SEMRush vs. Moz vs. Ahrefs – Which Keyword Research Tool is Best?
A Keyword research tool helps you create content that stands out. In this article we will go over SEMRush vs. Moz vs. Ahrefs vs GrowthBar and discover which keyword research tool is best for your situation.
There are more than 600 million blogs on the internet.
In order to stand out, you need to focus on search engine optimization (SEO).
Keyword research is a key component to any SEO strategy. Keyword research involves analyzing search data to discover what people are already searching and then creating content to match those existing searches.
There are tools that will help with keyword research, aka keyword research tools. Keyword research tools gather and then analyze data like search volume, competition score, cost per click and more. There are a number of good tools but we are going to primarily look at SEMRush vs Moz vs Ahrefs vs GrowthBar.
We’ll take you through the pros and cons of each tool. From there, you can decide which tool is right for your blogging needs.
What Can the Right SEO Tool Do for You?
Before diving into which SEO is the best keyword research tool, it helps to understand why you need to invest in a tool.
As a blogger, you need to beat out millions of others to get your content seen by search engine users. That means you need to have great SEO. The better your SEO, the higher your page should rank.
The right SEO tools help you get there. Most offer quite a few different features. You’ll want to focus on:
- Keyword research
- Link monitoring
- Technical SEO
- Competition monitoring
Some SEO tools even have an option that offers writing assistance to help you make your content more SEO friendly.
For most bloggers, keyword research is still the most important part of SEO. Not only does it give you an idea of what you’ll need to rank for, but it also improves your content planning capabilities.
With that in mind, it’s time to jump into SEMRush vs Moz vs Ahrefs vs GrowthBar.
A Quick Overview of GrowthBar
GrowthBar is a newcomer on the block. It just launched within this past year. Because of that, they have been able to take advantage of some forward thinking user design.
For instance, GrowthBar is a chrome extension that works entirely within your google search results. You don’t go inside their platform and work within their dashboard. You simply Google a term and get most of what you need to perform keyword research.
Take a look at how GrowthBar will operate within your search results:
Growth bar comes with a 5 day free trial.
Pros of GrowthBar
GrowthBar is the cheapest option on this list and it is incredibly easy to use. You will be up and running with GrowthBar after doing about 2 Google searches.
Here is how I use GrowthBar for keyword research:
Cons of GrowthBar
GrowthBar is not near as Robust as SEMRush or Ahrefs. GrowthBar primarily focuses on keyword research and top level competitor research.
As I mentioned, it operates within the browser, rather than their own backend – so they simply can’t house as much data as a tool like SEMRush.
However, this “con” can be a “pro” as there is virtually no learning curve when it comes to SEO.
Another huge advantage of GrowthBar over all the other tools on this list is it’s pricing. As of the time of this writing you can get a free 5 day trial and then GrowthBar is only $29/mo when paid annually.
A Quick Overview of SEMRush
SEMRush is one of the best-known SEO suites. The company started out in the early 2000s, just as SEO was ‘becoming a thing.’
SEMRush has always had placed an emphasis on keyword research. As a result, it boasts one of the biggest keyword databases available. Your ability to discover new keywords with this tool is almost unlimited.
Keyword research isn’t all SEMRush does though. It offers plenty of other features, including organic keyword tracking, technical SEO audits, competitor research, backlink outreach and much more.
Pros of SEMRush
SEMRush is one of the most well-rounded SEO suites out there. Its keyword database is very robust, and the accuracy of its data is almost unparalleled.
It also gives you great insights into what your competitors are doing. It offers up a deep dive into the data, so you can understand both how and why certain pages are ranking.
In recent years, SEMRush has expanded its capabilities in the area of linking. It can now provide better link analysis, as well as backlink monitoring.
Almost anything you want to accomplish when it comes to SEO, you can do with SEMRush. What’s better is they have a ton of free courses for beginners if you’re interested:
I personally subscribe to GrowthBar and SEMRush. I use GrowthBar for the quick research and then SEMRush if I want to deep dive a bit further or better track my competition. However, I understand that subscribing to both GrowthBar and SEMRush may be cost prohibitive for many.
The Drawbacks of SEMRush
Since it’s so robust, SEMRush does have a learning curve associated with it. There’s a lot of data on every screen, which can make it a bit daunting for the first-time user. While it is relatively user friendly, given how robust SEMRush is, it will still take you a bit of time to get completely comfortable with it.
There’s also the price of the suite. SEMRush has three paid plans. The lowest tier will cost you more than $1,000 a year.
That’s not bad, considering the depth of the data and the robustness of the tools. If this is your first blog or you’re just starting your business, then the price may be a little steep.
Luckily, you can try SEMRush for free for 7 days.
As of the writing of this article SEMRush offered 3 tiers of plans:
- Pro at $99.95 each month
- Guru at $199.95 per month
- Business at $399.95 every month
A Quick Overview of Moz
Of these three companies, Moz has been around the longest. It started as a blog where SEO experts could share their insights with each other. From there, it evolved into a set of SEO tools.
Moz has been an industry leader for quite some time, and many of its tools and metrics were once considered the gold standard. Take their domain authority metric for example.
Google doesn’t actually measure domain authority, but Moz’s measurement provides a good benchmark for how your site should stack up.
Moz offers some freebies, like the Moz toolbar chrome extension. Other tools are only available with a paid plan.
Pros of Moz
Moz has two primary strengths. The first is its user interface, which is clean and easy to navigate. You won’t feel overwhelmed using this tool.
The other strength is the Keyword Explorer. While not as robust as SEMRush’s, this tool works pretty well.
Moz also includes a bunch of other tools, including a content optimizer, a link checker, and more.
Other tools have somewhat caught up to Moz, but it’s still one of the best.
The Drawbacks of Moz
Over the years, Moz has rested on its laurels. Unfortunately, that means the team hasn’t innovated as much as they could. In turn, they’ve lost market share to other SEO suites.
Tools offered by SEMRush and GrowthBar, among others, now outpace many of Moz’s tools. SEMRush’s keyword tools, for example, have a larger database. SEMRush also offers more accuracy than Moz does.
Meanwhile, GrowthBar and their chrome extension offers a lot more data and an easier user interface at half the price.
Despite this, Moz is just as pricey as SEMRush. They do offer a lengthy free trial, so you can test it out and see if you like it.
Moz Pricing Options
As of the writing of this blog Moz has 4 main pricing options.
- Standard: $99/mo
- Medium: $149/mo
- Large: $249/mo
- Premium: $599/mo
A Quick Overview of Ahrefs
Ahrefs is newer than SEMRush and Moz. It arrived on the scene in 2010. When it started out, Ahrefs was focused on the linking part of SEO.
That’s even visible in the tool’s name. “Ahrefs” comes from the HTML code for creating links, <a href>.
Over the years, Ahrefs has expanded from this narrow focus. Today, it’s much like SEMRush and Moz in that it offers a comprehensive set of SEO tools.
Pros of Ahrefs
As mentioned, Ahrefs has always been about the links. That’s still its primary strength, even today. If you want to monitor your backlinks or see where your competitors are getting theirs, this is the tool for you.
Ahrefs also offers one of the most comprehensive sets of tools out there. It does everything, and then it goes one step further.
Despite that, the user interface is generally easy to navigate. It can look a bit cluttered at times, if only because there’s so much data.
The Drawbacks of Ahrefs
Just because it does everything doesn’t mean it does it well. Ahrefs has come a long way with their keyword research tool, but it’s still not the best one on the market.
The sheer number of tools can actually be a drawback for some users. Yes, you can do just about anything, but you may find you have a bunch of tools you don’t need or want.
That becomes a problem when you take a look at the pricing. Ahrefs offers a paid seven-day trial, but monthly pricing plans start around $100.
Ahrefs is one of the more expensive tools on the market, with plans topping out around $1,000 a month. That’s for big agencies who need tools for all the client websites they’re working on. You may find the middle tiers are more expensive than other tools.
At the time of this writing Ahrefs offers the following monthly plans:
- Lite at $99 per month
- Standard at $179 per month
- Advanced at $399 each month
- Agency at $999 each month
Who Wins SEMRush vs Moz vs Ahrefs vs GrowthBar?
Now that you know a bit about each tool, you’re still asking which of these tools is the best. The answer depends a bit on you and your blog.
If you want 80% of what you need, at a third of the price, and no learning curve – go with GrowthBar. Growthbar is the most budget friendly option and the easiest to use.
If you’re looking for the best keyword research tool on the market – go with SEMRush.
There’s no other tool that comes close to having a keyword database that’s so big and so accurate.
By contrast, if you’re really after good keyword research, then you might want to steer clear of Ahrefs. While its keyword research tool has improved, it’s still not the market leader. Given the price of this suite, you may end up paying for tools that you don’t need if you choose it.
If you’re also interested in keeping tabs on your linking strategy, then it might make more sense to go with Ahrefs. You’ll get marketing-leading link analysis, as well as a solid keyword research tool.
Moz, as mentioned, is an incumbent and offers a decent free MozBar tool.
Get Lift-Off for Your Blogging Business
It can be tough to make a choice between SEMRush vs Moz vs Ahrefs vs Growthbar. I hope this guide helps you make the right choice for your new blog. Getting good keyword research and the right SEO tools are key to monetizing your blog.
Are you looking for more tips to help you get your new blogging business off the ground? We can help. Take a look around and discover more in-depth guides designed to help you make your business a roaring success.