All-in-one SEO tools are a crucial part of any SEO efforts; they help you track your rank, conduct competitive research, improve your technical and on-page SEO, find link-building opportunities, and much more.
What Are Ahrefs and Moz? Understanding All-in-One SEO Tools
Ahrefs and Moz are both all-in-one SEO tools—platforms that can help you with your on-page, off-page, and technical SEO with a variety of different features and tools. The amount of information offered by these platforms can be intimidating to new users. All-in-one tools typically have a number of features that are useful for all SEO efforts, including:
- Domain analysis
- Rank tracking
- Keyword research
- Site audits
- Backlink analysis
- Competitor research
- Off-page SEO tools
Both Moz and Ahrefs have several features that fall under these categories. Any SEO agency—and indeed, any business interested in improving its own SEO—should have at least one all-in-one SEO tool.
To help you choose which of these tools is right for you, I’m going to go through all of their features one by one, offering a detailed comparison of all of the core facets I listed above. Let’s dive right in—there’s a lot to cover!
Ahrefs Vs. Moz: A Detailed Comparison
Domain analysis is one of the most important features of any all-in-one SEO tool. Domain analysis tools give you insights about your own domain as well as your competitors' domains. By comparing your domain with your competitors, you can better understand what steps you can take to outcompete them in the SERPs.
Ahrefs’ domain analysis tool is called Site Explorer. Site Explorer is extremely powerful—it’s one of my favorite domain analysis tools, bar none. Here’s an example of the basic metrics page:
On this page, you can see the Domain Rating (DR) and URL Rating (UR) that Ahrefs gives the domain and page, respectively. These metrics are helpful in understanding a page’s authority—and thus the value of links to and from that page. You also get a breakdown of traffic over time, where traffic is coming from, and more. The Site Explorer gives you a lot of information about a site’s backlink profile—but I’ll talk more about that in the backlink analysis section.
Site Explorer goes way beyond these basics; it will tell you which organic keywords a site is ranking for, that site’s top pages for organic traffic, and even offer you insights into site structure, top organic competitors, and date-to-date comparisons of a site’s SERP ranks.
Moz’s Domain Overview tool serves a similar purpose. You can use the main screen to check Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA), the number of backlinks, and the number of keywords a site ranks for:
Like Ahrefs, the Domain Overview tool goes fairly deep—you can see which keywords the domain is ranking for, including keyword difficulty, the SERP rank, the ranking URL, and more. There are also a number of competitor analysis and backlink tools that I’ll discuss later in this review.
Moz also has a Spam Score—something that Ahrefs has stated it hasn’t done because it’s found it difficult to create accurate spam scores. Here’s what Moz’s Spam Score looks like:
The main advantages to Moz’s domain analysis is the presence of a Spam Score metric, which makes it easier to find spammy backlinks, and its Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) scores, which I’ve found to be more accurate than Ahrefs’ DR and UR scores.
Ahrefs, on the other hand, has a much more feature and data-dense domain analysis tool. You can see exactly when algorithm updates may have affected your SERP positions, delve deeply into historical data with its calendar, and even get estimated traffic based on trends. You’ll also get an estimate of the cash value of that traffic (the amount of money you’d need to spend on ads to get the same traffic).
For me, Ahrefs ends up taking the cake on domain analysis. I’m always looking for as much accurate data as possible, and Ahrefs offers a little more than Moz does.
The Winner: Ahrefs
Rank tracking is where we see the fruits of our labor come to life. Both Moz and Ahrefs offer rank-tracking tools that tell you exactly how your website and web pages are performing on the SERPs for certain queries over time.
Every successful SEO effort has rank tracking as one of its cores—without it, it’s very difficult to know whether or not your strategies are paying off.
The Ahrefs Rank Tracker is a super straightforward tool. You enter the keywords you want to track your site’s rankings for, and it gives you a detailed analysis page that looks like this:
As with its Site Overview tool, Ahrefs Rank Tracker goes incredibly deep. Aside from the top keywords for all of your individual pages, you can get data on Rich Results and search engine features like Google’s Featured Snippet and Local Pack. You’ll also get access to advanced metrics like “clicks per search”.
One feature I particularly appreciate is the email updates; it gives me regular snapshots of my sites’ positions in the SERPs—very useful when you have dozens of clients with tens of thousands of keywords to track between them. I can also set up notifications for drastic fluctuations in rank.
Moz’s Rank Checker is somewhat less powerful but still useful. You can quickly visualize your success in the SERPs, compare between search engines (including mobile and desktop searches), and see which pages are ranking for which keywords. You can also set up email notifications—though they’re much less detailed than Ahrefs’, but you can’t receive email updates based on triggers like a decline in visibility.
Both of these tools have competitor analysis built-in—and you guessed it, I’ll talk more about that in a later section of this article (the competitor research section, as you might have also guessed).
Ahrefs takes this one. Its Rank Checker tool sends me more detailed and customizable email updates, allows me to narrow down to the city level for local SEO, and simply delivers more data than Moz.
To work your way up the SERPs, you need to find the right keywords to target—and the keyword research tools offered by Moz and Ahrefs will help you do exactly that. Generally, I’m looking for a few key metrics in all of my keyword research tools:
- Monthly search volume
- Search intent
- Keyword difficulty (how hard it will be to rank for the keyword)
- Keyword trends
- Cost-per-click (CPC) for when I’m running ad campaigns
I’m also looking for features that allow me to generate new keyword ideas, glean information about the keywords my competitors are ranking for, and filter through keywords to find the ones that match my needs and goals.
Ahrefs’ keyword research tools help me with most of the above—and more. Its Keyword Explorer tool gives thousands of keyword suggestions for every seed keyword, supports 171 countries, and gives me access to 10 different search engines—including non-traditional search engines like YouTube and Amazon. It even offers metrics for the estimated number of clicks for a given keyword, clicks per search, and more.
Moz’s tool—also known as Keyword Explorer (I guess there’s no trademark on that), offers some unique metrics, including priority (how important the keyword is to rank for) and the keyword’s organic CTR.
Both of these keyword research tools are extremely valuable, giving you detailed insight into individual keywords and suggestions for related keywords. You can make keyword lists using the suggestions from either tool.
For me, Ahrefs is the clear winner. It offers more granular data on all its keywords (including CPC and CPS data), and the keywords generated by its Keyword Explorer often strike me as more relevant. It also makes it easier to filter through keywords.
I will note that neither Ahrefs nor Moz offers search intent data, which is a real shame. Search intent is one of the most essential parts of keyword research because it helps you tailor your pages to the types of interactions users searching for a term are looking for.
Site audits are powerful on-page and technical SEO tools. The basic premise of a site audit is simple—you crawl the pages of your site, then get data on everything from 4XX errors to learning about which pages are loading slowly. Running regular site audits is a great way to nip potentially catastrophic SEO issues in the bud—and it’s one of the first things you should do when onboarding a new client.
Ahrefs’ site audit feature checks for over 140 SEO issues—everything from performance issues and missing HTML tags to content quality problems and bad links. It makes it easy to sort through the issues that come up during a site audit and prioritizes each issue by its relative importance.
Moz’s Site Crawl tool is quite similar, giving you a list of issues and prioritizing those issues by importance. Again, here, it’s quite easy to sort by the type of issue and get alerts when any new ones pop up; Moz automatically crawls your site on a weekly basis, and you can manually ask it to recrawl any time you make significant changes to your site.
Both of these site audit tools are fantastic and extremely similar. Ahrefs wins by a slight margin, though, because it gives your site an overall health score, which Moz does not do. These scores are useful, especially if you want to compare your site at a glance with a competitor’s site.
There are really two components to backlink analysis—understanding which backlinks are going to your site and understanding which backlinks are going to your competitors’ sites. The second falls under competitor research (which I promise I’m getting to very soon), so let’s focus on the first.
You can find a backlink checker in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. The tool is pretty powerful, allowing you to sort through dofollow, nofollow, user-generated, and sponsored backlinks. You’ll get information on the DR and UR of all the pages backlinking to your site. You can also filter by DR value, page traffic, and more.
Moz’s backlink analysis is somewhat less granular—while Ahrefs gives you information on referring domains, backlink languages, and more, Moz only gives you more basic data like dofollow vs. nofollow. Moz also offers fewer filters.
There are, however, two advantages to using Moz. First, it has a much more comprehensive link database, with more than twice as many links tracked as Ahrefs. Second, it offers a spam score, making it easier to disavow toxic backlinks.
This one’s too close to call, so I’m going to call it a tie. I prefer Ahrefs’ UX—it’s much easier to filter and sort through backlinks—but I love keeping track of potentially toxic links and having access to more data.
Off-page SEO is tied in with backlink analysis and competitor research. My goal in any off-page SEO project is to build links—I look for tools that can help me find linking opportunities and tools that can help me prospect those opportunities.
Ahrefs and Moz both fall into the former category. You can use the backlink report from either tool to see where your competitors are getting backlinks from. You can also use features in both tools to find backlink prospects.
The Content Explorer tool offered by Ahrefs is particularly good. You can use its broken link builder to find broken links to pages that rank for the keyword you’re targeting, then ask the owners of those links to link to you instead.
Ahrefs also offers an unlinked brand mention tool, tools to help you find websites to pitch guest posts to, and more.
Moz, conversely, has far fewer in-depth off-page SEO tools. You can do broken link analysis, but it’s a convoluted process that involves exporting inbound links to a CSV file. You can use competitor backlink analysis to see who is linking to your competitors, but it doesn’t get much more granular than that.
Ahrefs wins—hands down. It has a comprehensive suite of off-page SEO and link-building tools. Moz does not.
I’ve mentioned competitive research in everything from keyword research to domain analysis. From on-page optimization to link building, SEO never happens in a vacuum—you’re always trying to beat your top competitors. That’s why I gather keyword ranking data. That’s why I use site audit tools to find flaws with our site. I want to rank higher on every search engine than my competition.
Ahrefs and Moz both offer a comprehensive suite of competitor analysis tools. You can check all of your organic competitors to see how much organic traffic you’re getting and what your share of that organic traffic is compared to your top competitors:
You can see what share of traffic your competitors are getting for a target keyword:
You can use the domain analysis tool to see your competitors’ site health, backlinks, and more:
You can even see where your competitors are getting most of their organic traffic:
You can even use the Content Gap tool to see what topics your competitors are covering that you aren’t and the Competitive Analysis tool to see whether or not your competition is landing Featured Snippets that you aren’t.
Ahrefs also has an excellent Backlink Gap tool to see which domains are linking to your competitors but not to you and use the aforementioned Broken Backlink tool to earn links more easily.
Moz also offers a wide variety of tools for competitive research. Its True Competitor tool gives you a list of sites that are fighting for the same keywords as you; you can use this tool several times to find the sites with content strategies that are most similar to yours.
As with Ahrefs, you can use the domain analysis tool to learn everything you can about your competitors’ sites, and compare them to yours:
You can find out how well your competitors are ranking for various keywords, and where you overlap with them:
You can also run keyword gap analysis—I specifically like the ability to run gap analysis on subfolders, allowing me to hone in on a particular niche.
The main tool missing from Moz is an easy-to-use broken link analysis tool.
Ahrefs wins this one again. Though both tools have powerful competitor analysis functionality, Ahrefs is a bit easier and more comprehensive.
Ease of Use
Both tools seem daunting from the outset: Where do you find the keyword research tool? How do you use the site audit tool? How do you run reports?
The answer is “by clicking around and playing with various features”. These are all-in-one SEO tools—realistically, that can make them hard to learn.
Fortunately, these tools are easy enough to navigate once you learn how, and they both present data in a way that’s clear and easy to read, helping you develop a cohesive SEO strategy more rapidly than if the data was all presented in spreadsheets.
Moz might be a little easier to learn—but that’s because it’s less feature-dense than Ahrefs is.
This one is a tie. Both of these tools are intimidating at first but simple enough once you get the hang of them, and I love how they both present information. Moz might load a little faster, and Ahrefs might be a little prettier, but it all comes out in the wash.
Both Ahrefs and Moz offer chat and email customer support. In my experience, both companies respond quickly and answer queries effectively. They both also have an incredible backlog of resources and articles for you to pour through.
Seriously—when I was first learning SEO, Ahrefs and Moz were my go-to resources, even without purchasing their tools. Ahrefs even recently published a book on SEO basics.
This is yet another tie—excellent customer support coupled with excellent resources from both companies.
Here’s Ahrefs pricing matrix:
And here’s Moz’s pricing (pay attention to the prices that are crossed through—I took the screenshot during a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale):
Getting Moz costs considerably less than Ahrefs. Moz also offers more users in its higher-tiered plans (Ahrefs always limits you to one power user unless you pay more), more keywords per plan, and more crawl credits.
Ahrefs, on the other hand, is more feature-dense. It also offers more projects per month—and both Ahrefs and Moz have features that you can only access when you’re working on a project (or campaign, in Moz’s terminology). Most importantly, if you can verify that you own a site you’re working on, Ahrefs will call that site a “verified” project—and you can have unlimited verified projects on Ahrefs.
Price is always subjective—you can’t know whether or not the price is worth it unless you understand how much value you’re getting out of the tool. I tend to value Ahrefs’ features more highly than Moz’s (you’ve read the comparison; Ahrefs won basically every time), but the price of Moz is quite a bit lower and grants you quite a bit more access.
Additionally, the lowest tier of Ahrefs is almost not worth getting at all—you get access to far fewer features.
For these reasons, and because of its generous yearly subscription discount, I’m going to give this one to Moz.
Both Moz and Ahrefs will help you boost your organic search traffic with tools ranging from rank tracking and keyword research to competitive research and site audits. You should absolutely get an all-in-one SEO tool, and both of these tools are phenomenal.
I prefer Ahrefs for my business; it’s more feature-dense and offers more granular data in most circumstances. I might recommend Moz for small businesses looking to do their own SEO, though—its lowest-tier plan is one of the most affordable in the industry, and it’s still quite powerful.
Moz also offers better DA and PA scores and has a bigger link profile. This makes it more accurate in some cases. I also really wish Ahrefs would develop a spam score—and I trust that if and when it does, it will be an incredible tool.
I hope this article has helped you choose an all-in-one SEO tool. Remember, the best SEO tool is the one that fits best with your priorities.
Until next time!