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Looking for Affordable SEO Services? Here’s What You Need to Know



Looking for Affordable SEO Services? Here’s What You Need to Know

Good SEO is not cheap. The expertise of the professional and the use of industry tools are just some of the factors that give quality SEO work its price tag. In fact, our studies indicate the average cost of a monthly SEO retainer is as much as $1,500.

For someone starting a new business, this figure could be way outside your reach. So how do you find a truly affordable SEO solution that can fit any budget? Well, it comes down to asking yourself three simple questions:

  • What SEO services does your website need?
  • Can you do it yourself?
  • If not, how can you find an affordable SEO service provider to do it for you?

In this article, we will answer all these questions and give you everything you need to know when looking for affordable SEO services. 

There are four main SEO services you need to take into consideration: on-page, off-page (mainly link building), technical, and local. Although all of these aspects play a role in every website, you may not need help in every area.

Here’s the thing. If you go directly to an agency and sign up for a standard retainer, you will be paying for work in all of these areas. But the fact is you may already have killer links and just need some on-page optimizations, or vice versa. 

This means that even if the retainer is within your budget, you could be paying for work you don’t really need.

So with that in mind, let’s take a more detailed look at what each service is, how you can figure out if you need it, and which aspects (if any) you can manage yourself.

On-page optimization

On-page optimization is where you improve content to help you rank higher. Sometimes, even the smallest changes can be the difference between your website being on the first or third page of Google. 

It’s good to start your evaluation with on-page because these are the aspects you can control. Examples of some common on-page optimizations include:

Do I need it?

The easiest way is to look at the SERP overview in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer for the keyword you want to rank for. First, are you ranking? And if so, are you ranking as high as you’d like? 

SERP overview for "seo tools," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

You need to do this on a page-by-page basis rather than sitewise to analyze which pages need improvement. 

Can I do it myself?

The key here is to focus on search intent. If your page is not ranking as highly as you’d like, check to see whether it aligns with what people want. Example: Is your page a how-to guide, but all of the top-ranking articles are listicles?

If it aligns, the next thing is to check if your page misses important points that your competitors cover. One way to fill potential content gaps in your existing pages is to use Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool.

When using the SERP overview, select the competitors that are performing better than you and open with Content Gap.

"Open in content gap" feature, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

In the Content Gap report, add your page for comparison.

Content Gap targets

This will show all of the keywords your competitors’ articles rank for that yours do not. Some of those keywords may indicate points or subtopics that your content is missing. 

Finding missing keywords using Ahrefs' Content Gap tool

Link building services

Link building is all about getting other websites to link to pages on your site. In 2016, Google’s Andrey Lipattsev confirmed backlinks are one of Google’s strongest ranking factors. So if you want your pages to rank highly on the SERPs, you’re going to need quality links. 

Popular link building techniques include:

Do I need it?

As a general rule, you’re always going to need link building. If you’re pretty sure your on-page SEO is on point, checking the SERP overview in Keywords Explorer can also give you insights into whether a lack of backlinks is the issue. 

Ahrefs’ URL Rating (UR) works on the same basic principles as Google’s PageRank. Therefore, the UR on your own page can give you an idea of its strength compared to your ranking competitors.

If your UR is lower than competing pages and you have fewer backlinks, you probably need to do some link building. 

Can I do it myself?

The question is not necessarily if you can do link building for your site but more of whether you want to. 

Quality link building is hard work and takes a lot of time and dedication. If you want real results, it’s not something you can do here and there; it’s a full-time commitment. 

If you want to learn more about how to do link building yourself, you can check out our free link building for beginners and advanced link building courses. 

For the most part, it may be better to let the professionals handle this one. Especially if link building is a new concept to you, it will probably take you a lot of time with very few results.

Technical optimization

Technical SEO is where you optimize pages to make sure search engines can find, crawl, and index them. It involves things like having a sitemap, logical site architecture, and using schema markup.

Do I need it?

The ins and outs of what technical optimizations you need can be difficult to determine. Even good SEOs aren’t necessarily technical specialists, so it can be very confusing for someone with less SEO experience. 

The best way to determine if you’ll need technical help is to use Ahrefs’ Site Audit. When the tool has finished crawling your site, you will be given a top-level view of your website’s on-page and technical SEO issues with an overall Health Score out of 100. 

If the score is low, like in the example below, there are likely some issues you will need assistance with. 

Low Health Score, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

To get a better idea of what needs your attention, head to the All Issues tab in the left-hand menu and look at the problems.

If most of your issues fall under “Content,” these are on-page problems that you can most likely fix yourself with a little time. However, if most issues fall under “Indexability,” “Localization,” “Performance,” or “Sitemaps,” you may need technical assistance. 

Technical SEO can make or break your website. Although you may be able to rectify a couple of unruly 404 pages easily, the technical stuff should only ever be dealt with by professionals. 

Site Audit issues

Can I do it myself?

Improper implementation of aspects like hreflang tags, schema, and canonical tags can completely break your site. Plus, you can accidentally prevent your entire site from being indexed with the touch of a button, so it’s best left to the pros.

WordPress search engine visibility

Local SEO services

Local SEO is optimizing your online presence to get more business from local searches. It should be your priority if your business serves a local area.

Do I need it?

Determining whether you need local SEO is pretty simple. Do you appear in the search results for your primary keywords and location? Do you have a Google Business Profile? If not, then you will need local SEO.

Local search example

Can I do it myself?

Yes, you can do the basics yourself. For example, setting up a Google Business Profile, which can be done in as little as 30 minutes. You can also easily build local citations. By using Ahrefs’ Link Intersect tool, you can see which directories your competitors are listed on.

Ahrefs' Link Intersect tool

However, beyond that, you will want a specialist to help you.

What to look for in an affordable SEO provider

Now that you have figured out which services you need and that you are probably going to need some help implementing them, it’s time to look for a service provider within your budget.

Both agencies and freelancers usually offer three different options for pricing, including:

  • Hourly rates.
  • Monthly retainers.
  • One-off project with agreed-on fees.

Which one you go with will depend on your budget, the service you need, and your chosen provider. 

I’d like to add a quick note on what makes a service provider affordable. It is important to remember that the price of a service doesn’t always indicate the quality of work. For the most part, how a service is priced will heavily depend on where the provider is based. 

Our studies have shown that the average hourly rate of an SEO freelancer in India is under $30 per hour. At the same time, those based in the U.K. and U.S. charge $75 per hour on average.

Bar graphs showing SEO hourly rates by region

There are some unavoidable base costs in SEO, such as professional tools, that every agency and freelancer will need to cover. But beyond that, a higher price may simply be due to the location rather than the fact the work is actually better. 

Just remember that while it’s possible to get quality work at a lower cost (depending on the provider’s location), if something seems too good to be true, it likely is. If you’re quoted $30 for 100 links, this is probably one to avoid.

Let’s look at what you should look for in a quality provider.

Good communication

If an agency’s or freelancer’s communication sucks to begin with, keep looking. It’s likely to get worse over time, and no one wants to spend their time chasing people for updates. 


No SEO service provider is going to give away their “secret sauce” in a discovery call, but they should at least be willing to give you a high-level view of what they’ll do for you. 

If they just say they will “build links” and refuse to tell you their strategies or approach, run a mile. 

Quality of service

You need a provider who has expertise in the field and can provide you with reliable results.

Many SEO agencies will list brands and companies they have previously worked with on their websites. This can give you an idea of the quality of their clientele. After all, well-known companies aren’t going to work with anyone producing subpar results.

Example of clients listed on an agency website
Example of former clients listed on an agency website.

Reputation and expertise

Don’t be afraid to check out references from previous clients when evaluating an agency or freelancer. This will also help you understand the quality of work the provider does, as well as whether they have a good reputation.

You can also look for additional indicators of their experience on their website, such as awards and case studies.

Example of awards listed on an agency site
Example of awards listed on an agency website.

Realistic goals and timelines

The last thing you want is to be sold on the promise of quick results that can’t be delivered. Any professional should be able to give you an expected time frame they think is needed for your project and whether they foresee any potential issues that could arise along the way. 

Choosing a provider who will keep you updated with regular reports on the progress is important so you can track how well the project is going. 

Timelines and reporting details on an agency website
Example of timelines and what is reported from a U.K.-based agency website.

Final thoughts

Quality SEO services aren’t cheap. But you can keep them budget-friendly by identifying what areas your website actually needs help with, doing the work you can yourself, and choosing an affordable provider for everything else. 

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter.

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Google Reveals Two New Web Crawlers




Google Reveals Two New Web Crawlers

Google revealed details of two new crawlers that are optimized for scraping image and video content for “research and development” purposes. Although the documentation doesn’t explicitly say so, it’s presumed that there is no impact in ranking should publishers decide to block the new crawlers.

It should be noted that the data scraped by these crawlers are not explicitly for AI training data, that’s what the Google-Extended crawler is for.

GoogleOther Crawlers

The two new crawlers are versions of Google’s GoogleOther crawler that was launched in April 2023. The original GoogleOther crawler was also designated for use by Google product teams for research and development in what is described as one-off crawls, the description of which offers clues about what the new GoogleOther variants will be used for.

The purpose of the original GoogleOther crawler is officially described as:

“GoogleOther is the generic crawler that may be used by various product teams for fetching publicly accessible content from sites. For example, it may be used for one-off crawls for internal research and development.”

Two GoogleOther Variants

There are two new GoogleOther crawlers:

  • GoogleOther-Image
  • GoogleOther-Video

The new variants are for crawling binary data, which is data that’s not text. HTML data is generally referred to as text files, ASCII or Unicode files. If it can be viewed in a text file then it’s a text file/ASCII/Unicode file. Binary files are files that can’t be open in a text viewer app, files like image, audio, and video.

The new GoogleOther variants are for image and video content. Google lists user agent tokens for both of the new crawlers which can be used in a robots.txt for blocking the new crawlers.

1. GoogleOther-Image

User agent tokens:

  • GoogleOther-Image
  • GoogleOther

Full user agent string:


2. GoogleOther-Video

User agent tokens:

  • GoogleOther-Video
  • GoogleOther

Full user agent string:


Newly Updated GoogleOther User Agent Strings

Google also updated the GoogleOther user agent strings for the regular GoogleOther crawler. For blocking purposes you can continue using the same user agent token as before (GoogleOther). The new Users Agent Strings are just the data sent to servers to identify the full description of the crawlers, in particular the technology used. In this case the technology used is Chrome, with the model number periodically updated to reflect which version is used (W.X.Y.Z is a Chrome version number placeholder in the example listed below)

The full list of GoogleOther user agent strings:

  • Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 6.0.1; Nexus 5X Build/MMB29P) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/W.X.Y.Z Mobile Safari/537.36 (compatible; GoogleOther)
  • Mozilla/5.0 AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko; compatible; GoogleOther) Chrome/W.X.Y.Z Safari/537.36

GoogleOther Family Of Bots

These new bots may from time to time show up in your server logs and this information will help in identifying them as genuine Google crawlers and will help publishers who may want to opt out of having their images and videos scraped for research and development purposes.

Read the updated Google crawler documentation



Featured Image by Shutterstock/ColorMaker

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ChatGPT To Surface Reddit Content Via Partnership With OpenAI




ChatGPT artificial intelligence chatbot app on smartphone screen with large shadow giving the feeling of floating on top of the background. White background.

Reddit partners with OpenAI to integrate content into ChatGPT.

  • Reddit and OpenAI announce a partnership.
  • Reddit content will be used in ChatGPT.
  • Concerns about accuracy of Reddit user-generated content.

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All You Need to Know



All You Need to Know

SEO tracking involves regularly checking a set of metrics to evaluate a website’s performance in search engine results. Some of the most widely adopted metrics include keyword rankings, organic traffic, conversions, and referring domain growth.

Tracking the right metrics is crucial for SEO (search engine optimization) success. You need them to analyze your SEO performance, report to stakeholders, and take the right kind of action to improve your site’s visibility (such as improving content or building more backlinks).

Besides keeping an eye on your own website’s key metrics, it’s also smart to check out how your competitors are doing on the same metrics as you. If you notice they’re getting good results, you can figure out what tactics they’re using and consider using them too.

You can track SEO for your site to a fair degree using free tools like Google Search Console or Ahrefs Webmaster Tools. If you want deeper insights, better data, and the ability to analyze your competitors’ websites, you’ll need a tool like Ahrefs.

This guide is aimed at getting you started with tracking your SEO progress the right way. We’ll cover:

  • What metrics are worth tracking in SEO.
  • How to set up the tools to get the data you need.
  • How to track your competitors.
  • How to go a step further and build an SEO report.

While there are numerous metrics and KPIs you could track, it’s not necessary to monitor all of them continuously. You really just need these seven key metrics to effectively gauge whether your SEO efforts are working.

1. Keyword rankings

Keyword ranking refers to where your page shows up on the search engine results page (SERP) for a specific keyword. It’s like a spot on a list, and you want your page to be as high up on that list as possible — the higher the spot, the more visitors you can attract.

A typical relationship between position and traffic. Traffic drops dramatically with every position in the SERPs.

It’s important to keep an eye on where your keywords are ranking because if they drop lower on the list, your website might get fewer visitors. But you don’t have to watch the rankings for every single keyword, just the main ones that matter most for your key pages.

Also, if you notice your rankings are climbing higher, that’s a good sign. It means that your SEO efforts are paying off.

How to track keyword rankings

To track your keyword rankings, it’s best to use a rank tracker tool like Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker; a tool that allows you to create a list of keywords and automatically monitor their positions in the SERPs for different locations, both for mobile and desktop.

Rank Tracker will suggest keywords for tracking when you set up a new project. Just make sure you’re tracking them in the locations you want to rank (that is, countries where you can serve clients and languages in which you create content).

Adding keywords to track in Ahrefs.Adding keywords to track in Ahrefs.

No need to add each and every keyword from that list. Just add the ones that are important to you and you’ll likely want to track and improve. Typically, you’ll want to track target keywords — the main topic of the page and the main keyword you optimize for.

Once added, you can see your keywords in Rank Tracker’s Overview report.

Overview of tracked keywords in Ahrefs.Overview of tracked keywords in Ahrefs.

Another way to start tracking keywords is to hit Add keywords in the top right corner — best for adding single keywords or importing a list from a document.

Adding single keywords or keywords from a list.Adding single keywords or keywords from a list.

And once data starts rolling in, you will be able to see your ranking progress in time. In the screenshot below, the Ranking history report with a quick insight into recent ranking history and a full ranking history graph.

Ranking history in Ahrefs.Ranking history in Ahrefs.

Why do you need an SEO tool in the first place?

Google’s search results are personalized based on things like your location, browsing history, language, and device.

So when you check the SERPs manually, you might see results that are tailored specifically to you, which might not reflect the more general or widespread rankings.

2. Share of voice

Share of voice (SOV) is a measure of how many clicks your website gets from search engines compared to the total number of clicks available for the keywords you’re tracking.

The higher your rankings, the higher your Share of Voice, and the larger your slice of the market pie.

SOV is a one-of-a-kind metric because of two things:

  • It considers your performance in context to your competitors, giving you a more accurate picture of where you stand in your industry.
  • It doesn’t take into account the search volume of keywords with all of their fluctuations. If you see that your traffic has gone down but your Share of Voice (SOV) remains high, it suggests that the lower traffic is because the keywords you’re targeting have become less popular overall, rather than a decrease in the effectiveness of your SEO strategies.

How to track share of voice

The share of voice metric is another reason to get a rank tracking tool. If the feature is supported, these kinds of tools calculate the metric automatically, so there’s no need to keep a spreadsheet with manually tracked numbers.

In Ahrefs’s Rank Tracker, you’ll find SOV under the Competitors tab.

SOV metric in Ahrefs. SOV metric in Ahrefs.

SOV is calculated by taking all of the tracked keywords into account, yet some of your keywords might be more important than others. If that’s the case, you can track SOV only for a certain topic, SEO campaigns, specific authors, etc. Just select a set of keywords and assign a tag for them.

Adding tags in Ahrefs Rank Tracker. Adding tags in Ahrefs Rank Tracker.

Then, simply select that tag in the Competitors report.

Competitors overview in Rank Tracker. Competitors overview in Rank Tracker.

3. Organic traffic

Organic traffic is basically the number of clicks that come to your website from people finding it through Google. If your website shows up higher on the SERPs, usually more people will click on it and visit your site.

Keeping track of how many visitors come to your site from search engines helps you understand if what you’re doing with SEO is actually working. If you see more visitors over time, your SEO efforts are paying off.

Organic traffic is the pinnacle of SEO, but it’s also important to understand which keywords drive that traffic. So although it’s arguably the most important metric, it’s never a good idea to track this metric alone.

How to track organic traffic

There are basically two ways to track organic traffic: through Google Search Console (and integrations) and through SEO tools.

In terms of raw organic traffic from Google Search, the most accurate data will likely come from their Search Console (for Bing, that would be Webmaster Tools). You can view this data right inside the tool or integrate it with analytics tools like Google Analytics, Hubspot, and Ahrefs for more convenience.

Performance report in GSC.Performance report in GSC.
GSC integration in Ahrefs. GSC integration in Ahrefs.
The cool thing about using Ahrefs for your GSC data is using weekly and monthly data to see spot trends easier.

Raw traffic data is useful for getting a quick snapshot of your current performance, tracking growth trends, and calculating traffic growth for your reports.

But to dive a bit deeper into your organic traffic data, you might want to use a tool like Ahrefs’ Site Explorer because it makes it easier to analyze performance. Here are a few ways you can use the Overview and Top pages report in that tool.

Overlay competitor data on top for a quick performance analysis.

Organic traffic comparison of fours sites on one graph.Organic traffic comparison of fours sites on one graph.
Organic traffic comparison of fours sites on one graph.

Overlay organic pages to see how adding new content correlates with traffic.

Clear correlation between the number of published organic pages and organic traffic. Clear correlation between the number of published organic pages and organic traffic.
In this example, we see a clear correlation between the number of published organic pages and organic traffic (a sign of effective SEO).

See performance in a year-over-year comparison to gauge the impact of long-term projects.

In this example, a long-term content project allowed for the reclaiming of lost traffic from 2020.In this example, a long-term content project allowed for the reclaiming of lost traffic from 2020.
In this example, a long-term content project allowed for the reclaiming of lost traffic from 2020.

Use daily traffic chart to pinpoint the exact day when a traffic increase or decline happened (for instance, due to a Google core update).

Organic traffic affected by Google core update. Organic traffic affected by Google core update.

Identify pages that account for the biggest traffic losses and improve them. You’ll find this in the Top pages report inside Site Explorer.

Top pages report in Ahrefs.Top pages report in Ahrefs.

4. Conversions

Conversions measure how effectively your content translates into tangible results, like profits, content downloads, free trial sign-ups, or any other user action valuable to your business that indicates you’re dealing with a potential customer.

Conversions from organic visits to paid customers are typically hard to measure since this comes down to measuring the ROI of content, which is complicated in itself. However, when we asked marketers about this metric, we found a few interesting ways to solve that problem. For your inspiration, here’s what they measure:

  • Conversion as revenue/signups correlation with traffic. This metric assumes that more website visitors increase your chances of turning them into subscribers or buyers.
  • Conversion growth from bottom-funnel content. Content aimed at users who are on the brink of purchasing can greatly boost sales because it provides that last bit of persuasion they need to complete a purchase.
  • Conversion from first page to paying customer. If the first page a visitor lands on leads to a sale, it’s a clear sign that your content is doing its job effectively.

How to track conversions

Conversions are usually tracked with website analytics tools like Google Analytics 4 (GA 4) or Matomo. They always require a custom setup for each website you want to track, but it’s not an overly complicated process.

For example, in GA4, conversions are called “key events” and are based on tracking user interaction. If a specific event takes place, such as a purchase, a file download, or a form completion, the tool records this as a conversion.

To set up conversion tracking in GA4 you first need to create an event that will be counted as conversion and mark it a key event in the Admin panel of your site (aka property).

Key events control panel in GA4.Key events control panel in GA4.

Then, to see conversion from the organic traffic channel (the channel you’re optimizing with SEO), go to the Advertising panel.

Advertising panel in GA4.Advertising panel in GA4.

Here are a few ideas to use this report:

  • See how many and which key events were driven by organic search in the last month or quarter.
  • See how organic traffic stacks up to other acquisition channels.
  • See the share of organic traffic for events with longer conversion paths (the attribution paths tab).

For more information about how to properly set up GA4 for conversion tracking, see this guide.

5. Referring domain growth

Referring domains are essentially the individual websites that link back to your website. By monitoring these, you get a clear picture of how your link profile is expanding over time.

As your link profile grows with more quality links from diverse domains, it helps to build your site’s authority. This authority is crucial because search engines use it as one of the key factors to determine where your pages should rank in search results.

Essentially, the more authoritative your site becomes, the higher your pages are likely to rank and the harder it becomes for others to outrank you.

How to track referring domain growth

Here’s how to track referring domain growth using Ahrefs.

  • Set up a project (if you haven’t done so yet) and go to your Dashboard.
  • Click on the Backlinks card, which gives you a quick insight into backlinks growth.
  • Click on the card to get more data (if you need it).
Referring domains overview in Ahrefs Site Audit.Referring domains overview in Ahrefs Site Audit.
Referring domains report in Ahrefs Site Audit. Referring domains report in Ahrefs Site Audit.

Aim to build as many or ideally more links from unique domains than your competitors to increase your chances for ranking. Read our link-building guide to learn how:

6. Technical SEO issues

Technical SEO issues, often referred to as SEO health issues, encompass a range of potential hiccups that can hinder Google from effectively finding, crawling, and indexing your website. If Google struggles with any of these steps, your site might not show up correctly — or at all — in search results.

There are eight types of SEO issues you should keep a close eye on because they can impact your ranking the most:

Besides these issues, there are more than 100 other possible issues related to less important technical SEO factors and on-page SEO. I won’t cover all of them here since you can learn what they are and how to fix them right inside Ahrefs.

How to track technical SEO issues (aka SEO health)

Use Ahrefs’ Site Audit (free in Ahrefs Webmaster Tools) to monitor for serious technical issues, marked in the tool as “errors”.

  • Open Site Audit tool inside Ahrefs.
Where to find Site Audit in Ahrefs. Where to find Site Audit in Ahrefs.
  • Click on Errors in the “Issues distribution” card.
Issues distribution in Ahrefs. Issues distribution in Ahrefs.
  • Go to the issue list, then click on the question mark next to the error and follow the instructions.
All issues report in Ahrefs. All issues report in Ahrefs.

To keep your site in good SEO health, schedule regular crawls in Site Audit and fix the most pressing issues.


Before we wrap up this section, here are some other popular metrics and why they haven’t made our list of recommended metrics to track regularly (although they may be useful for other things).

  • Domain Rating (DR). This metric indicates the overall strength of your website’s backlink profile. It’s a handy measure for quickly assessing other websites, particularly for link building purposes. However, it’s not the best metric for ongoing monitoring of your own site since it doesn’t provide specific actionable insights.
  • Click-through Rate (CTR). This measures the percentage of impressions on SERPs that result in clicks, and this data is accessible through Google Search Console. While CTR can be confusing as a metric for the entire site, it proves useful when analyzed at the individual page level.
  • Engagement metrics – Metrics such as bounce rate, engagement rate, dwell time, time on page, and session duration are often discussed in the context of SEO. However, they are either not directly relevant to SEO effectiveness or are unreliable for content analysis.

There are three ways you can track competitors using SEO tools.

  • Track competitors’ rankings for benchmarking.
  • Track multiple metrics for a portfolio of pages.
  • Monitor for noteworthy events: new keywords, backlinks and brand mentions.

Let’s look at them in more detail.

How to track competitors’ keyword rankings

To track your competitors’ rankings, use a rank tracking tool that allows you to automatically monitor their positions on the keywords you target yourself. So whenever you add keywords you want to target in your strategy, the tool will track both your and your competitors’ rank for that keyword.

In Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker all you need to do is set add your competitors’ URLs (you can track entire domains or specific directories). You can do it as soon as setting up your project or add them later on in the Competitors section.

Competitors overview report in Ahrefs Rank Tracker. Competitors overview report in Ahrefs Rank Tracker.

You can use competitor ranking data to:

  • Improve the pages where your competitors outrank you to gain more SOV.
  • Set goals and benchmarks.
  • Compare historical rankings to your performance over time.
  • Quickly see the competitive landscape; see how well you’re doing compared to competitors.
  • See how much more traffic you could gain if you outranked competitors.

How to track multiple metrics for a portfolio of pages

You can also track more than just rankings. Using the Portfolios feature in Ahrefs, you can monitor key metrics such as traffic growth and the increase in referring domains for multiple competitors all at once to analyze their overall SEO performance.

Portfolios feature in Ahrefs. Portfolios feature in Ahrefs.

You can use this feature to monitor specific pages on your competitors’ sites (such as topics on a blog) or combine all your competitors’ sites to see how your entire niche performs in organic search.

To create a portfolio in Ahrefs, go to the Dashboard and click New > Portfolio, then fill in the URLs you want to track.

How to create a new portfolio in Ahrefs.How to create a new portfolio in Ahrefs.


This feature is especially useful if you’re managing SEO for multiple clients — you can track their entire portfolio as one.

It’s also handy if you have multiple authors on your content team; for example, you can track all articles written by a particular author or keep tabs on all guest and freelance posts.

How to track competitors’ new keywords, backlinks, and web mentions

The final method of tracking your competitors allows you to get email alerts when a competitor:

  • Ranks for a new keyword. Useful for getting content ideas from your competitors’ new content.
  • Rise and fall in keyword rankings. For example, if you see an important keyword suddenly climbing into the top 3, that means your competitor is doing something right, and it’s worth investigating. It’s worth noting that this feature scans, all of the keywords, the site ranks for and not only the ones you track, so it gives you a much wider scope.
  • Gain or lose backlinks. Both situations are potential link building opportunities.
  • Their brand or product is mentioned online. So, when a competitor gets featured in a review, ranking, or digital PR, you can add that site to your list of link building/PR prospects.
Example keyword alert delivered by mail.
Example keyword alert delivered by mail.
Example keyword alert delivered by mail.

To set it up:

  1. Go to Ahrefs Alerts (in the More dropdown menu)
  2. Choose the type of Alert you want to set up.
  3. Click New alert or choose from one of the projects and fill out the details. In case of the mentions alerts, see our documentation to take advantage of advanced queries.
How to add a new keywords alert. How to add a new keywords alert.


You can also set this feature for your own website. Since Ahrefs Alerts monitors all keywords you rank for, you’ll know if any of your keywords suddenly rise or fall in rankings. 

This is especially useful to spot important keywords you haven’t yet added to Rank Tracker.

If you’re doing SEO for someone else, at some point, you will need to put all of those metrics in a report.

In some cases, it may be enough to show the raw data with a few sentences of commentary. This is true in in-house environments when you’re reporting to someone who can interpret the data themselves, especially if you’ve worked with them for a long time.

But if you’re reporting for a client, raw numbers won’t be enough. Additionally, you will need at least these three elements:

  • Executive summary: Summarizes the entire report, focusing on major points and outcomes for quick reading by senior stakeholders.
  • Opportunities for improvement: Identifies potential areas for SEO enhancements.
  • Roadmap: Outlines past achievements and future steps in the SEO strategy.

It’s also important how to report data for your and your stakeholders understanding and convenience. For instance, many clients require a live interactive dashboard with all the data available at all times (similar to these Ahrefs templates for Looker Studio).

Example of an live reporting dashboard with SEO data. Example of an live reporting dashboard with SEO data.

Others prefer a document where everything is laid out in layman’s terms — they appreciate the data but they don’t really want to deal with it.

Excerpt from an SEO reporting template. Excerpt from an SEO reporting template.

We’ve put together some resources, including a template, to help you quickly and efficiently create a solid report:

Final thoughts

A few tips before we wrap this up:

Got questions or comments? Let me know on X or LinkedIn.

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