SEO API Comparisons – MozScape, Majestic SEO, AHRefs

Posted on August 27, 2013 in

Which SEO backlink checker is best?

Once upon a time, I dated this person. Said person was raised in the south, so they had some…interesting sayings. Among those interesting sayings?

  • Piss in one hand, spit in the other, and see which you have the most in at the end.
  • She couldn’t pour water out of a boot if the directions were on the heel. (Add “bless her heart” on the end if you want to make it sassy.)
  • Beats a poke in the eye.

Another saying they had, though, was “six of one, half a dozen of the other.” This saying definitely applies in the realm of SEO tools; there are many companies out there offering the same promise with their SEO API for linkbuilding – a large list of links and the best data set – but some live up to this promise better than others. Six of one isn’t always half a dozen of the other.

Today we compare three of the best SEO API tools for backlink checking – SEOMoz’s Mozscape, Majestic SEO, and AHRefs.

Mozscape by SEOMoz

Out of the aforementioned tools, SEOMoz’s Mozscape is most certainly the most popular. Mozscape is just one tool in a suite of tools they offer. There’s also a wealth of information offered on the site – their ebooks offer material about how to get started in SEO for beginners, and their blog contains posts written by some of the brightest minds in SEO for more intermediate/advanced users (they also offer an ever-vaulable “whiteboard Fridays” series). When you join SEOMoz, you don’t just get a backlink tool; you get the wealth of knowledge from a large community.

There are some disadvantages though. SEOMoz’s motto is “SEO Software. Simplified.” So it’s generally great for entry-level and intermediate users, but not the best for advanced. Since they do tend to cater to entry-level users, much of the data they collect is thrown out, and the most high-level things are kept, making reports easier to analyze, but making things like in-depth and deep link analysis more difficult.

Price Point:

Free for 30 days, the $99 a month

Majestic SEO

Majestic is often hailed as a great alternative to SEOMoz. Their fresh index (links crawled within the last 30 days) contains over 400 billion unique URLs, and their historic index contains 4 trillion unique URLs. Because of the larger dataset, it’s often hailed as being more accurate than SEOMoz. Majestic SEO’s API is also great for “whole-picture” view of your link history, be they dead links, lost links, etc.

There are some disadvantages, though; while SEOMoz in some cases doesn’t give enough data, Majestic SEO can be the opposite, giving you TOO MUCH data. It doesn’t account for dead links, dead websites and pages that no longer exist, so a good portion of the data it spits out (at least 10%) is useless and inaccurate.

Price Point:

After a free trial, the lowest package is $49.99 a month, and $499 a year.


While Majestic SEO is beginning to feel like a dated tool, AHRefs is a newer, and uses some innovative crawling techniques. It’s able to pull data from over 1 trillion data points, and updates very frequently – 48 times a day, 7 days a week. Because of this, it’s good for large SEO projects that track a lot of links, and makes it easy to react quickly to changes. Since it also gives a more accurate set of data than Majestic SEO, it’s also good for researching a competitor’s link profile. AHRefs’ API also breaks down the returned data in many easy-to-interpret ways: sum of links for a site; How many IPs did those links come from; what anchor text did those links have; when links were accrued/lost, and others.

Like everything in life, and with all of these SEO tools for link prospecting, AHRefs does come with its disadvantages. It doesn’t collect as much data as Majestic SEO, and isn’t as exclusive as SEO Moz, its crawlers do favor high-quality links. Therefore, picking up on spam and some high-quality but lower traffic links may prove difficult. Also, out of the three tools, AHRefs is the most expensive.

Price Point

There is a free version, with limited functionality. The lowest paid plan starts at $79/month.

So which backlink tool is best?

As you can see, each SEO tool has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Some offer more functionality, some offer more data, some offer more community and information. Each tool may suit different users and different projects better. Sometimes combining multiple tools together to magnify the positives of all and reduce the negatives can be the best strategy. Six of one equals a half dozen of the other just like one plus one equals eleven.

As always though, test multiple tools before diving in and making a big decision, and avoid any tool that doesn’t offer a trial period before making the decision to sign up. Be cautious and test often; otherwise, like my ex would say, you’re just pissing in the wind.

By Matt Decuir

I have a broad array of interests; SEO and inbound marketing, fashion, grammar, transportation, and music. I'm currently the SEM coordinator at Rankhammer, a full-service inbound marketing agency in Dallas, TX. I love grapes, hate socks, and one of my life goals is to come in first place at the International Whistlers Convention.