Today Sandro goes over a comparison of three powerful SEO tools: Moz, SEMrush and Ahrefs. He discusses pros & cons for each.

Episode 0275

Comparing SEO Tools: Moz, SEMrush & Ahrefs

Liz: [00:00:03] Hey there! Welcome back to Liz & Sandro’s Marketing Podcast where we chat all things Digital Marketing. Today Sandro is going to be comparing three SEO tools and walking us through some of their strengths and weaknesses.

Sandro: [00:00:17] Thanks Liz. I wanted to do a comparison of three of the biggest SEO tools out there. They’re Moz, Ahrefs & SEMRush.

Liz: [00:00:26] That’s a lot of acronyms.

Sandro: [00:00:28] That is. We’ll have links in the show notes. So I wanted to preface this this is higher level stuff, tools that are expensive and may not be right for small business owners. If you have an agency or want to start out with an agency this is for you. These are tools that you may want to use at some point. So this isn’t really aimed at mom and pop businesses. Also I’m not mentioning three of the bigger other ones people enjoy: Raven Tool, Majestic or SpyFu because I don’t have experience for those so I’m just speaking from experience. The two reasons I wanted to try talk about this this episode: one is Moz founder Randy Fishkin recently left Moz which he was co-founder of, and on his way out the door he said in his blog, “I have high hopes that in years ahead the product will once again be the leader in its field and the best solution out there for many in the SEO world.”

Sandro: [00:01:19] That’s him talking about Moz. And the second reason is that recently a friend of mine a listener.

Liz: [00:01:24] Shout out to Jeff.

Sandro: [00:01:25] This one’s for you buddy, asked me if I had used SEMrush and I haven’t used it in about six months and I thought, “you know what? Let me take a second look.” So let’s start out with some of the pros of each. Some of the strengths of each. Liz and I are big fans of Moz. . .

Liz: [00:01:39] Been using Moz for years.

Sandro: [00:01:41] Yes and its strength is its Domain Authority. It’s kind of the standard in a lot of circles on how powerful a website is. It’s a number from 1 to 100. The higher the number the better and the more powerful your number is. So if you are looking to show clients you are helping them, this is a good solid, objective number to use and show your clients, “hey we are improving in the search world.” It’s one big number.

Liz: [00:02:04] So it’s their proprietary algorithm that they use to rank websites.

Sandro: [00:02:09] Correct. And it’s still great. It’s free to get that number. There’s a Google extension. . .

Liz: [00:02:15] The Toolbar, the Moz Toolbar. Yeah.

Sandro: [00:02:18] Yes and we have a past episode on the Moz Bar.

Liz: [00:02:20] We do.

Sandro: [00:02:21] We’ll link to that in the show notes. So you can get that for free. No worries. Moz also has great keyword research. I liked that with their Keyword Explorer you can punch in a key word like “shoes” or. . .

Liz: [00:02:33] Or “tennis rackets”

Sandro: [00:02:33] Tennis rackets. . . Rolex watches.

Liz: [00:02:35] Rolex watches, yeah.

Sandro: [00:02:35] Like somebody I know. So their keyword research explorer tool, I love that you can punch in a keyword and then look up questions that people Google about that keyword. So if it is “shoes,” there are questions like “where can I get shoes?” “How do I know my shoe size?” “Why are my shoes not fitting anymore?” And things like that. And you can target those questions and write blog posts about them.

Liz: [00:02:56] Which we’ve done in the past for clients. It’s really helpful.

Sandro: [00:03:00] Yes. So their keyword explorer is great. One other thing I like about Moz is that it incorporates you Google Analytics information and gives you better solid understanding and real data on your visitors. And if they’re improving or not improving.

Sandro: [00:03:13] Now on to SEMRush, one of the things. . . and I’ve only been using it for about two weeks, again after leaving it six months ago because a client was using it. One of the reasons to use it and the best reason to use it is in the title: SEM. So SEO is organic rankings, so SEM is search engine marketing and that includes Ad Words. SEMRush excels at competitive analysis. It can tell you how much your competitors are spending and what keywords they’re looking into and paying for and buying. You can see what keywords they’re not using or what they’re spending less on. You can look at months that they’re not spending money on certain terms. The analysis it gives you on your competitors is second to none. It truly is the best competitive research tool I’ve ever used.

Sandro: [00:03:58] Finally AHrefs: its strength is in its title also and that’s back link analysis. It again is second to none in this world. Moz & SEMRush each give you reports of your back links but nowhere near as many as AHrefs does. AHrefs crawls 6 billion pages every 24 hours and updates their index every 15 minutes. Their web crawl lists over 12 trillion links in its database.

Sandro: [00:04:24] So it is the most thorough backlink analysis you can find out there. Follow links. No-Follow links. You punching in a web site and within seconds it’ll will tell you how many links it has, where they’re at and where they’ve lost some. So you can also look up where your competitors have links and then if you have an outreach campaign you can reach out to where your competitors have links also. AHrefs is very powerful in that route. It’s other power is that it has a competitor to the Domain Authority: Domain Ranking DR. So instead of DA it’s DR, and they just revamped their whole proprietary algorithm in the past month and I believe it’s a better number than Moz’s number.

Liz: [00:05:02] Wow. That’s big.

Sandro: [00:05:03] It is. They had to revise it twice because everybody went from like 20s to zeros. But then they fixed it. They too have a free Chrome extension that you can check your Domain Rating with them.

Liz: [00:05:15] So we’ve got Moz excelling in the keyword space. SEMRush excelling with competitors and AHrefs knocks it out of the park with back links and they are up and coming with their proprietary domain authority ranking okay.

Sandro: [00:05:33] Domain Ranking. Correct. Yeah. So some weaknesses. Basically Moz is very good is good or better than average at everything but they don’t excel at one thing. Unfortunately. The keywords are good but how often do I use it. Not much other than the beginning. The other tools have keyword analysis also.

Liz: [00:05:52] And I’m starting to get a little frustrated as I try to navigate the keywords in Moz. It’s starting to get messy. The interface itself used to be very easy for me to use. And now I’m I just feel like I’m clicking and I can’t get to what I want to get to. So I’m trying to get a little frustrated with that.

Sandro: [00:06:09] There’s a learning curve for Moz. Well there’s a learning curve for all of these but definitely Moz more so I believe. SEMRush its weakness is in links obviously but I feel like that’s not a reason not to use it whereas Moz. I feel like just because you’re good or a little better than average on most things there’s better things out there. They don’t have the competitive analysis they don’t have the links that the other two have. AHrefs they don’t really have much of a competitive analysis in terms of paid but obviously its strength is its links and links are one of the two most important things to ranking higher on Google.

Liz: [00:06:41] So agencies are going to be using some combination probably two if not all three of these tools.

Sandro: [00:06:48] Correct. These are expensive as I said. They all start out at a hundred bucks a month. Moz taps out at $600 a month. SEMRush at $400 and AHrefs at a thousand a month and the best plans. . .

Liz: [00:07:00] On the high end

Sandro: [00:07:01] On the high end. You don’t want to start with a hundred dollar a month plans on any of them really Moz 150 bucks a month gets you what you want. SEMRush 200 a month. AHrefs $180/month. They all have free trials although AHrefs has a seven dollar for 7 day trial so you may want to check them out. Well worth checking out. But my advice and what I think I’m going to go to an advice us to go to his if if you can’t afford all 3, let go of Moz. I would combine SEMRush and AHrefs for solid understanding. One of the things I didn’t touch on SEMRush: Their reports are clean beautiful simple if you need to give your clients reports every month on how they’re doing SEMRush’s reports are the best.

Liz: [00:07:42] Wow. I mean this is big because we’ve been all in on Moz for a while.

Sandro: [00:07:46] But I think it may be time to leave them for now maybe check back in six months.

Liz: [00:07:49] Time for a change. Yeah yeah sure.

Sandro: [00:07:50] If the co-founder is way out the door and he’s still the big part of Moz. As far as an ownership road goes. . . if he’s saying that maybe one day they’ll be great again. Then maybe it’s time to listen to them.

Liz: [00:08:01] Yeah and from a small business perspective I think this is relevant for you as an owner to understand to have just an understanding of these tools. You may not need to get into the account and poke around and you know do what we do as as vendors. But knowing what we’re tracking whether it’s keywords, competitors’ back links these are all really important ranking factors that we’ve talked about in the past so I think it’s good to know.

Liz: [00:08:27] Well this was good insight. I’m glad we chatted about this today. So thank you for that. Again we will have a bunch of links for you in the show notes. If you have questions email us, tweet us, Facebook us. We are available we’d love to hear from you. Thanks for joining us today and we will be back soon with another episode!