The Debate: Which Link Data Provider is the Best One?
For as long as I can remember the competition to be the best link data provider in the SEO industry has raged on. Moz vs Majestic, what’s aHref’s index size? And, so on.
It’s a tough job; a high volume, low unit value sort of business. Crawling trillions of URLs daily requires huge bandwidth, very clever database technology and an awful lot of hosting grunt. Commercially, basic level subscriptions to these services operate around the $120 a month mark. For the value they provide that’s a pretty trivial amount of money to ask for. Especially when you factor in competitive engineering salaries on top of the technology costs.
Anyone that can sustain a link data company is very smart and deserves our thanks. Especially when you remember that without Majestic, Moz, aHrefs and incredible resources like Common Crawl, many agencies like ours would be completely in the dark.
So that’s why I don’t want to indulge in an update to this (archived) post from July 2012. Back then I think there was justifiable value in a tool comparison by way of the numbers themselves. “Majestic SEO vs Moz Vs aHrefs vs Search Console”, which one is best?
The truth is, each platform has evolved massively since then.
Moz’s strengths are in their analytics platform, clever new keyword research tool and their content platform. They’ve maintained their link data offering at a similar level of size and performance since around 2012. The whole thing is targeted at beginners, in my opinion but the blog and the people behind it have offered a formative influence over most of our careers over the past decade.
Majestic have offered an increased range of tools, improved their API (by offering new endpoints and keeping the data cheap), launched new metrics like Trust Flow and Citation Flow, increased their index update frequency and size. They’re still completely focused on link data and do a tremendous job of exactly that.
aHrefs have also broadened their offer to content analysis, keyword research and some interesting tools like link intersect as well as vastly improving their index size and update frequency. It’s obvious aHrefs are taken seriously in market with a growing and popular blog.
How Builtvisible Uses Link Data Tools
Like I said, if you want to compare like for like link data index sizes (the phallic length measurement of the link data industry) then so be it. Look at Majestic’s on their homepage, aHref’s on their Site Explorer landing page and Moz provide their information here.
I think it’s better simply to discuss how we use these tools, because we use them all but differently.
Ahrefs is a great front line analysis tool. We’ll always look at aHrefs first and probably most regularly. The web UI is excellent and with a super fast update frequency it’s the best tool to see something happening. aHrefs has a bookmarked link on my Chrome bookmarks bar which is probably all I need to say about this tool. Their API pricing at it’s current level is prohibitive for an agency of our size.
Moz is useful for their DA metric. They themselves admit they’ve focused on a broad range of challenges and historically that’s been at the cost of their update frequency. New links and their scores appear approximately every 30 days which is an age in Internet terms. We’re evaluating their new keyword tool which has some interesting aggregate scores for keyword difficulty.
Majestic powers our internal client platform. The index is large in size although it seems that they’re a little slower to discover new links than say aHrefs. We use their TrustFlow metric as a really strong corollary to PageRank. Their API is really reasonably priced making what we’ve built at Builtvisible possible.
Obviously we’ll rely on Search Console data too, and here’s the thing. In July 2012 I concluded you need all of these tools if you can get them (a budget of $500 a month should not be a problem for anyone working in search). The trick has (and still is) been to download all of the data you can get your hands on, de-dupe and perform your analysis from there.
Kerboo – The Must Have Addition to This Conversation
Whether you can afford 1, 2 or all 3 of these tools; the one you really shouldn’t avoid is Kerboo. Almost every night I’ll get an update telling me Kerboo has added links from Majestic and Google Search console:
Kerboo is a brilliant consolidator of all link data. The tool suite offers lots of other impressive features too, but I’m just a big fan of their audit tool:
I like to leave the system running for a few weeks, adding as much data as I can before I start an audit.
And that’s it. I’m afraid it’s not “which tool is the best?” anymore, it’s “which tool consolidates all of the data and adds the most value to the process?”. The answer to that question is Kerboo.