Search engine optimization—either for your own business or your clients’—takes ongoing effort and innovation if you want to stand out in a crowded online universe. Fortunately, even though competition has stiffened with the expanding influence of the internet, a number of tools have made SEO easier to do right.
We asked SEO experts to share their favorite tools and internet marketing trends for crushing search engine optimization. Here’s how they responded.
All these tools do similar things
Ahrefs / SEMRush / Moz
All of these tools do similar things, such as offering keyword research, performing site crawls, and providing rank tracking. We use all of these in our agency, but the consensus in the office is that Ahrefs is the best. They have the most data, the data is more reliable, and they offer more features than the other tools. But all of them are great tools, and at least one should be a requirement for anyone working in SEO.
Screaming Frog / DeepCrawl
These tools are a must for performing technical SEO analysis. I believe that they are nearly equal as far as features go, although Screaming Frog has really kicked it up lately and is on course to beat out DeepCrawl. DeepCrawl is more user-friendly and has shareable reports, but it’s harder to export the data and it’s much more expensive than Screaming Frog. Personally, I prefer Screaming Frog because it’s easy to export the data into spreadsheets.
Sitebulb is a new kind of crawling and auditing tool for SEO. It blends the reporting power of a SaaS product and the affordability and convenience of a desktop product. This has levelled the playing field, enabling smaller agencies, solo consultants and freelancers to access killer auditing software, without needing a massive budget!
Sitebulb helps users better understand the data in front of them, and helps them report their findings to clients or stakeholders, through reports that are literally unique and unmatched in the market.
Other crawling tools I have used provide data tables or lists of errors, that typically require the user to dig through the data in Excel, and ‘join the dots’ themselves.
Sitebulb takes the opposite approach, joining the dots for the user and presenting them with a simple list of contextual ‘Hints,’ which explain the problem and the web-pages affected by it. This saves a lot of time on would-be manual processing and stops folks from missing important issues.
Oh, and one more thing, if you’re a visual person like me, this is THE tool for you. Sitebulb provides you with all the graphs and data you need in order to produce effective, intelligent reports to your team or your clients, which makes it easy to communicate complex issues and convince stakeholders to prioritize the workload!
Alyssa Ordu is a Marketing Consultant who is passionate about helping companies make genuine connections online. On a mission to support leaders committed to diversity and inclusion, she is currently working as CMO for Kugali Media: the largest pan African comic book publisher in the world.
Here are your SEO must-have tools:
This tool allows us to optimize our product pages for what exactly Google is looking for.
This is a great place to track keyword growth, links built, and compare competitor pages. If your company is just starting out with SEO, this is a great tool to have.
This is a pretty easy and straightforward tool for keyword research. They are constantly adding new filter features, such as searching for keywords with prepositions in them. It really allows the SEO team to find all topics and subtopics a user might search for.
In my opinion, the best all-around SEO tool is SEMRush. It’s an SEO Suite that includes your basic position tracking, link data, and competitor analysis – but it has so much more. I utilize their Keyword Magic tool almost daily for keyword research. They have a powerful SEO Writing Assistant you can connect to WordPress and Google Docs. They also have beautiful dashboards that are easy to skim.
This platform allows you to monitor backlinks for any site and monitor your own site pages’ rankings. Additionally, you can use the “link intersect” feature to see where there is overlap of one site linking to a list of others that might be of interest to your business. The tool also allows you to find the most shared content on any given topic using its “content explorer feature.” The “keywords explorer” lets users research keyword ideas complete with search volume and keyword difficulty score.
Dan Young, Founder of LoudDigital.co.uk. Dan have over 8 years’ experience in the SEO Industry managing campaigns of websites with over 1,000 pages competing for search terms that generate millions in revenue every year.
This is a must-have tool for anyone who takes SEO seriously. The amount of information that can be crawled can take a site from the unknown into the masses swiftly if used correctly. They also have a ton of resources and blog posts on host to get the most out of the tool to boost your SEO.
This Chrome extension is fantastic for getting on-the-fly insights into the fundamental SEO of a website. It shows Page Titles, Descriptions, H1 Usage, Keyword Density and Backlink information all with a single click of a button!
Finding the average monthly searches for a keyword used to be such a painful process of copying and pasting lists into Google’s keyword planner. With Keywords Anywhere you can see the number of searches for keywords everywhere in your browser! If you combine it with AnswerThePublic for even more power, it displays next to each question generated.
An obvious but seriously under-utilized SEO tool. Google itself shows you what people are searching for and what questions relate to that query. Such an easy and basic way to find long-tail keywords to target, and combined with Keywords Anywhere, it makes Keyword research 10x easier.
In my opinion
In my opinion, the best tools for SEO are Ahrefs, SEMrush, Keywords Everywhere, and Screaming Frog. Each contributes to the whole picture of a site’s SEO needs. Ahrefs and SEMrush each bring their own strengths in keyword research, backlink overview, and domain authority. Keywords Everywhere is an amazing Chrome extension that provides keyword search volume information and suggestions within Google Search (and to some degree, Bing). As using Google Search to understand keywords within an industry is an important part of the research, this serves to amplify that necessary research. Finally, Screaming Frog crawls any site in full to give a full breakdown of technical SEO issues, which are always great things to fix from the outset of SEO improvement.
We use on a daily basis
The tool that we use on a daily basis would have to be Screaming Frog. It enables you to crawl a website and get a complete breakdown of the website architecture, from page titles to canonical tags.
Screaming Frog is like the hammer in an SEO technician’s toolbox.
Not for lay people
There are a lot of good tools for SEO. Finding the “right” tool for the job can be a problem, especially for time and budget-constrained agency owners.
An excellent, all-round tool is Screaming Frog (SF). SF is a free (limited use) and paid website crawling tool that helps users gain a quick, broad and deep understanding of the health of an existing website and where there might be room for improvement. It is frequently updated and great for audits as well as day-to-day validations.
SF is not for lay people. You’ll need to ground yourself with good understanding of how SEO works to recognize and maximize its potential. Once you have that, it will become an essential part of your everyday toolset.
Who, what, where, when and why?
These are the questions that the free online tool, AnswerThePublic, addresses when doing keyword research. How it works is brilliantly simple.
Enter your keyword in the search box and you’ll see suggested content ideas in a matter of seconds. They are broken down into 5 categories – questions, prepositions, comparisons, alphabeticals, and related.
For example, a search for “catnip” yields 150+ questions, like “Can I give catnip to a dog?” and “Where is catnip sold?” Bottomline, it’s an excellent tool that gives marketers insight on what your target audience or “public” wants to know.
Admittedly, the visualization graphics are hard to read – your neck will get a workout trying to read the text which is laid out like spokes in a wheel. Never mind – just click on “data” and all the information will be laid out in readable columns!
Answer the Public
My favorite SEO tool always changes, but at the moment, it’s called AnswerThePublic.com. It’s a fantastic site for topical keyword research. My favorite feature is that once you input your seed keyword, it then shows you thousands of questions, but also comparisons and prepositions.
For example, if you input ‘social media’ it will come up with 193 questions related to it, such as:
“Can social media cause anxiety?”
“Are social media photos public domain?”
You can then check up on search volume on these long-tail phrases and build content based on answering the questions. This should get you ranking nicely for relevant keywords.
This has improved our clients’ blog posts and assists us in recommending more content for them as well, things they might not have thought of.
Moz chrome extension
The Moz chrome extension is free and one of the best SEO tools. It lets you see the site and page authority for any page you are searching online. This is a great tool to use when doing keyword and competitive research.
Old but gold
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is old but gold; the most reliable and accurate tool to get information from is none other than Google themselves. Even though GKP is mainly catered to Google advertisers, our SEO team actively uses this tool as one of the first tools for broad keyword ideas and keyword research.
Since its revamp in February 2018, GKP has greatly improved its user interface design and hence, ease of usage. It is now a lot easier to use for results analysis as it is more straightforward and instinctive. With just one look, GKP shows you a detailed result for keyword ideas, keyword volume and keyword trends. Our team mainly looks at these 3 details first in order to gauge how strong the keyword demand is before carrying out thorough, in-depth keyword research using other SEO tools to check for keyword competitiveness.
Our technical SEO team is highly reliant on Ahrefs. When it is time to get technical and go all out to outrank our competitors, Ahrefs is our bread and butter. We use it for in-depth keyword research, backlink analysis, competitor analysis, technical on-page SEO, and even for content outreach and promotion.
Using their site explorer function, we are able to analyze our competitors in seconds and determine how weak or strong their websites are. We love how Ahrefs sorts and summarizes the results we want so neatly for our analysts to decipher the data.
The best thing about Ahrefs is that they have a dedicated team producing useful content and videos on how to use their tools properly and effectively.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free and necessary tool we cannot live without. Our SEO team uses it to see our actual rankings for different keywords. Using its filters, we can see the live status of the keyword rankings and work on those that have fallen. This data tells us a lot about new competitors who are coming in and highlight the areas we can work on. Additionally, Google Search Consonle also tells us the exact traffic coming in for different pages over a selected period of time, which allows us to gauge how well an article is doing and to spot the areas that we can continue to improve on.
Christoffer Martini is a marketing specialist and co-founder of Fifium– a mobile app development and digital marketing company.
There is no dearth of SEOtools, however, only some of them are best. I am sharing my personal recommendation with you. These tools show relevant SEO statistics and help in making the best digital marketing strategies.
It is a powerful tool that helps in increasing search traffic and researching competitors’ data matrix. It’s most exciting features are Rank tracking, content research, and web monitoring.
It is the best tool for finding profitable tools and auditing on-page SEO of the website. It is basically an online software that arms online marketers with competitive data and helps them make correct decisions.
It is an advanced tool that allows accurate plagiarism check, site link analysis, meta analysis, keyword density, page size check, Alexa comparison, keyword position backlink check and more.
The keyword planner tool is a feature of the Adword Traffic estimator tool. It allows marketers to find the right keyword to target in their marketing campaign. With keyword planner tool, you can research the keywords and check their history and traffic forecasts.
Apart from these are MOZ, Google analytics, Google webmaster, and Browseo.
The complete tool
So, in my opinion, this award goes to Ahrefs.
Ahrefs is a complete tool when it comes to SEO analysis of both your site and your competitors’ websites. It gives you the power to browse through all of the most important metrics that impact your SEO score, and it contains the biggest amount of data when compared to other SEO tools.
Also, Ahrefs works well for keyword research and when analyzing content or looking for new ideas.
We use Ahrefs to improve our Domain Authority and to analyze the content we and our competitors put out. Also, it comes in handy when doing keyword research for articles and website copy.
It’s hard to find an SEO tool that hasn’t been mentioned somewhere before, but here are two specific sub-tools under the SEMRush and Ahrefs umbrellas that help SEOs specifically with content and editorial work:
Identifying Commonly Asked Questions
The SEMRush “Keyword Magic” tool is a relatively new tool, and I use it at least once per day when building a client’s content strategy.
You start by supplying a “seed” keyword — something very high level — and you can select the “questions” option. You can then filter those questions by volume or competition. If you are operating in a highly competitive market, this is an amazing way to find relevant niches to target.
For instance, let’s say that you are an intellectual property law firm, but you already have a lot of IP content on your site. You can pop “IP Law” or “intellectual property” into the keyword magic tool, get the list of questions, and do a site search on your website to see if you have each of those questions answered. If not, you’ve found a great topic to write about!
Ahrefs also has a way to filter by questions, but for now, the SEMRush version under their “keyword magic” tool is significantly better.
Finding Gaps in Your Content
Speaking of Ahrefs, I think they have the best “content gap” tool on the market. Start off by identifying one, two, or three of your direct competitors. Then all you have to do is plug their websites into the tool along with yours, and Ahrefs will identify keywords they rank for that you don’t. You can then filter for specific keywords.
This is often my first step in building a content strategy — we often want to make sure we match a competitor’s footprint (and make our similar content even better) before branching out with, say, the SEMRush Keyword Magic tool.
Moz has been a credible SEO tool I’ve used for a long time. The system is robust and covers SEO in-depth by analyzing keywords, examining site errors, and discovering link-building opportunities.
In addition to these, Moz offers Moz Local that enables local SEO to check for all online business listings.
Apart from doing SEO for your own business, another SEO tool that’s good for managing small to big scale businesses is SEMrush. It has a complete suite of site audit features and extensive competitor analysis. SEMrush is able to track your website on a full scale from PPC, content marketing, backlinks, SERP, and Social Media.
Google Search Console
One more SEO tool that’s easy and intuitive to use and has zero cost is Google Search Console. This tool provides first-hand data directly crawled by Google regarding your website’s link data, keywords ranking, crawler errors, page speed and other optimization that can help improve your website traffic.
The best I recommend
The best tools I recommend for SEO are:
For finding out content ideas and “spying” on competitor backlinks to approach the same or similar outlets. Here you know they are receptive to similar content or ideas so the likelihood of them featuring an article with a backlink to your site is greater.
For checking your Domain Authority or Page Authority, as well as for sites you believe have the potential to boost your SEO.
Small SEO Tools
For converting no-follow links into follow links.
For improving UX and site architecture as well as finding and solving Penguin / Panda penalties.
All the above are free tools (apart from Deep Crawl but this has a free trial).
HARO, is more of a service than a tool but it gets you published in powerful places and the links to your website from it are uber powerful.
SEMrush & Screaming Frog
Keyword tracking and website auditing software such as Semrush and Screaming Frog are vital to analyzing your site, tracking progress and looking at what others are doing.
Ahrefs and Majestic
To complete the trifecta, backlink tools such as Ahrefs and Majestic are fantastic for finding links and prospecting for potential opportunities.
This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors are not necessarily affiliated with this website and their statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.