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June 22, 2021

Hey Ahrefs, we found some UX opportunities for you

To: Tim Soulo, CMO, Ahrefs
Sender: Katie Mitchell, Head of Marketing, Sprig
Subject: New survey reveals UX opportunities for Ahrefs

Hi, Tim! You tossed me a fun challenge at the beginning of this year—and I love a challenge.

Remember this?

In order to seriously consider Sprig, you said you needed to be convinced ahead of time that it would be worth your time. So here we go!

We thought we’d go with our bread and butter and dig into some user research of our own. Our goal was to find opportunities for your UX team—pieces of the Ahrefs experience that we believe are hidden treasure troves of user feedback.

To that end, we surveyed Ahrefs users to learn how they use Ahrefs, what they love about it, and what they find frustrating.

Sure enough, we discovered some UX opportunities we think are worth a closer look by your product development team. Here’s what we found—and how Sprig can help you quickly capture valuable feedback in each of these areas.

Users are supplementing Ahrefs with other SEO tools

86% of participants say they have to use tools and resources outside Ahrefs to find the information and insights they need to answer their SEO questions.

You and I both know Ahrefs is the “all-in-one SEO toolset.” We love that we don’t need a degree in digital marketing to understand and use Ahrefs—that makes our jobs so much easier.

However, according to our survey findings, Ahrefs isn’t the one-stop SEO shop for most users. While Ahrefs is a core part of a users’ toolsets, most of them said they have to supplement Ahrefs to complete their regular SEO work — using other tools and resources to fill what they see as product gaps.

Respondents said that in addition to Ahrefs, they often turn to tools like Google, Clearscope, Keywords Everywhere and Spyfu. When asked why they use other tools, survey participants said they sought more accurate data, additional keyword features, more context, and additional article analysis features.

The UX Opportunity: Identify the Feature Gaps that lead users away from Ahrefs

As you continue to develop Ahrefs to truly become the all-in-one SEO toolset, your product team will benefit from deeper insight into the reasons behind users’ choice to supplement Ahrefs. When you understand the why behind this behavior, your team will be better equipped to identify and solve product or feature gaps to better serve and retain users.

With Sprig you can easily launch in-product surveys that appear on-page when users are working in a core feature, such as Site Explorer or Keyword Explorer. With an in-product survey, you get to capture what a user is thinking about a feature while they’re actually using that feature. Set up a Gauge Feature Satisfaction survey to learn why users feel Ahrefs isn’t comprehensive enough for all their needs—and to identify opportunities to iterate improvements.

Gauge Feature Satisfaction survey template
Gauge Feature Satisfaction survey template

Users need multiple tabs to make Ahrefs work for them

81% of participants say they need multiple browser tabs to complete a task in Ahrefs.

I’ve got tabs open on my computer right now. A lot of tabs. Enough tabs to fill the top of my screen and your screen. I think we can all agree — the fewer tabs required to get our work done, the better. We were intrigued to learn that Ahrefs users often have to juggle multiple tabs to access the information they need.

Ahrefs users find a lot of value in the different insights available within Ahrefs — but nearly half (48%) of respondents said they “sometimes” operate Ahrefs with multiple tabs open, while 33% said they do so “most of the time.”

They identified keyword research, batch analysis, and domain comparison as the tasks that most often required them to open multiple open tabs to complete.

The UX opportunity: smooth user workflows by understanding points of friction

Sometimes multiple tabs are just a way of life, especially for more complex tasks. However, if important tasks in Ahrefs regularly cause users to work between tabs, that could indicate an unnecessary source of friction and frustration. By digging deeper into this behavior, you can gain valuable insight into how people use Ahrefs—and how you can potentially improve your UX to better fit what users need and want from your interface.

Sprig helps you do just that—by setting up an event, you can display an in-product survey five seconds after users open a new tab. Use custom survey questions (or a modified Gauge Task Accomplishment template) to learn why the user opened another tab, and how they feel about it. In capturing the immediate context of this user experience, you’ll be able to accurately gauge whether or not these multi-tab workflows are a problem. (And who knows, you may even get some great ideas for your next feature!)

Users aren’t making the most of Ahrefs’ features

52% of survey participants said they have to figure out how to navigate Ahrefs on their own.

Users love the many tools and capabilities of Ahrefs. (In fact, the #2 reason participants said they prefer Ahrefs to Moz is the availability of so many different tools!)

At the same time, the vast variety of options can become bewildering. The second-most difficult aspect of using Ahrefs, according to survey participants, is that there are “too many features.” The open-ended answers included sentiments like:

“Ahrefs has a lot of capabilities, but figuring out what those are and how to take advantage of them is challenging.”

“There are so many features! It's a bit overwhelming at first, not knowing where to look and where to go.”

“Not knowing how to use a lot of the available tools and getting frustrated. It's mostly been trial by error.”

How do you reconcile this apparent contradiction? Education.

The #1 source of frustration for Ahrefs users is “insufficient guidance.” Knowing this is half the battle, because Ahrefs already has a deep and growing reservoir of educational material available. Your blog, your tutorials, your help center — all of this is right there for anyone in the world to read, watch or listen to.

The key now is to figure out how to connect your users with all of this great information—the solution is available, but the majority of users appear to not be aware this help exists. Before you can correct the issue, though, you need to know why this disconnect is happening.

The UX opportunity: leverage your resource library to its full potential

The good news is you’ve already got a headstart on this issue with your resource library. Further research into this issue will help you identify how you can make these resources more effective and accessible to your users. Is the issue that users don’t realize there’s good education available? Do they find your library overwhelming and need help navigating? Do they want more hand-holding in the app itself? You won’t know (and won’t be able to fix it) until you ask.

Inside Sprig, you can use custom audience filters to target in-product surveys to users who have not used some of your most valuable features. Ask them what's stopped them and what information or assistance they'd need to start using those features. The Understand Low Engagement survey template makes it super easy to kickstart this research. The qualitative data you gather here will shine a light on why your users feel they lack guidance—and will highlight the path to improving their experience.

Learn the why that drives your best (and worst) users

At the end of the day, you can have all product analytics data in the world—and it still won’t help you give users what they really want. Truly excellent UX research requires digging into the why behind that data. That’s how you get into their heads and give them the solution they actually want.

That’s where we come in. Sprig takes the guesswork out of product development by helping you collect insight quickly and at scale. Instead of having to wait on big research initiatives that may still return low response rates, in-product surveys allow you to continuously capture valuable, contextualized user feedback. This makes it possible to iterate faster on your product and feature improvements. (Curious? Want more details on how? We’ve got you covered with this article.)

So what do you think, Tim? Ready to take Sprig for a test drive? Our team would love to talk UX research with you and show you more about what Sprig has to offer.

How’s this week look for you? 😉

Talk soon,

About the author

Katie Mitchell

Buyer-centric marketer. Deep experience building brands and driving growth in SaaS. Firm believer that all marketing is human-to-human. Former Marketing Director at EVERFI.

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