So the latest news on the SEO block is that MOZ was developing a new tool that would help with keyword analysis – it has just been released and is called MOZ Keyword Explorer. We recently signed back up for MOZ after a long hiatus (so many tools so little time!) – and are evaluating whether or not we will be adding it back to our arsenal of tools, but while we have it we figured we would offer some insight into the Keyword Explorer tool so you can decide if it is right for you!

FULL DISCLOSURE: We are madly in love with the SEO Powersuite Rank Tracker tool and have used this software for years in doing our analysis, rank tracking and competitor SERP analysis. It would take something pretty darn amazing to make us cheat! So let’s see what MOZ has got! While this is not a full comparison – we do focus on the SERP analysis feature between the two.

Jumping Into The Analysis

The first thing you will want to do is input a broader version of what you think a good keyword phrase would be. For our example we will use “nonprofit web design”.

The below gives you a great overview of some critical metrics – here are their meanings!

VOLUME: The number of searches done for the keyword monthly. (They claim a 95% accuracy rate). This keyword example shows that we can expect between 100 – 200 searches a month for this keyword.

DIFFICULTY: This tells you how challenging it will be for you to rank on page 1 based on the sites that already rank there. Scores range from 0-100 with 100 being the most difficult. We have a difficulty score of 45 for this keyword which means it will be pretty hard to rank on page 1, not impossible – but challenging!

ORGANIC CTR: This score estimates the general click through rate you may see as an organic listing on page 1. Scores range from 0-100 and the higher the number the better for you as a business owner. Lower scores are usually affected by ads and other search results – basically more competing ads there are, the lower this score will be.

PRIORITY: Also represents scores from 0-100, with higher numbers being representative of better results. This number is a general overview of all the metrics and gives you a look at the keywords that have the most opportunity because of a higher search volume with lower competition.

KEYWORD SUGGESTIONS: This will give you a list of related keywords that you can consider.

SERP ANALYSIS: Provides an overview of the top 10 organic results as well as the Adwords competition you may be up against.

MENTIONS: This pulls from MOZ’s own Fresh Web Explorer tool and shows the latest mentions of the keyword or phrases across the web.

The screenshot below shows how the data is delivered and you can see it is pretty easy to understand and evaluate at a click glance to see if there is a keyword opportunity here.

Moz Keyword Overview

Keyword Suggestions

Clicking the “see all suggestions” link in the keyword suggestions area as shown above will bring you a complete list of related keywords as well as the relevancy to the main keyword you input and the estimated search volume. 

When we clicked the link we got the screen below and right away we can see the term “nonprofit website design” as a related keyword to use in our content.

MOZ Keyword Suggestions

Creating Keyword Lists

A cool thing about this tool is the ability to group related keywords into lists. In creating our test account, we decided to do our own website for which we primarily focus on local SEO and nonprofit web design – so we created 2 lists for each of those areas we want to rank for.

MOZ Keyword Lists

To the left you can see that we have (2) lists for each of our areas we would like to optimize for and it shows us a general overview of the difficulty of those areas as well as the search volume.

As we went through the steps above we added a few terms to our lists so that we can further analyze them to see if we will be working them into our SEO strategy.


Keyword List Analysis

After creating a list you can click on the list name to get more information for the specific list you are working with.

Below is a screenshot of the page that will be shown which gives you an overview of all the keywords in the keyword list. So all of the above metrics such as Volume, Difficult, Opportunity etc. will be shown for all of the keywords. We have 8 words in our list right now you can see that 2 keywords fall in the lower end of the difficulty score while 6 are a little more difficult.

Each metric is broken out in an easy to read manner as well below the graphs in a list format where you can sort by various metrics.

When you click on the search icon for any of the additional keywords it will give you the SERP analysis and keyword specific information – making it easy to do your research.

Keyword List Overview

SERP Analysis

SERP (Search Engine Results Page) Analysis is probably one of the most important yet underutilized methods of determining whether a keyword is worth optimizing for. If you do not know who is ranking for the keywords you wish to be found for – how will you know if you can make enough of an impact to get high enough to get found.

This is what SERP analysis is!

We have used SERP analysis for years – and will continue to do so. While “ranking for keywords” is not the same as it was years ago – there is still a lot of value in finding great keywords and phrases to optimize your website and content for.

We have been a big fan of SEO Powersuite’s Rank Tracker tool for many years. It has a great SERP analysis tool that shows us great information about the top 10 websites ranking for any keyword – it has been one of the best tools we have ever invested in.

So now – we will see how Moz compares!

So if we take a peak at “nonprofit website design” in the SERP analysis tool you still see the search volume, difficulty, opportunity and potential so you can get an overview of everything.

Below that you will see a box that shows that there are 2 Adwords for this term — although when I looked at the live search I actually see 4 at the top, see in the 2nd screen shot below. It also noted that there were 3 ads below the organic results and that was accurate.

SERP Analysis with MOZ

Why do the ads matter? If by chance you find a keyword that has no ads showing and decent volume – you may have a better chance of getting Click Thru’s!

Next you will see what really matters – a list of the top 10 ranked websites for that term!

Where is the awesomeness in this? Well, kind of everything! We can see the websites, the page authority, the domain authority and even the amount of backlinks.

If this was a term that had organic results for images or a knowledge card – those would be reflected here as well!

By analyzing this data we can determine if this is a keyword we should even bother looking at for optimization purposes. But you do have to have an idea of what your own website has in terms of link and authority to be able to make that determination!

You can do a free search at Moz Open Site Explorer to see your own results.

Here are the results for 2 Dogs Media when we checked our authority.


So from here we will compare our own Domain Authority and Page Authority with those that are listed in the top 10.

For this exercise we do focus more on page authority because sometimes a weak page can make an appearance in the top 10 – even if from a high authority domain you MIGHT still be able to kick them out!

As you can see the top 10 results in the screenshot below are pretty high authority – I see there is a page authority of 45 for the page link for Tech Soup – but with 3600 backlinks to their domain and a domain authority of 76 – we don’t have a chance.

We did find 2 other links on the home page that we do think we can possibly move into – they are both competitive sites and it will not be easy, but with great content and strong backlinks we could do it!

And we will do this for all of the keywords in our list to determine the best of the best to help us grow our non-profit client base!

We love Rank Tracker as we have said – here is a screenshot of the Rank Tracker SERP difficulty tool so you can see how it delivers the same data. The metrics they use to determine the keyword difficult is a little different than MOZ, but because of the success we have had with SEO, we have trust in their results.

Ranktracker Screen Shot

Take Your Own Test Drive!

Jump on over to the Keyword Explorer Page to test drive it. You can run a simple search yourself to get a feel for what you will get for results. It looks like you can run 2 queries before you get asked to upgrade to buy the software.

Will we be moving to Moz Keyword Explorer?

After spending many hours reviewing MOZ and playing and getting more familiar with yet – we like it. It is definitely a lot faster for us than our Rank Tracker – so what is a team to do?

“Drumroll please” —–

We love both – but we are more comfortable with Rank Tracker aand have decided to keep this as our main tool for exploring keywords. 

Although MOZ has the advantage of us being able to use all the tools easily from one area – where Powersuite because it is a downloadable software makes you open different programs for each activity – so Rank Tracker for keyword research, SEO Spyglass for link research etc……so 3 or 4 windows have to be open at one time to do what I can do in MOZ…….hmmmmmm

The biggest selling point for us for the MOZ is the SPEED! While Rank Tracker is great in ever way – speed has always been an issue when doing research. As we work more with MOZ that might be the one thing that makes us make the change to them permanently.

Final Thoughts

Overall we think this tool is pretty awesome. It has a lot of great features and it is easy to see opportunities for keywords you may not have considered.

Although geared for agencies and larger brands – it can offer some amazing information for everyone who has a website – but can be cost prohibitive for most.

If you are a MOZ subscriber – it is included with your subscription – but they also introduced a subscription for just this product that is $600 per year – for 10 lists.

You can run 2 free searches a day if you are not a member of MOZ – if you are a free community member you can get 5 searches a day – but there is also a 30 day free trial which may be worth it for smaller website owners.

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