Updated June 01, 2020 06/01/2020
When blogging professionally there’s only so much you can do with free tools. And what’s annoying about these free tools is they tend to break down, stop working and sometimes disappear. It needs money to keep things running so can’t blame them.
Immediately, the all in one tool from Moz, formerly known as SEOMoz and SEMrush come to mind. Both these tools offer unique and overlapping features that set them apart in their own right.
In this head to head battle between Moz and SEMrush we will compare the two most popular tools and see which one emerges as the winner.
In this post I will be comparing both tools on their strengths and tell you which is better.
Both these tools are a must if you want to get deeper insights into your competitors and analyze them to find out how they succeed and what they do for success.
I guess most of the visitors to this page have already tested the trial versions of both these tools or have heard and read and seen the tools being mentioned elsewhere online. And even if you’ve not tested these tools yourself or are biased towards one tool in particular this guide will help you make a decision and guide you to make the best decision based on what your core interests and needs are. To that end I request that you read the post in its entirety and make a decision only after that.
SEMrush: What is it, what is it good for and how much does it cost?
In this section I will pick the nitty-gritty on SEMrush as an SEO tool, what its strengths are and how much does it cost every month.
Based on how well SEMrush answers your pressing concerns as an SEO professional or marketer or blogger you might want to hit the buy button.
I wouldn’t be wrong in calling SEMrush a master of many trades—keyword research, competitor keyword research, competitor ad reporting, full-fledged SEO reports—almost everything is included in its set of tools. A few years SEMRush added India to its database of countries for which you could track rankings for.
A bird’s eye view of the feature set
- Do competitor analysis. Here’s an example: The report is from NextWeb and shows the top queries that send traffic to the site.
- Is very handy with keyword research and you can discover great keywords in minutes. With the tool you get access to informational queries, buyer intent queries and others that you can use to create stunning landing page copy that attracts search engine traffic. Example below:
- A handy SEO tool to get a measure of all site issues
- Compare domains side by side to get a real map of strengths
- Discover powerful backlinks of any site.
- Finally get a close estimate of the number of visitors to a site.
I feel that a proper review of SEMrush’s features is best articulated in a guide that covers how to use SEMrush and that’s what I intend to do presently. One standout feature that I don’t find in most tools I reviewed or used is the fact that SEMrush provides ranking data from Bing which is a big index in itself. Bing should form part and parcel of your marketing efforts because I have often heard marketers remark Bing traffic to be of higher quality when it comes to conversions. They’re generally ready to buy customers waiting for you.
SEMRush offers a free 7 day trial for one of its subscription tiers, worth $99 a month, called the Guru account and you can get started immediately with this link and get a bare minimum idea of the platform.
On logging in you will first find a big search bar in front of you. The design for the same hasn’t changed in years and it’s immediately evident the statement SEMrush is making. Find data on your competitors immediately.
Enter the URL, keyword or domain meaning you can search for the rankings and data for a particular page or on the domain level.
You can choose the country as well. By default the selection is set to North America but there are plenty of options to choose from—over 131 countries in total and more added every now and then.
I get detailed insights into the domain I chose which is CrazyEgg.com
Immediately evident is the organic traffic numbers. I get the SEMrush rank followed by the total number of keywords the site ranks for. I also get data on paid search. CrazyEgg currently advertises for 126 keywords that contribute 2500 in monthly traffic. There’s a backlink report as well that shows whopping 1.4 million links.
What follows is a list of the 94000 keywords the site ranks for, a list of organic competitors and a list of paid ads. You get to see their ad copy and keywords they’re targeting.
Delving inside the organic search report you can find keywords your competitors rank for, followed by search volumes, Keyword difficult of each keyword, its CPC which means the cost of advertising for that particular keyword, the URL of the site ranking for that particular keyword, and the traffic share that ranking for that keyword nets that particular site.
This tool by default sorts the keywords in terms of ranking and volume. So you’re going to immediately find keywords that your competitors rank for on the first page, first position coupled with ones that are bringing them the most traffic. It’s the most valuable information on competitors you can unearth that will make a decisive influence on how you run your business.
If you feel that this particular set of high volume keywords isn’t right for you owing to the high competition there are other metrics you can set to get a list of long tail low competition keywords.
The obvious downside is that the search volume won’t be high. The search volumes are low and may figure in the range of 400 to 500 searches a month or even lower. However given a KD of 20 or lower you will be easily able to rank for the term and may be snag the first position bringing in lots of traffic. You may also rank for other long-tail keywords you wouldn’t have thought of and that which doesn’t figure in any keyword research tool bringing in more traffic than you’d anticipated in the first place.
By optimizing your blog post or page for such long tail keywords you also tend to get high intent search traffic that you can easily monetize and get more conversions from.
Though I’ve been going on and on about only a certain feature of the tool SEMrush isn’t limited to keyword tracking and competitor analysis. There are several other great features you might just fall in love with.
With site audit you get a realistic tab on issues on your site. Once you know those issues you can fix them and get higher traffic.
The analysis tool informs you of the health of your site. Everything is neatly laid out with errors, warnings and notices sent separately. You get a full crawability score helping you understand if your site has any coverage issues. By the level of issues at hand you get to decide which issue to take care of first. In no particular order the audit process gives a list of problems like:
- Information on missing tags
- Missing titles, meta descriptions and tags, other HTML tags and problems.
- Correct all broken images and information on missing alt tags
- Highlight error pages
As long as you’re paid subscriber you can list the site to be audited which it does and automatically get a report of your health percentage which indicates significant SEO issues with the site.
SEMrush additionally posits as a powerful rank tracker tool. You can select 100 keywords and track rankings for the same with the tool. It’s pretty accurate.
With this feature you get to know your own backlinks and that of your competitors. You know how well your competitors are acquiring new links and set up campaigns for yourself. At the same backlink monitoring is a must-do in this toxic environment where competitors can and will build negative links against you causing you to lose hard earned rankings.
Now to the point of reckoning. How much does it cost? The PRO plan is the first plan and wills set you off by $99.95 a month.
- Pro starts at $99.95 per month
- Guru starts at $199.95 per month and is for someone who runs multiple sites
- Business account starts at $399.95. All agencies will find this useful.
Comparing trial period
SEMrush offers a limited 7 day trial. On the flipside Moz offers a fully functional 30 day trial where you have ample time to test out everything and play with the tool as much as you like.
Moz: What’s it, what does it do, and how much does it cost?
Moz is created by Rand Fishkin who’s a well-known SEO expert having established his clout in the industry after having blogged about search engines, updates and similar metrics for years.
His Whiteboard Fridays are a good point to get insights into technical SEO.
Let’s have a look at what’s inside the package.
Keyword Explorer – The keyword explorer is a proprietary keyword research by team Moz.
MozBar – Earlier, moz had open site explorer. This is now replaced by a Chrome extension that is also free. Just like OSE the Mozbar gives information like Page authority Domain Authority and number of backlinks.
The greatest attractor to it is that these metrics are still provided for free but it isn’t essential that you use Mozbar for finding these metrics. That’s easily done by a score of tools that pull data and is far more efficient at that.
Moz is expensive and doesn’t offer everything that is expected of it at this price range. There are cheaper alternatives that do more.
It’s an SEO tool that lacks in several good things. What good is a backlink checker if it doesn’t really know the actual number of backlinks and cannot scrape enough.
Moz as a site is hub of content on SEO that’s useful.
SEMrush fares far better than Moz for everyday SEO needs. I don’t remember a single day when I was running a site and didn’t use it to find out keywords my competitors were ranking for and infor my own strategy. If I ever venture into providing SEO for clients I am going to use these tools and SEMrush is my swiss ninja army knife.
Moz charges a lot but doesn’t offer equal in value.
Comparing trial period
One exceptional difference is the 30 day fully functional trial. Compared to SEMrush which only allows 5 searches per day with more its advanced features inaccessible during the trial doesn’t stand against Moz in that respect. However after the trial when the dust has settled would you stay with a poorer tool because it had a good trial feature or stay with a fully functioning beast of keyword research, link tracking, monitoring all in one tool that keeps you updated on your competitor’s heartbeats.
Semrush is without doubt an exceptionally powerful SEO tool that has everything you might ask it from. My final call would be to go for it.