Looking for an Alternative to Ahrefs?
Find out why Hike SEO is the perfect alternative to Ahrefs when it comes to beginners and small business owners, or agencies that serve small businesses.
Hike vs. Ahrefs Overall
When it comes to SEO platforms, Ahrefs and Hike serve two very different audiences. Ahrefs is geared towards SEO professionals and agencies that have SEO experts who are familiar with the advanced data, terms, and tools that beginners or small businesses would get overwhelmed with, or not understand.
Hike is built from the ground up with the beginner in mind, so it’s intuitive, easy to learn, and quick to master after a couple of times, even if you have no prior SEO experience. Small businesses typically don’t have in-house SEO experience, so using a tool that is beginner-friendly is essential for the limited time they have available during the week.
Let’s dive into a few of the various aspects to compare Ahrefs with Hike from a beginner-friendly lens.
User Interface (UI) and Navigation
At first glance, the user interface and navigation in Ahrefs can be overwhelming, despite their efforts to make it as simple as possible. Because of the sheer number of tools available, there are a lot of options and this can naturally make you feel lost and not sure which ones to use first. Although perfect for the SEO power user, it’s not so friendly for beginners or small business owners who have no idea where to start.
In Hike, the interface and navigation were designed to be simple and focused, so as to make sure beginners know precisely where to go, in what order, and follow the steps without getting lost. The menu only has a handful of options and is ordered in a way that is logical to follow. For example, you have the Strategy item after the Dashboard menu item, where Keyword Research is the first option in the dropdown menu. This aligns perfectly with the first step of SEO, which is to discover relevant keywords for your website & industry.
Hike also pulls in only the most essential data that is important for your SEO, so it makes it simple to make decisions such as selecting the best keywords, instead of having too many data points to get confused about, like in Ahrefs.
"Great service! To be able to enter the time you can spend on SEO and have a system direct you on exactly what to do next the best results is really filling a missing gap."
Source: Google Reviews
Onboarding and Tutorials
In Ahrefs, onboarding can be a bit involved as when you add your website, in order to access all of the features, you need to verify your website which requires a bit more technical knowledge to do this. However, one doesn’t need to verify a site in order to add it, but advanced SEO users generally do in order to get as much information as possible.
In Hike, onboarding is made as easy as possible to make sure beginners can get started right away with the tool. Simply by selecting your business industry, adding your website URL, and a few other bits of information, a small business can be up and running with Hike in minutes.
In terms of tutorials and guidance on how to use the platform, Ahrefs does have an academy which at the time of writing this post has 61 lessons that go into the different tools and areas of the platform (https://ahrefs.com/academy/how-to-use-ahrefs). It’s nice that they compressed it into less than 90 minutes, so even busy SEO professionals can quickly get up to speed.
Hike also has an academy with quite a few modules and videos on SEO and how the platform can help with achieving results. In addition to that, Hike has the Learn SEO hub with an ever-expanding list of articles that beginners can read to become more and more comfortable with how SEO works. Many of these articles also have accompanying videos, which are also on the Hike YouTube channel. Sprinkled within these articles are also Hike Tutorial videos that show how various SEO aspects can be implemented using Hike’s tools. All in all, there is a wealth of beginner-friendly content that empowers small businesses to take control of their SEO right from the start.
One more thing to mention is that Hike also has quite a few tooltips when you hover over various areas of a specific tool. Ahrefs, just like many of the other professional-level SEO tools, tend to lack on these tooltips, which makes navigating the tools the first few times confusing. Hike makes it simple by reminding you what each function does or is for, so you can learn it faster.
The keyword research tool in Ahrefs is called “Keyword Explorer” and allows you to enter one or more keywords as a starting point for generating additional keyword ideas. By default, it’s configured to Google data, but for more advanced research, they also have YouTube, Amazon, Bing, Yahoo, and several other search engines. You can select the country in which you’d like the data as well.
When you first add a keyword, you’re taken to a very detailed overview page for that specific keyword, which is definitely designed more for SEO professionals. To get to the additional keyword ideas, the user needs to then either click on “matching terms”, “related terms”, or “search suggestions”, which can be a bit confusing unless you already know what they are for.
Overall, keyword research in Ahrefs is definitely meant for advanced SEO users who know what they are looking for and how to navigate easily through the various options available.
In Hike, the keyword research tool is super easy to use and only pulls in the essential data required for the beginner, such as search volume and difficulty score. What makes Hike also very attractive for the beginner is that it uses Chat-GPT4 (Artificial Intelligence) to come up with suggested starting keywords based on the industry your business is in. This saves the small business user time and effort in thinking of starting keywords.
Scrolling down the generated keywords list, you can easily shortlist keywords that you want to target by clicking on the “[ + ]” button on the right. These shortlisted keywords will then be used in the next step of the process where you check your chosen keywords, with helpful A.I. prompts to let you know whether a keyword is suitable for your business or not.
All in all, Hike provides a much simpler and streamlined way to conduct keyword research, making it easy for small business users to find the best keywords for their website pages.
Although Ahref’s “Health Score” gives you a simple score for on-page optimization and tells you all of the issues that need to be addressed, it doesn’t give easy-to-follow guidance for a beginner on how to make those changes, how long it will take, or why it’s important to fix in the first place. Yes, it does have pointers, but not to the level where it would be actionable for someone without SEO or technical experience.
In Hike, the Action Engine was designed with beginners in mind. After Hike scans your website, it will flag up anything that needs attention or fixing on your website in the form of actions, under the “Actions” menu item. These actions can be sorted by priority or type, making it easier to move through, depending on your preference.
Every action in Hike gives you an estimated time it would take to complete it, as well as what you need to do, why it’s important, and how to actually do it yourself. It’s perfect for the small business user who only has a limited amount of time during their week but wants to start ticking off actions to start making an impact in their SEO.
Ahrefs doesn’t have content recommendations, but it does have a tool called “Content Explorer”, which allows users to type in a topic (or keyword) and view pages and sites that have that content while showing useful data around it. Again, this tool would definitely be too advanced for the beginner, as it doesn’t provide enough focus and leaves it up to the user to decide what to do with the data.
In Hike, you have the “Keyword Sitemap” tool which allows you to assign keywords to existing pages on your website, but what makes it beginner-friendly is the fact that Hike reviews the keywords on the page using AI (Chat-GPT4) and lets you know whether it is suitable or not based on the data available.
There’s also a “Content Strategy” tool that actually recommends topics to create content around based on the keywords that were shortlisted and selected beforehand. This makes the whole process seamless and leads the beginner to the next logical step while taking the thinking out of it and guiding them to the recommended topics.
Once a topic has been added to the “Scrapboard”, a Hike user can then generate a draft of that content using the Content Wizard, which uses Chat-GPT4 to expertly craft a starting point of a blog article using keywords that you select. That’s something that every beginner would benefit from, taking a lot of the heavy lifting away from them. Then all that needs to be done is to refine the content to fit their brand and any other information they want to add, and voila - a search engine-optimized content piece is ready to publish!
The “Competitive Analysis” tool in Ahrefs allows the user to compare multiple competitors with their website, showing the overlap(s) of ranking keywords and giving clarity as to how many and which keywords could be potentially turned into additional pages. In essence, it’s more of a content gap analysis tool to see which topics your website lacks that can be then created to gain visibility for those keywords.
In Hike, the Competition Analysis tool allows you to add competitors and then compare them with one another against various metrics such as keyword rankings and backlink profiles. The interface is very intuitive to quickly scan through the table and see which competitor(s) may have an advantage and how authoritative they are.
On the primary page of this tool, Hike gives a list of all the keywords that a selected keyword is currently ranking for, a list of backlinks it currently has, and a historic snapshot of rankings and backlinks over time.
Hike’s tool is super simple and gives you quick insights into what your competitors are doing that could be beneficial for your own website, from a content and backlink perspective.
In Ahrefs, there are several backlink analysis tools, which are located under the “Backlink profile” section of the menu. This to start with could confuse beginners as to which tool to start using for their backlink analysis. It has everything from listing all backlinks, revealing broken backlinks, highlighting referring domains, to showing what link anchors are being used. While these are all super useful for SEO professionals, the small business owner would get easily lost.
In Hike, there is just one page to view your backlinks - the “Your Backlinks” section, which shows a list of all the backlinks the user’s website has acquired, and from where. By default, it’s sorted by highest domain authority to lowest, making it easy to see the highest quality backlinks first. The filters can also be adjusted to show the most recent ones first instead.
Another useful feature for beginners is being able to see the historical domain authority over time to see how their backlinking efforts are impacting their website.
"Fantastic Company. Truly a team of professionals committed to delivering exceptional results to their clients. They not only have a great product but they constantly overdeliver with any questions or assistance that you may need."
Source: Google Reviews
One thing that Ahrefs falls short on is specific built-in local SEO tools, however, it’s not a big problem for SEO professionals who use this platform because they tend to manage their Google Business Profiles separately, as well as use other tools that are specifically for improving local SEO performance.
Hike makes it much easier for the small business because it brings in all the local tools required to create & manage a local presence, in one platform. There are seven total local SEO tools that allow beginners to easily set up their business to be locally optimized.
These tools include the Local Listings Manager, Reviews, & Posts (all to manage Google Business Profile), Directories, Local Actions, Performance, and Local Google Maps Rankings. Each one is streamlined and simplified so they are intuitive & easy to use.
Reporting & Analysis
Ahrefs, unfortunately, doesn’t have its own reporting tools built in because typically, SEO professionals will use other tools to create reports, such as Looker Studio (formerly known as Google Data Studio), where data from multiple sources are hooked up and pulled in, such as from Ahrefs, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and others. This of course makes it more complicated for beginners to get started.
That’s where Hike makes it easy for small businesses - it links to the user’s Google Analytics & Google Search Console accounts and pulls their data into easy-to-read dashboards that highlight current traffic & performance on their website. It also has a keyword tracking tool that shows the current keyword performance.
The most exciting feature that makes it beginner-friendly is the Report Builder, which allows the user to build their own custom reports using pre-built widgets while customizing the visual look to their brand and setting a schedule for how often they want to receive the reports. All the data they need is available within Hike and the reports will keep them updated regularly on their SEO performance.
Professional platforms naturally demand higher prices, so when it comes to Ahrefs, the basic subscription starts at a steep £79 per month and increases from there to £159, £319, and £799 for each higher package that has more features and available data credits. For a small business, these prices are quite high, making it inaccessible to most to keep the software subscription active over time sustainably.
With Hike, the pricing is only £49.99 per month, or if paid annually, it cuts the cost by 45%, effectively making the monthly cost £26.99. This is a lot more affordable than Ahrefs, making Hike the perfect price for small businesses and individuals.
As you’ve read, Ahrefs is a highly comprehensive platform, but it’s geared towards seasoned SEO professionals and agencies that require the most detailed data possible for their analysis. This doesn’t suit beginners or small businesses that require a more focused and simple approach to SEO. You’ve seen how Hike is a great alternative to Ahrefs in this regard, offering a perfect balance of useability, insights, support, and actionable steps forward to empowering the user to make a positive impact on their SEO performance over time.
If you haven’t yet signed up for Hike, give it a try today and explore the various tools and resources available to you.
Choose Hike for Your SEO. Designed for Beginners & Small Businesses in Mind.
Hike SEO is the perfect alternative to Ahrefs when it comes to beginners and small business owners. Give it a try today!