Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is constantly evolving. You can’t afford to ignore its importance, because SEO plays a major role in whether or not your website will ever be found organically in search results.

Everyone from the CEO of a Fortune 500 company to a small business owner needs to understand the value of effective SEO. In order to compete, stay on top of the best SEO tools. Lean on SEO tools that are easy to use, effective, and can help achieve your goals.

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Embrace the power of analytics. Your gut doesn’t matter when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. The numbers need to back up every hunch and verify the success or failure of every goal.

You can’t rely on only one tool. Approach SEO from multiple angles — Google does! In fact, Google uses over 60 signals to determine your place in the rankings.

Read more: What Domain Authority Means for Search Engine Optimization >>

SEO Tools by Category

SEO is multi-faceted. We’ve done the hard work and broken down some of the most important facets into categories. The reason we’ve chosen these tools has a lot to do with the overlapping of categories. Many of the tools are used for several aspects of SEO, which minimizes the time and effort needed to make the most of your website.

  • Keyword Analysis
  • Link Building
  • Website Auditing
  • Rank Tracking
  • Competitor Research
  • Technical SEO
best seo tools 2017

Moz

Moz houses a multitude of powerful tools that can unlock the key to your website’s success. One of our favorites is the Keyword Explorer. Now that Google has been ‘hiding’ the majority of organic keywords and accurate search volumes, Moz has helped pick up the slack. Keyword Explorer provides highly accurate volume estimates and metrics, intuitive suggestions, as well as a SERP analysis, which allows us to see what is actually ranking (videos, images, websites, etc.).

Moz is a Search Engine Optimization specialist’s dream. Not only does it help with keyword research and analysis, it can provide website audits, rank tracking, and identify potential links to your site. Moz has detailed site crawl reports, giving you insight in where your site needs technical improvements. You can also discover page optimization suggestions with Moz. Another great feature, is Moz Local, which manages your local listings, giving you a score based on accuracy and visibility.

There are free tools and paid memberships. Naturally, the paid memberships give you an all access pass to the platform. Some tools are free, like the Keyword Explorer and Open Site Explorer, which shows Domain Authority and other ranking metrics. If you’re not sure you need a paid membership, try it free for 30 days.

Read more: What Domain Authority Means for Search Engine Optimization >>

HARO (Help a Reporter Out)

HARO can be highly effective in building high quality links to your site. It allows you to connect with journalists across all industries. If they use anything you provide them with, you’ll get a link back to your site. The types of outlets range from The Wall Street Journal to local publications to confidential (you won’t find out until your entry is accepted). If you have a knack for writing and want to seek out media coverage, HARO can help you out!

HARO offers both free and paid memberships. With the free membership, you’ll receive three daily emails about media opportunities. The downside is, the opportunities are for all industries — most will not pertain to you and your inbox will overflow quickly. With paid memberships, you’ll be able to enter keywords to help filter out opportunities that don’t fit with your strategy. Higher paid memberships give you a head start, as the free membership usually has a very quick turnaround.

Read more: Link Building Strategies That Won’t Get You Penalized >>

SEO PowerSuite Website Auditor

Constantly knowing how your website measures up is an essential part of ranking in the search engines. Website Auditor gives insight to the health of your website including detailed crawl stats, broken links and 404s, and XML sitemap and robots.txt generators. Website Auditor checks HTTP response codes to eliminate page loading problems. It even checks for HTML code errors and warnings.

Aside from the technical aspects, Website Auditor gives page optimization suggestions with step-by-step instructions. It tells you if you’re keyword stuffing and if your page titles are too long, missing or duplicated. It also monitors crucial social metrics and website traffic, allowing you to discover which social media platforms are working best and your top performing pages. If you’re needing a super robust look into your website, this tool is for you! They offer a free demo and a paid version for exclusive features and the ability to save projects.

SEO PowerSuite Rank Tracker

Rank Tracker does what its name implies, tracks your keyword rankings. You can monitor your progress through graphs and charts, as well as check your current rankings at the touch of a button. It uses 18 different tools to provide profitable keyword suggestions and gives you new keyword ideas for use in your content strategies. Like Website Auditor, they offer a free demo and a paid version for exclusive features and the ability to save projects.

SERPWoo

This happens to be a personal favorite. SERPWoo tracks, monitors, analyzes and saves your keywords’ SERP archives for you. It’s a super advanced platform that allows you to monitor not only your rankings, but the top 100 results in the SERPs. You can track your rankings using GPS coordinates, which is pretty amazing. You can track your rankings in a certain zip code, city, county, and nationally! SERPWoo also accurately monitors your mobile rankings. Since the majority of searches happen via mobile, it’s imperative to pay attention to mobile SERPs.

You can keep an eye out on new competition and major ranking fluctuations all in one place. Now you’re able to see not only who is ranking, but what is ranking – videos, images, maps, etc. With information from (and links to) 3rd party sites like Moz and Alexa, SERPWoo provides a robust look at your rankings and competition.

They offer a free version, which only allows up to three keywords, but it gives you full access to see all the platform has to offer. The paid memberships are reasonably priced and it’s a resource that pays for itself.

SEMrush

This powerful and versatile platform helps you research everything from SEO to pay-per-click, video advertising to social media. You can uncover your competitors organic and paid search strategies, as well as find the most profitable keywords for your website. You’re able to compare domains side-by-side to see in common and unique stats, giving you a better understanding of your competition – even when it comes to social media.

SEMrush can conduct a deep link analysis, helping you understand exactly who is pointing to your site. Keeping an eye on backlinks can avoid a major penalty from Google. With the SEO analysis tool, you’re able to see what’s broken on your site and prioritize what should be fixed first. It also provides an actionable list of recommendations based on Google’s ranking factors.

They do not offer a free version of SEMrush, but their prices are reasonable, considering all you’re getting.

SpyFu

This is a tool we’ve often used to research competitors. SpyFu allows you to enter your competitor’s domain and see every keyword they rank for, gain insight into their Adwords strategy, identify where they receive the most traffic and so much more. The best part? It provides information up to 10 years ago (or as long as the domain has been active, if it’s less than 10 years).

SpyFu allows you to use their platform without a membership, but information is extremely limited, giving you the top five results for each category. However, the paid memberships aren’t overly expensive and allows for unlimited search results and data exports.

Google PageSpeed Insights

PageSpeed Insights by Google gives you insight into how well your website is performing for desktop and mobile devices. Since one of Google’s ranking factors is pagespeed, we suggest running the test monthly to ensure your site stays up to speed. The newest feature is Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, which analyzes your site, testing for mobile responsiveness.

Both tools are free and provide actionable itemized lists of how to fix errors and warnings.

Read more: Why Google’s Mobile-Friendly Search Update is Your New Best Friend >>

Google Webmaster Tools

This platform helps you track your site’s search performance, detailing any issues that may arise. The Search Console allows you to see crawl errors and search analytics. You can submit your sitemap for indexing. You can even see which links are pointing to your site, as well as a list of internal links. We love the Search Analytics feature. It lets you analyze your performance on Google Search by showing you clicks, impressions, click-through-rate (CTR) and position. You can filter and compare results to better understand your users performance.

Google Webmaster Tools is an all around essential tool for any website and is free with your Google Account. Bing Webmaster Tools has a similar platform.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs has a powerful toolset with backlink checking, keyword tracking, and more. The Positions Explorer allows you to analyze your top competitors’ search traffic and paid advertising strategies, including keywords, ad copy, and which landing pages they’re directing traffic to. Its Content Explorer lets you see which pages (or pieces of content) are being linked to and shared the most. Ahrefs will help you understand what kind of content will get you noticed, as well as help you create an outreach strategy for your link building campaigns.

Ahrefs also has a robust alerts feature. Set it up so you receive an email when your business (or any other selected keyword) is mentioned, allowing you to reach out for a backlink in real time. It also notifies you when your competitors gain or lose a backlink so you can tell what’s working and not working for them, and do it better!

Ahrefs offers a two-week free trial giving you access to all the Standard or Lite features. Two weeks is longer than most platforms allow and is a good amount of time to determine if it suits your needs. They have monthly plans with a 20% saving if you pay for the year upfront. They have something for everyone, with the smallest plan best suited for a small business owner and the largest plan which could cover a Fortune 500 marketing agency.

Ready to climb in the rankings this year?

Contact us. Our Inbound Marketing team approaches SEO synergistically, balancing content creation with the nuts and bolts that get you noticed.

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