#328 – Did Ahrefs F**k Us?

🗒️ Overview

  • Ahrefs’ shift to a credit-based pricing model
  • New pricing model implications on users and SEO practices
  • Ahrefs’ product evolution and the road ahead

In the last two years, Ahrefs, a tool that many people in the industry would agree is the best tool for the job, has lived long enough to see itself become the villain and many now associate the brand with corporate greed. So how did that happen and is it justified?

No topic was off the table in this week’s episode with Tim Soulo from Ahrefs. Gael gets the 4-1-1 on their credit system, whether their search engine yep.com was funded by the price increase or not, and compares Ahrefs and their value proposition to the competition.

A special thanks to our sponsors for this episode, Digital PR Agency Search Intelligence.

Ahrefs Credit-Based Pricing Model

Imagine you’re at the gym, and you’re charged for every machine you touch and each rep you complete. That’s the essence of Ahrefs’ new credit system: mirroring usage with cost. It’ll definitely make you think twice about how you work out – or in this case, how you leverage Ahrefs for your SEO needs.

This move is designed to better align costs with customer usage, after Ahrefs recognized that not all users use Ahrefs’ tools with the same frequency or intensity.

Tim Soulo was open about Ahrefs’ growth hitting a ceiling with the previous fixed pricing. The company needed to discern heavy hitters from the casual users – essentially, separating the massive agencies from the smaller operations of individual SEOs. The reason behind the new pricing is to ensure the system values resources proportionately and remains robust for varied scales of operations.

With the credit system in place, each keyword lookup has a price tag. There are valid concerns for small affiliates where intensive keyword research is involved.

Ahrefs’ Strategies and Innovations

Marketing and Communication Tactics

Communication mishaps with the roll-out have prompted Ahrefs to up their game, introducing detailed help articles and more responsive customer service. They’re fighting misinformation in an era where social media can muddle facts and the negative responses usually have the most engagement.

Product Evolution

Ahrefs unveiled features like Page Inspect and SERP comparison, aiming at sophisticated SEO teams.


YEP.com’s launch, built on Ahrefs’ infrastructure, is a clear indication that Ahrefs is catering less to beginners and more toward advanced teams. The brand keeps evolving, and the R&D gates are wide open with the launch of YEP.com.

The Road Ahead

Ahrefs is bracing for the reality that not all customers will stick through this transition. The hope is that this opens up the market for more specialized tools while continuing to innovate for the advanced users.