SEMrush vs. Ahrefs vs. Moz — 2019 SEO Tool Comparison / Review (preview version)

Thumbnails of SEMrush, Ahrefs and Moz

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Future Contents

  • Pricing
  • Site Audit
  • Site Stats
  • Keywords
  • Backlinks
  • Rankings
  • Content
  • Misc.
  • Summary
  • Resources
  • Changelog
  • Feedback

Pricing

$ Per PlanPlan 1Plan 2Plan 3Plan 4
SEMrush$99.95 (Pro)$199.95 (Guru)$399.95 (Business)upon request (Enterprise)
Ahrefs$99 (Lite)$179 (Standard)$399 (Advanced)$999 (Agency)
Moz$99 (Standard)$179 (Medium)$249 (Large)$999 (Premium)

The plan prices are superficially similar, but there are important differences. The right plan will have the feature quality you want, and the resource quantity you need to use everything. Determine which resource limits pertain to you, then compare the price points for each tool.

For agencies, it might be the number of projects. For a big site, maybe the number of pages crawled per site.

While there is no right plan for everyone, there are ways to help everyone make sense of the available information. Simply click the tabs / links above to compare SEMrush vs. Ahrefs vs. Moz on the basis of Projects, Keywords Tracked, Pages Crawled or API.

At the entry plan level, pricing is the same per project. But when you get to the next level, SEMrush is the clear value winner.*

This is a big deal. You could have 30 projects on SEMrush for $199.95, but need to upgrade to $999 plans at the others.

*Of course, this all depends on the value each tool delivers per project, based on your unique needs.

$ Per PlanPlan 1Plan 2Plan 3Plan 4
SEMrush$99.95 (Pro)$199.95 (Guru)$399.95 (Business)upon request (Enterprise)
Ahrefs$99 (Lite)$179 (Standard)$399 (Advanced)$999 (Agency)
Moz$99 (Standard)$179 (Medium)$249 (Large)$999 (Premium)
# of ProjectPlan 1Plan 2Plan 3Plan 4
SEMrush5 projects50 projects200 projectsupon request
Ahrefs5 projects10 projects25 projects100 projects
Moz5 projects10 projects25 projects100 projects
$ Per Project (rounded)Plan 1Plan 2Plan 3Plan 4
SEMrush$20 per project$4 per project$2 per projectupon request
Ahrefs$20 per project$18 per project$16 per project$10 per project
Moz$20 per project$18 per project$10 per project$10 per project

Price per keyword tracked does not vary too much.

It takes a lot more effort to max out keywords than projects, so this is probably not a defining variable for most people.

Plan PricesPlan 1Plan 2Plan 3Plan 4
SEMrush$99.95 (Pro)$199.95 (Guru)$399.95 (Business)upon request (Enterprise)
Ahrefs$99 (Lite)$179 (Standard)$399 (Advanced)$999 (Agency)
Moz$99 (Standard)$179 (Medium)$249 (Large)$999 (Premium)
$ Per Keyword (rounded)Plan 1Plan 2Plan 3Plan 4
SEMrush500 keywords1,500 keywords5,000 keywordsupon request
Ahrefs500 keywords1,500 keywords5,000 keywords10,000 keywords
Moz300 keywords900 keywords1,900 keywords10,000 keywords
$ Per Keyword (rounded)Plan 1Plan 2Plan 3Plan 4
SEMrush$0.20 per keyword$0.13 per keyword$0.08 per keywordupon request
Ahrefs$0.20 per keyword$0.12 per keyword$0.08 per keyword$0.10 per keyword
Moz$0.33 per keyword$0.20 per keyword$0.13 per keyword$0.10 per keyword

Like with Keywords Tracked, for most people, this might not be as critical as cost per project. But there are some interesting points.

Moz appears to be trying to deliver value in this area. Ahrefs appears to excel in some respects, with no mention of crawl limits per project, beyond the overall crawl budget. However, Ahref’s “Lite” plan name seems significant (whereas Moz starts with “Standard” and SEMrush with “Pro”). SEMrush’s pricing in this area is steady but unspectacular.

As with all areas of comparison, don’t get hung up on quantity without considering the quality. You need to balance both factors.

$ Per PlanPlan 1Plan 2Plan 3Plan 4
SEMrush$99.95 (Pro)$199.95 (Guru)$399.95 (Business)upon request (Enterprise)
Ahrefs$99 (Lite)$179 (Standard)$399 (Advanced)$999 (Agency)
Moz$99 (Standard)$179 (Medium)$249 (Large)$999 (Premium)
# of Pages CrawledPlan 1Plan 2Plan 3Plan 4
SEMrush100,000 per month300,000 per month1,000,000 per monthupon request
Ahrefs10,000 per month500,000 per month1,250,000 per month2,500,000 per month
Moz100,000 per month500,000 per month1,250,000 per month5,000,000 per month
$ Per 1K Pages (rounded)Plan 1Plan 2Plan 3Plan 4
SEMrush$1.00 per 1K$0.67 per 1K$0.40 per 1Kupon request
Ahrefs$9.90 per 1K$0.36 per 1K$0.32 per 1K$0.40 per 1K
Moz$0.99 per 1K$0.36 per 1K$0.20 per 1K$0.20 per 1K
Limit Per ProjectPlan 1Plan 2Plan 3Plan 4
SEMrush20,000 per month20,000 per month100,000 per monthupon request
Ahrefsnone mentionednone mentionednone mentionednone mentioned
Moz20,000 per month50,000 per month100,000 per month250,000 per month

Ahrefs and Moz have the most similarly-priced API plans, clearly paying attention to each other’s pricing. 

SEMrush is different, using a credit system, where different row types cost a different amount of credits.

API Overviewminimum base costprice per additional
SEMrush$400 (Business Plan)$50 per 1,000,000 credits*
Ahrefs$500 (API Standard plan)$1.00 to $0.35 per 1,000 rows
Moz$250 (API Entry Level plan)$20 per $3.50 per 10,000 rows
* SEMrush rows cost between 10 and 100 credits.

Overall, it looks like these tools keep an eye on each other’s pricing and try to stay competitive.

But even before getting into the qualitative comparisons, there appear to be some important differences.

From an agency perspective, the biggest deal was the # of projects per plan at SEMrush (more info: SEMrush prices).

For an individual large site, Ahrefs might deserve consideration with less limits per project (see: pages crawled).

Site Audits

Assumptions:

Ahrefs is pretty geeky. SEMrush is pretty detailed because I tend to use it more. Moz, no assumptions.

Conclusions:

I’m still digging through and lining everything up, but Ahrefs and SEMrush appear more detailed than Moz.

–> click the “Screenshot” tabs for more –>

Backlinks

Assumptions:

Ahrefs is likely the leader, SEMrush is not as big into links, Moz says they are up to something so maybe they are…

Conclusions:

I did some light testing, although after this it didn’t make sense to do deeper testing. I’m not seeing links as a huge point of differentiation. Everyone has gaps. And not just in the junk links that make up most of the tool-ego stats. Every site missed “obvious” links that the other sites caught.

Beyond any testing results, I’m not sure if i weigh the Backlinks feature as high as I did in the past. I may revisit this later, but for now I’m going to look for features with more significant differences.

–> click the “Testing” tab for more –>

I decided to compare the backlink capabilities of the 3 tools on the same site. his is not easy or clean, and I’m suspicious of anyone who make it look that way. 🙂

Process: 1.) export all links for this site 2.) delete some that were giving Excel issues 3.) run VLOOKUPs and IF statements to see who found what links.

Reality: many links are junky, or spider traps that spin too many similar URLs, so the absolute numbers don’t matter, same with the “Only This Has” column.

I’m slightly more inclined to trust the “Only This Missed” column as a signal of coverage quality (lower is better). 

BacklinksTotal LinksOnly This HasOnly This Missed
SEMrush32,09247.2%5.5%
Ahrefs13,73213.7%6.2%
Moz19,91021.0%2.0%
Total53,65081.9%13.7%
* All 3 tools found 4.4% of the same links.

note: newer sites that have attracted more link recently may get different results. Feel free to run a similar test on a site you know well.

Summary

In the early days, there was Moz. Like many people at the time, I had Moz as a main tool in my SEO tool box. And it was helpful. But over time, they got complacent. Worse, I was complacent along with them! You have to re-evaluate your key tools and your assumptions periodically.

Eventually, I made my way over to Ahrefs, based on the strength of their link data. And Ahrefs has been solid. Their link data remains useful, although I don’t geek out over links quite like I used to. But you can see their commitment to an overall-useful tool with their detailed blog posts introducing each new feature upgrade.

Time to get complacent? Tempting, but no.

Enter SEMrush and all it’s fancy features. So many features that it takes a while to integrate them into my workflow. And sometimes I worry that they might take their eye off the key features. But so far, so good. To the point where I have upgraded to the API-enabled plan.

So where are we now?

I’m still using the Standard Ahrefs plan, along with the Business SEMrush plan. Moz is on a free trial of the Medium plan for this comparison.

To Be Determined, based on upcoming research.

Changelog

2019-04-26 – added Audit Log section with screenshots.
2019-04-20 – launched a preview version with Pricing, Backlinks, and initial Summary section.

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