In this review, we are going to be comparing two of the hottest SEO tools on the market today – SEMrush vs. Moz. A lot of people who are interested in using SEO tools aren’t sure which one would be best for them. Weighing out all of the variables, such as cost, need, goals, and other factors, can be a real challenge when it comes to SEO tools. Knowing what your specific need is and exactly how each tool works can help you determine which tool is best for you. That is the purpose of this review and comparison of SEMrush and Moz.
Keyword Research Company has used both Moz and SEMrush for our agency. Why? Because each tool is very good, but both tools have their pros and cons. Knowing which tools to use for keyword research, keyword ranking, keyword scraping, and knowing all of the individual features of each tool and how they can benefit you can be overwhelming. Still, you don’t want to have to guess and hope that you pick the right tool. That is why Keyword Research Company is taking the time to complete this review for you. It is our sincere hope that you will learn some of the key differences between SEMrush and Moz and that we’ll help you make a determination as to which tool is right for you.
How We are Scoring Moz vs. SEMrush to Determine a Winner
We are going to be fair. Rather than inserting our own opinions and potential biases, we think that the best way to determine which tool is better is to look at the facts and to add our two cents when it is appropriate or helpful to do so. We are going to take the gloves off and go round for round, comparing SEMrush vs. Moz. There will be six rounds altogether, and whoever wins a round gets a point. In the end, the SEO tool with the most points wins. That’s fair, right?
Full Disclaimer: Keyword Research Company is an affiliate of both Moz and SEMrush. Still, after reading this review, we hope you will agree that this is an honest evaluation and comparison of both tools, not a sales pitch for our affiliate commissions.
Now, without further ado, let’s take the gloves off and let these tools battle it out for SEO tool supremacy!
Round 1: Layout and Navigation
Right off the bat, we would say that Moz has a much cleaner and more user-friendly interface than SEMrush does. When you log into Moz, the design is very intuitive and pleasant to look at. All of the tool’s features are displayed in the column on the far-left side of the page. This Features sidebar will remain present on every page that you navigate to you, so you can always find your way back home or find your way to the next step.
Comparatively, SEMrush is not nearly as clean, organized, and as user-friendly as Moz is. This is especially true for users who may not be familiar with the layout and navigation of keyword tools and SEO software. Many of the terms in SEMrush might seem foreign to someone who is new to SEO, and you may find yourself thinking, “What the hell is this!?”
Because Moz is much cleaner, much more intuitive, and much more user-friendly than SEMrush, round one goes to Moz.
Score After Round 1:
Round 2: Website Audit
To start an SEO audit with SEMrush, simply enter the URL of the website you wish to audit in the “Domain Overview” section at the top of the Features sidebar on the left-hand side of the page. You will be shown some key data from that website, such as Organic Search, Paid Search, Backlinks, Display Advertising, Organic Keywords, and more.
To start your SEO audit with Moz, you’ll click on “Keyword Research” in the features sidebar on the left-hand side on the page. Once you click on Keyword Research, you will click on Explore by Site > Site Overview. Again, paste your domain URL into the search bar and choose from Exact Page, Root Domain, or Subdomain. When you click Search, you will be given the website’s or web page’s ranking keywords, a Page Authority score, Domain Authority score, and a SERP Analysis. You will also be shown the ranking distribution for keywords.
Getting into the Nitty Gritty of what All This Data Means
You will notice that SEMrush gives you a lot more data than Moz does – scores more! To someone who is new to SEO and SEO tools, all of this information and data might seem a little overwhelming at first, but as you get used to using SEMrush, this information is going to become very easy to understand and very valuable for you down the road.
After using both SEMrush and Moz extensively for a long time, we’ve also found that SEMrush will always give you more keywords than Moz does. For example, you might do a Domain Overview on a random website, and Moz will say that the website has zero ranking keywords, and SEMrush will show you 49 ranking keywords for that same website. The same is true when it comes to link research.
Of course, there is a lot more that goes into a website audit than just performing a Domain Overview. To be fair, Moz also has an On-Page Grader and an On-Demand Crawl that can give you a more comprehensive, in-depth look at how a website is performing or any SEO errors that need to be fixed. Likewise, SEMrush also has other features that can be used in a website audit, including Organic Search, Backlinks, Advertising Research, PLA Research, Display Advertising, Traffic Analytics, Ranks, Domain vs. Domain, and Charts.
In our opinion, SEMrush is the clear winner of round two because it provides its users with far more detailed data in an SEO audit than Moz does.
Score After Round 2:
Round 3: Features
We can tell you upfront that SEMrush is going to win this round, as well. SEMrush is loaded with all kinds of amazing features, while there just doesn’t seem to be very much going on in Moz. For example, with SEMrush, you’ll get Organic Research for keywords and Traffic Analytics, which are designed to help you guess how many visitors are going to your competitors’ web pages each month. SEMrush helps you to come up with ideas so that you can go after links that your competitors are targeting. SEMrush can also track your on-going rankings with its Position Tracking feature.
SEMrush does so many more things that Moz can do. SEMrush even gives you an SEO content template to help you come up with ideas for content, and SEMrush has everything that Moz has and then some! Let’s look at the features side-by-side:
Campaigns (Track a Campaign)
Local Market Analytics
>Explore by Site
- Site Overview
- Ranking Keywords
>Explore by Keyword
- Keyword Overview
- Keyword Suggestions
- SERP Analysis
- Inbound Links
- Linking Domains
- Anchor Text
- Top Pages
- Discovered and Lost
- Compare Link Profiles
- Spam Score
Fresh Web Explorer
- Organic Research
- Advertising Research
- PLA Research
- Display Advertising
- Traffic Analytics
- Domain vs. Domain
- Keyword Magic Tool
- Ad History
- Keyword Difficulty
- Go to Projects List
- Traffic Analytics
- Market Explorer
- Traffic Rank
- Keyword Gap
- Backlink Gap
- Bulk Analysis
SEO Content Template
SEO Writing Assistant
Lead Generation Tool CPC Map
- Report List
- Create Custom PDF Report
- My Reports
- Lead Generation Tool
- Marketing Calendar
SEOquake for your browser
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Order custom database or report
Have you seen our new customizable API format?
As you can see, in terms of which tool offers the most useful features, there really is no comparison. SEMrush crushes Moz!
Score After Round 3:
Round 4: Link Research
Moz has a unique feature that no other SEO tool on the market has, and it is called Link Research. Link Research has several sub-features, including:
- Inbound Links
- Linking Domains
- Anchor Text
- Top Pages
- Discovered and Lost
- Compare Link Profiles
- Spam Score
That last sub-feature of Link Research, “Spam Score,” is very valuable. All of these features are valuable, but this one is in particular! With the Spam Score feature from Moz, you can actually look at your Spam links and see how likely or close your website is to be penalized based on your backlinks. Then, you can start looking at your backlinks and Domain Authority. Simply type in the domain URL or the exact page URL that you want to research, and click Search.
SEMRush also has a section called “Backlinks” that can be found under the Domain Analytics tab. Again, you simply enter the URL of the website or web page that you want to search by clicking “Report Scope” at the top of the page. SEMrush offers a very detailed link research option, with choices like the following:
- Referring Domains
- Referring IPs
- Indexed Pages
With SEMrush, you can also look at Total Backlinks, Backlink Types, Categories of Referring Domains, TLD Distribution, Country, and more!
We did a short case study on Moz and SEMrush to find out how accurately their link research tools work. While we cannot reveal the name of the websites that we researched (because they are our clients’ domains), one was a relatively new website, and Moz only found three linking domains for a grand total of 5 backlinks for this site. On the other hand, SEMrush found 14 links via 5 linking domains.
Next, we did link research on one of our other client’s sites, and his site is several years old. It is ranking for a lot of keywords and has a ton of links! Moz only found 113 ranking keywords and 36 linking domains for a total of 3.2k backlinks. On the other hand, SEMrush found 449 ranking keywords and 49 linking domains for a grand total of 4.9k backlinks. Quite the difference!
Considering that this seems to be a pattern with Moz, despite how much we love its Link Research and Spam Score features, Round 4 also goes to SEMrush, if for no other reason than SEMrush can find all of the ranking keywords and backlinks. Maybe we’re sticklers, but we kind of think that this is important.
Score After Round 4:
Round 5: Keyword Research
Now, let’s compare how Moz and SEMrush work for keyword research.
The processes that we use to do keyword research with SEMrush and Moz are very similar. The big difference is in the names of the features of each tool. Other than that, everything is pretty much the same for keyword research.
With SEMrush, you click the dropdown arrow titled, “Keyword Analytics” in the lefthand sidebar. Here, you can choose from the following options:
If you already know your keyword, you can type it into the Overview section and click Search. What you will get is a keyword overview. You will be shown Search Volume, Number of Results, CPC Distribution, Trend, Paid Search, and other detailed information about your keyword. You will also be given a list of suggested keywords, titled “Phrase Match Keywords” that shows volume, CPC, and a SERP analysis for each keyword.
Keyword Magic Tool
The Keyword Magic Tool is probably the most popular feature on SEMrush. All you have to do is enter a keyword, and SEMrush works its magic. You will immediately get a list of suggested keywords that include Broad Match, Phrase Match, Exact Match, and Related keywords. You can adjust your data with advanced filters, such as Keyword Word Count, Volume, Keyword Difficulty Percentage, CPC, Competitive Density, SERP Features, and Results in SERP. This is a great tool to find all kinds of valuable keywords quickly. With the Keyword Magic Tool from SEMrush, you can turn three days’ worth of work into three hours’ worth of work!
The Ad History feature under the Keyword Analytics section allows users to view the ad history for any keyword that they are interested in. Why is this feature important for keyword research? Well, this feature allows SEMrush users to quickly identify how competitive a keyword would be for a paid advertisement campaign, and it can also give you a very quick and accurate idea of just how many other marketers are targetting your keyword.
While it is true that the keyword difficulty scores are shown in both the Overview and Keyword Magic Tool features, the Keyword Difficulty Tool allows users to analyze the difficulty score of an entire list of up to 100 keywords at a time! Just copy and paste your list of keywords and click “Show Difficulty.”
With Moz, if you want to do keyword research, you would click the Keyword Research dropdown tab in the lefthand sidebar. Here, you will see several additional features:
Explore by Site
Here you have two options. You can choose Site Overview or Ranking Keywords. In both of these features, you will enter a URL to retrieve data. You can choose between Root Domain, Exact Page, or Subdomain, but you don’t have to choose anything at all. You can just paste your URL, and Moz will automatically know what you are looking for.
If you choose Site Overview, you will get the URL’s ranking keywords (the ones that Moz can find), you’ll be able to see your URLs top positions for their ranking keywords, and you will see a feature called “Page Authority/Domain Authority.” These are measurements that are unique to Moz. While Google does not use these numbers in their rankings, these numbers are extremely important and very, very accurate! Basically, without going into extensive detail, the higher these numbers are, the more the search engines trust your website, and the more easily you are going to be able to rank for keywords.
For in-depth explaination and strategy regarding Page Authority and Domain Authority, please watch Part 1 and Part 2 of our YouTube video comparison of Moz vs. SEMrush. In Part 2, we also show an example of how Moz does not find as many keywords and links as SEMrush does, so you’ll definitely want to see that! Scroll to the bottom of this page.
FYI, you can also compare multiple URLs in this feature.
If you choose Ranking Keywords, you will be shown all of the ranking keywords for the URL that you searched. You will have the opportunity to adjust your keyword list by tweaking the filters, which include:
- Ranking (show keywords ranked from #1-#50 in the SERPs)
- Difficulty (show keywords based on a difficulty score of 0-100)
- Volume (show keywords based on estimated monthly search volume, high or low)
- Each keyword also has a checkbox next to it that you can mark and click “Add to List” or “Add to Campaign.”
Explore by Keyword
The Explore by Keyword section has the following three features:
Here, you will enter a keyword of your choice, and Moz will show you the estimated Monthly Volume for that keyword, a Difficulty Score, Organic CTR, and Priority. Moz will also give you a list of similar keyword suggestions and a SERP Analysis for the keyword you searched where you can look at the links, the Page Authority, and the Domain Authority of the top 10 results for that keyword to get an idea of how difficult it will be.
Note, one of the areas that Moz stands out (in a good way) is its Keyword Difficulty score. Moz has the most accurate keyword difficulty score of any keyword research tool that we have ever seen! Typically, a difficulty score of 25 or less with Moz is easy, 26-35 is moderately difficult, and 36-42 is difficult. Anything beyond that is going to be very hard to rank for! Of course, you should ALWAYS do a SERP analysis of every keyword that you are considering targeting. This way, you can look at featured snippets, titles, descriptions, links, and other signals that can help you to optimize your content better and determine if the keyword you are considering is worth your time and effort or not.
The Keyword Suggestions tool is a great way to get a bunch of ideas for keywords quickly. All you have to do is enter a word or a few words in the search bar and click Search. Moz will give you a long list of keyword suggestions. Some of the filters include the following:
- Include a Mix of Sources
- only include keywords with all of the query terms
- exclude your query terms to get broader ideas
- based on closely related topics
- based on broadly related topics and synonyms
- related to keywords with similar results pages
- are questions
- Group Keywords
- yes with low lexical similarity
- yes with medium lexical similarity
- yes with high lexical similarity
- Adjust between 0-1.5m
- Include or exclude any words from your keywords
This feature shows organic results and top stories for your keywords on page 1 of Google.
With Moz Pro, you can manage up to thirty unique keyword lists. You can name them and date them. Once you open a keyword list, you will have a list of all of the keywords that you added to that list, and you will have a ton of advanced filters that can help you to analyze your keywords and get the information that you need quickly.
Who Wins this Round?
While we love the Page Authority and Domain Authority scores of Moz, as these are priceless pieces of data that are unique to Moz; and while we love how accurate Moz’s keyword difficulty score is and how easy Moz makes it to perform an in-depth SERP analysis (with the click of a button), we also love all of the features and detailed data that SEMrush provides. Still, we think that Moz edges SEMrush out in this round – just barely.
Score After Round 5:
Round 6: Trustability
The things that Moz does right. it really, really does right! However, Moz just doesn’t have nearly the reputation and long-standing success that SEMrush has. SEMrush has been around forever, and Moz is just trying to catch up. If you watched Part 1 and Part 2 of our Moz vs. SEMrush YouTube videos embedded on this page, then you will see that Moz doesn’t always find as many keywords and links as SEMrush finds. Therefore, we can’t really trust Moz for honest, accurate data as we can SEMrush.
At the end of the day, when it comes to trustability, we have to put our money with the tried and proven SEO tool – SEMrush.
Score After Round 6:
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Bonus Round: Double or Nothing - Pricing
Both SEMrush and Moz use a subscription pricing plan. Let’s see SEMrush vs. Moz side-by-side.
Although both Moz and SEMrush are a bit pricey, you can save a lot of money with SEMrush and get much better features, data, and information. If you were to look at comparitive plans, the SEMrush Pro plan is almost identical to Moz’s Medium plan. However, the SEMrush Pro plan is only $99, but Moz’s Medium plan is a whopping $179.
You’ll find that you get more from the SEMrush plan and you get save $80/month. And while $99/month might seem high still, we can assure you that is worth every penny if you are serious about SEO.
Bonus Round goes to SEMrush.
Score After All Rounds:
Is SEMrush Right for Me?
The final score is 8-0, SEMrush over Moz. To be fair, at the end of 6 rounds, the score was 4-2 in favor of SEMrush, and we created a bonus round called “Double or Nothing” based on pricing because your bottom line is your bottom line. Since pricing is so important, we made this round double or nothing. Still, Moz lost.
Even if the bonus round was scored as a regular round, the final score would be 5-2 in favor of SEMrush, which still means that SEMrush is 150% better than Moz.
SEMrush may not be for everybody. If you have a large website or a website that you intend to build up to a large size, then yes, having a SEMrush subscription is highly recommended. Also, if you have more than one website, having SEMrush is definitely recommended.
If you are an SEO specialist or a digital marketer, and you have clients for your agency, then SEMrush is a must-have! Between the keyword research, audits, link research, and all of the other helpful tools and features that SEMrush offers; you can surely improve your efficiency and your bottom line tremendously with SEMrush, which means more time to grow your business and a bigger, better bottom line for your business.