Search engine optimization (SEO) can be one of the most effective marketing tactics for your business. As a result, you should employ the right SEO tools to come out on top implement, analyze, and report on your efforts. Not only do certain tools offer a significant competitive edge, but many offer valuable insights that help evolve your SEO strategy over time.
It’s important to understand most SEO tools are designed for specific purposes. Some do backlink audits while others focus on on-page optimization, technical SEO, and performance measurement.
Instead, create the optimal SEO toolkit to best suit your needs. In most cases, this will involve three to four different options. To help determine which are best for you, here are nine SEO tools designed to make analysis, implementation, and reporting easier.
There are a number of tools that help reveal a site’s technical SEO issues. However, only a few tools provide actionable and detailed insights on how to improve such technical problems.
GTmetrix is one of those tools. While it offers top-level performance insights about page speed and site crawlability, GTmetrix goes above and beyond. It also offers comprehensive recommendations in order of priority. For companies with in-house dev teams, employing GTmetrix is an absolute must. It takes the same information you receive with tools like Google Pagespeed Insights and other comparable platforms, and provides next-level insights that drive purposeful action and measurable results.
With local SEO the highest priority for many businesses, tools like Bright Local addresses many localized search variables. Bright Local is powerful in its ability to pinpoint duplicate or incorrect citations surrounding a particular business and its location. Citations are one of the most important ranking factors in the Google local pack so this makes it easier to execute the off-site elements of your local SEO strategy.
Bright Local is key to help you correct existing citation issues. The tool enables you to build new citations. Unlike some citation building services that use a subscription model, the citations built by Bright Local will remain in place if choose to cancel your plan. In addition to implementation and analysis, this local SEO tool also makes it easy to track and report performance in a digestible manner.
Of the options available to assist with content analysis and optimization, Raven Tools is one of the best. In its very essence, Raven Tools is an advanced software suite designed for both SEOs and digital marketing agencies alike. It’s equipped with a site auditor tool that’s second to none. Raven Tools tells you exactly what you need to do to fix specific SEO issues that a site may have. It also provides you with reasons why.
For instance, Raven Tools has a “thin content” feature that reveals page content that may put a site at risk for a Google Panda penalty. It also offers all the basic functionality you’d expect for content auditing, like meta data analysis, canonicalization, and other on-site metrics. While Raven Tools is best known for on-site content analysis, it also offers features to address off-site factors like backlinks, as well as SEO performance and rank reporting.
Although it’s one of the more obvious of SEO tools, Google Analytics is the quintessential platform to measure and report performance. With Google Analytics, you can effectively track and measure how and where a site’s traffic is coming from, how users are engaging with its content, and what action users are taking, if any.
Per the latter consideration, set-up Goals or conversion tracking parameters in Google Analytics. This is vital to measure the performance of any given SEO campaign. Sure, you can measure traffic and rankings all day. But without a concrete understanding of how well your traffic converts into tangible leads and sales, you’re essentially blindfolded.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider is another tool that makes technical analysis more efficient. This crawler tool unveils all of a site’s URLs and corresponding status codes. It’s an ideal companion for an initial SEO assessment, or routine health checkups to minimize broken pages and server errors.
Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider might seem basic and old-school, do not be fooled by its simple interface. In addition to backend technical optimizations, the tool also provides information concerning frontend content elements like meta data, page titles, headers, and internal linking. While Google Search Console offers similar data through the lens of a magnifying glass, Screaming Frog SEO Spider takes a similar look but through the lens of a microscope.
Do you seek a tool that delivers easily-digestible SEO insights along with implementation capabilities? Or one that comprehensively addresses both on-site and off-site variables? If so, then SEMrush may be worth a look.
Next to Moz mentioned below, SEMrush is the closest thing to an all-in-one SEO toolkit. Users can leverage over 15 different tools and features – each of which addresses specific aspects of SEO like competitive analysis, keyword research, rank tracking, link building, on-page, and technical SEO.
Although a premium option, SEMrush is perhaps the most powerful SEO tool available. Not only is it one of the few all-in-one tools, but SEMrush facilitates many of the different processes behind analysis, implementation, and reporting. It’s also more than just an SEO tool in that it provides Pay Per Click advertising insights as well.
Popularized as the industry’s most robust backlink analysis and tracking tool, Ahrefs has evolved over recent years to deliver insights in areas of keyword research, competitive analysis, content optimization, and rank tracking.
It elevates itself from other tools by offering unique features like its Content Explorer tool, which gives added search intelligence for publishers and content marketers. Topped off by an SEO toolbar and batch analysis capabilities, Ahrefs is now widely used by many SEO specialists as an all-in-one toolkit.
Undoubtedly the industry authority in all things SEO, Moz provides a wealth of tools, resources and learning for virtually all of your SEO needs. From local SEO and reputation management to keyword research and content optimization, Moz delivers a comprehensive arsenal to empower your SEO capabilities.
Similar to SEMrush and Ahrefs, you can set up individual campaigns to help track, analyze, and improve your sites (or your client’s) rankings, crawl, and link profiles. What differentiates Moz from the pack is how it combines in-depth analytics with more advanced SEO intel – such as backlink data, keyword rankings, and insights on how to improve organic search visibility.
There are probably hundreds of other SEO tools available. But these nine reflect a combination of the most powerful options at your disposal. Most seasoned SEO professionals will agree that adopting a few of these tools (i.e. SEMrush, SEO Spider, Google Analytics, and Ahrefs) can offer a tremendous competitive edge. Do you have any favorite SEO tools to add?
Author bio: Tyler Tafelsky is a senior SEO specialist at Captivate, a boutique SEO firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. Since 2009, Tyler’s SEO career has evolved from serving content strategist roles for legal and healthcare clients to leading major SEO projects for multinational brands and ecommerce sites.