September 23, 2014

Review of Moz: Demystifying Search Engine Optimization

MOz.com review

The U.S. Military has certain equipment that it calls a “black box.” In some computing circles, a black box refers to a program where the process is largely unknown outside of a certain few people. How Google, Bing and other search engines rank a website to show it in search results is often considered a modern black box.

Moz, formerly known as SEOmoz, is a suite of tools focused on demystifying the black box process of search engine optimization (SEO).

The re-branding of SEOmoz to Moz tells part of the story of how you build a presence for your company and website.  SEOmoz as the name implies — was focused on search engine optimization. The process of getting your website to rank well and show up in search engine results. While the company is still focused on SEO, it has now broadened its focus to encompass how to do better marketing.

Moz Review

As a suite of tools, I won’t be able to cover them all in great detail, but Moz offers a number of free and paid tools.

First, let’s look at some of the free services and what they can mean for your business:

  • GetListed is the tool to help you with your local  marketing. You can claim your local U.S. business listings on Google+ Local, Bing Local, Yelp and other local search engines.  This used to be a stand-alone service, but was acquired by Moz in late 2012.
  • Followerwonk is a social analytics tool to let you analyze your Twitter metrics. Segment your followers, compare users, and learn more about engaging your audience.  As you can see in the screenshot below, I don’t have any followers in Antarctica yet.
  • Open Site Explorer is a link tool. You enter your website, or any website, and it returns the details of other websites that link to it. It’s used for competitive intelligence and targeted link building (which is part of how your site improves its search engine ranking).

Moz Followerwonk TJ map

There are some paid tools, in addition to free ones.  On the paid front, if you subscribe to the Pro level on a monthly basis for $99/month you get access to the following tools:

Weekly website crawls and rank tracking. You may have heard that Google has “spiders” that crawl websites and that’s how they index the content on Web pages. Moz has their own set of spiders and algorithms to help you improve your site ranking. Part of this is Rank Tracker which retrieves search engine rankings for pages and keywords you specify.  This way, you can see whether your activities are improving the rank of your pages — or not.

Social media monitoring. The Fresh Web Explorer will search for and analyze mentions of your brand, your competitors, and industry topics to discover the latest relevant content being published on the Web. Think of it as a Google Alert, on steroids.

Moz wants to help you optimize your keywords with its On-Page Grader. The best part about this tool – they don’t just point out the problems on your site. They give you a detailed, easy-to-understand set of steps to fix each problem. They rank them, too, as Easy Fix or worse. Thankfully, the page I’m showing you here received an “A” grade.

Moz On Page Grader report

As you can tell, there is a ton here in Moz. But one of my favorite tools is the Keyword Analysis. It lets me study a word or term to find out how difficult it is to rank for it. The score is based on the top 10 competitor sites that currently rank for that same term or phrase.

It isn’t very often that I dig into a tool and love it. But I have to say that I love Moz. It is perfect for any business owner or executive that has to figure out how to make their website perform better. Moz provided a long media trial for me to evaluate the many tools in its suite. Frankly, they did it because I’m pretty slow, even after years of reviewing software and hardware stuff. They offer a free 30-day trial on the paid tools, so you can dig in and see how it can help your marketing on a trial basis.

So, what you are doing to optimize and improve your website?

10 Comments ▼

TJ McCue - Product Editor


TJ McCue TJ McCue is the Product Editor for Small Business Trends and an entrepreneur who publishes Tech Biz Talk. TJ is a former Wall Street Journal columnist. He also writes for Forbes and American Express OPEN Forum. He loves learning about technology apps and software services - share yours with TJ.

10 Reactions

  1. TJ,

    First off, I fancy their new name (it must have been very costly to acquire the asset.) I love Rand Fishkin’s work.

    I am also a regular user of Open Site Explorer and would like to recommend it to SmallBizTrends.com readers – it’s a good health checkup for your website :)

    With regard to optimizing and improving my website, I use tools like WooRank, HubSpot’s Marketing Grader, Open Site Explorer, Google Webmaster Tools….

    • Moz(SEOMoz) is fantastic but cost prohibitive for many webmasters. For lower budget clients a good recommendation is MajesticSEO – not as robust as Moz but provides many key metrics to assist with SEO.

  2. Thanks for the review TJ.

    We have Moz in as a key part of our SMB Dream Team of cloud-based tools (InHouseCFO Blog).

    Moz is used in what we think is the #1 marketing tool for small business, HubSpot, as one of it’s scoring components as well.

    We’ve used keyword analysis extensively as well, and experienced incredible results from it.

    I’m very glad you’ve highlighted Moz for the small business community.The more it gets used the more competitive we’ll all be.

  3. Elite Strategies also uses Moz as a tool for our internet marketing clients. Moz has become an industry standard to “score” websites on an SEO scale. Google’s PageRank is one way that webmasters score their own sites, but Moz’s Page Authority/Domain Authority aka “PA/DA” has become a staple amongst SEO’s and internet marketers across the globe.

  4. I don’t think I could get by without opensite explorer. However I would still like to see more free services out there.

  5. I have used the Moz tool and I must say this is one of the handiest tools I have used so far. There are many other tools online but this is just the best. The best part of it is, it allows its users to try on a 30 day trial basis before you can go for the subscription. If you are really thinking seriously about your online marketing, SEO and improved web performance, then go for it.

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