How to Find the Best SEO Tools [2019 Picks]
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is probably the most important thing you can do for your website. If you own a website then you should not underestimate the importance of SEO.
Good SEO can help you to rank in Google and other search engines, which will drive free traffic to your website, potentially saving you thousands of dollars on paid advertising, so it’s well worth investing the time and money to get it right, because the ROI can be huge. Today we are going to talk about how to find the best SEO tools, so you can make sure you stand out and get found online.
In this article, we are going to talk you through the best SEO tools available (both free and paid) to help you decide which tools you will use for your website. We will also give you some ‘quick fixes’ and things you can do to help improve your SEO straight away.
Before we start, let’s just talk about exactly what SEO is, and why it’s so important…
What is SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing your website to be ranked well by search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing.
If your website ranks well in search engines you will receive more organic web traffic, and the traffic is much more likely to be high quality since people will have found you by searching for keywords relating to your business.
When you search for something in Google, sponsored (paid) listings will come up first, and then immediately below that, you have the first organic search results, which are the results that Google thinks are the most relevant to you. Sponsored listings are marked with the ‘Ad’ symbol, so you can see where the organic search results start.
Millions of searches are performed every day on Google, so if you can make it to the first-page search results for a particular keyword relating to your business, then you will see a huge increase in high-quality free traffic to your website.
Why is SEO Important
Search engines want to provide a good service by giving people the most useful results for their query.
The search engines use keywords, links, and information from the content on your website to decide what they think your website is about, and whether it should be shown to someone in the search results. Google will show the websites that it thinks will be most useful to the searcher on the first page of results, which is why keywords are so important.
Showing up on the first page of the search engine results page (SERP) for your keyword is so important because a large majority of search engine users only click on the first five results when they are looking for something.
Another reason SEO is so important is that it can put you ahead of your competitors. If two websites selling similar products are competing for organic traffic, then the website with better SEO will be the winner!
The 7 Main Areas You Should Focus on to Improve Your SEO
There’s a lot to think about when you are trying to improve your website’s SEO, so to make it simple, these are the main areas you should focus on when you are getting started.
- Provide High-Quality Content. You should provide high-quality content that your readers will find useful. Research shows that longer blog posts of between 2000-2500 words rank best in search engines. Think about quality too, just writing a long blog post isn’t enough. If your content is interesting and useful then it will get shared by your readers, giving you valuable backlinks and bringing you more organic traffic- Hooray!
- Increase Your Website’s Speed. If your website’s loading speed is too slow, people may drop off your website before they have even started reading. There are lots of things that you can do to speed up your websites loading time, such as optimizing your image sizes, checking how many ads you are running on each page, and using HTML5 instead of flash.
- Include Outbound Links in Your Content. When you are talking about another company or product, or even a piece of research, then you should link to their website. Not only does this help your reader trust you (because they can see your sources) but it also helps search engines to trust you too when they can see that you are linking to authority sites.
- Use Header Tags in Your Content. The header tags help search engines see what is a title and what is a subtitle. It’s easier for readers too, especially since people often skim through content, so the headers let them know what you are talking about, and it breaks up the content so it’s not just a huge wall of text.
- Use different Types of Media. As well as having images in your content, it’s a great idea to think about including videos, or even podcasts. Having a variety of different content types help to show search engines that your website is good quality and beneficial to visitors.
- Test for Broken Links. Having lots of broken links on your website can have a damaging effect on your SEO. To fix this you can use a free tool like this Broken Link Checker so you can identify and either edit or remove any broken links from your website. Easy peasy.
- Keyword Research. You can use keyword research tools to find profitable keywords that people are searching for online. Once you have found a keyword/s that you want to use you can start to write useful content based around the keyword to help you rank in search engines for those words. It’s a good idea to look for ‘longtail’ keywords, which are specific three or four-word phrases that people are searching for. It’s easier to rank well for long tail keywords since there is less competition, and the people making these searches are more likely to become buyers.
The Best SEO Tools
Moz Pro is an all in one SEO toolkit that will help you find the right keywords, track your rankings, audit your sites, optimize your pages, find link opportunities, and create custom reports.
The Site Crawl feature crawls and audits your sites so you can see if there are any problems, and quickly fix them if there are. Moz provides advice on what changes you should make and what to prioritize, so you can use your time in the most effective way.
Keyword Explorer is another one of the key tools included, which allows you to undertake in-depth keyword research, and SERP analysis. There is a keyword difficulty score for each word or longtail phrase so you can easily see how easy it will be to rank for various words. You can also spy on your competitors by seeing which keywords they are ranking for too.
Key Features of Moz Pro
- Keyword explorer
- Analyze words by search volume
- Generate and save lists
- Export data
- Find keywords in question format
- Check keyword difficulty
- Rank tracking
- Site crawl and auditing
- On page optimization
- Custom reports
The Benefits of Using Moz Pro
Moz Pro gives you all the tools you need to improve your SEO. The keyword research tool is very valuable in helping you find longtail keywords that will be easy to rank for, and the site crawl feature lets you know where you can make improvements to optimize your SEO.
The Downsides to Using Moz Pro
The dashboard can be confusing at first, especially for beginners. It’s quite expensive too, and the Standard plan does not offer branded reports.
The standard plan is $99/month, but this is really just for the basics. If you want full access to the keyword research tools and higher usage limits then you will probably want to go straight to the ‘Medium’ plan, which is $179/month. There is also a ‘Large’ plan which is $249 and a ‘Premium’ plan which is $599/month.
Ahrefs is a suite of SEO tools which includes Site explorer, Content Explorer, Keyword explorer, Rank Tracker, and an SEO toolbar. These tools help you to perform competitive analysis to see how your competitors are ranking, and they show you how you can outrank them.
The keyword explorer has a dashboard that very clearly shows you the difficulty of each word, so you can calculate the traffic potential, and it also provides thousands of keyword suggestions for you to choose from. The Content Explorer tool lets you find and analyze the top ranking content in your niche, so you can learn from your competitor’s marketing strategy.
Key Features of Ahrefs
- Site Explorer
- Keyword explorer
- Content Explorer
- Rank Tracker
- Sire audit
- SEO toolbar
- Backlink Checker
- SERP Checker
- Youtube keyword tool
- Amazon keyword tool
- Bing keyword tool
- Keyword generator
- Link checker
- Broken link checker
The Benefits of Using Ahrefs
Ahrefs has one of the best link databases around, with all the tools you need to use to work on your SEO. The SEO toolbar is a useful extension for Chrome and Firefox that lets you instantly view a snapshot of the SEO for each page you land on, including backlinks, Ahrefs domain ranking, number of ranking keywords, and more.
The Downsides to Using Ahrefs
You can’t export graphs, which could be useful as a visual aid when working with a team, however, you could still screenshot them if required.
The ‘Lite’ plan is $99/month, but it’s quite limited, so you may want to move on to the popular ‘Standard’ plan which is $179/month. There is also an advanced plan at $399/month and an agency plan for $999/month, these plans have much higher usage limits.
SEMrush is another all in one SEO toolkit which will help you develop content and advertising strategies to improve your SEO. SEMrush has a Domain vs. Domain feature where you can view two domains side by side to compare them, which is perfect for when you are trying to outrank your competitors.
With the ‘Charts’ tool, it’s easy to see where you are ranking and find opportunities where you can grow and improve. The Keyword Magic tool helps you generate the ideal profitable keywords, and you can save all of the best ones in the Keyword Analyzer.
Key Features of SEMrush
- Keyword Difficulty
- Domain vs. Domain
- Keyword magic tool
- CPC map
- Analytics reports
- Backlink Checker
- Traffic analytics
- Branded reports
The Benefits of Using SEMrush
SEMrush is intuitive and easy to use, so anyone can get started with this set of tools straight away, and it’s trusted by lots of big brands such as eBay, Quora, and BNP Paribas, so you know you’re in good hands. There is also a community where you can ask questions and get help, as well as the SEMrush Academy where you can learn the tools and take exams.
The Downsides to Using SEMrush
There aren’t really any downsides to using SEMrush, except it’s quite expensive (although it’s still in line with the other ‘all in one’ SEO tools). The starter plan gives you all the basics but unfortunately does not include branded reports so if you are running a business or agency you may want to go straight to the Guru plan.
There are three main plans available, the ‘Pro’ plan which is $99.95/month, the ‘Guru’ plan which is $199.95/month and the ‘Business’ plan which is $399.95/month.
Google Webmasters – Search Console
Google Webmasters Search Console is a suite of tools from Google that will help you improve your SEO. This set of tools is perfect for newbies just getting started with SEO, as it is quite easy to get to grips with and there is lots of support, including a free live chat service during office hours to help you through any problems.
There are free mini-courses such as The Webmaster Academy, which will help any beginner learn how to create a great website with great content that will be found easily in a google search.
Key Features of Google Webmasters – Search Console
- Search analytics
- View links to your site
- Fetch as Google
- Sitelinks – View how Google reads your website
- Site Index
The Benefits of Using Google Webmasters
Google Webmasters and Search Console will help you to understand how Google views your website, so you can make adjustments and improvements to make sure you are found in Google SERP’s. It’s a free tool, so everyone can use it, and it’s particularly good for beginners due to all the support and documentation available to walk you through the process.
The Downsides of Using Google Webmasters
There aren’t any downsides to this tool, other than you can’t perform keyword research of competitor analysis with this tool.
Screaming Frog – SEO Spider Tool
Screaming Frog is a UK based marketing agency who created the SEO Spider Tool. This tool is a website crawler which allows you to crawl websites’ URLs so that you can collect data and analyze and audit their onsite SEO.
The SEO Spider tool can be used to find broken links, discover duplicate content, analyze page titles and metadata, and more, it also integrates with Google analytics so that you can compare data such as bounce rates and sessions, against the data from the crawl.
Key Features of the SEO Spider Tool
- Find broken links
- Audit redirects
- Analyze page titles and metadata
- Discover duplicate content
- Extract Data
- Review Robots and Directives
- Generate XML sitemaps
- Integrate with Google Analytics
- Visualize site architecture
The Benefits of Using the SEO Spider Tool
This tool is trusted by brands like Apple, Google, and Disney, so you know that you can trust the software. The SEO Spider Tool helps you to very quickly find and understand any problems with your website. It is easy to understand, so it’s great for beginners, and you can get started for free!
The Downsides of Using the SEO Spider Tool
The SEO Spider Tool doesn’t run on the cloud, and it updates itself constantly. Sometimes there is a short delay while it finishes updating before you can start using it.
There is a free plan with most of the basic features. If you are a larger business then you may want to purchase a license to use to have access to all of the features. The license is just £149.00 per year per license.
LongTailPro is a keyword research tool that helps you find long tail keywords that you can rank for in search engines. You simply need to enter ‘seed keywords’ (just one or two words) and it will give you hundreds of longtail suggestions.
You can run keyword and competitor analysis so you can see how competitive your keywords will be, and you can also see the profitability of each keyword with rank value.
It’s also a great tool for checking out what’s working for your competitors, by starting with their URL and letting LongTailPro dissect their keyword strategy, giving you a head start working with what you know is already working!
Key Features of LongTailPro
- Related keyword search
- Competitor keyword search
- Manual keywords
- Filters for monthly searches and suggested bids
- Keyword metrics
- Measure keywords for difficulty
- View Trust Flow, Citation Flow, Site Age, and Referring Domains of your competitors
- Rank Tracker
- Lots of learning tools available including Long Tail Bootcamp and Long Tail University
The Benefits of Using LongTailPro
LongTailPro is a great tool for when you are trying to outrank your competitors in search engines. It’s very easy to use, and it gives you hundreds of keyword suggestions in bulk. The color-coded competitiveness score lets you know how easy (or hard) it will be to rank for your keyword.
The Downsides to Using LongTailPro
It can occasionally be a little slow when pulling up results.
LongTailPro offers a free 7-day trial with hands-on training, so you can try the tool before committing to a monthly plan. Plans are very good value, starting at just $37/month for the starter plan (or $25/month when billed annually). The pro plan is $67/month, and the agency plan is $147/month. All plans offer a discount if you pay upfront for a year.
KWFinder is a keyword research tool that lets you find keywords that you can easily rank for. You can use this tool to find your own keywords, as well as to see what your competitors are ranking for.
When you perform a search, you are also able to view historical data so that you can identify trends, seasonal keywords and hot topics that could help you drive traffic to your website.
If you are a local business, you can also use this tool to find location-specific Long Tail Keywords. There are more than 50,000 locations to choose from, and you can view precise local search results for each keyword.
Key Features of KWFinder
- Find hidden long tail keywords
- Filter keywords that are not profitable
- Bulk import keywords
- Find your competitors keywords
- Organize your keywords with lists
- Local keyword research
- Most accurate keyword difficulty
- Search volume and keyword metrics
- SERP analysis and SEO metrics
- Keyword planner alternative
The Benefits of Using KWFinder
You can use KWFinder to find keywords and see how easy or difficult they will be to rank for. The local search feature is particularly useful to local businesses such as gyms, bars and restaurants, and high street shops.
The Downsides to Using KWFinder
The basic plan has low search limits and doesn’t allow for simultaneous logins.
KWFinder offers a 10-day free trial if you want to give it a try. There is a basic plan for €44.90/month, but this plan is quite limited. The most popular option is the premium plan which is €64.90/month and there is also an agency plan for €114.90/month. All plans offer a discount if you pay upfront for a year.
SEOquake is a free browser extension which performs on-page SEO audits, lets you examine links, compare domains and export all data into a file to save for later use. It’s very easy to use, and you can analyze any page at the click of a button, without having to log in to separate SEO software.
The diagnosis feature lets you see any problems with your own websites so you can fix them quickly, and the keyword analysis tool allows you to see where you are ranking, as well as spy on your competitors ranking keywords.
Key Features of SEOquake
- SEO Bar
- SEO dashboard
- SERP overlay
- Vast Data
- Keyword analysis
- Print and export your data
The Benefits of Using SEOquake
SEOquake is one of the best free SEO tools available. You can easily perform on page site audits, and see how you are ranking against your competitors. The dashboard is intuitive and easy to use, and since this tool is completely free to use, it’s a no brainer. What are you waiting for?
The Downsides to Using SEOquake
While this is a great tool to perform SEO audits, it isn’t a full keyword research tool, so you will still need to use another keyword research tool like SEMrush, or LongTailPro for more in-depth research.
Answer The Public
Answer The Public is a free keyword research tool that lets you visualize keyword data. All you need to do is enter your keywords and you will be given a visual results page of questions and phrases related to your keyword that are commonly used.
The results are question based keywords that your audience would be searching for online. You can use Answer The Public to find interesting new topics to write about relating to your niche, you never run out of ideas with this tool at your fingertips!
Key Features of Answer The Public
- Keyword Visualization tool
- View Questions
- View Prepositions
- View Comparisons
- Downloadable images of the visual data
- View Related Keywords
The Benefits of Using Answer The Public
Answer the public can help you to find interesting new topics to write about relating to your keywords. It can also help you to understand your audience by seeing what kind of questions they are asking about the topic.
The Downsides to Using Answer The Public
The tool itself is quite limited, so you will still need another keyword research tool to do more in-depth keyword research, but it’s a great basic tool to give you ideas for keywords.
There is a very limited free version available, so you can check it out and see how the tool works. If you want access to unlimited searches, location-based searches, and downloadable reports then you will need the ‘pro’ plan which is $99/month.
If you are a WordPress user, then the Yoast SEO plugin is an absolute must! This is a plugin for WordPress websites that lets you view your SEO rating as you’re writing content for each page.
You can enter the keyword or phrase that you want to rank for, and Yoast will let you know if you are using the word enough (or too much). It uses a traffic light system (green for good, amber for OK, and red for anything that needs improvement) and it gives you advice on what you can do to improve the SEO on each page or blog post.
Key Features of Yoast SEO
- Optimize your content for keywords
- Check for key phrases and variations of the phrase
- Optimize for related keywords
- Internal linking suggestions
- Snippet editor- preview your page in Google
- Readability check
- Content insights
- Redirect manager
- Focus Keyword export
The Benefits of Using Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is very easy to use lets you view your SEO rating as you are writing, so you can make any changes needed then and there. It is a plugin for WordPress which is one of the most widely used website builders around.
The Downsides of Using Yoast SEO
We couldn’t really think of any downsides to using Yoast, it’s a great tool. If we had to pick something it would just be that the free version doesn’t include all the features of the premium version.
There is a free version of Yoast SEO which includes basic features. If you want to have access to all of the features then Yoast SEO premium is just $79 per website, which includes a year of free updates and support.
More SEO Tools out there
All of the SEO tools we have talked about today are great tools and will go a long way to helping you improve your SEO. But how do you know which tools are best for you? We have split the winners into categories, to help you decide which ones you want to use to improve your onsite SEO.
The Best SEO Tool For Keyword Research
Our favorite Keyword research tool has got to be LongTailPro. This tool will help you to easily find long tail keywords that you will be able to rank for in search engines. All you need to do is enter a ‘seed’ keyword, and you will be given hundreds of suggestions of long tail keywords, along with their difficulty rating. You can also use this tool to check out your competitors SEO strategy by entering their URL into the search bar. You can then start to dissect their keyword strategy, see what’s working, and then try to outrank them!
The Best SEO Tool for Site Auditing
If you are looking to audit your website, then the Spider SEO tool by Screaming Frog is the tool for you. This tool is a website crawler, so you can enter your domain and Spider SEO will crawl the pages for you, and provide you with a list of any errors such as broken links and duplicate content, so you can easily correct any problems that might be damaging to your SEO. It’s free to get started with this tool, so we highly recommend it. You can also upgrade to the full license for just £149/year.
The Best All In One SEO Toolkit
If you are looking for an all in one SEO toolkit, then we highly recommend AHrefs. This tool has everything you need to plan and execute a winning SEO strategy. It includes a keyword explorer, content explorer, and an SEO toolbar, as well as loads of other useful features. The backlink checker lets you see backlinks on your own website, as well as your competitors, and you can also view which keywords your competitors are ranking for so you can stay on top of the competition and try to outrank them. There is also a broken link checker so you can audit your site and remove any broken links quickly before they start to affect your SEO.