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What's the Best SEO Tool?

SEO Tool Comparison

SEMrush vs Moz vs Ahrefs
Moz, SEMrush & Ahrefs are the top 3 SEO tools available. After 15 years of using them, I explain the reasons to use (or not use) each one.

Some users like Moz because it’s simple and intuitive while others prefer the more useful features offered by Ahrefs and Semrush.

Semrush has numerous solutions for all kinds of businesses - big or small. Apart from SEO, Semrush also offers a full digital marketing solution. Moz, on the other hand, might be ideal for individuals since it has a more beginner-friendly interface. As for Ahrefs, they’re regarded as an advanced and powerful Off-site SEO tool.

There is a common debate about which is the best SEO tool - SEMrush, Moz, or Ahrefs. In this article, we compare each SEO tool with regard to critical features so you can determine which tool is the best for your needs.

 


Article Contents

  • The Best Tool for You - Depends on You
    • Keyword Research
    • Rank Tracking
    • SEO & Website Health
    • Competitor & Link Research
    • Local SEO
    • Content Marketing
    • Paid Traffic
  • Full Feature Comparison
  • Budget & Free Trial Options
  • Don’t Forget...

 

The Best Tool for You - Depends on You

What exactly are you trying to do? We’ll help you determine that with the sections below, but here’s a quick breakdown of who typically uses each tool.

A well-known saying is, "Different strokes for different folks." This also applies to SEO tools. Each tool has a specific purpose and uses its own algorithm in order to rank your website higher on search engines. Let’s go through the different facets and common features of SEO tools and see how each tool compares

Keyword Research

Searching the internet for keyword research can be an overwhelming experience. With a variety of tools, it is important to figure out which one you are going to use in order to make your search more efficient and effective.

Let's Compare:

Keyword Research with SEMRUSH

Semrush offers a variety of dashboards and tools for keyword research and optimization. One being the Keyword Overview dashboard, which provides you with a full report on just about any keyword. This can be used to analyze your selected keywords and determine whether or not to target them.

Semrush has 20,000,000,000 keywords in it’s database. It’s among the most comprehensive keyword solutions on the market.

For worldwide keyword popularity data, use the most recent Global Volume statistic. This tool also offers keyword variations, question-type keywords, and relevant search terms.

Screenshot: Semrush Keyword Overview

The second one is Semrush's Keyword Magic Tool, which can be used to find keywords for SEO and PPC.

This is one of the most powerful keyword search tools for identifying keywords for any goal. It includes advanced search and filtering features for finding, sorting, and shortlisting keywords.
 
Keyword clustering is a distinguishing feature of this tool. On the left sidebar, it displays a group of terms organized under several categories. You can uncover related keywords by clicking on any of these clusters.

You may also add specific phrases to your project keyword lists on this page. Just click the Plus sign, and the keywords you've chosen will be added to your list. It's that easy.

Screenshot: Semrush Keyword Magic Tool

If you do not yet have a keyword list, you can build it by going to the Keyword Manager tab.

Screenshot: Semrush Keyword Manager

The Keyword Difficulty Tool is another useful feature in Semrush's wide array of robust SEO tools. This keyword research tool will enable you to determine which keywords to target based on their search traffic, competitive environment, and so on.

Screenshot: Semrush Keyword Difficulty Tool

Organic Traffic Insights is another useful feature in Semrush's keyword research toolkit. You can identify pages of your site receiving the most organic traffic.

Screenshot: Semrush Organic Traffic research

Ultimately, Semrush has superior keyword research capabilities that are unrivaled by any other tool.

Pro Tip: To build the perfect keyword list, begin your keyword analysis with the Keyword Magic tool and finish with the Keyword Difficulty tool.

 

Keyword Research with MOZ

Moz provides a Keyword Explorer tool that you can use to discover new keywords, evaluate each one, and compare them to identify the best ones. Like Semrush and Ahrefs, Moz offers all crucial parameters for analyzing and comparing keywords, such as search volumes, keyword rankings, and keyword difficulty scores.

Page Authority (PA), which is unique to Moz and not offered by other tools, is another metric that provides powerful insights. The domain authority score is also presented. It is straightforward and intuitive to use, however it lacks the comprehensive functionality of Semrush.

Screenshot: Moz Keyword Explorer

It also helps to create keyword lists and provides tools that will assist you in sorting and prioritizing keywords before adding them to your lists.

Keyword Research with AHREFS

Ahrefs' keyword research and management tool include all of Moz's features and more. It makes it easy to identify keywords, analyze them, and choose the ones that are most relevant to your niche. It can also be used to create keyword lists. This tool, similar to Semrush, could also be used to discover keywords for Google Adwords or Paid ads.

Screenshot: Moz Keyword Overview

These are the key aspects that the majority of such tools provide. Let's have a look at some of its distinguishing traits. Ahrefs provides a one-of-a-kind feature that recommends Parent Topic.

This tool suggests broad subjects that can be used to target several search terms. While other tools provide content ideas and suggestions, this feature is more unique and precise.

Screenshot: Moz Keyword Overview

Another feature that distinguishes Ahrefs from other SEO tools is the availability of sophisticated metrics such as clicks per search, number of clicks, amount of paid clicks, and so on.

When using Ahrefs, take advantage of the various search and sorting options to develop the most effective keyword lists.

Keyword Research: Winner = SEMRUSH


Rank Tracking

The Rank Tracking feature is a huge help for marketers who want to keep on top of their keyword rankings in major search engines and know which keywords are getting them the most traffic.

This tool displays how your website ranks for the keywords you've chosen. Essentially, you can assess the effectiveness of your SEO efforts here.

Rank Tracking with SEMRUSH

You may use Semrush's Share of Voice (SoV) indicator to identify the level of market share you have for any keyword. The Cannibalization report shows you whether your own web pages are vying for the same keywords.

Screenshot: Semrush Ranking Distribution

Semrush recently debuted a new function known as Semrush Rank. This feature lists and ranks the URLs with the most organic traffic from a directory of over 825,000,000 websites.

Screenshot: Semrush Rank

Semrush also allows you to compare your performance to that of your competition.  You can get an in-depth look into your rankings and how your site  compares to the competition.


Semrush Sensor is another new tool that can be used to monitor the volatility of Google SERPs on a regular basis and notify you of any new algorithm changes.

Screenshot: Semrush Sensor

 

Rank Tracking with MOZ

This tool helps in monitoring your own or your competitors' website positions for top keywords.  You may use this to assess your website’s ranking on your desired keywords or to track the progress of your competitors.

Screenshot: Moz Rankings
Moz


Rank Tracking with AHREFS

This is Ahrefs' position tracking tool, and it may be compared directly to Semrush and Moz's rank tracking tools. It displays the top-ranked keywords for any site as well as its exact location in the SERPs. You can also undertake detailed performance comparisons by benchmarking your website to those of your top competitors.

Screenshot: Ahrefs Rankings Overview


When using Ahrefs, take advantage of the various search and sorting options to develop the most effective keyword lists.

Rank Tracking: Winners = Moz/SEMrush/Ahrefs


SEO & Website Health

If you're a marketer, then you know that SEO is an important part of your marketing strategy. It's not just about getting the first page of Google search results, it's also about having quality content on your site and making sure that people are finding what they need when they come to visit.

SEO and website audits are the perfect opportunities to get a fresh perspective on your site. A website audit will give insight into how searchers find your content, how often they visit, and what they like about your site. The end result is an improved user experience across all devices!

SEO & Website Health with SEMRUSH

When compared to the other two tools, SEMrush dashboard appears to be sleeker. Semrush also provides additional tabs and options for collecting and visualizing data.

Here’s what the dashboard looks like:

Screenshot: Semrush Site Health


The Markup report is another cool feature from Semrush which allows users to analyze their website’s markup usage and implementation flaws.

Screenshot: Semrush markup score


The content optimization feature of Semrush helps you improve your website content to get higher rankings. This tool enables you to examine your website’s ranking on your target keywords or to keep track of your competitors.

To get started, manually plug your target keywords into Semrush, and it will scan the top 10 sites that rank for those keywords. It then suggests ways to improve your content's quality based on the top-ranking pages for those keywords.

 Screenshot: Semrush Keyword Recommendations


Semrush added two new features to their on-page SEO dashboard in 2020: On-Page SEO Checker and Log File Analyzer.

On-Page SEO Checker provides recommendations for enhancing your on-page SEO. This contains suggestions for intelligibility, semantically relevant keywords, backlink opportunities, content structure, and so on.

Screenshot: Semrush On-Page Checker

 

Log File Analyzer, on the other hand, demonstrates how search engines perceive your website when they crawl it. This provides you with a variety of in-depth insights about your website and how to enhance it.

SEO & Website Health with MOZ

Moz's website On-site tool is used to detect SEO issues in your website. It can notify you of site flaws such as faulty redirects, long URLs, incorrect title tags, etc. It also sorts these problems, letting you know which ones are critical and which can wait.

Screenshot: Moz Site Crawl Overview

 

The site audit feature is available in all three tools, and each provides a comprehensive solution. The interfaces are different, with Moz being the most visually appealing, but the features are identical.

Try to make a comparison with site audit dashboards provided by Ahrefs and Semrush to get a sense of the quality of data provided by each tool.

Moz's site audit tool focuses on optimizing website content in order to help you with your rankings. It calculates a Page Optimization Score and generates relevant content ideas. Just input a keyword and page.  The tool then provides a detailed list of recommendations for improving that page's ranking for the desired search term.

Screenshot: Moz page Optimization Score


SEO & Website Health with AHREFS

Ahrefs has a robust crawler that generates a thorough crawl report for any website. It provides an overall health score and highlights issues within your website that must be addressed.

Here's what the overview page looks like:

Screenshot: Ahrefs Health Score Overview

SEO & Website Health: Winner = Moz & SEMrush


Competitor Research

If you want to increase your website's traffic and conversion rates, one of the most important things you need to do is research all of your competitors. This will help you better understand what they're doing well, as well as give you ideas for new content and marketing initiatives that could be successful for your business.

Competitor with SEMRUSH

Semrush is a comprehensive SEO solution that addresses all aspects of SEO, including on-page, off-page, and technical SEO. It not only allows you to examine and enhance your backlink profile for off-page SEO, but it also helps you gain new backlinks.

The first tool it provides is Backlink Analytics which can be used to examine any website's backlink profile. It gives analytics on the volume and quality of backlinks to your website or the sites of your competitors.

This feature, like the majority of Semrush's tools, allows you to compare your own site to the competition.

Screenshot: Semrush Backlink Audit Tool

The Backlink Audit tool, which detects the issues of your backlinks and provides strategies to enhance them, is another handy feature by Semrush. It generates a toxicity score based on a variety of potentially harmful criteria, allowing you to delete the harmful backlinks and prevent a Google penalty.

You can also use this to eliminate existing harmful backlinks and enhance your overall backlink profile. The next feature on our list is Semrush's Link Building tool. It identifies opportunities for you to obtain additional backlinks from top domain prospects.

Screenshot: Semrush Link Prospects

 

Semrush also provides the Backlink Gap tool, which allows you to compare your website to those of your competitors and identify link opportunities. You can analyze numerous domains at the same time, which speeds up the process significantly.

Returning to the Moz vs. Ahrefs vs. Semrush discussion, let me point out functionality that Semrush and Ahrefs provide but Moz does not.

It is the bulk/batch analysis capability that enables you to evaluate the backlinks of up to two hundred domains, subdomains, subfolders, and URLs at the same time.

This is a straightforward method for analyzing multiple domains from a single dashboard. Establish a healthy backlink profile and conduct frequent backlink audits to attract high-quality traffic to your website.


Competitor Research with MOZ

This is undoubtedly Moz's most powerful SEO solution. Moz's Link Explorer does a deep assessment of every website's backlink profile. This covers the overall number of backlinks, the quality of backlinks, the sites from which it receives the most backlinks, and so on.

Screenshot: Moz Link Explorer
Moz


Competitor Research with AHREFS

The Ahrefs backlink analysis and technical audit tool can examine any domain's backlink profile and is said to be the biggest backlink index anywhere outside of Google itself.

Screenshot: Ahrefs Backlink Profile

 

In addition to providing information about internal links, this tool has a distinctive feature in that it also displays a list of outgoing links and allows you to track the amount of links for any target website.

Pro Tip: Use the Ahrefs Broken Backlink information in your link-building campaign. This is an EXCELLENT tool!

Use the internal links function to enhance your internal linking and show your visitors other relevant content on related topics through Ahref’s topic clusters feature.

Competitor Research: Winner = Ahrefs


Local SEO

Local SEO is an important part of your marketing strategy. Why? There are always people looking for local businesses near them and if you're not on the first page they'll find a competitor who will be.

Local SEO with SEMRUSH

Semrush released some exciting new features related to local SEO in 2020. The first is the Listing Management feature where you can update and boost your local company listings. You can also view your website's rankings in Google Local Finder by checking the Local Rankings report.

Screenshot: Semrush Local SEO

Local SEO: Winner = SEMrush

MOZ & AHREFS currently do not offer this feature.



Content Marketing

Content marketing is a marketing tactic that many marketers are using to create and distribute valuable content on behalf of their business. It's important for companies to produce this type of content in order to be seen as an authority in their industry.


Content Marketing with SEMRUSH

Semrush's toolkit includes a number of content marketing tools that can be used to generate content ideas, organize your content strategy, refine your content, and monitor results.

Screenshot: Semrush Content Analyzer

It even goes above and beyond to provide a writing assistant that alerts you of issues as you type.  Its main tools are Topic Research, SEO Writing Assistant, Post Tracking, and Content Analyzer. 

Semrush also recently developed a Content Marketplace where you can acquire trending and relevant content for your website. Unfortunately, it's an extra paid feature and is not included in the standard Semrush plans.


Content Marketing with AHREFS

Ahrefs' Content Explorer is somehow similar to Semrush's Content Marketing Kit. As for Moz, it lacks notable content tools, yet some of its capabilities can help with content optimization.

The Content Explorer tool is multifaceted, but its most common application is to discover content on any subject or keyword. It can be used for content planning and research. It not only displays the most popular content for any topic, but it also displays data for each page such as organic visitors, referring websites, social sharing, etc.

You may use this to quickly determine which style of content performs well for a specific topic and then develop better content based on that.

Screenshot: Ahrefs Content Explorer

 

The option to identify content trends and patterns over time is another important feature that you can leverage. These insights will come in handy when you build your content plan. You can also use Ahrefs' Content Explorer to  detect unlinked mentions of your website, which can lead to more backlinks.

Screenshot: Ahrefs Content Explorer

The Content Explorer is a helpful adjunct to Ahrefs' tool package because it can be classified as both SEO and content marketing tools. To learn more about how to use this tool, look at the advanced search options and search filters.

Content Marketing: Winner = SEMrush


Paid Traffic

Paid traffic refers to using an advertising network like Google or Bing to display ads on their search engine results pages (SERPs). It works by paying sites for every click that they get from an ad on Google's SERP.

Paid Traffic with AHREFS

The Paid Keywords tool from Ahrefs is specially designed to find your competitors' paid keywords. You can discover which keywords they're bidding on, as well as their best-performing ads and landing pages.

Screenshot: Ahrefs Paid Keywords

Paid Traffic with SEMRUSH

Semrush offers users a ton of insights and analytics on paid search terms and PPC ads on a national scale.

Screenshot: Semrush Advertising Research

 

Marketers may use Semrush’s Advertising Research reports to identify their biggest paid search competitors, uncover the keywords their competitors are spending on, and examine live ad samples from their campaigns.

Evaluate keywords based on their CPC (cost-per-click), competitiveness, and other criteria. You will be able to examine, plan, and execute successful PPC campaigns and audits using this data.

Screenshot: Semrush PPC Keyword Tool

Semrush also features the PPC Keyword Tool, which makes it simple to plan and launch an optimal Google Ads campaign. Marketers  can use this tool to manage keywords at the campaign and ad group levels, easily specify negative keywords, and transfer the campaign plan into Google Ads Editor.

Paid Traffic: Winner = SEMrush


SEO Tool Comparison Checklist

Price

All three tools are excellent choices for your primary SEO tool. Each one is robust and provides you with the entire range of services you need to achieve your SEO goals. Keep reading to find the best option for your needs.

 

Remember This...

Overall, Semrush is the winner if you’re looking for a number of features all in a single tool. The Semrush tool includes several features that the others do not - including Social Media Tracking and Posting tools, Content Topic Suggestions, PPC tools, and others.

If we talk strictly about SEO, both Semrush and Ahrefs are incredible tools, although Ahrefs shines in terms of Link-Building and Semrush shines in terms of On-site SEO. Moz is a good choice for beginners who may feel overwhelmed by all this since the Moz dashboard does have a more ‘friendly’ appearance.

My suggestion is to get Semrush if you are serious about your efforts. If you are just curious, Moz is a solid option. If you are looking specifically for a great link-building tool, opt for Ahrefs.

 

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