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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 best for your project.
I’m going to explore how both products 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
Let’s kick things off with 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.
- 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).
- The keywords the website ranks for.
- Anchor text commonly used in external links to the website.
- 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 better.
For a start, to perform domain analysis in Ahrefs, you simply go to one appropriately named — and easy to spot — ‘Site Explorer’ section.
Then, it’s just a case of entering a domain and being shown all the relevant data about it immediately, and in one place.
In Moz however, you have a bit more work to do to get a domain overview.
This is because it splits up domain analysis into two different sections, ‘Keyword Research’ and ‘Link Research’ (pictured below) — and you’ve got to toggle between these two sections to get the domain analysis data you need.
So from a usability point of view, Ahrefs wins when it comes to domain analysis.
But significantly, you get more domain data from Ahrefs too.
For a start, you get an estimate of the traffic to a domain — something that isn’t available from Moz.
Tthe 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 investigating).
And 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, and as with traffic estimates, it’s information that you’ll be unable to access in Moz.
So overall, while you can get valuable domain information from either tool, the winner for me in this department is Ahrefs.
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 10 different search engines.
Now in most cases, and particularly given Google’s huge market share of the search engine market (92.6% at time of writing!), 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 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 out of 100 to show keyword difficulty — with, as you might expect, a higher number indicating higher difficulty.
One thing I really love 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 rank for it 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 — but on balance I prefer Ahrefs’, simply because it gives you more concrete data about the amount of work (and the number of backlinks!) involved in ranking for a given phrase.
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!
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’ option.
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 3 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.
In Moz, you basically 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.
Furthermore, you can’t click on a keyword to gain more information about it: 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.
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 just 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 this 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 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 great.
Overall though, the Ahrefs rank checker is slightly 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 30-day 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 (high-quality) backlinks that point to your content, the better it will perform in search.
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’ 29.9 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 discerned here, it’s that a bigger link database doesn’t always leads to ‘bigger’ data.
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 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).
Moz does have one edge over Ahrefs however when it comes to backlink analysis — it provides you with a useful ‘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 is 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.
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 and 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 5.
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 (a 4xx status code indicates 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
- 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.
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 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.
The main area for interface improvement in Moz involves how it provides a domain overview. As discussed earlier, you can’t really perform domain analysis on a site in Moz without flicking between different data views. It would be much better if, as in Ahrefs, all the key data was returned in one place.
The main problem with the Ahrefs interface is that there are effectively 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 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 is a bit more comprehensive than Moz’s: you can contact the company via live chat or email, while Moz limits you to email support only.
Customer support is also a bit easier to find in Ahrefs, thanks to an easy-to-spot help icon that floats at the bottom right-hand corner of your dashboard.
With Moz, you have to dig around the company’s site a bit to find a contact link (tip: you’ll find it buried in the footer!).
In addition to providing in-person support, both tools also provide help portals for ‘self-serve’ customer support. These contain searchable help resources.
Unfortunately however, all support materials for both Moz and Ahrefs are currently English-only.
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 intelligence on your competitors.
There are five Moz plans available:
- Standard: $99 per month
- Medium: $179 per month
- Large: $299 per month
- Premium: $599 per month
- 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 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 very restrictive when it comes to general features. On this plan, you don’t get access to many key features, including 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 how seats are allocated is straightforward. You get one seat on its ‘Standard’ 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.
By contrast, the approach to user accounts on Ahrefs is rather confusing.
Each plan — irrespective of cost — limits you to one ‘power user’ who can run up to 500 reports per month (via ‘credits’ — power users get 500 of them, with a credit being 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 definitely more generous — and if you need to work with even more domains, there’s a handy option available to you, via 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 500 queries per month — regardless of type — per month.
(Additional credits can be bought at a cost of $35 per month for 500 credits).
Significantly, this 500 query limit per user applies not just to the Ahrefs entry-level plan however, but all its plans — even the $999 per month ‘Enterprise’ plan.
Limits apply to the number of data rows you can export on both plans too — with Moz being more generous on its entry level plans, and Ahrefs being more generous 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
Ultimately, whilst Moz and Ahrefs both have a huge amount to offer SEO professionals and small businesses, my preferred tool of the two is Ahrefs. It offers more features, data and more comprehensive 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. Ahrefs’ user-based limits are fairly ungenerous by comparison to competing products.
Otherwise, in a Moz vs Ahrefs shootout, I’d view Ahrefs as the 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.
- 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 Ahrefs.
- It gives you a fully functional, 30-day free trial.
Reasons to use Ahrefs instead of Moz
- Its domain analysis tools are easier to use and more comprehensive, giving you organic traffic and traffic value estimates that are not available from Moz.
- While Moz only provides keyword research data for Google, Ahrefs provides it for 10 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.
- The Ahrefs customer support offering is more comprehensive and easier to access than Moz’s.
- So long as you are in a position to verify domains, you can work with a very large number of them in Ahrefs.
- A cut down, free version of the platform is available.
Alternatives to Moz and Ahrefs
The obvious alternative to both is Semrush; this is 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.
If you’re on a budget, GrowthBar is worth a look — this is a search engine optimization tool that really hones in on the basics of what small business owners need from an SEO perspective, and the pricing reflects that. You’ll find our full GrowthBar review here.
Other popular options include:
- SE Ranking
- SEO Power Suite
Now…over to you!
Got any thoughts or questions about Moz vs Ahrefs? Do leave them in the comments section below. We read all comments and will do our best to help.