Here’s a small exercise — Give a quick Google search on the terms “Best SEO Tools”. Go ahead, we’ll wait.
What did you find? Chances are you found listicles that featured one or all of these tools on page 1 of Google SERPs — SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz Pro, and SpyFu.
Chances are you found SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz featured in almost all the articles with an occasional mention here and there for SpyFu which is relatively new compared to the other three tools.
Here’s the thing: these tools have dominated the SEO scene for the last few years and will continue to do so as they evolve and add more features to help you improve your rankings and traffic.
In this article, we’ll put each of these tools under the microscope and help you decide whether it’s worth investing in them.
For all these tools, we’ll reveal their key features, pros and cons, pricing, and ratings on popular reviews sites such as G2Crowd, TrustRadius, and Capterra.
|SEO Tool||Pricing||Features||Value for Money||Ease of Use||Free Trial|
|SEMrush||$99.95/mo||✪✪✪✪✪||✪✪✪✪||✪✪✪✪||14 Days||Grab this offer|
|Moz Pro||$99/mo||✪✪✪||✪✪✪||✪✪✪||30 Days||Grab this offer|
SEMrush is the world’s leading competitive research service for online marketing and one of the most popular SEO tools in the market. SEMrush allows you to do keyword research, spy on your competition’s SEO and PPC strategies, do backlink analysis, and much more.
For the complete list of SEMrush features, refer to this page. Listed below are some of the tool’s key features:
- See competitors’ best keywords
- Discover new organic competitors
- Observe position changes of domains
- Uncover your competitors’ ad strategies and budget
- Conduct a deep backlink analysis
- Find the right keywords for SEO and PPC campaigns
- Gather phrase matches and related keywords
- Get long tail keywords
- Find keywords with less competition
- Set side-by-side domains’ comparisons
- Gather all the SEMrush data in one custom PDF report.
- Easily the best competitive intelligence tool on the market. Helps you uncover your competitors’ SEO as well as PPC strategies.
- The On Page SEO Checker tool (formerly called “SEO Ideas”) offers an in-depth list of things you could do to optimize your rankings for your target keywords — from semantically related words to include on your pages to backlink prospects to recommendations on target content length and readability.
- The Site Audit tool helps you identify on-page and technical SEO errors and warnings on your website, and provides you with a comprehensive list of recommendations to improve the overall SEO health of your site.
- SEMrush is the gold standard of keyword research platforms. The Keyword Magic Tool helps you pick the most profitable keyword in your niche and generates over 2 million keyword ideas for your seed keyword.
- A steep learning curve.
- The Backlink analysis tool lacks the accuracy and comprehensiveness of Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.
- Pro – $99.95/mo (Ideal for beginners and bloggers)
- Guru – $199.95/mo (Ideal for small business owners and solopreneurs)
- Business – $399.95/mo (Ideal for marketing agencies and marketing teams in big companies)
Note: By opting for annual plans, you can save up to $800.
Click here to get a 14-day free trial of SEMrush Pro ($49.97 value)
If you had to choose just one service out of these four, go for SEMrush. SEMrush is the ultimate SEO tool which helps you unravel the most profitable keywords for your business or blog, and helps you gain a deeper understanding of your competitors’ search and PPC tactics to rank higher in SERPs.
Check out our full review of SEMrush here.
If you’re serious about building high quality backlinks for your site, Ahrefs is the tool you should invest in. Ahrefs has the best link index among all SEO tools. You can use this tool to unearth your competitors’ backlink profile and build your own backlinks.
In addition to link building, you can also use Ahrefs to track your position on search engines, perform technical audits, and do keyword research via Keyword Explorer 2.0.
- Site Explorer – Get an in-depth look at the organic search traffic and backlink profile of any website or URL.
- Content Explorer – Discover the most popular content for any topic (by backlinks, organic traffic and social shares).
- Alerts – Get notified of new & lost backlinks, web mentions and keywords rankings.
- Rank Tracker – Track your desktop and mobile rankings for any location. Get daily/weekly/monthly reports.
- Domain Comparison – Compare the backlink profiles of up to 5 different domains.
- Content Gap – Find the keywords your competitors rank for, but you don’t.
- Second-to-none backlink analysis.
- Rank tracker is accurate and reliable.
- Email alerts help you keep track of new and lost backlinks as well as rankings of your site for important keywords.
- Keywords Explorer 2.0 sets high standards for keyword research.
- Excellent outreach tool which works well with other content marketing tools such as Buzzsumo, Ninja Outreach, and Mailshake.
- Expensive compared to other link building tools such as Majestic SEO (its direct competition) and SpyFu.
- Lite – $99/mo (Ideal for beginners and solopreneurs)
- Standard – $179/mo (Ideal for experienced bloggers)
- Advanced – $399/mo (Ideal for SEO agencies)
- Agency – $999/mo (Ideal for marketing agencies with a big clientele)
Note: By signing up for annual plans, you get 20% off.
* Last update: Feb 10, 2019
When it comes to backlink analysis, Ahrefs is the best there is. Despite being on the pricier side, it’s well worth investing in this tool because of the strong ROI.
Check out our full review of Ahrefs here.
#3 Moz Pro
Started by Rand Fishkin aka the Wizard of Moz back in 2004, Moz is perhaps the most popular SEO tool in this list, owing to the cult-like popularity of Fishkin. Moz relies heavily on SEO metrics such as Domain Authority and Page Authority to give you insights on link equity, keyword rankings, page optimization reports, and more.
For the full list of features, refer to this page. Here are some of the key features of Moz Pro you should know about:
- Global Rank Tracking – Track keywords weekly for Google, Bing, and Yahoo in 200+ countries, plus segment them by campaign, keyword label and location.
- Keyword Research – Discover and prioritize the best keywords to target for your site
- Link Profile Analysis – Access and evaluate the most important links on the web with our industry-leading metrics.
- Site Crawl – Quickly identify the SEO fixes that will take your website to the next level
- Page Optimization – Search top-performing content across the web to find winning strategies and accelerate your content efforts.
- Reporting – Prove and improve your impact on site traffic.
- Page Optimization feature allows you to identify and fix on-page issues with your site and boost search rankings.
- Excellent customer support. 1-on-1 product walkthrough available for all plans.
- Backlink data can sometimes be inaccurate.
- Steep learning curve. This is not a beginner-friendly tool. It takes time to get used to all its features.
- Standard – $99/Month (Ideal for bloggers and solopreneurs)
- Medium – $179/Month (Ideal for bloggers)
- Large – $249 (Ideal for SEO agencies)
- Premium – $599 (Ideal for marketing agencies with a big clientele)
Note: You can save 20% on any of the above by opting for yearly plans.
* Last update: Feb 10, 2019
With a renewed focus on search, Moz Pro still manages to be one of the best SEO tools in the market.
Click here to get one month free access to Moz Pro.
Bonus Resource: For a detailed comparison between SEMrush and Moz, check out this article.
SpyFu is a competitive intelligence tool for online marketers. SpyFu offers deep insights into both SEO and PPC, and helps you improve your search rankings by tapping into your competitors’ keyword strategies.
- SEO Research – Improve your search rankings by tapping into your competitors’ keyword strategies.
- PPC Research – Discover the competition’s most lucrative keywords that you’re missing.
- Competitor Research – Type your competitor’s domain into SpyFu and get deeper insights.
- The plans come with a 30-day money back guarantee.
- Cheaper than most competitive intelligence tools in the market.
- Relatively new and inexperienced compared to other tools in the market.
- No free trial.
- Confusing layout.
- Basic – $39/mo
- Professional – $39/1st month, $78/mo thereafter
- Business – $299/mo
* Last update: Feb 10, 2019
SpyFu is a decent competitive research and keyword analysis tool. With plans starting at $39/month, it’s also one of the most competitively priced SEO products in the market.
Having said that, the tool certainly has limitations. The data you get is not always accurate and the UI can be a bit overwhelming at times. But if you want a reliable SEO tool that is not too heavy on the pocket, you should try SpyFu.
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Editor’s Note: This article was first published on February 6, 2017 and has been updated regularly since then for relevance and comprehensiveness.