Top SEO Tools Comparison 2023
Over the past 12 years, we’ve analyzed nearly every SEO tool on the market, evaluating them for feature richness, ease of use, quality of reporting, customer support, and frequency of updates.
In the following report, we’ve tried to accurately represent the sum total of the compliments, complaints, and real-world usage habits of the 150+ marketing organizations we’ve consulted with. We evaluate each available SEO tool by:
- Comparing the completeness of their feature set, and whether they include keyword research, rank tracking, competitor analysis, backlink tracking, visitor behavior analysis, and automated reporting.
- Ranking each SEO tool based on pricing, feature richness, ease of use, reporting automation, customer support, and update and maintenance frequency
- Providing a brief explanation of our thoughts on each platform
Top SEO Tools: Feature Comparison
The following table compares each SEO tool’s performance for the six expected features of an SEO tool:
- Keyword research: Identifying and suggesting relevant keywords.
- Rankings: Tracking the position of webpages on Google’s search results (SERPs).
- Competitor analysis: Researching and evaluating competitor websites and competition for each keyword.
- Backlink tracking: Identifying and analyzing external backlinks.
- Visitor behavior analysis: Performing quantitative and qualitative research on the behavior of website users, including tracking user behavior throughout a website journey to identify experience breakdowns.
- Automated reporting: The ability to track relevant SEO KPIs in a single report.
SEO Tool Feature Comparison
|Tool||Keyword Research||Rank Tracking||Competitor Analysis||Backlink Tracking||Visitor Behavior Analysis||Automated Reporting||Best for|
|Google Analytics & Search Console||No||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Everyone, particularly when used in conjunction with paid tools for more detailed reports.|
|Ahrefs||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Skilled SEO teams who can take advantage of its powerful features such as its detailed backlink analysis|
|Moz Pro||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Junior marketers and small businesses who need a full-featured, easy-to-learn tool|
|SEMRush||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Companies who want to compare their SERPs with 2-3 specific competitors.|
|Mangools||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||Marketers primarily interested in finding new keywords|
|Serpstat||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||Budget conscious companies who need a full featured toolset.|
|SpyFu||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||SEM-focused marketers who want some SEO functionality.|
The Top SEO Tools, Ranked
The following table includes ratings for SEO tool (from 1 to 5) on core requirements, with 5 being outstanding, and 1 being nonexistent. Our rating on the overall value of the tool is based on its score across each category when compared to its price.
The Top SEO Tools, Ranked
|Tool||Pricing*||Feature Richness||Ease of Use||Reporting||Customer Support||Updates & Maintenance||Overall Value|
|Google Analytics & Search Console||Free||4||3||5||4||5||4.6|
*Entry tier, per user
Summary of Each SEO Tool
Below, we discuss each tool in more detail, giving our opinions on their features, accuracy, and overall value.
Google Analytics & Search Console
Google Analytics and Google Search Console are two separate tools, but we’ve given them their own category as they work best in tandem. They share two advantages over other tools. The first is their cost, or rather, their lack of a cost. The second is that as Google’s own offerings, you can be assured that they provide the most up to date information possible, and it is the only tool that can provide you with an accurate clickthrough rate.
These two tools differ in their utility, with Search Console focusing almost entirely on SERPs and related metrics, while Google Analytics is directed toward visitor behavior after a user has clicked through onto your site. Together, they paint a detailed picture of your website’s performance and help you understand more about your users. Where both Search Console and Google Analytics suffer, however, is the lack of keyword research function and their UX, which are less intuitive for new users than other platforms. The backlink analysis features of Search Console are also less robust than those of its competitors.
- Price: Free
- Top Feature: Tracking CTRs
- Best for: Everyone, when used in conjunction with another tool for detailed analysis.
Ahrefs‘s original function was analyzing a website’s backlinks but in the years since its creation, it has expanded its features to include a broader scope of applications for monitoring overall SEO health. Its robust backlink checking solution is still a highlight, but its ability to analyze competitor search traffic is equally powerful. Its UX is also straightforward, but the complex featureset results in a steeper learning curve than other paid tools.
Another notable downside of ahrefs is its cost. The $99 monthly fee for the entry tier allows you to access the basic features, but features such as historical backlink and ranking data, interactive position history charts, and more advanced competitor analysis all require paying for the $199 tier.
- Price: $99/month per user for Lite
- Top Feature: Site Explorer
- Best for: Experienced marketers who can make use of the advanced features.
Moz Pro is an SEO toolkit that includes keyword research, backlink analysis, site audits, and on-page optimization. It combines the measurement-focused capabilities of Moz’s older tools (such as Moz Analytics) with additional features aimed toward providing directly actionable insights, such as website auditing. Its UX is straightforward, and we rank it highly for Ease of Use.
Where Moz falls short is in the quality of its data and analysis. It tends to be less accurate than ahrefs, and provides fewer functions than SEMRush. It’s best for users newer to SEO and small businesses who want a general spread of functions.
- Price: $99/month per user for Standard
- Top Feature: Domain Authority
- Best for: Junior marketers and small businesses who need an full featured, easy-to-learn tool
SEMRush is often described as the swiss army knife of SEO tools, with a wide array of functions. Its backlink data is less complete than that of ahrefs, but it makes up for this with its other features. In particular, its “Domain Vs. Domain” feature is extremely useful, allowing businesses to compare their websites to competitors quickly. This tool also assists companies in comparing keywords and domains by producing analytics reports detailing website traffic, search data, and competitor performance. The On-Page SEO Checker also allows users to track rankings and provides suggestions for improving website performance.
- Price: $99/month per user
- Top Feature: Domain vs. Domain
- Best for: Companies who want to compare their SERPs with 2-3 specific competitors.
With the exception of automated reporting, the Mangools suite of SEO tools offers the same basic functionality as ahrefs, Moz, and SEMRush. Where it shines is KWFinder, which provides the most helpful keyword suggestions of any tool on this list. The Rank Tracker application also simplifies company rating and progress measuring, and companies can develop a robust list of new keyword suggestions to assist them in improving website rankings.
- Price: $49/month per user
- Top Feature: KWFinder
- Best for: Marketers primarily interested in finding new keywords
Serpstat provides a basic SEO toolset that includes competitor analysis, keyword research, backlink analysis, site auditing, and rank tracking. While its overall performance doesn’t rival its competitors, it’s more cost-friendly than other tools offering a similar level of feature richness. This makes it an attractive option for small businesses, but more experienced marketers should invest in a more powerful platform.
- Price: $69/month per user for Lite
- Top Feature: Batch Analysis
- Best for: Budget conscious companies who need a full featured toolset.
SpyFu‘s low subscription prices and free add-on features appear to make this SEO tool attractive for younger companies. Its featureset isn’t as rich as other tools on this list, however, making its primary draw the ability to track your competitors’ PPC spend. In other words, it’s best used as a PPC tool that happens to have some SEO functionality, as opposed to the entirely SEO-focused tools elsewhere on this list.
- Price: $39/month per user
- Top Feature: Competitive Intel
- Best for: PPC focused marketers who need a basic SEO tool.
Requesting A Copy of This Report
If you’d like to request a PDF copy of this report, you can reach out to us here. If you’re interested in learning more about the SEO services we offer, you can contact us to learn more about our agency.
Evan Bailyn is a bestselling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership. Contact Evan here.