Keyword Research

Ahrefs vs Semrush vs Moz: Which SEO Keyword Research Tool Is Better?

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There is a crazy number of keyword research and content marketing tools in the marketplace to choose from. Ahrefs vs Semrush vs Moz–which one do you choose? All three tools are great and have their strengths and weaknesses. I’m here to help you navigate your decision on which SEO tool(s) to use.

Why do you need an SEO keyword research tool? It’s because you must do keyword research to write content that will increase your page views and grow your blog traffic.

Of course however, choosing the best SEO tool can be a daunting task for many with all of the options out there.

It seems like SEOs and content marketers have participated in the Ahrefs vs Semrush vs Moz debate since SEO became a thing. With multiple features, amazing premium packages, and perks, each tool comes with a set of advantages and disadvantages. This makes the decision to choose just one almost impossible. Transparently, our team here at InspireFirst uses for specific features.

Today, we’re going to compare Ahrefs vs Semrush vs Moz by covering their main features and pricing plans. That way, you can make an informed decision when you shop for SEO tools.

Keyword Research Tools Reviews: What Do the Best SEO Tools Offer?

So here’s the deal: 

We all know that SEO is essential for content creators and content marketers. The only trouble is that finding organic keywords that you can rank for can be an intimidating task. Premium SEO keyword research tools can get the guesswork out of the way. They allow you to tap into the algorithms and learn how to optimize your web content. There are some good free keyword research tools to consider too.

Or you can step up to the big leagues and use Semrush, Moz, and Ahrefs to figure out:

  • Which keyword will generate more traffic
  • Where your competition ranks for a keyword
  • How can you optimize your SEO content and PPC campaigns

In short, these tools allow you to demystify the secrets of search engine rankings. Also, not only do they provide you with keywords to go after, but they can give you direction on how to write and organize your content for success.

So how do you pick one from another?

The answer lies in the details. 

Here’s what each tool has to offer:

1. Semrush 

Semrush was launched in 2008 as an in-house toolkit for SEO specialists and digital marketers. The company later decided to share this cool tech tool with the world. We think that this humble origin story tells us everything about this app and its customer service. 

Semrush is more than a simple SEO keyword research tool among the many Ahrefs alternatives. It is a comprehensive and adaptive toolkit with some killer features for marketers and content creators.

You can find everything from keyword research tools, SEO content marketing tools, to paid search, and lead generation tools within Semrush.

If that’s not enough, Semrush as a company offers a global perspective to the user with its international staff. 

The combination of these aspects creates an efficient, diverse, and marketer-centric platform. It is why leveraging their data into your marketing campaigns is so easy.

Killer Features  

Tools for Any SEO Challenge

When you compare Ahrefs vs Semrush or Semrush vs Moz, you’ll notice how much more Semrush’s toolkits have to offer compared to its competition. The services (including content creation) and features it provides are unmatched. Semrush covers every area of SEO for bloggers, content marketers, and entrepreneurs in general.

Here’s a breakdown of Semrush’s four feature core categories:

  • SEO

Tools: On-page SEO, keyword research, link building, local SEO, rank tracking

The biggest advantage of Semrush is its domain and keyword analytics. It features keyword reports, web traffic analysis, historical data, a way to filter profitable niches, and product listings. You also receive geo-based SEO options and updates. With this information, you can reach a diverse audience on multiple marketing channels without a problem.

Semrush has the most accurate data for search volume. This is important because you want to know if there are people actually searching for a specific keyword before you spend time and/or money on creating content for it. The Keyword Magic Tool will be your best friend.

Semrush also has an enormous keyword database for Google, which gives you all of the ideas that you need for writing tons of articles. Semrush has 20 billion keywords for Google in its database, where Ahrefs has 10.2 billion keywords in its database.

Semrush has the most accurate and frequently updated position

tracking tool on the market. If you want to be competitive with your content marketing, you have to know where you stand in comparison to your competitors. I do a daily check on where our website ranks positionally for certain keywords.

Speaking of knowing where you are with your SEO, Semrush’s SEO reporting is top-notch. You can create visually appealing SEO reports in PDF format for your team or a client.

Lastly (for SEO), Semrush helps you monitor your backlink profile and toxic links, and do Google penalty recovery! Gotta love a tool that helps you get out of hot water with the search engines.

  • Content

Tools: content marketing, content creation and distribution, content optimization, content marketing analytics

The Semrush Content Marketing Platform is pure awesomeness. Quickly create SEO content templates for keywords based on page one SERP data. There’s no excuse for publishing non-optimized content when using this tool. And just in case, Semrush will allow you to copy and paste your content into it to analyze the content’s SEO and readability with the SEO Writing Assistant. Unlock the Content Marketing Platform by signing up for the Semrush Guru plan.

  • Market Research

Tools: market analysis, competitor analysis, paid advertising, competitor PR monitoring

Great marketers always dabble and experiment with their marketing portfolio. Semrush ensures that none of your efforts go to waste. You can use the tools for ad building, global PPC campaigns, social media marketing, and much more. Additionally, it gives you an edge over your rivals by spying on their marketing dynamics and monitoring your brand reputation.

  • Advertising

Tools: PPC keyword research, website monetization

Semrush can help you optimize your paid keyword campaigns with deep insights.

  • SMM & SERM

This tool category includes Semrush’s social media marketing tools. It allows you to schedule social media points and produce social analytics reports.

Want to know more? Here’s the full rundown of Semrush features.

 Semrush Pricing   

The Semrush price plans are divided into four tiers. All of them offer the main features it is best-known for. The only difference is that you get more industry insights, custom specs, and reports with each upgrade.

Here’s a breakdown of those options:

  • Pro ($119.95/month)

If you’re looking for an upgrade then the Pro package is a great choice for startups and bloggers. It offers all the 40+ features along with monthly updates about your competition. The latter includes everything from social media, website rankings, and more. 

  • Guru ($229.95/month)

If you’re a small business and are hoping for steady online growth, then this option is for you. The upgrade includes all the Pro features Semrush is known for, along with more reports (5,500 per day). You also get access to branded reports, extended limits, content marketing platforms, and historical data. Check out our Semrush Guru article for a deeper breakdown on that tier.

Semrush Free Trial
  • Business ($449.95/month)

This plan takes your SEO game to the next level. It includes everything available in the previous plan and more premium specs. Our favorite business features cover API access, sharing options, integration with third-party apps, and white label reporting. You also receive 50,000 reports per day.  It’s an excellent option for competitive marketing agencies and brands. 

  • Enterprise 

Lastly, if your business is booming and you’ve got to maintain a wide-ranging online presence, then this one’s for you. The exclusive offer includes onsite training, custom keyword databases, prerequisite limits, and limitless crawling. Plus, the pricing of this package is tailored around your specific requirements. So, you only have to pay for specs that you use.

As a whole, Semrush pricing is flexible and budget-friendly. You get to experience a lot within your price range. Then as your business grows, you get a chance to enjoy more via upgrades. 


Here’s a rundown of what we love and what could be better:


  • It combines SEO keyword services with PPC campaigns and social media strategies. 
  • Manages to deliver exclusive industry insights on the competition. 
  • It runs extensive keyword research to meet your project requirements.
  • Easily filter your organic keyword list by search volume, keyword difficulty, results, and more.
  • The intuitive interface allows you to identify and resolve onsite errors. 
  • You receive in-depth audit reports for your website and backlink suggestions too.
  • You get to optimize global campaigns, PPC strategies and social media marketing techniques.
  • It consistently updates and introduces new features to enhance your experience. 
  • It offers multiple online integrations to improve SEO services and make your marketing tasks less time-consuming.
  • It’s got a wide range of research and social tools that you won’t find anywhere else. 


  • The user interface and multiple metrics are tricky for beginners and non-techies. 
  • The pricing might be steep for bloggers with limited budgets.

In conclusion, as far as hype goes between Ahrefs vs Semrush vs Moz, Semrush definitely lives up to its hype. It has all the features and metrics that every digital marketer wants to get their hands on. That’s why you should sign up for it ASAP.

Also, if you’re worried about the complex dashboards, then our Semrush tutorial could come in handy.

2. Ahrefs 

Ahrefs main page - Ahrefs vs SEMrush

Ahrefs is the first Semrush alternative that we’ll look at today. Ahref’s unique value is in its robust backlink index and backlink report feature. There’s no better tool in my opinion as a backlink checker.

Unsurprisingly, the platform’s inception was fueled by the CEO Dmitry Gerasimenko’s interest in search engine documentation and backlinks. He launched Ahrefs in 2010.  The company got a massive response from bloggers and online marketers who were interested in the superior Site Explorer.

The rest is history!

Over the years, the Ahrefs SEO keyword research tool has developed and adapted to the current digital marketing landscape. You’ll find all the essential keyword research tools and trade insights within the platform. Adding to this is the team’s effort to keep things simple and authentic.

The minimalistic approach allows beginners to really sink their teeth into SEO marketing. Alternatively, the advanced users can enjoy the quick response time and meticulous database. Therefore, it’s a win-win situation for all types of users. 

Key Features  

Ahrefs tools and features
  • Competitive Analysis

You get to view your competitor’s top keywords and search engine rankings. They’ve also got a ‘Content Gap’ feature that compares your web content with trending sites. The report then identifies areas you are underutilizing or missing in your marketing campaigns.

  • Site Explorer 

It gives you the low-down on organic search traffic and backlinks of your chosen website or URL. You also receive regular updates on lost backlinks and live backlinks. This data is useful for developing a more reliable backlink strategy.  

  • Keyword Research 

With more than 3 billion keywords, you get lots of information at your fingertips. You can track everything from trending keywords, user’s search history to historical data on SERP rankings. 

  • Rank Tracking

You get geo-centric website and mobile rank reports that give you an overview of your SEO performance. If you’re interested, then you can receive automated notifications to track the progress of your ranking.

  • Web Monitoring

This nifty feature sends real-time reports on the competition. These reports feature link building activities, keyword rankings, and social media coverage. The best part is that these notifications are sent via email. So you can look at them even if you’re logged out. 

In short, Ahrefs is jam-packed with key marketing tools that help you leverage your business on the right platforms. We also love how all the additional privileges it offers. These include a 24/5 customer support service, an active Facebook community, and the Ahrefs Academy. 

All these features elevate the user experience and make SEO marketing a great deal easier.

 Ahrefs Pricing  

If you compare Ahrefs vs. Semrush, then the former charges $7 for its week-long trial period while Semrush offers a free trial. Yet, in other aspects, the price scheme is more or less the same. 

Here’s a sneak peek of what the Afrefs pricing plans have to offer:

  • Lite ($99 /month)

Ideal for bloggers and freelancers as it’s a decent starter pack. It includes 500 tracked keywords, limited site audit, 25 domains for site exploration, and 20 engine rankings. This plan also produces reports and analysis for backlink index, keywords, and five projects. 

  • Standard ($179/ month)

If the previous plan feels too limited then you can upgrade to Ahrefs Standard. The suite covers 10 projects, 10 audits, and 100 domains for one user. The platform also provides a higher amount of tracked keywords, search engine rankings, reports, and backlink index.

  • Advanced ($399/ month)

Startups, SEO agencies, and SMBs can invest in the Advanced Ahrefs plan. This plan accommodates 3 users who can use an additional amount of services featured in the previous program.

Besides that, you receive mobile ranking reports, more comprehensive historical data, and notifications about broken pages. All these features were unavailable in the prior packages. 

  • Agency ($999 /month)

Content marketing agencies with a big customer base or large-scale businesses will find this offer valuable. The package upgrades the previous offerings with 100 projects, 100 site audits,  1000 domains, and 10,1000 tracked keywords. There is also an increase in reports sent per day for search rankings, backlink index, and keyword search. 

Best of all, up to 5 users can avail this package. 

As a whole, Ahrefs has strategically distributed its services according to client needs. You can expect to get your money’s worth no matter what you choose.


Now, let’s check out the pros and cons of using Ahrefs:


  • The UI design is simpler and cleaner than Semrush.
  • You can use the extensive keyword research system to rank high across multiple marketing channels.
  • It identifies keyword relevancy and difficulty, which makes SEO content marketing more effective.
  • The link building system is unbeatable and better than the other tools mentioned in our keyword research tool review.
  • The regular email alerts ensure that you’re always in the loop.
  • The search ranking system is highly accurate, making it easier for users to develop their SEO marketing strategies. 
  • The third-party integrations and collaborations (i.e. BuzzSumo and Milkshake) cut downtime and energy required to shuffle between different platforms.
  • They’ve got informative tutorials and marketing tips for beginners.
  • The customer support service is super cooperative and they help resolve issues in real-time during the weekdays. 


  • The 7-day trial period seems too short for most beginners. 
  • Although Ahrefs provides a free toolbar, most of the other premium tools come with costly strings attached. This could be a problem for budget-conscious bloggers.

In conclusion, Ahrefs is leading the pack when it comes to backlink building and user-friendly design. All this is backed up with a steady stream of keywords, reports, and analytics. 

When you compare it with Semrush, both SEO tools are neck and neck when we look at keyword research and website audits. You do, however, get access to a versatile range of SEO and social tools on Semrush compared to Ahrefs. 

You should align your marketing goals with Ahrefs’s advantages and disadvantages before making a final decision.   

3. Moz

Moz (SEMrush alternative) - Ahrefs vs SEMrush vs Moz SEO tool review

Moz is the last Semrush alternative that we’ll break down today.

In 2004, Rand Fishkin and Gillian Muessig co-founded SEOmoz.

Back then, Moz was more of a blogging community where SEO specialists brainstormed ideas and discussed SEO rankings. Eventually, their popularity led to the establishment of a consultation company.  Within a few years, the dynamic duo created SEO tools for marketers.

Throughout the years, Moz has adapted and upgraded according to marketing trends. For a while, it featured social tools like Semrush, but then the company decided to go back to the original services. That meant emphasizing on organic search and simplifying the complex strategies for SEO marketers.

This core philosophy of ‘simplicity’ is the driving force of this SEO keyword research tool. Tools like Keyword Research Explorer, Site Explorer, and other SEO-centric features on the platform. And who can forget their famous Domain Authority score?

Now let’s look at Moz’s features and see how they stack up among the other Semrush and Ahrefs alternatives.

Key Features  

Moz Keyword Explorer
  • Keyword Research 

You can unlock an unlimited number of keywords with SEO difficulty and perform SERP analysis on targeted niches. Then you can use this data to fine-tune your content strategy by listing high-ranking keywords in relevant categories for blog posts. 

  • Site Audit and Crawl 

Moz performs an extensive analysis of your website performance and resolves critical SEO issues. That way, you have a better chance of ranking on search engines. 

  • On-Page Optimization 

The on-page optimization tool offers content ideas, SEO suggestions, and other recommendations for landing pages and web content. This information allows you to optimize your pages to improve lead generation and conversions. 

  • Backlink Research 

From anchor text, Domain Authority to broken links, this tool offers invaluable information on the backlink index. 

  • Rank Tracking

You get a quick overview of targeted keywords and their rankings on multiple search engines. 

  • Custom Reports

You can keep track of your SEO performance and monthly success with customized reports. The reports cover valuable data like search engine rankings, site crawl data, and more details on the competition. 

As a whole, Moz has got decent SEO tools and features for bloggers. You also get access to app integrations and guidance from a cooperative customer support staff. These things make the whole user experience more enjoyable. 

 Moz Pricing  

Like its competitors, Moz offers a four-tier price plan. You can choose the one that fits your specific requirements and budget. 

Let’s take a closer look at the Moz pricing packages (which can be difficult to find on their website):

• Standard ($99/Month)

The starter pack offers key SEO insights, a free toolbar, multiple keyword tracking features, and an online forum for discussions.  You also get backlink queries, web crawling services, automated reports for website health, and ranking. Plus, the same account can be used by 2 users. All this makes it a budget-friendly SEO toolkit for freelancers.

• Medium ($179/Month) 

The second package covers all the features of the previous plan. The only difference is that up to 10 users can access Moz with the same account. Plus, the marketing campaigns, keyword tracking, reports, and other features are comparatively more advanced. 

• Large ($249/month)   

With this package, up to 25 users are able to access the same account. That’s really dope for content marketing agencies and small businesses. Also, all the features from the previous plan are upgraded in this one. 

• Premium ($599)

The premium plan is ideal for large-scale businesses and e-commerce sites. The plan accommodates up to approximately 40 users. All the SEO features are upgraded, and you also receive speed crawl, which was previously unavailable.


Here’s a rundown of the advantages and disadvantages of Moz:


  • The month-long Moz free trial allows you to use Moz Pro to its full potential.
  • It’s more affordable and has several freebies (i.e. free SEO toolbar). 
  • The audit tools offer a clear analysis report on website performance. 
  • It offers a reasonable range of local and global SEO insights and features that improves your SEO rankings. 
  • Excellent customer service with a 1-on-1 walkthrough for new users.


  • When we do an Ahrefs vs Semrush vs Moz comparison, then this one has fewer features and less versatility than the other platforms. 
  • The backlink index isn’t as efficient as Ahrefs. 
  • It takes time to adjust to the settings and metrics displayed on the dashboard. 

Overall, Moz is a solid SEO tool for bloggers and online businesses. It might not have all the features that its competitors offer, but it’s a solid beginner option for companies that solely focus on SEO marketing.

The Verdict: Which One Should You Choose?

In the end, the Ahrefs vs Semrush vs Moz debate is inexhaustible. That’s because they’ve all got advantages and disadvantages depending on what you need. For instance, if you want a dynamic and versatile brand presence, then Semrush is the best SEO tool because of its unique features. It covers different areas of marketing and integrates them with SEO.

Alternatively, if you’re interested in backlinks data, then Ahrefs is the right choice for you.  On the other hand, Moz offers simple and practical SEO solutions within a reasonable price range for beginners.

So, when you decide to invest in an SEO keyword research tool, try to think of ways to leverage each tool’s advantages to improve your online visibility.

P.S: Do you want more tips on blogging? Learn how to start a blog in eight simple steps by reading our informative guide.

This post was proofread by Grammarly Premium.

Chris Craft

Follower of Jesus. Husband. Father. Founder of InspireFirst and Nao Media.