Uncategorized Ahrefs Tool Guide: Content Explorer for e-Commerce

February 17, 2021by Colin Gacek
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Once largely relegated to brick-and-mortar stores, consumer packaged goods (CPGs) finally began growing a large but slow online presence. Today, e-commerce in CPGs is booming. The rise of brands like Warby Parker, Bombas, Harry’s and others, demonstrate the immense potential for online CPG sales.

Those big companies followed the trends and had some luck, but they have also benefited from massive funding and marketing departments. For smaller e-commerce CPG brands, you need to rely on hard work and amazing marketing.

This is why a tool like Ahrefs Content Explorer should get you excited. It offers incredible power for marketers trying to drive e-commerce traffic. 

Use it for topic research, to find the best opportunities for backlinks, and to get data and SEO metrics on competitor sites.

What is the Ahrefs Content Explorer Tool?

Ahrefs released its Content Explorer tool in 2014 and an updated 2.0 version in 2019. Essentially, it’s a searchable database of over one billion sites that you can also filter. 

Content Explorer is just one useful tool in the Ahrefs suite of SEO research tools. It’s great for all kinds of online businesses, with several functions that will help you build content and improve search rankings with your e-commerce site:

  • Search and research nearly two billion websites.
  • Check out SEO and social metrics for successful competitor sites, including domain rating, organic traffic, social shares, and traffic value.
  • Use advanced operators to really narrow down your search.
  • Find topics for content with low competition but big backlink potential.
  • Filter out search results to get just what you need.
  • Network and find partnering opportunities with other sites and authors.
  • Track down opportunities to turn broken links and pages into effective content.
  • Reverse engineer the successful content marketing strategies of competitors.

Ahrefs Content Explorer is Perfect for Content Research

Creating and ranking great content should begin with research. Simply creating a piece you think people will like, share, and link to isn’t enough in the competitive e-commerce business. 

For content to stand out, you need to know what’s trending, understand what your target market wants to see, and investigate what’s working for competitors.

Content Explorer is truly top in the industry for doing SEO research. There are so many things you can discover using this tool that will help your e-commerce site, from researching your topic to finding out what’s working for competitors and leveraging it to your advantage.

Start your research with a simple search of your keyword or target topic, like t-shirts or coffee makers. Content Explorer will give you a list of the most popular pages and sites for the topic. 

You can also narrow this down using more specific terms, but starting broad will give you more information.

This can help you determine the topics that are trending and that have the potential to lead to increased traffic and links. It’s a useful way to get ideas for new content on your site. 

Content Explorer is truly unique in that it gives you several ways to filter the search results:

  1.   Published Once/Republished. Only look at articles that were published once or those that a page republished, with or without successful results.
  2.   Published/First Published Date. Filter content by the date it was first published.
  3.   Live/Broken. Find missing pages (404 and 410 response pages), which can be great opportunities to reach out for links back to your own content.
  4.   Language. Only look at sites and pages in the language your target audience speaks.
  5.   Social Shares. Find out how popular content is on social media sites. identify viral content.
  6.   Domain Rating. Filter out sites with lower domain ratings.
  7.   Referring Domains. Look at sites that have a certain minimum number of backlinks to see what your opportunities are for getting links on a particular topic or keyword.
  8.   Organic Traffic. Look at how much of the traffic a topic gets is truly organic.
  9.   Number of Words. Filter by content length.
  10. Traffic Value. This value sets a minimum or limit on the number of visitors per month that are organic.
  11. Site. Limit your search to specific sites.
  12. Author. Limit the search to specific authors.

What Kind of Content is Hot?

One of the most useful things you can do with Content Explorer is get ideas for your site’s content. The search tool and all its filters help you find the kind of topics and content people are reading, sharing, and linking to. Several features in the tool will help you choose topics that will get you the most reach:

  • Look at topic trends and set the filter to content published in the last 24 hours for ideas for fresh, trending content.
  • Filter for pages that were only published once, several years ago, and that had many referring domains. This gives you opportunities to refresh older, popular content. If you sell coffee makers and a page on the “best eco-friendly coffees of 2015” was really popular but never updated, try writing similar content but for the current year.
  • Set the filter to find pages republished recently. This tells you the topic is working well for a competitor and it could work for you too. The pages a competitor chooses to republish indicate a topic that gets a lot of traffic.
  • Filter for social shares to get ideas for topics that will trend on social media sites.

Use Advanced Search Operators

If you’re familiar with the advanced Google search operators, try them in Content Explorer. Use it to hone your search results. 

For instance, if you sell yoga gear and are trying to boost sales of a new mat, you can search a specific competitor’s site for all of its trending pages with keywords related to yoga mat. This will give you an idea of the content people are responding to when searching for yoga mats.

Research Competitors

The trend metric is a new feature in Content Explorer 2.0. Use it to analyze your competitors and reverse engineer their marketing strategies. You can input a specific competitor site and see how their pages trend over time. Focus in on a specific time period for more detail.

As an example, if your competitor site that sells home goods had a traffic spike in May, look at the pages for that month. Which got the most views and links? You will probably see a pattern, like several pages on what to get mom for mother’s day, or why she might like a specific top-of-the-line espresso machine.

Researching your topic for content ideas is the first, and perhaps most important part of content marketing. But this is just the beginning. 

Creating content on trending topics, based on keywords associated with high traffic for competitors is great. But to really build your search rankings, you need to do more.

Content Explorer can help you take that research and develop solid content marketing plans. It can also help you with a link building campaign that will direct more sites to your own and improve your  rankings.

Find the Low-Hanging Fruit of Keywords

A big part of your content marketing strategy has to be keywords. You can write great content on the value of “expensive face creams,” but if no one is searching for those expensive face creams, what’s the point?

Search Content Explorer for your keywords related to your product that have zero referring domains but 1,000 or more visitors per month in organic traffic. 

These are low-competition keywords that people are searching but that other sites have yet to catch on to.

Content marketing strategy should include a link building campaign. Create the content people will link to naturally, but also leverage Content Explorer’s features to get more links faster. One way to do this is to search your competitor pages.

Filter search results by referring domains to see not just the topics getting a lot of links for competing sites, but the actual sites providing those links. These are the sites and pages that may want to link to your similar, hopefully better, content.

Broken links are great prospects for new links to your pages, but finding and utilizing them can be time-consuming. With Content Explorer, it’s easier. Search your topic and filter it to show you all broken pages with a certain number of referring domains, say 20.

For building links to your page about running shoes, you can search using the words how AND running shoes. This limits your search to informational pages, and excludes news articles and sales pages. 

You’ll find content similar to your own but with referring domains that now have broken links to that site. Target those domains for link building outreach.

Target Broken Pages to Fill a Content Void

The newest version of Content Explorer includes broken pages, which can be useful for link building. 

Ahrefs reports there are about five million dead pages added to their database each month, so the opportunities are nearly endless. 

Find the broken pages relevant to your product or content, reach out to the pages that link to it, and let them know you have updated content and are happy to take their links.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Filter your search for broken pages only.
  • Narrow the list down to pages with a specific number of referring domains, like 100 or more.
  • This should give you a reasonable number of broken pages with linking opportunities.
  • Choose a site with a lot of referring domains and check its backlinks report.
  • If the links come from high-authority sites, it indicates the topic is a good one and that you’ll have quality links to pursue.
  • You can also click on “view all pages of this domain” for the site and find other broken pages.

Don’t limit this strategy to only fit your existing pages. Use it as a tool to find new content ideas. If you find relevant broken pages with plenty of backlinks to it, this may be a great topic or keyword to make the focus of a new piece of content on your site.

Find Your Unlinked Brand Mentions

Your brand could be out there on the internet, mentioned, but with no links back to you. Don’t let those opportunities go to waste. Use Content Explorer to find them, so you can reach out and ask for links

Search Authors for Networking and Guest Blogs

If in your search, you find an author you like, click on their name in Content Explorer to see all of their posts. 

Click on “one page per domain” to see all the unique sites that author has written for or posted content to. 

This kind of information can help you hire the best freelance writers and network with professionals in your industry.

Another easy search on Content Explorer will help you find sites that may be receptive to a guest post. Search your topic and limit it to one article per domain, so you don’t get multiple pages from the same website. 

Highlight unlinked mentions to find the sites in the list that have not yet linked to you. These sites present great opportunities for outreach.

Target and Refine Your e-Commerce Content Marketing

The Ahrefs Content Explorer tool is invaluable to e-commerce sites looking to grow search ranking and sales. Content marketing can be confusing and complex, particularly for small companies and sites. This tool, with all its features, metrics, and filters, will give you nearly unlimited ideas for perfecting the strategies that will grow your business. 


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Rea Martin,

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Rea is a Journalism graduate with a passion for writing about technology as well as other topics like business, finance and lifestyle. She has a background in research and working with start-ups and scale-ups, especially in the software and tech sector.

Jacqueline Ochieng,

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