Ahrefs’ Data Collection: A Case of Near Business Sabotage

Ahrefs Data Flaws Exposed - Impact on Business SEO

In the fast-paced and unforgiving world of digital marketing, data reigns supreme. A misstep in analytics can lead to disastrous consequences for businesses striving to carve out their space in an increasingly competitive landscape.

This brings us to the crux of a burgeoning issue that has recently come to light – the apparent inadequacies in Ahrefs’ data collection methods, transparency, and, most worryingly, its impact on businesses. A case in point is the plight of Malta-Media.com, a victim of what can only be described as near-business sabotage due to Ahrefs’ deficient data handling.

Ahrefs Incomplete Data Collection: A Pathway to Misrepresentation

Ahrefs, a renowned player in the SEO tools sector, seems to have fallen short of the mark when it comes to accurate and comprehensive data collection. The evidence of this inadequacy has surfaced through the experiences of Malta-Media.com. A glaring disparity has been noted in the number of visitors reported by Ahrefs as compared to figures from Google Analytics (GA) and Google Search Console (GSC).

While GA and GSC show a healthy and robust visitor count in the thousands, Ahrefs’ data paints a dismal picture, reporting a mere fraction of these numbers. This isn’t just a minor discrepancy; it’s a chasm that raises serious questions about the credibility and methodology of Ahrefs’ data gathering. Such underreporting doesn’t just misrepresent; it can actively harm the reputation and financial prospects of a business.

Ahrefs current traffic compared to Google Analytics.

Ahrefs - Traffic 12 visitors and indexed pages 443 - 19-11-2023
Ahrefs - Traffic 12 visitors - 19-11-2023
Ahrefs - Traffic 12 visitors and indexed pages 441 - 20-11-2023
Ahrefs - Traffic 12 visitors - 20-11-2023
Google - Traffic 5434 visitors - 18-11-2023
Google - Traffic 5434 visitors - 18-11-2023

Click images for full size.

Ahrefs Transparency: More Opaque Than Clear

Transparency in data collection and reporting is not just an expectation; it’s a necessity. However, Ahrefs seems to be operating within a bubble of opacity. When queried about their data collection methodologies, the responses have been less than satisfying, lacking in detail and clarity.

Businesses like Malta-Media.com have been left in the dark, trying to reconcile the vast differences in traffic data reported by Ahrefs compared to other sources. This lack of transparency is not just a failure in communication; it’s a breach of trust between Ahrefs and its users, who rely heavily on accurate data for strategic decision-making.

YEP.com: A Reflection of Minimalistic Data Approach

Ahrefs’ shortcomings in data collection are further mirrored in their search engine, YEP.com. An analysis of search results for Malta-Media.com on YEP.com revealed a paltry number of entries – barely over 50, a stark contrast to the 2350 entries on Google. This discrepancy is not just a number; it’s a telling sign of the minimalistic and seemingly inadequate approach Ahrefs has towards data indexing and reporting.

For businesses, this translates to a significantly reduced online visibility, directly impacting their ability to attract traffic and, ultimately, customers. In the digital marketing arena, where visibility is currency, Ahrefs’ approach is akin to devaluing a business’s online presence.

The Ripple Effect: From Data to Business Destruction

The impact of Ahrefs’ flawed data practices extends beyond mere numbers on a screen. It has real-world consequences. Businesses like Malta-Media.com have experienced firsthand how inaccurate data can lead to lost opportunities and potential revenue. The reported traffic figures by Ahrefs could sway potential clients and partners away, believing the site to be less popular than it truly is.

This situation borders on the negligent, with Ahrefs’ data inadequacies almost sabotaging the businesses it claims to support. It’s a scenario where the tool that’s supposed to aid in growth becomes an inadvertent catalyst for decline.

Ahrefs 6 months traffic compared to Google Analytics.

Ahrefs - Organic traffic for Malta-Media.com in 6 months of just 16 visitors
Malta-Media.com's Visitor Traffic from May to Present - Count of 460,258 Unique Visitors
Malta-Media.com's Visitor Traffic from May to Present - Count of 460,258 Unique Visitors
Malta-Media.com's Engagement Metrics, Indicating Over 2.47 Million Page Views - Average Visit Duration of Over 8 Minutes.
Malta-Media.com's Engagement Metrics, Indicating Over 2.47 Million Page Views - Average Visit Duration of Over 8 Minutes.

Click images for full size.

The latest graphical representation of the visitor traffic, spanning from May to the present, showcases an outstanding achievement in digital engagement. The platform has remarkably attracted a staggering 460,258 unique visitors, a testament to its growing popularity and relevance in the digital space. Complementing this impressive feat is an in-depth insight into the website’s engagement metrics, which reveal an even more compelling story.

Malta-Media.com has not just drawn a high volume of traffic in the last 6 months but has also successfully captivated its audience, as evidenced by over 2.47 million page views. Moreover, the average visit duration exceeds 8 minutes, indicating a high level of visitor engagement and interest. This exceptional performance in both attracting and retaining visitors speaks volumes about the quality and impact of the content provided by Malta-Media.com, cementing its status as a significant player in the online media landscape.


Conclusion: A Call for Urgent Rectification

Ahrefs’ approach to data collection and reporting, as exemplified by its treatment of Malta-Media.com, is a cause for serious concern. The lack of comprehensive data, transparency, and the underwhelming performance of their search engine YEP.com point towards a need for urgent introspection and rectification by Ahrefs.

Businesses depend on accurate data to thrive in the digital ecosystem. When tools like Ahrefs falter in providing this fundamental service, they don’t just fail their users; they risk becoming complicit in their downfall. For the sake of its users and its reputation, Ahrefs must address these issues with the seriousness they deserve. The digital marketing world watches and waits, hopeful yet cautious.

Note to Readers: Insights into Ahrefs' Customer Interaction

As you reach the conclusion of this article, we have included a detailed transcript of the email exchanges between Malta-Media.com and Ahrefs’ customer support. These correspondences offer an unfiltered glimpse into the challenges and issues faced by Malta-Media.com, highlighting the gaps in service and response from Ahrefs.

Additionally, we have documented attempts to engage with Dmitry Gerasimenko, the CEO of Ahrefs, through emails. It is important to note, however, that Dmitry Gerasimenko was not available to comment on the matters raised in these emails. This lack of direct response from Ahrefs’ leadership adds another layer of context to the ongoing discussion about the company’s practices and customer engagement.

Ahrefs: A Closer Look at the Discrepancies and Shortcomings

Ahrefs, the Singapore-based SaaS company known for its SEO tools, has cultivated an image of a dynamic, customer-centric startup. However, this glossy exterior masks a less flattering reality characterized by significant deficiencies and inefficiencies. For a brand that prides itself on being a lean, multinational startup with a team that’s ostensibly passionate about technology and SEO, Ahrefs’ track record in providing accurate and reliable data is disappointingly lackluster. Fundamental to any SEO toolkit is the delivery of precise and dependable data, yet Ahrefs seems to stumble in this crucial aspect.

The company’s guiding principle, “First do it, then do it right, then do it better,” inadvertently reveals a troubling philosophy. It suggests a readiness to prioritize swift development and rollout at the expense of the accuracy and reliability that are non-negotiable in the world of SEO tools. This approach, far from being commendable, has sparked considerable concern and skepticism among digital marketing professionals. The community has grown increasingly wary of the utility and credibility of Ahrefs’ offerings, questioning the integrity of the tools that many once relied upon. In the competitive arena of SEO and digital marketing, Ahrefs’ shortcomings not only tarnish its reputation but also potentially misguide and hinder the strategies of its users.

Dmitry Gerasimenko: The Controversial Figure at Ahrefs' Core

Dmitry Gerasimenko, the founder of Ahrefs, sits at the center of the growing storm surrounding the company’s practices. As the architect of Ahrefs’ vision, his deep involvement in the company’s developments and innovations is now under intense scrutiny. Gerasimenko’s leadership, once seen as a beacon of motivation and inspiration, is now questioned in light of the recent revelations about Ahrefs’ data accuracy and customer support issues. His role in driving the team and setting the company’s direction is increasingly viewed through a lens of skepticism, as the digital marketing community grapples with the consequences of Ahrefs’ alleged shortcomings under his guidance. The promise of dynamic and inspired leadership is overshadowed by concerns of transparency and reliability, casting a shadow over Gerasimenko’s stewardship of Ahrefs.

FAQs About Ahrefs' Data Practices

How reliable is Ahrefs' traffic data?

Reliability seems like a foreign concept to Ahrefs when it comes to traffic data. The glaring inconsistencies compared to Google Analytics are not just alarming but downright unacceptable. For a tool that’s supposed to be a cornerstone in SEO analytics, this level of inaccuracy is baffling and raises major trust issues.

Does Ahrefs' data affect business reputations?

Absolutely, and in the worst way possible. Imagine having your website’s credibility and hard-earned reputation tarnished by Ahrefs’ underreported traffic data. It’s a nightmare for any business, potentially turning away partners and customers who rely on these metrics.

Are there transparency issues with Ahrefs?

“Transparency” seems to be a missing chapter in Ahrefs’ playbook. The obscure methods they use for data collection and reporting leave businesses groping in the dark, trying to make sense of the discrepancies. This lack of clarity isn’t just frustrating; it’s a betrayal of customer trust.

How does Ahrefs' data compare with Google's?

Comparing Ahrefs to Google in terms of data is like comparing a puddle to an ocean. Google’s comprehensive approach makes Ahrefs’ data look pitifully inadequate. It’s baffling how a tool that claims to aid in SEO can be so far off the mark.

Can Ahrefs' data harm digital marketing efforts?

Harm is an understatement. Ahrefs’ skewed data can derail digital marketing strategies, leading businesses down a path of inefficiency and missed opportunities. It’s like navigating a ship with a faulty compass – you’re bound to lose your way.

Does Ahrefs acknowledge discrepancies in their data?

Acknowledgment? More like avoidance. Ahrefs seems to dance around the issue rather than confronting the significant discrepancies head-on. This evasive stance is a red flag for any user expecting accountability.

What is the impact of Ahrefs' data on SEO?

The impact is disastrous. SEO strategies built on Ahrefs’ faulty data are akin to building castles on quicksand. It’s a setup for failure, leading to misguided efforts and resources being poured down the drain.

Is YEP.com's data as extensive as Google's?

Calling YEP.com’s data “extensive” would be a gross overstatement. Compared to Google, it’s embarrassingly sparse. For a search engine tied to a major SEO tool, this is a massive letdown and questions the efficacy of the entire platform.

Does Ahrefs' data collection cover all necessary keywords?

No, and this is a colossal failure on their part. By limiting their focus to only “meaningful” search volume keywords, Ahrefs is essentially telling its users that comprehensive data doesn’t matter. This selective blindness to a wide range of keywords is a disservice to any SEO effort.

How does Ahrefs' data affect small businesses?

For small businesses, Ahrefs’ data inaccuracies are catastrophic. These businesses rely heavily on precise analytics for growth. Ahrefs’ flawed data could be the difference between a thriving business and one that struggles to stay afloat.

Is Ahrefs' methodology for data collection flawed?

“Flawed” is putting it mildly. It’s a methodology riddled with gaps and inconsistencies. For a platform that prides itself on helping websites rank better, their approach is shockingly inadequate and raises serious questions about their competence.

Are there better alternatives to Ahrefs for accurate data?

Given Ahrefs’ dismal performance, it’s no surprise that businesses are looking elsewhere for reliable data. There are several tools out there that offer a more accurate, comprehensive, and transparent approach to SEO analytics.

How does Ahrefs' data impact website visibility?

Ahrefs’ data doesn’t just impact website visibility; it throttles it. Websites relying on Ahrefs for insights could find themselves lost in the digital wilderness, invisible to their target audience due to underreported metrics.

Can Ahrefs' data lead to financial losses for businesses?

Not can, it does. Ahrefs’ inaccurate data can lead businesses to make poor strategic decisions, resulting in financial losses and missed opportunities. It’s a frustrating scenario where reliance on a trusted tool backfires.

Does Ahrefs provide real-time traffic analysis?

The term “real-time” seems to be misused by Ahrefs. Their traffic analysis is anything but timely or reflective of current trends. This delay and inaccuracy can leave businesses lagging behind in a fast-paced digital world.

Are businesses at risk of losing clients due to Ahrefs' data?

Businesses don’t just risk losing clients; they are actively losing them. Ahrefs’ misleading traffic data can make a website appear underperforming, turning away potential clients and partners.

How does Ahrefs' approach affect digital marketing ROI?

Ahrefs’ approach is like a black hole for digital marketing ROI. The misguided strategies resulting from their flawed data can suck in resources and efforts, yielding little to no return.

Does Ahrefs take responsibility for data inaccuracies?

Taking responsibility seems to be an alien concept to Ahrefs. Their lack of accountability in addressing data inaccuracies is not just frustrating for users; it’s a blatant disregard for the trust placed in them.

Is Ahrefs' traffic estimation based on a limited keyword set?

Yes, and it’s a limitation that costs dearly. Ahrefs’ narrow focus on a select set of keywords results in a skewed view of traffic estimation, leaving out a vast landscape of relevant data.

Can Ahrefs' data discrepancies affect SEO rankings?

Absolutely. When businesses base their SEO strategies on Ahrefs’ data, they’re essentially shooting in the dark. These discrepancies can lead to misinformed decisions, adversely affecting SEO rankings.

Transcript of Emails to Ahrefs Customer Support

Email 1: Initial Inquiry from Michael Schmitt to Ahrefs Support

From: Michael Schmitt, Executive Editor at Malta Media

To: Ahrefs Support

Content: Michael Schmitt inquiries about how to connect Google Analytics (GA) to Ahrefs for the account named MaltaMedia, expressing difficulty in finding relevant information for this integration.

Email 2: Response from Nataliia at Ahrefs

From: Nataliia, Ahrefs

To: Michael Schmitt

Content: Nataliia from Ahrefs explains that they do not offer an option to connect Google Analytics to Ahrefs. Instead, they provide a method for Google Search Console (GSC) verification for website ownership.

Email 3: Clarification Request from Michael Schmitt

From: Michael Schmitt

To: Nataliia, Ahrefs

Content: Michael Schmitt seeks clarification on what GSC refers to.

Email 4: Explanation by Nataliia from Ahrefs

From: Nataliia, Ahrefs

To: Michael Schmitt

Content: Nataliia clarifies that GSC stands for Google Search Console.

Email 5: Further Inquiry from Michael Schmitt

From: Michael Schmitt

To: Nataliia, Ahrefs

Content: Michael Schmitt expresses confusion about where and how to connect or authorize the GSC verification for his project.

Email 6: Instruction on Project Verification from Nataliia

From: Nataliia, Ahrefs

To: Michael Schmitt

Content: Nataliia informs Michael Schmitt that all projects added to his account are already verified, as indicated by an orange tick sign. She provides instructions on how to check GSC performance features or verify a new project in the Ahrefs Dashboard.

Email 7: Complaint and Concern from Michael Schmitt

From: Michael Schmitt

To: Ahrefs Support

Content: Michael Schmitt complains about the traffic statistics shown by Ahrefs for his website. He contrasts the low visitor count reported by Ahrefs with the much higher traffic data from Google Analytics and Google Search Console. He suggests that Ahrefs should allow website owners to connect to real data supplied by Google Analytics for accurate traffic analysis.

Email 8: Traffic Estimation Explanation by Natasha Pechena

From: Natasha Pechena, Ahrefs

To: Michael Schmitt

Content: Natasha Pechena explains Ahrefs’ methodology for estimating traffic based on their keyword data index. She acknowledges that Ahrefs does not track actual visits like Google Analytics or Google Search Console. She mentions an upcoming major update to their keywords database, which is expected to improve the accuracy of their traffic estimations.

Email 9: Further Concerns and Questions from Michael Schmitt

From: Michael Schmitt

To: Natasha Pechena, Ahrefs

Content: Michael Schmitt questions the methodology and accuracy of Ahrefs’ traffic estimations. He criticizes their approach for not including real data like visits, backlinks, referrals, and social media traffic. He requests further clarification on their data collection and analysis methods.

Email 10: Conclusion and Thanks from Michael Schmitt

From: Michael Schmitt

To: Ahrefs Support

Content: Michael Schmitt thanks the Ahrefs team for their explanations. He mentions his plan to publish an article on Malta-Media.com about this conversation and to share it on social networks. He expresses gratitude for the time and information provided by Ahrefs.

To the CEO of Ahrefs: A Concerning Discrepancy in Traffic Analytics

In a recent and notably critical correspondence with Ahrefs, Michael Schmitt, Executive Editor of Malta Media, has raised serious concerns about the reliability and accuracy of the traffic statistics provided by Ahrefs for Malta-Media.com. Schmitt’s email, laden with a blend of skepticism and frustration, challenges the fundamental methodology employed by Ahrefs in estimating website traffic. The communication reveals a profound discrepancy between the data reported by Google Analytics (GA) and Google Search Console (GSC) and the figures presented by Ahrefs, igniting questions about the credibility of Ahrefs’ analytics in the fiercely competitive field of digital marketing.


Michael Schmitt’s contention stems from what he describes as an “absurd” difference in traffic data – a stark contrast between Ahrefs’ report of a mere 16 visitors over six months and the substantial figures showcased by GA and GSC. This disparity not only raises eyebrows but also, as Schmitt articulates, has tangible negative repercussions for his business, specifically during the SIGMA event in Malta.

Core Issues:

At the heart of Schmitt’s argument is a call for transparency and accuracy in digital analytics – a cornerstone for any digital platform’s credibility. His critique extends beyond mere data comparison; it probes into the methodologies Ahrefs employs, questioning their decision-making process in keyword indexing and overall approach to traffic estimation. Schmitt suggests the implementation of a more direct data collection method, akin to that used by Google Analytics, to bolster the reliability of the data Ahrefs presents to its users.


This communication is not just a query or a request for clarification; it is a pointed, journalistic examination of Ahrefs’ operational integrity in traffic analytics. It underscores the growing necessity for accuracy and reliability in digital data analysis, a key driver in today’s data-centric marketing world. The email, set to be published on Malta-Media.com and across Schmitt’s social networks, potentially stands as a significant critique, likely to stir conversation and debate in digital marketing circles.

Transcript of Emails to Ahrefs CEO

Subject: Stark Discrepancies in Traffic Analytics Exposed – A Critical Dialogue with Ahrefs

From Michael Schmitt to Ahrefs CEO, Dmitry (Initial Email):

Sent: 17 November 2023, 13:34

Subject: 16 page views for Malta-Media.com in 6 months!!


Issue Raised: Michael Schmitt, running Malta-Meida.com, voices strong dissatisfaction with Ahrefs’ reported statistics, showing a mere 16 visitors in six months, a number he describes as “absurd” compared to the substantial figures from Google Analytics (GA) and Google Search Console (GSC).

Suggestion: Proposes Ahrefs to provide a mechanism, similar to Google’s, allowing website owners to integrate real traffic data into Ahrefs’ analysis.

Consequence: Highlights the negative impact of these statistics on his business, especially at the SIGMA event in Malta.

Response from Natasha Pechena, Ahrefs to Michael Schmitt:

Sent: 17 November 2023, 14:37

Subject: Re: FW: 16 page views for Malta-Media.com in 6 months!!


Explanation: Clarifies Ahrefs’ reliance on their own keyword index for traffic estimation, acknowledging the limitation of not tracking all URLs and keywords like Google.

Admission: Admits that Ahrefs’ data is solely based on keywords with meaningful search volume, and they do not incorporate other traffic sources like backlinks, referrals, or social media in their reports.

Michael Schmitt's Follow-up Email to Ahrefs:

Sent: 17 November 2023, 15:20


Criticism: Questions the accuracy of Ahrefs’ traffic calculation, criticizing the lack of real data tracking such as actual visits, backlinks, and referrals.

Doubt on Methodology: Expresses skepticism about Ahrefs’ decision-making in what to crawl and list in their keyword index.

Demand for Transparency: Urges Ahrefs to offer a simple script for websites, similar to GA, for more accurate data collection.

Reminder: Emphasizes that the conversation will be publicized, highlighting the loss of potential clients due to Ahrefs’ data.

Michael Schmitt's Email to Ahrefs CEO and Team:

Sent: Later Date


Announcement: Informs that the entire conversation will be transformed into an article and shared with the CEO, on Malta-Media.com, and social networks.

Appreciation: Thanks the team for their time and explanations, albeit with an underlying tone of dissatisfaction.

It is important to note, however, that Dmitry Gerasimenko was not available to comment on the matters raised in these emails.


With over 20 years experience in web design, SEO and website promotion I always give you an expert advice in regard to any issues related to your Site Design, SEO, Internet Marketing, Promotion, Backlinks, Site Content. In order to help you find out what is missing or can be improved and get higher rankings in Google and more traffic.