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Serpstat, SimilarWeb, or Ahrefs: Which Is Better For Paid Ads Optimization?

Digital Marketing
April 25, 2023
20 min

Once you’ve defined your strategic SEO and PPC marketing goals for 2023, it’s high time you chose among the best-fit web analytics platforms. 

SerpStat, SimilarWeb and Ahrefs are on the list of the most popular all-in-one SEO tools that allow you to conduct and follow a data-based plan so that the site becomes more visible.

While paid keywords and traffic are at stake, Promodo experts are here to dive into the analysis of three web analytics tools to help you select keywords and analyze competitors in terms of paid search.

Shared Features

Tracking Paid Ads during the Reporting Period

With Serpstat, SimilarWeb and Ahrefs, you can assess the amount of traffic generated by your pages in paid results. 

More to that, all three platforms allow to track your paid ads during the reporting period. 

Domains and Subdomains Analytics by SerpStat
Domains and Subdomains Analytics by Serpstat

In the case of Serpstat, you should choose 

1) Domains and subdomains 

2) Domain analysis 

3) Google system and country. 

Google System and Country Analytics by SerpStat
Google System and Country Analytics bySerpstat

Once domain analysis lacks data on paid keywords, you should opt for РРС analysis and choose the system and the country manually. 

Be sure to rely on SimilarWeb to spot paid traffic during the reporting period without limitations. 

In its turn, Ahrefs Rank Tracker will regularly update you on Google rankings of your website across 170 countries. With that, you’ll have to match countries per keyword and provide the system with competitor URLs.

Ahrefs Rank Tracker
Ahrefs Rank Tracker

With a substantial extent of inaccuracy, Ahrefs will indicate the number of keywords in your ad during the reporting period. At least, with Ahrefs ‘Overview’ you’ll spot whether the ad campaign was run at a definite period. This is how Ahrefs lets you track an overall amount of paid traffic on your site.

Tracking Paid Traffic with Ahrefs
Tracking Paid Traffic with Ahrefs

Thus, it is much better to check traffic amounts with SimilarWeb. Marina Yeremenko, TL PPC, Promodo.

Tracking Traffic with SimilarWeb
Tracking Traffic with SimilarWeb

Traffic Estimate in Paid Results by SerpStat
Traffic Estimate in Paid Results by Serpstat

Traffic Estimate in Paid Results by Serpstat

Traffic Estimate in Paid Results by SimilarWeb
Traffic Estimate in Paid Results by SimilarWeb

Traffic Estimate in Paid Results by Ahrefs
Traffic Estimate in Paid Results by Ahrefs

At Promodo, we benefit from using these web analytics tools to detect whether our clients lack paid traffic, or whenever a share of their paid traffic is lesser than in competitors. 

Once SimilarWeb indicates paid traffic growth among the competitors while our client lacks it, we will track paid traffic dynamics within several months to correct the strategy for the client’s paid channel.

Once we see that the competitors intensify their efforts, we advise the client to increase ad budgets. The same is true when SimilarWeb indicates a lower share of paid traffic compared to the client’s competitors. Once one of your competitors fails, we will try to retrieve their traffic during the same period and suggest further strategy corrections to drive more traffic, boost sales, and surge revenue. Marina Yeremenko, TL PPC, Promodo.

Detecting Competitors

All three platforms allow you to detect competitors. With Serpstat, you’ll find organic keywords to spot competition. 

Still, you’d better double-check here. You may also seek competitors by keywords in search results from both paid and organic campaigns. 

Detecting Competitors in Organic Search with SerpStat
Detecting Competitors in Organic Search with Serpstat

In its turn, SimilarWeb reflects competitors automatically once you click ‘Compare.’ 

Detecting Competitors in Ads with SimilarWeb
Detecting Competitors in Ads with SimilarWeb

Finally, Ahrefs shows competitors based on keywords used in paid searches. 

Detecting Competitors based on Keywords in Paid Searches with Ahrefs
Detecting Competitors based on Keywords in Paid Searches with Ahrefs

Measuring Paid Keywords and CPC

Another great question is whether it is possible to analyze paid keywords and cost per click (CPC). 

In its keyword РРС report, Serpstat shows the keywords from a user account as well as the ones retrieved from search queries. Oftentimes, СРС in SerpStat (0,1) may fail to match an actual CPC (0,18) value. Most likely, Serpstat will show search queries that served as a background for ad campaigns. 

In this vein, keyword reports by SimilarWeb will show search queries and keywords in a user account. While CPC fails to match, it is way more precise compared to Serpstat. While the similar value of cost per click may indicate (0,15), its actual value may equal (0,13).

With Ahrefs, you’ll analyze keywords, though it embraces fewer numbers than SimilarWeb. While СРС still does not match, the platform provides the most precise outcome: 0,11 will equal an actual value of 0,12.

Whenever a client experiences an overwhelming amount of search queries irrelevant to their site or business goals, they waste their ad budget and fail to keep up with strategic business objectives. To fix the problem, we regularly monitor and clear irrelevant search queries. With that, a client receives higher clickability, lower cost-per-click (CPC), an optimized budget, and lower cost per sale (CPS) respectively. Marina Yeremenko, TL PPC, Promodo.

Viewing Ad Texts

All three web analytics platforms allow you to view ad texts. 

In its ad report, Serpstat shows outdated ads in addition to the actual ones during the reported period. However, all ads lack extensions.

SimilarWeb shows only actual ads within the reported period. Alternatively, you may customize data for the ads. The platform assumes ads with extensions. You may even choose the months for your ad analysis. As major competitors to SimilarWeb, Serpstat and Ahrefs disable these options and are rather inconvenient in this respect. 

The analysis of customized periods with SimilarWeb enables us to understand what’s going on at the very moment. More often than not, there is no need to analyze competitor ads displayed a few months ago that are inactive now. Marina Yeremenko, TL PPC, Promodo.

Ahrefs provides a limited amount of actual ad texts, though without defining an exact period. Just as in the case of Serpstat, all ads lack extensions here.

In all three cases, however, ad texts in search results lack extensions and may be grammatically incorrect. 

Watching For Competitor Ads and More

While Serpstat, SimilarWeb, and Ahrefs assess keyword relevance to an ad and a landing page simultaneously, Serpstat makes it rather inconvenient. 

SimilarWeb is far more user-friendly because it enables more data. 

Simultaneous Assessment of Keyword Relevance to an Ad and a Landing Page by Ahrefs
Simultaneous Assessment of Keyword Relevance to an Ad and a Landing Page by Ahrefs

Enabling keyword filters to analyze ads

In terms of page analysis on a site, there’s no Serpstat vs Ahrefs dilemma while both platforms allow segmentation by URLs only, while SimilarWeb allows segmentation by URLs and keywords.


Keyword Filters used by Ahrefs
Keyword Filters used by Ahrefs

Finally, all platforms allow you to watch for competitor ads. In Serpstat, you’ll have to insert a keyword and see all the related ads. In SimilarWeb, you’ll have to change a keyword in the paid ads dropdown menu. Ahrefs will require you to insert a new site every single time. 

Core Distinctions

With SimilarWeb and Ahrefs as Serpstat alternatives, you can detect display periods of paid ads and whether they have been run in a current month. The same is true if you want to define a paid traffic amount per month. Serpstat lacks this feature.

Paid Search Overview by SimilarWeb
Paid Search Overview by SimilarWeb

Paid Search Traffic Shown by Ahrefs
Paid Search Traffic Shown by Ahrefs

In our particular case, as Serpstat competitors, SimilarWeb and Ahrefs have shown instability in paid traffic over the past 6-12 months. There have been sharp drops and/or terminations of ad campaigns. With that, each paid traffic tendency was unique; neither replicated the tendencies shown by general traffic. Seasonality trends and traffic indicators shown by competitors have also been purely individual. Marina Yeremenko, TL PPC, Promodo.
Paid Search Assessments
Paid Search Assessments

Unlike Serpstat, though, SimilarWeb and Ahrefs allow you to assess keyword relevance to your landing page and to the ad text.

Assessment of Keyword Relevance by SimilarWeb 
Assessment of Keyword Relevance by SimilarWeb 
Assessment of Keyword Relevance by SimilarWeb
Assessment of Keyword Relevance by SimilarWeb

In this vein, Ahrefs provides much more data than SimilarWeb. 

Data provided by Ahrefs
Data provided by Ahrefs

Data provided by Ahrefs
Data provided by Ahrefs
There are instances when a search query fails to match the content on a landing page or an ad text in SimilarWeb and Ahrefs. In the case of paid ads, we emphasize the quality of ads as a major precondition for higher clickability and a lower cost-per-click (CPC). If your ad lacks keywords relevant to a search query or your landing page fails to match it, you’ll face a lower clickability rate and higher cost per click. This means we overpay for the traffic and get a higher cost per sale (CPS). By critically assessing how far search queries are relevant to the ad text, we prioritize further advancements and achieve lower CPC and CPS. Marina Yeremenko, TL PPC, Promodo.

As an alternative to SimilarWeb, Serpstat, and Ahrefs allow you to assess the preciseness of selected competitors. With that, Serpstat is your most precise option when you make a PPC comparison of competitor domains. 

Selection of Competitors by Ahrefs
Selection of Competitors by Ahrefs

Selection of Competitors by Ahrefs
Selection of Competitors by Ahrefs

A comparative advantage of Ahrefs here is that you can detect the number of matched keywords in organic searches to ensure the most precise selection of competitors.

As Ahrefs competitor research tools, Serpstatand SimilarWeb allow analyzing paid keywords on your and competitor sites. With that Serpstat obviously lacks data. The option is not available in Ahrefs. Therefore Ahrefs competitor research is relevant in due context.

Paid Keywords Analysis by SerpStat
Paid Keywords Analysis by Serpstat

Paid Keywords Analysis by SimilarWeb
Paid Keywords Analysis by SimilarWeb


Serpstat is now a feasible alternative to Ahrefs with an extended SEO tool stack you may use across a vast geography of Google regions. 

As an Ahrefs competitor, the platform will substantially enhance your SEO and PPC campaign performance with actionable insights.

Serpstat encompasses more than 7.16 b. keywords across 230 Google bases. The platform is, therefore, your best-fit option to research keywords and analyze competitors.

As a rank tracker tool, Serpstat will help you: 

  • Identify winning keywords on the results pages
  • Track keyword rankings
  • Audit your site and individual pages
  • Analyze backlinks. 

You may also rely on Serpstat tool to track top non-thematic queries in Google per country and city within two days.

Serpstat increases its backlinks index by 2 b. links a day. The platform’s index base is half that much than the unique links stored by Ahrefs.

To many, Serpstat comes as a cost-effective Similarweb competitor and a win-win Ahrefs alternative. 

Serpstat will synergize your marketing efforts, so you can: 

  • Customize periods for web analysis
  • Analyze contextual advertising 
  • Research and cluster keywords 
  • Track your competitors and keyword trends
  • Analyze domains
  • Benefit from custom reports 
  • Apply keyword recommendations 
  • Check SERP crawling trends 
  • Build an SEO-optimized website structure

Serpstat keyword research tool will help to expand your keyword list and drive more organic and paid traffic. To compare competitors in SerpStat and outrank them, it is also worth building your website strategy by using competitor data.

Finally, automatic audits by Serpstat will keep your site healthy. The platform will spot up to 60 critical issues and find best-fit solutions. You are free to track your market performance every day and compare your positions with your closest competitors. We also suggest tracking content that drives traffic to your site. 


Customized Periods for Web Analysis

As Similarweb competitors, SerpStat and Ahrefs assume customized periods for web analysis. In its turn. SimilarWeb allows you to opt for any period within a one-year package. 

With Serpstat, you may choose an entire year or an entire period in some reports, while other reports entail a random choice (most likely a year). 

Finally, Ahrefs allows you to choose an entire period, a year, or the past 30 days to analyze your website traffic. Whenever you want to analyze paid keywords, you may choose a certain month, though not a period.

Traffic Assessment

To generate assessments and insights, Similarweb applies a sample of data. However, this will not work for websites with less than 100k monthly visits. The platform will not provide statistically accurate estimates if your site is below this range.

Still, unlike Serpstat and Ahrefs as major competitors of Similarweb, the platform is the most convenient once you want to assess a total amount of traffic coming from all channels. 

Tracking Organic Traffic over a Selected Period with SimilarWeb
Tracking Organic Traffic over a Selected Period with SimilarWeb

In addition to showing traffic from all channels, SimilarWeb indicates a total amount of traffic coming on-site within a selected period. 

Serpstat shows organic traffic during random dates only
Serpstat shows organic traffic during random dates only

By contrast, Serpstat shows only organic traffic during random dates, though does not provide an overall organic traffic per certain period or a month.

Daily Spread of Organic Traffic within a Selected Period by Ahrefs
Daily Spread of Organic Traffic within a Selected Period by Ahrefs

In its turn, Ahrefs shows a daily spread of organic traffic within a selected period. You can also track the amount of overall organic traffic per month. However, Ahrefs disables tracking paid traffic.

Assessment of Organic Traffic Channels by SimilarWeb
Assessment of Organic Traffic Channels by SimilarWeb

The same is true of Display traffic analysis. By contrast to Serpstat and Ahrefs, SimilarWeb allows you to assess traffic channels in a marketing channel report. SimilarWeb competitors analysis indicates that on the platform you can also assess traffic channels in a report on a particular channel.

Competitive Research by SimilarWeb
Competitive Research by SimilarWeb

Finally, SimilarWeb is your best-fit choice whenever you want to compare your traffic from all channels on your site with the traffic flow of your competitors.

There is Even More to SimilarWeb 

SimilarWeb allows you to list a substantial amount of paid keywords used by competitors, and spot the ones you are lacking. 

Competitive Research by SimilarWeb
Competitive Research by SimilarWeb

You can assess the search results of your ad campaign in Google Shopping. 

The feature enables us to understand whether the client has described titles directly and compare them to the competitors. With that, we also see whether the client uses search results for its product assortment beyond search/media ads. We are also able to visually assess images in our and competitors’ search results. The feature also lets us see how competitors stand out, outperform, or lack behind our clients. Finally, we can detect the keywords the competitors use in search results as well as their best-selling products. Marina Yeremenko, TL PPC, Promodo.

Search Results Per Branded Queries by SimilarWeb
Search Results Per Branded Queries by SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb indicates search results as per branded queries when some of your competitors are ranking higher than you.

The platform will also show search results per category or model queries at the bottom of the page.

SimilarWeb helps us detect whether a client uses Shopping. In the Product Ads Report we can see whether our client or its competitors use product output. In countries with Merchant Center availability, the audit of the client's account will feature the absence of product output as a growth tendency. The same feature may come as a comparative advantage when the client has product output, whereas its competitors lack it. Marina Yeremenko, TL PPC, Promodo.


Ahrefs allows you to compare current ad texts with the previous ones based on the same keyword. 

With Ahrefs, you may also detect the ads shown per keyword and the amount of traffic they drive to your site within a specified period.

Detecting Ads shown per Keyword with Ahrefs
Detecting Ads shown per Keyword with Ahrefs

Final Notes

SimilarWeb may indicate that your traffic is lower than in competitors up to <30%. This signals that you should work more on your site, enhance your organic search engine optimization (organic SEO), and drive paid channels, brand awareness, and brand loyalty by boosting direct and organic traffic. Once your traffic volume is lower than in competitors, you lack behind and should focus on growth points to surge sales and revenue by optimizing the above-mentioned priorities. 

Serpstat, SimilarWeb, and Ahrefs will all indicate an insufficient amount of ad-related landing pages. This means that your paid ads lack some features and you should scale up your ad accounts. As a result, your traffic, sales and revenue will grow. In addition, Ahrefs will help you detect the least effective ad pages or keywords on your site. 

Furthermore, Serpstat and SimilarWeb indicate grammar flaws in ads and irrelevant content to user queries. These issues are crucial while ad quality is crucial for clickability and cost-per-click (CPC) in paid ads. Once your ad lacks keywords that are relevant to user search queries or your landing page is irrelevant, you will get fewer clicks and higher CPC. This means that you’ll overpay for traffic, while cost per sale (CPS) will be much higher than initially budgeted. A robust assessment of search queries’ relevance to the text will help you focus on optimization areas like CPC and CPS. 

Last but not the least, linguistic coherence matters in ad texts and extensions. Oftentimes, overlooking language as a critical factor adversely affects your ad quality, clickability, and CPC. Once languages fail to match, search engines will rate your ads lower than those of the competitors and you’ll pay more for a click. Most of your users have a preferred language to browse in and would not expect to read ad content in other languages. Therefore, experimenting with languages in your ad texts is not a good idea after all. 


From a PPC-expert stance, companies should analyze keywords with Serpstat, SimilarWeb & Ahrefs before launching paid ad campaigns. SimilarWeb is your best-fit choice once you want to dive deep into the niche, analyze competitors, and seek insights. The tool embraces wider and far more convenient functions compared to Serpstat and Ahrefs. 

SimilarWeb will help you critically assess: 

  • Traffic across all channels, including Display
  • Ad texts
  • Product output in Google Shopping
  • Used keywords 
  • Keyword intersections, etc. 

As a sufficient SimilarWeb alternative, Serpstat & Ahrefs will serve you as supplementary tools for a more in-depth analysis. Marina Yeremenko, TL PPC, and Promodo.

Our Expertise

At Promodo we will audit every single detail that has recently changed on your end and detect major changes among your competitors. For example, your clients might have added a new unique selling proposition (USP). A meticulous audit will let us compare your ad texts with the competitors’ in terms of variety and extensions. In one of our cases, we spotted that our competitors defined ‘city’ across their titles and started using dynamic geo insertions in ads. Marina Yeremenko, TL PPC, Promodo.

We may also assess the availability of paid ads outside your country and understand whether your competitors work solely on a domestic market or have already moved overseas. We will track competitor presence overseas and market dynamics to understand whether you are lacking behind.

Our experts will help you assess page traffic amount in paid results to define your current positioning vs. closest competitors. The assessment will indicate how far your competitors use a particular ad channel and whether you should prioritize it. We will also calculate how much your competitors spend on a particular channel and its traffic amount. 

Be Sure To Benefit From Serpstat, SimilarWeb & Ahrefs With Our Expert Team 

Written by
Taras Bereza

Content Marketing Manager at Promodo

Taras has 16 years of hands-on copywriting experience overseas with 3000+ unique copies.

Accredited with Certificate of Proficiency in English (C2 level) by Cambridge University. Studied at Writing Launch Academy (United States) and owns an Academic Writing Certificate from Oregon University. Author of 12 dictionaries with Apriori Publishers.

April 25, 2023
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