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8 Insights from using Moz Pro for 30 days: A Review

8 Insights from using Moz Pro for 30 days: A Review

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Moz Pro review Intro

Whiteboard Fridays, SEO, Rand Fishkin, MozBar!

You know Moz…but how well do you know Moz Pro – their paid SEO software suite?

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In this Moz Pro review, we pull back the curtain to see what the Wizards of Moz have up their sleeves in 2017.

There have been some big changes in the Land of Moz. Moz put their social media application, Followerwonk, on the sales block. They shut down the Moz Content tool. All to focus on SEO 100%.

Most importantly for this post, Moz launched a new keyword planning tool: “Keyword Explorer.”

We will take a brick-by-brick look at Moz Pro – sorting out the good, the bad and the wicked (whether wicked good or wicked bad – you will have to read on!).

We have a feeling this will be a very interesting journey.

Why read this Moz Pro Review?

  • You are considering purchasing Moz Pro to help you rise in Google.
  • You don’t want to get the wrong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tool for your organization
  • You want a Moz Pro review that not only analyzes Moz but compares it versus other tools

If so, you are in the right place.

Nobody beats MarTech Wiz when it comes to in-depth product reviews (last Wizard of Oz reference…we promise).

Making the right decision is crucial. SEO tools aren’t cheap after all. And there are lots of them.

Moz Pro Overview

Moz Pro a comprehensive SEO software suite with several SEO functionalities in one web-based tool.

While it has several strengths, it will not be right for everyone.

Two strong points are Open Site Explorer and Keyword Explorer, which address the core issues of SEO well.

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Moz Pro has a visually-pleasing, non-intimidating design different from the more compact interfaces of other SEO tools (like SEMrush*, Ahrefs ).

You won’t have certain functionality (like PPC) found in other SEO tools. Moz is now focused solely on SEO.

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Moz Pro visual design is better than most SEO tools

However, the flow of the user experience is disjointed and downright frustrating at times.

In terms of size, the last crawl reached over 229 Billion URLs.

Related SEO tool reviews by MarTech Wiz

Ahrefs Review: for strong backlink profiles and content tools

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

Majestic Review: for extensive backlink data and visualizations

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

Who is Moz?

Moz (formerly SEOMoz) is a pillar of the search engine optimization scene. Perhaps they are known as much for their content, community forum and Mozcon, as their SEO software.

Moz was co-founded by Rand Fishkin (aka the Wizard of Moz). Handlebar mustache, Whiteboard Fridays, asymmetrical haircuts … yes him!

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Whiteboard Fridays with Rand Fishkin

Additionally, Moz has a local SEO tool which is outside of the scope of this Moz Pro review.

SEO Expert Opinion on Moz

Cyrus Shepard

“Every SEO needs a slightly different toolset, and no two SEOs use tools the exact same way. For me, here’s where Moz Pro fits into my workflow:

  • For obvious reasons, the MozBar is my first-line SEO tool. I use it several times a day to quickly check backlinks and highlight followed/nofollowed links.
  • 2nd most used tool is Keyword Explorer. I write a lot of content, so I like to research keyword topics to add semantic relevance and structure to each page I create. I also like to export my ranking keywords from Google Search Console into custom lists in Keyword Explorer to get more insight into specific keyword opportunities.
  • My sites run like well-oiled machines, so I mostly use Moz Pro Campaigns for monitoring. I get the weekly email of rankings+issues, and if anything warrants my attention I’ll take the time to dig in.

What is Moz Pro?

Moz Pro is a premium paid SEO web application that helps you stay on top of your SEO game. Moz Pro provides analytics and insights to help you boost your search engine rankings.

Moz Pro is several SEO tools in one – covering all major areas of SEO (outlined in next section).

Moz has free tools also.  Tools like Open Site Explorer and Keyword Explorer are available to use free for a limited number of times per day. For example, you get two uses Keyword Explorer per day  [Update: Moz now gives five free uses of Keyword Explorer a day!] versus 5,000 per month with the $149/month Medium plan.

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Keyword Explorer limits daily inquiries for free accounts

Moz has a popular Chrome extension called MozBar. MozBar provides information like page authority and domain rank right on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) in your browser. This is super handy for doing competitor research on the fly within your browser.

Here is a helpful explanation we got from the Moz support staff on the differences between a Pro and Free account:

“Many of the tools offered to Moz Pro subscribers are not available outside of a subscription, such as Campaigns and most of the research tools (Rank Tracker, Crawl Test, On-Page Grader etc).

Open Site Explorer adds social metrics and Spam Score data for Moz Pro subscribers and removes the daily search limit.

Keyword Explorer offers higher daily search limits, and the Lists feature for subscribers at the Medium level and above.

MozBar shows additional metrics and offers additional functionality to Moz Pro subscribers too.”

Moz Features: What is does Moz Pro Do?

The main SEO functions that Moz Pro covers include:

  • Rank tracking
  • Keyword research
  • Link profile analysis
  • Site Crawl
  • On page optimization

Below in this Moz Pro review we will cover each of these in detail if you are not familiar with them.

What doesn’t Moz cover that some SEO tools do?

  • Pay-per-click (PPC) ad research (If you need an SEO software with PPC data, check out SEMrush)
  • While it may be available for a while longer, Moz is selling their social media analysis tool (Followerwonk)

Insight 1 of 8

Moz is now focusing 100% on SEO. They don’t provide ad or PPC data and recently shut down the Moz Content tool. Moz is even selling their Followerwonk social media tool.

Each section has corresponding reports and analytics.

Getting much of this information on your own is possible but would require a lot of effort to pull together. The analysis and insights that Moz Pro provides in one web application is a time saver.

 

Moz Benefits: Why use Moz Pro?

Moz helps websites grow their organic traffic by tracking search engine rankings and identifying ways to improve.

Why is this important? The better your position, the more free traffic you will get.

Moz Pro efficiently tracks your search engine rankings for keywords over time to see if you are gaining or falling.

Instead of hoping and praying to land on the front page of Google, Moz gives you actionable data and insights to help your efforts. It takes out (some of) the mystery of Google’s black box algorithm.

Part of SEO is simply keeping your site well organized. If Moz Pro finds technical issues in your site code, it advises you how to fix them. This will help search engines better process and understand your site. It also signals to Google that you have a legit site that they can confidently send their users to. Staying on Google’s good side helps avoid a costly penalty that can sink your rankings instantly.

Of course, any SEO tool can only help so much. It won’t write great content or get backlinks for you.

BUT using Moz Pro you can surmise what valuable and strategic topics to write content about. Keyword research shows how searched keywords are and how competitive they are.

AND Moz Pro can show you who to reach out to to get those all-important back links which can increase your ranking.

Performing some competitive intel? One Moz Pro benefit is benchmarking you versus your competitors.

So Moz Pro helps you rank higher, write smart, reach out more efficiently and spy better.

Now the competition also says this so let’s see how it matches up further into our Moz Pro review.

Moz Pro helps you rank higher, write smart, reach out more efficiently and spy better.

 

Who is it for – Moz Pro Review?

Moz Pro can help most organization in most industries. Customers include entrepreneurs, small to medium business and SEO agencies managing multiple clients.  It would help an SEO consultant or in-house marketer heading up SEO.

According to Rand Fishkin, Moz Pro is “built for marketers and they comprise more than 80% of our ~24,000 paid subscribers.”

Moz is not super technical so you don’t have to be an SEO expert to use it. Especially since it feels lighter than other competitive tools.

Moz Pro is best for those who will use it daily because they will simply get the most value out of it. If you are only logging in a few times a month the cost might not be justified.

Moz has a user-friendly feel and will not be intimidating for most people. Many users find it easy to use.  Yet several others describe it as overwhelming.  We found the user experience to be rather convoluted at first.

Some more grizzly SEOs say the user-friendly design makes Moz Pro not great at pulling nitty-gritty details. It may not be the best choice for a super hardcore SEO that wants every last detail.

We have not come across a lot of enterprise customer stories leading us to believe its aimed at small to mid-sized organizations.

Moz Pro’s price  ($99-$599/month) is aligned with many similar competitors . While not cheap, it won’t be cost prohibitive for most organizations that value SEO. If they see their keyword rankings rise in part due to Moz, they will find budget for it.

OK, enough chit chat!

Moz Pro is best for those who will use it daily because they will simply get the most value out of it. If you are only logging in a few times a month the cost might not be justified.

In this next section of our Moz Pro review, we’ll go inside the software and put it through the paces.

MarTech Wiz Video Review of Moz Pro

How does Moz Pro work/How to use Moz Pro?

First, sign up for a Moz Pro subscription or 30-day free trial.

Alternatively, you could use Moz’s free version of the Keyword Explorer and Open Site Explorer SEO tools. You can use a limited per day (for example, two uses of Keyword Explorer per day).  To get full access you need an account.

Moz Pro is a web application (SaaS) tool so there is nothing to install.

Download MozBar extension at some point soon. This free chrome extension toolbar is an impressive complementary tool.

Set up

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Initial Moz Pro setup

You will need to provide Moz some information upfront. Tell them your site as well as what topic keywords and competitors you are targeting.

Providing complete information here is recommended because it will form the basis of the analysis you will receive. If you add a keyword later you won’t see the historical trends from your Moz start date.

Connect your Google Analytics account early on so it can pull in that data to enrich the reports.

Moz takes all the information you provide and goes to work. After 15-30 minutes of processing, it spits out your first round of analysis.

Going forward, reporting is automated for the most part. You will get emails on a regular basis with new reports. They don’t send immediate alerts notifying you of backlink or position changes like some other SEO software tools. You’ll need to wait until the next crawl.

This is because most information is not gathered continuously but rather refreshed weekly. For example, if you Google a target keyword yourself a few times per week, you might see a ranking change in Google before your next Moz report. Weekly results should be frequent enough for most.

Insight 2 of 8

Moz Information is refreshed only weekly in most cases and is not real time

Dashboard

A good starting point is the main dashboard.  Here you see your fundamental SEO metrics in one place.

Like most of the sections in Moz Pro, you can export to either a PDF and/or CSV.

You can click any of these top-level metrics to drill down.

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Moz Pro Dashboard

Search visibility

The first metric shown is “search visibility.” It is an score of your overall SEO health based CTR (click through rate) of your position for tracked keywords versus the competition.

This metric comes up repeatedly but was never very clear to us.  We need a whiteboard Friday session on this!

Visits

Visits simply show you website traffic from various sources over time.  Nothing you can’t get from Google Analytics yet it displays in a simpler, accessible graph. The comparison over multiple weeks is helpful.

Domain authority is a metric of how influential/legitimate your site is . This along with Moz’s page authority is one of the key SEO metrics in the industry. Most tools have a similar metric but Moz seems to be the most used. The main factor is the number of credible sites that link to you.

“External Links” show recently discovered back links (inbound links from other websites).

“Top National Keywords” is a snapshot of rankings and movements for the keywords you told Moz to track.

The insights section shows information and potential improvements. It showed me Google PageSpeed metrics and crawler accessibility. For general SEO best practices, Moz Academy is helpful. They help guide beginners’ SEO efforts.

SEO Expert Opinion on Moz and other SEO tools

Eric Enge

My favorite tools for link building are Moz’s Open Site Explorer, Majestic SEO, Ahrefs, and SEMRush. We use an in-house tool to collect the data from all of these sources, dedupe it, and then obtain a common set of metrics for each link.

We use multiple tools for keyword research. We still use Keyword Planner, but also Keyword Explorer and Keyword.io. Can never have too much data when you are researching keywords!

For rank tracking we use Advanced Web Ranking, but it’s been a long time since we have looked at what Moz has, so we should probably look at that again!

As you might expect from the above, our favorite parts of Moz Pro are Open Site Explorer and Keyword Explorer.

I think the most important thing for Moz Pro to improve is really just getting more depth of data. A deeper crawl of the web to get more link data, and more sources of information to inform Keyword Explorer. The value of these tools scales linearly with having more data to leverage.

Rankings

As we move into the Rankings section of our Moz Pro review, we see a screen of new information on the top of the main Rankings page. Well, kind of new.

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Moz Pro Rankings

There is actually a lot of the same information that was shown in the dashboard but with some more detail and visualizations.

The search visibility here again. However, this screen is showing a different % change from the dashboard view! Either its wrong or correct but confusing.

Rankings information is straightforward. Your numerical position in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) and is it better or worse than last week.

In general, Moz Pro information takes a while to sink it.  The concepts aren’t complex so there should be clearer terminology and metrics. Eventually you get the hang of it, but it took longer than expected.

If you want to see the real-time position or the rank of a keyword you are not tracking, go to the Rank Tracker option under the top Moz Pro menu (or just Google it from an incognito tab).

Moz Pro information takes a while to sink it.  The concepts aren’t complex so there should be clearer terminology and metrics. Eventually you get the hang of it, but it took longer than expected.

Data Visualizations

There are graphs for rankings and search visibility metrics over time. Use the drop down and tabs to see all the available graphs.

Helpfully, you can adjust what data is displayed by toggling the colored tabs at the bottom on or off.

The data go back five weeks so you can quickly spot a trend.

Unfortunately, I was completely confused by the main graph. Another example of something that took a long time to figure out while creating our Moz Pro review.

If you feel the same, I’ll try to break it down. It shows your search visibility score which is essentially the click-through rate based on your numerical position in the SERPs (search engine results page).

The relationship between search position and CTR is a well-known one. For example, the #10 spot is typically clicked by only ~3% of users while #1 is clicked ~33% of the time.

So we believe the search visibility score is the percentage of Google visitors who will click through to your site if they search your keyword. If so, why doesn’t Moz just call it something like estimated CTR?

So I can’t claim to be 100% clear on this. The search visibility metric haunted me throughout the whole Moz Pro review process.

Another thing threw me off. While my competitors are much more established they had lower search visibility scores. I eventually realized this is because the search visibility score calculated only on your tracked keywords. So while their SEO presence is higher, for the keyword I track, my performance is better. I explain this more in the Moz Pro demo video.

The other graphs are straight-forward. They cover ranking changes week over week and the differences between search engines (Bing, Yahoo, etc)

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Trending Rankings Analysis - Moz Pro

While the graphs are useful, I much prefer the simple tables located below the fold.

These tables show all the critical information needed like keyword, volume, current rank, the landing page, and movement up or down. For me, it doesn’t need to be more complicated than that.

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Tracked Keyword Tables - Moz Pro

There are other metrics like on-page optimization scores on this screen.  You can drill down into most of these metrics. But since these are fully covered in others section, we will not go over here.

Which actually brings me to my main issue with Moz Pro.

Mini-Rant on Usability: User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) of Moz Pro

Mini-rant alert! We experienced a persisting frustration throughout our Moz Pro review process. Not a deal breaker but not good.

Moz Pro repeatedly shows the same information but in slightly different ways in different places. That in itself isn’t bad. What bothers me is that the information is displayed with a different level of detail each time. So a screen covers the topic but not in full. There is some information on one screen, other tidbits on another. It’s difficult to know the one best place for information on a specific metric.

The next section of our Moz Pro review, “Analyze a Keyword,” is a good example of what I am referring to.

The “Analyze a Keyword” screen shows two of the four main keyword metrics (volume and difficulty). The other two (opportunity and potential) are elsewhere on the site.

Now, keyword analysis is the focus of this page. Why not put them all four metrics here?

Instead it provides a link to Keyword Explorer to get full information. Keyword Explorer is on a different part of the website. You must leave your campaign to go to Keyword Explorer.

So that made me wonder if Keyword Explorer is even part of Moz Pro. Why is it not on the same subdomain? Why is the design visually different? I don’t know.

Yes, of course Keyword Explorer is part of Moz Pro but it feels too separated from the campaign area.

This structure of separating the campaign tools from other tools caused confusion throughout our use of Moz Pro. We knew information was available but not which specific screen to go to. Or half the information was on one screen and half on another.

Another similar issue: There are keyword lists in campaigns for tracked keywords. But then there are also separate keyword lists in the Keyword Explorer area. Confusing.

SERP analysis is also shown in different formats. Sometimes it’s 50 results, sometimes 10, sometimes social shares are shown, sometimes not. I would prefer just one place for SERP analysis.

These “duplicate content” issues unnecessarily complicate the user experience.

Google may not officially give duplicate content penalties but I am giving a duplicate content penalty to Moz Pro. Boom.

Several people mention online that Moz Pro is overwhelming. Using it made me start to see it firsthand. There is no clear user flow. I pride myself on having a good sense of direction but I became turned around many times in the tool.

Moz Pro should be more streamlined. The sections better defined. The layout more understandable. The visualizations more intuitive.

These are not deal breakers. Eventually you’ll know where to find the information you need. But there is an unnecessary learning curve. It doesn’t need to be this complicated.

Watch our Moz Pro review video to see this firsthand. Video is a better medium to illustrate the issue.

I am not done yet. A second gripe: terminology.

I mentioned how (I think) the search visibility score is basically CTR so just call it that.

Similarly, the names Open Site Explorer and Fresh Web Explorer are overblown and meaningless. Just call them something closer to what they are: like link checker and brand listening.

Lastly the confusing name choice of “Opportunity” in Keyword Explorer. It both fails to adequately describe the metric and is easily confused with “Potential” another keyword metric. Thankfully, it is otherwise a great metric so that makes up for it.

Insight 3 of 8

User experience is often disjointed between the campaign area and other areas like Keyword Explorer and Open Site Explorer. Terminology can be confusing too.

Keyword Explorer/Analyze a keyword

Note: to sidestep the issue I just brought up, I will discuss what Moz Pro offers for keyword research in total without going screen by screen.

Moz does a fantastic job with the keyword planning analytics. Their new tool Keyword Explorer is top notch.

I find myself using Keyword Explorer frequently for various purposed. It is great to determine which keywords to target for SEO of course.  But equally great for choosing content topics to write about (like this Moz Pro review).  I sometimes use it to get a general sense of how many people care about a topic.

The four metrics (Volume, Difficulty, Opportunity and Potential) are spot on.  Moz intelligently created these metrics and how they interact with each other.

Insight 4 of 8

Keyword Explorer includes 3 novel keyword metrics: potential, importance, and opportunity (which factors in how SERP features decrease organic CTR)

Here are the four keyword metrics explained full (all scored from 1 to 100)

Keyword Volume: The number of times the keyword is searched monthly (it claims both 90 and 95% accuracy in different places).

Keyword Difficulty: This shows how challenging it will be for you to rank well for that keyword. It is mainly based on how established the top results are – based on domain authority and/or how many backlinks and social shares they have.

Keyword Opportunity: Nowadays many extraneous things (like ads and SERP features) appear on Google’s front page in addition to regular search results. These are taking away space and clicks from organic links on the front page.  So the “opportunity” metric factors in how some SERPs will have lower CTR due to the distractions.  As more and more features crowd the front page of SERPs, the lower organic CTR will be. It’s a valuable metric but again I think opportunity is not the right name for this information.

Keyword Potential:  This overall metric encapsulates the other three metrics. A higher number means a better chance of ranking well in the SERPs for the keyword. So a keyword with a higher potential score typically has strong search volume and lower competition.  Generally, it’s how difficult this topic is to rank for.

This information will become more important as Google continues to restrict data shown in AdWords Keyword Planner. Moz uses Clickstream data so is not affected by these moves.

Insight 5 of 8

Keyword Explorer uses Clickstream data in a innovative way to avoid being at the mercy of Google’s continued restriction of keyword data.

Keyword Lists

Keyword lists are an important part of Moz Pro. Keyword lists (available in the Medium $149 plan and up) are simple groupings of keywords you are interested in tracking. What’s great is that Moz provides metrics (like your rankings for those keywords) at the individual and group level.

For example, I have one keyword list with 104 MarTech related keywords. I can see histograms for the volume, SERP features, Difficulty, Opportunity and Potential across all those keywords. This is amazing because the significance goes beyond merely keyword research or SEO. It provides valuable insight into the industry I am in (as the keywords are a snapshot of the MarTech industry in a sense).

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Moz Pro Medium Plan features Keyword Lists

Volume estimates show the number of people interested in the industry. It shows SERP features which are most likely to be in the MarTech industry searches so I can prepare for those when writing my posts.

Furthermore, you can filter on each category. Great, Great Stuff. You can even customize the Potential score by adjusting your Importance score to match your level (default is 3 but can be changed in the drop down).

The Add and Manage section lets you add keywords to these lists as well as dictate the rules to categorize a branded keyword. Only tracked keywords can be evaluated in the “analyze a keyword” section. You can analyze any keyword you want in Keyword Explorer.

If you try to analyze a keyword that is not tracked, nothing happens. Moz should display an error message to make this clearer.  I thought it was frozen or broken for several days.

A piece of advice: Check if there is even data on your target keywords before buying an SEO tool. As with all SEO keyword tools, there may not be data available for infrequently searched keywords (which may be key to your business). If that is the case, any keyword planning tool will be of limited value to you. For example, if you are targeting long tail keywords, know they often don’t have enough volume to register with keyword planning tools.

SEO Expert Opinion on Moz

Julie Joyce

I almost exclusively use Open Site Explorer although occasionally I might have the need for one of their other tools.

We used to use Toolbar PageRank for client reporting but I never liked that metric.

Now we mostly use Open Site Explorer’s Domain Authority and Page Authority and I prefer those. I really like the fact that I can get a quick overview on a domain and not just get link data.

I do like that they have a spam score but I don’t look at it for the most part. I almost exclusively use Open Site Explorer although occasionally I might have the need for one of their other tools.

Keyword suggestions

Similar information to what can ascertain using AdWords keyword planner, keywordtool.io or ubersuggest. Some like Moz’s tool better because it provides more semantic logic (it knows that “top SEO tool” is the same as “best SEO tool”)

Choose the group keyword selection to get better organization of the keywords most relevant to you.

Your Performance

There are some useful graphs in this section like line graphs over time for ranking position, search visibility, and SERP features.

Ranking position is useful but this is also shown in several other parts of the tool (and will see many more times).

Landing Pages

This section attempts to partially alleviate the “not provided” issue. Google now restricts showing which keywords lead to which page– you may have seen “not provided” in Google Analytics.

“Estimate search traffic per landing page” shows the number of clicks to the page from Google, which it pulls from Google Analytics.

Moz does estimate what keywords led to your page visits.

For my site, it’s not showing any data I think because my site is new but in theory it’s a helpful tool.

SERP Analysis (in Keyword Explorer)

We will look at the SERP analysis next in our Moz Pro review. SERP analysis is a replication of Google’s front page results but with all the information an SEO would want.

If you are not ranking on the first page (or better top 3), you should know who is and the likely reasons why. This provides valuable insights into those making it to the top page. Primary focus on the page authority and the domain authority to assess your competition. These scores are based on how many backlinks/linking root domains the page or domain have . It also shows Facebook shares since social shares are arguably a factor in rankings.

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SERP analysis outlines front page results with the information an SEO needs

This is easy to understand and very useful.

What’s more is they tell you which  SERP features are competing for space on the front page of your tracked keywords: ads, question box, related questions, etc. It also shows how many organic links are on the front page. It is not always 10 links, often you see only 6 organic links on the front page.

By the way, this is similar information you see using MozBar in with Google searches but here it is cleanly laid out.

Also, on the top of the page, are the familiar 4 metrics of Keyword Explorer: Volume, Difficulty, Opportunity, and Potential.

 

SERP Features

The SERP features graph is great because it shows you the SERP features over time.

SERP features, including rich snippets, are extra information provided in the search results.  You have surely seen rich snippets like recipe steps, review starts, and related questions.

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SERP features shows rich snippets, ads, and other widgets appearing on SERP

SERP features are important because 1) they take space on front page SERP from links and 2) they are a new opportunity to gain visibility higher up on the front page results.

Moz Pro shows which SERP features you are in or not (as well as the competition).

“Trended analysis” (selected from the drop down) shows the number and type of SERP features displayed over time. It is interesting how SERP features show up and disappear in SERPs.

Note: on these graphs, the axis can change so watch out for that or it can lead to misunderstanding.

Insight 6 of 8

SERP Features (including ads and rich snippets) are a focus of Moz Pro. The information and visualizations provided are indispensable to address their threats and opportunities.

Page optimization (on page optimization)

Scores a page from 1 – 100 based on how well it is optimized for a certain keyword. This is often referred to as on-page optimization or on-page SEO.

This section requires two pieces of information: the URL of a page and the keyword you are trying to rank for. For example, for this post the target keywords will be “Moz Pro review” and the URL is “www.martechwiz.com/tools/moz-pro-review”.

It looks at 27 factors to see if there are changes you can make on your end to optimize rankings (Moz is known for doing bi-annual Moz Ranking Factors).

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On-Page Optimization – Moz Pro

If you click on your score, you will get recommendations on improvements to make.

Here it lists any site errors or issues they encounter on that url. It helpfully prioritizes them and shows how to fix them.

It will also provide you will some keywords to add to your page based on similar results to increase your position on those terms.

The insights into what you need to optimize your pages can be found with a quick search for “on page optimization”. So you can take care of these and know what to do without a tool like Moz if you really want.

There are two different types of factors it looks at: general optimization and keyword optimization.

  • About 9 of the Page Optimization factors concern better ways to use your keyword target
  • The other 18 are for the page in general

A keyword-specific recommendation example is including your keyword in your meta description. A page example is to make sure your page only has one title tag.

Just for our Moz Pro review, we tested how well optimized our Clickfunnels review was for a totally unrelated keyword “beans”. You would think the page optimization score would be 0 but the score was actually 71.

Here is why. Since only 8 of the 27 factors relate to keyword optimization, the other 19 general factors can pass. I dabbled in on page optimization so I had the general factors covered.

Another thing Page Optimization looks at is the keyword count.  This is so you are not seen by Google as stuffing keywords in your post. That said, the analysis is pretty crude – it simply recommends no more than 15 keywords. This seems very arbitrary as it is not based on post length. Keyword density % would be more helpful. I usually write long-form posts (like this Moz Pro review) which are thousands of words.  The keyword density of 20 keywords out of 3000 words should not be suspiciously high.

I sometimes worry about too many keywords in posts but never get an exact, authoritative metric. I still don’t but at least I have a general rule of thumb. So I will remove some keywords and lower but still don’t think I will get below 15!

SEO Expert Opinion on Moz

Arnie Kuenn

We use Moz pro in a variety of ways in our SEO workflow. The emergence of Keyword Explorer has provided us with a nice alternative to other keyword tools we apply to our deliverables.

Rank Tracker has also been a benefit, as we can track the impact of micro-adjustments on a page-level basis.

Keyword Explorer is quickly becoming a favorite. The suggestions are useful, and the SERP analysis provides a quick, unbiased look at the top organic rankings for a specific term.

On potential improvements:
We’ve noticed some discrepancies when comparing the ‘inbound links’ function of Open Site Explorer to tools like Majestic & Ahrefs. Typically, we find that other tools tend to return larger backlink profiles, and therefore seem more reliable.

On lesser-known features:
The ‘Compare Link Metrics’ section of open site explorer might be a hidden gem for some. We have used it to gain quick insights into the performance of competitors on both the subdomain and root domain level.

On-Page Grader

This section is just a different look at the page optimization section.

If there is no green check you didn’t meet the criteria for this factor. Those are the ones you want to focus on. It will say whether it is an easy fix or not.

 

Site Crawl

Site Crawl in Moz Pro takes a deep dive into the code of your site to finds any functional errors – so called technical SEO. It will take about 15 minutes for Moz to crawl your site and you will get an email when the crawl completes. They use their own crawler called RogerBot.

It helpfully separates issues into high, medium, and low. You can download a CSV of the report by going to the Crawl Test under the Moz Pro menu.

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Moz crawls your site after setup to provide technical SEO insights

Don’t take Moz’s crawl errors as gospel but also don’t take them with a grain of salt

Some of the issues it “detected” weren’t real issues. For example, it said it couldn’t access my homepage. But I checked in Google Search Console, which has similar functionality, and there were no crawl issues there. Also, Moz said one page timed out when crawling but when I loaded it, it loaded fine.

I confirmed this after my second site crawl a week later.  These errors weren’t found again (without me doing anything to “fix” it).

So, don’t take Moz’s crawl errors as gospel but also don’t take them with a grain of salt.

The free Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster tools) might be a better place to look for crawl issues on your site.

In fact, it would be best if Moz integrated into Search Console like it does with Google Analytics. This should be possible as SEMrush integrates with Search Console.

Insight 7 of 8

Moz integrates information from your Google Analytics but unfortunately not Google Search Console

Analyze page issues (for individual pages)

If you just want to quickly crawl one page, you can do so in this section.

You have to enter in the URL to analyze. It would be nice if it auto-filled your known URLs so you don’t have to copy them in.

Insights

Insights links show me two concrete ways that I can improve my search engine presence. The format of the insights were welcoming with a picture and quote from an SEO expert on implementation and the importance of it.

I got two insights, one of which is something I would not have known about otherwise (adding site links). My second insight was to add schema markup to my pages for those review stars rich snippet which I knew I needed but this helped push me to get it done. I know have review starts in SERPS which should improve CTR!

Links Section

The Links section in the campaign area lists your site’s backlinks (aka inbound links) as well as opportunities for link building.

The main Links screen shows backlinks, the linking domains, anchor text of the links, and the top pages by PA. Standard but very informative link profile information.

This is like a watered-down version of Moz’s full Open Site Explorer (OSE) which we cover next in our Moz Pro review.

For example, it doesn’t show on this screen if a link is follow or nofollow (it has aggregated elsewhere and link by link equity information in OSE)

No SEO tool will always find all the backlinks. Actually, Google Search Console may find more (but you can’t use search console for competitor sites).

Moz Pro won’t be able to find every backlink across the internet, as is true with any SEO software. But some tools do more extensive crawls than others. This is an area where you can quantitatively compare one tool to another based on their stats.

The number of backlinks is important. If another SEO tool finds even one more link than another, it means one more link building. One backlink can be the difference between the first page or not for many keywords.

Opportunities

This section provides “mentions without links.” These are instances your brand or site was mentioned on a site but they did not link to you. This is low hanging fruit for link building. Moz provides the URL so you can reach out and ask for a link.

Other link building and general SEO tips can be found in Moz Academy and on their blog.

Competitive Metrics

Competitive metrics has useful line graphs showing many metrics over time including

  • Domain authority
  • Linking C-blocks
  • MozRank
  • MozTrust
  • Followed Links
  • Total Links

Insight 8

Some amazing tools are tucked away in Open Site Explorer like broken link checker, link intersect, and brand mentions

Open Site Explorer

Open Site Explorer is the full link profile analysis tool. This is a core feature of SEO and must have functionality for any SEO efforts. A backlink checker is an indispensable tool in your belt. It helps you understand the competition and plan link-building strategies accordingly.

The first thing you notice when using Open Site Explorer is that it is a different design than the main Moz Pro screen so it is not a seamless experience. This confusion of how it all fits together plagues this whole Moz Pro review process.

moz-open-site-explorer
Open Site Explorer - Moz Pro Review

Open Site Explorer is essentially Moz’s backlink checker. It provides similar information to the “links” section above but in more detail.

Open Site Explorer provides very comprehensive link profile information. This information can be ascertained for your site, a client’s site as well as competitor sites.

Open Site Explorer shows

  • All discovered back links (aka inbound links)
  • Recently discovered links
  • Most authoritative pages linking to you (or competitors) based on PA
  • Anchor text of links (the text displayed in the hyperlink like “click here”)

Importantly, here you can filter on criteria like nofollow or subdomain which you can’t do in the links section.

There are several useful features and tools in this section:

Compare Links:

A helpful feature in OSE is the ability to compare link metrics of two URLs side by side on the link statistics Moz captures.

Link Intersect tool:

This link intersect tool shows sites that are linking to multiple competitors but not to you. A great opportunity for link building.

rs using the reclaim tool. Good for broken link building or just finding broken links on your site.

moz-link-intersect
Link Intersect shows sites that have linked to competitors but not your site
freshandco-broken-links
Broken link (404) found by Moz Pro

Spam analysis

Open Site Explorer provides a spam analysis score that counts how many red flags (or issues) a page raised. Moz looks at 17 factors they discovered are correlated with spammy sites. When you click on the spam score it will tell you exactly which factors caused the red flags. This helps avoid a nasty Google penalty.

moz-spam-analysis
Spam Analytics looks at 17 factors correlated with spammy sites

Custom reports:

Here you can also build powerful, advanced reports. This feature of OSE lets you build customized reports using many different options and filters. The report is delivered within four hours. You can request up to 5 advanced reports per day with the $149 Medium plan.

Moz Pro also allows you to build drag-and-drop reports.

Interestingly, I didn’t know Bitly and Google’s URL shortener links pass link equity and counted as inbound links.

 

Traffic from Search

Organic search traffic visits to your website. Basically, the same thing as Google Analytics.

SEO Expert Opinion on Moz

AJ Ghergich

I find the alerts from Fresh Web Explorer to be quite useful
Moz’s keyword explorer is the tool I use most. However, I find the alerts from Fresh Web Explorer to be quite useful. I like that you can use custom search operators to create advanced alerts when your brand or really any topic is mentioned.

 

Also, hidden away in Campaigns > Links > Opportunities is the awesome “mentions without links” feature. Getting someone to swap an unlinked mention yields a very high ROI.

Fresh Web Explorer

Moz keeps an eye out for any mentions of your brands across the web while it crawls.

It’s like Google Alerts or Buzz sumo but not exactly. It will find articles that mention certain phrases you are interested in researching. It could help you uncover a random mention across the web of either your brand or a competitor.

A helpful feature is the mention authority metric to see which mentions come from top pages.

MozBar

MozBar is the chrome toolbar that can show SEO metrics right in your browser.

If you click the MozBar Chrome icon once, it goes into DA mode which means no top bar but it still will show the DA (domain authority) in the icon. And if you click the icon twice it will turn off completely.

mozbar-serps
MozBar SERP with Pro

 

 

MozBar with Pro:

  • On SERPs
    • Keyword Difficulty (Pro)
    • Shows PA, DA
    • Page Backlinks
    • Domain Backlinks (Pro)
    • Root domains (Pro)

 

Sometimes you need to refresh the page to see changes or reset it.

Bonus Insight

MozBar provides more than just page and authority rank. There is a wealth of on page and technical SEO data available for any site in addition to proprietary metrics like MozRank and MozTrust.

MozBar also provides similar information on any page you visit.

  • Page Analysis
    • When you go to the page you see PA, DA and Spam score out of 17
    • In addition, pro members see
      • MozRank
      • MozTrust
      • Domain MozRank
      • Domain MozTrust
      • Subdomain information
  • On-page elements
    • Shows information like page title, meta description and H1
    • More with Pro
  • General Attributes
    • Meta Robots info, canonical tag and page load time
  • Link Metrics
    • PA, DA, backlinks and Domain MozRank and MozTrust (similar to domain authority but from 1-10 based on backlink strength)
    • Pro see full stats for links and Moz rank and trust for domain and subdomai
  • Markup and HTTP stat
    • Schema.org
    • SSL
  • Link highlighting tool
    • Highlight links
    • Follow, Nofollow, External and internal
mozbar-page
MozBar with Pro on page analysis

What do users say about it?

Positives

Moz is easy to use and set up!

The reports and analytics that Moz produces are comprehensive and accessible

Customer support was fantastic – very responsive!

Keyword tools are a clear strength of Moz. The suggestions impressed me and sparked new ideas to explore

Negatives

Given the high price tag, the value is not spectacular if not used daily

There are so much data and so many options that it is overwhelming and requires a steep learning curve.

There are times that the analytics are lacking or worse, inaccurate.

From time to time, we have experienced glitches or it even going offline completely.

Moz vs. competitors

Top Competitors include

Comparisons coming soon.

Moz Pricing and Plans: How much does Moz Pro Cost?

There are four Moz pricing plans ranging from $99/month to $599/month

moz-pricing-month
Moz Pro Monthly Pricing (annual plans are discounted 20%)
  • Price comparison: the $99 Moz pricing plan doesn’t have white label reports or keyword lists. Other than that, plans have the same features just the higher limits of crawls, keywords, etc, the higher the pricing plan.
  • Enterprise/custom plans: yes
  • Refund: No
  • Yearly discount is 20% off
  • Cancellation policy: you can cancel at any time and this will take effect at the end of the period that you have paid for.

 

Moz Integrations

  • Integrations: Google Analytics, Google Chrome
  • No Moz WordPress plugin

Mozscape Index Statistics

  • Mozscape Index is updated monthly. The statistics from the January 2017 Mozscape index are below.
    • 228,566,267,977 (229 billion) URLs.
    • 30,925,942,709 (30.1 billion) subdomains.
    • 193,822,479 (194 million) root domains.
    • 1,100,261,648,691 (1.1 trillion) links.
    • Followed vs nofollowed links
    • 3.60% of all links found were nofollowed
    • 48.94% of nofollowed links are internal
    • 51.06% are external
    • Rel canonical: 45.64% of all pages employ the rel=canonical tag
    • The average page has 175 links on it
    • 141 internal links on average.
    • 34 external links on average
    • Just Discovered Links (updated hourly)
      • 111 Million URLs

Software details

  • SaaS: yes
  • Open-source: no
  • API: yes

 

Support/Training: How is Moz customer service and support?

Support options: 24 hour chat and email support is available for all paid plans. The $599 plan comes with a dedicated Account Manager

Training options: Plenty of content online and a 1-1 product demo walkthrough with a Moz employee. You might want to consider using the tool for a few days before this to gather your questions.

Personally, I have had good experiences with Moz support with very comprehensive and complete answers to my inquiries. But the responses aren’t quick – you typically wait several hours for an answer.

 

Does Moz have a free trial and/or free plan option?

  • Free trial: yes, 30 days ($149 Medium plan)
  • Free plan/tools: some free things like limited versions of MozBar, keyword tool
  • Credit card required for free trial? Yes

 Conclusion and Insights Gained

Keyword Explorer and Open Site Explorer are top notch tools for keyword research and backlink analysis – the two main aspects of SEO technology.

  1. Moz is focused 100% on SEO. They don’t provide ad or PPC data and recently shut down the Moz Content tool. Moz is even selling their Followerwonk social media tool.
  2. Moz Information is refreshed only weekly in most cases and is not real time
  3. User experience is often disjointed between the campaign area and other areas like Keyword Explorer and Open Site Explorer. Terminology can be confusing too.
  4. Keyword Explorer includes 3 novel keyword metrics: potential, importance, and opportunity (which factors in how SERP features decrease organic CTR)
  5. Keyword Explorer uses clickstream data in a innovative way to avoid being at the mercy of Google’s continued restriction of keyword data.
  6. SERP Features (including ads and rich snippets) are a focus of Moz Pro. The information and visualizations provided are indispensable to address their threats and opportunities.
  7. Moz integrates information from your Google Analytics but unfortunately not Google Search Console
  8. Some amazing tools are tucked away in Open Site Explorer like broken link checker, link intersect, and brand mentions
  9. MozBar provides more than just page and authority rank. There is a wealth of on page and technical SEO data available for any site in addition to proprietary metrics like MozRank and MozTrust.

Moz Pro is a comprehensive and thoughtfully created SEO sotware suite that should be in anyone’s consideration set.

We care deeply about providing accurate and up-to-date information. Please contact us if you think there is an error.

We are grateful to bring you this content free of charge. *If you find the right tool and go on to buy it through our link, we may receive a referral commission at no additional cost to you. This support enables us to keep the site up. Thank you!

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