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Moz vs SEMRush: Which SEO Research Tool Does Your Business Need?

by Lewis Ogden | Last Updated: July 30, 2021 | Blogging

Digital marketers know that many factors make a business successful online. However, SEO is arguably the most crucial.

You can develop a product people need, put together a team of knowledgeable customer care representatives, and even create an attractive website that details the products or services you offer and displays them beautifully.

However, if you cannot reach your target audience, it will leave you questioning your entire concept when you check your traffic.

So, how can you get in front of the right people at the right time? That is the power SEO gives you. People conduct more than 5.6 billion internet searches daily. Yes, that’s billion with a ‘b.’

When you know what information people need, you can focus on giving them what they want. When you help someone solve a problem, you position yourself as an expert on the topic. So, even if they do not spend money with your company, you will be in mind when they are ready to purchase.

So, writing a few high-quality pieces of cornerstone content should do the trick, right? Not quite. While that might get you recognized by Google and other top search engines, like Bing and Yahoo, it will not get you on the first page.

Why Is Your Search Position Important?

Well, think about what you do when you do a search. How often do you even look past the first search engine results page (SERP)? If you are like most people, you do not look past the first page.

Seventy-one percent of people click results on the first page while only six percent click-through on the second or third SERP. As you can see, getting on the first page is vital; if you want to fully tap into the full potential of search engine marketing (SEM), you need to get on page one and not just for an off-the-wall keyword.

Why Do You Need To Rank For More Than One Keyword?

When searching, there are many ways you can search for the same thing. If you are only ranking for one keyword, fewer people will find you.

Another reason is that search engines take notice when you position yourself as an expert in your field. That helps you maintain your rankings and rank for other keywords, as well.

You Could Just Use Other Traffic Sources, Right?

There are other internet user traffic sources, but in terms of the number of leads you will receive and your return on investment (ROI), SEM is a better use of your budget. The leads you acquire from search engines have higher close rates than any other traffic source.

Why Are Search Engine Leads Better?

When someone finds you through a search engine, they are looking for information, products, or services, which typically means they have a problem or are ready to buy something. Getting in front of people when they need you is the best time to convert them.

While other internet marketing methods like social media ads allow you to select a target audience, most people who see your ad are not looking to buy at that moment. So, you are just hoping they will remember you when they are ready.

That is why the close rate for companies who rank on the top page is more than twice as likely to close than any other source of traffic.

So, Why Use A Keyword Research Tool?

SEM without a keyword research tool is like starting a business without a plan. Sure, you know the most popular keywords you should focus on, but what about related keywords with limited information?

When your competition is falling behind, it allows you to fill in the gaps. By positioning yourself on top with lesser-known keywords, you will be more appealing to search engines for more desirable phrases.

Plus, some of the best platforms like Moz and SEMRush also provide you with some other search engine marketing tools to help you get better results. Plus, they offer a great way to track your efforts that is much easier than using available free tools.

Knowing where you stand and how your efforts affect your rankings allows you to change your position more quickly. These tools also provide you with a detailed analysis of your competitors, including where they stand, how their rankings have changed historically, how much they are paying to appear in paid search results, their top sources of traffic, and more.

Spend Less on Search Ad Campaigns

Both Moz and SEMrush give you tools to advance your SEO position in both paid and organic results. When you pay to run a Google AdWords campaign, you are bidding against others who want their ad to appear in the results.

The better your onsite SEO and your position with Google algorithms, the less you will need to pay to appear in a favorable search position.

Moz vs. SEMRush: Overview

Both Moz and SEMRush offer a quality product that will help you target your efforts. However, some differences might make one a better fit for your needs.



Moz started in 2004 as an SEM consulting firm by founders Rand Fishkin and Gillian Muessig. Since then, it has grown into something much bigger. However, the focus remains the same. Moz helps businesses market in a more effective yet less invasive way.

The more subtle marketing approach that Moz helps businesses utilize is known as inbound marketing, and the platform contains a ton of features to track your inbound leads. That makes it a great tool if you are creating sales funnels to convert your search engine traffic.

Moz is an industry leader, and it provides a ton of valuable information and tools and tips to help you almond the way. Plus, Moz offers training and certifications if you are interested in becoming an expert in SEM.



SEMrush is the newer of the two applications. The group of SEO specialists and IT professionals did not start the company until 2012. Despite being a younger company, industry leaders and marketing professionals recognize SEMrush as a valuable tool to help businesses level the playing field.

The team at SEMrush believes that by making things more transparent, they can help small businesses gain a competitive advantage in the online world. While no keyword research tool will create your content marketing strategy for you, SEMrush enables you to see where you should focus your time and money.

Since SEMrush, it has grown substantially into a full suite of SEM tools. So, what was once a relatively simple keyword search tool has become a lot more. The team sees a need, and they deliver, which means you always get the tools you need to achieve and maintain desirable SERPs.

Moz Vs SEMrush: How Are They The Same?

Moz and SEMrush are very similar in terms of the information they provide. Both give you:

As you can see, no matter if you are focusing on organic or paid searches, these two programs both give you ample information to create a content marketing strategy and track your success.

Telling you how Moz and SEMrush are the same will not help you decide which is best for you, though.

So, keep reading to learn about the key features of each, plan pricing, and our final verdict on which of these two keyword tools you need.

Moz Vs SEMrush: Features

Features are a significant consideration when you are trying to figure out which application you should use. There is no one size fits all tool. So, we are going to compare some of the key features to determine which is the best.

Domain Analyzer

Either product gives you the ability to analyze domains. You can see which words a site ranks for and each SERP position by performing these reports. However, SEMrush offers some domain analysis features that are not available through Moz.

For example, with Moz, the domain data is separated, which makes it challenging to analyze links and keywords at the same time. Where as SEMruh provides all of this information on one page.

SEMrush also gives you traffic predictions for any domain name, and you do not have to add them to a campaign. If you are a Basic User, your Moz account only allows you to set up three campaigns. Once you have used your campaign slots, you are unable to generate domain data for other sites.

What’s The Verdict?

In terms of domain analytics, SEMrush is the clear winner. You can run reports on any domain, and you do not have to use valuable campaign spaces. Furthermore, SEMrush provides all of the data you need to get a clear view of where a domain stands in terms of predicted traffic, keyword positions, and backlinks on one easy to read page.

Keyword Research

Regarding keyword research, the platforms are so similar, and you may almost assume one is a white-label version of the other. Both give you:

To use the keyword research features in either application, you simply need to enter your phrase in the ‘Keyword Overview’ search. You will receive data on the keywords, including other related words you should target. SEMrush also gives you an estimated difficulty level for ranking for each as well.

It is important to note that both give you information based on Google results. Neither provides keyword ranking information for Bing, YouTube, Yahoo, and other search engines. However, Moz’s distinct feature is the ‘Rank Checker’ that shows Bing and Yahoo’s data.

What’s the Verdict?

The keyword research features offered by Moz and SEMrush are so similar it is hard to pick a clear leader. In theory, the SEMrush difficulty predictor is a great advantage, but it can be unreliable. So, at best, it may give you a slight advantage when it comes to choosing where to focus your SEM efforts.

If you target audiences that use Bing and Yahoo, you will probably find Moz more useful with the Rank Checker tool.

Backlink Building Tools

Backlinks help to establish your site as a trusted resource of information. Typically, the more high-quality backlinks you have, the better your site performs on search engines.

So, a reliable backlink tool can really help your business advance in the SERP results. When comparing backlink tools, there are several things to consider.

Backlink Reporting

Some report parameters are available through both applications, like:

SEMrush also shows you:

SEMrush provides a bit more data on each backlink. Both applications display the data using graphs, but you can expand them to view more in-depth information in SEMrush. With Moz, what you see on the results page is all you get.

Backlink Database Size and Results

Both companies crawl billions of URLs daily to create a database of backlinks and other data. When you conduct a backlink search, it returns the relevant information.

SEMrush publishes information about its domain backlink database. The numbers are pretty impressive. SEMrush crawls more than 17 billion sites returning more than 34 trillion links from more than 1.4 billion domains.

Moz does not share information about its database. That may make you believe that SEMrush has a more extensive database and returns more results. However, in most searches, Moz returns more links.

That can make a big difference, especially if there are links that are negatively impacting your website. Just like positive backlinks help your site, harmful associations will drag your position down in search results. So, it seems that Moz just decides not to share the exact number of domains and links in its database.

Backlink Removal

Each keyword research tool allows you to export a list of malicious links, which you can use to whitelist the links by uploading them into a ‘disavow’ file with Google. However, with Moz, you cannot edit the list before exporting it. So, you have to edit them in the exported Excel spreadsheet.

Moz allows you to remove links before you export the file, which makes it more accessible. There is no need even to open the file before you upload it to your Google account.

Backlink Building Tools

Each platform provides insights that help you determine which links to delete, sources of your top links, and which keywords you may want to target to acquire more high-quality links. All of that can help you improve your position.

However, these valuable tools also help you with backlink building using a feature called ‘Link Intersect’ in Moz and ‘Backlink Gap’ in SEMrush. How do they stack up, though?

Well, first, it is essential to understand how they work. Both companies allow you to compare competitor sites for backlinks. After you enter the domains you want to include, it will give you a list with the backlinks for each link’s rankings.

You can export the list and use it to obtain links from sites linked to your competition. Getting the links takes a bit of work, but knowing which links you should focus on can help you spend less time on those that are not all that beneficial.

By obtaining the links, your competition already has, you are ‘closing the gap’ between you, which is why SEMrush calls it, ‘Backlink Gap.’

What’s the Verdict?

Backlinks are another area where SEMrush outperforms. When it comes to backlinks, you need to know definitively which links are helping and which are hurting you. It is also beneficial to see the country of origin and other vital facts.

While SEMrush does provide a bit more information about link sources, both Link Intersect tools are similar. The only real difference is you can compare up to five sites simultaneously with Moz, and SEMrush restricts you to four at one time.

There is a feature that SEMrush has that makes up for the ability to compare an additional site. SEMrush automatically crawls your site and provides you with a list of backlinks you should target. That means, in theory, you don’t even have to run the comparison. You can just use the information SEMrush provides you.

You can also keep track of your link building efforts using a CRM-style interface. When you are in the link building tracker, it gives you a list of each prospective link URL. You can then contact the site owner to ask for a backlink. Once you do that, you can change the link’s status to show that you are working on building that connection.

Other people can also work within the system if you have a multi-user license. So, you can stay aware of links other people in your organization are working on.

Site Auditing

Auditing your site for simple changes you can make to improve SEO can make a significant impact. So, here is the information each gives you in the site auditing tool:

Moz also gives you a page grader and exact steps you can take to improve your score. However, accessing this information may be challenging for new users. As with other Moz tools, they can be challenging to navigate between.

SEMrush gives you all of the site auditing information on one clear and easy-to-understand page. It also has a tool that checks your entire site for SEO issues and gives you actionable steps prioritized based on the impact fixing them will have on your onsite SEO.

What’s the Verdict?

The Moz site auditing feature, while challenging to navigate, gives you straightforward ways to improve your onsite SEO. With many site errors being easy to fix and really impacting your SEO efforts, we appreciate that Moz invested effort in the grader.

However, the SEMrush site audit is a bit more robust. The information it gives you includes your entire website, while you have to conduct searches for each page with Moz. With all of the information that SEMrush provides, you do not need a separate site auditing program.

Plus, you can share the tasks with your team through Trello, making managing site errors easier.

Interface and Learning Curve

In some ways, it seems that Moz has an older and less aesthetically pleasing interface. It is also more challenging to navigate back and forth between critical features.

In contrast, SEMrush provides data on one screen in easy to read charts. If there is additional information available in the report, you simply need to click on the chart to expand that data set.

What’s the Verdict?

With some training or experience using a keyword research tool, Moz and SEMrush are both relatively simple to use. SEMrush presents the information in a way that is easier to understand, though.

Moz Vs SEMrush: Plans vs. Pricing

Knowing what these two great keyword research applications can do is not enough. To pick the best one, you need to know about the available plans and pricing. So, we will go over each and let you know how you can try them.

Moz Plans

Moz offers several plans that include different limits on monthly searches, the number of keywords you can track, and how many campaigns you can set up.

Many of the Moz features you will use most require a campaign. If you perform a lot of domain analysis, you need to consider that when selecting a plan.

Standard – $99 monthly

The Standard Plan offers you basic access to the tools Moz offers. If you are learning about SEO and how to use keywords, this is an excellent plan to get your feet wet. However, it restricts you to just three campaigns, 100,000 pages crawled each week, and the ability to track historical data for 300 keywords per campaign.

Medium – $149 Monthly

The Medium Plan gives you the same features as the Standard Plan. It also increases campaigns to 10, keyword ranking tracking for up to 800 keywords per campaign, and 500,000 crawled websites per week.

Large – $249 Monthly

Want to add the ability to create as many as 25 campaigns, 1,900 keywords per campaign, and 1,250,000 pages crawled weekly.

Premium – $599 Monthly

The most expensive Moz plan is the Premium Package. It gives you the ability to create up to 50 campaigns, track historical data for 4,500 keywords per campaign, and crawl 200,000 pages per week.

SEMrush Pricing and Plans

Plans available through SEmrush are similar to those available from Moz. However, you get a bit more with SEMrush for around the same price. All of the plans include mobile tracking, social profile monitoring, the ability to share tasks, and a ton of other features.

Pro – $99.95 Monthly

With the Pro Plan, you can create up to three projects to track keywords and other information. You can also create lists of as many as 500 words, which SEMrush will crawl daily.

Guru – #199.95 Monthly

The Guru Plan increases projects to 15, daily crawled keywords to 1,500, and the ability to crawl as many as 300,000 keywords monthly. You also receive access to historical data with this option.

Business – $399.95 Monthly

If you need the ability to create up to 25 projects, share ‘read-only’ tasks, crawl up to 5,000 keywords daily, and up to 1,000,000 per month, the Business Plan will fit your needs. It also allows you to connect with other apps using API and export data to third-party sites.

Competitive Intelligence Add-On – $200 Monthly

SEMrush offers a Competitive Intelligence Add-On on any plan. It gives you historical traffic analytics data, the Market Explorer, Competitor Benchmarking, and the most popular pages on any domain you search.

Final Thoughts

Moz and SEMrush both have a ton of great tools to help you create a successful SEM plan. They both have options that give you access to historical data for your site and your competition’s domains, as well.

The plans available through both are comparable in terms of pricing. However, the SEMrush plans are slightly less and include a more robust set of features in each program, which is why we think it is the perfect keyword research tool for your small, medium, or enterprise-level business.

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