Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the things to master when running a website. The way Google and other search engines rank your website changes constantly. This means you need to keep up with the latest SEO developments if you want to outpace the competition.
The good news is that there are plenty of excellent tools you can use to help you grow your search engine presence and get the data you need to improve your rankings. If you know what they are and what they can do for you, you’ll be well equipped for success.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to 18 handy SEO tools. Each can help improve your rankings on search engines. Let’s jump right in!
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1. Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a collection of services you can use to figure out how Google views your website. This service provides you with a wide array of free SEO tools, covering many different aspects of optimization.
For example, Google Search Console enables you to check out any crawl errors that have occurred on your website so you can correct them right away. It can also point out when your site is affected by malware, what keyword phrases people are using to find your site, the backlinks you’ve received, and more.
The many features this service offers makes it a near necessity if you’re concerned about your organic presence. There’s a clear focus on Google results here, but don’t worry. If you can rank well on Google, the chances are high that you’ll also do OK in other search engines.
As far as actually using the service goes, Google Search Console is very simple to understand. It’s also easy to add your website and get started, so there are no reasons to avoid it.
Monitor how Google perceives your website.
Keep track of what keywords visitors are using to reach you.
Stay on top of any crawl, meta tag, or sitemap errors.
Update your robots.txt file.
Monitor your site’s backlinks.
Get alerts if your site is infected with malware.
Semrush is a keyword research tool that enables you to get data about how many people are looking for specific terms. On top of that, it also provides you with information on similar keywords, related ads, product listings, and a lot more.
Along with being an excellent keyword tool, Semrush can also offer information about your competitors’ strategies. For example, it can tell you how much traffic they’re getting, how much of that comes from paid ads, and what their backlinks are.
If you’re the kind of person who loves doing keyword research, you need a tool like Semrush in your arsenal. With it, you’ll be able to figure out exactly what keywords will give you the best results for your efforts and check which terms your competitors are ranking for.
This service even enables you to peek into your competitors’ text and media ads, which can save you big money when it comes to testing. However, keep in mind that all this data means the learning curve with this service can be a bit steep.
Research the value of specific queries.
Check out what keywords your competitors are ranking for and how much traffic they’re getting.
Find information about other websites’ backlinks.
Look into your competitors’ text and media ads.
Price: You can get up to 10 results for free per day or sign up for a premium account. The good news? We’ve worked out a special 14-day trial with Semrush so you can see if they’re a good fit for your site!
BuzzStream offers you a collection of tools to help with domain research, email marketing, and project management. It’s a very all-in-one type of platform, and the sheer number of options it provides can be intimidating. With that in mind, let’s focus on how it can help you tackle your SEO needs.
When it comes to research, BuzzStream can help you collate lists of results for the keywords you look into. Then it provides you with information about each of those websites, including overall rankings, related social media accounts, domain age and authority, and more.
In practice, you can use these features to help you do a thorough SEO audit, researching who your competitors are and the content they’re publishing. Moreover, it can even help you create lists of their authors and what each one is up to, so you can keep an even closer eye on their strategies.
Research your competitors based on any keywords you want to target.
Collect data about domain age and authority for specific websites.
Find out what your competitors’ rankings are in the SERPs.
Locate the social media accounts for your competition’s sites.
Create lists of authors who write for competing websites and follow what they’re doing.
Price: BuzzStream plans start at $24 per month.
4. DreamHost SEO Toolkit
Want to grow traffic without blowing your budget on enterprise-level tools or a private contractor? If you’re a DreamHost customer, you can take advantage of SEO Toolkit and become your own SEO pro.
With more than 100 automated checks and verifications, SEO Toolkit starts by auditing your site to find potential issues. Then, it creates a personalized SEO plan with a checklist of simple tasks you can tackle to start seeing ranking improvements. For example, SEO Toolkit analyzes your site’s pages and provides targeted recommendations on where to position keywords to optimize your content.
SEO Toolkit also makes it much easier to track competitors — we’ve talked before about the benefits to monitoring your online competition — so you can tweak your keyword strategy and land at the top of the SERPs.
Get a comprehensive website audit to identify potential SEO issues.
Generate a personalized SEO plan with tasks to improve your site’s search engine performance.
Stay up to date with weekly progress reports.
Take advantage of SEO toolkits on-page optimization tools to improve keyword placement.
Track up to 20 keywords and four competitors.
Price: SEO Toolkit costs just $4.99 per month. New DreamHost customers can add SEO Toolkit when signing up for a hosting plan. Existing customers can enable SEO Toolkit directly in their panel.
5. Moz Pro
Moz Pro is a suite of SEO tools created to help you tackle optimization using a data-driven approach. To give you a quick overview, Moz Pro is somewhat similar to SEMrush, in that it enables you to research both specific long-tail keywords and other domains. You can use this information to avoid keywords with little potential and to improve on what your competitors are doing.
When you look into a keyword using Moz Pro, it will show you a difficulty score that illustrates how challenging it will likely be to rank for that term. You also get an overview of how many people are searching for that phrase, and you can even create lists of keywords for easy comparison. These are all features you’d expect from a reliable keyword research tool, but Moz Pro stands out thanks to a very intuitive interface.
As for what’s so unique about Moz Pro, the platform offers a Chrome extension you can use to get information on any domain you visit. Moreover, it can provide suggestions about on-page optimization and alert you about crawling errors, much like Google Search Console.
Research how competitive a keyword is, as well as its search volume.
Get suggestions on related keywords.
Investigate your competitors, including which keywords they’re targeting.
Use a Chrome extension to look into other domains without going to the Moz website.
Compare multiple keywords using custom lists.
Get on-page optimization suggestions and error alerts.
Price: A 30-day free trial is available for the Pro plan, while regular pricing starts at $99 per month.
Linkody is all about backlinks. This tool allows you to find out who’s linking to your website, learn what keywords they’re using, and even “disavow” links you don’t like. That last feature can be handy if you think someone is linking to your website as spam since you don’t want search engines thinking you’re trying to game the system.
While the main attraction here is the backlink reports, Linkody also offers a few notable extras. For example, it provides you with the option to generate reports that you can send to clients, monitor your site’s social shares, and connect to Google Analytics.
Overall, it’s a pretty niche tool, but quite useful if you need some help with link building. More importantly, it’s a lot cheaper than the massive do-it-all services we’ve talked about so far.
Analyze your website’s backlinks.
Disavow bad links that might affect your SEO.
Generate backlink reports for your clients.
Connect to Google Analytics to gain access to more data.
Monitor your site’s social shares.
Price: Linkody plans start at $14.90 per month for up to two domains, but you can also try it free for 30 days without a credit card.
Ontolo is a research tool you can use to find marketing and SEO opportunities. It can also help you find backlinking and guest posting opportunities, which is not something you’d expect an automated tool to do so well.
The idea behind Ontolo is that it helps you find ways to grow your traffic beyond keyword research. If you want your website to become more authoritative, backlinks are essential, but finding the right opportunities can be daunting.
Ontolo helps you locate those opportunities, so all you have to do is pitch them (which sadly can’t be automated). It can pull prospects from over 80 sources, so chances are you’ll find excellent options regardless of what keywords you’re trying to rank for.
Look for guest posting and backlink opportunities.
Collect data from over 80 sources to find the best prospects.
Carry out research using simple-to-understand reports.
Export your prospects to share them with others.
Price: Ontolo plans start at $97 per month and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
8. HubSpot’s Website Grader
HubSpot’s Website Grader is a lot more straightforward than the other SEO tools we’ve featured so far. To use it, all you have to do is enter a domain and wait for HubSpot to generate a report. When you get that report back, you’ll find separate scores for your site’s performance, mobile-friendliness, SEO, and security.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that performance, mobile-friendliness, and solid security practices directly impact your SEO. In a way, your entire report is one giant analysis of how your site is faring from an SEO perspective. Better yet, this tool breaks down each part of the report and provides you with tips on how to improve every element.
HubSpot’s Website Grader is incredibly simple to use, and it can help you improve your website quickly. Plus, it won’t cost you a thing, so this one definitely deserves your attention.
Analyze your website’s performance, mobile-friendliness, security, and SEO.
Receive separate scores for each aspect of your site.
Get recommendations for how to improve each score.
9. Google AdWords Keyword Planner
Google AdWords Keyword Planner is one of the most comprehensive keyword research tools you can use. With it, you can look up keywords and get traffic estimates about them. More importantly, it can help you figure out how competitive keywords are based on their AdWords price.
To avoid overwhelming you with information, this tool lets you filter keywords out based on Cost-per-Click (CPC) or search volume. This way, you can get reports based only on the estimates you want to aim for.
Overall, the Keyword Planner offers much of the same functionality we’ve seen from other SEO tools on this list. The difference is that this one is part of the Google ecosystem, and you can get amazingly detailed reports for free.
Find out the search volume for any keyword you want.
Determine a keyword’s competitiveness from its CPC.
Get detailed reports for specific keywords.
WooRank is similar to HubSpot’s Website Grader in that you give it a link, and it provides you with a full report card. In this case, it gives you a single score for your entire website. After that, it launches into a list of everything you can do to improve its SEO and mobile-friendliness.
The main selling point, in this case, is that WooRank also provides you with tips to improve your site’s usability and performance. From our experience, its recommendations are solid. To top it all off, you also get an analysis of how well you’re doing from a backlink perspective.
Overall, this is an excellent tool if you want a quick rundown of what you’re doing right and wrong on your website, including when it comes to SEO.
Analyze your website’s overall status, including SEO, usability, performance, and backlinks.
Receive tips on how to improve your website and tackle SEO tasks.
Analyze your domain’s authority.
Price: Free, with premium options starting at $59.99 per month.
11. Varvy SEO Tool
Our next pick is another tool of the “Enter a URL and get a report” variety. However, this one is different from those we’ve introduced so far. What the Varvy SEO tool does is check to see if your website is following all of Google’s SEO guidelines. It can produce a full report in seconds.
What’s more, that report is very extensive. It checks for several things, including page speed issues, mobile-friendliness, on-page SEO, and more. However, the best part is that Varvy SEO Tool really takes the time to explain why each setting is vital.
If you’re new to SEO (or website optimization in general), you’ll probably welcome all the information this tool has to offer. It even provides links to further reading for each setting it covers, in case you want to learn more about them.
Check to see if your website follows Google’s SEO guidelines.
Receive a quick report, including precise information on how to fix each issue.
12. Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog offers an SEO Spider Tool, a sophisticated crawler that can accomplish a host of optimization tasks. This includes finding and fixing broken links and redirects.
If you operate an online store, Screaming Frog has some especially helpful options. For example, you can use the crawler to extract data from HTML pages on your site using CSS Path. This means you can use XPath or regex to gather data about prices, SKUs, and more.
You can even use this tool to generate XML sitemaps and connect them up to Google Analytics. What’s more, Screaming Frog has a pretty robust free version, so you can try out the main functionality before you decide to leap in.
Analyze titles and metadata.
Crawl your site to find and fix broken links.
Discover and resolve duplicate content and pages.
Price: You can access the free version with limited features and URLs, or get the full version for £149 per year (about $191).
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13. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is often touted as the number-one WordPress SEO plugin. Its features cover the full spectrum when it comes to SEO. You can conduct readability checks, for example, and set canonical URLs to avoid confusing Google with duplicate content.
Other functionality on offer includes keyword optimization and the ability to preview pages in Google, Facebook, and Twitter. With the upgraded version of the plugin, you will also get some content assistance, since Yoast will offer you internal linking suggestions as you write pages and posts.
Yoast SEO has a robust knowledge database to help you get started. Plus, with the premium version, you’ll have access to one year of 24/7 help from an expert support team.
Optimize your content for specific keywords.
Provide search engines with the metadata they need to understand your content.
Avoid duplicate content.
Handle critical SEO tasks automatically, such as creating a sitemap and optimizing permalinks.
Price: You can download a limited free version or get the premium version for $89 per year.
Link-able offers a fairly unique approach to optimizing your website, boosting SEO, and expanding your traffic. You can think of this service as a highly-specialized job board. It’s designed to provide marketers with a reliable way to create backlinks for their content.
The process starts with a marketer posting a specific request on the Link-able website. This request will include details about the kind of backlinks the marketer wants to build. They’ll also provide any other information that might be helpful, much like a job posting.
Authors who have been thoroughly vetted by Link-able will be able to access the project database. They can submit proposals for specific projects and wait for the marketers to respond. If a marketer likes a proposal, Link-able connects the two parties, and the work is guaranteed.
Find highly-qualified authors who have passed a rigorous testing process.
Receive highly-relevant author matches and proposals for your projects.
Focus on your content while employing others to handle link building.
Price: While this is a free service for both marketers and authors to join, Link-able does charge a percentage of the paid transactions.
Serpstat is a relative newcomer to the SEO application market. It offers a suite of data-driven analysis tools for marketers. Among the different options, you’ll find an SEO audit tool, backlink checker, and competitor tracking features.
This is a project-oriented system, which means you can organize your websites into groups or individual projects. All of these can then be accessed through a well-organized dashboard. You’ll be able to access any of Serpstat’s features from your project list.
Serpstat is a little like a Swiss Army knife when it comes to functionality. You can use it to find broken links on your website, track down the cause of sluggish page loading times, and a lot more.
Handle a high volume of website monitoring for clients.
Use an on-site auditing tool for locating and fixing issues.
Access to a Market Intelligence tool for sizing up your competition regionally and globally.
Get easy compatibility with both the Mac and PC operating systems.
Price: This is technically a tool you can use for free, although there are limits to the number of searches you can conduct. To increase your query capacity, you can start with the ‘Lite’ plan at $69 per month.
Ahrefs offers several data analysis and optimization tools. In fact, all of its tools are included in the same pricing plans. This means you don’t have to worry about missing out on critical features. Additionally, you’ll have access to the Ahrefs Academy, an online knowledge base offering a wide variety of learning opportunities.
One of the features you’ll have access to is a content research tool. With this, you can use keywords to find out what related content has performed the best on social media or in organic searches. The Ahrefs platform also includes a comprehensive dashboard, so you can keep track of all your projects.
You’ll also be able to find content related to your specific target keywords and filter the results to highlight websites that have not linked to you before. Since Ahrefs crawls over 5 billion web pages per day, you’re sure to gain valuable insights from its data.
Analyze your competitors’ organic search rankings.
Access a vast database of information.
Gather valuable insights from a competitive analysis tool.
Benefit from a Search Traffic index that boasts 489 million keywords originating from 155 countries.
Price: Ahrefs offers four pricing tiers starting at $99 per month and a seven-day trial for $7.
17. Google Rich Results Test
Google is always changing the way it displays search results to provide users a more enjoyable, useful experience. One of the ways it does this is by displaying “Rich Results.” You probably see examples of this every day without noticing much, from the gray knowledge panel box above traditional organic search results to a nicely organized list of the web’s best pound cake recipes.
For businesses and brands, the coveted “Featured Snippet” is a great place to answer questions and establish your authority as an expert in your respective field. See if your web pages are eligible for enhanced presentation in Google’s Search Results with their new Rich Results Test. Not sure where to start? Here’s a great introductory guide to Schema, and how it can lead to high-visibility enhanced search results.
18. DreamHost’s SEO Marketing Service
Over the years, DreamHost has helped thousands of customers build websites — it’s kind of our thing! But recently, we’ve had a number of users reach out to ask if we could do more to help them reach their online goals, especially when it comes to getting more traffic.
And we get it: SEO is a complicated, multi-disciplinary marketing activity. It’s a hard thing to DIY when you’re busy running a blog or small business.
That’s why we created our SEO Marketing service. Instead of mapping out an SEO strategy or doing keyword research yourself, our team of experts handles all the nitty-gritty tasks to get your site ranking higher on search engines.
In addition to creating and publishing new content for your site each month, our team will develop a keyword strategy and continuously optimize your existing website to improve your ranking on relevant search results over time.
And you’ll never have to wonder if your efforts are paying off. We’ll compile a monthly report for you to track ranking improvements and traffic growth. Additionally, you’ll receive regular calls from your dedicated SEO manager to make sure the work we perform each month is aligned with your goals.
Offload your entire SEO strategy and execution to a team of SEO experts.
Boost on-page keywords with new custom content created every month by a professional copywriter.
Receive an in-depth monthly report on your site’s search engine rankings and traffic.
Sync monthly with your dedicated SEO manager to ensure the team’s efforts are aligned with your goals.
Price: We offer three plans — Startup, Business, and Enterprise — starting at just $399 per month.
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The Search for Website Optimization Tools
SEO is just one part of the puzzle when it comes to running a website. However, it’s a piece you have to pay special attention to if you want your website to get the traffic it deserves. After all, search engines don’t care how much effort you put into your blog posts and content if they aren’t optimized.
So are you ready to optimize your website?
You can use dozens of services to improve your search engine rankings, but some of our favorites include Google Search Console, Moz Pro, and SEMrush. The first packs a lot of free SEO tools you can use to discover how search engines view your website, whereas the latter two enable you to conduct professional-level keyword research. For beginners, we recommend starting with SEO Toolkit — it’s one of the easiest and most affordable ways to improve your site’s rankings. However, if tackling SEO on your own seems overwhelming, check out DreamHost’s SEO Marketing service; our team of experts can do all the work for you.
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