What are the best SEO tools to use?

When it comes to SEO tools, there are so many out there that it can become overwhelming to those with less experience. Each one tries to pitch on why they are the best and why an SEO should choose them over the others. In the world of SEO, there are only a few tools that really stand out as the best and a necessity to professional SEO’s.

SEM Rush

Price: from $99.95 per month

SEM Rush offers great insights in to the current organic presence of a website. Some of the key features, amongst many others, include;

Number of organic keywords

SEM Rush will tell users how many organic keywords are currently ranking in the top 100 for this website and list them accordingly. Using this data, it also gives a rough estimation on the currently monthly website traffic a website is receiving.

 

This feature provides valuable data that can be exported, to help find how many keywords a website currently ranks for on page one or two etc.

The above feature is excellent for preliminary analysis of a website before starting the SEO, or, providing valuable insight in to the competition and keyword ideas to aim for.

Onsite Reports

SEM Rush offer quite comprehensive, full, onsite SEO reports with a nice interface highlighting onsite errors that may be holding a user’s website back in the rankings.

 

Other SEM Rush features include.

  • PPC traffic estimates
  • SEO suggestions
  • Rank tracking
  • Backlink analysis
  • Brand mentions

 

Although SEM Rush does offer hundreds of features, its strengths and the reason so many use this software, are its ability to quickly analyse a websites current organic state and to help find keyword ideas that can be improved or added to SEO campaigns.

 

Screaming Frog SEO Spider

Price: Free (up to 500 pages crawled per website), full subscription from £149.00 per year

Most will agree that Screaming Frog SEO Spider is an absolute necessity for any professional SEO.

Screaming Frog SEO Spider simply crawls a website and returns the information in the form spreadsheet like interface. This makes it excellent for getting a visual feel of a websites structure.

Screaming Frog returns important META information such as title’s, headings, descriptions, alt text and more… Making it the perfect tool for a preliminary onsite audit. Spotting missing META information or 404 pages, both of which can be bad for a websites SEO, becomes very easy with Screaming Frog.

The right-hand column indicates any missing or duplicate information. Meaning a user does not have to trawl through the whole website nit picking.

AHRefs

Price: from $99 per month

AHRefs is predominantly a link analysing tool. In the world of SEO, the two most dominant backlink analysers have been “Majestic” and “AHRefs”.

Both offer similar features, although recently AHRefs appears to have taken the preference of most SEO’s. AHRefs has done this by simply having a bigger database, hence, returning a more accurate picture of a websites backlink profile.

For professional SEO’s some form of backlink analysing tool is an absolute necessity and it is important to use the one that returns the most accurate information. There are many tools out there, however, most tend not to have the size of database that AHRefs has.

Some of its key features include;

Metrics analysis

Its ability to very quickly return metrics on how many backlinks a website has and from how many referring domains these come from.

List of backlinks or referring domains

With AHRefs it is easy to view or export a comprehensive list of all the backlinks or referring domains pointing at a website, including whether the links are follow or no follow.

Domain Rating (DR) metric

AHRefs, in all its wisdom has used its information to score referring domains, helping the users get an idea of the power of a backlink and the value that it may (or may not) be passing through to their website.

Individual page analysis

This is a great feature to look at the individual pages on a website and see information like how many backlinks each one has directed at it or how many social shares they’ve had.

Status of pages

A great feature of AHRefs is its ability to highlight 404 pages which have backlinks pointing at them. Then the page can be redirected and the “link juice” should flow through to the website.

Lost/Gained Links

Another awesome feature that SEO’s use SEMRush for is its ability to look at how many links have been gained vs how many are being lost over a period. This information is nicely portrayed in a graph. This feature is great for troubleshooting and analysis of campaigns that might be struggling to rank. If they are losing more links that they are gaining, this might be a reason why. Also, it can be used to measure the “Link Velocity” and keep an eye on things so they know they’re not building too many links at once all to the same pages etc.

Other features include;

  • Anchor text distribution analyser
  • Organic keyword analysis
  • Movement checker
  • Geographical location of the referring i.p’s.
  • And many more…

 

One of the key uses of AHRefs is not only the analysis of a user’s own website, but also a comprehensive analysis of the competition. Giving user’s a good idea of what they need to aim for and where they might be falling short.

A lot of SEO’s will also run their competitors, or their client’s competitors, through AHRefs to look for back linking opportunities. By seeing who is pointing at their competitor’s website they may be able to reach out to those websites and try to get placements on those sites too.

Majestic

Price: from £39.99

Majestics is a backlink analysing tool much like AHRefs. As mentioned before, Majestic does not have as big a database as AHRefs and tends to find slightly less links on average than AHRefs. However, Majestic is a great tool to use to check the metrics of domains that pointing at a site. Or analysing a domain first to see if it is a site a webmaster would like a backlink from.

Majestic gives the domains a score that they name “Citation Flow” and “Trust Flow”, or CF and TF as many refer to them.

The Citation Flow score is a score that Majestic gives based on how many links are pointing at that domain. The Trust Flow score gives an indication of how many of those links are “Trusted” based on Majestics database of information and what they deem to be a trusted or untrusted kind of link.

 

Majestic also gives an indication of the topic of the links which point to that domain. Helping SEO’s find the most topically relevant backlinks with high trust.

Other features include;

  • Anchor text analysis
  • New vs lost backlinks
  • Geographical location of the referring i.p’s.

Moz

Price: from $79.00 per month

Moz is another one of the best SEO tools out there now. It is certainly one of the most popular. Moz like Majestic and AHRefs, has its own way of scoring domains. Moz, using all its wisdom has come up with DA and PA… Or “Domain Authority and Page Authority”.

DA is the score it gives to the domain and PA is the score it gives to individual pages.

The “Authority” score runs from 0 – 100. 100 being most authority and 0 being no authority.

It is another way that SEO’s analyse how powerful, or how much value a backlink is passing through to their website. One of the problems people face with Moz is that their metrics are easily manipulated by black hat SEO’s. For this reason, a lot of SEO’s turn to Majestic or AHRefs for analysis.

However, Moz does much more than just score domains. Moz Pro, the paid version, gives access to tonnes of useful SEO tools. Some of the key features are;

Keyword Explorer

Excellent for initial analysis of keyword competition. Moz returns information on who are in the top positions for the keywords are being analysed. Plus, it gives a “Keyword Difficulty” score which helps SEO’s determine how difficult a keyword is to rank for. This gives SEO’s an idea on the resources they are going to need to put in to rank a keyword and ultimately what kind of budget they should be charging (or spending).

On-page Grader

The on-page grader allows users to plug in the URL of the page they want to analyse and MOZ will return any onsite issues the page might have.

Brand Mentions

MOZ’s tool for crawling the internet looking for brand mentions is one of the reason a lot of SEO’s choose Moz. A user can set up a campaign in Moz Pro for their client so that when a website somewhere mentions the brand on their website, Moz will find this and send a notification through to the user.

This is an excellent too that SEO’s use for link building opportunities. Once they get a notification of a brand mention they can then reach out to the webmaster and request a link back to their website from the article or mention.

Moz Bar

Moz Bar is an awesome free feature of Moz which installs an extension on to a web browser, which will return the metrics (DA and PA) of which ever page being viewed at the time, amongst SEO other information. This feature is widely used by SEO’s who are quickly scanning to see the value of pages.

Other features include

  • Keyword suggestions
  • Crawl test
  • Rank tracker
  • And many more…

Rank Ranger

Price: from $69.00 per month

One of the most widely used tools for tracking rankings of keywords. Rank Ranger provides a very nice user friendly interface which is not only nice to look at but gives great information on how rankings are performing and have performed over time.

Some of the key features of Rank Ranger are;

Rank Tracking

The most obvious one. What separates Rank Ranger from the rest is the accuracy in information it returns. Anybody in SEO will admit that rank tracking tools can sometimes be a little off in comparison to what is going on if a manual Google search is done. This can be for several reasons, but Rank Ranger seems to be one of the most accurate tools out there now.

Rank Ranger offers a wide range of information including visual snapshots of how ranking have moved day by day over the past week, week by week over a period of months and so on.

It keeps a track of the baseline rankings (where they started off) and how much they have improved/or not. How many places they might be up or down for the month, week, or even on the previous day.

Client dashboard

An excellent feature that Rank Ranger provides is a dashboard that a client can be sent log in information too. This way they can log in at any time and keep a close eye on rankings. This allows for full transparency with the client so they are not feeling left in the dark as to what is going on. The dashboards can be branded with the client’s logo.

 

Google Webmaster Tools

Price: Free

Finally, the most important tool in SEO. Google Webmaster Tools is a must for any webmaster looking to have their website rank in the Google search. Every feature in GWT is a key, much needed feature.

Amongst many other things GWT allows users to;

 

  • Fetch Google’s crawlers to Index the website.
  • De-index certain pages
  • Submit a sitemap to Google
  • Disavow bad links (tell Google to disregard them)
  • Find top-ranking search queries
  • Check that the crawlers are accessing correctly
  • View backlinks to the website
  • And many more…

Linking Google Webmaster Tools to Google Analytics gives the webmaster or SEO tonnes of information on the current organic state of their website and how traffic is navigating and using their website.

 

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