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Majestic SEO: The Ultimate Review (2017)

Majestic SEO: The Ultimate Review (2017)

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Majestic Review intro

Majestic often gets “lumped into” the all-in-one category with Moz Pro, SEMrush and Ahrefs.

However, Majestic is not an “all-in-one” SEO tool.

Nothing wrong with that…focus is good.

Majestic (formerly Majestic SEO) is an SEO tool that basically does one thing and does it well. Majestic specializes in backlinks.

So, you will NOT find keyword difficulty, monthly search volume, rank tracking, on-page/technical SEO audits, content tool or organic traffic data in Majestic.

If you are looking for a full array of SEO metrics, you will need more than Majestic.

I think of Majestic as complementing the above tools rather than competing with them. Especially since tools like Moz Pro and SEMrush are light on backlinks (Majestic’s strength) and strong on other SEO features (which Majestic lacks).

majestic-intro

Majestic SEO Overview: What is Majestic?

Majestic is a web-based SEO tool.

It is “largest commercially available backlink index.” Maybe the longest-running as it goes all the way back to 2011. It has a depth of backlink data you won’t find in other tools.

Majestic has many reports, visualization, and analytics to showcase their strong backlink profile.

We can’t definitively say who has the best backlink index but usually Ahrefs and Majestic are the two names most often mentioned.

majestic-logo

There is another way you can access Majestic’s backlinks. Majestic partners with Buzzsumo, the excellent content tool, which includes Majestic’s backlink data.

Majestic features: What does Majestic have?

Let’s get more specific about what the Majestic SEO tool consists of.

Majestic features include:

  • A large backlink index dating back to 2011
  • Possibly the most extensive crawler out of SEO tools (how they get all those backlinks!)
  • Metrics including Citation flow (number of backlinks) and Trust Flow (quality of backlinks)
  • Several backlink and domain comparison tools
  • SEO browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox
  • Majestic Million: a ranking of the top 1 million websites
  • Many reporting options
  • API
  • Its own “search engine” with transparent ranking factors
  • Several backlink and link building tools we will discuss throughout this review
crawl-stats
Majestic has some of the most impressive crawl statistics in the industry

What Majestic does not have:

  • Traditional keyword metrics like monthly searches, keyword suggestions, and keyword difficulty
  • Rank or position tracking
  • On-page SEO audit/technical SEO suggestions
  • Content tool
  • Organic search traffic data

FYI:  Majestic has a metric called “Search Volume” but it’s different than “Keyword Volume.” Unlike other tools Majestic doesn’t provide Keyword Volume, estimated monthly keyword searches. 

Related SEO tool reviews by MarTech Wiz

SEMrush Review: for deep PPC data, novel SEO metrics and Search Console integration

Ahrefs Review: for strong backlink profiles and content tools

Moz Pro Review: for superior Keyword analysis and SERP feature analysis

Serpstat Review: for an affordable, up-and-coming SEO tool

Majestic Business Benefits: Why use Majestic?

The extensive backlink information that Majestic provides can benefit your organization in many ways.

Majestic’s data and analysis can help:

  • Guide your SEO efforts in order to bring in more traffic from search engines
  • Track progress of what content is working (or not working)
  • Analyze competitors and benchmark against them
  • Find opportunities of sites to partner with or even sites to avoid
new-backlinks
New backlinks found in last 90 days
verified-domain-search-console
Domains can be verified through Google Console

Pros of Majestic

  • Strong backlink index that goes back to 2011
  • Several metrics and visualizations to analyze backlink data
  • Ability to search Fresh Index (last 90 days) or full Historic Index
  • Fast retrieval of information
  • Tools to handle bulk requests
  • Topical Trust Flow drills down into industry category

Cons of Majestic

  • Since it is not an all-in-one tool, many SEO features aren’t provided (less of a ‘con’ than an FYI…but this will be a deal breaker for some.)
  • New pricing plans limit features and users reducing value of plans significantly
  • User interface is outdated and user experience just average
  • Integrates with Search Console but doesn’t seem to leverage the information much
  • No integration with Google Analytics

Who is it for (Customer demographics)?

I recommend Majestic for SEO professionals, agencies and others who spend the majority of their time on SEO.

Majestic is best when combined with other SEO tools for advanced SEO practices. Most SEO professionals use several tools and budget for it so this is not out of the norm.

If you are an entrepreneur, blogger or marketer that relies heavily on SEO, Majestic SEO could also work. For example, if link building or PR outreach is a core task, solid backlink profiles are key.

Yet, I don’t recommend Majestic for the average marketer, small businessperson or entrepreneur.

Those who only do SEO for a limited period of time each week or month. Spending the time, money, and effort in a niche second tool to get a fuller backlink profile may not be as necessary to them. Also, the terminology and interface are not the most user-friendly, especially for non-SEOs and small businesses.

These folks are likely better off using an all-in-one tool like Moz Pro, Ahrefs, or SEMrush. Moz and SEMrush won’t have the same number of backlinks as Majestic but will have enough backlinks to give an idea of what sites to reach out to for link building. Ahrefs may have a similar or even better live backlink checker than Majestic in some cases. It also has many other SEO features and metrics.

To be clear, you don’t need an SEO tool to know backlinks pointing to your own site. You can use a free tool like Google Search Console to learn most of these.

neighbourhood-checker
Neighbourhood Checker is a tool for advanced SEOs

How does Majestic work?

Getting started

Majestic is easy to setup. First, register for a free or paid Majestic account. Free accounts are basically for previewing the tool.

After logging in, you can start using Majestic immediately.

Since Majestic is not an all-in-on SEO tool there is less to set up. There are no keywords to track or competitors to input like other tools.

It is a web-based application so you don’t need to install anything locally.

Soon you are going to want to verify your domain.

To get verified, you can integrate your Google Search Console account. Verified domains get benefits like higher report allowances (and you also give Majestic the right to include your data in its index). There are two other ways of verifying a domain – adding a meta tag or small txt file to your website.

Next up: browser toolbar.

You should also install and connect either the Chrome or Firefox extensions. These provide SEO backlink information right in your browser. They are similar to toolbars of others like MozBar, Ahrefs, and SEMrush but more focused on backlinks.

MarTech Wiz Video Review of Majestic

Majestic components

Majestic’s Site Explorer

Site Explorer is the main section of the Majestic SEO tool. Here you have an overview of the most important metrics.

There are three main metrics shown front and center. You should familiarize yourself with these as they will pop up all over Majestic

  • Citation Flow: a score of the number of backlinks (or citations)
  • Trust Flow: the quality of backlinks essentially
  • Topical Trust Flow: the significance of a site by industry. For example, Macy’s department store has a higher topical trust flow in the retail category than health

These are similar to Domain Authority and Page Authority of Moz (formerly SEOmoz) or Domain and Trust score of SEMrush, etc.

Topical Trust Flow uses the category system of DMOZ which just shut down so not sure if that will affect this metric in the future.

three-metrics
Trust Flow, Citation Flow, and Topical Trust Flow are three main metrics in Majestics

Next is the number of backlinks (external) and referring domains, IPs and subnets.

backlinks
Detailed backlink information

Government and Education links are displayed separately also.  These backlinks are harder to get and may carry more weight in rankings.

Lastly, there are nice graphs on backlink history, anchor text, follow vs nofollow links.

majestic-site-exp-graphs
Graphs in Site Explorer

What are referring domains?

Referring domains are the number of sites that link out to you. So if you have 1001 backlinks, one from one site and 1000 from a second site, you have only 2 referring domains.

What are referring IPs?

Referring IPs may be a better metric than referring domains. Multiple domains backlinking from one IP could mean one organization is the source of several backlinks. This is less trustworthy than the same number of links from independent sites.

What is the difference between Majestic’s Fresh Index and Historic Index?

Throughout Majestic you will see two index options: Fresh index and Historic Index. If you only want recent links, use the Fresh Index which shows links crawled in the last 90 days. If you want all lifetime links, use the Historic Index. Most screens default to the fresh index.

What is Majestic Citation Flow?

Citation Flow is a score between 1-100 that measures the influence of a URL based on how many sites link to it. Quality of links is taken into account also. You can think of it as the link power a website carries.

What is Majestic Trust Flow?

Majestic SEO Trust Flow metric is a measure of the credibility and trustworthiness of a URL. It is determined by measuring the number of clicks a URL is from a set of trusted sites to a given URL, or Domain. The score is on a scale of 1-100.

What is Majestic Topical Trust Flow?

Majestic’s Topical trust flow rates the influence of a website in a particular topic or category. It uses Majestic’s large-scale categorization of the websites into categories. The Topical Trust Flow score is measured on a log-based scale of 1-100.

Multiple Backlink Comparison Tools

There are (too) many comparison tools within Majestic that are slightly different views of the same information. So, in this section, we will go over all four of them: Bulk Backlink Checker, Compare Tool, Link Profile Fight and Campaigns

Bulk Backlink Checker

Bulk backlink Checker is a helpful tool but a little misleading/confusing. A better name might be Bulk Backlink Statistics Checker (which doesn’t roll off the tongue). This is because it doesn’t show the actual backlinks just statistics about the site’s backlinks.

You can enter up to 400 URLs. It then returns several backlinks statistics for those URLs. It shows metrics like Trust Flow, Citation Flow, backlink count and referring domain count. This is the best place to find the topical trust flow information for multiple sites.

bulk-backlink-checker
The Bulk Backlink Checker can check 400 URLs at a time

But here you won’t see the backlinks themselves. To get the backlinks for link building, there is a link for each URL to the Site Explorer section.

Bulk Backlink Checker pulls the information quickly but it’s basically just a domain comparison tool.

Compare Tool

The Compare Tool can compare up to 10 domains side by side. The metrics are almost exactly the same as the ones for the bulk backlink checker minus topics. It is essentially just another view.

The Compare Tool provides a graphical view to compare sites easily. A nice touch is the highest score in each metric is shaded darker.

compare-tool-majestic
The Compare Tool summary - dark bars are the highest scores

Link Profile Fight

Link Profile Fight is another comparison tool.

This tool shows a graph that plots Citation Flow versus Trust Flow. There is an individual graph for each URL and one combined graph.

The combined graph isn’t very useful/misleading as usually one link profile completely covers the other. It makes it appear like the one on the bottom has no backlinks in some sections.

For example, this makes it look like Walgreens has almost no links (but in reality many are covered by the green dots)

majestic-intro

Campaigns

Campaigns is a new feature but is mostly the same information in a different wrapper.

Majestic-campaigns
Campaigns is a place to save a group of related URLs you want to analyze.

In the campaign section of Majestic, you can enter in several sites, usually part of a theme. For our example, it was retail stores.  And you’ll then get the usual statistics like Citation/Trust Flow and backlinks as well as a few new data visualizations.

By the way, to be clear this is different than what some other SEO tools refer to as Campaigns. Those are usually a place where you keep track of in-depth information on one site (like your own) that you want to get ongoing statistics on.

Backlink History

Moving into some new territory, Backlink History is the next tab of the section. Here it shows a graph of the number of new backlinks (and referring domains) over time of the sites being compared. A great part is that you can analyze backlinks gained daily or cumulatively. Also, as with most screens, you can choose Fresh Index or Historical Index.

backlink-checker-majestic
Backlinks gained over time (daily view)

A fantastic visualization you won’t find elsewhere as Majestic has the longest-running historic index going back to 2011. Great to measure content marketing and link building activities.

Clique Hunter

Clique hunter is one of the best tools in Majestic. For up to 10 domains, it shows what sites are backlinking to more than one site you are analyzing. Similar to link intersect tools of other tools like Moz Pro and Ahrefs.

For example, if we enter Macys.com, Target.com, and Walgreens.com, it will show only sites that link out to all three (or 2 if chosen).

clique-hunter-majestic
Clique hunter shows what sites link to 2 or more of the sites you are analyzing

Clique hunter is a great way to find link building opportunities.

And since Majestic SEO has more backlinks than other tools, this feature will be more comprehensive.

There are also several helpful sorting and filtering options.

Majestic Million

Next, you can see where the sites you are comparing rank in the Majestic Million (if at all). The Majestic Million is a ranking of the top 1 million sites in Majestic’s database based on referring subnets. Basically the top 1 million sites on the Internet.

If you clear your comparison sites, you can see the full Majestic Million list from the beginning.

Majestic-million
The Majestic Million is a list of the top 1 million sites based on Majestic's backlink catalog

Search Explorer

Search Explorer is Majestic’s very own search engine.

Suffice to say that it won’t replace Google anytime soon. The quality of the results don’t come close to Google. In fact, it illustrates just how good Google is in comparison.

Search Explorer’s major difference versus Google is that ranking factors are transparent.

It seems to be a fairly simple algorithm. It’s mostly based on backlinks and how many times a keyword shows up on the page like in title and URL.

search-explorer-majestic
Search Explorer is Majestic's own search engine

URL submitter

In this section, you can add up to 100 links (Gold plan) to be crawled by the Majestic SEO bots.

Whether it is a competitor or a site you are affiliated with, you want the freshest information. This is a way to get one of the best, if not the best, SEO crawlers to work for you. If you need more than 100, you can use credits.

url-submitter
You can submit URLs to be crawled in order to get them in the index quicker

Neighbourhood Checker

Neighbourhood Checker is a tool that looks at the referring IPs of a site’s backlinks. If many of a site’s backlinks are coming from the same IP address (or subnet), they will not be as valuable as coming from more diverse locations.

Also, it might look like suspicious link building if too many referring domains are from the same IP or subnet. For example, if a site owner set up 10 domains on the same IP just so they can backlink to their main site from 9 “other sites.” Majestic’s Neighborhood Checker would catch this.

neighbourhood-checker
Neighbourhood Checker is a tool for advanced SEOs

Keyword Checker

To start off, we should make clear the Keyword checker is not an alternative to more traditional keyword tools (like Moz’s keyword Explorer). It does not provide the standard keyword planning statistics like monthly keyword searches or keyword difficulty.

This is completely different.

Instead it checks the times a keyword (or phrase) appears in Majestic’s index. It checks for the keyword in URLs, titles and anchor text. For example, if you check “Melatonin” it will tell you that keyword was found in 2,095,980 URLs.

keyword-checker
Keyword Checker is different from traditional keyword tools. It simply counts the keyword in Majestic's index.

Now they do have a “Search Volume” metric but it is not the traditional number of monthly searches. Don’t confuse it with what most tools call “Keyword Volume.” Majestic’s Search Volume is a number from 1 to 100 that “indicates the search traffic generated by search engines for the Keyword / Key Phrase.” So it seems like not search volume but traffic volume from that keyword.

We recommend a more traditional SEO software keyword research tool in addition to (or instead of) this.

Browser Extensions

Majestic has browser extensions for both Firefox and Chrome (Majestic Backlink Analyzer). They are similar in look and feel to other SEO tool extensions like MozBar but more focused on backlink and link building information and don’t have information like on-page SEO suggestions.

majestic-toolbar
The Chrome Toolbar from Majestic

For any web page displayed in the browser, the Majestic SEO Toolbar shows the following.

Free version (no paid Majestic account needed):

  • Number of links to the URL
  • Number of links to the domain
  • Number of domains that link to the URL
  • Number of domains that link to the domain
  • Citation Flow
  • Trust Flow
  • A link profile graph of the citation flow and trust flow of all these links.
  • Timeline charts of how the page acquired links over time.

Subscriber Features (shown to paid Majestic SEO users only)

  • Top incoming backlinks for each URL
  • Automatic removal of deleted backlinks
  • Filters to show just the top backlink from top referring domains
  • Topical Trust Flow and key Majestic backlinks for every backlink
  • Aggregated top Anchor Text for each URL
  • Topical Trust Flow for Anchor Text
  • Export URLs to your Majestic bucket
  • Jump to Majestic SEO Site Explorer for any backlink

 

Buzzsumo option

So as we harped on, the Majestic SEO specializes in backlinks. Now, there is actually another way to access the extensive Majestic catalog.

In November 2016, Majestic partnered with Buzzsumo which now includes Majestic’s backlink data in their product.

buzzsumo-majestic
If I had a Buzzsumo premium account, Majestic backlinks be available

This is a great partnership resulting in a great link building tool.

Also, I am pretty sure Serpstat uses Majestic figures for total backlinks (the count, not the actual links)

 

Usability: UX and UI

It’s immediately apparent that Majestic’s UI (user interface) isn’t the most visually appealing. It is very dated.

Overall the no-frills (some might say ugly) design does not really add or detract from the product.

site-design
Example of site design

Now, SEO analysis tools are primarily about the data which Majestic has.

But some design aspects did take away from the user experience (UX).

At times, some links took us to different sections unexpectedly.

I grasped the landscape and navigation in time.  Not a major deal.

But Majestic could be laid out better with more consistency between screens and sections.

A fresh redesign of Majestic would make the experience more enjoyable (and improve brand).

There are plenty of helpful tool tips throughout the software.

Majestic Pricing and Plans: How much does Majestic Cost?

Interestingly, Majestic changed to new pricing plans in the middle of our review process (on March 8th). What’s more the “legacy plans” are still available so there are two pricing plans (for now). I will focus on the new plans as they will likely be the only plans in the future. Unfortunately, the new plans provide significantly less value than previous plans.

In the past, Majestic’s legacy plans were limited not by features but by data.

The new Majestic pricing plans are limited by both data and features. So less value. Most striking, the “Lite” plan doesn’t include Historic Index. So, you will only get links located in the last 3 months. There are also several other features now not available at this price level including clique hunter, custom reports, backlink history, and email alerts.

The Majestic Gold pricing went down to $20 to $149 but now is only 1 user instead of 5!

Here are the new pricing plans:

new-pricing
Much different pricing plans were rolled out in March 2016

And the legacy pricing plans:

majestic-legacy-pricing
Majestic's legacy plans are still available (for now)

 Is there a free trial and/or free plan option?

  • Free trial: No Majestic free trial is offered
  • Free plan: You can preview limited functionality and tools with a free account but Majestic doesn’t have a free plan.

Majestic vs. competitors and alternatives

Most would say Majestic SEO’s competitors include Moz Pro, SEMrush*, Ahrefs, and Serpstat.

I would argue that these SEO tools are just as much complementors as competitors to Majestic.

I would not consider these tools Majestic alternatives but great additions.

Integrations

Majestic’s Open App API allow for integration with many other software including:

  • SEO tools for excel
  • Google Search Console
  • Google docs (Google sheets)
  • Firefox and Chrome browsers
  • Advanced Web Ranking
  • Buzzstream
  • Buzzsumo
  • Remove ‘em
  • Rank Ranger

Conclusion

Majestic is specifically focused on backlinks. Its backlink index is one of the most comprehensive for SEO tools.

Majestic is not however an “all-in-one” SEO tool. There is nothing wrong with focusing on just backlinks and not providing all SEO data especially when there are lots of other tools that do.

But the most important thing is the quality of data. SEO tools are really at the end of the day, data providers. And Majestic has a ton of exclusive backlink data. They have found some interesting ways to display it for analysis.

For those performing advanced SEO and needing full backlink profiles, Majestic is a great tool to have in your SEO tool belt. For those wanting to use one SEO tool and just doing the occasional SEO checkup, you can probably do without Majestic.

We hope you enjoyed our Majestic review. If so, please sign up below for future product reviews.

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