Seeking Alpha Review: Investing Advice For Everyone
Seeking Alpha is an investment advice and ideas platform. It combines the input of 7,000 contributors, Wall Street analysts, and a next-generation market analysis algorithm to help its users get ahead.
- High-quality research
- Active, expert trading community
- Market-beating ideas
The best place for stock ideas online isn’t a blunt tool that tells you what to do and when. It’s a resource that gives you ideas and helps you understand and build on them.
Platforms that prioritize community and investor education are in short supply compared with those that promise extraordinary returns for little effort.
Seeking Alpha has been at the head of this drive for sharing investing ideas and stock market tips for a long time.
So what’s the platform all about? Is the famous Seeking Alpha Premium worth your time and money? Let’s take a look through its services, pricing, and opportunities.
What is Seeking Alpha?
Seeking Alpha describes itself as “the world’s largest investing community”. That’s already quite a claim, but with 20m monthly users, there’s some substance to it.
The platform was founded in 2004 by David Jackson. Jackson is a macro-economist and research analyst who had previously worked at HM Treasury in the UK, the Bank of Israel, and Morgan Stanley in the United States. He founded the platform to create a reliable, peer-reviewed information source for investors.
For those who are interested, the “Alpha” refers to the Greek letter ɑ. This is used in finance to denote how much excess value an investment generates relative to its benchmark. You get the idea – the name means “seeking very good returns”.
The platform is best-known for stock ideas, but also has a line in investment ideas relating to cryptocurrencies, ETFs, mutual funds, and commodities. It’s grown and diversified since its inception, and I have to admit that if I was looking for advice on volatile markets like crypto, I’d perk up at the sound of a platform that has gone from success to success over 18 years.
Seeking Alpha publishes over 10,000 ideas from its base of 7,000+ trusted contributors each month. There’s plenty of room for lively debate and disagreement, but importantly, this is well-informed debate and disagreement. It makes a refreshing change from the echo chambers and investment warzones of Reddit, which is probably why it’s still a firm favorite among seasoned investors today.
How does Seeking Alpha work?
Investors who want to use Seeking Alpha can choose between three account types:
- Basic (free).
- Seeking Alpha Premium.
- Seeking Alpha Pro.
You can also use its marketplace feature, which lets you choose which traders to subscribe to. This can be a cheaper alternative to the paid services, but you’d need to know who you wanted to follow and why before using the marketplace.
We’ll cover each account type in more detail later. For now, let’s assume we’re signing up for a Basic plan.
My first step is to go to the Seeking Alpha website homepage. I click the button in the top-right corner that says “subscribe”.
If you follow our link here, you’ll score a 50% discount on the Premium version just for being a MU30 reader!
The monthly price for the Premium plan is $29.99 per month which comes out to $359.88 per year. If you’re willing to pay a year in advance, then the annual cost drops to $239.
But for a limited time, Money Under 30 readers can save even more with our special offer. By using our link, you can purchase a one-year Premium plan for just $179.99 – that’s 50% less per year than you’d pay with a monthly subscription.
The rest of the sign-up screen is pretty straightforward and well laid out. I can choose to sign in with Google, I can choose between a payment card and PayPal, and otherwise, I just have to enter my email address and password.
Confirming your account
After sign-up, you’ll receive a confirmation email – you know the drill. Once you’ve confirmed your email address, the platform will take you through a few skippable screens asking about what type of newsletters you’d like to receive, information about yourself, and what kind of markets you’re interested in.
You retain the option to upgrade your account to Premium or Pro at any point and to access the Marketplace feature.
Seeking Alpha homepage layout
Returning to the homepage, it’s more or less the same as before you create an account. A note on that pre-sign-up homepage: compared to many platforms that build a stripped-back welcome screen that contains only a few tantalizing benefits accompanied by regular CTA buttons, Seeking Alpha is all business.
It begins with a graph of the futures market, with options to view information from one day to ten years. Trending analyses are just below it, giving you a taste of the kind of stock market research articles published on the platform.
The right-hand side of the interface features the latest and trending news. Scrolling down provides you with more news and research, including editors’ picks; notable insights; a day watch on the biggest winners, losers, and movers; and much more in-depth market information. As I said, it’s all business with this platform.
The menu bar at the top has a simple, accessible layout, and allows you to easily find the type of information you’re looking for. On a positive UX note, menus don’t disappear as soon as you move your cursor down to click an option, which is a pet peeve when I’m trying to browse a site.
Creating a portfolio
Just below the news articles, there’s a button that lets me start building my portfolio. Clicking the link takes me to a screen where I can add symbols to denote which stocks I want to follow.
The example given is “GOOG”, which brings up two listings for Alphabet, Google’s parent company. Adding one of these to my portfolio creates the folder and lets me see the basic information for this listing in my portfolio.
You can create multiple portfolios and give them different names, which is a handy organizational tool. It’s also going to be extremely useful if you choose to follow various model portfolios because you’ll want to manage your stocks accordingly.
I signed up on a desktop web browser. However, browsing the platform on my phone, the layout seems well-designed and adjusted for mobile use. The website is also compatible with tablets.
Pricing for Seeking Alpha
The Basic account is free and provides you with features including:
- Email alerts for stock analysis.
- Charts detailing stock ratings and prices.
- Wall Street Ratings for all stocks.
- Some free analysis and news.
- A regular newsletter.
Moving up to $14.99 per month, we have the Premium account. This provides:
- Seeking Alpha author ratings.
- Stock Quant ratings.
- A performance tracker for Seeking Alpha authors.
- Stock Dividend Grades.
- Reduced ads on the platform.
- Access to a much wider range of analysis and news.
The Pro plan is $199.99 a month if you sign up for the full year ($2,399 upfront). If you pay monthly, you’ll be charged $299.99 a month or $3,600 for the full year.
- All the most highly-rated and vetted investment ideas.
- In-depth research tools.
- Newsletters and other content exclusive to Pro users.
- VIP treatment.
- Ad-free browsing.
- Access to the Short ideas portal.
Is the Seeking Alpha free account any good?
I’m glad that the free account provides some access to analysis and news. This is such an important part of Seeking Alpha’s offering that it’s helpful to give new users a taste of what they can expect before they upgrade. Of course, you’ll typically want to upgrade eventually, because the quality of information is so much better with the Premium and Pro accounts, but more on that later.
Should you upgrade to Seeking Alpha Pro?
The Pro account is… well, it’s expensive. On the plus side, you get unlimited access to the best investment research Seeking Alpha has to offer. For a platform that built its reputation on top-quality, peer-reviewed investing ideas, that’s a formidable tool.
However, priced at $199.99 per month with an annual bill, that’s costing you just short of $2,400 per year. Monthly payments will take your costs up to almost $3,600 per year. Is this worth it? The investment advice will be top-tier, but unless you’re a highly experienced trader with plenty of money to act on that advice, I’d say the Premium account offers the best value.
This is certainly true if you’re a Millennial whose interest in stock trading was sparked by your underpaid, overworked day job, or if you’ve got a bit of cash you want to make work for you. Choosing a platform that helps you develop a well-informed investment strategy is a great start, but let’s not blow the whole budget on market research.
Seeking Alpha features
Next, let’s take a deep dive into the platform’s features. If a feature is only accessible to users with a Premium subscription or on the Pro service, I’ll make a note – you can assume that anything available to Premium members is also available to Pros.
Ideas from over 7,000 stock market analysts
The stock ideas generated by Seeking Alpha’s userbase are at the heart of its operation. It has over 7,000 registered analysts who produce over 10,000 ideas between them each month, although contributions have been provided by over 16,000 investors through the company’s history.
Users can create filters to easily find the information that’s most relevant to their investments, e.g. you could filter for ideas related to companies with a high market cap.
The volume of ideas you have access to depends on the type of account you have. Basic accounts will receive a few articles per month, and these articles help to give you an impression of the kind of research that goes into these publications. Premium members can access a much wider range of investing ideas that contain more detailed analyses, while Pro users have unlimited access to the full range of ideas.
The investing ideas articles provided through Seeking Alpha’s subscription services are one of its most attractive features for casual investors, not least because they come from a huge range of contributors. When making investment decisions, it’s best to get your information from as many sources as possible. This will also help you learn on the job and improve your decision-making independently.
Crowdsourced investing ideas
So why are Seeking Alpha’s investing ideas held in such high regard? The answer is peer review and thorough vetting of contributors.
The platform doesn’t allow just anyone to publish ideas. Each article is subject to an editorial review, and blog posts can only be submitted by Marketplace contributors. One reason you can trust the editorial review process is that Seeking Alpha pays authors an average of $129 per article – they’re invested in the quality of the product.
The site will consider publishing articles that have been featured on other platforms, although these are still subject to editorial review. All articles must show evidence of thorough investment research and facts to back up all ideas.
Gatekeeping high-quality information
Sensational claims about growth stocks will quickly be shot down if there’s no hard reasoning behind them. The Quant Rating service (see below) available to Seeking Alpha Premium subscribers speaks for itself when it comes to Seeking Alpha’s ability to furnish its users with high-yield stock ideas. It doesn’t need poorly informed contributions giving its new users bad ideas.
Crowdsourcing information is a strength as long as there’s an expert team of advanced investors gatekeeping the quality of the ideas on offer. Contributors to Seeking Alpha include active investors, fund managers, financial analysts, and anyone who can prove their worth.
Seeking Alpha author ratings
Users with a Premium subscription have access to a database of Seeking Alpha authors. This database provides information about an author’s performance as a trader as well as their rating from users. In addition to editorial vigilance, the Seeking Alpha author rating history is an excellent tool for weeding out authors who consistently give bad advice or use poor investment strategies themselves.
Knowing where your information comes from is vital, and this is one of the biggest upgrades for Seeking Alpha premium subscribers over the Basic account. If you’re relying on someone else to research stocks, make sure you research them first by checking out their Seeking Alpha ratings.
Educational & analytical resources
In addition to ideas and advice from professional investors, Seeking Alpha offers a wide range of educational resources to help novice users develop their portfolio investment strategy, including various “How to” and “What is” guides.
The Seeking Alpha Basic account provides access to up-to-date information on the stock price of everything in your portfolio, as well as free articles related to your investments. Let’s take a look at the other resources that help your decision-making process.
Podcasts & videos
There’s a range of podcasts and videos available to Basic users. A frequent contribution is the Wall Street Breakfast podcast by Pimm Fox, with the platform’s proprietary Alpha Trader podcast being another regular feature.
These podcasts are great for keeping you up-to-date with stock research from leading Wall Street analysts, but they also help novice users build their technical analysis skills. Never underestimate what you can learn from listening.
Seeking Alpha stock market analysis algorithm underpins its proprietary Quant Model. The algorithm analyzes a vast range of U.S. securities to find the best and most bullish stock ideas for Seeking Alpha Premium users.
Seeking Alpha’s algorithm has a terrific performance compared to the S&P, as illustrated by the graph. It’s more up-to-date and accurate than any paid stock advisor and comes at a fraction of the price for an average Seeking Alpha Premium subscriber.
To learn more about how Quant ratings are calculated, check out the FAQ.
This feature is available to Seeking Alpha Premium members, and aggregates data from the platform’s Quant ratings, Wall Street analysts, and independent Seeking Alpha contributors. This information is reviewed by an expert team using quantitative and fundamental analysis tools and represents the most reliable investment ideas you’ll find on the platform.
Companies with a high market cap often feature on this list, as it works in broad strokes compared to the more niche information you’ll find from independent traders.
You’ll notice that the text in the image is blurred – that’s because it’s being viewed on a Basic plan. For unlimited access to stock price across the board, users can upgrade to a Seeking alpha Premium account.
Access to transcripts
One of the best features of this platform is that even for a regular Seeking Alpha subscriber, there’s a wealth of in-depth investment research material. This includes earnings call transcripts from every stock you’re following, which is available via your portfolio.
This isn’t just valuable information, it’s a top accessory to the other educational resources you’re provided with. It allows beginner users to put their learning into practice before deciding to upgrade to a Seeking Alpha premium subscription.
The stock screener is laid out intuitively and can be found on the drop-down “top stocks” menu. For Seeking Alpha Premium service users, the stock screener provides access to a wealth of stock ratings for markets including:
- Top yield monsters.
- Top growth stocks.
- Top small market cap stocks.
- Most shorted stocks.
- Strong buy stocks with short squeeze potential.
The stock screener also offers access to different industry markets, e.g. healthcare, financial, and real estate.
Other analytical features
Seeking Alpha provides useful data visualizations for most of its features, as well as warnings, news, and press releases from stock listings that you follow. You can check out your Dividend stock scorecard, monitor the same stock over time, and discover investing ideas articles in one place. This is all available using a Basic account.
However, Seeking Alpha Premium members have a dramatically enhanced ability to research stocks using portfolio monitoring tools. If you’re invested enough to research a company’s financial statements, earnings forecasts, and earnings call transcripts, you’re probably going to want access to the full package of stock analysis tools.
There’s also the Stock Waves feature, which provides users with stock research and analysis from the platform’s rising stars.
Seeking Alpha Marketplace
The Marketplace allows casual investors to find authors and investors to act as a sort of personal stock advisor. You can subscribe to a professional and copy their investment strategies – for a fee.
It’s not as expensive as the Pro service, but you’ll be paying more for most Marketplace technical analysis than you will for a Premium subscription.
Alternative investment features
Seeking Alpha offers many alternative investment resources, including:
- Dividend stocks.
- Gold and precious metals.
- Global investments and financial markets.
Most of these alternative markets can be found in the drop-down “markets” menu, although the portfolio monitoring function lets you keep track of dividend stocks on your dividend stock scorecard.
Mobile app & design features
Seeking Alpha has an intuitive mobile app, available on Android and iOS. I’ll note that it’s much easier to keep track of your in-depth stock research on a desktop, but that’s true of every platform. The mobile app provides a great opportunity to browse investing ideas articles on the move or keep up-to-date with news from your stock advisor on top-rated stocks.
Seeking Alpha has a “knowledge base”, which is mostly an FAQ for account-related questions. It also has a feedback forum where you can ask questions of the community.
Seeking Alpha Premium and Pro subscribers can contact the company via its email address: [email protected] Alternatively, its customer service number is 347-509-6837,
My experience researching Seeking Alpha
While writing this Seeking Alpha review, I’ve been broadly impressed with the company’s design as well as its resources. Lasting for 18 years as a stock analysis website is quite an achievement, and its crowdsourced, well-regulated stock research and investing process has stood the test of time admirably.
Seeking Alpha useability
Sign-up was very straightforward, and the portfolio is well-designed and easy to read. The site’s design is generally very good, providing plenty of information and very little fluff.
The best stock research tools are reserved for Seeking Alpha Premium members, which is understandable. Seeking Alpha’s Quant ratings have an impressive pedigree, and they’re not going to give them away for free.
Even so, the in-depth research tools including financial statements, investing idea blogs and guides, and news updates you receive on the Seeking Alpha Basic account are quite attractive.
What could be improved?
The only feature I was a little put off by was understanding the customer service options for Seeking Alpha Basic users. The “support” function at the top-right of the screen only redirects to an FAQ or the user forum.
Scrolling down to the bottom of the page, I found the “contact us” option. However, this in turn only redirects to a sort of FAQ page.
While this is probably enough for most queries, it was only after Googling “Seeking Alpha contact email address” that I was directed to this section of the support page, which includes an email address for Seeking Alpha Premium and Pro users only.
In all fairness, with 20m monthly users, offering bespoke support for non-paying Seeking Alpha users is a tall order. In any case, this was a pretty minor problem compared to a very strong offering across the platform.
My experience writing this Seeking Alpha review has been overwhelmingly positive, and I’d probably upgrade to a Seeking Alpha Premium account even without the perk of additional customer support.
Who is Seeking Alpha best for?
Seeking Alpha is one of the best stock research platforms online today. Anyone wanting to learn more about stock trading and market behavior has a lot to gain by signing up.
In terms of making money, if you can afford the $19.99/month Premium account, you’ll have access to the top-rated stocks and Quant ratings features of the platform. These are perhaps its strongest performers and should give ordinary investors great information for making profitable investment decisions.
Pro traders who can afford the top-level account will enjoy the depth of its analysis tools and its flourishing community of high-level traders. However, your investments probably need to be earning you tens of thousands per year to justify the cost.
Who shouldn’t use Seeking Alpha?
Even for the Premium account, Seeking Alpha’s fees aren’t the cheapest. Of course, anyone can start with a Basic account and upgrade at any time, and I’d recommend the Basic account to anybody.
It’s worth learning everything you can before upgrading if you’re a rookie. Another top tip is to wait until there’s an offer for the Seeking Alpha Premium service – reduced rates aren’t to be sniffed at when you’re trying to save every penny you can.
Pros & cons
- Excellent research tools — High-quality information submitted and vetted by experts.
- Easy to use — The interface and website are accessible and well-designed.
- Free account available — This helps users get an idea of the site's offering.
- Superb educational resources — Perfect for novice traders.
- Ideas from many sources — Listen to different opinions. Learn for yourself.
- Proven, trusted platform — The site has been around since 2004 and has 20m monthly users.
- Limited customer service for Basic accounts — Support is limited to a user forum and an FAQ for non-paying users.
- Focused on the U.S. and Canada — Users won't learn how to trade stocks outside North America.
Seeking Alpha vs. competitors
|Seeking Alpha||Motely Fool Stock Advisor||Investing.com|
|Price||Basic is free, Premium is $19.99/month, Pro is $199.99/month||$199.99/year ($99.99 for the first year)||Free|
|Research type||Crowdsourced, peer-reviewed||Expert investors||User-contributed articles|
|Investment types||Stocks, Dividends, ETFs, Commodities, Cryptocurrencies, more||Primarily stocks||Stocks, Forex, cryptocurrencies, CFDs, more|
Motley Fool stock advisor
The Motley Fool has a pedigree that puts even Seeking Alpha to shame. It’s been around since 1993 and the Motley Fool is one of the most trusted investment resources online.
Portfolios on the Motley Fool are themed, and the experience is very curated compared to Seeking Alpha. The best-known service is the Motley Fool stock advisor, costing $199/year and helping its users devise a long-term plan for their investments.
The Motley Fool is a top investing resource, although some users will prefer Seeking Alpha’s tendency to give you high-quality information and let you make the decisions.
Investing.com was founded in 2007 and is an early port of call for novice traders, largely because of its domain name. The site offers analytic tools for many regions across the globe and is arguably a better choice for international investors for this reason. Seeking Alpha is almost entirely limited to the U.S. and Canada.
However, the quality of research and analysis on investing.com is considerably less detailed and reliable than the information you’ll find on Seeking Alpha. For U.S. investors especially, Seeking Alpha offers a much richer experience.
If you’re looking to learn more about how your money can work for you, Seeking Alpha should be your first port of call. Its educational resources, active community, and peer-reviewed ideas system are a winning combo.
Seeking Alpha review verdict: trying a Basic account should be mandatory; upgrading to Premium is more than worth it and highly recommended.
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