When it comes to SEO tools, Ahrefs, SEMrush and Majestic SEO are all premium tools, among the most popular and the best of the best.
If you expect to rank (and, indeed, you do – leads generated from SEO have a 14.6% close rate compared to only 1.7% with direct mail), you need to be using some sort of SEO tool, and arguably even a combination of different tools.
SEO tools will help you conduct keyword research and strategically target the right keywords (keywords that are within grasp while still generating a positive ROI) and engage in competitor research to determine what your competitors are doing right and what they could be doing better.
An SEO tool, for example, can also help you to spy on your competitor’s backlinks and, above all, deliver highly valuable data and insights that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to access.
Now, at this point you may be wondering, what is the best SEO tool – Ahrefs, SEMrush or Majestic? What’s the difference? Do I need to be using all of these tools or can I get by with using one?
Let’s take a look.
Ahrefs Vs SEMrush Vs Majestic: What’s the Difference?
For those who don’t want to read this entire blog post and simply want the condensed version of what these three SEO tools do, here it is:
First and foremost, they all have overlapping features. A couple of these tools, however (and we won’t reveal which ones until the end of this blog post) are quite complementary to each other.
So, do you need to use all three tools? Absolutely not. However, if you want to increase your SEO efforts, using two of the tools on this list simultaneously will help you achieve your goals.
Overview: If your goal is to build high-quality backlinks, Ahrefs is the tool that stands out from the other two on this list
Price: Plans start at $99. Ahrefs also offers a free 14-day trial.
Ahrefs does offer a lot of features – in fact, it refers to itself as “competitor research tools and SEO backlink checker.”
Again, Ahrefs is a premium tool used by the best of the best in the industry. It’s not only used by major sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Adobe, Netflix and Uber and Pinterest, but is also endorsed by people like Neil Patel and Brian Dean.
So, why choose Ahrefs?
If your goal is to build high-quality backlinks for your site, Ahrefs is the tool that stands out from the rest. In fact, this is what it’s known for.
What makes it among the best backlink analysis tool out there is the fact that it its backlinks database is among the biggest.
When it comes to the topic of backlinks, the question of what is a better backlink checker is a popular one – so popular, in fact, that Matthew Woodward put Ahrefs and Majestic in the ring together to determine the best backlink checker.
(The blog post was very controversial and generated a lot of dramatic fodder for conversation), but, in the end, after analyzing 1 million sites, Ahrefs emerged as the final winner.
Like SEMrush, Ahrefs also delivers sold results when it comes to keyword research.
What are its features like?
Ahrefs offers a wide variety of tools. For example, it offers the classic competitive analysis an and keyword research as well as backlink research and content research.
Beyond this, it also allows users to track rankings and do web monitoring, as if that wasn’t enough.
In terms of competitor analysis, Ahrefs allows you to dive into how your competitors are doing where search traffic is concerned.
In other words, this means you can see the exact keywords your competitors are ranking for. You can also research your competitor’s organic traffic (Top Pages) or discover the keywords that they rank for that you don’t.
The latter tool is offered via their “Content Gap” feature.
In terms of keyword research, Ahrefs gives you access to tons of keyword suggestions from their database, which is comprised of billions and billions of keywords.
In terms of keyword research, their Keywords Explorer tool will show you trends in search volume over the course of the year, which will give you insight into users’ behaviour.
As far as backlink research goes, Ahrefs actually sets itself apart as being the world’s biggest index of backlinks. To put this into perspective, billions of web pages are crawled every 24 hours.
One of their backlinks tools, Site Explorer Tool, will allow you to input any URL and then see all the backlinks. Their advanced reports will then allow you to dig deeper into this data even more.
In terms of content research, their Content Explorer tool allows you to determine the top performing content based on any keyword you want.
The Content Explorer is among Ahrefs key tools and is actually similar to Buzzsumo in this way.
Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker tool keeps track of all your keyword rankings (both mobile and desktop) and from any location, which it will then create into a graph.
You can also set up alerts of this information as well, which can be set to anywhere from a daily to a monthly basis.
Finally, in terms of web monitoring, Ahrefs allows you to get an email whenever you or your competitors lose a backlink.
You can also set up alerts regarding keywords related to your brand, product and so on. Whenever these keywords are mentioned on the web, you will get a message delivered to your inbox.
Cons: While Ahrefs is a solid industry-backed tool, it does have some cons. First, Ahrefs does time to master, but you could argue that the time invested is well worth the effort. However, most people would not consider it to be among the most beginner-friendly tools.
However, in light of this, do take the time to consider that Ahrefs also offers a lot of how to videos to make up for its learning curve.
Lastly, for those who are only using Ahrefs as a research tool, the tool is a bit on the expensive side
Overview: An all-in-one SEO tool
Price: Plans start at $99.95. 7-day money back guarantee on all plans. There are also custom plans available.
SEMrush is a highly popular SEO tool with over 1 million users.
So, why use SEMrush?
What sets SEMrush apart right off the bat is the fact that it’s an all-in-one SEO tool, managing to do (mostly) everything quite well. It markets itself as the “All-in-One Marketing Toolkit,” covering SEO, PPC and social media.
SEMrush is also relatively easy to use.
For those who enjoy some interesting facts, here are a couple: interestingly enough, SEMrush was one of the first competitor-based keyword research tools to pop up on the market, which was around 2008.
If you’re familiar with SEOQuake, the same two guys also developed SEMrush. Secondly, SEMrush is basically credited with competitor-based keyword research, which is pretty impressive in and of itself.
Now, what sets SEMrush apart from the rest is its the arguably the best competitive intelligence tool. In other words, it allows you to discover your competitors’ SEO as well as PPC strategies. It’s also a great keyword research tool.
What are its features like?
SEMrush’s tools can be broken down into four different areas: SEO, paid traffic, social media and content/PR.
As far as SEO goes, SEMrush offers technical SEO audits, position tracking, backlink audits and much, much more.
The meat and potatoes of SEMrush, however, is its Analytics Reports. Through this, you can research search data, traffic and competitors for any domain or keyword.
In terms of paid search, SEMrush gives users the ability to improve their paid advertising efforts. For example, you can conduct ads strategy analysis, keyword grouping and management, ad keyword research and competition analysis to name a few.
In other words, you can also see what keywords your competitors are bidding on and how much traffic they are getting from doing so.
In terms of social media, SEMrush empowers users to create the most effective social media strategy, even with immediate insights.
Lastly, in terms of content and PR, SEMrush enables you to create content that drives results; for example, you can keep track of all of the brands that mention you; you can discover trending topics or alter your content based on how much engagement a given piece of content generated.
You can see from this list that SEMrush is a fairly comprehensive tool to put in your SEO toolkit. But, that said, it can’t quite be the only tool you put in your SEO toolkit.
Cons: Here are a few flaws: the major flaw, at least in relation to Ahrefs and Majestic, is the fact that the backlink analysis tool is still in beta mode. As such, the tool is not nearly as accurate as a tool like Ashrefs (that’s precisely why SEMrush can’t be the only tool in your toolkit).
While some users have not had a problem navigating around SEMrush, others have argued that there is a steep learning curve. The cluttered user interface does not help the matter, either.
Lastly, the keyword difficulty tool metric is not as reliable as it could have been. In fact, there are also cheaper tools on the market that can do this better.
Overview: Think of Majestic as Ashrefs’ direct competitor. What makes Majestic stand out from the other two tools on this list is its ease of use
Price: Plans start at $49, making it the cheapest option on this list. All plans also come with a 7-day money back guarantee.
Majestic (also formerly known as MajesticSEO) refers to itself as a marketing search engine and SEO backlink checker. Some have hailed Majestic as Ahrefs’ direct competitor.
So, why choose Majestic?
It’s arguably the most intuitive SEO tool on this list. In addition to this, Majestic offers great, all-around support, including videos, tutorials, help files and account managers who are there to provide even more helpful instructions.
For this reason, Majestic is particularly great for beginners
In addition, a lot of users talk about Majestic’s custom Trust Flow and Citation Flow scores.
Trust flow is all about examining sites with a similar link profile; if these are quality sites, the Trust Flow is higher. Citation Flow, on the other hand, examines the number and quality of links and then assigns a score.
What are its features like?
Majestic allows users to track referring domains, backlinks and any URL.
More specifically, Majestic offers four primary tools; Site Explorer allows you to explore a domain/URL in a lot of detail. Their Backlink History Checker tool allows users to identify the number of backlinks that a given site has.
Search Explorer allows users to search their index for any keyword or phrase. However, Search Explorer is not available for Lite users.
Majestic also offers a Link Intelligence API feature.
Cons: One con of Majestic is the fact that exporting reports can be very time consuming given that there are a lot of columns being presented at one single time.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, if Ahrefs and Majestic are similar tools, Ahrefs has been proven to be the better tool.
Verdict: What is the Best SEO Tool?
So, who’s the winner?
When it comes to the best SEO tools, Ahrefs and SEMRush seem to get mentioned the most. They also compliment each other well. For example, SEMRush has a lot of overall functionality.
However, where backlink checking is concerned, Ahrefs wins out. It has a bigger index and is more precise.
That’s why we would suggest that if you are looking for an SEO tool that checks all of the boxes, you use both SEMrush and Ahrefs consecutively.
What about Majestic, you ask?
Again, the ease of use is the only thing that really sets Majestic apart from Ahrefs.
Wrapping It Up
If you want to rank, you need SEO tools in to give you the necessary boost of SEO power.
No one tool will ever be the best at everything, which is why, at least when it comes to a comparison of Ahrefs, SEMrush and Majestic, you use at least two of the tools – in this case, SEMrush and Ahrefs.
However, it is also important to recognize that everyone works with tools a bit differently. That’s why it’s always a good idea to make use of free trials and test out tools yourself.
What do you think is the best SEO tool out there? Do you have any tips on how to use these tools? Let us know in the comments section below.
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