
  • Stay on top of Google algorithm updates. 
  • Optimize your pages for users and search engines. 
  • Create unique content and engaging titles. 

So what’s next on the competitive analyses? Study the ​trend of the backlink growth.

Backlink Growth

Check how many referring domains you have lost. Common reasons for lost backlinks could be: 

  • The content editor removes the backlink that links to you 
  • Changes to your website URL structure
  • The webmaster or author removes the link
  • The page no longer exists—404 error 
  • Google no longer index the page
  • 301/302 redirect 

To fix this, you must first identify the backlinks that you’ve lost. 

First, click on Site Explorer and enter your site. Secondly, tap on Lost under Legacy on the left-hand side of the page. There, you’ll see a list of recently lost backlinks. 

Lost backlinks

Adjust the period at the top of the links to view more links. To see lost domains only, tap Lost under Referring domains.

To recover lost backlinks, you should do the following:

  • Find lost backlinks on the backlink profile
  • Find and retrieve all links pointing to 404 pages 
  • Write high-quality, shareable content. 
  • Promote your content on different networks. 
  • Make use of small PR networks. 
  • Contribute guest posts to other sites.

Next on the list is to find websites that have linked to your competitors​ on several occasions. 

Make them your friends too. Build and maintain a good linking relationship with these websites because they regularly link out to websites they like. Let them add you to that great list as well.

Broken Pages

After that, check your ​competitor’s broken pages. You can use this to your advantage. Search for broken pages on your competitors’ websites with backlinks and are also somewhat relevant to your business. Try to figure out the following:

  • What the broken page used to be before becoming a 404 page. 
  • After figuring it out, publish something related to the previous content, but this time, ensure you make it even better and more engaging.
  • Apart from your competitor, also look for other websites that are linking to the broken pages. 

To find your competitor’s broken pages:

  1. Enter your competitor’s domain on Site Explorer.
  2. Go to Best by links under Site Explorer.
  3. Tap on HTTP code and select 404 not found from the drop-down list.

Broken pages

After compiling a list of these websites, ask them to interchange the broken pages you found in favor of your working resources. 

Next on the list is to check your ​competitors’ organic keywords​ to determine which keywords currently drive organic traffic to their sites. 

Performing competitors’ keywords research will give you insight into their marketing strategy and help you anticipate the next moves, which will, in turn, boost your organic search optimization game. 

Organic Keywords

To do this, type in your competitor’s domain on Site Explorer and tap on Organic keywords under Organic search.

Keywords research

Optimize your landing page and your articles for some of these keywords.

Suppose some of the keywords have high Keyword Difficulty (KD) scores. Then it will be best to build more links to rank for these keywords.

Content Gaps

Analyze the ​content gaps (keywords)​ for which your competitors rank higher in the SERPs, and you are not. Make a note of some of the most relevant new keywords and use them on your website.

Competitive analysis - Content gaps 

Finally, look for your ​competitor’s top content, which brings in more visitors to their site. You can do this by checking their top pages, top subfolders, and top subdomain under the organic search tab on Ahrefs.

Pick out the top ones and compare them with your top pages. Find out what you’re lacking and improve on that.

Competitor analysis allows you to assess your competitive landscape, the more you identify what they are up to, the better chances you have to outperform them.

Other recommendations you can work on include:

  1. Improve your page load times
  2. Improving your web page layout and site structure. 
  3. Ensure your site navigation is user-friendly
  4. Add structured data to your site so Google can show rich results or snippets where applicable.
  5. Improve the usability. 
  6. Include call-to-action components in your content


Featured Photo by UX Indonesia on Unsplash
In article images source: tool.



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