GSC vs. Ahrefs vs. Semrush vs. Moz

In relation to instruments, all of us have our favorites as search engine optimization professionals. Ahrefs, Moz and Semrush purpose to perform the identical issues at a excessive degree, however you’d be hard-pressed to search out an search engine optimization skilled who doesn’t have robust opinions on every device’s capability to take action.

Any seasoned search engine optimization practitioner is aware of opinions alone can get you roughly so far as asking Google’s John Mueller about area authority (trace: not far). 

Our search engine optimization crew lately put our opinions to the take a look at and biases to the aspect to match the key phrase dimension of Google Search Console (GSC), Ahrefs, Semrush and Moz for the shoppers we handle.

When you can learn extra within the Methodology and Caveats and concerns sections beneath, the nod to this information not being definitive within the title is that it isn’t. The info was solely pulled for 51 domains, all of which reside within the pharmaceutical area. So, it’s a small, non-representative pattern. You’ve been warned. 

GSC had over 36% extra key phrases than the opposite sources mixed 

Average keyword count per site: Ahrefs, Moz, Semrush, GSC.
A comparability of Google Search Console, Ahrefs, Semrush and Moz for the common variety of rating key phrases or key phrases registering no less than one impression amongst 51 domains in Might 2022.

Patrick Stox from Ahrefs printed a implausible research about key phrases hidden in Google Search Console. I encourage you to learn it, however the gist is whereas the quantity assorted significantly by web site, virtually half of the general clicks have been attributed to hidden phrases.

Provided that Google Search Console hides decrease quantity key phrases, which make up nearly all of search queries, this possible means considerably greater than half of the key phrases are obstructed to the tip consumer.

However right here’s the fact. GSC nonetheless could be the most effective we now have in relation to key phrase visibility dimension.

Among the many three, Ahrefs had essentially the most key phrases for 98% of internet sites

Relative key phrase rating dimension by area

Ahrefs50 domains0 domains1 area
Semrush0 domains50 domains1 area
Moz1 area1 area49 domains
A ranked order of Ahrefs, Semrush and Moz by key phrase rating dimension of 51 domains in Might 2022

In some ways, it’s unfair to match Ahrefs, Semrush and Moz to Google Search Console. GSC’s metrics and meant use distinction fairly a bit from the opposite three instruments.

So, when eradicating GSC, we ranked the key phrase dimension for every of the 51 websites in our information warehouse. I’ll be trustworthy; I used to be shocked on the consistency within the outcomes.

Ahrefs practically had a clear sweep of first-place finishes, with Semrush and Moz frequently coming in second and third. 

On common, Ahrefs had twice the rating key phrases as Semrush, which had over twice as many as Moz. Ahrefs had practically 5 occasions the quantity of rating key phrases for our shoppers as Moz. That’s an unimaginable disparity!

You could be questioning, if Ahrefs has such a dominant lead on Semrush and Moz, why not simply use Ahrefs?

As robust as Ahrefs was, it missed 87% of key phrases

Keyword counts: Ahrefs vs. Others
First chart: The whole rating key phrases in Ahrefs in comparison with the overall rating key phrases or key phrases registering no less than one impression present in Moz, Semrush and/or Google Search Console and never in Ahrefs for 51 domains in Might 2022.

Second chart: The whole rating key phrases in Ahrefs in comparison with the overall rating key phrases present in Moz and/or Semrush and never in Ahrefs for 51 domains in Might 2022.

First, the truth that Ahrefs is even in a position to be in comparison with the opposite sources stacked collectively is highly effective. That is removed from a knock on it. Nonetheless, if all of our eggs have been within the Ahrefs basket, we might be lacking out on a consequential quantity of key phrase information.

Even should you take away Google Search Console, Ahrefs nonetheless didn’t include 32% of key phrases.

On the identical time, not utilizing Moz (our smallest supply), leaves some blindspots.

When in comparison with Ahrefs and Semrush, 13% of key phrases have been unique to Moz

Exclusive keyword counts by source.
First chart: Complete rating key phrases or key phrases registering no less than one impression unique to 1 supply evaluating Ahrefs, Moz, Semrush and Google Search Console for 51 domains in Might 2022.

Second chart: Complete rating key phrases unique to 1 supply evaluating Ahrefs, Moz and Semrush for 51 domains in Might 2022.

When wanting on the chart on the suitable, lacking out on 13% of whole key phrases is tough to disregard. 

Moz’s unique numbers dropped drastically when GSC was added to the combo with beneath 2% of key phrases. However as I’ve beforehand talked about, these instruments aren’t precisely equal in what they cowl.

Semrush’s exclusivity share jumped to 24% when in comparison with Ahrefs and Moz, but it surely was additionally sitting at beneath 2% when GSC was included.

Let’s take a look at the alternative finish of the spectrum. As an alternative of exclusivity, the place was there full protection? If we drew a random key phrase out of a hat, how possible wouldn’t it be present in every of the 4 sources we analyzed?

Fewer than 1% of key phrases have been present in all 4 sources

Keyword counts by number of sources
Variety of rating key phrases or key phrases registering no less than one impression by represented supply depend amongst Ahrefs, Google Search Console, Moz and Ahrefs for 51 domains in Might 2022.

A staggering quantity of key phrases in our dataset have been solely present in one supply. Conversely, only a choose few have been represented in all 4 sources.

The key phrase counts elevated modestly from 0.4% to 2.6% when shifting from 4 sources to 3. Even two sources didn’t cowl 10% of the overall key phrases. 

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Information assortment

  • Google Search Console: Unfiltered, query-level search information was saved in our information warehouse through Google Search Console’s API every day from Might 1 to Might 31 for 51 consumer domains. Key phrases have been deduplicated by area and aggregated right into a month-to-month whole.
  • Semrush: One reside API name through Semrush’s Area Natural Search Key phrases report was saved in our information warehouse in Might for 51 consumer domains. The U.S. was the designated area.
  • Moz: Natural search key phrase rankings have been manually exported from the entrance finish of Moz’s Key phrase Explorer utilizing the default settings in Might for 51 consumer domains.
  • Ahrefs: Natural search key phrase rankings have been manually exported from the entrance finish of Ahrefs’ Key phrases Explorer utilizing the default settings in Might for 51 consumer domains.

Processing and evaluation

A question-source matrix was created so as to decide the place there was overlap and exclusivity amongst Ahrefs, Google Search Console, Moz and Semrush per consumer area and in combination.

Caveats and concerns

Information pattern

I discussed this within the introduction, but it surely’s value repeating. Our evaluation featured each a small and industry-specific pattern of area rankings. You shouldn’t draw any conclusions round general relative key phrase dimension comparisons of those instruments.

So, why publish the outcomes? As additionally touched on in the important thing takeaways part beneath, past the info being fascinating and probably sparking useful dialogue, I wished to emphasize the worth of analyzing these instruments beneath the lens of your {industry}. 

Supply availability

Ahrefs, Google Search Console, Moz and Semrush should not the one merchandise with distinctive key phrase visibility datasets. Serpstat, seoClarity, Brightedge’s Information Dice and different instruments might have been a part of this research to make it extra complete. If any reps from these instruments are studying this, we might be serious about evaluating your device to the remainder subsequent time round. Hit me up!

Supply comparability

With Ahrefs, Moz and Semrush, these have been one-time information pulls throughout the month of Might. Nonetheless, with Google Search Console, 31 separate API calls have been made. This may occasionally have inflated GSC’s numbers a bit.

Had we pulled rankings every day in Might for the opposite instruments, extra distinctive key phrases would have been added both from shifting area rankings or key phrase database updates. For what it is value, I do not consider it will have impacted any overarching traits or takeaways.

Moreover, Google Search Console information included cellular and desktop key phrases from all nations, whereas we solely included U.S. desktop rankings from the opposite sources. This once more would inflate GSC’s numbers, however not more likely to a level that will change any of the traits in a significant manner.

Key phrase quantity exclusion

Key phrase quantity was not included on this train, which limits its potential worth. With all else being equal, I would be extra frightened if Moz missed a 25,000 MSV key phrase than a 25 MSV key phrase.

The following time this evaluation is run, we plan on incorporating quantity. Nonetheless, we’ll have to create logic round tips on how to greatest embrace GSC impressions as an MSV proxy, in addition to tips on how to calculate the quantity for key phrases present in a number of instruments.

Information freshness

Information freshness was not thought-about on this evaluation. Because of the manner its metrics work, Google Search Console is inherently recent. In different phrases, if we pulled GSC information from Might, these key phrases have been positively seen in Might (even when just for a second).

Nonetheless, it is potential the opposite sources contained key phrases and not using a refreshed rankings pull since earlier than Might. If any of those instruments had disproportionately stale information, it might have altered the outcomes.

Key takeaways

1. Problem your assumptions 

Earlier than revealing the outcomes to my crew, I requested them to rank the 4 sources so as of key phrase protection primarily based on their very own intestine feeling. Round 10 folks guessed, together with me, however not one in every of us was appropriate!

Semrush was routinely ranked decrease than we predicted, and GSC was not given practically sufficient credit score. Nonetheless, with GSC, that is extra possible resulting from them getting used to pulling the info from the front-end consumer interface.

All of us might be responsible of trusting our intestine emotions and hunches a little bit an excessive amount of, and this goes far past search engine optimization instruments. As entrepreneurs, we must always frequently strain take a look at our positions and be keen to vary our minds.

2. Use the GSC API

When pulling information straight from Google Search Console’s consumer interface, you’re restricted to 1,000 rows of knowledge. If we had merely downloaded information from GSC with the date vary of Might 1 to Might 31, this device would not have been main the pack (removed from it).

Querying GSC from the API nonetheless has its limitations, but it surely will increase the quantity of obtainable information by a substantial margin. 

3. Use all of the instruments

Admittedly, this takeaway is a little bit of a contradiction coming from me. As acknowledged within the part above, we do not even use all the instruments, nor can we plan to. Nonetheless, I’ve constantly advocated for not utilizing only one search engine optimization device.

My precise recommendation is that this: spend money on one-month subscriptions and/or free trials to gauge the relative efficiency in your particular class. From there, you may select the most effective device(s) for you primarily based in your specific verticals, price range and objectives. Our pharmaceutical consumer advertisements usually say, “Outcomes might range,” and the identical is true with this. Take the additional time to see what’s greatest for you.

Additionally, when testing out instruments to your particular {industry} and desires, do not simply take a look at key phrase sizes. Measurement, accuracy, consumer expertise, buyer assist, expertise integrations and a lot extra can be thought-about. 

4. Repeat and enhance your checks

Our first official take a look at is finished, however we do not plan on calling it quits. Semrush lately went public. Moz was acquired simply over a 12 months in the past. Ahrefs launched a search engine.

That is an arms race, and if we do not refresh these outcomes periodically, we could possibly be making choices on outdated and inaccurate information.

Opinions expressed on this article are these of the visitor creator and never essentially Search Engine Land. Workers authors are listed right here.

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About The Creator

Tylor is the VP of search engine optimization at EVERSANA INTOUCH within the burbs of Kansas Metropolis. He additionally runs in his spare time and infrequently speaks at search conferences. His life outdoors of search engine optimization contains attending live shows, watching the Houston Rockets and avoiding the Oxford comma inside easy lists.

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