I’m always experimenting with different tools – CDNs, WAFs, proxy servers, and yes, SEO packages. Based on what I’ve seen so far, most SEO tools are simply not worth it. Even the Google search console, which is free, and presumably the most authoritative is of only limited value. Best-case scenario, I would only pay for a rank tracking tool – and even that is of limited use other than to justify an SEO budget. However, if I had to pick one tool over the others, it would be Alexa – owned by Amazon. It’s pricier than Ahrefs, but I would say it has more accurate data. Here’s why.
After Jumpshot Closure, Ahrefs No Longer Receives Clickstream Data
Ever wondered how tools like Ahrefs can tell you the click-through-rate of certain keywords? How are they able to estimate traffic to your site? It’s pretty shady. Apparently, the biggest source of this data was “free antivirus” apps like AVG and Avast collecting your clicks and sending them back to a subsidiary called Jumpshot that then sold this data to marketing companies – including Ahrefs.
This scheme was busted in early 2020 by an investigation that exposed how this worked. As a result, Firefox and Opera blocked the anti-virus extensions from their stores, and after an incredible amount of backlash, Avast decided to kill Jumpshot altogether. And along with that, went Ahrefs sweet clickstream data.
So since then, Ahrefs has been at a loss to properly model their numbers, and you shouldn’t trust anything that comes out of it since then.
Alexa’s Toolbar Still Exists However
Old timers will remember Alexa’s toolbar from the early 2000s. I used to use it way back then because it used to have useful information. I removed it later of course (along with all other toolbars), but you’d be surprised to know that it still exists. And thriving! It still provides useful information, but also collects and anonymizes your clicks so it can get fuel for its ranking and tracking numbers.
Sounds shady? Perhaps. But at least they’re open about it. Here’s what they say on their toolbar installation page:
They pretty much openly tell you that they’re tracking how you use the web. And it’s not installed in a surreptitious manner like the AVG/Avast scam. So it’s still freely available on both the Chrome and Firefox stores.
This makes Alexa’s data first hand, as opposed to 3rd part/computed. A consequence of this is that they’re able to give better insights into your website that other tools don’t. For example, here’s an example of data that other tools don’t provide from my site WP-Tweaks.com:
Alexa is able to show you the major sites that people visit before and after yours because of the toolbar. When a user presses the “back” button, you don’t know where they’re going back to. Alexa can show you this.
I Like How Alexa Does the Analysis for You
A major drawback of current SEO tools is too much data. Leaving aside the accuracy aspects, it’s very hard to actually get information on which keywords to target. You need to analyze which keywords your site is targeting to begin with, then analyze the ranking difficulty etc. The good thing about Alexa, is that it gives you a pre-computed report like this:
There’s a lot of other interesting stuff like pre-computed keyword gaps based on competition and keyword difficulty that other tools just don’t have. To be honest, I’m a lazy person and what I want is quick, key insights.
Unfortunately, it’s Pricey
The big drawback here is that Alexa is a more expensive tool than almost all the other ones out there – especially at its lowest tier plan. So, I would recommend signing up for the 2-week free trial, doing whatever analysis you need, and then canceling your subscription. If you have an ongoing SEO team with a budget however, it’s definitely something you can use regularly!
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!