Why? Well, here’s the cliff notes version.
When Long Tail Pro was first released, Moz was pretty much the only game in town. However, in 2016, while Moz is still good… Majestic is great.
Now, for those of you that care about the details:
Long Tail Pro (LTP) has relied on Moz backlink data and metrics, and when LTP was first released, Moz was definitely the best option. There was no question — Moz was the big man on campus. Since then though, Majestic has caught up, and in our view, has surpassed Moz, both in terms of the metrics and the size and scope of the backlink data that they provide.
To understand why we think Majestic has overtaken Moz as the leading provider of backlink data, first you have to understand what the two tools do.
While Moz provides a suite of SEO tools, the core offering they have always provided has been the Open Site Explorer. To simplify, Moz has a bunch of crawlers bouncing around from page to page on the internet, finding out which websites and which pages link to each other. These crawlers then organize all this information into a comprehensible set of data for the user. When you type a domain or a web page into Open Site Explorer, you can see which sites link to it because Moz’s crawlers have seen that link and stored that data for you to see.
Majestic’s Site Explorer mostly does the same thing. They also have a bunch of crawlers that jump from page to page, following links and storing the link information for your viewing pleasure. This stored information about backlinks is what we call a Backlink Index.
Essentially, both companies are trying to replicate what Google does. Google arguably has the largest and most sophisticated web crawlers. One of the ways Google determines whether one site should rank over another site is by knowing how many links each domain and each page have (along with all the other rankings factors that they take into account).
Both Moz and Majestic attempt to simulate this. But rather than using this information to actually rank sites and pages, they try to determine how Google sees your site based on the quantity and quality of the links that you have.
This information is obviously crucial to people in the online marketing world. For example, if you’re running a link-building campaign for your site, you want to be able to see how effective your campaign has been. That’s the point of both Majestic and Moz – to allow you to see how you’re doing in terms of links, and by extension, how well you’re doing with your efforts to rank on Google (as well as other search engines).
Why Long Tail Pro is Moving to Majestic
So, why do we think Majestic is doing a better job at this than Moz?
It comes down to a few simple reasons:
- Majestic has significantly more information in their Backlink Index (Historical Index).
- Majestic has significantly more up-to-date information in their Backlink Index (Fresh Index).
- Majestic has better metrics and helps the user understand them better than Moz does.
To begin with, at the time of writing, Moz and Majestic show the following on their respective websites:
Mozscape Index: 162 Billion URLs
Majestic Historic Index: 875 Billion URLs
Majestic’s Historical Index is substantially larger than the Mozscape Index. (Both indexes are updated about once a month.)
But Majestic also has something called the Fresh Index which is updated roughly once a day. This index shows the newest links to a domain or a page.
Even updated this frequently, it’s almost as large as Moz’s entire index – and this only includes stuff crawled in any given three-month period. The Fresh Index lets you see any quality new links that point to your site. This feature is extremely useful for serious online marketers.
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While Moz’s index is only updated every month, Majestic has a much larger historical index that is updated monthly, as well as a second index that is updated daily, and has almost as much data as Moz’s entire set of data.
A number of SEO experts have looked into this in detail and published their results. If you’re interested in learning more about the difference between the two companies (and why we think Majestic is the better option at this point), check out some of these articles below.
- Majestic SEO: Open Site Explorer Shootout
So… Majestic has more data and more updated data.
How to Use the New Data
But does Majestic outdo Moz at organizing and presenting its data?
A large part of Moz’s success has been due to the easy-to-understand metrics they provide – Domain Authority and Page Authority. These metrics try to measure the quantity and quality of the links of a given domain or webpage.
Again, Majestic has a larger index than Moz – so if the goal were to only count the quantity of links a particular page or domain has, in the vast majority of cases, Majestic will be superior, simply because they’ve found more of them.
But what about the quality of links?
The way that DA and PA are calculated is somewhat opaque, but what we do know is that it’s supposed to measure the ranking strength of a specific domain or page. In general, higher DA domains (adjusted for KW research efforts) should be ranking for more KWs.
The general idea is that if two domains are targeting the same KW with equivalent levels of content, the higher DA domain will rank better than the lower DA domain.
If DA leads to better rankings, and better rankings lead to more organic traffic, then DA should correlate positively with organic traffic. We couldn’t find studies that back this up, but anecdotally we believe that this is broadly true.
But guess what? Trust Flow (TF) is also correlated to organic traffic – and there is a study on this. Here it is.
There’s also a study by the same guys over at 90 digital that show that TF and DA mostly measure the same thing – the main difference being the way that TF/DA are distributed.
The main takeaway is that there are more high DA domains (DA 50+) than there are high TF domains. Still, the two metrics broadly measure the same thing – how competitive a domain will be in Google.
If we think about the distribution of TF versus DA, the distribution of TF actually makes a little more sense. It makes sense that there are many uncompetitive sites, some moderately competitive sites, and relatively few strong sites (sites like Wikipedia, Youtube, etc).
One other difference between Majestic’s metrics and Moz’s metrics is that because Majestic’s index is so much more comprehensive than Moz’s index, it’s likely that Majestic will see some links that Moz doesn’t see. By this measure, TF will provide a more accurate gauge of domain or page strength than DA/PA.
Keyword Competitiveness Will Be Even More Accurate
Given that Majestic has a larger index, a more up-to-date index, and that their metrics are comparable and possibly better than Moz’s, we feel comfortable saying that with this change, Long Tail Pro will be an even more effective KW research tool than it has been previously.
Because the base metrics that we’re using are changing (and we also tweaked the KC algorithm to improve results), existing users may see some changes in KC scores. Don’t worry though – right now, we believe our proprietary Keyword Competitiveness score is more accurate than ever before! Also, if you want to keep your old KC data based on Moz scores, all existing projects in your version of LTP will continue to have the previous Moz data until you choose to migrate it to Majestic (we recommend you export any data that you want to keep).
If you have any questions about LTP and the decision to switch from Moz metrics to Majestic metrics, leave a comment below and the LTP team will get back to you!