SEMrush vs MOZ: Which is the Best SEO Tool?

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For about 8 months after starting Startup Cafe (my agency business), I thought I could get away with using free SEO tools to advance my business as well as blogging aspirations.

To be fair, we weren’t offering SEO services back then like we do now, but we were helping our clients with content creation and content marketing.

My team and I would register for free trials with SEMrush, Moz, and other SEO tools such as Raven, Woorank, and of course, rely heavily on AdWords keyword research tool for content creation and marketing.

But there came a point in my agency career when using AdWords keyword research and free trials of the aforementioned SEO tools was just not enough. Having been impressed with Moz and SEMrush, I finally decided to take the plunge and invest in Moz and a few months later, SEMrush for keyword and competition analysis.

Until then, I didn’t know what I was missing.

With tools such as SEMrush and Moz, you get to take your SEO game up a notch and come out with truly astounding results for your blog, business, and clients. If you’re reading this, then you’re probably deciding whether to invest in one of these SEO tools. You may have tried the free version of one of these or both these SEO tools and are now considering whether it’s worth it to upgrade to the full version. Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Even if you’ve never tried any of these SEO tools, please read this post to learn more about their features and how you can leverage the power of these tools to improve your site’s search rankings.

In this post we will compare two of the most popular SEO tools and see how they compete against each other on features, ease-of-use, and pricing.

SEMrush vs Moz: Which is the Best SEO Tool?

Basic Plans (Comparison)SEMrush ProMoz Pro
30 Days Free TrialSIGN UP NOWSIGN UP NOW
Pricing$99.95/Month$99/Month
Users Included 12
No. of Sites to Track55
Total Pages to Crawl100,000250,000
Tracked Keywords500300
PDF Reports55
Tracked Social Media Profiles50NA

SEMrush: Overview

Just giving a search on Google with the keywords “SEO tools” will show you exactly how complicated and crammed up the SEO world is. There’s a tidal wave of resources out there and while most of these tools are loaded with features, they can make our lives complicated. But most bloggers, SEO gurus, and agencies will agree that SEMrush probably provides the best bang for buck.

I use SEMrush for pretty much everything I do. I use it to find new keyword opportunities, do backlink analysis, and to spy on competitors’ keywords. (To learn more about how SEMrush can help you crush your competition in search rankings, read this post)

At Startup Cafe, we use SEMrush to help our clients rank better in search engines for competitive keywords and check data on how their competitors are utilizing SEO and SEM.

If you know the current state of SEO, you know just how important long tail, low- competition keywords are. And that’s exactly what SEMrush allows you to do. Paired with Google’s AdWords Keyword Research tool, you can truly obtain a few very lucrative low competition keywords and create/optimize content that ranks well in search engines.

How to Use SEMrush

If you’ve never tried SEMrush before, then you can read this section to know how to start. Others can skip this part of the post and move on to the next section to read the rest of the article.

To get started, you’d need an SEMrush account. If you don’t have one, you can register for a free SEMrush account using the link below. This will give you 1 month free access to SEMrush PRO (actual value – $99.95).

Get 1 Month FREE Access to SEMrush Pro (Value $99.95)

SEMrush Dashboard - How to use SEMrush

Once you’ve registered and logged into your free account, you’ll find the default search bar like the one shown above. From here, select Organic Research from the left sidebar. Next you can type the domain name of your competitor to see the keywords they are ranking for. For this example, I used SEMrush website to check the keywords they are ranking for. The results for your search should look something like this:

SEMrush vs MOZ

The next step is to set filters to find the top 10 keywords for which your competitor is ranking for (this is just an example. You can set any parameters you deem fit for your competition analysis). Make sure that the monthly search volume for these keywords is at least 10+. Once you’ve applied the filters, the results page should look something like this:

Which is the best SEO tool: Moz Pro vs SEMrush

Once you have the data for top 10 keywords that your competition is ranking for, you can optimize your own keyword strategy and content to make sure your website ranks well for each of these 10 keywords.

In some cases, your competition might be already a big player in the market with several backlinks and other SEO factors to back them up. In this case, what you can do is chase ‘low hanging fruits’ aka long-tail keywords with low-medium competition. These are the keywords where the search volume is low, but the traffic is high since there is little to no competition. For example, instead of trying to optimize your site for the keywords ‘meditation retreat’, you can optimize your site for keywords ‘buddhist meditation retreat in singapore’ which is a long-tail keyword with low search volume, but good traffic.

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With your free trial account, your searches are restricted to 5 per day and the results are limited to 10. The best part about SEMrush is that you can check not just Google ranking results, but also Bing (US). You can also check how your website and your competitors are ranking in 26 countries. Below is the list of countries where you can do competition and keyword analysis.

SEMrush vs MOZ Pro: Best SEO Tool

With the paid version of SEMrush, you get the following features:

  • Site Audit: This is one of the best features that SEMrush offers. You can do a site audit to find and fix the issues with your website. SEMrush offers ‘health percentage’ of your site and notifies you via email whenever the health percentage of your site is at risk.
  • Position Tracking: With the pro version of SEMrush, you can select up to 100 keywords and see how your website is ranking on search engines for these keywords. You can frequently monitor your site’s performance and do the necessary optimization to make sure you rank well for all these keywords.
  • Backlink Audit – You can conduct deep link analysis of your own site as well as your competitors’ site. By doing a deep link analysis of your competition, you can uncover a few backlink opportunities. The more relevant backlinks you have, the better will be your search ranking.

You can do all these and more with a PRO subscription of SEMrush. My suggestion would be to first try their free 30-day trial and use all these features yourself. You can click here to get a complete list of their features.

Verdict: SEMrush is the best SEO tool which is highly recommended by most SEO gurus. If this is the first time you’re investing on an SEO product, then SEMrush is the tool you should opt for because it that allows you to do organic keyword research, spy on competitors’ data, and build powerful backlinks. Is it worth the $69.99 per month? Yes and it’s worth every penny. When used to its potential, the ROI is pretty strong with this one.

MOZ: An Overview

Started way back in 2004 by Rand Fishkin, MOZ first started as an SEO consulting company before they developed their first SEO tool. Fishkin has established himself as a thought leader in the SEO space and is one of the most resourceful and respected marketing gurus you can follow on Twitter to learn some very important SEO and content marketing skills. But when it comes to their flagship SEO tools, I’ve mixed feelings.

To get started, let’s talk about some of the good things that Moz offers. The best part about Moz is that pretty much everything good about it is FREE. So if you’re on a shoestring budget and don’t want to invest on SEO tools yet, but still want to ensure that your site ranks well, then the free services offered by Moz are industry standard.

All of these tools below are free and you can use them to improve the search visibility of your site:

  • Open Site Explorer – You can track your link profile and uncover link building opportunities using this free tool
  • Keyword Explorer – Helps you find the best keywords in your niche
  • MozBar – Perhaps the best among the free tools offered by Moz, MozBar is a Google Chrome extension offers you a glimpse into your site’s Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA), both crucial metrics, on a regular basis. Your site’s PA and DA change on a monthly basis, so it’s important to keep a watchful eye on how your site is measured in these terms. Moreover, you can perform keyword research and link analysis of the sites you visit right from the browser bar (like shown below) without having to access the dashboard. You can get your Moz Bar Chrome extension for free here.

MozBar: SEMrush vs Moz

If you’re using Moz for free, then you can give up to 3 searches per day. For the example below, I gave a search on Moz.com to find their DA and PA and to get a fair idea about their backlink profile.

Moz vs SEMrush: Which is the best SEO toolNow to the part that isn’t that good. Having been impressed with the free services offered by Moz, I decided to take the plunge for paid subscription and found myself a little underwhelmed.

I didn’t mind paying the $99 per month price for standard subscription as long as the tools offered were worth that sum. Being a fan of Rand Fishkin, I so wanted to like Moz Pro, but it fell short of my expectations. I found myself using it less and less and cancelled the subscription to look for better and cheaper alternatives.

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Having said that, Moz by no means is a bad SEO tool. I still use their free tools such as Open Site Explorer and Moz Bar for SEO to keep a track of my sites’ PA and DA. Moreover, Moz has some incredible SEO and content marketing resources which you can download for free from here. If you’re a beginner, then Moz has some of the best resources which you can read to familiarize yourself with SEO tactics. Their Beginner’s Guide to SEO is perhaps the best SEO guide I’ve stumbled upon in recent times.

They also have an amazing blog which I visit regularly. Whiteboard Friday, a video series featuring Founder/CEO Rand Fishkin, is something that you should tune into every week.

But if you were to ask me if I’d ever subscribe to Moz Pro for $99/Month, my answer would be No. I’d like to emphasize that this is my personal experience with Moz. There are people who swear by Moz and they may be able to elaborate more on the paid services offered by Moz. Perhaps they have been able to find time to use it to its full potential. For me, everything good offered by Moz is free and if you had to invest in an SEO tool, it’d be SEMrush.

Try Moz Pro FREE for 30 days

SEMrush vs MOZ: Which SEO tool should you buy?

(Update: SEMrush revised the pricing of their plans in Jan 2017. Their standard plan which was priced at $69.95/month is now worth $99.95/month, Guru plan which was priced at $149.95 is now worth $199.95, and their business plan which was priced at $549.95 is now worth $399.95)

If you were to compare the free tools offered by each of these, both have their own strengths and limitations. However, MOZ offers a free 30-day trial which is akin to Moz Pro’s full version.

With SEMrush, you are required to register an account to get your free 30-day trial which has several limitations. Your searches as well as search results are limited to 5 and 10 per day respectively. But if we were to compare the features offered under paid subscriptions, then I’d highly recommend SEMrush over Moz.

I use SEMrush for pretty much every SEO task that I do. Not just for my own blogs (99signals and Soulful Arogya), but also for my agency business where we offer SEO services to our clients. In my opinion, SEMrush is a must-have tool if you want to grow your business as well as your blogging career.

The sheer amount of data available on SEMrush can be overwhelming at times, but they have excellent training materials and product guide to help you every step of the way. Their support team is really helpful and they organize weekly webinars which you can participate in to hone your SEO skills.

Moz, on the other hand, is expensive for the features it offers. The best thing to do would be to try the free 30-day trial of Moz and probably then decide to take a plunge if you like the product. Like I said, your experience with the product may differ and you may find value in the paid services which they offer. On the other hand, if you had to invest in a powerful SEO tool, then SEMrush has all the features you need and more. Give it a try!

Moz Pro Pricing

These are the Moz Pro pricing plans as of October 2017. You can save 20% by switching to annual pricing. 

Moz Pricing: SEMrush vs Moz

SEMrush Pricing

These are SEMrush’s pricing plans as of October 2017. You can save up to $800 by switching to an annual plan.

SEMrush vs Moz - SEMrush's pricing plans as of October 2017

Links to register free accounts with SEMrush and Moz:

Click here to get 1 month free access to SEMrush PRO

Click here to register your free account with Moz

Editor’s Note: This article was first published on June 3, 2016 and has been updated regularly since then for relevance and comprehensiveness.

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Sandeep Mallya is the Founder/CEO of Startup Cafe, a Bangalore-based digital marketing agency. He is an active member of the startup community, having worked with several early-stage startups and accelerators. 99signals is Sandeep's inbound marketing blog. Here you can find tips and insights to grow your site's traffic.

54 COMMENTS

  1. I like both tools, but I agree that Moz Pro is not worth the $99 price tag. Another tool I really like is Monitor Backlinks. Thanks to this post though, I will take a deeper look at SEM Rush.

  2. Sandeep , thank you for such detailed review! Currently i used many SEO tools for my website. So i always thinking what are the best seo tools? Currenly, my 2 most favourite SEO tools are: SemRush and Free SEO Cost Calculator.

  3. We are only familiar only SemRush SEO tool. Provide the awesome functionality and features for SEO users.
    It is the best tool to check online traffic.

  4. For both SEMRush & MOZ – do either of these SEO tools crawl the Google or Bing Results??? If not, then how accurate can they be?

  5. Hi Sandeep, it’s really fantastic job . You just eased the work for any SEO professional. Some tools i am already used but will try on the rest which appeared new for me. You can also add “SEO Tools Check” to your list as i got it too useful and it is 100% free . You can check it at https://seotoolscheck.com. I hope you to continue the job ahead. Thanks

  6. Awesome list man!

    I’m using Serpstat’s $20/mo plan and Moz tools. Moz tools are my favorite but they give small margin of error.

    • Hi Charles – Not sure if it was you I connected with on Reddit a few weeks back. Anyway, I got to try SERPstat and I must say I’m impressed. Couldn’t explore all the features because of time constraint, but it’s definitely an SEO tool worth paying for. I’m currently working on a resource page which will include 100+ blogging tools that I recommend. Will include SERPstat in that and will let you once the page is live.

      Cheers,
      Sandeep

  7. We are only familiar only SemRush SEO tool. Provide the awesome functionality and features for SEO users.
    It is the best tool to check online traffic.

  8. In the last few years, SEO has grown simultaneously with Internet. Currently, there are several competent online marketing services that provide clients with proficient SEO services.

  9. Really appreciate the article since I’m evaluating both tools right now. I met the SEMrush team at Inbound16 in Boston this year. I also had a chance to see Rand Fishkin speak at the same conference. He did a great job. Rand threw up a comparison slide briefly that showed Moz had the following discovery options where SEMrush had just #3 and #7.

    1. Search Suggest
    2. People also search for
    3. Similar pages rank for…
    4. emantically Connected terms
    5. Topically-related searches
    6. Questions containing these keywords
    7. AdWord (Commercial) suggestions

    This was in November 2016. Has anything new been added to SEMrush? I’m having a hard time trying to compare each tools features in an apple-to-apple manner. Thanks for any help!

    • Hi Aaron – Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this article. It’s been a while since I used Moz Pro, so I wouldn’t know much about their new features. Going by what you’ve said, I guess it’s time to re-evaluate their tool and update this article…🙂

      SEMrush has also tweaked a few of their existing features and introduced a few new ones. I find their “SEO Ideas” feature to be especially useful. This is where they suggest ideas to improve the search engine rankings of your post/page. Ideas such as what keywords/LSI keywords you should use and which sites you should approach for backlinks. In addition to this, their backlink audit feature which was in beta mode all this while has improved significantly. While it’s still not as good as Ahrefs’ backlink audit tool, it’s certainly better than what Moz offers.

      Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Regards,
      Sandeep

  10. Hey Sandeep, Very nice review done. Actually I had used SEMrush trial version and its really nice and useful tool. But few feature you shared in this article which i am not used. But i am glad you shared this detailed review with us. Once again, thanks for sharing

  11. I have used both Moz & SEMRush.. But I have tried only free versions.

    Currently using ‘SEO SPYGLASS’, this is also a free version. This is also helpful!

    I have never looked into a depth about these tools. What helped for me is, I just gather all the data in one sheet and create a report on that and send to clients.

  12. Hello Sandeep,

    Thanks for this great Post. I am using Semrush from past few months and It is really a great tool to find quality and high performing keywords for my blog. I highly recommend it to others.

  13. Hey, Sandeep Great Comparison. As you know free versions are very limited and I am not sure which one I should go with. Which one is more damn accurate

  14. Hi! Thanks – so comprehensive and clear!
    Could you also explain me the difference between these tools and SERPstat? In a few words
    Ut seems to me like they have the same features, but the difference in prices is huge

  15. I’m a long time user of Moz Pro and recently subscribed to SEMRush. I was comparing the results for both and I found a huge discrepancy in the number of backlinks for the root domain: . Moz reports 4.5k Total External Inbound Links, while SEMRush reported 70 Total Backlinks. I know numbers won’t exactly match between the two tools, but I can’t figure out this large discrepancy. Will appreciate any help!

  16. This is a good blog post Sandeep. I was reading some of the comments and someone mentioned the support at Moz is not that friendly and I found that is true from my experience. I believe the one major asset that SEMRush has is the excellent telephone support which is just about impossible to find now a days especially with these SEO tools. Moz just has email support which will require the waiting of a few hours and hopefully the support person totally understands your question so they provide the most applicable answer or you have to start all over again. The people at SEMRush answer the phone within seconds and are very polite, friendly and knowledgeable. There is no questions about it, SEMRush has the best support of any of these other SEO tool companies. Needless to say their tool is excellent and they are always making improvements. Moz was the hot tool to use years ago when there was not much competition but all that has changed. I will take SEMRush any day of the week!

  17. I just signed up for SEMRush, Moz Pro and Ahrefs. So far SEMRush and Ahrefs blow the socks off Mos Pro. The Moz interface is clean but the statistics are dramatically off the other two services and there really aren’t any tools that seperate it from the pack , in fact it probably offers the least functionality out of the three plans for the price. Disappointed in Moz!

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