15 SEO Tools That Every SEO Expert Needs
Whether you run a site of your own or you work on behalf of a client, SEO can make or break a webpage’s popularity. Many factors contribute to the way search engines rank a given page, and search engines are not at all open about their calculations. The right set of SEO tools can ensure that your quality content gets discovered by the people who will benefit most from it, so we’ve collected the 15 best tools for you.
This probably is not the first time you’re hearing of Moz, and they’re the biggest name in the SEO space for a reason. For $99 a month, you get access to Moz’s collection of Pro Tools which provide everything you need to analyze a page’s performance and increase its search ranking. Optimized for business pages, these tools identify opportunities to improve SEO, track growth, and build reports, which is important if you need to easily share this data with a client. All the tools are easy to use, and the suite includes tools for specialized purposes. The crawl test tool, for example, uses Moz’s own web crawler to check links on your page and all the pages that you link to. The fresh web explorer crawls feeds across the web and looks for mentions of your brand, and allows you to track these mentions over time. It even has a feed authority metric so you know which mentions are most valuable.
Of all the search engines you can optimize your page for, the most important is undoubtedly Google. A great place to start is with Google’s own SEO tools, which are free and designed so that even beginners in SEO optimization can understand and use them. Together, the tools offer a complete understanding of how Google searches work and where your page fits in. By typing in a link to your site, you can see your site the way Google sees it, and identify issues that cause Google to rank your site poorly. The tools also measure the speed and perform of your site on both web and mobile.
One of the most comprehensive site analysis platforms you can find, Woorank provides SEO reports based on more than 70 metrics. For $49 a month, this in-depth analysis identifies areas for improvement based on all the standard SEO metrics in addition to social media engagement, current SEO initiatives, and site usability. Reports contain sections on marketing, SEO, mobile, usability, technologies, social, local, and visitors, and which you can easily download as professional-looking, branded PDF documents for distribution and sharing.
A simple but valuable tool, this spider quickly crawls a page and checks for common SEO errors. For $160 a year, it compiles data that often takes a long time to collect. The tool is easy to use and can export data directly into an excel spreadsheet, allowing you to analyze the data further.
Free and easy to use, this SEO Audit Tool helps identify and solve a variety of standard SEO issues on a webpage. The site defines both technical and content issues, as well as concerns regarding external links. Technical problems solved by the tool include errors with domain canonicalization and XML sitemaps, while examples of content issues include keywords and metadata. By evaluating external links, the tool also reveals both the quantity and quality of links on a site. It compiles the report in a format that is easy to download and distribute to clients or coworkers.
Another free site analysis tool, Varvy’s SEO Overview Tool provides the user with information on domain strength, image SEO, links, technical SEO, social mentions, page speed, and other metrics. Quite comprehensive for a free tool, this service details all the critical aspects of a page’s performance and highlights important issues to make optimization more straightforward.
With three tiers of pricing, Majestic SEO scales to your needs and the resources you have at your disposal. Majestic creates detailed reports that look at a site’s citation flow, keywords, anchor text, and backlink history. The backlink tools are particularly powerful, allowing you to compare backlinks for up to five domains at a time. Majestic’s webmaster tools can be linked with a Google Webmaster Tools account so that you can use them together. Majestic’s link profile fight tool is also of note, giving the ability to overlay backlink profiles graphically and intuitively see how one site compares with a competitor.
Raven Tools are especially comprehensive because they pull their data from a wide range of other great tools, including some on this list. Sources include Majestic SEO, SEOMoz, Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, and Google Adwords. Raven takes advantage of all this data with over 30 different tools, focusing on SEO research, campaign management, link building, competitor analysis, social media monitoring, backlink reporting, content management, and metrics. The platform has several pricing plans to meet your needs. Raven’s research tool deserves special mention, able to generate extensive reports on a competitor’s domain or a given keyword and allowing you to easily compare your page with the competition.
A great option for free site analysis is the Website Grader, which generates personalized reports that reveal key page metrics. The tool grades a site’s performance based on factors such as size and speed, mobile readiness, SEO, and security. Mobile readiness takes into account how friendly a website is to mobile devices, while SEO considers aspects like page titles and meta descriptions to check if a site is easy to find. Security grades according to how safely a visitor can submit contact information through the site. In addition to the website grader, HubSpot offers paid SEO tools to optimize a page further.
Impressively elaborate for a free tool, SEMrush is a keyword research platform that shows the performance of a domain as a whole as well as specific pages within the domain. Also other toolkits, SEMrush offers an SEO toolkit that quickly reveals which keywords a site ranks for, how well it ranks for those keywords, and information about those keywords, such as search volume. The toolkit can also be used to compare a site’s performance to the performance of competing sites, to check link building, and research keywords in-depth.
A free tool for link optimization, Check My Links makes it very easy to spot broken links on a page. Broken links are a simple but essential SEO consideration that can have an outsized effect on page ranking. The tool instantly highlights all of the links on a page, then marks working links with green and broken ones with red.
A sophisticated tool for link building, BuzzStream can quickly boost a site’s search ranking when used correctly. The service costs $24 a month. Google and other search engines place a high value on a website’s backlinks, and BuzzStream helps build a stable link network. The tool manages outreach, helping to identify and research influential players in your industry and write useful email messages to the sites you need to reach. BuzzStream tracks which sites have accepted your link requests, and prioritizes sites that are more engaged across social media networks and therefore more receptive to link building requests.
A free tool for checking how a page compares with its competitors, the SEO Report Card covers a variety of factors. The rank analysis covers the sites page rank on Google and other search engines based on a selected keyword, while link building shows how many sites link to the page. On-site analysis tracks how well the chosen keyword incorporates into the page in question, and website accessibility assesses the website’s speed and friendliness to web crawlers. Trust metrics reveal the site’s perceived level of trust and authority, while current indexing shows how many pages of the site a search engine has indexed.
Technically a link-building tool, it is more accurate to say Remove’em is a tool for correcting past mistakes. At $249 per domain, it is useful if you have tried SEO tactics such as purchasing links and spamming a link to your site in the comment sections of other pages, or if you have been hired to optimize a site that has used these tactics. Google severely punishes these kinds of behavior, resulting in a permanently damaged search ranking unless you remove the offending links. Remove’em scans a page’s backlink profile for links and domains and allows you to reach out to site owners to request removals. Alternately, the tool can export a list of links so you can disavow them using a Google tool, which tells Google to ignore those links when crawling the web.
Advanced Web Ranking offers a sophisticated set of tools for rank tracking, link building, social media monitoring, keyword research, competitor analysis, and website optimization. They can check how well a site ranks for a given keyword on a given search engine and can search within specific geographic regions and search for keywords in other languages. The tools can link with Google Analytics and with multiple Facebook and Twitter accounts, to track all relevant information in a single place. The tools are accessible under a variety of pricing plans.
Choosing SEO Tools
Since search engines are so secretive about how they determine search rankings, a smart SEO expert uses a wide range of practices and gathers as much information as possible to give a website an edge over the competition. The best tools depend on your needs and resources, but a good strategy is to identify the most critical aspect a site needs to optimize, such as link building or keyword usage. Invest in one paid tool for this purpose, and optimize your strategy with a variety of free services.