The need for SEO and digital marketing has increased substantially over the past few years, and in the current environment, it has become even more important to business. This continuous growth and demand for digital optimization has brought along a number of different SEO tools and softwares to help facilitate, execute, and achieve your digital marketing goals. With so many options to choose from, it can often be overwhelming and confusing to narrow down which tools are most useful and effective.
Whether you’re a seasoned SEO expert or just starting your SEO journey for your own business, here’s a list of our essential SEO tools everyone should have in their SEO toolbox. We have broken down our essential SEO tools list into the following categories; Technical SEO, Keyword Research, and Link Building.
Technical SEO tools are tools that help you optimize the technical aspects of your website. The technical SEO aspects of your website are considered to be one of the most important SEO ranking factors. Technical areas of your site that Google will inspect are: sitemap statuses, robots.txt, HTTPS status, page speed, mobile-friendliness, and metadata. Below is a list of essential SEO tools that will help you optimize each of these areas.
SEMrush is a multi-faceted tool that can be used for competitive research, keyword research, and link building among other things. However, this tool is extremely useful for auditing the technical SEO aspects and your site with SEMrush’s site health audit tool.
This feature allows you to quickly assess the technical ranking factors of your site, and grades the overall health of your site. The easy to use interface of SEMrush clearly organizes the data pulled from your site by the level of severity, informing you which technical aspects will have the most impact on your site and its ability to rank well. The wealth of information this tool provides about your on-page SEO, and other insightful data like keyword trends, makes SEMrush an essential tool that no SEO should go without.
Screaming Frog is a desktop website crawler that also allows you to quickly analyze the on-page technical SEO aspects of your website such as: URL errors, response codes, metadata, images files, and more. Screaming Frog is often referred to as a one-stop-shop SEO tool because of its capabilities to isolate and review multiple areas of your website with a fine-tooth comb.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool offered by Google which allows you to review the indexation, search appearance, and overall site performance of your site. Search console is often hailed as one of the most powerful and useful free SEO tools because of the information it provides about how Google crawls and ranks your website. With search console, you have the ability to see your top-performing pages and search queries, you can review the coverage of your sitemap, and you can review more technical aspects of your site like site security, mobile usability, internal linking, and structured data. The ability to monitor and fix technical SEO factors that can directly impact how Google interacts with your website is unrivaled by any other SEO tools. If you are looking for a place to start optimizing your site, Google Search Console is it.
Google PageSpeed Insights
Since Google’s transition to mobile-first indexing, page speed has increasingly become a more important ranking metric for Google. Not only does page speed have the ability to impact your search rankings it can also impact the overall user experience of your website. Sites with slow page speed and long load times are likely to experience higher bounce rates, which can be a negative ranking signal to Google that your site is not the best result to serve for related search queries. This is why knowing the current page speed of your site can be very helpful in improving your UX and ranking potential. If you’re looking to improve the speed of your site Google PageSpeed Insights is a free tool that allows you to do just that.
With one click of a button, you can view your current mobile and desktop page speed scores, your page speed opportunities, and the associated page resources you need to optimize in order to improve your page speed. What makes Google PageSpeed insight such a useful tool is that it tells you exactly what Google recommends you improve on your site. As most SEO experts know, Google’s ranking factors are constantly changing and sometimes they can be very vague. Anytime you can get information directly from Google regarding how to improve your website it is important to take advantage of it. This tool is not only useful for reviewing the page speed of your own website but you can also review the page speed of competitors to help you get a better understanding of how the UX of your website compares to competitors.
Our last essential and most popular technical SEO tool is also provided by Google. Google Analytics is a web tracking and reporting platform offered by Google. In this platform, you can view a wide range of data that can be used to improve your digital marketing efforts, but most importantly Google Analytics allows you to segment your organic traffic performance and data. Here you can visually assess the top-performing pages on the site, and how users are interacting with these pages. The information Google Analytics provides is invaluable and unmatched by other SEO tools which is why it is not only an essential SEO but one of the most powerful SEO tools you can use to make data-driven decisions about your website.
Keyword research is an essential part of every SEO campaign and helps form the foundation for which your campaign will be built on. Keyword research helps you narrow what your target audience is searching for, and what terms are most relevant to your site. If you are able to successfully answer these two questions, your SEO efforts will likely be a lot more effective. There are a number of Keyword tools, software, and extensions available but here are the most essential keyword research tools that we find ourselves using daily.
Keyword Planner is a keyword research tool within Google Ads. This tool was originally developed primarily for the use of keyword research for PPC campaigns, however, it is also an extremely useful tool that is widely used by SEOs for keyword research. Because Google is the largest search engine in the world, the data, information it provides about search volume, search volume by region, and other filters are extremely helpful in narrowing down your search for target keywords. Many other keyword tools and software source their data from Google keyword planner as well, so before you invest in a keyword research tool be sure to check out Keyword Planner for free.
Google Trends is another keyword research tool offered by Google that shows the search interest of topics in Google over time. This tool can be very useful for developing content strategies and content calendars around trending topics. Google Trends doesn’t show you exact search volume data for keywords, but you can compare the popularity of keywords and phrases by region, country time period. Google Trends is an essential SEO tool because it allows you to constantly generate content on your site that you know people are actively searching for.
Keywords Everywhere is another SEO favorite and essential tool that is widely used among SEOs. Keywords Everywhere is a browser extension that shows you related keywords and search volume right in Google search results. This browser extension is a game-changer for keyword research because it shows the keyword data for the keyword you are researching right in the search bar. Plus, you can preview the SERP landscape and keyword intent as you do research and it provides tons of information on other related keywords all in the same search window. This prevents you from having to toggle back and forth from multiple screens or windows. Keywords Everywhere really simplifies the keywords research process by incorporating the keyword data where all the search action happens, right in Google search results.
Linking building is also a major ranking factor for Google, and used as a signal to gauge how authoritative and trustworthy your site is within its industry. There are a number of link building strategies that you can employ to increase your total backlinks. Regardless of your approach to backlink acquisition, however, you will need tools that can scrape the web and allow you to assess your current backlinks and research new backlink opportunities.
Ahrefs is another multifaceted SEO tool that has keyword research capabilities in addition to backlink research features. Ahrefs backlink audit tools allows you to quickly analyze every aspect of your backlink profile and provides a wide range of insightful data that can be used to develop a very effective backlink strategy. You can also use this tool to explore the backlink profiles of your competitors to identify new backlink opportunities.
Last, but certainly not least, Majestic is another backlink tool that is widely used across the industry and provides similar insight into your backlink profile. Majestic uses its own set of metrics known as citation flow and trust flow to score the trustworthiness and authority of sites linking back to you. This information coupled with other insightful backlink data from your website such as topical trust, referring domains, and anchor text analysis is what makes this such an effective backlink building tool to execute your backlink strategy.