Powerhouse SEO tool suite with no glaring weaknesses. Generates industry-standard metrics. Free browser toolbar is a must-have extension. Useful page optimization recommendations. Revamped crawling.
Sheer amount of functionality could be overwhelming for SMBs. User experience isn't as easy to navigate as similar tools.
- Bottom Line
Moz Pro runs the gamut of SEO tools across position monitoring, keyword research, crawling, and everything in between. As the company better integrates all of these products, this Editors' Choice SEO platform will only improve.
Moz Pro (which begins at $79 per month when billed annually for the Standard plan) is about as close as you can get to a full-blown enterprise suite of search engine optimization (SEO) tools outside of actually paying enterprise prices. The sheer amount of functionality contained in Moz Pro is a little overwhelming as Moz Pro pulls what was once a handful of different tools into a single platform. Along with SpyFu, Moz Pro is a clear Editors' Choice for the SEO tool category. The platform can do everything across keyword research and management, ongoing search position monitoring, crawling, and comprehensive reports. Not to mention its must-have MozBar browser extension and its focus on SEO rankings and action-based recommendations.
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Pricing and Plans
Moz Pro is a name that often pops up when you talk about SEO tools. Originally founded in 2004 at SEOmoz, the company has been around longer than almost any provider in the space besides Google, and puts out a wealth of data including the ubiquitous Domain Authority (DA) metric and its MozRank and MozTrust scores. These scores are used by the entire SEO industry including several of the other tools in this roundup.
The base Moz Pro price of $79 per month is for the Standard plan (and that's billed annually; if you want to go month to month, it'll run you $99). Moz Pro slices its pricing a few different ways to incorporate the many tools available within the product. The Standard plan is rather barebones, only giving you two users, five campaigns (websites tracked for ongoing SEO monitoring), 300 keyword rankings, and 250,000 crawled pages per month. Where the Standard plan is really lacking is in ad hoc keyword research, where the bottom plan offers limited reporting and no keyword lists.
The $119-per-month Medium plan, billed annually ($149 month-to-month) is the more realistic choice for small to midsize businesses (SMBs), upping users to 10 seats along with 5,000 full keyword reports and 30 keyword lists per month, plus branded reports and doubled numbers of campaigns, keyword rankings, and crawled pages per month. The $199-per-month Large plan ($249 month-to-month) gives businesses scaling up their digital presence and SEO research volumes higher quotas: 25 campaigns and seats, 1,900 keyword rankings, 1.25 million crawled pages, 15,000 keyword reports, and 60 keyword lists per month. Finally, there's the $479-per-month ($599 month-to-month) Premium plan that's really for enterprise organizations. The vast majority of SMBs won't need to monitor up to 100 campaigns, 7,500 keyword rankings, and run 30,000 monthly keyword reports with an unlimited number of seats.
Keyword Search and User Experience
As mentioned, Moz Pro has a well-stocked cupboard of SEO tools contained in its single suite. These cover everything from website rankings and page optimization to site and internet-wide crawling, link tracking, and analysis using its Open Site Explorer and Fresh Web Explorer tools. This wave of reviews is focused primarily on ad-hoc keyword research, as that's what business users will find themselves using most often. It's how you identify the best possible search engine results pages (SERP) to target with an optimization strategy to help your pages rank higher. As such, I focused my testing largely on Moz Pro's Keyword Explorer tool.
When testing each tool, I used the same set of five keywords to see how SEO metrics, results, and related keyword recommendations differed between each tool. The five keywords I tested with were: pcmag, digital marketing, online shopping, IT consultant, and small business accounting. This set provides a fairly real-world sampling of commonly used business search terms.
To use the Keyword Explorer in Moz Pro, you need to scroll down the main dashboard, which is a somewhat haphazard page with links to all the tools Moz Pro has tied to the platform. The second box under the Research Tools section gives you a search box for Keyword Explorer. I ran queries on all five of my test terms. For each keyword, the results page gave me an overview page with the average monthly search volume and difficulty score of that term, along with "opportunity" and "potential" scores, which are custom Moz Pro metrics quantifying data like click-through rates (CTRs) and paid search competition. For a business user that doesn't have deep SEO expertise, particularly someone like a sales or marketing professional, putting these kinds of SEO metrics into customer relationship management (CRM) terms was a very useful touch that sets Moz Pro apart compared to the bare-bones keyword metrics provided by a tool like Ahrefs.
So in my "online shopping" keyword query, for instance, Moz Pro gave me an overall keyword difficulty score of 72, but opportunity and potential scores of 97 and 81, respectively. Clicking into the SERP Analysis results below the top metrics, I quickly realized why. The SERP showed that while most of the top nine organic results on the page had DA/PA scores from 75-100, the URL in the coveted top spot was extremely vulnerable, with a PA of 36 and a DA of 44. The query allowed me to quickly identify a keyword and prime search results spot with high search volume. From there, a user could plop that link into Moz Pro's Open Site Explorer or quick audit Crawl Test tool to start drilling down deeper and crafting an optimization strategy for unseating that URL from its position.
To give you a frame of reference, a difficulty score is an all-in-one, 1-100 number that factors in Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) with other data, like keyword search volume, how heavily paid search ads are influencing the results, and how strong the competition is in each spot on the current search page. Mike Levin, Senior SEO Director at PCMag parent company, Ziff Davis, who consulted on this roundup, told me that for a major publisher like Ziff Davis, the ideal difficulty score and PA/DA target would be below 50, but anything higher than 60 is typically a difficult target to unseat.
Overall, I didn't find the overall ad-hoc keyword search experience as intuitive in Moz Pro as in KWFinder, which lets you filter searches as granularly as by city-specific location results (Moz Pro only filters by country). KWFinder also gives a more clear search results table that listed all the scores and metrics I was looking for front-and-center, rather than having to click into deeper SERP and related keyword results. Though unlike KWFinder, Moz Pro then lets you take action on a search target right within the platform with an assortment of other tools.
Keyword Management and Reports
On each of the keywords and related terms I queried and identified in the Keyword Explorer tool, I clicked the "Add to List" button on the top right of the results page. This added the keyword to a "PCMag Test" keyword list I quickly created. When I clicked the Keyword Lists option in the left-hand navigation menu and went into PCMag Test, I was immediately faced with an array of interactive infographics and reporting data on my target keywords. This helped identify which of the keywords I'd selected fall into the sweet spots of search volume, SERP, difficulty, opportunity, and potential to ultimately decide which to add to my site's overall SEO campaign. Only SpyFu provided the same caliber of data visualization capabilities in its keyword lists and reporting.
In the report table below the infographics, all the keywords I added to the list are broken down in a table similar to what you'll find in KWFinder, except with some custom Moz Pro metrics and filters thrown in. Aside from a keyword difficulty breakdown and some of the data points we've already talked about, like opportunity and potential, one really useful keyword management feature here is a custom-set "Importance" metric for each target keyword. This allowed me to rank the keywords from 1-10 based on how important that search result is to the business. Changing the importance score affects potential, giving businesses a way to incorporate some of those bottom-line intangibles that wouldn't normally be factored into SEO optimization. This kind of ad-hoc customizability is a feature I only found in Moz Pro. The tool also lets you cross-check the keywords against a particular domain. So when I added PCMag.com to the top filter bar, the "Rank" column in the table populated where appropriate with the current spot a PCMag URL has in that search result.
Most importantly, once you've organized and streamlined your list of target keywords, you can check those boxes in the table and add them to a Moz Pro campaign to begin actively tracking those keywords. You can also export the results as a CSV file. Moz Pro's reporting doesn't stop at keywords, either. The tool allows you to build drag-and-drop reports tailored for different recipients in your business, regular competition reports on your SEO metrics compared to other specific sites, in-depth SERP reports, and historical SEO reports tracking metrics over time. These reports are all customizable and delivered via email. SpyFu and SEMrush also have drag-and-drop report building with email automation, but not quite to the degree offered by Moz Pro.
Revamped Site Crawling
Since our initial review, Moz has completely overhauled its website monitoring, page optimization, and crawling capabilities. Moz Pro has replaced its previous website crawler tool with a bigger, faster, more comprehensive version which is equipped with unique features that vastly improve upon its website monitoring and optimization.
Moz Pro Site Crawler automatically crawls every page every week and sends out weekly website monitoring alerts to new issues. These alerts are prioritized by impact level, using metrics such as page authority and crawl depth. The crawler categorizes issues into descriptive types that align with the workflow to fix them across five main categories: Critical Crawler Issues, Crawler Warnings, Redirect Issues, Metadata Issues, and Content Issues.
More importantly, Moz tells you how to fix them. Crawl diagnostics identify issues such as duplicate content and titles, broken links, missing page elements, and crawl errors. Each error also comes with a "Moz Recommends Fixing" description that explains why the issue is high or low priority. You also receive instructions for adding tags, editing metadata, or whatever action will resolve the issue. You can also indicate what types of issues or pages the crawl should ignore going forward. Finally, you can click "Recrawl My Site" to scan the page again and verify the issues were fixed. Moz Pro's crawling doesn't have the meticulous depth of a crawl-specific tool such as DeepCrawl but the on-page recommendations are a nice touch. Overall, the crawling features have made a big jump, adding yet another powerful weapon in Moz's SEO arsenal.
Powerhouse SEO with All the Bells and Whistles
There are plenty of other tools and features sprinkled throughout Moz Pro beyond its Keyword Explorer and site optimization tools. Moz Pro also publishes a lot of blog posts and SEO help content, much of which is available in the Learn & Connect drop-down menu at the top of the Moz Pro dashboard. For SEO newbies, the free resources and knowledge base available can serve as an extremely useful crash course in search engine optimization. There's even an annual MozCon event, which users can attend to hear the latest product news, connect with other users, experts, and partners, and also attend learning sessions to broaden not just their Moz skills, but their understanding of SEO and site optimization in general.
We would also be remiss if we didn't mention MozBar, the free Moz Pro browser extension for Google Chrome. Ahrefs, SEMrush, and SpyFu offer browser toolbar extensions as well, but MozBar is arguably the best known and most popular SEO toolbar out there. After installing MozBar and logging in, I tested out two main use cases: I ran a quick webpage analysis on PCMag.com that immediately scanned the site's PA/DA scores, page attributes, and on-page metadata. I then ran an organic Google search on a few of my test keywords, and the results overlaid the exact SERP data from Moz Pro for each search result on the page.
Moz Pro is what happens when a company that's been doing SEO optimization for a decade finally pulls all its products under one roof. The execution isn't perfect yet, and the user experience (UX) could be smoother compared to our other Editors' Choice, SpyFu. But, overall, the combination of all the tools Moz Pro offers and its wealth of custom metrics tying SEO data directly to business outcomes make the platform a clear-cut Editors' Choice.
By Rob Marvin Assistant Editor, Business
Rob Marvin is the Assistant Editor of PCMag's Business section. He covers startups, business and venture capital, and writes features, news, and trend stories on all manner of emerging technologies. Beats include: blockchain, artificial intelligence and cognitive computing, augmented reality, enterprise IoT, legal cannabis tech, social media, the mobile app economy, digital commerce and payments, cloud, Big Data, low code development, containers and microservices, deep linking, M&A, SEO, virtual assistants and voice AI, chatbots, and enterprise software in general. Rob was previously an editor at SD… More »
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