Which is the Most Accurate Website Traffic Estimator?

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Note: At the moment of doing this research and posting this article: I confirm that I’m not affiliated with any of the tools. I am not partnering or working for any of them.

We all know tools that show the organic traffic of your competitors’ websites isn’t accurate. These tools just estimate the website traffic and, usually, the traffic they show is underestimated.

In this article, we’ll test 6 websites that we got a screenshot of from their GSC, and we’ll also check their organic estimated traffic according to 3 tools – Ahrefs, Semrush, and SimilarWeb. We want to see which site is the closest to the real number if we accept the GSC number as the real one.

We’ll measure the organic traffic globally with the 3 tools. We won’t focus on a specific region.

How did we get the websites for this study?

We can’t disclose the websites we used in this study. The category of the website will be shown.

The only website that will be public is my own blog ThriveMyWay.com

We looked into traffic volumes during January 2022 with GSC, Ahrefs, Semrush, and SimilarWeb.

We take the total number and compare which one of the 3 tools will be the closest to the GSC number.

There was one such study made in 2016 by Screamingfrog, and in this experiment the most accurate website traffic checker was SimilarWeb. The least accurate traffic checker was Semrush.

Let’s see if this has changed in the past 5 years and what the final result is for 2022.

More about the Methodology

Similar Web doesn’t show a traffic number for months when the traffic was below 5000.

See, it just shows below 5,000.

That’s why we decided to test only sites which had more than 5000. Then we can include SimilarWeb in the experiment.

Ahrefs’ Organic search shows daily organic traffic estimation for the whole month and not a total number for the month. The number changes a lot every day.

That’s why we’ll take the last day of each month as the number.

Let’s check a few websites and compare the GSC traffic with the 3 tools for January 2022.

That’s the only publicly shown website in this experiment.

1. ThriveMyWay.com

GSC: 23.2k

Ahrefs: 23.3k

 

Semrush: 23.9k

 

 

SimilarWeb: 23.2k


The winners for this traffic estimation were Ahrefs and Similar Web. But all 3 were incredibly close in estimating the organic traffic that ThriveMyWay.com received in January 2022.

That’s amazing. I can’t believe all 3 tools are so accurate for this one.

Winner: SimilarWeb, Ahrefs, Semrush [1 point for all 3]

2. Website about Pension and Retirement Planning

GSC: 20k

Ahrefs: 5.8k

Semrush: 16.8k

SimilarWeb: 5.6k


All 3 tools underestimated the traffic, but Semrush is closest.

Winner: Semrush +1 point

3. Website about Beer

GSC: 27.5k

Ahrefs: 69.6k

 

Semrush: 14.2k

SimilarWeb: 7k


None of the tools is close to the GSC number, but still, Semrush is the closest.

Winner: Semrush +1 point

4. Sport Website

GSC: 13.4k

Ahrefs: 9.4k

Semrush: 5.1k

 

SimilarWeb: less than 5000


SimilarWeb estimated that the website had less than 5000 visits but actually it had 13.4k.

Ahrefs is the closest here.

Winner: Ahrefs +1 point

5. Kids Learning Site

GSC: 9.4k

Ahrefs: 13.6k

Semrush: 112.8k

SimilarWeb: 6.8k


Ahrefs is overestimating a bit while SimilarWeb is underestimating by a small amount. But Semrush is not correct at all.

Winner: SimilarWeb +1 point

6. College Website

GSC: 103k

Ahrefs: 25.7k


Semrush: 59.9k

SimilarWeb: 43k


Here all 3 sites are underestimating the traffic. Semrush is the closest, but still almost half the real number.

Winner: Semrush +1 point

7. Marketing Software

GSC: 57.1k

GSC

Ahrefs: 36k

AHREFS

Semrush: 97.8k

SEMRUSH

Similarweb: 50k

SIMILAR WEB

Semrush is closest to this one. Similarweb underestimate a bit. Ahrefs is far away.

Winner: Semrush +1 point

Conclusion

The only conclusion is that we should take those traffic estimations with a big pinch of salt.

From those 7 tests, the ranking looks like this:

  1. Semrush: 4 points
  2. SimilarWeb: 3 points
  3. Ahrefs: 2 points

Of course, we can’t make serious conclusions from the 7 tests with these websites. We need many more sites for meaningful research.

Do you want me to continue with this research?

If yes, please help me by filling in this spreadsheet if your website has more than 5000 organic visits: https://forms.gle/me1KzvUM2r7Zg24U6

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