Ahrefs vs Semrush vs Moz: Battle of SEO Tools

Brian Bojan Dordevic
About The Author

Brian Decoded

President at Alpha Efficiency

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 When it comes to search engine optimization, picking the right tool for the job is an important part of reaching your entrepreneurial goals. Having a great idea won’t be able to reach its optimal potential unless you are able to maximize its reach. Ideas are worth little if they stay in the drawer. You have to spread them. The best way to reach your local market is with a sound SEO strategy. While the internet offers many online tools to do your SEO research, Ahrefs, Semrush, and Moz, are the three that dominate the SEO scene and are recommended by Alpha EfficiencyAt first glance, the differences between Ahrefs, Semrush, and Moz may seem small, however, the advantages that one of these tools offers over another may prove to be very significant for your campaign. In today’s article, our SEO agency near Chicago will take a thorough look into each of these tools revealing their key features, pros and cons, and pricing to better enable you to make the right choice for you and your goals. Ahrefs vs Semrush vs Moz – the Battle of SEO Tools.


Ahrefs is the tool to invest in if you wish to build high-quality backlinks for your website. It is amongst the best when it comes to backlink analysis and boasts an excellent reputation as a checker of backlink authority. It possesses one of the most wide-reaching databases of live links and also crawling software to recreate your website from the point of view of a search engine. Whether you use it to unearth backlink profiles of your competitors or build your own backlinks, Ahrefs provides the best link indexing among all SEO tools.

Besides backlink building, Ahrefs also excels in monitoring your rankings on Google, performing technical audits, and keyword research with the help of its excellent Keywords Explorer tool. Although best known for its backlink analysis feature, over time, Ahrefs has evolved into a completely developed SEO software suite.

The key features of Ahrefs:

  • Site Explorer – Provides a detailed look at the organic search traffic and backlink analysis of URLs and websites. You can find out how many backlinks you have earned and how much your competitors do, but also analyze the quality of a backlink’s site in order to determine whether it is valuable as an authority site or not.
  • Keywords Explorer – When deciding which keywords to use, take a look at this dashboard to determine keyword difficulty, search volume, and many other important factors. Get traffic estimations as to how frequently a certain keyword appears in people’s searches and determine how difficult it will be to rank for a specific keyword. In the case your business operates outside of your country, their database covers keywords for over 100 countries.
  • Content Explorer – easily find high-performing content as well as gain insight into social share statistics. Analyze the popularity of the topics you target and use them for your content marketing campaign.
  • Rank Tracker – keep track of keyword rankings based on search volume and multiple other factors. You can also track your desktop and mobile rankings and receive daily, weekly, and monthly reports. That way, you can closely monitor your progress and effectively update and optimize your SEO strategy along the way.
  • Site Audit – audits your website for any possible lack of SEO. So, why do you need an SEO audit? Keeping track of your SEO campaign can be stressful at times, and that’s why this tool is highly useful, as it scans for any potential problems, informs you when they occur, and analyzes your website’s health.
  • Alerts – helps you monitor your SEO performance by providing notifications on new and lost backlinks, web mentions, and keyword rankings. 
  • Domain Comparison – Provides the option to compare the backlink profiles of up to five domains.
  • Content Gap – offers insight into keywords that your competitors rank for, that you don’t in order to provide better insight on keywords you should be targeting among multiple competitors simultaneously. 


  • Excellent backlink analysis
  • Highly accurate and reliable rank tracker
  • Email alerts help you stay up to date when it comes to new and lost backlinks and your website’s rankings for keywords
  • Its Keywords Explorer provides quality results in keyword research
  • Top of the line outreach tool to combine with other marketing tools like Mailshake, Buzzsumo, or Ninja Outreach


  • Site Audit takes a very long time to deliver an audit report
  • Software could use more SEO reporting features
  • There are cheaper link building tools out there (Majestic SEO and Linkody, to mention a few)
  • Ahrefs offers no free trial. It will cost you $7 to test it out for a week

We found the most benefits in:

  • Transparency – Ahrefs lets you gain insight into your competitors’ campaigns with ease making the internet a more transparent place.
  • Optimization – Although it takes a long time to produce a report, Site Audit provides business owners the opportunity to improve their SEO without having to investigate multiple sources.
  • Easy to use – You can monitor your URLs’ health through numbers, stats, and graphs via Ahrefs dashboards.
  • Keywords at the palm of your hand – Whether you are searching for new keywords to include in your campaign or simply monitoring the performance of existing ones, Ahrefs makes the process flow seamless. 


Ahrefs offers four pricing plans:

annual plans: 20% discount

  • Lite – $99 per month
  • Standard – $179 per month
  • Advanced – $399 per month
  • Agency – $999 per month

Also, if you decide to pay on an annual level, there is a discount for annual plans of 20%.

If you are a solopreneur or manage a single blog, the Lite plan may be the best fit, as it features various blog optimization tools. However, this plan comes with limitations for persons running multiple blogs. The Standard plan overcomes these limitations as it allows you to track more keywords and backlinks. The Advanced and Agency plans are both tailored to suit the needs of agencies that offer search engine marketing services and manage big clientele on a daily basis. 

Our thoughts on Ahrefs

Over the years Ahrefs has proven to be a reliable backlink analysis and competitive research tool. With the recent launch of new features, and upgrades to existing ones, it has become a full-fledged SEO tool. Its high ROI more than compensates the fact that Ahrefs is on the pricier side.


SEMrush is the perhaps most popular online tool for SEO. It is recognized as the world’s leading keyword research tool and can also be used for backlink building, competitor analysis, and technical SEO audit amongst many other features. SEMrush can also assist you in SEO, PPC, social media, and content marketing campaigns. It provides thorough aid and is suitable for people without much experience or knowledge in the field, and helps you determine what the current trends in your industry are. Clients like eBay or Quora show that this all-in-one digital marketing tool is key to higher SERP rankings and niche domination.

The key features of SEMrush:

  • Keyword Magic Tool – SEMrush possesses the largest keyword database on the market that includes more than 20 billion keywords. Here you can find different variations for the keywords you target and gain insight into valuable metrics such as search volume, CPC, or keyword difficulty score for each. This feature is unmatched, and you will definitely find it highly useful.
  • Site Audit Tool – This tool helps you identify and fix all the technical SEO issues that your site may have. Get to understand your own website better and constantly improve it. Keep track of your organic traffic and identify any weaknesses that might need to be tackled.
  • Position Tracking – SEO experts consider SEMrush’s position tracking tool to be the most accurate tool on the market. It allows you to track both your own and your competitors’ rankings for the keywords you target. The fight over keywords amongst competition can frequently be fierce, so it is of vital importance to closely monitor your competitors in order to outperform them.
  • Content Marketing Toolkit – This feature includes 6 tools for content creation and optimization that can help you improve your content’s ranking with ease.
  • Competitor Research Toolkit – This toolkit allows you to easily track PPC campaigns as well as SEO of your competitors and see their best-performing keywords and backlinks. It also includes Traffic Analysis that provides traffic metrics for the domain of your choice enabling you to compare your traffic with the traffic of your competitors.
  • Backlink Audit Tool – It lets you discover and eliminate those backlinks that can cause different penalties from Google.
  • SEO Reports – This tool gives you the option to download PDF reports which you can further customize in order to better organize your SEO and PDF research data.


  • Provides an insight into SEO and PPC strategies of your competitors
  • Includes the On-Page SEO Checker Tool that offers suggestions on how to optimize your keyword rankings, which semantically related words to include in your content , as well as recommendations relating to content length and readability
  • The Site Audit Tool is the major upside as it identifies SEO errors and recommends actions that you can take to improve the overall SEO health of your website
  • One of the best online keyword research platforms with the Keyword Magic Tool


  • Mastering SEMrush and all of its features takes time
  • SEMrush’s Backlink Analytics tool is not as accurate as Ahrefs’ Site Explorer

We found the most benefits in:

  • Transparency – It takes just a couple of clicks to see your competitors’ SEO and marketing strategy. You can also discover who is backlinking to your content.
  • Analysis – You can easily improve your SEO thanks to in-depth analytics tools.
  • Easy Fixes – Fix broken links and improve on-site SEO.


SEMrush offers three monthly pricing plans:

annual plan: two months free 

  • Pro – $119.95 per month
  • Guru – $229.95 per month
  • Business – $449.95 per month

Instead of giving a total discount, in case of an annual plan, two months are given for free.

The annual plan discount can come in handy if you use SEMrush as your go-to SEO research tool. There is also a free plan that doesn’t require an account. However, the package contains only a small number of basic tools.

Our thoughts on SEMrush

If you are looking for the ultimate SEO tool, look no further. SEMrush is loaded with features, from discovering the most profitable keywords for your business to competitor analysis and content marketing tools. SEMrush has everything you need to boost your SEO and climb the SERP rankings.


Developed by Rand Fishkin in 2004, Moz relies on SEO metrics like Domain Authority and Page Authority to provide details on link equity, keyword rankings, page optimization, and many more. It is primarily an SEO and data management software that focuses on categorizing and prioritizing keywords as well as providing intuitive keyword suggestions based on a very extensive database. It is simply put an all-in-one SEO software. However, this tool has not seen much improvement ever since Rand Fishkin left the company in 2018.

The key features of Moz are:

  • Global Rank Tracking – This tool lets you track keywords for three of the most popular explorers, Google, Bing, and Yahoo, in over 200 countries on a weekly basis. You can also apply segmentation by the campaign, keyword label, and location.
  • Keyword Research – Find the best keywords to target for your website. Determine which keyword your audience uses to search for your products or services and how to rank higher in those searches. Identify which keywords to target according to a variety of metrics and keep track of keyword research volume on a monthly basis.
  • Link Profile Analysis – It allows you to utilize industry-leading metrics so you can find the most relevant links. It also enables you to recognize bad links that may potentially cause negative effects on your website.
  • Site Crawl – This tool crawls your website in search of SEO errors and provides recommendations on how to fix them in order to improve your website’s overall SEO health. This is a very useful tool that keeps your website running smoothly and gives you peace of mind.
  • Page Optimization – Search the internet for the best-performing content and apply different strategies to boost your own.
  • Reporting – Delivers data and suggestions on how to improve your website’s traffic. Monitor your success constantly; improvement is an ongoing process.


  • “Moz recommends Fixing” is a useful feature incorporated into their Site Audit tool where Moz’s SEO experts recommend steps for fixing critical issues on your website
  • The Page Optimization feature allows you to easily fix on-page issues and improve search rankings
  • Great customer support


  • Search volume data could be improved
  • The site audit reports often struggle to find common SEO errors
  • Not always accurate backlink data
  • Moz takes time to master
  • The user interface doesn’t follow the latest trends

We found the most benefits in:

  • Transparency – Just like the other two tools, Moz reveals all SEO-related content across the web.
  • Free toolbar – SEO consultants and business owners can reap many benefits that this toolbar has to offer at no cost at all.
  • Discovery – Unravel top backlinks, SEO optimization strategies, find new keywords, anchor text, and many more.


Moz offers four monthly pricing plans:

annual plan: 20% discount 

  • Standard – $99 per month
  • Medium – $179 per month
  • Large – $249 per month
  • Premium – $599 per month

Similar to Ahrefs, in the case of an annual plan, Moz provides a 20% discount.

If your SEO budget is tight and you simply can’t afford a monthly subscription, Moz offers free services for you to boost your SEO ranking. These services include:

  • Link Explorer – For tracking your link profile and finding new link-building opportunities.
  • Keyword Explorer – For finding the most profitable keywords in your niche.
  • MozBar – A Google Chrome extension that provides an insight into any website’s Page Authority and Domain Authority as well as the option to do keyword research and link analysis of those websites directly from the browser bar.

Our thoughts on Moz

People from Moz are doing a fantastic job in regularly updating their blog and YouTube channel providing us with a plethora of SEO-related news and resources. However, when it comes to the tool itself and the features it offers, Moz falls behind the other two tools that we are evaluating in this article. While offering extremely useful features for free is definitely a gesture worth admiring, the rest that is included in their monthly plans is simply not enough to keep up with the competition.

Ahrefs vs SEMrush vs Moz: The battle outcome

Without a doubt, the three tools that we have analyzed in this article can all help you take your SEO game to the next level and provide exceptional results for your campaign. However, before we announce a winner, there are a couple of things to consider other than the features and benefits of each tool. 

The three above-mentioned tools have multiple integrations. This means that if something works well for one SEO expert, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you too. This is why it is a good idea to consider the tools you are already using and see whether they complement or integrate with the SEO research provider of your choice.

Continuing on, picking one of these tools doesn’t mean that you have to exclude the other two. For example, you could be using both Moz and SEMrush (or any of the three) as complementary tools, each in a different circumstance; it all comes down to your own preferences. Take the outcome of this comparison as our suggestion rather than as a rule to follow.

In our opinion amongst the SEO Tools, SEMrush would deliver the best results.  Long-tail keywords and low-competition keywords are the cornerstones of SEO. This is where SEMrush beats its competition by a large margin with its database that counts over 20 billion keywords. This makes obtaining thousands of keyword variations for the keywords you target nearly effortless. SEMrush is also the best tool on the market when it comes to providing the most accurate search volume data for keywords. Whether you are a blogger looking to improve the search engine optimization of your posts or an experienced marketer running the Google Ads real estate race, you can always rely on SEMrush to deliver the most accurate metrics.


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