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In this Moz vs Ahrefs comparison, I’m going to pit two leading SEO tools against each other — and help you find out which of them is better for your project.
The quick verdict
The key reason to use Ahrefs instead of Moz is that it gives you considerably better SEO features — its link building, keyword research and rank tracking tools are all considerably more sophisticated than the Moz equivalents. However, its pricing model is very confusing and the number of reports you can pull from it each month is limited.
The key reason to use Moz over Ahrefs is the larger amount of data it gives you. Its reporting limits are considerably more generous than the Ahrefs equivalents and this makes the tool better suited to organizations that need to work on multiple SEO projects at once. It also gives you a generous free trial, while Ahrefs doesn’t.
In this post, I’m going to explore how Moz and Ahrefs compare when it comes to…
- Domain analysis
- Keyword research
- Rank tracking
- Backlink analysis
- Broken link analysis and building
- Site auditing
- Ease of use
- Pricing and value for money
- Customer support
and much more.
But first, a key question…
What are Moz and Ahrefs?
Moz Pro and Ahrefs are tools that help you optimize your website for search engines.
To do this, they give you a lot of information — data that you can use to:
- discover what people are searching for in your business’ niche
- create new content that is likely to attract organic search traffic
- identify opportunities for building links from other sites to yours
- tweak technical aspects of your website in ways that will help it rank higher in search results.
Both tools provide you with keyword suggestions (based on phrases that you enter) that can be used to create content that performs well in search results.
They tell you how easy or difficult it will be to rank for specific search queries.
They help you spot the best sites to approach for backlinks.
And they let you carry out an “SEO audit” on your website to see if there are any improvements you can make to its technical setup or content that will help boost rankings.
That’s just the beginning though — there are many other features provided by Moz and Ahrefs to help you climb up the search rankings. I’ll go through these in more depth throughout this comparison.
Let’s start with something very important: domain analysis.
One of the most useful things you can do with Moz and Ahrefs is conduct basic domain analysis.
This means getting a general overview of how a website is performing from an SEO point of view.
You usually perform domain analysis on your own website — to see where key SEO improvements can be made — or on a competitor’s, to see how difficult it will be to outperform them in search results.
Once you’ve entered a URL into Ahref’s or Moz’s domain analysis tools, you can expect to see the following from both products:
- A ‘domain authority’ score (Moz) or ‘domain rating‘ (Ahrefs) that gives you an at-a-glance indication of how well a website is likely to perform in search results. These scores are both calculated on the number and quality of links that point to a website.
- The top keywords that the website ranks for.
- The total number of external links — ‘backlinks’ — pointing to the website (the more of these the better from an SEO point of view — each one counts as a ‘vote’ in Google’s eyes for your content).
- Anchor text commonly used in external links to the website (anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink — the words used in it can influence rankings).
- A list of competing domains.
Carrying out domain analysis is easy enough with both Moz and Ahrefs — but in my view, Ahrefs’ domain analysis features are considerably better.
This is simply because you get more domain data from Ahrefs.
For a start, you get an estimate of the traffic to a domain — something that isn’t available from Moz. Not only this, but traffic is graphed against known Google algorithm updates, meaning that you can get a clear idea of how changes to Google’s search engine have affected a website’s performance.
The best you can do with Moz on this front is connect a Google Analytics account to your Moz account — which isn’t very useful (and not at all useful if you don’t have access to the Google Analytics account for a domain you’re performing analysis on).
What’s more, Ahrefs shows you the traffic value of a domain (the amount of money that you’d need to pay each month to buy ads that would deliver an equivalent number of clickthroughs to a site).
This is a very important piece of data, but as with traffic estimates, it’s information that you’ll be unable to access in Moz.
You also get some paid search data in Ahrefs’ domain overview (details of how many keywords are being bid on, and the traffic generated by them).
Again, this data isn’t provided by Moz’s domain overview tool.
So overall, while you can get valuable domain information from either Ahrefs and Moz, the winner for me in this department is Ahrefs.
However, there is one useful metric that Moz provides in its domain overview that Ahrefs doesn’t, and that’s a ‘brand authority’ score (pictured below).
As its name suggests, this gives you an indication of how well-known the brand behind a website is (something that many SEO experts believe can have an impact on search results, partly because Google patented the idea of brand mentions being used as a ranking factor).
Now, let’s take a look at keyword research features — another hugely important aspect of both Moz and Ahrefs.
Keyword research typically involves finding out four things:
- how many people are searching for a particular keyword (i.e., a query entered into a search engine)
- how difficult it is to rank for that keyword
- who is already ranking for that keyword
- suggestions for other ones.
Moz and Ahrefs both make it easy for you to get the above information.
But a key difference to be aware of regarding both tools is that whereas Moz only provides you with keyword research data for Google, Ahrefs provides it for nine different search engines.
Now in most cases, and particularly given Google’s huge share of the search engine market (over 92% at time of writing, according to Statcounter), Google keyword data is what you’ll be most interested in — but there are occasions when getting an understanding of what’s happening on other search engines will prove very useful.
For example, we occasionally use Ahrefs’ YouTube data to inform our thinking about what sort of video content to create for the Style Factory YouTube channel — we simply couldn’t use Moz for this purpose.
Getting a keyword overview
When it comes to keyword research, tools like Moz and Ahrefs are typically used for two main purposes:
- to get a ‘keyword overview‘ (data about a particular search query)
- to get a list of keyword suggestions (keywords that are related to a phrase you enter, and which might be easier to rank for).
In terms of how to get a keyword overview on Moz and Ahrefs, the process is pretty similar. You just enter a keyword into their keyword research tools — the ‘Keyword Overview’ tool in Moz, and the ‘Keyword Explorer’ option in Ahrefs — and you’ll get the key data you need, namely:
- search volume for the keyword you entered
- its ‘keyword difficulty’ score
- sites that are currently ranking for it
- a list of related keywords.
Both platforms use a score from 0 to 100 to show keyword difficulty — with, as you might expect, a higher number indicating higher difficulty.
One thing I really like about Ahrefs’ approach to keyword difficulty scores is that not only does it tell you how hard it will be to rank for a keyword, it also tells you approximately how many backlinks you’ll need to for it to rank in the top ten search results.
Moz doesn’t give you a direct equivalent of this ‘backlink estimate’ data, but it does provide a related tool that can also provide valuable insights on how much to focus on a particular keyword: a keyword ‘priority score’ feature.
As its name suggests, this gives you an idea of how much effort you should put into trying to rank for a particular phrase, with a higher score indicating that a keyword is more worthy of your attention.
Moz calculates this score based on:
- the traffic generated by a keyword
- how hard it will be to rank for it
- the percentage of clickthroughs it generates in search results.
Both of these keyword prioritization metrics are useful. However, on balance I prefer the Ahrefs metric, simply because it gives you more concrete data about the amount of outreach work involved in ranking for a particular search query — i.e., the number of backlinks you’ll have to build to rank for it.
Another aspect of keyword research where I prefer Ahrefs over Moz involves clickthrough rate data.
When you enter a keyword into its ‘Keyword Explorer’ tool, Ahrefs shows not only the volumes of searches but the number of clickthroughs they’ll be likely to generate (not all users click on organic results — some click on ads, or hit the back button / search for something else).
Moz, by contrast, shows you the percentage clickthrough rate instead. This is by no means the end of the world, but it’s an unnecessary hurdle to accessing data — instead of getting instant access to metrics, it means you might have to get your calculator out!
And it’s worth pointing out the Ahrefs gives you more data about the pages that are currently ranking highly for your target keywords. While Moz just shows you a few key metrics for these — domain authority, page authority and number of backlinks to the page — Ahrefs gives you ten pieces of data, some of which are pictured below.
These metrics include really useful ones like a traffic estimate and the equivalent PPC value of the ranking; and recently, a ‘word count’ metric has been added too (this is highlighted in the screenshot above).
Now, there is quite a lot of debate over whether word count is actually a Google ranking factor. But personally, I find word count data helpful, because it give you an idea of how ‘in-depth’ the top ranking content on a given topic is. Although Google may not count words when ranking content, it definitely considers how ‘helpful’ it is, and my view is that there is a relationship between content length and helpfulness (one which varies by topic).
Finally, there is one aspect of Moz’s SERP analysis that is worth singling out for praise — the ‘page score’ metric that it puts beside a search result (there isn’t a similar metric provided in Ahrefs’ equivalent keyword overview reports).
This metric, pictured above, tells you how good the ‘on-page’ SEO is for a ranking page; clicking on this gives you a list of all the on-page factors that are helping and hurting it.
Getting keyword suggestions
When it comes to getting keyword suggestions from Moz and Ahrefs, the process is slightly different in both tools.
In Ahrefs, you enter a phrase into its ‘Keyword Explorer‘ tool (as you would when getting keyword overview data) and then use the ‘Keyword Ideas’ options on the left-hand side of the dashboard to find related keywords.
As you can see from the screenshot above, there are three types of keyword suggestion reports to choose from:
The ‘matching terms‘ report gives you a list of keyword suggestions that include your target keyword.
The ‘related terms‘ report shows you a list of keywords that might not include it, but which Ahrefs thinks might be relevant.
The ‘search suggestions‘ report gives you a list of Google ‘autocomplete’ suggestions related to your keyword.
When the keyword suggestions are displayed, you get access to a wide range of filters that let you further refine your results (see screenshot below).
In Moz, rather than using the ‘keyword overview’ tool to start your keyword research, it’s better to use its dedicated ‘Keyword Suggestions‘ feature.
Here you’ll find a drop-down menu containing ‘view’ options that narrow down the sort of keywords displayed in the results.
What’s on offer here is essentially pretty similar to the main options provided by Ahrefs (via its three main search types and subsequent filter set), but unlike Ahrefs, there’s no dedicated option for viewing Google ‘autocomplete’ suggestions.
Using the filters provided by Ahrefs and Moz can give you broadly similar sets of keyword research results — for me the key difference between both tools’ approaches here lies in the ‘ancillary’ data that you get from both.
Now, in Moz, you get three pieces of data when you ask for keyword suggestions: the keyword suggestion, its relevancy and the monthly number of searches for it.
This isn’t really enough, to be honest. For a start, no keyword difficulty information — possibly the most useful metric! — accompanies Moz’s keyword suggestions. This is really odd.
Furthermore, you can’t click on a keyword to gain more information about it. Instead, you have to re-enter that phrase into Moz’s keyword overview tool (using up one of your allocated monthly queries in the process — more on these limits later).
Ahrefs, by contrast, accompanies the keyword suggestions with a lot more information.
Beside each keyword suggestion, you’ll also see:
- the keyword difficulty
- the search volume for that keyword in your chosen territory
- the global search volume for it
- the ‘traffic potential‘ if you ranked number one for that keyword
- the equivalent ‘cost per click‘ for the keyword if using Google Ads
- the ‘clicks per search‘ (the percentage of people who actually click on a search result for a given query).
- the ‘parent topic‘ — a more general and usually higher-traffic keyword relating to each keyword suggestion displayed (for example, the parent topic of ‘chocolate cake’ is ‘cake’ — the latter is currently searched for 3.3m times per month, while ‘chocolate cake’ receives 534k searches).
In short — and as the screenshot below shows — you get a lot more context about keywords with Ahrefs, and if you need any more, you just click on the relevant keyword suggestion.
On top of that, Ahrefs gives you an interactive tool that lets you see the main groups that keyword suggestions fall into.
As the screenshot below highlights, for a piece of keyword research for the phrase ‘Shopify,’ I’m shown a series of rectangles, each containing another phrase that is typically used in conjunction with the one of I’ve entered (in this case, ‘stock,’ ‘login,’ ‘store’ etc.).
These rectangles are sized according to the number of terms they contain, and clicking on them reveals all the relevant search suggestions for that group.
There isn’t an equivalent feature in Moz.
Building keyword lists
Once you’ve identified keywords in either Ahrefs or Moz that you’d like to focus on, you can add them to ‘keyword lists’.
In Ahrefs, a plus symbol beside a keyword suggestion lets you do this; in Moz, you tick a checkbox.
You can then refer to these keyword lists any time you like, and access evolving keyword difficulty scores.
Interestingly (or weirdly!) the keywords that are displayed in Moz’s keyword lists ARE accompanied by the context that I highlighted earlier as being missing from keyword suggestions — in keyword lists you get to see columns detailing keyword difficulty score, typical CTR, priority score and more.
It would be really helpful if Moz’s keyword suggestion results had this information beside keywords in the first place — without it, it’s hard to make a decision as to whether or not you should add a keyword to a keyword list at all!
Keyword gap analysis
Keyword gap analysis is the process of identifying important keywords that your competitors rank highly for — but you don’t.
Both Moz and Ahrefs provide good tools for performing keyword gap analysis with. In Moz, you use its ‘keyword gap’ tool for this, and in Ahrefs, you use its ‘content gap’ tool.
In terms of which of these is better though, I prefer the Ahrefs tool. For a start, you can use it to do gap analysis between more sites: while the Ahrefs content gap feature lets you involve up to 10 websites in this process, the Moz equivalent limits you to working with three.
Additionally, I find the that Ahrefs’ content gap tool easier to use. You just ask it for keywords that competing sites rank for but yours don’t, and you get a nice list of those. You can then filter this list using keyword difficulty, volume, CPC, word count and more.
Although Moz’s tool isn’t bad, the results are more basic — Ahrefs accompanies each keyword with a lot more supporting data (and gives you more filters to sift through the results with).
Overall, when evaluating keyword research features in both platforms, it’s hard not to view Ahrefs as the winner. Simply put, it gives you more comprehensive data that’s easier to interpret.
‘Rank tracking’ — sometimes known as ‘position tracking’ — is the process of monitoring how your website (or that of a competitor’s) performs in search engines for particular keywords over time.
(The idea being that when you see a dip in your site’s performance for a particular keyword you can take action to improve the situation, by enhancing the content it ranks for, or building backlinks to it).
It’s really easy to set rank tracking up in Ahrefs — you just go to its appropriately-named ‘Rank Tracker’ section, enter the keywords you’d like to track for a site, and you’ll get a report showing you how that site is currently ranking for them (along with recent position changes).
However, rank tracking can only be used in Ahrefs as part of a ‘project slot’ (the number of which are limited; more on project slots later on in this comparison).
In Moz, there are actually two rank tracking options: the regular rank tracking tool and an ‘on-demand’ tracker.
Moz’s regular rank tracking tool works in a similar way to the Ahrefs equivalent, and like the Ahrefs one can only be used as part of a project slot (or ‘campaign’ slot, to use Moz-speak).
The ‘on-demand’ rank checker tool is more basic and is designed to give you more of a ‘snapshot’ view of how a particular keyword is currently ranking. But it can be accessed without using up a project slot, which is helpful — and you can use it up to 200 times per day.
Overall though, the Ahrefs rank checker is more sophisticated — it allows you to check ranking by city and language (when multiple languages are used in a given country) — something that’s helpful from a local SEO point of view. You can also use the feature to get email notifications of changes in rankings.
Moz’s tool doesn’t give you that granularity, or the ability to set up dedicated email notifications for ranking fluctuations.
(You’ll get general notifications about a campaign from Moz if you ‘follow’ it on email, and these can contain some rank tracking data — but in general, to keep tabs on rankings, you’ll need to log into Moz).
Now, let’s take a look at another key aspect of SEO tools like Moz and Ahrefs: backlink analysis.
A key alternative to Moz and Ahrefs: Semrush
Moz and Ahrefs are great tools for improving SEO, but they’re not the only ones available. Another big hitter in this market is Semrush, which is priced similarly to both. The main advantage Semrush has over Moz is its more comprehensive feature set; and the main advantage it has over Ahrefs is its more generous reporting limits and a fully-functional trial.
For a limited time, Semrush has made a double-length trial available (the regular one lasts just 7 days) — you can access this here.
How well a site performs in search results usually depends heavily on how many backlinks — external sites linking to it — exist for the site in question. Generally speaking, the more backlinks that point to your content, the better it will perform in search (so long as they are high-quality in nature).
So, let’s take a look at how both tools help you access data about these.
Backlink database size
Moz and Ahrefs both let you enter a domain name and see a list of all the backlinks to it that each tool can find for it.
Typically this data is provided so that you can see which websites are linking to your competitors; you can then reach out to the owners of those sites, asking them to link to you too (i.e., engage in ‘backlink building’).
In order to provide backlink data, both Moz and Ahrefs maintain their own indices of the web; these contain a very large number of domains and the keywords associated with them. Both companies are relatively open about how much of this sort of data they hold, publishing information on their websites about the size of their databases.
At time of writing, and based on the figures published by Moz and Ahrefs, Moz’s link database is larger than Ahrefs’, containing 40.7 trillion links to Ahrefs’ 35 trillion.
So, if these figures are accurate, it suggests that the more exhaustive link data is to be found in Moz.
I was curious to see how this played out in some real-world scenarios however, so I ran some of my own tests, where I looked at the number of linking domains surfaced by both tools for a mix of ecommerce platforms and design tools that we work with and/or review.
Obviously this testing process was not sufficiently large to let me make a definitive call on which tool was more likely to surface the most backlinks, but it provided a good ‘sense-check’ as to whether Moz — the tool with the theoretically larger backlink database — was always going to surface more referring domains.
The results of the tests were as follows:
As you can see from the above data, in my 10 tests, despite having the smaller backlink database, Ahrefs won six times (in a couple of cases surfacing a significantly larger number of referring domains than Moz).
Obviously you have to treat this sort of small-scale testing with caution — but if there is a trend to be spotted here, it’s that a bigger link database doesn’t necessarily lead to ‘bigger’ data.
Featured alternative: Semrush
Our video below contains information about how to get an extended trial of Semrush, the key competing product to Ahrefs and Moz.
In terms of the backlink analysis itself, both Moz and Ahrefs give you the key information you’d expect about the backlinks and referring domains that point to a domain.
You’ll get a list of all the backlinks each tool can find to your site (viewable at domain or individual backlink level), plus breakdowns of:
- the number of ‘dofollow’ links vs ‘nofollow’ ones
- anchor text used
- new vs lost domains
Ahrefs surfaces considerably more data in its reports, however, including:
- referring domain traffic
- backlink language
- backlink platforms (blogs, forums, ecommerce sites etc.)
- the number of other outbound links on pages containing a link to yours
And it lets you filter your results in more sophisticated ways too. While Moz only lets you use filters to show links by type (dofollow, nofollow, redirect etc.) and status (active or lost), Ahrefs gives you a huge range of options for drilling down into your data (see screenshot below).
Significantly, you can sort your backlinks in Ahrefs by the date it first discovered them — something that you can’t do in Moz. To sort by ‘link discovered’ date, you’ll need to export your link data to a CSV file and do this manually in Excel or another spreadsheet program.
(The ability to sort links by date discovered is a pretty basic feature, and I’m surprised it’s not available in Moz).
Moz does have one edge over Ahrefs however when it comes to backlink analysis — it provides you with a ‘spam score’ report that gives you:
- an overall appraisal of the quality of a site’s backlink profile (a low spam score indicates high quality)
- a list of potentially ‘toxic’ links to a domain that Google might disapprove of (if you like, you can export this to Excel and use the contents to update your disavow file).
The spam score report is a good way to establish whether or not a backlink profile might be in need of cleaning up, and it’s a shame that Ahrefs doesn’t offer a similar feature.
That said, workarounds for identifying toxic links can be used in Ahrefs (you can read more about how to spot spammy links using the platform here).
The processes involved can be a bit time consuming, though.
But are toxic link reports helpful?
Not all SEO professionals think that link spam identification tools are that helpful; many believe that a manual approach to identifying poor-quality links works better.
Additionally, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller is not a fan of the concept of toxic links at all and is skeptical of the tools that identify them. He has stated that it’s rare for link disavowals to lead to a positive impact in search results.
Recently he went further, saying that owners of websites that have never had a penalty could consider deleting their disavow file entirely.
Based on my research into what Mueller has to say about bad links in general, it seems that the really dangerous ones — i.e., the ones that could land you with a manual penalty from Google — are those that you’ve paid to place, and you’ll probably have a better idea of what they are than an SEO tool like Moz or Ahrefs.
Link intersect features
As discussed above, one of the main purposes of backlink building is to obtain lists of websites that link to your competitors’ domains — this gives you a hitlist of targets to approach with a view to getting them to link to your site instead.
One way of getting this list is simply to run a backlink report on a competitor’s website in either Moz or Ahrefs and trawling through it for good link building opportunities.
A more sophisticated way of going things though involves a ‘link intersect’ tool instead, and both Moz and Ahrefs provide one.
Link intersect tools allow you to enter a URL from your website alongside a competitor URL that is currently outranking it; you’ll then get an exportable list of websites that are currently linking to your competitor, but not to you.
You can then reach out to these website owners, asking for a backlink — and in doing so, make your backlink profile stronger than or more consistent with your competitor’s.
Moz and Ahrefs’ link intersection tools offer similar functionality but — and you’ve probably noticed a pattern by now! — the Ahrefs version is better. This is mainly because you can compare 10 competitor URLs against yours, while Moz lets you compare five.
Broken link analysis and building
Being able to identify broken links is important for two reasons.
First, spotting inbound broken links to a website lets you engage in broken link building (an important SEO tactic, which I discuss below).
Second, it lets you spot and correct broken outbound links — these can undermine search engines’ trust in a website.
Let’s look at how Moz and Ahrefs handle both.
Broken link building
Broken link building involves finding a broken link (one that no longer leads anywhere), recreating the ‘dead’ content that it used to point to, and then asking anybody who used to link to the dead content to link to your new page or post instead.
This approach helps you to build up new backlinks to your content — but in order to make it work, you need to be able to identify the broken links.
Moz and Ahrefs both let you do this — but Ahrefs makes the process much more straightforward, thanks to a dedicated ‘broken backlinks’ report.
To use this, you just enter a domain into the Ahrefs ‘Site Explorer’ tool and click the ‘Broken backlinks’ option; you’ll then see a list of all the broken inbound links to a website that Ahrefs can find.
Moz also lets you access this sort of data too — but unlike Ahrefs, it doesn’t have a dedicated feature for doing so.
Instead, you have to access a ‘top pages’ report for a website and then use a dropdown menu to filter the results by status code (with a 4xx status code indicating a broken link).
This is more convoluted than Ahrefs’ approach, and the report you get isn’t as useful, because:
- it’s limited to ‘top page’ data rather than a full set of backlinks
- it doesn’t let you see the actual URLs linking to dead content (i.e., it tells you how many sites are linking to to broken page — but not which ones).
Alternatively, you can pull a list of inbound links from Moz, export it to CSV file and use a ‘status code’ column to identify broken links (404 errors). Again, this involves more steps and data eyeballing than you might like.
So it’s definitely a win for Ahrefs when it comes to the tools available for broken building link building.
Have you seen our Ahrefs video review?
Identifying broken outbound links
If your site contains a lot of broken outbound links (links to other websites), this can have a negative impact on SEO: search engines can be reluctant to recommend content that links to non-existent resources.
So it’s important to periodically check your website for broken outbound links and fix or remove them.
And, as with spotting broken inbound links, Ahrefs is the much better tool for this job. You simply enter a domain into its ‘Site Explorer’ tool, and then go to the Outgoing Links > Broken links option. You’ll then see a list of all the broken links that need addressing, along with the URLs that contain them.
I couldn’t find a way to do this at all in Moz — it seems that Moz users have to resort to other tools (for example, a dedicated link crawling application like Screaming Frog) to spot broken outbound links.
So far we’ve looked at what many experts would view as the ‘bread and butter’ of SEO: keyword research and link building.
But both Moz and Ahrefs also provide site auditing features that allow you to evaluate how well your site is performing from a more technical SEO point of view.
- Slow-loading content
- Duplicate content
- SSL issues
- Crawl errors
- Missing headers
- Overuse of keywords
- Broken links
They’ll then return a set of suggestions on how you can fix these sorts of problems.
Overall, I would view the site auditing features in Ahrefs and Moz as being of a broadly similar quality.
However, there are two areas where I think Ahrefs does a better job.
First, it gives you your site an ‘overall health score’ — a number that gives you an at-a-glance indication of how good the site is overall from a technical SEO point of view (plus a way to keep a tab on progress).
Second, the Ahrefs Core Web Vitals checks are a bit more comprehensive than Moz’s.
Core Web Vitals are a set of targets relating to the speed, responsiveness and visual stability of a website — and sites that meet them can get preferential treatment in Google search results.
In Ahrefs you get access to two types of Core Web Vitals stats: ‘field data,‘ which is based on real user experience of your website (this comes from Chrome users) and ‘lab data,’ (performance data collected within a controlled environment).
Moz, by contrast, only provides lab data in its Core Web Vitals report — and the field data is more useful, because it’s what Google actually bases its rankings on.
Interface and ease of use
SEO tools like Ahrefs and Moz can take a little while to get used to: they’re ‘niche’ products that give you a lot of data to wade through.
But fundamentally, both products are well thought through and don’t make this process feel too overwhelming. They both work in a similar enough way — menus on the left hand side of the interface let you access SEO data (which is then displayed on the right).
If you’re a fan of data visualization, Ahrefs has an edge: more of its data tends to be presented in graphs and charts (quite a lot of the time, Moz just shows you tables).
You could argue though that Moz has a bit of a cleaner and slightly more intuitive interface — that said, this is probably down to the fact that its feature set is less comprehensive than Ahrefs, and less data is surfaced by the platform.
One thing to note about the Ahrefs interface is that there are two versions of its ‘Site Explorer’ tool in existence — a “2.0” version and the original version.
Accordingly, when you’re using Ahrefs, you see additional (and slightly confusing) menu items referring to the new version and the legacy one. The sooner that a full migration is made over to the new version, the better from a user experience point of view.
The other area I identified when testing the Ahrefs interface as having room for improvement was responsiveness: occasionally, it took a bit longer than I’d like for the Ahrefs data to display (especially when domain analysis was being performed on websites with a large number of backlinks pointing to them).
Moz, by contrast, was always pretty quick to return data.
In general, it’s fair to say that both interfaces are fine — and that the learning curve associated with both platforms for many users will be less about accessing the metrics each tool provides than understanding them.
That might be where customer support occasionally comes in. And speaking of which…
The support offering from Ahrefs and Moz is fairly similar. You can contact either company via email or live chat.
These support options are easy to find in both platforms, thanks to an easy-to-spot help icon that floats at the bottom right-hand corner of your dashboard. When clicked this gives you access to live chat, help materials etc.
In addition to providing in-person support, both tools also provide help portals for accessing ‘self-serve’ customer support. These contain searchable help resources.
Unfortunately however — and unlike competing solution Semrush — all support materials for both Moz and Ahrefs are currently English-only (Ahrefs does, however, let you access its interface in multiple languages — 13 in total).
Pricing and value for money
Compared to a lot of other business apps, Moz and Ahrefs are expensive.
That’s understandable however, as you’re not just paying for functionality, you’re paying for access to a lot of data, including some fairly serious competitive intelligence.
There are five Moz Pro plans available:
- Standard: $99 per month
- Medium: $179 per month
- Large: $299 per month
- Premium: $599 per month
- Moz Enterprise: negotiable
A 20% discount is available if you pay upfront for a year, and a 30-day free trial of Moz is available (this trial length is pretty generous by comparison to similar SEO tools, some of which don’t provide free trials at all).
There are four Ahrefs pricing plans available:
- Lite: $99 per month
- Standard: $199 per month
- Advanced: $399 per month
- Enterprise: $999 per month.
Paying annually for Ahrefs gives you 2 months of service free (a 16.7% discount, effectively). There’s no free trial of the full product on offer, but a cut-down version of the product, ‘Ahrefs Webmaster Tools,’ can be used for free indefinitely (this gives you access to some of Ahrefs’ domain analysis and site auditing tools).
There are a few key aspects of pricing to zoom in on when trying to work out which one of these products offers the most SEO bang for your buck.
Let’s go through these now.
A key thing to watch out for with Ahrefs pricing is that its entry level plan is extremely restrictive when it comes to access to key features.
On the Lite plan, you don’t get access to broken backlink checking, content gap tools, historical data and link intersect tools.
Furthermore, the keyword and domain data you have access to is refreshed less often.
The Moz entry level plan is better specced, because it gives you access to all the key Moz features (the only things missing from this plan being branded report and report template creation tools).
Number of users
Moz is more generous when it comes the number of user accounts included with each plan, and the way that seats are allocated is straightforward.
You get one seat on the ‘Standard’ Moz plan, two on its ‘Medium’ plan, three on its ‘Large’ plan and five on its ‘Premium’ plan. An additional seat on any plan simply costs $49 per user, per month.
As for a Ahrefs, the approach it takes to user accounts is rather confusing.
Each plan — irrespective of cost — limits you to one ‘power user’ who can run up to between 500 and 750 reports per month (via ‘credits’ — a credit is used up each time a report is run).
However, you can have as many ‘inactive users‘ as you like associated with your account — an inactive user being somebody who runs five or less reports per month.
If you need more Ahrefs seats, you can either pay $20 per month to add a ‘casual user‘ (who can run up to 100 reports per month) or $50 per month to add another ‘power user‘ to your account.
Moz and Ahrefs both place limits on the number of projects (or ‘campaigns’) you can create.
This matters because some important functionality on both products is ONLY available if you are working within a project — including site auditing and rank tracking (both products) and spam score generation (Moz).
So, for users needing to perform these tasks on a bunch of different websites, this could become a problem — although the project limits don’t render this impossible, it makes things more fiddly than you might like, and you may find yourself having to keep a project slot free for any ‘ad hoc’ work.
With Moz, projects are capped at 3 on its $99 plan, 10 on its $179 plan, 25 on its $299 plan and 50 on its $599 plan.
With Ahrefs, you get 5 projects on its Lite plan; 20 on its $199 plan; 50 on its $399 plan; and 100 on its $999 plan.
So the Ahref project limits are more generous, and if you need to work with even more domains, there’s a handy option available that can make this very affordable: Ahrefs’ ‘verified projects’ feature.
Verified projects are sites for which you can prove ownership — you can do so via DNS records, HTML files/tags or Google Search Console.
And the good news is that you can work with an unlimited number of verified projects free of charge in Ahrefs. This is extremely useful if you manage a lot of domains and are in a position to verify them.
Moz and Ahrefs both limit the data you can access each month. It’s a bit hard to compare these limits, however, because both tools apply them in different ways, with Moz limiting the number of queries based on query type, and Ahrefs doing so based on user type.
For example, on the Moz entry level plan, you can run 150 keyword queries per month, 5,000 backlink queries per month, and an unlimited number of on-page grader reports.
(These limits get considerably more generous as you go up the Moz pricing ladder).
On the entry-level Ahrefs plan, each ‘power user’ gets between 500-750 credits per month depending on plan (500 on the ‘Lite’ plan, 600 on ‘Standard’ and 750 on ‘Advanced’).
(Additional credits can be bought at a cost of $35 per month for 500 credits).
Limits apply to the number of data rows you can export on both plans too — with Moz being more generous by comparison to Ahrefs on its entry level plans, and Ahrefs being more generous than Moz on its more expensive plans.
The number of keywords you can track on Moz and Ahrefs is comparable across their respective pricing plans — but Ahrefs is more generous on its entry level plan, giving you a limit of 750 keywords to Moz’s 300.
If you want to track more keywords, Moz lets you pay an additional $20 per month for every additional 200 keywords; with Ahrefs, it’s $50 extra per month to for every additional 500 keywords.
Moz vs Ahrefs: conclusion
From a features point of view, the better option of the two is Ahrefs. It offers more tools, data and support at a similar price point to Moz — while working with more search engines too.
(Moz is in essence a Google-only product).
However, Moz does have one big advantage over Ahrefs that shouldn’t be overlooked: its reporting limits are considerably more generous. So if you need to pull a lot of data regularly, you may find it a better fit (It has to be said that Ahrefs’ user-based limits are fairly ungenerous by comparison to competing products in general.)
Otherwise, in a Moz vs Ahrefs shootout, I’d view Ahrefs as the clear winner.
I’ll leave you with a summary of both products’ pros and cons below.
Moz vs Ahrefs: pros and cons summary
Reasons to use Moz instead of Ahrefs
- Moz is much more generously priced in terms of the amount of keyword and backlink data you can access each month.
- It lets you do some rank tracking without using up a project / campaign slot.
- On paper, Moz has the larger link index, although this may not always lead to it surfacing more backlinks.
- Its spam score feature lets you evaluate the quality of domains easily and output a useful list of potentially spammy links.
- Its discount for paying annually is more generous than Ahrefs’ equivalent.
- The Moz entry-level plan gives you access to all its key features; this is not the case with the Ahrefs equivalent.
- It gives you a fully functional, 30-day free trial.
Reasons to use Ahrefs instead of Moz
- Its domain analysis tool gives you access to a much wider range of SEO metrics.
- While Moz only provides keyword research data for Google, Ahrefs provides it for nine different search engines.
- Ahrefs contextualizes SEO data much more thoroughly than Moz, and gives you more filters to manipulate it with.
- Ahrefs is a much better tool for identifying a website’s broken links — both inbound and outbound.
- Ahrefs’ link intersect tool lets you work with more domains than the Moz equivalent.
- There’s a useful ‘word count’ feature available in Ahrefs that isn’t present in Moz.
- So long as you are in a position to verify domains, you can work with a very large number of them in Ahrefs.
Alternatives to Moz and Ahrefs
The obvious alternative to both is Semrush; this comes with a similar price tag and specification to Ahrefs, but also offers some project management, contact surfacing and advanced content creation tools that can really help you craft a successful inbound marketing campaign. Its reporting limits are considerably more generous too.
Have you seen our video review of Semrush?
Check out our Semrush review, our Ahrefs vs Semrush comparison, our Moz vs Semrush comparison and our Ahrefs vs Moz vs Semrush guide for more details on this platform and how it stacks up against Ahrefs and Moz.
Other options include:
Now…over to you!
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