The Best essential SEO tools
To compete with SEO, it’s essential to have the best tools at your fingertips enabling you to find new opportunities, save time and keep track of how your SEO can be boosted. We think that harnessing the insight available from tools isn’t just important for SEO specialists, but essential whether you’re Director of Search for a multi-national business, digital marketing manager, working as an account manager in digital marketing agency, owner of an SME, even if you run your own blog
Categories of SEO tools
As mentioned above, it’s not just the case that these are tools for agencies and consultants, but all marketers should be aware of what’s available and what their team are using. With the vast array of tools out there, it’s difficult to know which may be relevant, so it’s best to break down or categorise them. So if you’re thinking of reviewing your tool set, here’s what we recommend.
For me, there are six essential types of tools for managing SEO, so I thought it would be helpful to share my favourites in the categories below. Do let us know in the comments if you think of different categories of tools or services that are better than the ones I recommend.
- Keyword analysis
- Content Ideas
- Link Building
- Link Removal
- Technical SEO
For each of the categories of tools, I have tried my very best to break them down into 3 types of tool – Free, Freemium and Paid for tools.
1. Keyword Analysis Tools
Brian Dean stated that “Without Keywords there is no such thing as SEO”.
Naturally, keywords guide search engine users to your site, meaning how popular your site is, depends greatly on how well you utilise them.
Now over the past 5 years or so, achieving effective Keyword Analysis and Research has become an increasingly difficult thanks to Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner “hiding” data. However, it’s a pivotal method of finding hidden opportunities, increasing the traffic flowing to your site and of course showing off that all-important shiny new content you create.
Although these tools are great, all they can do is provide you with data. It’s how you interpret the data and what you do with it that will make the difference.
If you want to find a little more about Keyword Research we posted about how to avoid making mistakes with your Keyword Research. Another superb guide to check out if you’re still a little uncertain about Keyword Research is the aforementioned, Brian Dean’s Keyword Research: The Definitive Guide.
Free – Ubersuggest
A free keyword suggestion tool that uses a variety of different suggest services to create a detailed list of keywords for you.
Freemium – Term Explorer
Claiming to have the biggest data set of any Keyword Research tool, it allows you to expand keyword lists, collate search volumes, and understand your competitiveness data.
Paid – SEMrush
SEMrush, although technically a Freemium tool, offers far more insights and data using the paid version of the software. It allows you to see the keywords your competitors are ranking for, the landing page for each keyword also the value of the keyword (should you be interested in PPC).
Paid – Ahrefs Keywords Explorer
If you’re looking for lots of trending keywords, this tool is a must-try. It has a large, multi-country database of over 5.6 billion keywords presented with accurate metrics. Search Volume is based on users’ clickstream data, while estimates of Keyword Difficulty are based on the amount of referring domains. That’s what Google’s ranking algorithm gives priority to. The dashboard also comes with unique metrics to determine traffic potential for each keyword – Clicks and Clicks Per Search.
2. Rankings Tools
Knowing where your site currently ranks is also incredibly important. It allows you to track which of your online marketing strategies are working best, letting you focus similar your efforts across campaigns, maximising ROI and seeing your traffic (hopefully) skyrocket through the roof.
These tools enable you to do so without hours and hours of monotonous wading through page after page of search results.
Free tool – Google Search Console
Google’s very own suite of helpful tools to help users monitor the performance of their website. By using the “Search Traffic” tab then the “Search Analytics” tab, it will bring you up a list of keywords you’re currently ranking for. Following from this, sort by ranking position and target the keywords that are on page 2 of the search results, With a bit of SEO magic, you should see them creep up onto page 1!
Freemium – SEMrush
As a freemium model SEMrush allows you limited access to the data, however fiddling with the filters will allow you to uncover a little more data. In short, it allows you to track any domain or Keywords from any geographical location, discovering local competitions and lets you target different devices too.
Paid – Authority Labs
Authority Labs is a rather handy tool, thanks to it’s ability to track and graph the keywords for your site. Performing daily check of the keywords you’ve highlighted, then turning the findings into a weekly report.
3. Content effectiveness tools.
As Bing’s Duane Forrester said, “all SEO Ranking signals revolve around content of some kind” highlighting the impact good content has on your site.Coming up with fresh and unique ideas day in day out is incredibly hard, however necessary to keep your site not only relevant and engaging for your audience, but optimized for search engines. The tools below are will hopefully enable you to find new ideas and optimize your current content.
If you want a little further reading around the topic, we also recently posted a detailed review for benchmarking competitor content marketing.
Free – Outdated Content Finder
The chaps over at Greenlane Search Marketing created a particularly useful tool if you’re struggling for content Ideas. Put in the search term you want to rank for, or just the general topic of content you want to write about. Put in the date parameters (I tend to look back about 3+ years) and have a read of some old content. See if you can jazz it up a bit and bring it into modern times, then get in touch with the webmaster and see if they’d be interested in posting the newer version.
Freemium – Yoast WordPress Plugin
This is an awesome WordPress plugin to ensure the content going on your site is “SEO Friendly”. It works on a bit of a traffic light signal basis and basically keeps your content in check.
Paid – Buzzsumo
Buzzsumo is quite simply a very good tool. It has an incredibly easy to use interface and allows you to quickly identify what content is working well around a particular topic as well as highlighting the major influencers.