Ahrefs vs Majestic SEO – 1 Million Reasons Why Ahrefs Is Better

If you don’t have time to read this post terminate your Majestic SEO account immediately & take out the Ahrefs trial without hesitation.

The which backlink checker is best argument constantly shows up on forums.

I tried to get to the bottom of this with my backlink checker experiment at the start of the year.

This highlighted that the top performer Ahrefs found 2.27% more links than its closest competitor Majestic SEO.

To be honest the post didn’t go down well with some people.

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Interesting Background Story

When I published the original comparison post it sparked a lot of controversy. I had just setup a small test to see which is better based on 3 sites I own and have full visibility and control of.

Ahrefs vs Majestic SEOIt turned out that lots of customers of the featured companies were writing in and referencing my post to see what was going on.

One person that had to deal with this was Viktar Khamianok the CEO of Link Assistant who make SEO Spyglass. They were ranked bottom of the results and he published this follow up to explain why.

Hats off to Viktar for dealing with it in the way that he did! Customers love transparency but companies are terrified by it – kudos sir!

The Majestic SEO team chose to respond very differently with the marketing CEO Dixon Jones taking the lead.

It started with this comment on the article-


I’m a director here at Majestic. Thanks for the study.

It is true that Ahrefs are increasing their index size. However, using resources for “discovery” comes at a cost. The cost is the calculation as to the quality of each link.

It’s hard to comment on a study marked Site A, Site B, Site C. The data is public for all the data sets except GWT, so I see no reason why studies can’t use verifiable sites.

You also did not specify whether you used Majestic’s Fresh or Historic Index. As you dig into those data sets you will find some links only one index and some only in the other, however – both indexes are excellent for different types of analysis.

Dropping into the analysis, however, is where analysis REALLY needs exploring in 2013. Penguin tells us that it is quality, Not quantity that will count from here on in. Looking at the top 20 links in each list will probably be plenty to come to a conclusion that may not be the one you suggest.

Anyway – can you list the three sites you used for the analysis?

The first line of his response is to instantly discredit the competition – I don’t like that, its not their fault you came second no matter how you dress it up.

But he does make some very valuable and critical points, I had used a small dataset that I had chosen to keep anonymous.

A couple of days after Dixons comment on the 14th January 2013 Ann Smarty stopped by to leave a comment! Yes, Ann Smarty herself!

I was totally stoked because I have followed her for a number of years, and now here she is on my blog! Wow!

Thanks for the test! I didn’t know Raven and SEO SpyGlass had their own indices. I thought they were using someone else’s APIs

As for Majestic, have you tried using their “Historic” index as well? It returns much more data in my experience.

She also makes a valuable point in that those 2 indexes do return different datasets.

The Twist In The Tale

A couple of weeks later on February 5th Ann Smarty wrote this post – aHrefs versus MajesticSEO: The Real Test

Interesting choice of post name, and very similar to what I had published and she had commented on just a couple of weeks earlier.

You would have thought that for the benefit of the readers and to offer them the braodest look at the debate she would have referenced my post as well – no dice.

Especially when you read this line-

since there have been a few rather vague comparisons recently, here’s the indepth experiment.

I can understand why she didn’t include my results though, I mean her dataset focuses on 100 random domains while mine focuses on only 3.

You should read that post though so you get a better understanding of the tools.

Then Dixon dropped this comment on the article-

Thanks ever so much for writing this all up Ann. For the record I have a clear and obvious preference for MajesticSEO.

Jacob: There were (as Link Assistant or Spyglass or someone said) quite a few things found wanting only the Matthew Woodward post. The most glaringly obvious is that the analysis was done with three sites he knows well, but will not disclose. Three sites with clear bias vs 100 sites with a random element is a significant difference.

What wasn’t said was this: I don’t know whether he included his own site in his list of three, but the objective nature of the analysis gets stretched further when you see that he is blocking Majestic’s bot but not Ahrefs’: https://www.majesticseo.com/reports/site-explorer?folder=&IndexDataSource=F&q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.matthewwoodward.co.uk%2F

(You need access to the site explorer to see the block in this link). You also won’t see the robots.txt file unless you know what you are looking for. Now – we do not need to crawl his site to see links TO his site, but if he insists on saying one system is better than another, he really shouldn’t make the claim on a site which shows such obvious bias.

There. I said it. I tried to bite my lip for a few weeks, but good people are reading that review and not seeing the lack of objectivity.

Seeing as we aren’t biting lips anymore-

Notice how he opens up and highlights his bias which after establishing, allows him to start pointing the bias finger.

Marketing 101 folks. Establish, Finger. Profit.

I actually made a Dixon based meme with those words to go here – but I removed it during editing to be nice. But if you guys want it…

Either way he has the right approach, I’m doing exactly that with this blog! One day I’ll finger you with a paid product – in fact i’m fingering you right now because this post will probably earn me affiliate commision.

Anyway as you can tell, that didn’t sit well with me-


Dixon I have noted the weaknesses in my initial tests from various sources and while you suggest my test was done with ‘bias’ because they are 3 of my sites at random is complete bullshit.

I realise I left to much wiggle room for people to come up with justifications as to why Majestic didn’t win the test.

To be honest I didn’t think it would cause this much of a stir!

The follow up test is going to leave no wiggle room and make this ‘random’ URL sample look insignificant.

And seeing as your doing everything you can to discredit me and my data, I’ll also be highlighting the relationship between Ann Smarty, yourselves and IMN. I wonder how many people read this very post and weren’t aware of that?

For a CEO to come out and try to discredit people makes you look very weak – you should take a leaf out of Viktar Khamianok’s book and handle it like a boss http://www.link-assistant.com/blog/backlink-checkers-compared-seo-spyglass-ahrefs-majestic-seo-seomoz-raven-tools/

We’ll see how random those 100 URL’s really were with my follow up – its going to be air tight this time.

ps. I dont see what in my robots.txt file https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/robots.txt would be blocking it?

To explain a few things here. It turns out that my new host WPEngine blocks Majestic at the server level before it ever reaches my site – Dixon personally investigated this and confirmed that to be the case.

The ironic thing about all of this though, is his claim of bias.

What Dixon didn’t know is that the company behind SEO Spyglass had just given me over $2,000 worth of prizes for my readers.

They came last in my test.

Dixon Jones facepalm

Seeing as Dixon leans on it heavily in his argument, and establishes he is not biased – lets explore that for a second and put all of our cards on the table.

The Ahrefs / Majestic SEO / Ann Smarty Relationship

This is where things get interesting.

Ann Smarty is the community manager at InternetMarketingNinjas.com (IMN) which is a highly successful internet marketing agency.

Actually its the first IM agency site I’ve ever come across where I think, they actually know what they are talking about! Check them out!

IMN also control sites like WebmasterWorld, SEOChat, Crea8aSiteForums, ThreadWatch and so forth.

Up until the start of February – Ahrefs and IMN were in a partnership together. In fact Ahrefs linked to IMN in the footer!

On the 1st February 2013 the partnership between Ahrefs and IMN ended.

By the 8th of February 2013 IMN had plastered promotions for Majestic SEO all over their network of sites.

IMN Majestic SEO adverts

It was latest discovered that on the 29th January 2013 this tweet was made on the Ahrefs Twitter account.

That Tweet not only promotes Dixon, but if you read the linked posts is all about Majestic SEO – Ahrefs main competitor.

According to the Ahrefs team, IMN were in control of Ahrefs social media accounts at this time and they did not make the tweet themselves.

Timeline of events

To make it easy to understand-

  • 11th Jan – I publish my initial comparison post
  • 11th Jan – Dixon is aware and submits a comment
  • 14th Jan – Ann Smarty is aware and submits a comment
  • 29th Jan – IMN (Ann Smarty is a manager) posts a Tweet on Ahrefs account promoting Dixon (Majestic)
  • 01st Feb – The relationship between IMN and Ahrefs ends
  • 05th Feb – Ann Smarty publishes her 100 random domain comparison
  • 05th Feb – Dixon Jones (Majestic) discredits my posts and says I’m biased
  • 08th Feb – Majestic SEO banners start appearing on IMN properties
  • 08th Feb – Dixon finally gets in touch with me directly in the correct manner

I’ll let you do the math on that.

I should highlight that since Dixon got in touch with me he has being very friendly behind closed doors, its a shame he didnt take that approach in the public domain.

However that doesn’t come before telling it how it is and how this post transpired.

In the public domain he chose to discredit me, competitors and vaguely string together bias, publically. He put me in a position where I have to defend myself publically.

All the other people in my original test sent me a nice email asking how they could help.

My Relationships

I should also make you aware of my relationships upfront with each party that is involved-

Majestic SEO
Everything you see here plus a few friendly private emails clearing the air, diagnosing the host issue and discussing my follow up. I initially delayed this test for Majestic to roll out new features so it wasn’t invalidated. Dixon called me out publically and disputed the original test, this is my air tight response.

They have provided me with API access to conduct the test free of charge and filled in some of the holes above. They are also offering the same access to any blogger that will independently verify this test, see the end of this post for details. I also use their affiliate links throughout this post, Majestic do not have an affiliate program or I would use theirs as well.

Ann Smarty
I’m a long time reader of her content and a fan.

Internet Marketing Ninjas
It is hard not to know who they are, I know of them – never dealt with them or any employee to my knowledge.

So Which One Is Better?

So all of this has distracted from the route question, which is better – Ahrefs or Majestic SEO?

Only cold hard data can decide!

In Dixons efforts to discredit me and highlight bias, he did raise some valid points that cannot be ignored-

  1. The original test was done with 3 of my personal sites I would not disclose
  2. That makes the entire test biased in Dixons opinion
  3. The data set was very small with just 3 sites analysed and compared
  4. The results could not be independently verified

I promised that the “The follow up test is going to leave no wiggle room and make this ‘random’ URL sample look insignificant.”

So with the points above and that promise in mind, I give you-

Ahrefs vs Majestic SEO – The 1 Million Domain Showdown

My original post used 3 of my own sites, Ann Smartys posts used 100 sites.

This Ahrefs vs Majestic SEO test is going to use 1 million sites. No more messing about eh?

The Test Details

This is how the Ahrefs vs Majestic SEO test is put together – you will be able to independently verify all of these results yourself, instructions at the end of the post.

Initial Data Source – The Majestic Million

For those that don’t know, the Majestic SEO team publish what is called the Majestic Million.

The Majestic Million is a list of the top 1 million website in the world, based on the number of referring IP’s found for that domain in the fresh index.

These are the 1 million sites that Majestic SEO has more fresh backlink data on than any others.

So with this, Majestic SEO are outright telling us these are the sites they know the most about in terms of backlinks.

Out of all of their data, these 1 million sites are the most linked to in the world according to them.

So thats the “bias” taken care of upfront.

You can download a copy for yourself free of charge and it will tell you the total number of linking subnets (RefSubNets) and the total number of linking IPs (RefIPs) for each domain in the top million.

Making The Comparison

To compare Majestic SEO with Ahrefs I’m going to look up the total number of linking subnets and IP’s for all of the domains in the majestic million.

To give you an example with this blog-

  • Majestic SEO – This report shows 209 IP’s & 193 subnets
  • Ahrefs – This report shows 331 IP’s & 288 subnets

So in that specific instance, Ahrefs wins the test.

Now imagine doing the same – but for 1 million sites.

That is the test I have done based on what Majestic say are the top 1 million sites in the world in terms of links.

Like I said – no wiggle room this time.

This is what the CSV data looks like in its raw form-

raw csv data

Don’t be fooled by what you can see in that image though!

Feel free to download a copy of the data that is used in this test.

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The Test Results

With such a huge amount of data I decided to split the results into 10 groups of 100,000 URLs and then compare those groups.

This is what the group numbers look like (refer to by_groups.csv in the data pack)

Group Ahref Wins (IP) Majestic Wins (IP) Ahref Wins (Subnet) Majestic Wins (Subnet)
1-100,000 79,487 20,512 72,195 27,804
100,001-200,000 76,273 23,727 70,251 29,749
200,001-300,000 71,848 28,152 65,871 34,129
300,001-400,000 71,135 28,865 64,879 35,121
400,001-500,000 65,936 34,064 59,380 40,620
500,001-600,000 69,528 30,472 62,583 37,417
600,001-700,000 69,718 30,282 63,126 36,874
700,001-800,000 69,085 30,915 62,998 37,002
800,001-900,000 68,856 31,144 61,243 38,757
900,001-1,000,000 67,806 32,118 60,211 39,713

Just looks like a bunch of meaningless numbers right?

What about now-

Wins By IP Address

Wins By Subnets

Pretty brutal to look at if you are a current Majestic SEO customer right?

Now might be the right time to switch to Ahrefs – click here to claim a free account.

But before you do lets look at the totals-

Wins Ahrefs Majestic
IP Wins 709,673 291,250
Subnet Wins 642,737 358,186

In wee pretty graph format-

Ahrefs Vs Majestic SEO Conclusion

Irrespective of opinion, relationships, bias and discreditation – the data does not lie.

The data never lies, its why I love working with data so much. Want to settle which design is better? Test it.

Want to see which is the best backlink checker? Test it.

Data does not lie.

Ahrefs is clearly the winner here by a huge margin – a much larger margin than my initial test with just 3 domains highlighted.

In the Wins by IP test, Ahrefs is finding more than twice the amount than Majestic SEO is – 57% more to be exact. They are winning on 71% of domains compared to Majestic SEO’s 29%.

In the Wins by Subnets test, Ahrefs is still the clear winner finding 284,551 more links than Majestic SEO. They are winning on 64% of domains compared to Majestic SEO’s 36%.

So quite clearly, the best backlink checker is Ahrefs PERIOD.

Even if the source data is Majestic SEO’s very own Majestic Million – Ahrefs still knows more about them than Majestic does.


How To Verify The Data For Yourself

In an effort to be unbiased and transparent I have 2 seperate ways for you to independently verify the data yourself.

All of the data used in this test is available to download here.

Verification Method #1 – Easy

This is the easiest way to spot check the data.

  1. Download the source data
  2. Open the by_domains.csv file
  3. Select a line at random
  4. Enter the domain from column A into the search box at Majestic SEO and Ahrefs
  5. For Majestic SEO look at Referring IP addresses and Referring Class C subnets:
  6. For Ahrefs look at Referring IPs and Referring subnets

You can manually spot check these at random!

Verification Method #2 – Hard

What if you want to verify the data for all million domains though?

Well for that you will need a linux server with shell access, an Ahrefs API key and these files.

WARNING: Before you do this be aware that 1,000,000 API credits with Ahrefs costs $10,000.

For full transparency’s sake Ahrefs gave me an API key with 1,000,000 credits so I could run this test.

If any established bloggers want to confirm these results themselves and publish on their blog then please get in touch with me.

To try and remove any doubt around this test I asked the Ahrefs team if there was a way people could verify the results in bulk independently which isn’t possible.

So they suggesteed that they will provide API keys to other established bloggers to confirm and publish the results themselves.

This should help remove any wiggle room for discreditation of the test or data.

Anyway here is how to do it-

  1. Download this & you will find 2 files, get_stats.php and load.sh
  2. Open get_stats.php and update it with your Ahrefs API key on line 3
  3. Download the Majestic Million CSV
  4. Upload get_stats.php, load.sh & majestic_million.csv to your server
  5. Make sure all of the files are in the same folder
  6. Connect to your server with an SSH client and execute the load.sh script
  7. Wait a few hours
  8. This will output a file called by_domains.txt, rename to by_domains.csv

Signing Off

Remember folks regardless of all of the controversy the data does not lie.

The simple fact is Ahrefs knows 57% more about Majestic SEO’s Majestic Million than they do.

You can sign up for a free Ahrefs account here.

If I ever meet Dixon at a conference hopefully he won’t drop kick me through a table. Perhaps I would let him write Majestic SEO across my head in permanent marker for an hour though =D

Next time you see this topic in a forum – feel free to use this post to instantly win the argument.

Update #1: Majestic SEO’s Initial Response

Alex Chudnovsky the Majestic SEO managing director submitted this in a comment but it is only fair this is highlighted and made part of the post.

Here is what he had to say-

It’s nice to see that Majestic Million data that we offer for free would cost $10000 elsewhere.

Data does not lie, but it can be wrong/bogus/false and a good analyst would always keep an eye for anomalies before jumping to big conclusions.

We are pretty busy right now setting up new hardware, so we’ll get back to you on this in detail next week, in the meantime I think you should double check your key numbers – ahrefs appears to be the only backlink provider which somehow shows MORE referring IPs/subnets than number of referring domains (that’s like 2+2=5).

Using your own example listed in the post above –


Referring IPs: 331
Referring subnets: 288
Referring domains: 282

Naturally at least one of those numbers is incorrect.

We can’t easily get list of those IPs, but the referring domain count is confirmed by External links tab using 1 link per ref domain limit –


This shows 282 matches, the same as on the overview page… the same but potentially misleading. How many of you know that ahrefs counts hostnames as referring domains? It’s easy to check –


There are 3 referring domains shown there when limiting them to blogspot.com:

1) seojunkis.blogspot.com
2) 1chicagocarpetcleaner.blogspot.com
3) ongoogleadsense.blogspot.com

It’s the same root domain (blogspot.com) and Majestic counts it as 1 referring domain. Every major back link provider does the same as otherwise numbers will be artificially inflated and likely to mislead those who’d trust them blindly.

Perhaps you should ask ahrefs why their ratio of IPs/RefDomains is over 1 (this is just wrong), whereas more typical ratio is a lot less, for example Open Site Explorer (OSE) shows 85 linking C blocks (subnets) and 174 ref domains – ratio of 0.48 and in our case it is 193/287=0.67. For big domains such as google.com this ratio will be a lot lower – 0.024 in Majestic’s case and 0.032 in OSE. Homework – calculate same ratio for ahrefs and spot another anomaly shown for google.com!

We’ll get back to you on this next week with a more detailed answer but I hope that you’ll get explanation from ahrefs on their innovative counting of referring IPs that can be greater than the number of referring domains.



Alex Chudnovsky
Managing Director
Majestic SEO

We’ll see what the Ahrefs team say tomorrow, I’m going to sleep its late here. Get a feeling I’m going to wake up to war!

Update #2 – Ahrefs Bites Back

The Ahrefs team have just sent me this update through. I’m uber busy at the moment but this update and new set of data is going to take some time to digest and turn into graphs.

Will probably do that across the weekend, but here is what they had to say-

First of all, thank you, Matt, for such a high-quality approach to comparison and data verification.

Really, there is nothing surprising in the fact that Ahrefs won this test. At the moment, our index is 25% larger in size and our crawler runs 2-3 times faster. With this initial parameters under our belt, Ahrefs will win any objective test held on a large sample of domains.

With regard to the comments made by Alex Chudnovsky.

1. The fact that Ahrefs counts hostnames instead of referring domains – this is not true. We count the actual domains but there are exceptions, there are domains the subdomains of which are considered as separate domains, and I can explain why.

For example, blogspot.com. On this domain, all subdomains represent someone’s blogs, that is, every subdomain has its owner who controls it. In fact, subdomains of blogspot.com do not differ much from regular domains in the .com zone.

Large quantity of ref domains is treated by search engines as a good sign – but why? Because they are more difficult to obtain! But if we are talking about blogspot, it is difficult to get links from different subdomains over there.

In other words, we believe that Google and other search engines treat every blog on blogspot.com as a separate domain, because it is reasonable to do so. Therefore, we also show each blog as a separate domain. Due to this, on the Referring Domains tab at Ahrefs you can see every blog separately instead of one and the same blogspot.com which renders little information. It is important whether it is 1, 10, or 1000 blogs that links to you.

Other examples of services which we consider to be an exception: livejournal.com, wordpress.com, tumblr.com, webs.com.
The fact that we do not put all domains in the same row blindly, that we look at their features and try to be closer to the interpretation of a domain similar to the one by search engines – I think it’s our advantage.

2. Speaking about the cost of data of $10,000. I wonder how much it costs to users to make 1,000,000 API requests to get these stats from MajesticSEO? I mean the API which allows to further distribute the data. I did not find any prices on the website. Maybe someone knows and can drop me a line about it in the comments?

3. Number of IPs and referring domains. Thanks to your comments, we now have found a couple of small bugs in the calculation of IPs. The first one – the old IPs were not always disposed, and the second one – the query for the number of referring domains for popular domains could fail with a timeout (this is what happened to Google.com). The problems have been fixed already, as you can see – one of them worked in favor of Ahrefs, the second one – in favor of Majestic SEO. I used the scripts that Matt shared to get the stats again and to check whether those issues were significant.

The result:
By IP Ahrefs wins 70% domains Majestic SEO 30%
By Subnets Ahrefs wins 63% domains Majestic SEO 37%

As I mentioned in the beginning, Ahrefs has an objectively larger index and a faster crawler, so it is not surprising at all that we will win any test; minor errors will not change the overall picture.

I will send Matt the archive with these files so anyone could double-check the data.

By the way, thank you guys for your attention to these discrepancies. This is cool to get a bug report from the competitors, I do not think that we could have gained it under any other conditions :)

I do not want to be in debt and, in turn, will tell you about a few situations when 2 +2 = 5 when it comes to domains and IPs.

There are at least two reasons why there can be more Referring IPs than Referring Domains.

The first case:
The same domain can have multiple IP addresses. Usually this is done to spread the load. More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Round-robin_DNS

The second case:
Let’s suppose, X is the domain for which there are only three backlinks from these pages:

http://subdomain1.domain.com/index.html is located on the server with IP
http://subdomain2.domain.com/index.html is located on the server with IP
http://subdomain3.domain.com/index.html is located on the server with IP

It turns out that Domain X has only one referring domain (domain.com) but 3 referring IPs (,,

In any case, I am glad that you have started to actively improve your index.

We enjoy competition and look forward to having a strong opponent in this field.

Dmitry Gerasimenko

A very interesting response that directly deals with all of the issues raised.

It seems that Majestic did uncover some flaws with the Ahrefs data and highlight 2 bugs that caused data issues but these are resolved within 24 hours of them being identified.

This hasn’t had much of an impact for Majestic though, previously Ahrefs won on 71% of domains by IP which is now reduced to 70%.

Wins on subnet were previously 64% and is now residing at 63%!

I haven’t had time to verify the new data yet but if you want to do so you can download it here.

Update #3 – Majestic Goes All Out

Majestic have now published a full response on their blog.

It is pretty hard to digest so stick with it but it does touch on some good points.

Our full response to the points raised in your original piece can be found
on our blog.

I hope this serves as a useful summary of our position for your readership:

We welcome comparisons between aspects of our product offering and those of
our competitors. We believe that the best comparisons will follow the model
set by the SeoMoz Open Site Explorer / Majestic SEO shoot out ( link to
http://www.stonetemple.com/majestic-seo-open-site-explorer-shootout/ ) –
comparing various aspects of the product offering in order to achieve a
balanced review. Naturally, different people have different needs from their
link intelligence toolset, and we respect that for some, regardless of data
size and quality, Ahrefs may be a better match for their particular needs at

We believe that the evidence from Ahrefs – which we first became aware of
from your blog, for which we are grateful, demonstrates that they calculate
IP, and Domain counts in a manner that we believe exaggerates the size of
their index, certainly when used in comparison of size against our Fresh
Index. We also present evidence that suggests that our Fresh Index is likely
to be larger than Ahrefs – based on an update of the test you described
after we fixed a bug in our system. We haven’t tested our Historic index as
we are confident it would “win” by a significant margin.

Both Ahrefs and Majestic have sufficiently large index’s ( in terms of our
“Fresh” product ) that we do not feel that size alone provides a realistic
comparison. Comparisons of crawl rate are also meaningless – our crawl has
undergone a massive upgrade – and is far more intelligent, crawling sites
more sensitively than ever before, whilst achieving a deeper crawl rate. We
don’t want our bots crashing around like a bull in the china shop – it isn’t
good for us and it isn’t good for the industry as a whole. That’s why we
have invested in innovating with tools like flow metrics, and link profiles,
and continue to do so.

I’ll close with the same conclusion as in our post – Competition is good, it
serves the market well, and forces all involved to invest in innovation. The
real winners in this battle for market share are the end users. It’s an
exciting time to be an SEO.

Alex Chudnovsky,
Majestic SEO Managing Director

What do you think? Have we got an answer to the core question of which one is best yet?

420 Responses

  1. Ann Smarty

    It’s good to know you are not afraid of me “dropping kick you through a table” :)

    I have a lot of hats and I am connected to lots of people through various ways which doesn’t mean I am biased :)

    Did you know Ahrefs folks are from Kiev where I am from? Did you know link-assistant guys are one of my best friends and I recommend them to most of my clients who need all-in-one SEO tools.

    Yes, IMN is now partnering with Majestic but I had knowns them long before that. See my “very biased” review of MajesticSEO that dates back to 2008 (long before any partnership): http://www.searchenginejournal.com/majestic-seo-most-advanced-backlink-analysis-tool/7634/

    So all arguments aside (sorry I only skimmed through the article now), I can totally say I am honest to myself in the first place and I am sorry I have hurt your feelings by that article.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 6:30 pm

      Hi Ann,

      I would literally be honoured if you drop kicked me through a table! Probably try and snap a picture and grab an autograph on the way down (yeah i’m that guy)!

      No feelings are hurt my end – I never expected my initial test to spark the controversy it did hence the holes/small sample size. Dixon called me out in a poor manner (very poor – everyone else emailed me nicely asking how to help) and drove me to design a test that could not be discredited by any party and could be independently verified – although I was expecting Majestic to win before actually running the data =/

      The only reason I highlighted that timeline of events is because he publicly called me out to be biased with nothing to back it up on the spur of the moment. Either way its not for me to judge, the timeline is there for all to form their own opinion. Unluckily you got caught up in that!

      Personally I’m just happy to have had the opportunity and drive to write the definitive post on the subject once and for all!

      I’ll look forward to the drop kick!

      • Ann Smarty
        April 11th, 2013 at 10:32 pm

        Also, sorry for the mistakes in my original comment. It read awful :)

        • Matthew Woodward
          April 12th, 2013 at 9:31 am

          The fact it read (and still does read) perfectly for me might say something about me ^^

          • Steven Ciccantelli
            January 9th, 2016 at 6:33 pm

            Wow what an article
            I hit on the get free Ahrefs link but did not win.

          • Matthew Woodward
            January 12th, 2016 at 11:13 am

            You can get a fully featured 14 day trial

    • S***** Ann Smarty
      July 24th, 2017 at 10:22 pm

      mad bruh?

  2. Micsten

    Good read. I’m just about to go and drop Majestic SEO and sign up to Ahrefs off the back of this.

    I’ll be interested to see what comeback Majestic can muster up in response to this!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 7:20 pm

      Hi Micsten,

      Probably a good idea to be honest!

      Hopefully Dixon takes a leaf out of Link Assistants book.

      I’d probably play it like thi
      1) publish the data of how many subscriptions this cost them in the next 2 weeks (keeps people hooked, builds trust/relationships, creates oppertunity)

      2) then start innovating and post about the upcoming features you have developed in response to the community (more of the above)

      3) launch it – go all out with the launch, smash ahrefs in with a follow up test – huge PR opportunity (launch affiliate program at same time to spread the word)

      4) publish the data on how many subscribers they earnt back through hard work

      5) publish a final post summing up lessons learnt and how they were overcome, this can transcend the internet marketing audience and end up in places like the NY times.

      PR opportunity on a plate if you ask me, not many would have the balls to execute though.

  3. ChrisCD

    I can’t read it now, but you have always published good stuff. I gave you a vote. 1 more to go. :O)

    Holy smokes this is long. :O)

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      Make sure you read it with the music, its important.

  4. Dan

    Ouch, all around. Great post though, highly appreciated! :) Waiting to see the recoil from this. Time to break out the popcorn!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      Data does not lie!

  5. Wraith Sarko

    aww sheeit!

    making waves over there are u Matt?

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      Well he called me out publically. In playground terms, he started it! ;(

  6. Peter Bisset

    Fascinating comparison, be sure to keep us all updated on the fallout from this report!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 6:44 pm

      Hi Peter,

      Hopefully there won’t be any this time, I didn’t leave room for any.

  7. Kiril

    Applause for what you have written and revealed to the public. Aside from the Comment of Ann Smarthy about your post , I can say that – TRUTH HURTS. Sometimes even big dogs cry. Keep up the good work Matthew.

    I can vote your post for Number 1 of all I’ve read from the beginning of this year.

    Thumbs UP

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      Hi Kiril,

      Thanks for the comment!

      Sometimes the truth does hurt and the truth is in the data. Hopefully though a couple months down the line Majestic are going to smash it with innovation and updates to take the number 1 spot.

      We need innovation!

  8. Darryl

    Haha, brilliant come back Mr Woodward, striking results if your using these services.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      Hi Darryl,

      There is quite literally, no competition.

  9. Gerard McMullan

    What a read Matt, majestic ain’t so majestic after all. Always good to get the facts. Any majestic competitions going on next month?I’m sure u will get a few free subscriptions to give away from your good friend Dixon :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      Hi Gerard,

      Nope no free subscriptions – but if anyone from Ahrefs happens to read this and want to give me some, then sure a competition is good to go! Got a few in the queue at the moment though :P

  10. Rich


    Great post Matthew.
    You have confirmed my gut feeling when I switched 6 months ago.

    Keep up the good work and dodge the flack!


    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      Hi Rich,

      Thanks very much, I’m dodging!

  11. Jiddy

    Great work Mr W.

    Are the issues about hrefs showing potentially old data relevant? Did you use Majestic’s fresh index?

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 7:15 pm


      All test details are in the post

  12. Steve Bailey

    Great useful information Matt. I appreciate the time involved, and your transparency in all of this. It’s good to stir the pot a little here and there. Thanks.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      I didn’t stir the pot, I was called out – I responded.

  13. Ian Wilcox

    I think ahrefs wins! … Complete ownage Matt well done

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      You think? Hahaha complete domination

  14. Rich

    Awesome post Matt! I was reading your older post comparing the various services and this has reassured me Ahrefs is the way to go. I look forward to reading your next post.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      Cheers Rich!

  15. Nick

    Good stuff Matt! Read most of it, but hey gave you +1. I’m pretty sure you will hit the frontpage very soon. Probably you already have :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      Thanks Nick =D

  16. Vikram

    Controversy! Link bait! You’re stirring the pot and earning white hat links.

    It’s all amusing and fun to read and there’s a hidden link building lesson to be learned in all of this.


    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 7:25 pm

      Dixon gave me all the material, I just published it!

  17. Abdul

    BOOM! Incredibly useful post.
    I’m so happy you stay away from the dirty world of WSO’s and just release incredibly awesome info for free.

    I’ve used AHREF for a long time now, I’m not even sure why, I just liked their interface etc more.

    It’s good to know that coincidentally I was also using the best!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 7:25 pm

      Hi Abdul,

      Its what I do :)

  18. Satish1

    By reading all the previous comparisons and the present, I came to a conclusion that I should choose ahrefs as the best SEO tool in my work. But when i see the personal lives of all these big fishes, i really don’t understand their problem. Why people want to show off in public, and then pamper in personal mails? Surprising! I would actually say that Majestic SEO didnt perform that great to me when I subscribed, even the customer support doesn’t seems to care people that friendly. I have to shift to ahrefs and check how cool they are.

    Thanks for the awesome info :D

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 7:31 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience – I’m sure we will see a bigger, better Majestic in no time!

      • Satish
        April 11th, 2013 at 7:36 pm

        Boom Boom! You are SEO transparent xD :D

        • Matthew Woodward
          April 11th, 2013 at 7:37 pm

          I just published the data, that speaks for itself.

  19. Dat To

    Most enjoyable SEO read in ages!! Sent to few co-workers. Don’t think anyone will pick an online fight with you ; ) Winner of most aggressive and detailed seo post.

  20. Taimoor

    Another great post Matt, i am not a pro but the analysis that you have done will definitely help me in choosing the right platform.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 7:35 pm

      Feel free to download the data and look through it yourself!

  21. Simon

    Matt, I am officially hooked on your content fella!

    This is a gripping read and really cements you as an individual with not only serious industry knowledge but also technical ability.

    Looking forward to the next post!


    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 7:36 pm

      Hi Si,

      Thank you for the kind feedback – we have always got a lot to learn though!

      • Simon
        April 11th, 2013 at 7:45 pm

        Just over at ahrefs.com now and the data looks amazing!

        Be great if you could add a video to take us through how to really analyse, interpret and use this data.

        Here’s hoping :)


        • Matthew Woodward
          April 11th, 2013 at 10:09 pm


          Actually the one problem with all of these web based services, is the data is not live/real time.

          Links could be dead, anchors changed, PR dropped, deindexed etc etc since it was last crawled by either ahrefs or majestic.

          That is why I combine the raw backlink data from lots of sources, and then use https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/experiments/backlink-checkers-compared-ahrefs-majestic-seo-seomoz-raven-tools-seo-spyglass/ to get the largest most real time look possible.

          Even then your still missing a lot of the links, even if you have built and logged every single one you have created yourself – there will be links missed using every service.

          But you’ve got to do the best with what you are given =/

  22. Karl

    Amazing post. I love all your articles and tutorials. You’re the best SEO source i’ve found so far. I find all your reviews and tutorials to be right on and they have really helped me boost my sites. My hat is off to you sir.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 10:07 pm

      Hi Karl,

      Thanks very much – feel free to mail me with the results you’ve seen and how you have applied the tutorials, got a stack of these emails now and one day I might do something magic with them :)


      • Karl Grittner
        April 12th, 2013 at 12:40 am

        I’ve got something in the works that not only will show results it will offer yet another valuable service to your followers. Should be live in around 2 months. I’m sure we’ll be in contact soon. :)

        • Matthew Woodward
          April 12th, 2013 at 9:23 am

          Hi Karl,

          Make sure it impresses me the first time then :)

  23. Fesada

    Wow! That’s an incredible comparison. Why didn’t you include the other sevices as well? I don’t think they would have been better than ahref though but it would be nice to see where they stand. Anyway it’s clear that ahref is the best.

    And why you did not post the dixon meme?! :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 10:06 pm


      The other services performed poorly in the original test and for the most part Ahrefs and Majestic SEO are sworn by.

      Dixon is actually a nice guy so I removed the meme, save it for a rainy day or something when I’m bored :)

  24. Jon Cooper

    Wow, great post Matt. I love it.

    I’m surprised no one has stirred up any controversy, so I’ll play devil’s advocate (to be clear – I use Ahrefs, not Majestic):

    1) Dixon argues initially that it’s about the QUALITY of the link analysis, not the quantity of links shown. I can verify this; I can get a list of links from a number of backlink checkers, but the metrics for each is what really sets that apart. That’s why I used OSE for so long; their index size sucks, but Page Authority & Domain Authority are amazing and allow me to make quick decisions on the quality of the link, which is really what it comes down to.

    2) Majestic used to always have the largest # of links shown, but the biggest issue against them was that a lot of the links were no longer live. Who knows if the same is for Ahrefs? They might have a larger index #, but I think there’s a chance that one of the reasons for this is because they might have the same issue that Majestic has had for a while – because a lot of those links are no longer live. I would love to see you try and crawl the links for maybe a random sampling of 1000 or 10000 of those domains to see how many of those links are actually still live, then compare those two numbers.

    Again, great post Matt. Glad you kept it respectful while doing your best to find the real story is here. I believe you’re spot on with how Dixon (who’s a great guy, don’t get me wrong; 10x smarter than me) handled the situation versus the guys at SEO Spyglass.

    Also – funny that OSE isn’t in the test :). Should prove to them that their index, as I said, needs help

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 10:05 pm

      Hi Jon,

      The reason OSE isn’t in the test is because of how the performed in the original test.

      For the most part the community look to Ahrefs and Majestic as the leaders. Personally I think they all perform poorly and are just arguing over who has the most polished t*** for the most part.

      In regards to point 1, yes it is about the quality of the analysis that is true. That is why I use these services to grab links, then https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/experiments/backlink-checkers-compared-ahrefs-majestic-seo-seomoz-raven-tools-seo-spyglass/ to get live real time quality data – not data from the last crawl. Data that I can manipulate in any way I want.

      I dont trust PA or DA personally, or any of the other systems out there. I’ve got the raw data from lots of sources and a brain, good to go :) Be honest, someone of your calibre can look at a link profile and know precisely what is wrong in seconds without the help of PA or DA!

      Point 2 is certainly worth testing :) I would need super mega wow wow access to both API’s though – let’s see what happens :)

      I’m glad he called me out, this is a question that has floated around for years – case closed (for now).

  25. Butler

    This might be a stupid question, but ss Ahrefs data pretty clean? Because more, of course, isn’t more if most of the links have long-since disappeared.

    That’s a problem I have not just with OSE data but Majestic too, even with the fresh index.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 9:59 pm


      That is a fantastic question and something I may go on to test.

  26. Jorge Luis

    Holy Sh*t!!! This has to be one of the best post I’ve read during 2013.

    This is totally going to become a milestone in the SEO community.

    They were Majesticing you and at the same time trying to Majesticing everyone else…. And today you just Ahrefsed the entire situation!!

    Hats off for you Matt!! (-insert standing ovation here-)

    What a way to win an argument!!

    P.S. What made me REALLY laugh and still have a huge smile on my face while I’m writing this is the fact that you used THEIR million websites data base. I mean… How can they now refute THAT??… haha… GENIUS!!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 9:58 pm


      Well Dixon called me out publically on the transparency of my test, the small data size and lack of transparency.

      He was right to do so as well – those points were valid.

      I didn’t know the results were going to turn out how they did, perhaps thats karma instead of reaching out to me nicely like the others did.

      The reason I chose the majestic million was to evade any suggestions of bias on Dixons part – this unfortunately, killed them.

      They’ll be back bigger & stronger!

    • Karl Grittner
      April 12th, 2013 at 12:44 am

      Lol…. Nice!!! : )

      • Matthew Woodward
        April 12th, 2013 at 9:22 am

        Karmas a b****

  27. Mark

    The music video ended while I was reading your post so I put this one on. It’s just as fitting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAYL5H46QnQ

    I’m sure that’s what a lot of people will be doing with Majestic now you’ve stirred a bit of controversy. Great article!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 9:56 pm

      Hi Mark,

      Hahahaha I like it, might even add that to the post!

  28. Nev

    Wow Matt as usual, detailed, informative, actionable information – what an education and above all for free!

    Hope the guys at majestic have learnt as much as me and respond with rock solid improvements.

    As for the title “The Most Controversial Post I Will Write This Year” well i certainly hope that its not, in the world of seo where the stench of bullshit baffles brains this post is a breath of fresh air.


    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 9:54 pm

      Hi Nev,

      Feel free to point me in the direction of some bull s*** :)

  29. Jerry Tellier

    Great report Matt. I was really impressed with the way you handled this, calm, level headed and stuck to the facts with clear transparency.

    Certainly helped me in making my decision.

    You fired up some of the ‘big dogs’, way to go!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 9:53 pm

      Hi Jerry,

      Thanks very much, the truth is in the data :)

  30. Hornet25

    Wow! That was huge! I reckon I heard Snoop Dogg at least 10 times before I had finished it all. :)

    Without wanting to be totally argumentative, where would SEO Spyglass have come in this test?

    If there is such an obvious benchmark for all these tools to match up against, surely it must be a red rag for any aspiring company with tools like this to see how they measure up.

    Keep up the good work Matthew.


  31. Charlie

    Finally! Someone who is willing to do the work and prove that some tools are just way worse than others. I used Spyglass and it returned that I was backlinking to my competitor! This software has some serious flaws.

    I was told by L-A that because my niche is new it can happen, W**!

    I even went and posted on warrior forum and the post got deleted, so there lies a big situation.

    Now I have some ‘real’ and solid information at hand to chose a tool to help me, thanks Matt, I appreciate the work you have done here.

    Stick to your guns son!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 9:52 pm


      Credit where it is due without Ahrefs and Majestics data I couldn’t have done the piece!

  32. Henley

    haha, you just totally handed that dude his a**! most excellent. Been using ahrefs for over a year – love it.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 10:31 pm

      I get a feeling the show isn’t over yet!

  33. Andreas Voniatis

    Nice post. The reality is you’d be a fool to rely on one single source if you want to do machine learning led predictive modelling for SEO. So you’re better off using multiple sources even if AHREFS is the leading data source (for now). But then why chase competitor links? There isn’t likely to be much between them if you just want a data set to classify links, depending on what the reason for the difference is – which is worthy of research.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 11:11 pm

      That is a good point – even if one finds more than the other, they both still miss a huge amount of links. The more source data you have on hand, the better!

      • Nev
        April 12th, 2013 at 5:38 am

        Matt don’t you mention multiple data sets in one of your videos?

        • Matthew Woodward
          April 12th, 2013 at 9:16 am

          Yes – to get the best look at the backlink picture you need data from multiple sources not just 1.

          Going back to my original post, ahrefs only found 10% of the link it could do.

          They are both s***.

  34. Ogi

    O**, Matt, this will cost them greatly! :D

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 11:10 pm


      I’m hoping they come back with some data of their own that disproves it.

  35. Mike Tillman

    This is freaking great. Great test and even a greater read.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 6:30 pm

      Hi Mike,

      Glad you enjoyed it – puts that argument to rest anyway

  36. Zul

    Hi Matt, 0/

    Less than 24hrs already 74 comments !! 37 from the audience !! Awesome !!

    The numbers speak itself.

    As an analyst, I salute your well prepared and thorough analysis on the subject. This is how a VERSUS subject should be presented. Data, analysis, fact and verified figure !

    Now I we know who is the sumo guy !!

    Be prepared with the counter attack !!

    best regards, :)


    • Matthew Woodward
      April 12th, 2013 at 9:30 am

      Hi Zul,

      Nearly 100 now!

      The reason i wrote the original post was because of how many times I saw this discussed and opinion thrown around – I wanted data to backup my argument.

      Now we have all the data we need :)

      I’m sure the Majestic team are preparing something to counter with, they have already made valid points at the end of the post.

      While I’m going to keep posting the updates here, that will only be the case if both companies remain cute and fluffy and focus on verifiable facts unlike last time.

      • Zul
        April 12th, 2013 at 11:05 am

        Hi Matt, 0/

        100 comments !! Again the figure speaks itself how powerful a post with fact, data and explanation.

        I read her article but writing a post based on experience, rough number and how many high profile friends she got is not going to be nowhere rather than trying to hide something underneath the carpet. Typical tricks anyway.

        As an analyst who’s currently working at oil and gas company (listed in 500 fortune) every month I got to present monthly performance review of my department in front of my bosses.

        If I present something not based on FACT and NUMBER but based on WHAT I THINK, WHAT I HAVE EXPERIENCE, A NUMBER THAT I THINK, HOW MANY GOOD HIGH PROFILE FRIENDs I GOT without any PROOF like analysis, number and reason behind it..This is what my boss will say to me…

        “Zul, you are giving us a big B***Sh**, if you’re not fit to be an analyst you better quit”… A good experience anyway back 3 yrs ago 0/

        Dear Majestic,

        I neither on Matt’s side or your side but I’m just a loyal reader of Matt’s blog and I like how he walks the talk with number and explanation..

        So the only way your side to beat this super hot fact is present to us you counter attack with number, analysis and fact, and of course a video STEP-BY-STEP without any step skipped is the lethal weapon to shut Matt’s mouth.!! Good luck :)

        Thanks 0/


        • Matthew Woodward
          April 12th, 2013 at 11:54 am


          The data for Ann’s analysis is available for you to download and verify for yourself. No lies are told in her post! The only thing it lacked that my post covered is how the sites were chosen, but other than that the 100 random sites do show Majestic as the winner.

          I actually hope that Majestic come back and disprove this post, it will be a great twist to the story and will turn up the heat further. I’m already aware of how they might do this and keeping an eye on it myself.

          Majestic and Ahrefs both have an equal stage here to do what they want :)

          • Zul
            April 12th, 2013 at 12:28 pm

            Hey Matt,0/

            Yeah already saw that…sorry for the misunderstanding..the ROUGH NUMBER that I meant here is like what our fellow friend said below…

            Hi, the reply of majestic realize a few things. The number of referring ip and subnets is just a “number”. Nothing can prove that these number is correct or not for both ahref and majestic. The only way to make a conclusive experiment is to introduce two other variables: the number of wrong ip wins and number of wrong subnet wins. Then to calculate the number of correct ip and subnet. I don’t know if this is feasible though.

          • Matthew Woodward
            April 15th, 2013 at 7:46 am

            If Majestic and Ahrefs were willing to give me unlimited API access I could do something like that.

  37. Mike Buyco

    Wow a Very Long good read. I bet this post will get more backlinks naturally. :D

    Great post as always Matt.

    P.S. I voted for your post, used a different twitter account though.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 12th, 2013 at 9:21 am

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks very much – I believe the post is already in its rightful #1 position for various terms.

  38. Mitch

    Done with your usual professionalism and attention to detail Matt. Can’t help but imagine the grin on your face as you put this together!

    I have a question that has been bugging me about backlinks, hope you can enlighten me.

    As I see it (correct me if I am wrong please) the main benefit of having backlinks is their boost to your ranking in SERPS.

    Therefore surely only Google’s tracking of backlinks is relevant?

    Why worry about what AHREF or Majestic can find?

    Sure I’m missing something somewhere, put me out of my misery please!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 12th, 2013 at 9:20 am

      Hi Mitch,

      No grin, Dixon gave me all of the material I needed to tell a great story and advised me on how to conduct a solid test.

      He called me out, I answered – could have killed him a lot more than I did in the post but I played nice :)

      You are right only Googles tracking actually counts but they only give us limited access to the backlink data. If you own the site and have WMT available then you can get a lot of them.

      But if you want to find out your competitors backlinks you have to use tools like these, which are all s*** imo.

  39. Emeka

    Now this is the kind of thorough research and expertise that made me pick you as a SEO consultant!

    Nice piece here, Matt.


    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2013 at 9:51 pm

      Thank you very much :) Although it wouldn’t be possible without Majestic and Ahrefs!

  40. andre

    this is surely the most tedious post you’ve ever done. and please don’t use words like math and period. i know your readership is mainly american but u are english.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 12th, 2013 at 9:15 am


      If by tedious you mean factual and independently verifiable throughout then its deadly tedious :)

      I just write it how I would say it – I use all sorts of strange words!

  41. Nev

    Going back to the very first post by Ann Smarty.

    It would have been nice for Ann whom I know does good stuff, to comment on the experiment or even better put up a blog post maybe named “aHrefs versus MajesticSEO: The Proper Real Test” and maybe use 10,000,000 domains! Ann?

    As for the update from magestic a much better approach – hey were all learning here right?

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 12th, 2013 at 9:14 am

      Hi Nev,

      Hopefully she will :)

      The perfect ending to this story will be if Majestic disprove it

      • Ann Smarty
        April 12th, 2013 at 2:26 pm

        10,000,000 domains??? You are killing me :) I am going to Pubcon New Orleans soon and then to Pubcon Florida (Matt, will you be there for the promised drop kick?) and I am not sure I’ll have the time for the monster experiment in between. But I’ll see what I can do!!!

        • Matthew Woodward
          April 12th, 2013 at 3:57 pm


          I haven’t attended any USA based conference (UK ones suck) but I’m doing a lot of travelling this year (will be on the east coast for 2 weeks end of Aug) and perhaps a conference will be on the horizon :)

          I think the level of testing that is now required is far beyond the reach of myself and Ann, we are talking about some serious hardware to process this data.

  42. Jamie Knop

    Got to love a bit of controversy on a Friday morning!

    It was a good and interesting read. I do agree with Jon Coopers comment saying about how many of the links are actually live. Maybe a follow up post? As there is nothing worse than seeing a bunch of links then inspecting them and finding out they are dead.

    I personally use OSE and Majestic. Majestic for its index and OSE for its DA/PA/LR metrics. What does ahrefs offer in terms of metrics like this to show the value of a link? Perhaps we could also have some comparision of these metrics. DA vs Citation Flow vs ahrefs metric.

    Yes I just want more controversy!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 12th, 2013 at 9:08 am

      Hi Jamie,

      I’m sure we are going to see a follow up off the back of this and I have already told Majestic to start investigating that path.

      To be honest, they are all arguing over who has the biggest s*** anyway, both tools suck. One sucks less than the other.

      • Jamie Knop
        April 12th, 2013 at 9:19 am

        Good stuff. Each tool has its pitfalls but we still have to use them..

        • Matthew Woodward
          April 12th, 2013 at 9:27 am


          Thats the problem, we HAVE to use them – this stops them from innovating.

    • Andreas Voniatis
      April 12th, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      I must add that DA, ACRank are no predictors of SERPs rank as they are heavily built around one Google patent. The benefit of these tools is for consultants and agencies to sell link building activity. The predictive value for assessing link value and for succeeding in offsite SEO is nonsense.

      • Matthew Woodward
        April 12th, 2013 at 3:55 pm


        Yes I have to agree – there is a need for those metrics beyond practical use.

  43. Pete Lauder

    I liked the first post Matt, and this follow up response was, dare I say, Majestic, you are certainly making a splash here.

    The way forward is to improve. Anyone can come second in a race, although they may have stronger attributes in other fields.

    Maj must look at this differently, seize the moment, and aim to be the best, as they claim.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 12th, 2013 at 9:07 am

      Hi Pete,

      Well if your going to call bullshit on me, you better be able to back it up – because I will :)

      Majestic have some fantastic oppertunitys here – as long as they dont let Dixon deal with it all.

  44. David O'Donnell

    Nice work, Matthew, really appreciate what you’ve uncovered. I know which provider I’ll prefer going forward, based not only (but mostly) on the data returned, but also due to the communication style used by one.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 12th, 2013 at 9:26 am

      Hi David,

      Well Dixons actions speak for themselves and that directly reflects on Majestic as a whole. Trust me I’ve sat in enough HR meetings/disciplinarys in my time – people don’t like the truth.

      Its funny because the first thing Alex did in his response was discredit the competition instead of focusing on the grown up stuff.

      Perhaps thats just the way the Majestic cloth is cut!

  45. Matt T

    I’m going to hold fire jumping on the ‘O** best post ever’ bandwagon until majestic provide their full reply tbh. I’m not biased toward any backlink checker, but more data doesn’t mean it’s better value/better service being offered. It is interesting though.

    If the backlink data being provided by Ahrefs is more accurate than Majestics then i’ll sign up via your aff link asap, after all its accurate/up to date data that sells it for me, not the amount of data.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 12th, 2013 at 11:01 am

      Hi Matt,

      Things could get interesting with what I’ve just read from Majestic :)

      Get your seats folks!

  46. George Valentin

    This was so much fun to read… just beautiful.
    I’m on your blog all day long.
    It’s crazy how much information I find here.
    I’m currently testing the tiered link building for a small niche site of mine.
    Thank you for all the resources and information, you are my main learning source at the moment.

    You rock!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 12th, 2013 at 11:54 am

      Hi George,

      Glad you liked the post – keep learning brother!

  47. Jeff

    Awesome post Matt, and well done for trying to cover all bases and keep it as scientific as possible.

    I do find it funny that you refer to both Majestic and Ahrefs as being c*** though. Fact of the matter is, unless you have access to the data Google has, this is as good as its going to get.

    I’ve been a user of Ahrefs for a long time, and was a Majestic user prior to that. I’ve always thought that Majestic found more links, but that many of them, particularly from the historic index, were actually dead links.

    I think something that would make both these tools infinitely better would be if you had the option to check for dead links prior to exporting the data, so the dataset you are given is as accurate as possible. As it is I have to use a 3rd party tool to verify, and we all know how there is always going to be a margin of error….

  48. Fesada

    Hi, the reply of majestic realize a few things. The number of referring ip and subnets is just a “number”. Nothing can prove that these number is correct or not for both ahref and majestic. The only way to make a conclusive experiment is to introduce two other variables: the number of wrong ip wins and number of wrong subnet wins. Then to calculate the number of correct ip and subnet. I don’t know if this is feasible though.

    It may be possible that ahref takes more time to remove deleted backlinks from thei index. What I mean is the number of live ips and subnets which important.

    And the fact that ahref found more backlinks than ips is strange. Hope to hear an answer from them.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 12th, 2013 at 11:49 am


      Very valuable insight and you are correct that is right – we are still relying on the numbers to be correct in the first place but Majestic have a valid points, ahrefs don’t always add up.

      I’m sure they are keeping an eye on that.

      Either way I’m waiting for Ahrefs explanation :)

  49. Andy Drinkwater

    What a fantastic read Matt! I actually did get a coffee when I saw how long it was and settled back for what turned out to back up my own (non-technical) findings about who offers the best back-link data. My results were from nagging others for information ;-)

    I look forward to seeing how things pan out in the next round.

    Are you selling ring-side seats?


    • Matthew Woodward
      April 12th, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      Hi Andy,

      I’m sure things are going to get b***** – but who is going to deliver the knockout blow :)

      • Andy
        April 12th, 2013 at 4:19 pm

        I have my suspicions… Are you running a book? 3-1 on… My money is on Ahrefs, knockout in the 3rd round ;-)

        • Matthew Woodward
          April 13th, 2013 at 8:25 pm

          Haha perhaps I should! Would love to see majestic come back though!

  50. Tobias Kemp

    Hi Matt.

    Another great read! I started to skim through this but then got really into it and found it very interesting!

    I like it how you stood your ground and backed everything up with some solid data… Some strong work Matt

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 12th, 2013 at 3:56 pm

      Everyone gets hooked on a good story :)

      I don’t like being put in a corner, but when I am =D

  51. Mike

    Hey Matt,

    I’m not much of an seo’r but from a business point of view thank goodness Dixon is “only” the CEO of Majestic, and not heading up the PR dept.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 12th, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      Actually he is the marketing CEO.


      • Mike
        April 13th, 2013 at 10:06 am

        Oh dear !!!! as one of our popular past UK TV shows catch line used to say “Check Please” you may relate Matt??

        • Matthew Woodward
          April 13th, 2013 at 8:21 pm

          Haha indeed :)

  52. Iain

    You really can’t deny the facts you laid out in this post.

    It is a monster.

    Also, the controversy that you sparked pretty awesome.

    It’s not easy to take on the big dog, but you definitely laid it on the line.

    Nice work.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 12th, 2013 at 11:56 am


      I just played the cards Dixon gave me :)

      I’m a marketer, he’s a marketer – should know better.

      Hopefully they come and smash it with a follow up that disproves the whole test.

  53. Robert Kirk

    Hey Matt

    Just made myself a cuppa and read through your post, need to make myself another one now to read the comments. Really interesting and great post, i have been using AHREFS for good 6 months now and is overall just better than any others. Easier to use, more data, more up to date data, nicer layout and again more data :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 12th, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      If only I could make a website that made me brews on demand.

      • Robert Kirk
        April 12th, 2013 at 4:04 pm

        Now that would make you an overnight billionaire I would say, one for dragons den :)

        • Matthew Woodward
          April 13th, 2013 at 8:26 pm

          Could outsource it to the phillipines I suppose

  54. John

    I’m a sr. software engineer in the marketing/advertising niche and used both Majestic and Ahrefs until this article. Seeing a CEO discredit a blogger in such an unprofessional manner leaves me with an unshakable feeling, I almost took it as an attack/disgust against the public voice.

    I was pointed to this article within the Traffic Planet SEO Skype group (120 other SEO/Marketing members, dont hold me to the exact number lol) and must I say, well put together. To Majestics point, I could probably argue the referring subnet/domain may be an anomaly to Ahrefs benefit but the overall testing paints a more accurate picture. I really appreciate a blogger who takes the time to be transparent and analyze a dataset to seek truth.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 12th, 2013 at 4:28 pm

      Hi John,

      Your feelings are shared across the web and in the flurry of emails I have recieved about Majestics public behaviour.

      Have a read through the comments at http://www.seobook.com/comparing-backlink-data-providers for example

      • John
        April 13th, 2013 at 4:58 am

        Re: Ahrefs response — The round robin DNS is an excellent explanation for the multiple IPs. (Place /foot in mouth here). I wonder how Cloudflare and Dynamic DNS also contribute.

        • Matthew Woodward
          April 13th, 2013 at 8:22 pm


          Seems pretty obvious once they explain it, I’m surprised majestic weren’t aware of any of the possibilities.

          Difference in technical knowledge perhaps?

  55. David Eyterkourjerbs

    Wow. Majestic seem rather ridiculous right now. But I’m sure the winners will be the SEO community. Majestic will be motivated to invest more to reach Ahref’s level. If they can catch up with OSE and Ahrefs, we’ll certainly be spoiled for choice.

    They’ll need to improve their site’s interface though.

    I’m curious though.

    Ahrefs winning by 1 referring IP address on a domain = Ahrefs win.
    Majestic winning by 100000 referring IPs on a domain = Majestic win?

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 13th, 2013 at 8:24 pm

      Exactly :) Hopefully this will just further drive innovation and we all benefit!

  56. Thomas

    I’ve always thought that ahrefs was better than any of them.

    Yikes about the CEO.

    Wish ahrefs would have kept the keyword ranking, but then again traffic>rankings.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 13th, 2013 at 8:24 pm

      You thought correctly :)

  57. Hazli Khlaim


    Hey Matt,

    I’ve been using majestic for a while now. Thank you I will end my subscription and switch over to ahrefs as in RIGHT NOW. LOL.

    +1 tweet like for ahrefs! FTW!

    “I would literally be honoured if you drop kicked me through a table! Probably try and snap a picture and grab an autograph on the way down (yeah i’m that guy)!”

    Well said son.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 13th, 2013 at 8:23 pm

      Thanks very much =D

  58. seekdefo

    Hit the nail on the head… the leg and hands. Immovable. Brillian

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 13th, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      Cheers :)

  59. Anita

    I have used both and will periodically switch things up but still like all that Ahrefs offers the best. Thanks for the incredibly interesting read!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 15th, 2013 at 7:42 am

      Hi Anita,

      Really they both suck and provide small coverage, just ahrefs sucks a lot less.

  60. Randy Carlisle

    Ahrefs is my backlink checker of choice, and your competitive analysis confirms the quality of the tool.

    Was pleased to discover that the Ahref developers are from Kiev, Ukraine – one of my favorite cities in the world, for sure!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 15th, 2013 at 7:41 am

      I have never visited Kiev, but its on the list across the next year =D

  61. Allan

    Was about to sign up to Majestic SeO to hook up to my market samurai… looks like may have to reconsider.. I wonder if Market Samurai would be able to link up to AHrefs..

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 15th, 2013 at 7:18 am

      Hi Allan,

      Drop them a mail and ask – show them this post and they’ll see the importance of it.

  62. LD Puri

    Wow. Awesome analysis. I have been using Ahrefs for a while now. Great to see come comparison data.

    Keep up the great content man

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 15th, 2013 at 7:17 am

      NO worrys :)

  63. Elan

    I am glad to know that my choice was right! I didnt dig into this much, but chosen ahref with basic analysis.

    I yet to find time for the proposed verification methods. good job Woodward.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 15th, 2013 at 10:26 am

      No worrys (:

  64. Kevin

    Great article & analysis. I must say I am not surprised at the conclusion as I use both ahrefs & majestic on a daily basis and typically see 10% – 30% more links via ahrefs.

    Ahrefs really nailed this on so many levels.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 16th, 2013 at 7:26 am

      Hi Kevin,

      Hopefully that wont be the case 3 months from now :)

  65. Jonathan

    I have no links to either ahrefs or majestic but I feel you’re being a bit harsh on Majestic. The post is long and maybe I missed the section where majestic’s marketing CEO was acting as bad as you claimed.

    Anyway, one thing I’d like someone to mention is the quality of the links. We all know it’s not all about number of links, but quality. So does Majestic show fewer links because they discount the low quality ones, or are they just bad? If the former, then it’s not something bad, but perhaps good as it’s no use thinking that such and such a site has so many links when in reality most are worth very little in Google’s eyes.

    OSE always shows much fewer links. I wonder why. Are they not good enough or do they only show links that matter? Again, OSE has a very good reputation – why so? Is it because they know what they are doing with their backlinks checking?

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 16th, 2013 at 7:26 am


      Valid point – but I dont think the focus should be on quality and should be on whether the link is still live/reporting accurate data.

      I certainly do not want to give anyone else the ability to decide what is a quality link or not, everyone has a different opinion on that and mine is as simple as “if its good enough to be in Googles index, its good enough to link to my site”

      But people like to make things complicated and come up with all sorts of voodoo to decide if something is a good link.

      I don’t want Majestic or Ahrefs making that decision for me :)

      But whether the links are still live or not – well that could be a killer for either of them.

  66. Zul

    Matt O/

    Suggestion – You perhaps need to put another cool music just for reading comments here… :)

    2nd – I have read few of good comments here and I want to tweet the comment..Find that plugin maybe…that would increase your social traffic more…

    The best post ever O/

    Congrats !!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 16th, 2013 at 7:22 am

      Hi Zul,

      Got any suggestions for the music?

      Regarding point 2 – thats interesting, do you have any examples of that in action?

  67. sagbee

    Matthew, be always like that :) !! Love the way you crack down everything!! haha

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 16th, 2013 at 11:56 am

      Its what I do :)

  68. Mark Hall

    I like this post Matthew, I like it a lot. Most people would ignore the challenge and just move onto the next blog post, I love how you came back fighting and just nailed it. I hope this post earns you a ton of commission!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 17th, 2013 at 5:23 pm


      Actually Ahrefs affiliate program doesn’t exist anymore – I certainly never got a notice about it closing =\

  69. Lukas Pitra

    This one really delivers. Some really helpful insights and a great read on top of that. Made me subscribe to Ahrefs paid program to check it out myself :-)

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 17th, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      Another case study to come this week :) You heard it here first!

  70. Alex

    Loved this article and felt compelled to comment, regardless of which is link checker is better the argument put forth by Matthew is one of the most complete and effective I have read. I appreciate an argument that has humour, data and a strong personality which makes it incredibly persuasive. Good job!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 19th, 2013 at 8:55 pm

      Hi Alex,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post – not everyone appreciated the humour but I backed it up with data so its all good =D

  71. seo company in jaipur

    I used Majestic, ahrefs, raven and many other backlink explorer tools and i think raven is best in the comparson of ahrefs and majestic

  72. Måns Gullberg

    Wow… I might need to rethink where I’m dumping my money! Great post Matthew, +1.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 19th, 2013 at 8:22 pm


      Glad you enjoyed it :)

  73. Matthew Woodward

    Hi Chris,

    Good point about cognitive SEO – you pay a little bit more but the coverage is much better!

    Wasnt aware that ahrefs was put on the market for sale – seems odd?

  74. ZolTech

    Good read. I’m just about to go and drop Majestic SEO and sign up to Ahrefs off the back of this.
    I’ll be interested to see what comeback Majestic can muster up in response to this!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 25th, 2013 at 9:07 am

      I want to know how many other people did exactly what you said. I doubt Majestic will tell me how many they lost, but I’m sure Ahrefs will tell me how many they gained.

  75. Frantisek Skuta

    Hi, I wonder if majesticseo did change anything, prices.. plans… bettered the services :P

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 25th, 2013 at 9:06 am

      Not yet but they are working on it I believe :)

  76. Mike Friedman

    I like this part in Majestic’s response, “that we do not feel that size alone provides a realistic comparison.” Sounds like what guys with small dicks like to hear. “It’s not the size. It’s how you use it.” LOL.

    Anyhow, one thing I would love to see addressed is the variety of links found between the two products. We can all clearly see that Ahrefs discovers far more links, but is Ahrefs finding all of the links Majestic finds and then some more or are they each finding a lot of different links?

    If there is a lot of variety between their two indexes, then it might be useful to use them both in conjunction together to get a more complete picture. If however, Ahrefs is finding 95+% of the links Majestic has found, then I see no reason to use Majestic for anything.

    Up until now, I have been using both, along with OSE, and importing all the link indexes into SpyGlass for a deeper analysis. I dropped Majestic, but would pick them back up if someone could prove that they are finding a significant number of links that Ahrefs is not.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 25th, 2013 at 9:02 am

      Hi Mike,

      The ironic thing to that is in my first post I only used 3 domains. One of the big defensive points Majestic threw out there was the fact the sample size was so small and as such wasn’t a fair representation.

      Now they are saying that sample size is irrelevant?

      Basically the goal posts get moved as and when it is suitable for them to do so.

      What they haven’t learn is if the keep coming up with stupid reasoning like that, I’m just going to follow up with another test that eradicates that issue.

      For example their data scientist reference, the next test will be done with a credible insurance data modeller/analyst.

      Database overlap is worth looking at and so is the accuracy of the data returned.

      There isn’t a simple answer to the simple question of which is better =\ They both have strengths and weaknesses in their own right, but if your purely using them to find the raw amount of backlinks, ahrefs takes it for now.

  77. Frantisek Skuta

    Hey Matthew, the last update from Majestic is crystal clear PR bullshit.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 25th, 2013 at 9:05 am


      It wasn’t quite the response I was hoping for =\

  78. Jon Pearce

    Oh my, what a read! I initially started out looking for advice on one of the above tools and ahem, spent a fair chunk of my time reading this and the post that went before it!

    I’ve run out of time as I really must do some work, but I’ll be popping back later as I haven’t had time to read all of the comments or see what the music was that I should have listed too!!!

    Matt, many thanks, most informative but even more entertaining!

    A new fan

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 15th, 2013 at 9:25 am

      Thanks for your kind words Jon, although I can’t take the credit for the entertaining side – Dixon Jones handed that to me on a plate ^^

  79. SEO Milano

    eheheh the truth everytime hurts :)
    At the beginning I also used SEOmoz, Ahrefs and Majestic, now I have an Ahrefs account and I feel real good with it.
    More and better results, more quality, totally better interface for free and premium account.

    hey have u seen the majestic and SEOmoz interface? …NVM…

    Ahrefs is my tool, no way :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 17th, 2013 at 8:50 am

      The SEOMoz interface is quite cool but thats not just a link checker and does lots of other cool things

  80. Leo

    Hi Matt,

    Am on CognitiveSEO, but am wondering if I should stay, or switch to Raventools / Ahrefs. Could you do a review on Cognitive or a comparison? Would appreciate any bit of advice =) Am running an online store and for now, we could only have 1 SEO program/month.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 18th, 2013 at 8:43 am


      You should use which ever one helps best to support your business goals – what are you trying to achieve?

      • Leo
        May 18th, 2013 at 9:14 am

        Hi Matt, we’re trying to best gain SEO ranks for our keywords =) But with the numerous software out there and the lack of reviews for CognitiveSEO, makes me wonder if we’re making the right investment, or should we switch?

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 19th, 2013 at 12:56 pm

          Hi Leo,

          Well yes but what are your current challenges with doing that?

  81. Raffael

    I haven’t tested Majestic yet, but I currently use ahrefs and to be honest, there are a LOT of s***** links in there. One of my competitors top 10 links (shown as “strong” links in ahref) are all bullshit sites that have millions of links within their own network of 10 domains. All their linkpower comes from within and has no value in Googles eyes. So I don’t get why these links are counted as strong links.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 24th, 2013 at 8:35 am

      How have you arrived at the conclusion that they have no value in Googles eyes?

  82. Matt Fraser

    This is easily one of the best SEO articles I’ve read in a long time. Kudos to you for coming up with such a test. I’d not heard of ahref until this time and am going to check them out.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 6th, 2013 at 7:49 am

      Haha thanks Matt =D

  83. shane watson

    thanks for sharing views on 2 best utility for SEO as i have tried ahref i found it useful coz the link and domain details are very easily traced thats why its a lot useful for SEo campaign

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 10th, 2013 at 10:57 am

      Cheers Shane =D

  84. Colin

    Have to say, there was so much idle chat and Dixon-bashing in this article, I gave up after ~4-500 words.

    Would prefer a less soap-opera-style – straight down the middle analysis of the tools personally – but hey it isn’t my blog.


    • Matthew Woodward
      June 12th, 2013 at 8:35 am

      Hi Colin,

      The analysis is there – but there was background to the post :)

  85. Marco Braggio

    Lengthy, in-depth and insightful. Couldn’t ask for anything more and perfect timing as performing cost analysis for vendors.

    Keep it up.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 13th, 2013 at 8:55 am

      Cheers Marco!

  86. Mikee

    Matt you’ve ruined someone’s business, I hope you burn in h***!
    … Not!!

    As you stated, I hope Majestic SEO will make the most of this.
    From the initial attitude, it’s no surprise they’re second place.

    “Attitude is not the result of success; success is the result of great attitude”

    Only If they learn anything from link assistant & Ahrefs.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 18th, 2013 at 8:46 am

      Hi Mike,

      From speaking to the big boss of Majestic I don’t think they are going to learn much.

  87. Terry Kyle

    Love how they shoot the messenger Matt! Keep up the awesomeness bro.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 17th, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      Data deflects bullets ^^

  88. Dror

    Just finished reading all the updates. Pretty amazing the amount of stir your initial comparison made and really enjoyed the all the info and comments.

    There is no doubt that competition is good for us end users and there is also no doubt that “data deflects bullets” :).

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 24th, 2013 at 9:23 am


      Yeah I didn’t expect it to be like that but Dixon was on hand to pour fuel on the fire with both hands which helped a whole bunch! Props to team Majestic for that!

  89. Elvis

    Hi Matthew
    just wanted to share a new site explorer from SheerSEO:

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 24th, 2013 at 9:21 am

      Thanks for the heads up

  90. Fabio Araujo

    Wow Matt what a great post, in Majestic HQ they´ll be on fire.

    I hope they get a fireman close.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 24th, 2013 at 9:11 am

      Well they asked for it!

  91. Mark Stringer

    Well it’s 2.14am and I’m tired but I have read the whole flippin saga. I couldn’t stop reading; the comments too. What a read. I was only wanting to validate SEO Powersuite as a successor to Market Samurai before I made the purchase and the I stumbled upon this! In summary I’m going for Powersuite as it seems like the best allrounder for a full service agency rather than an SEO only agency and more affordable too. Great post. I bet your to blame for many an eye bag ;-)

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 25th, 2013 at 8:43 am

      Hahaha thanks very much =D I’m guessing you actually watched the SEO Powersuite video in the end as well https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/reviews/seo-powersuite-review-essential-seo-tools/

      • Mark Stringer
        June 25th, 2013 at 9:50 pm

        I have just watched your video; Blimey I’m sucked down a worm hole. Talk about good content marketing. I will be on this all night if I’m not careful :-) I had done a lot of research previously and spoke to a few SEO marketing agency owners in Manchester that sing Powersuite’s praises.

        Our old website http://www.ahoycreative.co.uk was hit really bad in spring 2012 and we never recovered our ranking. We were ranking really well for terms like ‘web design manchester’ and “design agencies’ and it drove a lot of enquires and business. We were always in the top 5 results. The lack of recovery or feedback for our website and clients websites was painful. I lost total confidence in my SEO supplier over time. I won’t mention any names as they are really nice lads but I just didn’t get the service we needed. They were expending very quickly and started to attract much bigger clients. Maybe I was too demanding. I wanted a first page result for one of the terms again. I was spending £600pm for around 7 months. I then spent a fortune on SEO and a fortune on PPC. I’m gutted.

        We bought a new domain name http://www.ahoy.co.uk and have launched phase 1 of our new website. Phase two will go live next month with lots of services and 100s of pages of blog content being pulled from our old website. We will start to optimise the onpage this week and then look at our strategy in terms of links. Our best bet is design inspiration sites and guest posting I would think as we have some really nice design work.

        So I’m setting myself the task of dong it myself. With a little help from writers I may add. I hear good things about http://www.copify.com and we have some partners in PR who we can lean on too. I have all sorts of good content ideas but not much time! If it works out well I will look to partner up with a search marketing team or build a small search marketing team within Ahoy.

        Which brings me to my biggest question – how the heck do you find the time to generate so much GOOD content?

        • Matthew Woodward
          July 16th, 2013 at 8:00 am

          Hi Mark,

          Hahaha feel free to spend all night on here :P

          I answered your questions in the email you sent I think :)

  92. Moneyeering Blog

    Thanks Matt for your fine work with this experiment. I’ve read up to update#3. Ahrefs seems to be the most thorough of the bunch, which backs up what I’ve been thinking from using the various tools. Although, I do agree that using multiple tools and combining results is the way to do SEO like a mozboss.

    By the way Matt, your article is one of the best examples I’ve seen lately of writing EPIC S***, well done ;) My blog (Moneyeering) is nearing the official launch, it’s off to a cracking start and is developing at a very fast pace in less only a couple weeks of building, networking, researching and writing. This week’s goal for the blog is to create and publish at least one very well researched, insightful, in-depth ~1-2k word articles… Target is an EPIC article, even if it takes 8+ hours to produce. I’m also on the hunt for a few more guest writers, but our moto for this is definitely quality over quantity. After the first month and as content develops, next goal is polishing the design, increasing usability and onsite-optimisation, while building a few quality links from reputable sites.

    Feel free to check out the blog and drop me any words of wisdom or advice. I’d be oh soo grateful :)

    Anyway cheers Matt!

    – Mr. Moneyeer

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 13th, 2013 at 4:05 pm


      Yeah Ahrefs has the most comprehensive database for now :)

      I would say just make your articles fun to read while educating! Although Dixon did help me out big time with this one so props to him for that.

      Good luck with your ventures!

  93. Roxana

    Hi, Matt.

    This basically verifies a lot of hypothesis:
    1) There’s no such thing as a tool that can cover all the needs of SEOs (my two cents here)
    2) Competition is good and it’s even better when someone with extensive research knowledge demonstrates why, when, who, where.
    3) The lack of authority female presence in the online and SEO business.

    I’m a little confused about Ann’s remark, the one with numbers. I don’t have much experience, I’ve been doing all sorts of research (marketing, Psychology), handling large sets of data and numbers. What I can say is that numbers have feelings, too. (It’s something us mad Statisticians like to say to justify our love for numbers and why we prefer them in comparison to… people).
    She has been like an idol long before I entered the online zone and MyBlogGuest has been a valuable resource for the past 2 years.

    But numbers are important. Comparing data sets and results and generating insights can never be done my asking 1,000,000 people how they think about seo tools. It would take too much time and energy. Plus, Google’s very own algorithm works based on numbers. You can’t simply ignore a sample of 1,000,000 websites. You can’t, it’s not fair.

    Okay, so 3 might be just a “case study”, 100 might be let’s say close to the edge of generating a valid statement. 1,000,000 it’s already confirmation that results aren’t biased.
    I mean, the bigger the sample the easier it is to “control” type II errors in statistics.

    Heck, even 1,000 would be enough to control those errors that might lead to biased results.

    I will probably still use Majestic’s Site Explorer for a couple of clients and my little Romanian blog, but I’m starting to doubt all the statistics value I thought they could bring to a report.

    Never used Ahrefs, but there can be no better time to try it out. RavenTools are still at my heart, and after their new updates last week, it feels like it improved significantly.

    And another 2 hours spent here, but it feels like an earned time, not a wasted one. :D

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 16th, 2013 at 10:06 am


      1) I agree 110%

      2) I’m going to redo this study shortly to measure who has made the most developments since this study.

      Glad you enjoyed the blog :)

    • Nev
      September 17th, 2013 at 6:50 am

      wow! It was my exact sentiment Roxana when i talked about doing the mother of all tests (waaay back up at the start of the comments) called “aHrefs versus MajesticSEO: The Proper Real Test” and maybe use 10,000,000 domains! said with a hint of sarcasm!

      Matt – Look forward to your follow up study.

      • Matthew Woodward
        September 18th, 2013 at 12:02 pm

        Well the complaint from Majestic last time was that I wasn’t a data scientist therefore the results aren’t relevant.

        This time i’m using a qualified data scientist.

      • Roxana
        September 18th, 2013 at 12:16 pm

        Well I think that you don’t need to be a qualified data scientist, as long as you know what you want to measure, how do it and you have a large data set.

        Seriously, I’ve had a couple of so called “qualified data scientists” contact me and ask to do a certain task for them and paid me on a freelance project collaboration. And this makes me wonder, once you hit the “top spot” in the scientific analysis, do you even bother to DIY or simply go for freelancers who basically know what they’re doing, but lack the “power of personal brand”.

        Now I know for sure that Matthew did this with his own two hands and demonstrated the gaps in Majestic Seo’s tool. And as I said, having such a huge data set is all you need to perform an analysis. Errors in estimations are pretty much taken out and all it remains is the true results. Which in this case proves that someone isn’t acknowledging their tool limitations.

        Just sayin’…

        • Matthew Woodward
          September 20th, 2013 at 9:55 am


          The Majestic team like cutting political angles to discredit so I have to ensure there is no wiggle room :)

          I agree with what you say, but I’m not fighting against logic, sense or reason with them.

  94. TraiaN

    Probably it makes sense for those who are on budget to choose just one tool, but those who are serious about backlinks will have Moz, MjSEO and ahrefs subscriptions anyways. They will de-dupe the lists and start working, without thinking who has the largest data set… m2c

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 3rd, 2013 at 10:07 pm

      True Story ^^

  95. Teguh

    Hi Matthew, this is a great experiments. I’am newbie but I happy to read this. Now I using opensite, each time I compare data with ahrefs, ahrefs always gives more large data than opensite.

    actually, I interest using ahrefs, but it seems give a limit request to use. while opensite give unlimited request.

    btw, thank you for share your experience

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 2nd, 2013 at 7:10 pm

      Well I’ve never come close to using the limit with ahrefs, and I use it a bunch ^^

  96. SEO Info

    I have learn several excellent stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting.
    I surprise how a lot effort you place to create any such wonderful informative site.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 20th, 2013 at 9:59 am

      Thank you :)

  97. dk - purposeinc

    Thank you. This post was incredibly helpful. I really like the photo at the top as your first presentation of yourself ROFL. :)

    I also loved the Anne Smarty fanfair, she is cool.

    I sent you a private message on this too, but Jim Boykin is a wonderful human being. I have known him for close to a decade.

    You rock. Bold, time consuming to make, and super informative post! :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 20th, 2013 at 9:38 am


      Thanks for the feedback, i’ve had mixed responses about that picture :P

      Glad you enjoyed the post!

  98. bridget griffths

    Been reading this post – albeit rather confusingly – is it relevant anymore ? I just got an email from link assistant today saying that spyglass now uses it’s own “massive link database” – that now has up to date 837 billion links , I know all these tools both have their pros and cons – but if a tool actually goes and builds it’s own link database – does that then mean whoever has the biggest database wins ?

  99. Dave Dineen

    Matt, just found this today. Long but excellent read. Thanks for going through all the data and analyzing the massive results.

    No, the data doesn’t lie. It will be interesting to see how Ahrefs and Majestic evolve as they update and innovate, (as well as the other services, as I’m sure they want to be competitive/relevant). But I doubt the results will change much that quickly.

    Thanks again, I’ll be watching for any follow-ups.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 30th, 2013 at 11:33 am

      Thanks :)

      I’ll have a follow up soon ^^

  100. Jack Wong

    I used to subscribed to OSE, but their servers bandwidth is extremely slow when using from Singapore, before they start charging they should improve their bandwidth first. Now trying both ahrefs and majestic but still dont know who is better, long run might go for one only.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 4th, 2013 at 9:23 am

      Well I would certainly recommend Ahrefs :P

      • Jack Wong
        October 18th, 2013 at 12:19 am

        Thanks for the recommendation. May I know which one has fastest index links updates?

        • Matthew Woodward
          October 18th, 2013 at 10:54 am


          Can you elaborate on that a bit more please?

  101. Jake Lawson

    Hey Matt,

    Thanks for keeping on top of this and for the thorough analysis. Will be making the switch from Majestic to Ahrefs.

    Do you have any tips or guides on how to make the most out of their platform?


    • Matthew Woodward
      October 7th, 2013 at 9:09 am

      HI Jake,

      Well I only use it for extacting competitor backlinks – they have a nice bulk feature to do lots of URL’s at once ^^

      Thats about it lol

  102. Kenneth Morrison

    Im left with a very sour taste in my mouth from the tact (or lack there of) that Majestic has had publicly.

    Matt you said they were nice peep when you spoke to them via email but I cant help but wonder if your not underplaying it for their benefit (or your own if your working an angle), but you know what? thats awesome, it shows that you are the real man with humility and tact ( Majestic take a Leaf from Matts book ;P ).

    Great going Matt! you are now my Anne Smarty and I look forward to being dropped kicked by you Sir!

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 22nd, 2013 at 9:33 am


      Yeah they could have done better and it was mainly Dixon at fault who has a reputation for being an a*** hole anyway.

      Well yeah Dixon only turned nice when he/majestic had something to lose. Dixon has a habit of shouting people down, I think thats the first time someone has took him to the cleaners for it though.

      I’ll be doing another test very soon, but this time with a fully qualified data scientist as majestic highlighted that as a weakness in this test.

      Eventually they’ll learn ^^

      • Kenneth Morrison
        October 22nd, 2013 at 1:30 pm

        Shame, being an a*** as a public figure head has poor and far reaching effects when that a*** is also a public figurehead that deals in business.

        Castrating people with speculation in a public forum to protect the pride of the company that is represented is shameful, pathetic and shows desperation and doubt in their own ability’s.

        Dixons actions show exactly what your findings reveal.

        • Matthew Woodward
          October 23rd, 2013 at 1:53 pm

          The reaction to the next test should be more than interesting anyway ^^

  103. Cooler Websites

    Good stuff Matt and a poor show from Majestic! What is your opinion on opensite explorer and moz tools in comparison?

  104. Julian

    Dude I really love your research. Its so fantastic…..I enjoy reading it

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 3rd, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Thanks Julian hope it helps you out!

  105. Mary

    Lengthy, in-depth and insightful.

    I think, now I have to request you to write one more article as conclusion :)


  106. mindlesswizard

    What a post boy !! enjoyed reading every words !! Wonder how you manage your time to do all these interesting posts :D

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 29th, 2014 at 9:27 am

      That makes two of us lol

  107. Reven

    Hey Matthew after reading response of Viktar Khamianok (Link-Assistant CEO) . He stated that why SEO SpyGlass show less backlinks than other in his post.
    Now if i ask you, Which one is better than SEO SpyGlass and Ahrefs? Which one you will suggest?

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 10th, 2014 at 8:27 am

      Ahrefs finds a lot more links. SEO Spyglass provides realtime data.

      Both together.

  108. Jarrett Holmes

    Great freaking post Matthew! I love that your stuff is so detailed with data, PDF’s and screenshots. This is how all blog posts should me done, with “meat and potatoes”! I have learned a ton from you in the past 3 months and your YouTube channel trainings are world class. Thanks bro!

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 11th, 2014 at 8:57 am

      No worrys, thanks for reading :)

  109. Andrew

    A great analysis Matthew.

    After the head-to-head between Ahrefs and Majestic, how does OSE stack up now? OSE seemed to be reasonably good in the 3 site test.


    • Matthew Woodward
      March 19th, 2014 at 8:01 am

      Off the top of my head I have no idea :)

  110. Vsevolod

    Be careful!!! Ahrefs doesn’t provide any info about automatic subscription prolongation. They just charge you without any alert! It was a shock because I didn’t want use the service for the next month. After all they didn’t even try to excuse!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 5th, 2014 at 8:29 am

      The pricing plan page allows you to choose between monthly or annual billing. The word used on the buy button is ‘Subscribe Now’

      Perhaps you should read things properly :)

  111. Mobile Dustin

    Truth be told, most people just need a “standard” to apply in a test. You’re taking two controls and comparing them.

    I would say, for 95% of users needing these tool services just need a CONSISTENT measure of checking.

    The truth comes out in consistency. I would rather be consistently wrong that right one time and wrong the next.

    With that said, I don’t think either of them are “wrong” and both pose good solutions for the industry.


    I’m traveling now, so I just came up with this reference.

    The rent-a-car place just asked me if I wanted an economy car or a compact.

    What’s the difference? Both get 30MPG and are tiny Mr Bean style cars.

    Different to some aspects that really don’t matter to the large masses of people who just need to set of wheels for the weekend.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 18th, 2014 at 9:52 am

      The difference is this case, is both services don’t run at 30 MPG.

  112. Rubing

    Hi matt,

    great post! I have been long regretted to buy an annual subscription of MajesticSEO, which refuses to improve for years at the perspective of end customer. Ahrefs are for better than MajesticSEO regarding to data sets and user interface.

    I am back on you !

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 25th, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      Sorry to hear that!

  113. scott masse

    At the end of the day, controversy is healthy. Competition will sharpen everyone’s sword and we as the consumer will benefit the most.

    Thanks Matt for being detailed in your follow through and research.

    Your observations and training have helped me tremendously!


    Scott in Boston

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 15th, 2014 at 5:50 am

      No worrys man, thanks for your kind words!

  114. Ravi Jayagopal

    Hey Matt, I read your post on the warrior forum that you were going to get everyone to switch to some new tool. So just wanted to check: Is ahrefs.com still your #1 recommendation? Or have things changed?

  115. Referencement

    It is just an amazing comparison which is so useful to me. Thanks Matt.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 8th, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      Glad it helped!

  116. Kevin

    Hi Matt,

    when you need to choose between ahrefs and SEMRush, which one do you choose and why?

    Thank you.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 13th, 2014 at 10:50 pm

      They do very different things, that’s like asking to choose between a car and a lawn mower

  117. Michael Smith

    Great post, testing is so important, your blog is really head’s and tails above the rest in this field. Seriously, no a** kissing. Well, I do like Terry Kyle as well…but you know what I mean.

    I would saying using multiple tools is the best of all worlds, but that’s just my two cents.


    • Matthew Woodward
      June 13th, 2014 at 10:46 pm

      Thanks for your kind words :)

  118. Flash

    Great post on the test provided on these 2 giant. Appreciate the effort Matt.

    With tools like spider spankers blocking the bots, a wide variety of tools to checkout all the links can really helps to ensure more backlinks are uncovered.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 2nd, 2014 at 9:31 pm

      No worrys :)

  119. Peter Wootton

    Given the choice, I’d use Ahrefs over Majestic anyday. I think others may disagree with me but personally, I find it simpler to use (and therefore more efficient). Also the larger link base is quite helpful as well.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 3rd, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      That makes two of us =D

  120. Produktvergleich

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
    I don’t know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you
    are not already ;) Cheers!

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 14th, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      Haha glad you enjoyed the post :)

  121. Grant

    Usually I don’t read post on blogs, however I wish to say that
    this write-up very forced me to check out and do so!

    Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thanks, quite nice article.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 24th, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      Haha thanks Grant :)

  122. Olan Admission

    Wow Matt what a great post, in Majestic HQ they’ll be on fire.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 28th, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      Yeah probably, but mehhh!

  123. Michael Ehline

    We just discovered that ahrefs more than doubled the cost of their basic paid services today, when our subscription was up. We have tried to work with them in the past by offering them a group of of attorneys to buy their services at a discount, but they don’t seem to be interested. For the price they are charging, we are considering switching to Majestic. There comes a point where the prices are simply outrageous. Anyone have any ideas of an alternative product? What can’t Majestic do the same thing? The data is there. Why can’t they help us get prices down by being more competitive?

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 29th, 2014 at 6:03 pm


      I think the prices are very reasonable and Ahrefs are competitive already. Yes there are cheaper alternatives, but the alternatives don’t have any way near the amount of links that Ahrefs does.

  124. Steve Jex

    Sod it, i’ve just signed up for Majestic, largely because they are UK-based although I do own the Link assistant products too. I get a totally different backlink count from Market Samurai and SEM, 2 services that I use albeit not primarily for link info.

    The point is, you will never get the same answer twice and you’ll never know which is right – if any of them are, you just have to go with your instincts.
    Until now, that is. It would be a shame for me not to take Matthew’s massive survey into account, i’m off to switch to Ahrefs too. Thanks.

  125. Chris

    I think 1 year is a lot of time in seo world, and specially in software development. Maybe is time for a new test?

    I did my test one month ago, and each script is offering different data. And my test was done with more then 10 scripts (no names).

    Regardless of the fancy design and new graphs, people don’t realize that graphs can look very attractive, but if the links analyzed are only 10% from the total, all the results are fake!

    A higher price for a more accurate data is always a good deal.

    So maybe you get some time Matt, for a new test, hopefully a bigger/better one with more sites and more scripts(software).

    Maybe we can do it in a group of 10-50 people, in this way CEO’s will understand that we are real:)

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 5th, 2014 at 11:11 am


      Yes I do agree although it sounds like your in the best position to run the follow up!

  126. Andy Luong

    Looks like I’m a bit late on the uptake but good read nevertheless.

    Matt dropping it like it’s hot! Thumbs up

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 19th, 2014 at 3:40 am

      Haha thanks Andy!

  127. Mark

    I’d do a retest. I agree ahrefs seems to show more results however for choosing potential network sites I’d take majestics trust factor over ahrefs metrics any day.
    One example I have a site, 2 months old, #1 for the primary keyword, ahrefs shows zero for both url and domain rank, majestic shows 29 TF and 22 CF. The links are strong not many of them but good links. Majestic shows 12 links, ahrefs 15. So yes ahrefs picks up the links better but for giving an overall assessment of a site majestic is both quicker and more accurate. I think your new test needs to take into account the serps positions.
    You’d need to do an extensive test on both new and aged domains, quite an undertaking. Your test above looks accurate as regards to link volume but actual quality of the site, majestic is better, important when checking sites to link from. I’d be interested in a test which shows which one returns the better metrics for sites to link from. As you’ll know you can rank a site #1 with relatively few links but quality links.
    I don’t argue with the results of the original test, ahrefs has always been that way but anyone nowadays the game has changed, I’ve never really been concerned with how many links I see but where I see the site in the serps, isn’t that the whole point. I’d even be happy to randomly select 15 or so sites from different niches (not mine) we could analyze the the data between majestic and ahrefs for differing purposes e.g potential network sites, link count, quality etc. Feel free to email me if you’re interested.
    All the best.

  128. Tanel

    Majestic should update their UI and their are back in business :-) New fancy look will help them for sure. And for me it is still quantity vs quality thing. But yes, waiting for new test.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 3rd, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      Yeah I agree I never liked their interface

  129. jessica

    i think that’s ahrefs is the best

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 8th, 2014 at 11:44 pm

      I agree :P

  130. AlexP

    for those of us not wanting a paid account just yet, am I right in thinking that Magestic offers a better starter package? It looks like it from where I’m sitting

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 22nd, 2014 at 6:54 pm

      If your going to do something, do it right the first time :)

  131. Bill

    None of these “SEO” sites are worth the subscription fees. None of the data is accurate.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 1st, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      Nope, which is why you combine data points from all!

  132. Bogdan

    Ahrefs it’s also ma favorite tool :-), but sometimes majestic provides complementary and valuable information and datas!
    In this area i’ve tested another interesting tool, cognitiveseo, which also gives another perspective of the offpage optimization and link building strategy.
    I’ve notticed that all these big players in the SEO world have their own metrics based on different factors, it is quite hard sometimes to make a decision based on only one tool results.
    Anyway, this is one of greatest comparison seen lately, it was needed by one like that, hard and fine work!

  133. Ogger

    Wow Matt what a great post, in Majestic HQ they´ll be on fire.
    I hope they get a fireman close.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 19th, 2014 at 5:08 pm

      Yeah they weren’t so happy about it

  134. Arslan Sadiq

    For Matthew : Thanks alot for amazing analysis.Worth reading.

    For Majestic : Do not show your anger show your work.Let Your Work Speak for Itself.Make your product better than Ahref.

    For Ahref : Keep it up

    • Cal
      March 2nd, 2016 at 8:06 am

      But Majestic is better than Ahrefs already! Ahrefs is decent for link building but Majestic is much better (and cheaper)!

  135. Shakeel Bukhari

    Good information sharing with us


    • Matthew Woodward
      January 20th, 2015 at 7:24 am

      No problem :)

  136. Mark

    Great post Matt, Ahrefs wins hands down without the 1 mil URL test. They are far quicker at finding links and they have a far nicer website that displays data better!

    The way Majestic have responded to the test just makes them look like a bunch of dicks. They could have handled it far better by accepting the data as what it is and improving on what they do.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 21st, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      I wouldn’t say all of Majestic, just 1 person in particular.

  137. Shah

    Am using ashraf from last three years , they show backlinks very fast the then other seo tools and have a lot of healthy tools, I think hard work is must for seo purposes

  138. Adrian

    A great blog post, personally we have used open site explorer which is simple and easy to use. Along with having majestic as well, both of these are cost effective (or realistic) Ahrefs for us seems a little bit high on price for what it is, but saying that you do get what you pay for.

    But with the ever fast paced world of SEO, we have extensively been testing ahrefs, and it for sure gives you much higher amounts of backlinks than the others. It’ll be interesting to see what 2015 holds for online marketing!

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 12th, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      I’m pretty sure every service is working to improve

      • Adrian
        February 13th, 2015 at 6:44 am

        Oh definitely, I can imagine they are reading this right now!!

  139. Patrick

    Hey Matt, just came across this post from one of your emails, I have been looking into a better back link checker and after reading this think I will try ahrefs, cheers mate.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 4th, 2015 at 2:25 pm

      Thanks Patrick – it is still the best backlink checker in my opinion :)

  140. Footprints Teaching Jobs

    This is a really good look at what’s current in the world of backlink indexes. I think Majestic and Ahrefs are close enough in their reach that it doesn’t make a huge difference in practical terms. OTOH I’ve often seen people focusing on Moz’s index of authority links for the majority of their research, even if it’s a smaller sample of links overall it’s “curated” towards really solid links. The other two can be extremely useful to really drill down into a domain’s whole link profile, including all low-authority links – for example for backlink audits and cleanups.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 10th, 2015 at 10:20 am

      That’s a great perspective :)

  141. Danil Rudoy

    I would like to thank all the parties for an excellent discussion. I have a question. The information here deals with gross amounts of data; does anyone know if ahrefs has any competitive advantage in terms of what majestic calls trust flow and citation flow? I agree, it is better to have more data for analysis, but I would prefer to discover fewer links pointing at competitors but to know better how relevant they are to specific topics. Thank you.

  142. Abdur Rahaman

    Very good..

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 27th, 2015 at 9:01 am

      Thanks Abdur!

  143. Tony

    Excellent article and excellent comparison. I have been following this since you started this comparison and have been very interested in watching it as it unfolds. I knew you were going to ignite a small war but I did not realize it would be this large :)

    I appreciate the open, honest and transparent approach … the best way!

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 9th, 2015 at 5:56 pm

      Hahaha I was thinking about doing a 2015 update

      • Tony
        July 10th, 2015 at 8:06 am

        You should. Maybe there’s been some improvements … it would be interesting.

        • Matthew Woodward
          July 10th, 2015 at 1:29 pm

          Well based on my spot checks, Ahrefs still nails it – but a wider look would be interesting

  144. Tim Soulo

    Yes! I’ve just read the whole thing AND all the comments!

    Matthew.. I’m speechless…

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 18th, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      Good stuff =D

  145. diseno web

    Great article, im using ahrefs and love it.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 26th, 2015 at 10:54 am

      Who doesn’t! (except Dixon ofc)

  146. Paul Lunny

    WOW! That is all I can say about this post and the comments that follow, thanks Matt for putting so much detail into your posts I really feel like there is no stone left unturned here. You mentioned you might be doing a 2015 update to this post is that correct?

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 31st, 2015 at 10:01 am

      I’m thinking about it :)

  147. robert

    thanks for the amazing article, ahref is best.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 31st, 2015 at 9:50 am

      They are indeed :)

  148. QTP Job Training

    1 Million Dollar SEO is very trendy

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2015 at 11:18 am

      In what sense?

  149. Diseno Web

    Thanks Matt for Sharing…im a Ahrefs avocate. confirmed.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 1st, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      That makes two of us :)

  150. Userflow

    Thanks again Matthew, but is Ahref a good total product as Majestic is?

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 1st, 2015 at 3:16 pm

      It depends what you want to do

      • Userflow
        October 1st, 2015 at 3:31 pm

        In short: good inside of website’s serp, competiton comparisson and on page SEO quality for dutch Google (.nl)

  151. Nitin

    Great research Matthew !
    Really, my friend referred me to a platform which is much beneficial for me to learn and implementing necessary SEO tips.
    Thanks for sharing such a nice information.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 12th, 2015 at 9:10 am

      No problem Nitin :)

  152. Madalen

    A great read particularly as it was started in 2013. Is it still your preference to this day? I’m currently reviewing all products…. thanks

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 21st, 2015 at 9:52 am

      It is indeedy :)

  153. Ryan

    So then who do you recommend?

    Ahrefs or serped.net since you recommended serped.net as the last tool any of us need? Does it hold up to your backlink checking needs still?


    • Matthew Woodward
      December 17th, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      It depends what you want/what you need/the problems you are trying to solve/your budget.

      • Ryan
        December 17th, 2015 at 3:26 pm

        putting money aside, would you use serped.net as your everyday backlink and site checker? And if you had to pick on resource, even if serped.net is not “the best” but does a good enough job for 90% of people out there, with all the services you get for such a low cost, is it still worth it?

        • Matthew Woodward
          December 17th, 2015 at 3:32 pm

          If I was putting money aside and PURELY wanted to download all the backlinks pointing to my site, I would buy-

          Insypder backlink monitor

          But only on the basis that those tools align to my current business goals because different business goals require different tools and I have no idea what you are trying to achieve.

          If we aren’t putting money aside and you are on a budget then yes, SERPED does 90% of the job for most people but again without knowing what you are trying to achieve this entire conversation is meaningless.

  154. Areeb Yasir

    I think this comparison is bang on in that Ahrefs is the one to pick over Majestic.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 25th, 2016 at 9:55 am

      For sure :)

  155. James

    Matthew, keep the good work you do!
    I love you for the courage to stand and say what you think is right.
    It’ll always be the case when money is involved, and it’s good that people will
    here the truth. personally, I like ahref because the ease of use and simple
    interface. great day!

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2016 at 11:58 am

      Well, the data never lies :)

  156. Ross

    Like you. Matthew Woodward! Keep the good work you do

    I thing Ahrefs is best, however Majestic Seo too . I love both of them !

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 2nd, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      Yes, both is best that is for sure :)

  157. John Chablo

    Hi Matthew,

    I think we all want to see the “Dixon based meme”, don’t we?

    Great article too!


    • Matthew Woodward
      May 4th, 2016 at 9:04 am

      Hahahaha I decided to leave him alone :)

  158. Michael

    Wow, that is a highly detailed series of events – I found it very instructive and revealing! It all goes to show just how valuable it can be to dig a little deeper into SEO and not simply accept the current wisdom, I’ll be looking into AHRefs further down the track.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 11th, 2016 at 8:02 pm

      Never stop digging :)

  159. Daftar Ioncasino

    This is really a complete comparison between. Personally i use both of them, but i prefer A Href because its simple and easy to use.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 25th, 2016 at 10:11 am

      That makes two of us =D

      • Olle
        July 12th, 2016 at 2:21 am

        I end up using both (and more) most of the time as well. It depends on what I need at the moment. I’ve entirely stopped using Moz, though!

  160. sumit mankala

    Great Work, there are always very useful tips and information in your articles!

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 1st, 2016 at 3:42 pm

      Thanks Sumit :)

  161. Tushar Hossain

    I am using ahrefs .. its awesome.. really good

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 23rd, 2016 at 11:12 am

      I agree =D

  162. MyCreditUnions

    I would be honored to be in such a debate. I use the free service of both and use they for different data results. As pointed out, competition drives the market. Thus, everyone wins.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 23rd, 2016 at 11:09 am

      Unless your the one that is getting beaten by your competition :)

  163. Jay

    I was researching Majestic SEO and came across your blog. I am a newbie who is learning about expired domain flipping and parking. Because of your article I will look up Ahrefs information. Great Post

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 8th, 2016 at 10:07 am

      Glad you enjoyed it Jay!

  164. Mike Lawson

    Came across this when searching for a comparison and I was swaying to ahrefs. Love it’s UI, clean, simple, effective – that’s worth a lot in my opinion.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 21st, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      Yeah and they are adding some awesome tools recently!

  165. benh tieu duong

    Thank you for sharing.
    It was really helpful to me
    Look forward to sharing more useful from you!

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 13th, 2016 at 9:58 am

      No problem Benh!

  166. Olesia Korobka

    This post seems to be very old. Guess, you’ve made an update?
    I’m using Majestic for TF and CF and Ahrefs for everything else :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 22nd, 2016 at 10:54 am

      I may update it in the near future :)

  167. John

    Great Job

    The truth is that I like Mejestic SEO and I was ready to give a chance buying a year, but now I have to give a second thought.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 20th, 2017 at 8:28 am

      Ahrefs 4 lyfe

  168. Paul Maher

    hmmm … for us Majestic is quite a bit cheaperI Skimmed through the article but its way toooooooo BIG and way toooo looooong and we’re way to busy … We just pull the date into excel so Majestic is fine for us and no justification for the much bigger price of ahrefs plans for us!

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 27th, 2017 at 10:29 am

      Majestic has a much smaller database so you are not seeing the full picture when reviewing links

  169. vishal

    Started using Ahrefs free trial. Thank you for explaining nicely

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 8th, 2017 at 1:22 pm

      No problem Vishal!

  170. shaki

    I personally prefer ahref it really good to attain backlinks

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 14th, 2017 at 7:29 pm

      That makes two of us :)

  171. fazil

    yup… ahrefs much better than majestic…. yeah fo me :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 4th, 2017 at 2:24 pm

      Me as well :)

  172. Krishna Rajaganesan

    I totally agree. Ahrefs provides huge data and I can never work without it. Although the results are pretty old, it helps in decision making right from content distribution to backlink building.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 4th, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      IT sure does!

  173. Agus Kusnaeni

    After a few sites won ahrefs, I guess Majestics will work extra hard to pursue and surpass ahrefs someday.

    I personally prefer to use ahrefs because besides their backlinks database is superior, the keyword explorer is very useful and the best. To compete, I do not only need backlinks, but targeting the keywords appropriately.

    As for majestics, I like the TF and CF metrics but it is less accurate because of the database. But what if their databases are much more accurate than they currently have? Competition will be more attractive and the users will get many benefits.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 2nd, 2017 at 7:37 pm

      That is true but the problem is Ahrefs seem to grow their database faster

  174. PriyaRoy

    Yes we have to update more strategies via ahrefs and majestic tools as you said. Thank you..

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 11th, 2017 at 11:48 am

      The more data the better!

  175. Step Up Digital Marketing

    Have to agree that AHREFS is by far the best backlink checking tool at the moment. I just recently completed a side by side comparison with some other tools and AHREFS results were clearly much more detailed. Thanks for verifying my findings.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 11th, 2017 at 11:47 am

      It is indeed superior!

  176. Gary

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the excellent comparison between this 2 popular backlink checker. Actually I myself use these 2 great tool but if ahrefs will have a trustflow or citation flow in their tools I will drop majestic and will use the ahrefs instead.

    Trustflow will identify what’s the website is about. I have seen websites related to health but their trustflow are awful their backlinks are unrelated to their niche like computers and web design, adult, casinos, etc….


    • Matthew Woodward
      August 3rd, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      Yeah it’s a shame they have that gap in their toolset

  177. Mac

    ahref is not cheap but the data we get is probably the most complete. Our business operate worldwide and we heavily rely on this tool for analysis.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 31st, 2018 at 10:24 am

      Yeah its by far the best!

  178. Pratik

    I think majestic is good

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 31st, 2018 at 10:16 am


  179. Rob Metras

    First class post and follow up Matthew Keep up the good work

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 3rd, 2018 at 10:58 am

      Cheers Rob

  180. A&S Properties

    Great information & comparison of both tools. You made easy to decide which is perfect tool.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 2nd, 2018 at 9:19 am

      Glad to help out!

  181. Jai

    I am always learn new idea in your post. It is a very good readable article

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 2nd, 2018 at 8:53 am

      I am glad you are learning and thanks

  182. Obi

    I like ahref, because it tools complite

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 3rd, 2018 at 9:33 am

      yep well there are 1 Million reasons why it is better :)

  183. Derek Armson

    Wow, what an incredible case study. Thank you so much for publishing. I’ve been Majestic for years, but am definitely going to pick up the ahrefs trial. Thanks

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 31st, 2018 at 10:24 am

      Yes you definitely should :)

  184. Joao

    It has been a while since a post on a SEO blog gets me hooked like this.


    • Matthew Woodward
      June 6th, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      Thanks very much, I like to tell it like it is and keep it simple :)

  185. Claire Mariska

    I Just start learning SEO and have both Ahref and Majestic Tools, to be honest I feel Ahref is more suitable for me… They have many feature and easy to use such as Keywords Explorer, Content Explorer and the new Site Audit.

    Thank you for this interesting and long post hahaha..

    Cheers, Claire

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 21st, 2018 at 12:28 pm

      Haha, no problem Claire! I have so much info to give, it’s hard to do short posts :)

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