If you’re just getting started in SEO or looking to improve your search engine rankings, it can be overwhelming! There are so many components to take into account, and each one with its own levels of importance. Good SEO software can be a big help so we’re going to look at two of the best – Moz vs. SEMRush.
Tools like Moz and SEMRush were developed to help you strategize, plan, execute, and evaluate your SEO efforts. Both provide you with insight on your current SEO situation, scan your website for issues and how to fix them, and even give you direction to write quality content so you can outrank the competition. Think of them as both a report card that comes with a built-in tutor to help you make the grade.
But which one is right for you? We did a deep dive on Moz vs. SEMrush, checking out what we consider some of the most important features for SEO tools to help you decide.
Moz vs. SEMRush Round 1: Domain Analysis
A useful Domain Analysis will give you an understanding of how a domain is performing in search results. Ideally, you would want to see where SEO improvements can be made on your own website, but you can also analyze a competitor’s site and learn how to outrank them.
(Note: In the SEMRush dashboard this is labeled as “Domain Overview”)
Consider the Domain Analysis a temperature check in improving your SEO. It gives you a snapshot of where you currently stand with Authority Score, which is a scale from 0-100 and evaluates the overall authority of a website. According to each of the software developers, it uses a combination of algorithms to achieve this. These authority scores are relative to similar domains, which means if a site increases its authority, your site’s score may decrease even when you don’t make any changes.
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The authority score takes the following into account:
Number of External Links, showing how many different websites have backlinks to yours.
Number of Keywords, the website ranks for.
Anchor Texts, the words displayed for a particular hyperlink.
Competing Domains, giving you an idea of who your competitors are.
The main difference between getting a Domain Analysis on Moz vs SEMRush is that SEMRush provides all the information you need under their Domain Overview. On the other hand, Moz provides the same information between two sections – Keyword Research and Link Research.
Competitive Positioning Map: This tool provides a visual representation of where you rank among your competitors based on the number of organic keywords (x-axis) and estimated amount of organic traffic (y-axis).
Round 1 Winner: SEMRush
Moz vs. SEMRush Round 2: Keyword Research Tools
Both have powerful Keyword Research Tools features to help you make data-driven decisions.
Tool 1: Keyword Overview is available on each of the respective dashboards that work very similarly to one another. Enter any keyword that pertains to your business and get a quick analysis of how popular that word is on search engines.
Here you’ll find:
- Keyword Volume: The average monthly volume for the given keyword.
- Keyword Difficulty: How difficult it would be for a website (either brand new or just starting SEO efforts) to rank on Google’s first page. SEMRush presents this as a 0-100 percentage and Moz presents it as a 0-100 whole number. In both cases, the higher the number, the more difficult it would be to break through to the first page.
- Keyword Insights: Both offer Keyword Suggestions. SEMRush differs by breaking it down into three separate categories. On their dashboard, you will get a list of Keyword Variations, Question-based keywords, and Related Keywords. While Moz has an additional metric– the Keyword Priority Score – indicating how important it is that you target that keyword based on ease of ranking.
Tool 2: Keyword Discovery on both platforms is very well built, which is a must-have for your SEO strategy.
SEMRush’s keyword discovery tool is cleverly named the “Keyword Magic Tool.” The developers boast that it is built with access to a vast database of over 20 billion keywords! Simply type in a keyword, and you’ll receive a list of related search terms broken down into separate categories: board match, phrase match, exact match, and related. You also have the ability to filter results and view only question-based queries.
For each term or question, the Keyword Magic Tool will provide detailed information to go along with it. Data includes usual keyword research information such as search volume, current trend, keyword difficulty, cost-per-click, and number of results. But it also consists of a couple of unique measurements like Competitive Density, which according to SEMRUsh is, “The level of competition between advertisers bidding on a given keyword within their pay-per-click campaigns,” and SERP features, which are the rich snippets found within Google.
The one limitation for SEMRush in this area is that the number of results you receive per report or per day depends on which plan you are on.
Moz’s keyword discovery tool is called the “Keyword Explorer.” At first glance, it is a lot simpler than SEMRush’s interface. But the drawback is that the only metrics shown on the table are a relevancy scale and monthly search volume. The data doesn’t provide a measure of competitiveness, similar to the keyword difficulty and competitive density found in SEMRush. However, a possible workaround would be entering each search term into the Keyword Overview section to get an individual Keyword Difficulty score.
Round 2 Winner: SEMRush
Moz vs. SEMRush Round 3: Backlink Analysis and Building
Why are backlinks important to your SEO strategy? Backlinks are external links from other websites pointing to your site that also help search engine bots understand what your site is about. More backlinks show more people vouch for your website, which may contribute to increased page authority.
But just because you have other websites linking to your site doesn’t automatically mean your search engine rankings will go up. There are many factors that come into play, but tools like Moz and SEMRush help you find and understand this information and even find out where your competitor’s backlinks are coming from.
The Backlinking Analysis feature of both Moz and SEMRush provides detailed reports. The metrics are broken down into referring domains, the total number of backlinks over a given time period, link types, anchor texts, and more.
SEMRush reports a few extra details such as backlink countries and industries, as well as ‘toxic’ links. Links that are labeled as “toxic” are equivalent to spam. They are commonly from poor quality sites that may hurt your search rankings.
The Link Building feature on SEMRush is really what sets it apart from Moz in this area. While both platforms can give you detailed reports and track all your backlinks an easy-to-digest report, you can make backlinking pitches directly from SEMRush. After you’ve researched which sites are backlinks you want to earn (based on that site’s page authority or your competitor’s backlinks) you can use the outreach model to connect with that website’s owner, schedule messages, follow-ups, and create message templates.
Round 3 Winner: SEMRush
Moz vs. SEMRush Round 4: Technical SEO Audit
Creating valuable content is a big component of SEO rankings, but it isn’t everything. You can have quality content, but your site’s credibility decreases if search engines find out it is filled with issues on the back end. This is where a technical SEO audit comes in handy. This tool scans your website for issues that are known to impact search engine rankings negatively. Both Moz and SEMRush’s audits look for these well-known errors across your site such as broken links, page speed, missing tags, and more, and give instructions on how to fix them.
SEMRush will generate a report showing everything that was discovered during the crawl. Then it lists out the “Top Issues” that are critical to your website performance, like page speed and status codes (like a 404 or a 503 server issue.) This platform also gives you the option to schedule an audit on a monthly or weekly basis, and compare reports to see any progress. As a bonus, SEMRush has the ability to integrate with Google Data Studio to create interactive reports and compare data however you like.
Moz’s SEO audit operates similarly. When the crawling is completed, a report is generated showing a list of all issues and a section of recommended fixes. The report breaks down the issues into categories based on importance: Critical, Warnings, Redirect, Metadata, and Content so you know which your team should focus on.
Round 4 Winner: It’s a tie!
So, who wins the Moz vs. SEMRush Battle?
While both SEMRush and Moz get the job done when it comes to SEO research, we find that SEMRush takes the main features just one step further. Taking into consideration the value added with Ease of Use, the data provided, and a great Link Building feature, SEMRush is worth the price.
Not convinced? Fortunately, both platforms provide a free trial before you commit. We understand that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to SEO tools. Try each one and take advantage of the numerous resources available from their experts! If you’re going to compare Moz vs. SEMRush, let us know which product you prefer.
Tim Woda is the CEO and founder of White Peak Marketing. He has been on the founding team of five successful start-ups and his digital marketing campaigns have acquired more than 800 million customers for his start-ups and White Peak’s client companies. Tim has been featured by The New York Times, Fox News, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and more. Under Tim’s direction, White Peak was selected as one of America’s Top Digital Marketing Agencies for 2021 by MarTech Outlook magazine.