Update #3: Ahrefs vs Majestic SEO – The 1 Million Domain Showdown

Update #3: Ahrefs vs Majestic SEO – The 1 Million Domain Showdown

If you don’t have time to read this post terminate your Majestic SEO account immediately & take out the Ahrefs trial instead without hesitation.

UPDATE #1: PLEASE SEE MAJESTIC’S RESPONSE AT THE END OF THIS POST
UPDATE #2: AHREFS RESPONSE – FIXES APPLIED – NEW DATA
UPDATE #3: MAJESTIC GO ALL OUT

The which backlink checker is best argument constantly shows up on forums.

I tried to get to the bottom of this with my Ahrefs vs Majestic SEO vs SEOMoz vs Raven Tools vs SEO Spyglass post at the start of the year.

This highlighted that the top performer Ahrefs found 2.27% more links than its closest competitor Majestic SEO.

To be honest the post didn’t go down well with some people.

To fully enjoy this post you need to listen to this in the background, on repeat. Do it now!

Interesting Background Story

When I published the original comparison post it sparked a lot of controversy. I had just setup a small test to see which is better based on 3 sites I own and have full visibility and control of.

It turned out that lots of customers of the featured companies were writing in and referencing my post to see what was going on.

One person that had to deal with this was Viktar Khamianok the CEO of Link Assistant who make SEO Spyglass. They were ranked bottom of the results and he published this follow up to explain why.

Hats off to Viktar for dealing with it in the way that he did! Customers love transparency but companies are terrified by it – kudos sir!

The Majestic SEO team chose to respond very differently with the marketing CEO Dixon Jones taking the lead.

It started with this comment on the article-

Hi.

I’m a director here at Majestic. Thanks for the study.

It is true that Ahrefs are increasing their index size. However, using resources for “discovery” comes at a cost. The cost is the calculation as to the quality of each link.

It’s hard to comment on a study marked Site A, Site B, Site C. The data is public for all the data sets except GWT, so I see no reason why studies can’t use verifiable sites.

You also did not specify whether you used Majestic’s Fresh or Historic Index. As you dig into those data sets you will find some links only one index and some only in the other, however – both indexes are excellent for different types of analysis.

Dropping into the analysis, however, is where analysis REALLY needs exploring in 2013. Penguin tells us that it is quality, Not quantity that will count from here on in. Looking at the top 20 links in each list will probably be plenty to come to a conclusion that may not be the one you suggest.

Anyway – can you list the three sites you used for the analysis?

The first line of his response is to instantly discredit the competition – I don’t like that, its not their fault you came second no matter how you dress it up.

But he does make some very valuable and critical points, I had used a small dataset that I had chosen to keep anonymous.

A couple of days after Dixons comment on the 14th January 2013 Ann Smarty stopped by to leave a comment! Yes, Ann Smarty herself!

I was totally stoked because I have followed her for a number of years, and now here she is on my blog! Wow!

Thanks for the test! I didn’t know Raven and SEO SpyGlass had their own indices. I thought they were using someone else’s APIs

As for Majestic, have you tried using their “Historic” index as well? It returns much more data in my experience.

She also makes a valuable point in that those 2 indexes do return different datasets.

The Twist In The Tale

A couple of weeks later on February 5th Ann Smarty wrote this post – aHrefs versus MajesticSEO: The Real Test

Interesting choice of post name, and very similar to what I had published and she had commented on just a couple of weeks earlier.

You would have thought that for the benefit of the readers and to offer them the braodest look at the debate she would have referenced my post as well – no dice.

Especially when you read this line-

since there have been a few rather vague comparisons recently, here’s the indepth experiment.

I can understand why she didn’t include my results though, I mean her dataset focuses on 100 random domains while mine focuses on only 3.

You should read that post though so you get a better understanding of the tools.

Then Dixon dropped this comment on the article-

Thanks ever so much for writing this all up Ann. For the record I have a clear and obvious preference for MajesticSEO.

Jacob: There were (as Link Assistant or Spyglass or someone said) quite a few things found wanting only the Matthew Woodward post. The most glaringly obvious is that the analysis was done with three sites he knows well, but will not disclose. Three sites with clear bias vs 100 sites with a random element is a significant difference.

What wasn’t said was this: I don’t know whether he included his own site in his list of three, but the objective nature of the analysis gets stretched further when you see that he is blocking Majestic’s bot but not Ahrefs’: https://www.majesticseo.com/reports/site-explorer?folder=&IndexDataSource=F&q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.matthewwoodward.co.uk%2F

(You need access to the site explorer to see the block in this link). You also won’t see the robots.txt file unless you know what you are looking for. Now – we do not need to crawl his site to see links TO his site, but if he insists on saying one system is better than another, he really shouldn’t make the claim on a site which shows such obvious bias.

There. I said it. I tried to bite my lip for a few weeks, but good people are reading that review and not seeing the lack of objectivity.

Seeing as we aren’t biting lips anymore-

Notice how he opens up and highlights his bias which after establishing, allows him to start pointing the bias finger.

Marketing 101 folks. Establish, Finger. Profit.

I actually made a Dixon based meme with those words to go here – but I removed it during editing to be nice. But if you guys want it…

Either way he has the right approach, I’m doing exactly that with this blog! One day I’ll finger you with a paid product – in fact i’m fingering you right now because this post will probably earn me affiliate commision.

Anyway as you can tell, that didn’t sit well with me-

Hi,

Dixon I have noted the weaknesses in my initial tests from various sources and while you suggest my test was done with ‘bias’ because they are 3 of my sites at random is complete bullshit.

I realise I left to much wiggle room for people to come up with justifications as to why Majestic didn’t win the test.

To be honest I didn’t think it would cause this much of a stir!

The follow up test is going to leave no wiggle room and make this ‘random’ URL sample look insignificant.

And seeing as your doing everything you can to discredit me and my data, I’ll also be highlighting the relationship between Ann Smarty, yourselves and IMN. I wonder how many people read this very post and weren’t aware of that?

For a CEO to come out and try to discredit people makes you look very weak – you should take a leaf out of Viktar Khamianok’s book and handle it like a boss http://www.link-assistant.com/blog/backlink-checkers-compared-seo-spyglass-ahrefs-majestic-seo-seomoz-raven-tools/

We’ll see how random those 100 URL’s really were with my follow up – its going to be air tight this time.

ps. I dont see what in my robots.txt file http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/robots.txt would be blocking it?

To explain a few things here. It turns out that my new host WPEngine blocks Majestic at the server level before it ever reaches my site – Dixon personally investigated this and confirmed that to be the case.

The ironic thing about all of this though, is his claim of bias.

What Dixon didn’t know is that the company behind SEO Spyglass had just given me over $2,000 worth of prizes for my readers.

They came last in my test.

Seeing as Dixon leans on it heavily in his argument, and establishes he is not biased – lets explore that for a second and put all of our cards on the table.

The Ahrefs / Majestic SEO / Ann Smarty Relationship

This is where things get interesting.

Ann Smarty is the community manager at InternetMarketingNinjas.com (IMN) which is a highly successful internet marketing agency.

Actually its the first IM agency site I’ve ever come across where I think, they actually know what they are talking about! Check them out!

IMN also control sites like WebmasterWorld, SEOChat, Crea8aSiteForums, ThreadWatch and so forth.

Up until the start of February – Ahrefs and IMN were in a partnership together. In fact Ahrefs linked to IMN in the footer!

On the 1st February 2013 the partnership between Ahrefs and IMN ended.

By the 8th of February 2013 IMN had plastered promotions for Majestic SEO all over their network of sites.

It was latest discovered that on the 29th January 2013 this tweet was made on the Ahrefs Twitter account.

That Tweet not only promotes Dixon, but if you read the linked posts is all about Majestic SEO – Ahrefs main competitor.

According to the Ahrefs team, IMN were in control of Ahrefs social media accounts at this time and they did not make the tweet themselves.

Timeline of events

To make it easy to understand-

  • 11th Jan – I publish my initial comparison post
  • 11th Jan – Dixon is aware and submits a comment
  • 14th Jan – Ann Smarty is aware and submits a comment
  • 29th Jan – IMN (Ann Smarty is a manager) posts a Tweet on Ahrefs account promoting Dixon (Majestic)
  • 01st Feb – The relationship between IMN and Ahrefs ends
  • 05th Feb – Ann Smarty publishes her 100 random domain comparison
  • 05th Feb – Dixon Jones (Majestic) discredits my posts and says I’m biased
  • 08th Feb – Majestic SEO banners start appearing on IMN properties
  • 08th Feb – Dixon finally gets in touch with me directly in the correct manner

I’ll let you do the math on that.

I should highlight that since Dixon got in touch with me he has being very friendly behind closed doors, its a shame he didnt take that approach in the public domain.

However that doesn’t come before telling it how it is and how this post transpired.

In the public domain he chose to discredit me, competitors and vaguely string together bias, publically. He put me in a position where I have to defend myself publically.

All the other people in my original test sent me a nice email asking how they could help.

My Relationships

I should also make you aware of my relationships upfront with each party that is involved-

Majestic SEO
Everything you see here plus a few friendly private emails clearing the air, diagnosing the host issue and discussing my follow up. I initially delayed this test for Majestic to roll out new features so it wasn’t invalidated. Dixon called me out publically and disputed the original test, this is my air tight response.

Ahrefs
They have provided me with API access to conduct the test free of charge and filled in some of the holes above. They are also offering the same access to any blogger that will independently verify this test, see the end of this post for details. I also use their affiliate links throughout this post, Majestic do not have an affiliate program or I would use theirs as well.

Ann Smarty
I’m a long time reader of her content and a fan.

Internet Marketing Ninjas
It is hard not to know who they are, I know of them – never dealt with them or any employee to my knowledge.

So Which One Is Better?

So all of this has distracted from the route question, which is better – Ahrefs or Majestic SEO?

Only cold hard data can decide!

In Dixons efforts to discredit me and highlight bias, he did raise some valid points that cannot be ignored-

  1. The original test was done with 3 of my personal sites I would not disclose
  2. That makes the entire test biased in Dixons opinion
  3. The data set was very small with just 3 sites analysed and compared
  4. The results could not be independently verified

I promised that the “The follow up test is going to leave no wiggle room and make this ‘random’ URL sample look insignificant.”

So with the points above and that promise in mind, I give you-

Ahrefs vs Majestic SEO – The 1 Million Domain Showdown

My original post used 3 of my own sites, Ann Smartys posts used 100 sites.

This post is going to use 1 million sites. No more messing about eh?

The Test Details

This is how this test is put together – you will be able to independently verify all of these results yourself, instructions at the end of the post.

Initial Data Source – The Majestic Million

For those that don’t know, the Majestic SEO team publish what is called the Majestic Million.

The Majestic Million is a list of the top 1 million website in the world, based on the number of referring IP’s found for that domain in the fresh index.

These are the 1 million sites that Majestic SEO has more fresh backlink data on than any others.

So with this, Majestic SEO are outright telling us these are the sites they know the most about in terms of backlinks.

Out of all of their data, these 1 million sites are the most linked to in the world according to them.

So thats the “bias” taken care of upfront.

You can download a copy for yourself free of charge and it will tell you the total number of linking subnets (RefSubNets) and the total number of linking IPs (RefIPs) for each domain in the top million.

Making The Comparison

To compare Majestic SEO with Ahrefs I’m going to look up the total number of linking subnets and IP’s for all of the domains in the majestic million.

To give you an example with this blog-

  • Majestic SEO – This report shows 209 IP’s & 193 subnets
  • Ahrefs – This report shows 331 IP’s & 288 subnets

So in that specific instance, Ahrefs wins the test.

Now imagine doing the same – but for 1 million sites.

That is the test I have done based on what Majestic say are the top 1 million sites in the world in terms of links.

Like I said – no wiggle room this time.

This is what the CSV data looks like in its raw form-

Don’t be fooled by what you can see in that image though!

Feel free to download a copy of the data that is used in this test.

The Test Results

With such a huge amount of data I decided to split the results into 10 groups of 100,000 URLs and then compare those groups.

This is what the group numbers look like (refer to by_groups.csv in the data pack)-

Group Ahref Wins (IP) Majestic Wins (IP) Ahref Wins (Subnet) Majestic Wins (Subnet)
1-100,000 79,487 20,512 72,195 27,804
100,001-200,000 76,273 23,727 70,251 29,749
200,001-300,000 71,848 28,152 65,871 34,129
300,001-400,000 71,135 28,865 64,879 35,121
400,001-500,000 65,936 34,064 59,380 40,620
500,001-600,000 69,528 30,472 62,583 37,417
600,001-700,000 69,718 30,282 63,126 36,874
700,001-800,000 69,085 30,915 62,998 37,002
800,001-900,000 68,856 31,144 61,243 38,757
900,001-1,000,000 67,806 32,118 60,211 39,713

Just looks like a bunch of meaningless numbers right?

What about now-

Wins By IP Address

Wins By Subnets

Pretty brutal to look at if you are a current Majestic SEO customer right?

Now might be the right time to switch to Ahrefs – click here to claim a free account.

But before you do lets look at the totals-

Wins Ahrefs Majestic
IP Wins 709,673 291,250
Subnet Wins 642,737 358,186

In wee pretty graph format-

Ahrefs Vs Majestic SEO Conclusion

Irrespective of opinion, relationships, bias and discreditation – the data does not lie.

The data never lies, its why I love working with data so much. Want to settle which design is better? Test it.

Want to see which is the best backlink checker? Test it.

Data does not lie.

Ahrefs is clearly the winner here by a huge margin – a much larger margin than my initial test with just 3 domains highlighted.

In the Wins by IP test, Ahrefs is finding more than twice the amount than Majestic SEO is – 57% more to be exact. They are winning on 71% of domains compared to Majestic SEO’s 29%.

In the Wins by Subnets test, Ahrefs is still the clear winner finding 284,551 more links than Majestic SEO. They are winning on 64% of domains compared to Majestic SEO’s 36%.

So quite clearly, the best backlink checker is Ahrefs PERIOD.

Even if the source data is Majestic SEO’s very own Majestic Million – Ahrefs still knows more about them than Majestic does.

UPDATE #1: PLEASE SEE MAJESTIC’S RESPONSE AT THE END OF THIS POST
UPDATE #2: AHREFS RESPONSE – FIXES APPLIED – NEW DATA
UPDATE #3: MAJESTIC GO ALL OUT

How To Verify The Data For Yourself

In an effort to be unbiased and transparent I have 2 seperate ways for you to independently verify the data yourself.

All of the data used in this test is available to download here.

Verification Method #1 – Easy

This is the easiest way to spot check the data.

  1. Download the source data
  2. Open the by_domains.csv file
  3. Select a line at random
  4. Enter the domain from column A into the search box at Majestic SEO and Ahrefs
  5. For Majestic SEO look at Referring IP addresses and Referring Class C subnets:
  6. For Ahrefs look at Referring IPs and Referring subnets

You can manually spot check these at random!

Verification Method #2 – Hard

What if you want to verify the data for all million domains though?

Well for that you will need a linux server with shell access, an Ahrefs API key and these files.

WARNING: Before you do this be aware that 1,000,000 API credits with Ahrefs costs $10,000.

For full transparency’s sake Ahrefs gave me an API key with 1,000,000 credits so I could run this test.

If any established bloggers want to confirm these results themselves and publish on their blog then please get in touch with me.

To try and remove any doubt around this test I asked the Ahrefs team if there was a way people could verify the results in bulk independently which isn’t possible.

So they suggesteed that they will provide API keys to other established bloggers to confirm and publish the results themselves.

This should help remove any wiggle room for discreditation of the test or data.

Anyway here is how to do it-

  1. Download this & you will find 2 files, get_stats.php and load.sh
  2. Open get_stats.php and update it with your Ahrefs API key on line 3
  3. Download the Majestic Million CSV
  4. Upload get_stats.php, load.sh & majestic_million.csv to your server
  5. Make sure all of the files are in the same folder
  6. Connect to your server with an SSH client and execute the load.sh script
  7. Wait a few hours
  8. This will output a file called by_domains.txt, rename to by_domains.csv

Signing Off

Remember folks regardless of all of the controversy the data does not lie.

The simple fact is Ahrefs knows 57% more about Majestic SEO’s Majestic Million than they do.

You can sign up for a free Ahrefs account here.

If I ever meet Dixon at a conference hopefully he won’t drop kick me through a table. Perhaps I would let him write Majestic SEO across my head in permanent marker for an hour though =D

Next time you see this topic in a forum – feel free to use this post to instantly win the argument.

Update #1: Majestic SEO’s Initial Response

Alex Chudnovsky the Majestic SEO managing director submitted this in a comment but it is only fair this is highlighted and made part of the post.

Here is what he had to say-

It’s nice to see that Majestic Million data that we offer for free would cost $10000 elsewhere.

Data does not lie, but it can be wrong/bogus/false and a good analyst would always keep an eye for anomalies before jumping to big conclusions.

We are pretty busy right now setting up new hardware, so we’ll get back to you on this in detail next week, in the meantime I think you should double check your key numbers – ahrefs appears to be the only backlink provider which somehow shows MORE referring IPs/subnets than number of referring domains (that’s like 2+2=5).

Using your own example listed in the post above –

http://ahrefs.com/site-explorer/overview/subdomains/matthewwoodward.co.uk

Referring IPs: 331
Referring subnets: 288
Referring domains: 282

Naturally at least one of those numbers is incorrect.

We can’t easily get list of those IPs, but the referring domain count is confirmed by External links tab using 1 link per ref domain limit –

https://ahrefs.com/site-explorer/backlinks/subdomains/matthewwoodward.co.uk/unique-domains/all-all

This shows 282 matches, the same as on the overview page… the same but potentially misleading. How many of you know that ahrefs counts hostnames as referring domains? It’s easy to check –

https://ahrefs.com/site-explorer/refdomains/subdomains/matthewwoodward.co.uk/substring-blogspot.com

There are 3 referring domains shown there when limiting them to blogspot.com:

1) seojunkis.blogspot.com
2) 1chicagocarpetcleaner.blogspot.com
3) ongoogleadsense.blogspot.com

It’s the same root domain (blogspot.com) and Majestic counts it as 1 referring domain. Every major back link provider does the same as otherwise numbers will be artificially inflated and likely to mislead those who’d trust them blindly.

Perhaps you should ask ahrefs why their ratio of IPs/RefDomains is over 1 (this is just wrong), whereas more typical ratio is a lot less, for example Open Site Explorer (OSE) shows 85 linking C blocks (subnets) and 174 ref domains – ratio of 0.48 and in our case it is 193/287=0.67. For big domains such as google.com this ratio will be a lot lower – 0.024 in Majestic’s case and 0.032 in OSE. Homework – calculate same ratio for ahrefs and spot another anomaly shown for google.com!

We’ll get back to you on this next week with a more detailed answer but I hope that you’ll get explanation from ahrefs on their innovative counting of referring IPs that can be greater than the number of referring domains.

cheers

Alex

Alex Chudnovsky
Managing Director
Majestic SEO

We’ll see what the Ahrefs team say tomorrow, I’m going to sleep its late here. Get a feeling I’m going to wake up to war!

Update #2 – Ahrefs Bites Back

The Ahrefs team have just sent me this update through. I’m uber busy at the moment but this update and new set of data is going to take some time to digest and turn into graphs.

Will probably do that across the weekend, but here is what they had to say-

First of all, thank you, Matt, for such a high-quality approach to comparison and data verification.

Really, there is nothing surprising in the fact that Ahrefs won this test. At the moment, our index is 25% larger in size and our crawler runs 2-3 times faster. With this initial parameters under our belt, Ahrefs will win any objective test held on a large sample of domains.

With regard to the comments made by Alex Chudnovsky.

1. The fact that Ahrefs counts hostnames instead of referring domains – this is not true. We count the actual domains but there are exceptions, there are domains the subdomains of which are considered as separate domains, and I can explain why.

For example, blogspot.com. On this domain, all subdomains represent someone’s blogs, that is, every subdomain has its owner who controls it. In fact, subdomains of blogspot.com do not differ much from regular domains in the .com zone.

Large quantity of ref domains is treated by search engines as a good sign – but why? Because they are more difficult to obtain! But if we are talking about blogspot, it is difficult to get links from different subdomains over there.

In other words, we believe that Google and other search engines treat every blog on blogspot.com as a separate domain, because it is reasonable to do so. Therefore, we also show each blog as a separate domain. Due to this, on the Referring Domains tab at Ahrefs you can see every blog separately instead of one and the same blogspot.com which renders little information. It is important whether it is 1, 10, or 1000 blogs that links to you.

Other examples of services which we consider to be an exception: livejournal.com, wordpress.com, tumblr.com, webs.com.
The fact that we do not put all domains in the same row blindly, that we look at their features and try to be closer to the interpretation of a domain similar to the one by search engines – I think it’s our advantage.

2. Speaking about the cost of data of $10,000. I wonder how much it costs to users to make 1,000,000 API requests to get these stats from MajesticSEO? I mean the API which allows to further distribute the data. I did not find any prices on the website. Maybe someone knows and can drop me a line about it in the comments?

3. Number of IPs and referring domains. Thanks to your comments, we now have found a couple of small bugs in the calculation of IPs. The first one – the old IPs were not always disposed, and the second one – the query for the number of referring domains for popular domains could fail with a timeout (this is what happened to Google.com). The problems have been fixed already, as you can see – one of them worked in favor of Ahrefs, the second one – in favor of Majestic SEO. I used the scripts that Matt shared to get the stats again and to check whether those issues were significant.

The result:
By IP Ahrefs wins 70% domains Majestic SEO 30%
By Subnets Ahrefs wins 63% domains Majestic SEO 37%

As I mentioned in the beginning, Ahrefs has an objectively larger index and a faster crawler, so it is not surprising at all that we will win any test; minor errors will not change the overall picture.

I will send Matt the archive with these files so anyone could double-check the data.

By the way, thank you guys for your attention to these discrepancies. This is cool to get a bug report from the competitors, I do not think that we could have gained it under any other conditions :)

I do not want to be in debt and, in turn, will tell you about a few situations when 2 +2 = 5 when it comes to domains and IPs.

There are at least two reasons why there can be more Referring IPs than Referring Domains.

The first case:
The same domain can have multiple IP addresses. Usually this is done to spread the load. More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Round-robin_DNS

The second case:
Let’s suppose, X is the domain for which there are only three backlinks from these pages:

http://subdomain1.domain.com/index.html is located on the server with IP 1.1.1.1
http://subdomain2.domain.com/index.html is located on the server with IP 2.2.2.2
http://subdomain3.domain.com/index.html is located on the server with IP 3.3.3.3

It turns out that Domain X has only one referring domain (domain.com) but 3 referring IPs (1.1.1.1, 2.2.2.2, 3.3.3.3)

In any case, I am glad that you have started to actively improve your index.

We enjoy competition and look forward to having a strong opponent in this field.

Dmitry Gerasimenko
CEO

A very interesting response that directly deals with all of the issues raised.

It seems that Majestic did uncover some flaws with the Ahrefs data and highlight 2 bugs that caused data issues but these are resolved within 24 hours of them being identified.

This hasn’t had much of an impact for Majestic though, previously Ahrefs won on 71% of domains by IP which is now reduced to 70%.

Wins on subnet were previously 64% and is now residing at 63%!

I haven’t had time to verify the new data yet but if you want to do so you can download it here.

Update #3 – Majestic Goes All Out

Majestic have now published a full response on their blog.

It is pretty hard to digest so stick with it but it does touch on some good points.

Our full response to the points raised in your original piece can be found
on our blog.

I hope this serves as a useful summary of our position for your readership:

We welcome comparisons between aspects of our product offering and those of
our competitors. We believe that the best comparisons will follow the model
set by the SeoMoz Open Site Explorer / Majestic SEO shoot out ( link to
http://www.stonetemple.com/majestic-seo-open-site-explorer-shootout/ ) -
comparing various aspects of the product offering in order to achieve a
balanced review. Naturally, different people have different needs from their
link intelligence toolset, and we respect that for some, regardless of data
size and quality, Ahrefs may be a better match for their particular needs at
present.

We believe that the evidence from Ahrefs – which we first became aware of
from your blog, for which we are grateful, demonstrates that they calculate
IP, and Domain counts in a manner that we believe exaggerates the size of
their index, certainly when used in comparison of size against our Fresh
Index. We also present evidence that suggests that our Fresh Index is likely
to be larger than Ahrefs – based on an update of the test you described
after we fixed a bug in our system. We haven’t tested our Historic index as
we are confident it would “win” by a significant margin.

Both Ahrefs and Majestic have sufficiently large index’s ( in terms of our
“Fresh” product ) that we do not feel that size alone provides a realistic
comparison. Comparisons of crawl rate are also meaningless – our crawl has
undergone a massive upgrade – and is far more intelligent, crawling sites
more sensitively than ever before, whilst achieving a deeper crawl rate. We
don’t want our bots crashing around like a bull in the china shop – it isn’t
good for us and it isn’t good for the industry as a whole. That’s why we
have invested in innovating with tools like flow metrics, and link profiles,
and continue to do so.

I’ll close with the same conclusion as in our post – Competition is good, it
serves the market well, and forces all involved to invest in innovation. The
real winners in this battle for market share are the end users. It’s an
exciting time to be an SEO.

Alex Chudnovsky,
Majestic SEO Managing Director

What do you think? Have we got an answer to the core question of which one is best yet?

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266 Responses

4.11.2013

It’s good to know you are not afraid of me “dropping kick you through a table” :)

I have a lot of hats and I am connected to lots of people through various ways which doesn’t mean I am biased :)

Did you know Ahrefs folks are from Kiev where I am from? Did you know link-assistant guys are one of my best friends and I recommend them to most of my clients who need all-in-one SEO tools.

Yes, IMN is now partnering with Majestic but I had knowns them long before that. See my “very biased” review of MajesticSEO that dates back to 2008 (long before any partnership): http://www.searchenginejournal.com/majestic-seo-most-advanced-backlink-analysis-tool/7634/

So all arguments aside (sorry I only skimmed through the article now), I can totally say I am honest to myself in the first place and I am sorry I have hurt your feelings by that article.

Reply

Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Ann,

I would literally be honoured if you drop kicked me through a table! Probably try and snap a picture and grab an autograph on the way down (yeah i’m that guy)!

No feelings are hurt my end – I never expected my initial test to spark the controversy it did hence the holes/small sample size. Dixon called me out in a poor manner (very poor – everyone else emailed me nicely asking how to help) and drove me to design a test that could not be discredited by any party and could be independently verified – although I was expecting Majestic to win before actually running the data =/

The only reason I highlighted that timeline of events is because he publicly called me out to be biased with nothing to back it up on the spur of the moment. Either way its not for me to judge, the timeline is there for all to form their own opinion. Unluckily you got caught up in that!

Personally I’m just happy to have had the opportunity and drive to write the definitive post on the subject once and for all!

I’ll look forward to the drop kick!

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Ann Smarty Reply:

Also, sorry for the mistakes in my original comment. It read awful :)

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

The fact it read (and still does read) perfectly for me might say something about me ^^

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Micsten
4.11.2013

Good read. I’m just about to go and drop Majestic SEO and sign up to Ahrefs off the back of this.

I’ll be interested to see what comeback Majestic can muster up in response to this!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Micsten,

Probably a good idea to be honest!

Hopefully Dixon takes a leaf out of Link Assistants book.

I’d probably play it like thi
1) publish the data of how many subscriptions this cost them in the next 2 weeks (keeps people hooked, builds trust/relationships, creates oppertunity)

2) then start innovating and post about the upcoming features you have developed in response to the community (more of the above)

3) launch it – go all out with the launch, smash ahrefs in with a follow up test – huge PR opportunity (launch affiliate program at same time to spread the word)

4) publish the data on how many subscribers they earnt back through hard work

5) publish a final post summing up lessons learnt and how they were overcome, this can transcend the internet marketing audience and end up in places like the NY times.

PR opportunity on a plate if you ask me, not many would have the balls to execute though.

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4.11.2013

This is freaking great. Great test and even a greater read.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Mike,

Glad you enjoyed it – puts that argument to rest anyway

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4.11.2013

I can’t read it now, but you have always published good stuff. I gave you a vote. 1 more to go. :O)

Holy smokes this is long. :O)

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Make sure you read it with the music, its important.

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Dan
4.11.2013

Ouch, all around. Great post though, highly appreciated! :) Waiting to see the recoil from this. Time to break out the popcorn!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Data does not lie!

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Wraith Sarko
4.11.2013

aww sheeit!

making waves over there are u Matt?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Well he called me out publically. In playground terms, he started it! ;(

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4.11.2013

Fascinating comparison, be sure to keep us all updated on the fallout from this report!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Peter,

Hopefully there won’t be any this time, I didn’t leave room for any.

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4.11.2013

Applause for what you have written and revealed to the public. Aside from the Comment of Ann Smarthy about your post , I can say that – TRUTH HURTS. Sometimes even big dogs cry. Keep up the good work Matthew.

I can vote your post for Number 1 of all I’ve read from the beginning of this year.

Thumbs UP

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Kiril,

Thanks for the comment!

Sometimes the truth does hurt and the truth is in the data. Hopefully though a couple months down the line Majestic are going to smash it with innovation and updates to take the number 1 spot.

We need innovation!

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4.11.2013

Haha, brilliant come back Mr Woodward, striking results if your using these services.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Darryl,

There is quite literally, no competition.

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Gerard McMullan
4.11.2013

What a read Matt, majestic ain’t so majestic after all. Always good to get the facts. Any majestic competitions going on next month?I’m sure u will get a few free subscriptions to give away from your good friend Dixon :)

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Gerard,

Nope no free subscriptions – but if anyone from Ahrefs happens to read this and want to give me some, then sure a competition is good to go! Got a few in the queue at the moment though :P

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4.11.2013

Gulp!!

Great post Matthew.
You have confirmed my gut feeling when I switched 6 months ago.

Keep up the good work and dodge the flack!

Rich

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Rich,

Thanks very much, I’m dodging!

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Jiddy
4.11.2013

Great work Mr W.

Are the issues about hrefs showing potentially old data relevant? Did you use Majestic’s fresh index?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

All test details are in the post

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4.11.2013

Great useful information Matt. I appreciate the time involved, and your transparency in all of this. It’s good to stir the pot a little here and there. Thanks.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

I didn’t stir the pot, I was called out – I responded.

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Ian Wilcox
4.11.2013

I think ahrefs wins! … Complete ownage Matt well done

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

You think? Hahaha complete domination

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4.11.2013

Awesome post Matt! I was reading your older post comparing the various services and this has reassured me Ahrefs is the way to go. I look forward to reading your next post.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Cheers Rich!

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4.11.2013

Good stuff Matt! Read most of it, but hey gave you +1. I’m pretty sure you will hit the frontpage very soon. Probably you already have :)

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Thanks Nick =D

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Vikram
4.11.2013

Controversy! Link bait! You’re stirring the pot and earning white hat links.

It’s all amusing and fun to read and there’s a hidden link building lesson to be learned in all of this.

Bravo!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Dixon gave me all the material, I just published it!

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4.11.2013

BOOM! Incredibly useful post.
I’m so happy you stay away from the dirty world of WSO’s and just release incredibly awesome info for free.

I’ve used AHREF for a long time now, I’m not even sure why, I just liked their interface etc more.

It’s good to know that coincidentally I was also using the best!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Abdul,

Its what I do :)

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4.11.2013

By reading all the previous comparisons and the present, I came to a conclusion that I should choose ahrefs as the best SEO tool in my work. But when i see the personal lives of all these big fishes, i really don’t understand their problem. Why people want to show off in public, and then pamper in personal mails? Surprising! I would actually say that Majestic SEO didnt perform that great to me when I subscribed, even the customer support doesn’t seems to care people that friendly. I have to shift to ahrefs and check how cool they are.

Thanks for the awesome info :D

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Thanks for sharing your experience – I’m sure we will see a bigger, better Majestic in no time!

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Satish Reply:

Boom Boom! You are SEO transparent xD :D

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

I just published the data, that speaks for itself.

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4.11.2013

Most enjoyable SEO read in ages!! Sent to few co-workers. Don’t think anyone will pick an online fight with you ; ) Winner of most aggressive and detailed seo post.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Well 3 people have called me so far, 2 dealt with – 1 half arsed dealt with because I was on holiday but he is next, it was briefly mentioned in my latest income report.

Have a read of this for some lulz http://badtoilet.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/one-of-the-best-sales-techniques-i-have-seen-online-in-a-while/

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4.11.2013

Another great post Matt, i am not a pro but the analysis that you have done will definitely help me in choosing the right platform.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Feel free to download the data and look through it yourself!

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4.11.2013

Matt, I am officially hooked on your content fella!

This is a gripping read and really cements you as an individual with not only serious industry knowledge but also technical ability.

Looking forward to the next post!

Si.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Si,

Thank you for the kind feedback – we have always got a lot to learn though!

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Simon Reply:

Just over at ahrefs.com now and the data looks amazing!

Be great if you could add a video to take us through how to really analyse, interpret and use this data.

Here’s hoping :)

Si

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Actually the one problem with all of these web based services, is the data is not live/real time.

Links could be dead, anchors changed, PR dropped, deindexed etc etc since it was last crawled by either ahrefs or majestic.

That is why I combine the raw backlink data from lots of sources, and then use http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/reviews/inspyder-backlink-checker-tool-review/ to get the largest most real time look possible.

Even then your still missing a lot of the links, even if you have built and logged every single one you have created yourself – there will be links missed using every service.

But you’ve got to do the best with what you are given =/

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4.11.2013

Amazing post. I love all your articles and tutorials. You’re the best SEO source i’ve found so far. I find all your reviews and tutorials to be right on and they have really helped me boost my sites. My hat is off to you sir.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Karl,

Thanks very much – feel free to mail me with the results you’ve seen and how you have applied the tutorials, got a stack of these emails now and one day I might do something magic with them :)

Thanks

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Karl Grittner Reply:

I’ve got something in the works that not only will show results it will offer yet another valuable service to your followers. Should be live in around 2 months. I’m sure we’ll be in contact soon. :)

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Karl,

Make sure it impresses me the first time then :)

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4.11.2013

Wow! That’s an incredible comparison. Why didn’t you include the other sevices as well? I don’t think they would have been better than ahref though but it would be nice to see where they stand. Anyway it’s clear that ahref is the best.

And why you did not post the dixon meme?! :)

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

The other services performed poorly in the original test and for the most part Ahrefs and Majestic SEO are sworn by.

Dixon is actually a nice guy so I removed the meme, save it for a rainy day or something when I’m bored :)

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4.11.2013

Wow, great post Matt. I love it.

I’m surprised no one has stirred up any controversy, so I’ll play devil’s advocate (to be clear – I use Ahrefs, not Majestic):

1) Dixon argues initially that it’s about the QUALITY of the link analysis, not the quantity of links shown. I can verify this; I can get a list of links from a number of backlink checkers, but the metrics for each is what really sets that apart. That’s why I used OSE for so long; their index size sucks, but Page Authority & Domain Authority are amazing and allow me to make quick decisions on the quality of the link, which is really what it comes down to.

2) Majestic used to always have the largest # of links shown, but the biggest issue against them was that a lot of the links were no longer live. Who knows if the same is for Ahrefs? They might have a larger index #, but I think there’s a chance that one of the reasons for this is because they might have the same issue that Majestic has had for a while – because a lot of those links are no longer live. I would love to see you try and crawl the links for maybe a random sampling of 1000 or 10000 of those domains to see how many of those links are actually still live, then compare those two numbers.

Again, great post Matt. Glad you kept it respectful while doing your best to find the real story is here. I believe you’re spot on with how Dixon (who’s a great guy, don’t get me wrong; 10x smarter than me) handled the situation versus the guys at SEO Spyglass.

Also – funny that OSE isn’t in the test :). Should prove to them that their index, as I said, needs help

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Jon,

The reason OSE isn’t in the test is because of how the performed in the original test.

For the most part the community look to Ahrefs and Majestic as the leaders. Personally I think they all perform poorly and are just arguing over who has the most polished turd for the most part.

In regards to point 1, yes it is about the quality of the analysis that is true. That is why I use these services to grab links, then http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/reviews/inspyder-backlink-checker-tool-review/ to get live real time quality data – not data from the last crawl. Data that I can manipulate in any way I want.

I dont trust PA or DA personally, or any of the other systems out there. I’ve got the raw data from lots of sources and a brain, good to go :) Be honest, someone of your calibre can look at a link profile and know precisely what is wrong in seconds without the help of PA or DA!

Point 2 is certainly worth testing :) I would need super mega wow wow access to both API’s though – let’s see what happens :)

I’m glad he called me out, this is a question that has floated around for years – case closed (for now).

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Butler
4.11.2013

This might be a stupid question, but ss Ahrefs data pretty clean? Because more, of course, isn’t more if most of the links have long-since disappeared.

That’s a problem I have not just with OSE data but Majestic too, even with the fresh index.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

That is a fantastic question and something I may go on to test.

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Jorge Luis
4.11.2013

Holy Sh*t!!! This has to be one of the best post I’ve read during 2013.

This is totally going to become a milestone in the SEO community.

They were Majesticing you and at the same time trying to Majesticing everyone else…. And today you just Ahrefsed the entire situation!!

Hats off for you Matt!! (-insert standing ovation here-)

What a way to win an argument!!

P.S. What made me REALLY laugh and still have a huge smile on my face while I’m writing this is the fact that you used THEIR million websites data base. I mean… How can they now refute THAT??… haha… GENIUS!!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Well Dixon called me out publically on the transparency of my test, the small data size and lack of transparency.

He was right to do so as well – those points were valid.

I didn’t know the results were going to turn out how they did, perhaps thats karma instead of reaching out to me nicely like the others did.

The reason I chose the majestic million was to evade any suggestions of bias on Dixons part – this unfortunately, killed them.

They’ll be back bigger & stronger!

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Karl Grittner Reply:

Lol…. Nice!!! : )

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Karmas a bitch

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Mark
4.11.2013

The music video ended while I was reading your post so I put this one on. It’s just as fitting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAYL5H46QnQ

I’m sure that’s what a lot of people will be doing with Majestic now you’ve stirred a bit of controversy. Great article!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Mark,

Hahahaha I like it, might even add that to the post!

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Nev
4.11.2013

Wow Matt as usual, detailed, informative, actionable information – what an education and above all for free!

Hope the guys at majestic have learnt as much as me and respond with rock solid improvements.

As for the title “The Most Controversial Post I Will Write This Year” well i certainly hope that its not, in the world of seo where the stench of bullshit baffles brains this post is a breath of fresh air.

Nev

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Nev,

Feel free to point me in the direction of some bull shit :)

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4.11.2013

Great report Matt. I was really impressed with the way you handled this, calm, level headed and stuck to the facts with clear transparency.

Certainly helped me in making my decision.

You fired up some of the ‘big dogs’, way to go!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Jerry,

Thanks very much, the truth is in the data :)

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Hornet25
4.11.2013

Wow! That was huge! I reckon I heard Snoop Dogg at least 10 times before I had finished it all. :)

Without wanting to be totally argumentative, where would SEO Spyglass have come in this test?

If there is such an obvious benchmark for all these tools to match up against, surely it must be a red rag for any aspiring company with tools like this to see how they measure up.

Keep up the good work Matthew.

Ian

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Ian,

The original post is here which features the others http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/experiments/backlink-checkers-compared-ahrefs-majestic-seo-seomoz-raven-tools-seo-spyglass/

But these guys took such a lead and are the most discussed used.

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4.11.2013

Finally! Someone who is willing to do the work and prove that some tools are just way worse than others. I used Spyglass and it returned that I was backlinking to my competitor! This software has some serious flaws.

I was told by L-A that because my niche is new it can happen, WTF!

I even went and posted on warrior forum and the post got deleted, so there lies a big situation.

Now I have some ‘real’ and solid information at hand to chose a tool to help me, thanks Matt, I appreciate the work you have done here.

Stick to your guns son!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Credit where it is due without Ahrefs and Majestics data I couldn’t have done the piece!

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4.11.2013

Now this is the kind of thorough research and expertise that made me pick you as a SEO consultant!

Nice piece here, Matt.

Welldone!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Thank you very much :) Although it wouldn’t be possible without Majestic and Ahrefs!

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4.11.2013

haha, you just totally handed that dude his ass! most excellent. Been using ahrefs for over a year – love it.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

I get a feeling the show isn’t over yet!

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4.11.2013

Nice post. The reality is you’d be a fool to rely on one single source if you want to do machine learning led predictive modelling for SEO. So you’re better off using multiple sources even if AHREFS is the leading data source (for now). But then why chase competitor links? There isn’t likely to be much between them if you just want a data set to classify links, depending on what the reason for the difference is – which is worthy of research.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

That is a good point – even if one finds more than the other, they both still miss a huge amount of links. The more source data you have on hand, the better!

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Nev Reply:

Matt don’t you mention multiple data sets in one of your videos?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Yes – to get the best look at the backlink picture you need data from multiple sources not just 1.

Going back to my original post, ahrefs only found 10% of the link it could do.

They are both shit.

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Ogi
4.11.2013

OMG, Matt, this will cost them greatly! :D

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

I’m hoping they come back with some data of their own that disproves it.

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Zul
4.12.2013

Hi Matt, 0/

Less than 24hrs already 74 comments !! 37 from the audience !! Awesome !!

The numbers speak itself.

As an analyst, I salute your well prepared and thorough analysis on the subject. This is how a VERSUS subject should be presented. Data, analysis, fact and verified figure !

Now I we know who is the sumo guy !!

Be prepared with the counter attack !!

best regards, :)

Zul

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Zul,

Nearly 100 now!

The reason i wrote the original post was because of how many times I saw this discussed and opinion thrown around – I wanted data to backup my argument.

Now we have all the data we need :)

I’m sure the Majestic team are preparing something to counter with, they have already made valid points at the end of the post.

While I’m going to keep posting the updates here, that will only be the case if both companies remain cute and fluffy and focus on verifiable facts unlike last time.

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Zul Reply:

Hi Matt, 0/

100 comments !! Again the figure speaks itself how powerful a post with fact, data and explanation.

I read her article but writing a post based on experience, rough number and how many high profile friends she got is not going to be nowhere rather than trying to hide something underneath the carpet. Typical tricks anyway.

As an analyst who’s currently working at oil and gas company (listed in 500 fortune) every month I got to present monthly performance review of my department in front of my bosses.

If I present something not based on FACT and NUMBER but based on WHAT I THINK, WHAT I HAVE EXPERIENCE, A NUMBER THAT I THINK, HOW MANY GOOD HIGH PROFILE FRIENDs I GOT without any PROOF like analysis, number and reason behind it..This is what my boss will say to me…

“Zul, you are giving us a big B***Sh**, if you’re not fit to be an analyst you better quit”… A good experience anyway back 3 yrs ago 0/

Dear Majestic,

I neither on Matt’s side or your side but I’m just a loyal reader of Matt’s blog and I like how he walks the talk with number and explanation..

So the only way your side to beat this super hot fact is present to us you counter attack with number, analysis and fact, and of course a video STEP-BY-STEP without any step skipped is the lethal weapon to shut Matt’s mouth.!! Good luck :)

Thanks 0/

Zul

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

The data for Ann’s analysis is available for you to download and verify for yourself. No lies are told in her post! The only thing it lacked that my post covered is how the sites were chosen, but other than that the 100 random sites do show Majestic as the winner.

I actually hope that Majestic come back and disprove this post, it will be a great twist to the story and will turn up the heat further. I’m already aware of how they might do this and keeping an eye on it myself.

Majestic and Ahrefs both have an equal stage here to do what they want :)

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Zul Reply:

Hey Matt,0/

Yeah already saw that…sorry for the misunderstanding..the ROUGH NUMBER that I meant here is like what our fellow friend said below…

Hi, the reply of majestic realize a few things. The number of referring ip and subnets is just a “number”. Nothing can prove that these number is correct or not for both ahref and majestic. The only way to make a conclusive experiment is to introduce two other variables: the number of wrong ip wins and number of wrong subnet wins. Then to calculate the number of correct ip and subnet. I don’t know if this is feasible though.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

If Majestic and Ahrefs were willing to give me unlimited API access I could do something like that.

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4.12.2013

Wow a Very Long good read. I bet this post will get more backlinks naturally. :D

Great post as always Matt.

P.S. I voted for your post, used a different twitter account though.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Mike,

Thanks very much – I believe the post is already in its rightful #1 position for various terms.

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4.12.2013

Done with your usual professionalism and attention to detail Matt. Can’t help but imagine the grin on your face as you put this together!

I have a question that has been bugging me about backlinks, hope you can enlighten me.

As I see it (correct me if I am wrong please) the main benefit of having backlinks is their boost to your ranking in SERPS.

Therefore surely only Google’s tracking of backlinks is relevant?

Why worry about what AHREF or Majestic can find?

Sure I’m missing something somewhere, put me out of my misery please!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Mitch,

No grin, Dixon gave me all of the material I needed to tell a great story and advised me on how to conduct a solid test.

He called me out, I answered – could have killed him a lot more than I did in the post but I played nice :)

You are right only Googles tracking actually counts but they only give us limited access to the backlink data. If you own the site and have WMT available then you can get a lot of them.

But if you want to find out your competitors backlinks you have to use tools like these, which are all shit imo.

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andre
4.12.2013

this is surely the most tedious post you’ve ever done. and please don’t use words like math and period. i know your readership is mainly american but u are english.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

If by tedious you mean factual and independently verifiable throughout then its deadly tedious :)

I just write it how I would say it – I use all sorts of strange words!

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Nev
4.12.2013

Going back to the very first post by Ann Smarty.

It would have been nice for Ann whom I know does good stuff, to comment on the experiment or even better put up a blog post maybe named “aHrefs versus MajesticSEO: The Proper Real Test” and maybe use 10,000,000 domains! Ann?

As for the update from magestic a much better approach – hey were all learning here right?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Nev,

Hopefully she will :)

The perfect ending to this story will be if Majestic disprove it

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Ann Smarty Reply:

10,000,000 domains??? You are killing me :) I am going to Pubcon New Orleans soon and then to Pubcon Florida (Matt, will you be there for the promised drop kick?) and I am not sure I’ll have the time for the monster experiment in between. But I’ll see what I can do!!!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

I haven’t attended any USA based conference (UK ones suck) but I’m doing a lot of travelling this year (will be on the east coast for 2 weeks end of Aug) and perhaps a conference will be on the horizon :)

I think the level of testing that is now required is far beyond the reach of myself and Ann, we are talking about some serious hardware to process this data.

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4.12.2013

Got to love a bit of controversy on a Friday morning!

It was a good and interesting read. I do agree with Jon Coopers comment saying about how many of the links are actually live. Maybe a follow up post? As there is nothing worse than seeing a bunch of links then inspecting them and finding out they are dead.

I personally use OSE and Majestic. Majestic for its index and OSE for its DA/PA/LR metrics. What does ahrefs offer in terms of metrics like this to show the value of a link? Perhaps we could also have some comparision of these metrics. DA vs Citation Flow vs ahrefs metric.

Yes I just want more controversy!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Jamie,

I’m sure we are going to see a follow up off the back of this and I have already told Majestic to start investigating that path.

To be honest, they are all arguing over who has the biggest shit anyway, both tools suck. One sucks less than the other.

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Jamie Knop Reply:

Good stuff. Each tool has its pitfalls but we still have to use them..

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Thats the problem, we HAVE to use them – this stops them from innovating.

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Andreas Voniatis Reply:

I must add that DA, ACRank are no predictors of SERPs rank as they are heavily built around one Google patent. The benefit of these tools is for consultants and agencies to sell link building activity. The predictive value for assessing link value and for succeeding in offsite SEO is nonsense.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Yes I have to agree – there is a need for those metrics beyond practical use.

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4.12.2013

I liked the first post Matt, and this follow up response was, dare I say, Majestic, you are certainly making a splash here.

The way forward is to improve. Anyone can come second in a race, although they may have stronger attributes in other fields.

Maj must look at this differently, seize the moment, and aim to be the best, as they claim.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Pete,

Well if your going to call bullshit on me, you better be able to back it up – because I will :)

Majestic have some fantastic oppertunitys here – as long as they dont let Dixon deal with it all.

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4.12.2013

Nice work, Matthew, really appreciate what you’ve uncovered. I know which provider I’ll prefer going forward, based not only (but mostly) on the data returned, but also due to the communication style used by one.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi David,

Well Dixons actions speak for themselves and that directly reflects on Majestic as a whole. Trust me I’ve sat in enough HR meetings/disciplinarys in my time – people don’t like the truth.

Its funny because the first thing Alex did in his response was discredit the competition instead of focusing on the grown up stuff.

Perhaps thats just the way the Majestic cloth is cut!

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4.12.2013

You really can’t deny the facts you laid out in this post.

It is a monster.

Also, the controversy that you sparked pretty awesome.

It’s not easy to take on the big dog, but you definitely laid it on the line.

Nice work.

Reply

Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

I just played the cards Dixon gave me :)

I’m a marketer, he’s a marketer – should know better.

Hopefully they come and smash it with a follow up that disproves the whole test.

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4.12.2013

I’m going to hold fire jumping on the ‘OMG best post ever’ bandwagon until majestic provide their full reply tbh. I’m not biased toward any backlink checker, but more data doesn’t mean it’s better value/better service being offered. It is interesting though.

If the backlink data being provided by Ahrefs is more accurate than Majestics then i’ll sign up via your aff link asap, after all its accurate/up to date data that sells it for me, not the amount of data.

Reply

Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Matt,

Things could get interesting with what I’ve just read from Majestic :)

Get your seats folks!

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George Valentin
4.12.2013

This was so much fun to read… just beautiful.
I’m on your blog all day long.
It’s crazy how much information I find here.
I’m currently testing the tiered link building for a small niche site of mine.
Thank you for all the resources and information, you are my main learning source at the moment.

You rock!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi George,

Glad you liked the post – keep learning brother!

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4.12.2013

Awesome post Matt, and well done for trying to cover all bases and keep it as scientific as possible.

I do find it funny that you refer to both Majestic and Ahrefs as being crap though. Fact of the matter is, unless you have access to the data Google has, this is as good as its going to get.

I’ve been a user of Ahrefs for a long time, and was a Majestic user prior to that. I’ve always thought that Majestic found more links, but that many of them, particularly from the historic index, were actually dead links.

I think something that would make both these tools infinitely better would be if you had the option to check for dead links prior to exporting the data, so the dataset you are given is as accurate as possible. As it is I have to use a 3rd party tool to verify, and we all know how there is always going to be a margin of error….

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Jeff,

Well I had to defend myself a little as well – not usually one for the public fight but thats the corner I was put in.

It is true they are fighting over who can take the biggest shit – check it out http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/experiments/backlink-checkers-compared-ahrefs-majestic-seo-seomoz-raven-tools-seo-spyglass/

That is the other problem with all of them, the data is not real time. Hence why I combine data from multiple sources and use http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/reviews/inspyder-backlink-checker-tool-review/

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Fesada
4.12.2013

Hi, the reply of majestic realize a few things. The number of referring ip and subnets is just a “number”. Nothing can prove that these number is correct or not for both ahref and majestic. The only way to make a conclusive experiment is to introduce two other variables: the number of wrong ip wins and number of wrong subnet wins. Then to calculate the number of correct ip and subnet. I don’t know if this is feasible though.

It may be possible that ahref takes more time to remove deleted backlinks from thei index. What I mean is the number of live ips and subnets which important.

And the fact that ahref found more backlinks than ips is strange. Hope to hear an answer from them.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Very valuable insight and you are correct that is right – we are still relying on the numbers to be correct in the first place but Majestic have a valid points, ahrefs don’t always add up.

I’m sure they are keeping an eye on that.

Either way I’m waiting for Ahrefs explanation :)

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4.12.2013

What a fantastic read Matt! I actually did get a coffee when I saw how long it was and settled back for what turned out to back up my own (non-technical) findings about who offers the best back-link data. My results were from nagging others for information ;-)

I look forward to seeing how things pan out in the next round.

Are you selling ring-side seats?

Andy

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Andy,

I’m sure things are going to get bloody – but who is going to deliver the knockout blow :)

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Andy Reply:

I have my suspicions… Are you running a book? 3-1 on… My money is on Ahrefs, knockout in the 3rd round ;-)

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Haha perhaps I should! Would love to see majestic come back though!

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Tobias Kemp
4.12.2013

Hi Matt.

Another great read! I started to skim through this but then got really into it and found it very interesting!

I like it how you stood your ground and backed everything up with some solid data… Some strong work Matt

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Everyone gets hooked on a good story :)

I don’t like being put in a corner, but when I am =D

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4.12.2013

Hey Matt,

I’m not much of an seo’r but from a business point of view thank goodness Dixon is “only” the CEO of Majestic, and not heading up the PR dept.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Actually he is the marketing CEO.

Yeah.

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Mike Reply:

Oh dear !!!! as one of our popular past UK TV shows catch line used to say “Check Please” you may relate Matt??

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Haha indeed :)

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4.12.2013

Hey Matt

Just made myself a cuppa and read through your post, need to make myself another one now to read the comments. Really interesting and great post, i have been using AHREFS for good 6 months now and is overall just better than any others. Easier to use, more data, more up to date data, nicer layout and again more data :)

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

If only I could make a website that made me brews on demand.

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Robert Kirk Reply:

Now that would make you an overnight billionaire I would say, one for dragons den :)

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Could outsource it to the phillipines I suppose

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John
4.12.2013

I’m a sr. software engineer in the marketing/advertising niche and used both Majestic and Ahrefs until this article. Seeing a CEO discredit a blogger in such an unprofessional manner leaves me with an unshakable feeling, I almost took it as an attack/disgust against the public voice.

I was pointed to this article within the Traffic Planet SEO Skype group (120 other SEO/Marketing members, dont hold me to the exact number lol) and must I say, well put together. To Majestics point, I could probably argue the referring subnet/domain may be an anomaly to Ahrefs benefit but the overall testing paints a more accurate picture. I really appreciate a blogger who takes the time to be transparent and analyze a dataset to seek truth.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi John,

Your feelings are shared across the web and in the flurry of emails I have recieved about Majestics public behaviour.

Have a read through the comments at http://www.seobook.com/comparing-backlink-data-providers for example

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John Reply:

Re: Ahrefs response — The round robin DNS is an excellent explanation for the multiple IPs. (Place /foot in mouth here). I wonder how Cloudflare and Dynamic DNS also contribute.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Seems pretty obvious once they explain it, I’m surprised majestic weren’t aware of any of the possibilities.

Difference in technical knowledge perhaps?

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David Eyterkourjerbs
4.12.2013

Wow. Majestic seem rather ridiculous right now. But I’m sure the winners will be the SEO community. Majestic will be motivated to invest more to reach Ahref’s level. If they can catch up with OSE and Ahrefs, we’ll certainly be spoiled for choice.

They’ll need to improve their site’s interface though.

I’m curious though.

Ahrefs winning by 1 referring IP address on a domain = Ahrefs win.
Majestic winning by 100000 referring IPs on a domain = Majestic win?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Exactly :) Hopefully this will just further drive innovation and we all benefit!

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4.12.2013

I’ve always thought that ahrefs was better than any of them.

Yikes about the CEO.

Wish ahrefs would have kept the keyword ranking, but then again traffic>rankings.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

You thought correctly :)

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4.12.2013

Daaaayyyymmmmm!

Hey Matt,

I’ve been using majestic for a while now. Thank you I will end my subscription and switch over to ahrefs as in RIGHT NOW. LOL.

+1 tweet like for ahrefs! FTW!

“I would literally be honoured if you drop kicked me through a table! Probably try and snap a picture and grab an autograph on the way down (yeah i’m that guy)!”

Well said son.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Thanks very much =D

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seekdefo
4.13.2013

Hit the nail on the head… the leg and hands. Immovable. Brillian

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Cheers :)

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4.13.2013

I have used both and will periodically switch things up but still like all that Ahrefs offers the best. Thanks for the incredibly interesting read!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Anita,

Really they both suck and provide small coverage, just ahrefs sucks a lot less.

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4.13.2013

Ahrefs is my backlink checker of choice, and your competitive analysis confirms the quality of the tool.

Was pleased to discover that the Ahref developers are from Kiev, Ukraine – one of my favorite cities in the world, for sure!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

I have never visited Kiev, but its on the list across the next year =D

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4.14.2013

Was about to sign up to Majestic SeO to hook up to my market samurai… looks like may have to reconsider.. I wonder if Market Samurai would be able to link up to AHrefs..

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Allan,

Drop them a mail and ask – show them this post and they’ll see the importance of it.

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4.15.2013

Wow. Awesome analysis. I have been using Ahrefs for a while now. Great to see come comparison data.

Keep up the great content man

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

NO worrys :)

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4.15.2013

I am glad to know that my choice was right! I didnt dig into this much, but chosen ahref with basic analysis.

I yet to find time for the proposed verification methods. good job Woodward.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

No worrys (:

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Kevin
4.15.2013

Great article & analysis. I must say I am not surprised at the conclusion as I use both ahrefs & majestic on a daily basis and typically see 10% – 30% more links via ahrefs.

Ahrefs really nailed this on so many levels.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Kevin,

Hopefully that wont be the case 3 months from now :)

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Jonathan
4.15.2013

I have no links to either ahrefs or majestic but I feel you’re being a bit harsh on Majestic. The post is long and maybe I missed the section where majestic’s marketing CEO was acting as bad as you claimed.

Anyway, one thing I’d like someone to mention is the quality of the links. We all know it’s not all about number of links, but quality. So does Majestic show fewer links because they discount the low quality ones, or are they just bad? If the former, then it’s not something bad, but perhaps good as it’s no use thinking that such and such a site has so many links when in reality most are worth very little in Google’s eyes.

OSE always shows much fewer links. I wonder why. Are they not good enough or do they only show links that matter? Again, OSE has a very good reputation – why so? Is it because they know what they are doing with their backlinks checking?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Valid point – but I dont think the focus should be on quality and should be on whether the link is still live/reporting accurate data.

I certainly do not want to give anyone else the ability to decide what is a quality link or not, everyone has a different opinion on that and mine is as simple as “if its good enough to be in Googles index, its good enough to link to my site”

But people like to make things complicated and come up with all sorts of voodoo to decide if something is a good link.

I don’t want Majestic or Ahrefs making that decision for me :)

But whether the links are still live or not – well that could be a killer for either of them.

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Zul
4.15.2013

Matt O/

Suggestion – You perhaps need to put another cool music just for reading comments here… :)

2nd – I have read few of good comments here and I want to tweet the comment..Find that plugin maybe…that would increase your social traffic more…

The best post ever O/

Congrats !!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Zul,

Got any suggestions for the music?

Regarding point 2 – thats interesting, do you have any examples of that in action?

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Zul Reply:

Hi,O/

1st: I like this music..but I don’t know the lyrics..too fast !! :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffVIq_dbOq8

2nd: http://mashable.com/2013/03/15/google-reader-rss-void/

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Well the lyrics have to fit the story :P

They are using Disqus I think – but I’ll see if something similar is available for WordPress based comment systems

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4.16.2013

Matthew, be always like that :) !! Love the way you crack down everything!! haha

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Its what I do :)

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4.17.2013

I like this post Matthew, I like it a lot. Most people would ignore the challenge and just move onto the next blog post, I love how you came back fighting and just nailed it. I hope this post earns you a ton of commission!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Actually Ahrefs affiliate program doesn’t exist anymore – I certainly never got a notice about it closing =\

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4.17.2013

This one really delivers. Some really helpful insights and a great read on top of that. Made me subscribe to Ahrefs paid program to check it out myself :-)

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Another case study to come this week :) You heard it here first!

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4.18.2013

Loved this article and felt compelled to comment, regardless of which is link checker is better the argument put forth by Matthew is one of the most complete and effective I have read. I appreciate an argument that has humour, data and a strong personality which makes it incredibly persuasive. Good job!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Alex,

I’m glad you enjoyed the post – not everyone appreciated the humour but I backed it up with data so its all good =D

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I used Majestic, ahrefs, raven and many other backlink explorer tools and i think raven is best in the comparson of ahrefs and majestic

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sagbeec Reply:

I wonder if he will come back, he just got his backlink.. so.. lol beside matt, do you know rand and his team working on new Moz? Moz.com ? Probably they are going to launch something competitive like ahrefs products…

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

You mean like http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/ ?

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4.19.2013

Wow… I might need to rethink where I’m dumping my money! Great post Matthew, +1.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Glad you enjoyed it :)

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4.22.2013

I just had 2 things to add to this wonderful study/post/discussion:

1. Why fight when you can have the best of both worlds and possibly the biggest backlink data set available at – CognitiveSEO (www.cognitiveseo.com) which combines Ahrefs, Majestic, Blekko (why, not sure anymore), SEOMoz and SEOKicks (German data set?) in addition you can dump your Webmaster Tools backlink data in their also manually – pretty cool….

2. I never understood this – https://flippa.com/2656126-backlinks-and-serps-research-tool-for-seo. I saw this awhile ago and thought they were crazy to try and sell and as such made me start to use Majestic more as I was not sure if they would be around much longer.

Just my 2 cents – thanks for the good read!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Chris,

Good point about cognitive SEO – you pay a little bit more but the coverage is much better!

Wasnt aware that ahrefs was put on the market for sale – seems odd?

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4.23.2013

Good read. I’m just about to go and drop Majestic SEO and sign up to Ahrefs off the back of this.
I’ll be interested to see what comeback Majestic can muster up in response to this!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

I want to know how many other people did exactly what you said. I doubt Majestic will tell me how many they lost, but I’m sure Ahrefs will tell me how many they gained.

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4.23.2013

Hi, I wonder if majesticseo did change anything, prices.. plans… bettered the services :P

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Not yet but they are working on it I believe :)

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4.24.2013

Hey Matthew, the last update from Majestic is crystal clear PR bullshit.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

HI,

It wasn’t quite the response I was hoping for =\

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4.24.2013

I like this part in Majestic’s response, “that we do not feel that size alone provides a realistic comparison.” Sounds like what guys with small dicks like to hear. “It’s not the size. It’s how you use it.” LOL.

Anyhow, one thing I would love to see addressed is the variety of links found between the two products. We can all clearly see that Ahrefs discovers far more links, but is Ahrefs finding all of the links Majestic finds and then some more or are they each finding a lot of different links?

If there is a lot of variety between their two indexes, then it might be useful to use them both in conjunction together to get a more complete picture. If however, Ahrefs is finding 95+% of the links Majestic has found, then I see no reason to use Majestic for anything.

Up until now, I have been using both, along with OSE, and importing all the link indexes into SpyGlass for a deeper analysis. I dropped Majestic, but would pick them back up if someone could prove that they are finding a significant number of links that Ahrefs is not.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Mike,

The ironic thing to that is in my first post I only used 3 domains. One of the big defensive points Majestic threw out there was the fact the sample size was so small and as such wasn’t a fair representation.

Now they are saying that sample size is irrelevant?

Basically the goal posts get moved as and when it is suitable for them to do so.

What they haven’t learn is if the keep coming up with stupid reasoning like that, I’m just going to follow up with another test that eradicates that issue.

For example their data scientist reference, the next test will be done with a credible insurance data modeller/analyst.

Database overlap is worth looking at and so is the accuracy of the data returned.

There isn’t a simple answer to the simple question of which is better =\ They both have strengths and weaknesses in their own right, but if your purely using them to find the raw amount of backlinks, ahrefs takes it for now.

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5.14.2013

Oh my, what a read! I initially started out looking for advice on one of the above tools and ahem, spent a fair chunk of my time reading this and the post that went before it!

I’ve run out of time as I really must do some work, but I’ll be popping back later as I haven’t had time to read all of the comments or see what the music was that I should have listed too!!!

Matt, many thanks, most informative but even more entertaining!

A new fan

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Thanks for your kind words Jon, although I can’t take the credit for the entertaining side – Dixon Jones handed that to me on a plate ^^

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5.17.2013

eheheh the truth everytime hurts :)
At the beginning I also used SEOmoz, Ahrefs and Majestic, now I have an Ahrefs account and I feel real good with it.
More and better results, more quality, totally better interface for free and premium account.

hey have u seen the majestic and SEOmoz interface? …NVM…

Ahrefs is my tool, no way :)

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

The SEOMoz interface is quite cool but thats not just a link checker and does lots of other cool things

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Leo
5.17.2013

Hi Matt,

Am on CognitiveSEO, but am wondering if I should stay, or switch to Raventools / Ahrefs. Could you do a review on Cognitive or a comparison? Would appreciate any bit of advice =) Am running an online store and for now, we could only have 1 SEO program/month.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

You should use which ever one helps best to support your business goals – what are you trying to achieve?

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Leo Reply:

Hi Matt, we’re trying to best gain SEO ranks for our keywords =) But with the numerous software out there and the lack of reviews for CognitiveSEO, makes me wonder if we’re making the right investment, or should we switch?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Leo,

Well yes but what are your current challenges with doing that?

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5.24.2013

I haven’t tested Majestic yet, but I currently use ahrefs and to be honest, there are a LOT of shitty links in there. One of my competitors top 10 links (shown as “strong” links in ahref) are all bullshit sites that have millions of links within their own network of 10 domains. All their linkpower comes from within and has no value in Googles eyes. So I don’t get why these links are counted as strong links.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

How have you arrived at the conclusion that they have no value in Googles eyes?

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6.5.2013

This is easily one of the best SEO articles I’ve read in a long time. Kudos to you for coming up with such a test. I’d not heard of ahref until this time and am going to check them out.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Haha thanks Matt =D

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6.7.2013

thanks for sharing views on 2 best utility for SEO as i have tried ahref i found it useful coz the link and domain details are very easily traced thats why its a lot useful for SEo campaign

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Cheers Shane =D

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6.11.2013

Have to say, there was so much idle chat and Dixon-bashing in this article, I gave up after ~4-500 words.

Would prefer a less soap-opera-style – straight down the middle analysis of the tools personally – but hey it isn’t my blog.

Thanks
Colin

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Colin,

The analysis is there – but there was background to the post :)

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6.12.2013

Lengthy, in-depth and insightful. Couldn’t ask for anything more and perfect timing as performing cost analysis for vendors.

Keep it up.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Cheers Marco!

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6.14.2013

Matt you’ve ruined someone’s business, I hope you burn in hell!
… Not!!

As you stated, I hope Majestic SEO will make the most of this.
From the initial attitude, it’s no surprise they’re second place.

“Attitude is not the result of success; success is the result of great attitude”

Only If they learn anything from link assistant & Ahrefs.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Mike,

From speaking to the big boss of Majestic I don’t think they are going to learn much.

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6.17.2013

Love how they shoot the messenger Matt! Keep up the awesomeness bro.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Data deflects bullets ^^

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6.20.2013

Just finished reading all the updates. Pretty amazing the amount of stir your initial comparison made and really enjoyed the all the info and comments.

There is no doubt that competition is good for us end users and there is also no doubt that “data deflects bullets” :).

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Yeah I didn’t expect it to be like that but Dixon was on hand to pour fuel on the fire with both hands which helped a whole bunch! Props to team Majestic for that!

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6.20.2013

Hi Matthew
just wanted to share a new site explorer from SheerSEO:
http://www.SheerExplorer.com

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Thanks for the heads up

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6.21.2013

Wow Matt what a great post, in Majestic HQ they´ll be on fire.

I hope they get a fireman close.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Well they asked for it!

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6.25.2013

Well it’s 2.14am and I’m tired but I have read the whole flippin saga. I couldn’t stop reading; the comments too. What a read. I was only wanting to validate SEO Powersuite as a successor to Market Samurai before I made the purchase and the I stumbled upon this! In summary I’m going for Powersuite as it seems like the best allrounder for a full service agency rather than an SEO only agency and more affordable too. Great post. I bet your to blame for many an eye bag ;-)

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hahaha thanks very much =D I’m guessing you actually watched the SEO Powersuite video in the end as well http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/reviews/seo-powersuite-review-essential-seo-tools/

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Mark Stringer Reply:

I have just watched your video; Blimey I’m sucked down a worm hole. Talk about good content marketing. I will be on this all night if I’m not careful :-) I had done a lot of research previously and spoke to a few SEO marketing agency owners in Manchester that sing Powersuite’s praises.

Our old website http://www.ahoycreative.co.uk was hit really bad in spring 2012 and we never recovered our ranking. We were ranking really well for terms like ‘web design manchester’ and “design agencies’ and it drove a lot of enquires and business. We were always in the top 5 results. The lack of recovery or feedback for our website and clients websites was painful. I lost total confidence in my SEO supplier over time. I won’t mention any names as they are really nice lads but I just didn’t get the service we needed. They were expending very quickly and started to attract much bigger clients. Maybe I was too demanding. I wanted a first page result for one of the terms again. I was spending £600pm for around 7 months. I then spent a fortune on SEO and a fortune on PPC. I’m gutted.

We bought a new domain name http://www.ahoy.co.uk and have launched phase 1 of our new website. Phase two will go live next month with lots of services and 100s of pages of blog content being pulled from our old website. We will start to optimise the onpage this week and then look at our strategy in terms of links. Our best bet is design inspiration sites and guest posting I would think as we have some really nice design work.

So I’m setting myself the task of dong it myself. With a little help from writers I may add. I hear good things about http://www.copify.com and we have some partners in PR who we can lean on too. I have all sorts of good content ideas but not much time! If it works out well I will look to partner up with a search marketing team or build a small search marketing team within Ahoy.

Which brings me to my biggest question – how the heck do you find the time to generate so much GOOD content?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi Mark,

Hahaha feel free to spend all night on here :P

I answered your questions in the email you sent I think :)

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8.7.2013

Thanks Matt for your fine work with this experiment. I’ve read up to update#3. Ahrefs seems to be the most thorough of the bunch, which backs up what I’ve been thinking from using the various tools. Although, I do agree that using multiple tools and combining results is the way to do SEO like a mozboss.

By the way Matt, your article is one of the best examples I’ve seen lately of writing EPIC SHIT, well done ;) My blog (Moneyeering) is nearing the official launch, it’s off to a cracking start and is developing at a very fast pace in less only a couple weeks of building, networking, researching and writing. This week’s goal for the blog is to create and publish at least one very well researched, insightful, in-depth ~1-2k word articles… Target is an EPIC article, even if it takes 8+ hours to produce. I’m also on the hunt for a few more guest writers, but our moto for this is definitely quality over quantity. After the first month and as content develops, next goal is polishing the design, increasing usability and onsite-optimisation, while building a few quality links from reputable sites.

Feel free to check out the blog and drop me any words of wisdom or advice. I’d be oh soo grateful :)

Anyway cheers Matt!

- Mr. Moneyeer

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Yeah Ahrefs has the most comprehensive database for now :)

I would say just make your articles fun to read while educating! Although Dixon did help me out big time with this one so props to him for that.

Good luck with your ventures!

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8.20.2013

Hi, Matt.

This basically verifies a lot of hypothesis:
1) There’s no such thing as a tool that can cover all the needs of SEOs (my two cents here)
2) Competition is good and it’s even better when someone with extensive research knowledge demonstrates why, when, who, where.
3) The lack of authority female presence in the online and SEO business.

I’m a little confused about Ann’s remark, the one with numbers. I don’t have much experience, I’ve been doing all sorts of research (marketing, Psychology), handling large sets of data and numbers. What I can say is that numbers have feelings, too. (It’s something us mad Statisticians like to say to justify our love for numbers and why we prefer them in comparison to… people).
She has been like an idol long before I entered the online zone and MyBlogGuest has been a valuable resource for the past 2 years.

But numbers are important. Comparing data sets and results and generating insights can never be done my asking 1,000,000 people how they think about seo tools. It would take too much time and energy. Plus, Google’s very own algorithm works based on numbers. You can’t simply ignore a sample of 1,000,000 websites. You can’t, it’s not fair.

Okay, so 3 might be just a “case study”, 100 might be let’s say close to the edge of generating a valid statement. 1,000,000 it’s already confirmation that results aren’t biased.
I mean, the bigger the sample the easier it is to “control” type II errors in statistics.

Heck, even 1,000 would be enough to control those errors that might lead to biased results.

I will probably still use Majestic’s Site Explorer for a couple of clients and my little Romanian blog, but I’m starting to doubt all the statistics value I thought they could bring to a report.

Never used Ahrefs, but there can be no better time to try it out. RavenTools are still at my heart, and after their new updates last week, it feels like it improved significantly.

And another 2 hours spent here, but it feels like an earned time, not a wasted one. :D

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

1) I agree 110%

2) I’m going to redo this study shortly to measure who has made the most developments since this study.

Glad you enjoyed the blog :)

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Nev Reply:

wow! It was my exact sentiment Roxana when i talked about doing the mother of all tests (waaay back up at the start of the comments) called “aHrefs versus MajesticSEO: The Proper Real Test” and maybe use 10,000,000 domains! said with a hint of sarcasm!

Matt – Look forward to your follow up study.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Well the complaint from Majestic last time was that I wasn’t a data scientist therefore the results aren’t relevant.

This time i’m using a qualified data scientist.

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Roxana Reply:

Well I think that you don’t need to be a qualified data scientist, as long as you know what you want to measure, how do it and you have a large data set.

Seriously, I’ve had a couple of so called “qualified data scientists” contact me and ask to do a certain task for them and paid me on a freelance project collaboration. And this makes me wonder, once you hit the “top spot” in the scientific analysis, do you even bother to DIY or simply go for freelancers who basically know what they’re doing, but lack the “power of personal brand”.

Now I know for sure that Matthew did this with his own two hands and demonstrated the gaps in Majestic Seo’s tool. And as I said, having such a huge data set is all you need to perform an analysis. Errors in estimations are pretty much taken out and all it remains is the true results. Which in this case proves that someone isn’t acknowledging their tool limitations.

Just sayin’…

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

The Majestic team like cutting political angles to discredit so I have to ensure there is no wiggle room :)

I agree with what you say, but I’m not fighting against logic, sense or reason with them.

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8.22.2013

Probably it makes sense for those who are on budget to choose just one tool, but those who are serious about backlinks will have Moz, MjSEO and ahrefs subscriptions anyways. They will de-dupe the lists and start working, without thinking who has the largest data set… m2c

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

True Story ^^

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8.30.2013

Hi Matthew, this is a great experiments. I’am newbie but I happy to read this. Now I using opensite, each time I compare data with ahrefs, ahrefs always gives more large data than opensite.

actually, I interest using ahrefs, but it seems give a limit request to use. while opensite give unlimited request.

btw, thank you for share your experience

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Well I’ve never come close to using the limit with ahrefs, and I use it a bunch ^^

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SEO Info
9.16.2013

I have learn several excellent stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting.
I surprise how a lot effort you place to create any such wonderful informative site.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Thank you :)

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9.19.2013

Thank you. This post was incredibly helpful. I really like the photo at the top as your first presentation of yourself ROFL. :)

I also loved the Anne Smarty fanfair, she is cool.

I sent you a private message on this too, but Jim Boykin is a wonderful human being. I have known him for close to a decade.

You rock. Bold, time consuming to make, and super informative post! :)

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Thanks for the feedback, i’ve had mixed responses about that picture :P

Glad you enjoyed the post!

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9.25.2013

Been reading this post – albeit rather confusingly – is it relevant anymore ? I just got an email from link assistant today saying that spyglass now uses it’s own “massive link database” – that now has up to date 837 billion links , I know all these tools both have their pros and cons – but if a tool actually goes and builds it’s own link database – does that then mean whoever has the biggest database wins ?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Yes it is still relevant and I’ll be relaunching this test in the near future to measure the improvements of each service.

Previously it wasn’t worth including spyglass in the bigger test due to their results here http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/experiments/backlink-checkers-compared-ahrefs-majestic-seo-seomoz-raven-tools-seo-spyglass/

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9.28.2013

Matt, just found this today. Long but excellent read. Thanks for going through all the data and analyzing the massive results.

No, the data doesn’t lie. It will be interesting to see how Ahrefs and Majestic evolve as they update and innovate, (as well as the other services, as I’m sure they want to be competitive/relevant). But I doubt the results will change much that quickly.

Thanks again, I’ll be watching for any follow-ups.
Dave

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Thanks :)

I’ll have a follow up soon ^^

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10.4.2013

I used to subscribed to OSE, but their servers bandwidth is extremely slow when using from Singapore, before they start charging they should improve their bandwidth first. Now trying both ahrefs and majestic but still dont know who is better, long run might go for one only.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Well I would certainly recommend Ahrefs :P

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Jack Wong Reply:

Thanks for the recommendation. May I know which one has fastest index links updates?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Can you elaborate on that a bit more please?

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10.6.2013

Hey Matt,

Thanks for keeping on top of this and for the thorough analysis. Will be making the switch from Majestic to Ahrefs.

Do you have any tips or guides on how to make the most out of their platform?

Best,
Jake

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

HI Jake,

Well I only use it for extacting competitor backlinks – they have a nice bulk feature to do lots of URL’s at once ^^

Thats about it lol

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Kenneth Morrison
10.18.2013

Incredible.
Im left with a very sour taste in my mouth from the tact (or lack there of) that Majestic has had publicly.

Matt you said they were nice peep when you spoke to them via email but I cant help but wonder if your not underplaying it for their benefit (or your own if your working an angle), but you know what? thats awesome, it shows that you are the real man with humility and tact ( Majestic take a Leaf from Matts book ;P ).

Great going Matt! you are now my Anne Smarty and I look forward to being dropped kicked by you Sir!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Hi,

Yeah they could have done better and it was mainly Dixon at fault who has a reputation for being an arse hole anyway.

Well yeah Dixon only turned nice when he/majestic had something to lose. Dixon has a habit of shouting people down, I think thats the first time someone has took him to the cleaners for it though.

I’ll be doing another test very soon, but this time with a fully qualified data scientist as majestic highlighted that as a weakness in this test.

Eventually they’ll learn ^^

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Kenneth Morrison Reply:

Shame, being an arse as a public figure head has poor and far reaching effects when that arse is also a public figurehead that deals in business.

Castrating people with speculation in a public forum to protect the pride of the company that is represented is shameful, pathetic and shows desperation and doubt in their own ability’s.

Dixons actions show exactly what your findings reveal.

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

The reaction to the next test should be more than interesting anyway ^^

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1.1.2014

Good stuff Matt and a poor show from Majestic! What is your opinion on opensite explorer and moz tools in comparison?

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1.2.2014

Dude I really love your research. Its so fantastic…..I enjoy reading it

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Thanks Julian hope it helps you out!

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1.29.2014

Lengthy, in-depth and insightful.

I think, now I have to request you to write one more article as conclusion :)

Regards

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1.29.2014

What a post boy !! enjoyed reading every words !! Wonder how you manage your time to do all these interesting posts :D

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

That makes two of us lol

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3.9.2014

Hey Matthew after reading response of Viktar Khamianok (Link-Assistant CEO) . He stated that why SEO SpyGlass show less backlinks than other in his post.
Now if i ask you, Which one is better than SEO SpyGlass and Ahrefs? Which one you will suggest?

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Ahrefs finds a lot more links. SEO Spyglass provides realtime data.

Both together.

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3.10.2014

Great freaking post Matthew! I love that your stuff is so detailed with data, PDF’s and screenshots. This is how all blog posts should me done, with “meat and potatoes”! I have learned a ton from you in the past 3 months and your YouTube channel trainings are world class. Thanks bro!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

No worrys, thanks for reading :)

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3.18.2014

A great analysis Matthew.

After the head-to-head between Ahrefs and Majestic, how does OSE stack up now? OSE seemed to be reasonably good in the 3 site test.

Thanks

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

Off the top of my head I have no idea :)

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4.4.2014

Be careful!!! Ahrefs doesn’t provide any info about automatic subscription prolongation. They just charge you without any alert! It was a shock because I didn’t want use the service for the next month. After all they didn’t even try to excuse!

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Matthew Woodward Reply:

The pricing plan page allows you to choose between monthly or annual billing. The word used on the buy button is ‘Subscribe Now’

Perhaps you should read things properly :)

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