As an online business owner, you’re likely aware of how crucial SEO is to your business’ success. However, the massive market for SEO tools and software, (such as Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMRush) can make things a little more complicated for an SEO novice. Such a vast availability of tools begs the question: ”Ahrefs vs SemRush vs Moz – which one is best for SEO?”.
This article is a showdown of the top three SEO tools: Ahrefs vs SEMrush vs Moz. Which one of these is the best tool for your business?
Ahrefs vs SEMrush vs Moz: A Little About SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing strategy that focuses on increasing the amount of high-quality traffic to a particular website. SEO tools increase a website’s visibility by optimizing it to rank higher in search engines. In simple terms, SEO is what makes your website stand out.
Can you imagine how many sites are publishing posts on the internet every day? Trust us; it’s a huge number! No matter how unique your content is, there are probably already many similar articles continually competing for attention. Without SEO, your website doesn’t stand a chance. More so, most people don’t even bother to check the second page of Google search results, much less the third or fourth pages.
If Google places your blog post or article on the 5th page, you’ll need nothing short of a miracle to get any traffic to your site. This is why SEO is such an essential aspect of digital marketing.
Traditionally, you’d need to hire someone with SEO expertise to manage your website. For small businesses, that can be an inconvenient extra bill. The good thing is, SEO is no longer such a mysterious process. You don’t need specialized knowledge to make your website SEO-friendly.
All you need is good SEO software that makes it easy to optimize your websites for search engines.
It’s true that a lot of website builders come with in-built SEO tools. But if you’re interested in advanced and technical tools for high-level SEO work, the choices are few. You should be looking at software like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz. Keep reading to find out more.
What is Ahrefs?
Ahrefs is software that provides tools for search engine optimization. On their website, Ahrefs describe themselves as an all-in-one SEO toolset; all the tools you need for SEO are embedded in one platform. More so, Ahrefs gives you statistics to show why your site ranks the way it does. It also provides the tools you need to fix the problem areas and improve your website’s SEO status.
Apart from this, you can also use Ahrefs to analyze competing sites. You can then view their search traffic statistics to find which pages yield the most search engine traffic. Ahrefs other tools also let you check backlinks of competitors and the keywords that make them rank highly.
That’s not all. Ahrefs is equally great for content marketing.
With Ahrefs, you can search for all the content on a particular topic and view your site’s statistics. This tool is ideal for small businesses as well as agencies that manage SEO for multiple clients. In fact, a lot of marketers also find Ahrefs to be an excellent marketing analytics tool.
What is SEMrush?
In 2008, Oleg Shchegolev and Dimitry Melnikov came together to design software that would boost online visibility and provide marketing analytics. They shared their new tool with friends, and gradually, it began to gain popularity in local spheres. The tool was first under the name of Seodigger, and then later changed to SeoQuake. Finally, it was officially launched as SEMrush, a Boston-based software company with over 650 employees.
So, what does SEMrush do? SEMrush is software that provides users with a variety of tools and features for strategic online marketing. It has functions that cater to all the different components of digital marketing – from SEO to social media management and even content marketing.
SEMrush helps you in two ways:
Firstly, you can use SEMrush to create a project that analyzes your site’s visibility to see how well you’re doing against your competition. It further shows you how much paid and organic traffic your site receives, how your website ranks for keywords, and whether your optimization efforts are working. You can also use SEMrush to conduct keyword research, and then include the highest-ranking keywords in your own content.
Secondly, SEMrush helps provides data on competing sites. If you type a website’s URL into SEMrush, you’ll have access to a lot of useful information about the site. SEMrush’s competitor insights include the amount of traffic to a website, successful keywords, and the backlinks connected to that site. You can further use these insights to learn from your competition and develop strategies that give you the edge over them.
What is Moz?
Moz is a software that provides tools and data to help individuals and businesses run high-performing SEO campaigns. In 2004, Rand Fishkin and Gillian Muessig founded Moz. The company was initially called SEOmoz. It started as a blog where SEO specialists would share ideas and strategies.
Over time, it expanded to become an SEO consulting company. In 2010, both the name and focus of the company changed. SEOmoz became Moz, with a new emphasis on software development.
The Moz tool focuses on simplifying SEO so that everyone can use it. Apart from designing easy-to-use software, Moz makes SEO easy by offering helpful marketing guides and community support. In these guides, you’ll find the best SEO skills for boosting your digital marketing strategy.
Moz further comes with handy features like rank tracking and a keyword explorer. Rank tracking reveals just how well your site ranks for specific keywords. Meanwhile, the keyword explorer suggests which keywords to opt for, based on your site’s niche.
Ahrefs vs SEMrush vs Moz: A Comparison of 4 Key Features
Now you have a general overview of Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz. The problem is, it’s not easy to know the particular software to use for your business. To an SEO amateur, the three options may look very similar. There are indeed substantial overlaps between Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMrush, but there are also some noteworthy differences.
If you’re interested in an in-depth comparison of these top SEO tools, you’re in the right place. We’ll be giving a detailed breakdown of each tool so you can understand what each one has to offer in terms of link analysis, competitor insights, keyword research, rank tracking, and site auditing.
1. Link Analysis – Backlinks and Link Building
In SEO, links are essential. Backlinks, especially, are crucial for increasing traffic to your website. A backlink is a link from one website to yours. Sometimes, backlinks are also inbound links or incoming links. Nevertheless, they are vital because they give your site authority, and shows that it’s trustworthy.
It’s like a vote of confidence. The website linked to you is saying that they approve of you, they trust you, and therefore others should feel confident in trusting you. Websites that have backlinks from quality sites are more likely to have higher rankings in search engines. Again, a backlink from a quality site signals to search engines that they can trust you.
Outbound links go from your website to another website. These are not as crucial as backlinks, but they can still affect your SEO performance. If you have too many broken links or links to unrecognized sites, your ranking with search engines goes down. An excellent SEO tool should be able to give you statistics to improve your link building and backlink strategies.
SEMrush gives you the chance to study your competitors’ backlink profiles. With this, you can easily view and compare multiple domains side by side. Even more, you can compare your site to another site, compare two competing sites to each other, or compare your site to two different websites. This is extremely powerful.
Using SEMrush gives you the chance to identify backlinks to competing domains, how authoritative they are, and where they are located. You can use this information about your competition to strengthen your marketing efforts.
The good news is that SEMrush gathers new backlinks daily and updates them every two weeks.
The backlink audit tool identifies dubious links to your site that could fetch you a penalty from Google. You can further send a list of these links directly to Google and ask them to remove any connection your website has with those links. SEMrush also has a powerful link-building tool. By typing in your keywords, SEMrush generates a list of link building opportunities you can use.
You can use Moz to monitor and analyze backlinks to your website and others. The software identifies spam links to your site and gets rid of them. It also helps you increase and maintain traffic to your site by ensuring you only have top quality backlinks. More so, you can use Moz to find and fix broken links which affect the amount of traffic that you get.
You can also use Moz to compare your competitors’ backlinks to yours. It will reveal where others are getting their links from and how they’re doing it. The Link Intersect tool further reveals which sites link to your competitors, but not to you.
Apart from the above-mentioned features, you can use Moz to research the top-performing content on any topic. This is a useful feature for all content marketers. A lot of SEO tools provide analytics in a clumsy way that’s difficult to interpret. Moz, on the other hand, explicitly provides link metrics.
Ahrefs is arguably the best SEO tool for backlinks. For starters, it updates its backlink index in 15-minute intervals. This way, you’ll always have the most current data on new and deleted backlinks. No doubt, Ahrefs is extremely powerful for gaining insight into your competition’s backlink profile.
You will have access to backlink data for pretty much any domain as well as their individual web pages.
Ahrefs also shows you the number of backlinks and referring domains that each page or domain has acquired over time. This data is presented to you neatly in a graph. More so, some graphs show new and deleted links for a particular domain.
It equally has more detailed backlinks data than other software and reveals every page linked to your target website and how much traffic the referring domains get. This is useful information because it gives an estimate of how much traffic you can drive to your site by linking to that domain.
You can also use Ahrefs to build links by identifying broken links in your competitor’s profile and then launching a campaign to make those links for yourself.
2. Competitor Insights
One of the best ways to improve your SEO is to find out what others are doing, then adjust their methods to fit your needs. SEO tools “spy” on competing websites revealing which growth and marketing strategies are working for others.
SEMrush comes with a host of tools that help you to analyze competing domains to understand both why and how they rank the way they do. You can enter the URL of any website and immediately get access to data.
You can then observe which keywords the site ranks for, and the amount of paid and organic traffic. There’s also information about a website’s backlinks, most linked-to pages, and their social media influence. This data is available in reports or graphs. You get to choose which format you want.
Ahrefs is the best tool for in-depth analytical research on your competition. Because of its frequently updated extensive database of backlinks, you’re guaranteed the most current data on your competition’s backlinks profile. You can equally analyze your competitor’s sites to see what keywords they’re ranking highly for. It gives extra information like international keyword rankings and mobile rankings vs. desktop rankings.
Moz is also a great tool for competitor analysis. It doesn’t only reveal the SEO practices of other websites, but you’ll also have insight into your competitor’s entire marketing strategy. Also, it will help you first to identify which sites are your real competition in terms of SEO.
It will then reveal the keyword and link gaps that you can exploit to your advantage. You can also use the top content analysis tool to discover which content has performed well so that you can develop your content along those lines.
3. Keyword Research
People search for information on the internet by typing in specific keywords. If your web page contains a keyword that’s relevant to the ongoing search, your content will rank higher in the search results.
It’s essential to choose the right keywords to boost your visibility. An SEO tool will help you to select a popular keyword with low competition, meaning that not many pages on the internet are using that particular keyword. This is the fastest way to stand out in the competitive world of content marketing.
SEMrush comes with a keyword research function that generates a list of the most useful keywords for your business. It mainly focuses on long-tail keywords, because they direct more relevant traffic to your website.
SEMrush competitor analysis will show you which keywords are working for others in your industry. You can then capitalize on that data to improve your keyword strategy.
Moz is probably the reigning champion for keyword research. It has a useful tool called ‘Keyword Explorer’, which does a thorough job of analyzing keywords. While SEMrush only reveals ten keywords, Moz is unlimited. If you type in a keyword, Moz openly reveals the volume of search the keyword receives every month. It will also reveal just how difficult it is to rank that keyword.
One keyword metric that’s particularly useful is the priority metric. This tells you whether or not you should focus on a particular keyword. Additionally, Moz offers alternative suggestions for the keyword you’ve entered. If you’re new to SEO, you’ll find the Moz Keyword Explorer to be extremely useful.
4. Rank Tracking
Rank Tracking refers to what position your content holds on search engine results. A higher ranking on page 1 is likely to get you far more traffic than a spot on the 6th or 7th page.
Compared to other tools, SEMrush has a pretty basic rank tracker. You can see how well your pages rank, and which keywords have the highest rankings. Additionally, you can view similar data for competing websites. But that’s about it for SEMrush’s rank tracker.
Ahrefs gives you more data than SEMrush. As such, you can track your site’s ranking on both desktop and mobile devices. More so, you can view information on which sites have the highest rankings for your content. Ahrefs gives you these reports on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis.
Moz also has a perfect rank tracker. It displays statistics on your rankings for three different search engines – Yahoo, Google, and Bing. You can filter the data and arrange it according to a keyword label or location.
Ahrefs vs SEMrush vs Moz: A Price Comparison:
You now have a pretty good idea about the features of Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz. Likely, you’ve already figured out which one will work best for your business or personal brand. But before you start entering your credit card details, I know there are two questions that you want answers to:
- How much do these SEO tools cost? And
- Do the features give you enough value for your money?
To answer these questions, I’ll give you a breakdown of the pricing options for each of the three SEO tools.
SEMrush has quite an impressive pricing structure. It has a free version, which suggests that they’d like SEMrush to be accessible to everyone. On the other hand, the cost of the Business version is so steep that not many people can afford to bear such a fee every month. The difference between the Business version and the Guru version is a whopping $200.
- It has a free version
- Pro version – £74 a month
- Guru version – £150 a month
- Business version – £302 a month
- There are custom plans available on request
The free version gives you access to a good number of useful features. However, you might not be so happy with the paid versions. Considering the limited functionality of Moz compared to other tools, I don’t feel that Moz gives you your money’s worth. It’s a little too pricey for what it offers.
- Free version is available
- Standard package – £74 a month
- Medium Package – £112 a month
- Large Package – £188 a month
- Premium Package – £454 a month
There’s no other way to say this – Ahrefs is expensive to use. As such, if you want to enjoy the full benefits of Ahrefs you have to be willing to spend some cash. That said, this tool is chock-full of features (such as the paralleled backlink) that will be more than beneficial for all your SEO campaigns.
- No free version
- 7-day trial available
- Lite Package- £75 a month
- Standard Package – £135 a month
- Advanced Package – £302 a month
- Agency package – £757 a month
Ahrefs vs SEMrush vs Moz: The Final Verdict
Regarding the Ahrefs vs SEMrush vs Moz comparison, it’s fair to say that all three SEO tools have their strengths and weaknesses. However, if we had to pick just one, we’d probably opt for Ahrefs. Although pricey, it gives you your money’s worth. More so, the unparalleled backlinks checker is extremely useful for ascertaining which domains offer a greater authority.
That being said, SEMrush is a better choice for you if your focus is on keyword accuracy.
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