When we were alerted that Yahoo Site Explorer was to close down, many thought that the backlink checking tool would continue to grace our screens and I for one used to love the information and presentation that the tool offered, so when the closure date finally came and the powers that be pulled the plug on what used to be the primary source for my backlink analysis of both client and competitor sites, I have to admit that I cried a silent tear but it seems that with the closure of one tool came the birth of some very impressive tools such as LinkResearchTools.com and Ahrefs.com.
With continuing development clearly happening on both of the tools, it shows that the people behind those tools are trying to keep pace with the fast paced SEO industry that seems to really have accelerated through the gears over the past year, seeing the birth of a new Google offensive, including the release of the Panda and Penguin updates that many webmasters have now begun to fear.
Not too long ago I posted about new additions that had been made to one of the top SEO tools in the industry, MajesticSEO.com, revealing how they had implemented new data into their tool to be able to offer more insight into the information that they held on any given website but with their changes already revealed, I felt that it was only right to take a moment to mention the growth that I have witnessed at Ahrefs.com, a fairly new SEO tool that has already generated a huge name for itself based on the quality of features that they have to offer SEO's and webmasters all in one place.
Ahrefs.com first came onto the scene for me as I was frantically searching for a new alternative to my beloved Yahoo Site Explorer and on stumbling across their earlier release I could see potential in their offering, however I turned my attention to MajesticSEO.com as they had been one of the biggest names in SEO tools since the earlier stages in which I became addicted to the challenge that is Search Engine Optimisation.
Since that moment, I continued to watch Ahrefs.com grow as they continued to increase their functions, features and reputation within the industry and on a random return to their site I had realised that the developments from within their tools were coming thick and fast, showing that they were determined to create a tool that would soon become as big as MajesticSEO.com and any other tools that you can name.
Those improvements have not stopped since my return to their site and their new look tool is forever improving, the site asking users for feedback towards what they would like to see added as well as trying to think for themselves over what information SEO's just like me would be interested in being able to see.
Last week Ahrefs.com announced that they had once again rolled out new upgrades to their software, only weeks after announcing that they were now crawling more websites than ever before, faster and in more detail than ever before.
The new features that the tool has to offer, for me, puts them firmly into the category of being one of the best SEO tools in the industry at this time and that faith has been shown by this becoming one of the primary tools of which I use on a daily basis to be able to analyse, assess and improve not only my own websites but also that of the clients that we have.
So with all of the story seeming to hype up the tool, I think that it would be fitting for me to explain a little about each of the alterations that Ahrefs have delivered to anyone using their tool (which is free to trial without signing up if you want to see for yourself):
New / Lost Links Feature
The New/Lost Links addition to the site is something that becomes extremely useful in the modern climate that we call the search optimisation world, with Google now taking action on links that they deem to be negative and those actions now affecting sites directly.
The tool means that you can now see when their crawling of the websites that they reach picks up a new link that is pointing into your site as well as alerting you to the loss of links from either certain pages or from a site completely, brilliant for being able to help you with your analysis into a boost or reduction in either traffic or keyword ranking within the search engines.
Although this may seem to have come at a time after MajesticSEO.com revealed the same addition to their software, I can confirm that Ahrefs.com did have this feature prior to that announcement, however they have just updated the way in which the information is presented, to make it easier to see all on one tab.
Keyword Analysis Feature
This has to be one of the better additions to the tool in my eyes, an area where you can enter the URL of a website and see keyword rankings as they were at the time of their last index across the world, so if you have a client that is looking to rank in more than one country, you can see everything that you want from that very screen.
Not only have Ahrefs.com pulled in the positions of those rankings but they have included a feature that tracks those keyword rankings on a daily basis, creating a table to show you exactly when you have gained, lost or vanished for a particular keyword, once again giving you a more detailed insight into when something might have caused the improvement or reduction to happen.
Looking at this element of the site, it becomes clear that Ahrefs.com want to be able to offer website owners the most indepth tool on the market with all of the information that they could need in one place, shown through the addition of Google Adwords data that can help to be able to locate and identify new keywords that could suit the site that you are looking at as well as showing you a search volume (although the Google Adwords data has been questioned surrounding the accuracy at times).
Finally, in another twist to the development, Ahrefs have opted to give website owners an insight into the information that could make them money online, suggestions as to what the site could promote to potential visitors to the site, an interesting idea and one that I personally have not seen before.
One of the things that seemed to hold Ahrefs.com back in relation to the other tools that I have used previously was the complexity of trying to generate reports out of the information that they presented directly but their latest upgrade has not only seen the ease of use improve but the number of types of different reports that you can take from the tool has increased too, giving you the flexibility that you need in order to be able to act on questions or issues that you may encounter.
With analysis reports now spanning not only from the backlinks information pages but also into comparison reports and competition insight, you are now given a complete tool that is able to help you get to the bottom of even the most unique issue.
Ahrefs.com have clearly shown that they want to improve their offering and continue to ask for help and suggestions over what the tool could now look to offer following these alterations but with the latest upgrades still fresh and the data continuing to evolve throughout the site, you will be hard struck to find something for the moment.