Moz Keyword Explorer vs. Google Keyword Planner

Post by Allison Lee, Associate Content Strategist

In May of 2016, Moz launched their Keyword Planner tool, Moz Keyword Explorer, or “MKE” for short. MKE combines a number of separate functions into one (search volume, query ideas, SERP competition, etc.). Its clean and sleek interface makes for a great user-experience.

This launch has created a lot of buzz around the best tool to use for conducting keyword research: Moz Keyword Explorer or Google AdWords Keyword Planner. And while there’s not necessarily a better tool, there are upsides and benefits for using the Moz Keyword Planner and the more universally-known, Google Keyword Planner.


  • Full Keyword Research Process: MKE guides you all the way through the keyword research process, from uncovering keyword ideas, leveraging metrics for building a list, filtering the keywords in the list and prioritizing which ones to target based on the numbers that truly matter.
  • In-Depth SERP Analysis: “Volume” and “Difficulty” are common metrics when it comes to keywords, but MKE provides a few additional key metrics that are essential to the SEO process:
    • Opportunity: “Opportunity” estimates CTRs on the SERP
    • Importance: “Importance” allows for adjustments to specific keywords that critical to a campaign
    • Potential: “Potential” combines metrics to help build out a keyword compilation
  • SERP Overview: This is a quick overview and snapshot of what is showing on the SERP for any given term, through the SERP Analysis
  • Volume Score: The MKE volume score is unique, leveraging anonymized clickstream data from about a million searchers in the US. And this search volume has about a 95% accuracy rate.
  • Keyword Suggestions: MKE uses a combination of sources, giving users access to half a billion quality vetted keywords, with millions more added each month.

For global brands, there’s a downside to leveraging the Moz Keyword Explorer as the tool is only applicable in English and only tracks searches in the United States. While MKE’s counterparts are free, Moz offers various packages for a fee.


  • Customized Targeting: Need search data from a specific city in another country? No problem. Keyword Planner allows brands to drill down to geographic regions as targeted as individual zip codes. This makes it a valuable resource for local, service-based businesses that serve a specific area.
  • It’s FREE: Who doesn’t love free things? Keyword Planner is a free AdWords tool for new or experienced users.
  • Monthly Search Volumes: Brands can pull average search volume by month and see historical trends.
  • Multiply Keyword Lists: Brands can search a combination of words from two different lists. This is a great way to make variations & combinations with the use of modifiers to the words. So, instead of typing in all the combinations, Google will match them.

And while Google AdWords Keyword Planner offers a number of beneficial features, it’s not necessarily ideal for current trends, nor does it offer device targeting (i.e. mobile vs. desktop).

All keyword tools are going to give slightly different information, so it’s recommended to use a combination of tools to gather information. MKE is a great “bird’s-eye-view” of a keyword landscape, while the Keyword Planner offers a more granular approach.

To learn more about keyword research, contact Performics today.

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