As Modern Marketers, we stress the importance of implementing search engine optimization (SEO) for your online marketing. A constant eye on current SEO trends, tactics, and updates is imperative to keeping up with its rapidly evolving role within digital marketing. When Google was established, marketers used certain strategies to boost their search engine rank (e.g., keyword stuffing), eventually, Google frowned upon many of those tactics, hurting brands who thought they were doing the right thing. This reminds us to always keep SEO in mind when performing any digital marketing task. While keeping up with SEO requires much attention and diligence, it’s what makes marketing so exciting. Why do we have such love for this process? For starters, significant statistics like this one:
Ninety-three percent of online experiences begin with a search engine.
Because SEO should play a major role in your marketing strategy, there is an overwhelming number of tools to facilitate the task. To make things more interesting, these tools aren’t simply different brands offering the same services—each one has a unique purpose with its own strengths and weaknesses. To help you hand pick the SEO tools that’ll best serve your marketing strategy, we’ve put together a list of 26 reputable Google, keyword, toolkit, and website analyzer tools.
Google isn’t the only name in search, but they’re certainly the largest—they lay claim to over 60 percent of the US desktop market and over 90 percent of the US mobile market. A fact that should bring their tools to the top of your short list.
Google’s Keyword Planner is the ultimate free keyword tool for anyone with an AdWords account. Use this tool to discover keyword ideas, historical statistics, performance predictions, and competitive bids. Described by Google as “a workshop for building new search network campaigns or expanding existing ones,” AdWords is sure to guide you through each step of the keyword planning process.
A free program, Google Analytics offers access to valuable data tools and educational video tutorials to optimize those tools. This program helps you understand your customers through data collection from different channels (desktop, mobile, etc.) and make educated decisions based on website intelligence and experimentation. Google Analytics will help you understand the data you collect, so you can optimize your marketing. You’ll have access to a myriad of information and reports, including information on your audience, traffic sources, devices, in-page browsing, site speed, performance, and website. Looking for even more analytics tools? Adometry by Google, useful for integrating data and analytics information across multiple channels, Analytics for Mobile Apps, and Tag Manager are available for large businesses through Analytics Premium.
This Google Developers tool focuses in on two ever-important SEO elements: your website’s speed and user experience. Receive a desktop and mobile grade for each element in addition to suggestions for how to improve your grade. Stuck on how to carry out a recommendation? Google shows you exactly how you can fix each infraction. You’ll also have access to all of the rules you passed, so you can continue implementing proven practices.
Due to Google’s prominence in the search market, you need to abide by all of Google’s algorithms and rules. Without following their laws of search, a large portion of your audience may miss you when looking for sites matching your keywords. Google’s Search Console, previously known as Google Webmaster Tools, helps you stay Google-friendly. The first step is claiming ownership over your domain. Once you prove the site is yours, you’ll have access to all of the tools within, from data and analytics to links to usability to keyword information. This tool is extensive and geared toward developers, so we’ll highlight several of the key tools, but know there are more features than we can cover here. HTML Improvements helps you locate duplicate content, Search Analytics reveals important organic search information, Manual Actions highlights any Google penalties your site was hit with (this page is key), Mobile Usability highlights any red flags on the mobile-friendly front.
Google Trends reveals the topics audiences are searching for and the top stories they’re reading. Browsing Google Trends as a marketer helps you create content to appeal to them, optimize your keywords accordingly, and write optimal titles and tags. While Google Trends reveals the top stories upon your arrival, you can also search for any term in a set region, timeframe, or type of search (web, image, news, etc.). Google will tell you the interest in the term over time, give you insight into which regions are most interested, and suggest related search terms. You can also search through categories including Business and Industrial, Arts and Entertainment, Finance, and Health to learn how your term fares in a particular industry.
Keyword Eye is a tool designed for the visually inclined. For any keyword, they’ll show a cloud of similar keywords of varying shapes and sizes. Big keywords mean more people are searching for that word within the past month and green keywords mean it’s a less competitive word. Small keywords mean fewer people have been searching for that word and red keywords mean more competitors are excelling at that word. You can also explore trending questions and influencers with Keyword Eye. Their basic tool is free and searches 36 Google databases, including Google Autosuggest Tool, Amazon Keyword Tool, and YouTube Autosuggest Tool. Their $17 per month Pro plan and $79 per month Team plan both feature unlimited searches and more than six additional tools.
This tool is best for the simple searcher. For any keyword, this tool provides Google, YouTube, Bing, and App Store tabs to view a list of related search terms and more than 750 long-tail keywords on that network. Want more detailed information? Subscribe to Keyword Tool Pro—which has pricing tiers at $48 per month, $68 per month, and $88 per month for more keywords, search volume information, AdWords cost-per-click, and AdWords competition.
This tool focuses in on two important elements of SEO: title tags and meta description tags. Optimizing these two elements of your website can have a direct impact on how your site ranks for your keywords. For any keyword you’d like to rank for, this tool provides a list of keywords to consider including in your title and meta description. Once you select your keywords, use their character counter to write your tags and view how they’ll appear as a search result. A simple and free tool to use.
SerpBook keeps track of your keyword rankings on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Google Maps, Google Mobile, and YouTube for you (and your clients if you’re in the B2B marketing biz like us). You can then export and brand your information on whitelabel reports. This program works through the cloud, so you can check your real-time rankings from any device or share results with other users. You’ll also receive information on number of backlinks, your SEO competition, and monthly Google searches. SerpBook plans range from $9.95/month for 50 keywords and 150 updates per day to $329.95/month for 5,000 keywords and 15,000 updates per day, with several options in between.
Soovle is a straightforward way to discover keywords. For any keyword, they’ll provide a list of ten or more alternate keywords on Google, Bing, YouTube, Yahoo!, Amazon, Answers.com, and Wikipedia. Click each logo to rotate the lists in a clockwise fashion to view your favorite list at the top (or just for fun). This tool is a nice option if you want to see the top results for multiple search engines at once. The lists aren’t nearly as comprehensive as most keyword tools, however, so if you’re looking for a wealth of keywords, try a different tool.
Übersuggest’s tagline is “Suggest on steroids!,” a clear indicator that this tool is not your average keyword tool. Übersuggest’s results are methodical. For every word you search, you’ll receive a list of the top related long-tail keywords and results for your keyword + every letter of the alphabet. An interesting way to find long-tail keywords from your original selection.
Sample ÜberSuggest Results
Wordstream’s Free Keyword Tool gives you 30 keyword searches and a list of 100 keywords for each search. Each word comes with a handy visual showing the relative frequency that keyword is searched for. What’s unique, is they let you delete keywords off the list that don’t relate to your search or you don’t need, so you can narrow it down to the ones you could really use. For Google search volume and competitor information, you’ll have to purchase their PPC software, WordStream Advisor, which starts at $279 per month. If you’re simply looking to Wordstream for keywords, we’d recommend sticking with the free option unless your needs go further into the pay-per-click realm.
It’s imperative to ensure your site ranks well on Bing, the second-most popular search engine. To help you accomplish that goal and increase website traffic, Bing offers a set of webmaster tools. These tools aim to improve your Bing listing and website. Not only do they help you improve your website and search presence, they give you a better understanding of your website visitors and search engine users. Bonus: if you sign up any time between now and the end of 2015, you’ll receive a $100 credit toward search advertising on the Yahoo! Bing Network.
BrightLocal is a compilation of seven local SEO tools to improve your search efforts. These tools consist of a keyword rank tracker, business citation tracker, directory submission service, review monitoring, local SEO reporter, and website review badges. While this tool comes at a monthly cost, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial, and they have plans for unique business types and sizes. Plans include a $19.99 per month Single Business plan with a selection of reports and up to three locations; a $34.99 per month Multi-Business plan with additional reports, white-label reports, and up to six locations; a $64.99 per month SEO Pro plan with everything the previous plans have plus full API access and up to 100 locations; and custom plans for those with more locations or unique needs.
Microsoft’s Free SEO Toolkit helps you with SEO for all of the major search engines, including Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. Their three top goals are to increase website visitors (and revenue as a result), keep your information current on search engines, and improve website UX. These tools are a great start to focusing on SEO and a budget-friendly entrance into the world of SEO.
Moz offers a wealth of free and paid tools to help with SEO. Their free tools include Open Site Explorer, which reveals URL information, including authority, page link metrics, inbound links, and top pages. Followerwonk is their free Twitter analytics tool to help you grow your presence on the social network. Wish you could have all of your SEO tools in a simple toolbar? Try their MozBar, their SEO toolbar for Chrome or Firefox, which gives you easy access to social metrics, page elements, authorship, and more. MozLocal checks where you’re listed, so you can make sure your local presence is where you need it to be. Finally, check out their unique and fun MozCast tool, a daily weather report indicating whether the Google algorithm has changed over the past few days.
If you’re looking for more tools, their Moz Pro subscription includes Moz Analytics for keyword ranking and search visibility, Fresh Web Explorer for mention monitoring and link building, Rank Tracker for page and domain keyword ranking, On-Page grader for on-page keyword information, Keyword Difficulty for rank and competitor difficulty, and Crawl Test for site audits up to 3,000 pages long. Pricing for Moz Pro begins at $99 per month for a Standard subscription and increases from there.
Free tool Browseo helps you understand and improve your website’s SEO by taking two steps. 1. It strips down a website to pure HTML, so you can view it without any style distractions. 2. It highlights elements on the page that affect SEO. By taking these steps, you can decide how to improve the elements of your website including headings, response, internal or external links, and number of words on the page.
The Check My Links plugin for Chrome scans your website (typically while in the design or build stages) for broken links straight from your toolbar. If a link is broken, the tool will highlight it in red, if it works, it’ll highlight it in green. A quick way to ensure you have working links before your website goes live.
This link building tool helps you locate inbound opportunities that could improve SEO. These tasks include: finding guest blogging opportunities, locating industry influencers who could share your content, and discovering resources where you can add your website links. Because Citation Labs’ Link Prospector combines all of these essential inbound marketing SEO tasks to one platform and does much of the research for you, it cuts down the time and labor it takes to maintain your website’s SEO.
This three-tabbed report of your website includes a website analyzer, social media analysis, and competitor analysis. QuickSprout Website Analyzer reports are simple to navigate, read, and understand. First, the Website Analyzer assigns an SEO score and a speed score. From there, you’ll receive an SEO analysis outlining errors, warnings, passed elements, top keywords, indexed pages, backlinks, and social media impact. This is no speedy report, however, it takes well over ten minutes to download all of the information it needs. You’ll also encounter several CTA pop-ups, which can be distracting if you really want to focus in on the SEO task at hand. QuickSprout Website Analyzer offers Pro plans for those who choose not to wait for the free report to load or would like more in-depth reports.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool is a widely used local computer program that crawls your website for pertinent onsite SEO data in addition to auditing and analyzing that information. A small snippet of this data includes blocked URLs, anchor text, meta keywords, file size, response time, images, and word count. You can also export key elements to Excel, including URL, meta descriptions, headings, and titles. As opposed to many SEO tools, Screaming Frog crawls up to 500 URLs at once, so you can analyze multiple pages as opposed to running each URL though the program.
Sign up to receive a free domain report covering geography, ranking, market analysis, links, social, rank, mobile, and content. An overview first covers your SEO and mobile visibility, then delves into number of organic and paid keywords, SEO value and value potential, a few competitors, number of backlinks, and number of social links. The free report is vague compared to others, so you’ll want to upgrade to receive enough information to truly benefit your SEO. Plans start at $69 per month and rise to an undisclosed number for their Suite version.
SEMrush’s free report reveals a solid amount of quality information, including top organic keywords, main organic competitors, backlinks, branded and non-branded search, and referring domains. Each list contains 10 elements, with the option to upgrade to receive a full report. A Pro subscription is $69.95 per month and includes 10,000 results per report, 3,000 reports per day, and 500 keywords to track. Plans raise in price and offering from there, with their most expensive Business report costing $549.95 per month. This price includes 50,000 results per report, 10,000 reports per day, 6,000 keywords to track, branded reports, and historical data.
We award SEO SiteCheckup an A+ for their UX. Their report reveals a score and a graph of passed checks, failed checks, and warnings. The report then runs through common SEO issues, speed optimizations, mobile usability, and advanced SEO, letting you know which elements need to be fixed. This report is free and perfect for someone who knows how to fix SEO-related issues. If you need help fixing them, register for their priced plans, ranging from Basic at $19.95 per month to Professional at $79.95 per month. These plans offer more in-depth reports, checkers, and monitoring tools.
Varvy is key for the marketer on a budget as it’s a completely free report with no opportunity—or temptation—to upgrade to a more expensive option. This report reveals your Google page rank, Alexa rank, number of internal and external links, social shares, recent Google+ and Twitter mentions, content advice, keywords, image analyzation, page speed, and much, much more. Varvy isn’t as in-depth as some of the others we’ve covered, but this quick overview helps you to think about the big SEO picture and flag anything that needs attention at a glance.
WooRank helps you to optimize, promote, and measure your website with a clean and user-friendly report. The free overview starts with a score and visual recap of how many items your site passed, how many you need to improve, and how many errors you triggered. You’ll then receive a marketing checklist prioritizing what tasks to complete along with suggestions on how to complete them. Next, WooRank provides a list of SEO, mobile, usability, technology, backlink, and social elements that passed, need improvement, or have in error. For more features, check out their Pro Plan designed for webmasters at $49/month with unlimited website reviews and an advanced review, which includes additional insights on mobile visits, server uptime, backlinks Facebook, local directories, and more. WooRank also recommends Certified Experts in your area to help with any SEO needs, a key tool if you’d like one-on-one assistance completing any recommendations on WooRank’s report.
This plugin is key if you’re building a WordPress website. From title and meta description templates to breadcrumbs control to RSS enhancements to permalink cleanup, you can complete all of your SEO tasks with one plugin. The plugin is free, but they offer a premium version starting at $89 per month for one website. This version comes complete with a redirect manager (perfect if you’re switching your website to a new URL) and video tutorials on each feature, a helpful element if you’re new to SEO.