Stop Giving Ahrefs Your Search Console Data | Skipblast

Stop Giving Ahrefs Your Search Console Data

With the recent announcement that Ahrefs is getting rid of their “7-days for $7 trial,” the narrative has pivoted to “don’t worry, you can still get some free access with Ahrefs Webmaster Tools.”

ahrefs twitter

You likely know the old saying, ‘if you’re not paying for the product, then you are the product‘ and that definitely rings true here.

Before I get into my personal thoughts on this, I do want to acknowledge that Ahrefs is a rather expensive tool and I know that it is not affordable for many people.

Yes, it is the main tool that I use, but there are other alternatives that are cheaper and get the job done.

Now, let me get closer to the part where I give you my thoughts on this.

Ahrefs Webmaster Tools 101

If you’re not familiar with Ahrefs Webmaster Tools, it’s something that was introduced a while back as a “free” way for people to use some limited features of Ahrefs.

I remember the marketing focusing on ‘all you have to do is connect your Google Search Console account to Ahrefs and you’ll get free, limited access.’

Let me note, that while this is how I remember it, I honestly wasn’t paying much attention since I am a paying user.

So, I was surprised to notice that there ARE other ways to get the free access.

These are site ownership verification methods listed on the Ahrefs page:

ahrefs

Do note that connecting your Google Search Console account is recommended.

If you want or need to gain access to Ahrefs for free, then I advise that you do any of those methods EXCEPT for giving them access to your Google Search Console account.

How SEOs Use Ahrefs for Keyword Research

Think for a moment about how most SEOs use Ahrefs.

It is incredibly valuable for identifying low authority sites in your niche so that you can snipe all of their keywords.

This practice is so common that Niche Website Builders have given it the catchy name of tomb-raiding.

From what I’ve seen in forums and talking with other SEOs, the way that most people do this is simply by utilizing the top pages report in Ahrefs.

Theoretically, that Top Pages report gives you an ordered list of the pages on the site that receive the most organic traffic.

sHC1WhG

But let’s face it – that Top Pages report is a load of crap.

Why? Because the search traffic is so off that the report is essentially useless.

The same rings true for most, if not all, SEO tools that give search volume data for keywords.

Don’t believe me? Pop your sites into Ahrefs and compare the Top Pages report with your top pages in Google Analytics.

Or, let me show you a live example!

Right now Motion Invest has the site SpeakersMag.com listed for sale, complete with Google Analytics data.

Here is what are the true top pages for the last 30 days:

last 30 days google analytics

And, here is what is in Ahrefs:

ahrefs top pages

So, the top post on this site is clocking over 8,000 pageviews, while it is listed as #9 by Ahrefs for top pages.

This is similar to what I see from my own sites as well when I pop them into Ahrefs.

In fact, one of my sites has a keyword bringing in almost 10K sessions a month when all the keyword tools have it listed as under 500 search volume.

And it’s not just me and my niches.

This means blindly copying the top pages of sites based on Ahrefs data is a fool’s errand (if that is your strategy).

But Ahrefs got smart and knew that they could improve their data.

Your Data Is Your Competitive Advantage

If Ahrefs can convince enough people to give them access to their Google Search Console accounts, then they end up with a better keyword database than their competitors.

Oh look, that is exactly what is happening….

You don’t want your competition to know the truth about which keywords are bringing the most traffic to your site.

And if you’re going after the same keywords as me, then I definitely don’t want you sharing Search Console access with any keyword research tools.

Before someone leaves me a comment about this, yes, the Search Console data is impressions, which is different from search volume, but the overall sentiment here remains the same – if Ahrefs can see that the obscure keywords are driving most of your traffic and they share it, you will get more competition for those keywords.

If you’re curious how these SEO tools get their data, y’know other than this Search Console instance with Ahrefs, then you’ll find this Twitter thread an interesting read.

You may also find it interesting to note how hard Ahrefs is pushing this free account, with them recently asking a paid user to test it out. You can read her Twitter thread about that here.

My favorite comment in that thread is this one –

This dude gets it.

Or wait, maybe this one –

Yup, this dude gets it, too.

So yeah, it’s not just me ranting about nonsense here.

This is a legit concern for you if you’re giving Ahrefs, or any SEO tool, access to your Google Search Console data.

You should also be concerned that your competitors who target the same keywords as you may be doing this.

And finally, I leave you with this tweet, which you should click through to see the other comments.

And remember, don’t fucking give SEO tools access to your data.

4 thoughts on “Stop Giving Ahrefs Your Search Console Data”

  1. Oh snap! Had not even considered this. Thank you, disconnecting that ASAP. I only have a free account and have it linked to see how those sites are coming along but definitely not worth it when you put it thay way. Thanks again.

    Reply
  2. Woah!, I am surprised to see my tweet featured here while reading the article.

    Really good article.

    Thank you for featuring me.

    Reply

Leave a Comment