1. Google Search Console
Google Search Console (GSC) is an excellent way for new and aspiring webmasters to get started with SEO.
Even if SEO in not your strongest quotient, however small or big your blog is, Google’s proficient Search Console (formerly Webmaster Central) and the multitude of user-friendly tools under it should be your first plan of action.
Their wide range of tools gives you information valuable to your site at a glance. It can assess the performance of your site and find potential problems to troubleshoot (like negative spam links). Google Search Console can help to ensure that your site is Google-friendly and also monitor the Google indexing of your site.
If your site has incurred a penalty, you can report spam and request for reconsideration. Search Console is regularly updated and new features are added in. Examples include the URL inspection tool and new sitemaps report. So don’t forget to refer to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines every now and then.
Webmasters Help Community is a place for webmaster’s to connect and share troubleshooting and performance tips. Help is always available through Webmasters Help Community.
2. SEMrush SEO toolkit
The SEMrush SEO toolkit was developed in 2008 by SEMrush and received a funding of $40 million for expansion in 2018.
Their keyword research tool can be accessed from SEMrush’s elaborate dashboard. It can provide you detailed keyword analysis reports and a valuable summary of your domains.
The SEO toolkit helps you compare the performance of your pages with the pages of your competition to analyse how you rank against them. For instance, it can analyse backlinks from other websites to yours. This process is sometimes referred to as ‘link building’.
Traffic analytics can help you identify your competitor’s principle sources of web traffic, such as their top referring sites. This enables you to deeply understand the fine details of how both you and your competitor’s sites measure up in terms of average session duration and bounce rates. Bounce rates are the percentage of visitors who visited a website and then left before accessing any other pages on the same site. Additionally, SEMrush SEO toolkit offers “Traffic Sources Comparison”. It provides an overview of digital marketing channels for a bunch of rivals at once.
Apart from providing a summation of your competitor’s SEO strategies, its domain overview can also detect specific keywords they’ve targeted. It can also access the relative performance of your domains on devices like desktop and mobile phones.
SEMrush is a highly appreciated toolkit online but has been critiqued for the use of SEO jargon such as ‘SERP’ which may make it difficult for inexperienced users. A ‘Pro’ subscription on SEMrush SEO toolkit costs $99.95 per month. This includes access to all SEO tools offered.
3. SEO Spider
SEO Spider was created in 2010 by “Screaming Frog”. Their clients include major players like Disney, Shazam and Dell.
One of the most effective features of SEO Spider is its ability to perform a quick search of URL’s. It can also crawl your site to check for broken pages. This can save you from manually clicking each link to rule out ‘404 errors’.
SEO spider also allows you to check for pages with missing title tags, tags of the wrong length and duplicated meta tags. It can check the number of links placed on each page as well.
SEO Spider offers free and paid versions. The free version contains basic features like crawling redirects but this is limited to 500 URLs. Hence this ‘Lite’ version of SEO Spider is suitable only for smaller domains. The paid version is $180 per year and includes advanced features and free tech support.
4. Majestic SEO Tools.
Since its inception in 2011, ‘Majestic SEO tools’ has received consistent praise from SEO veterans. It is also one of the oldest SEO tools available today.
The tool mainly focuses on backlinks. Backlinks are the links between one website and another. It influences SEO performance. Majestic SEO Tools has a large amount of backlink data.
Users can either search for a ‘Fresh Index’ which is crawled and updated throughout the day, or a ‘Historic Index’. It has received numerous praises for its lightning retrieval speed. A highly popular feature is its ‘Majestic Million’ which ranks the top 1 million websites.
The ‘Lite’ version of Majestic costs $50 per month and includes useful features such as a bulk backlink checker, a record of referring domains, IP’s and subnets as well as Majestic’s integrated ‘Site Explorer’. This feature is specifically designed to give you an overview of your online store if it received some negative comments due to looking a little dated. Majestic has no Google Analytics integration.
5. Moz Pro
Moz Pro is a SEO tool that can help you increase website rankings, traffic and site visibility across various search engine results.
Moz Pros’s Key tools include the Moz Pro spider which helps you audit your site. This can highlight potential issues and recommend actionable insights. It also has the ability to track site rankings over hundreds or thousands of keywords per website.
Moz Pro has a keyword research tool to help you determine which keywords or keyword combinations may be the best for targeting. Its backlink analysis tool mixes a combination of metrics including anchor text in links and estimated domain authority.
Moz Pro provides a Standard plan priced at $99 per month and it covers the basic tools. The Medium plan offers a wider range of features for $149 per month along with a free trial. The plans come with a 20% discount if paid for annually. Specific plans are available for agencies and enterprises. There are paid-for tools for local listings and STAT data analysis.
Even if you don’t sign up to Moz Pro, a number of free tools are available for you. They also host a huge supporting community ready to offer help, advice, and guidance across search marketing issues.
Best free SEO tools
Although we’ve highlighted the best paid-for SEO tools above, a number of websites offer more limited tools that are free to use. Here are the free options.
SEOquake is a highly popular toolbar extension. It helps you to view multiple search engine parameters easily, save and compare them with the results obtained for other projects. The icons and numbers from SEOquake might be difficult to comprehend by an uninformed user but skilled optimisers will appreciate the wealth of detail this add-on provides.
Gauge can detail the number of visitors and their country, get your site’s traffic history on a graph and much more. It can provide a website’s Google index update, backlinks, SEMRush ranking, Facebook likes, Bing index, Alexa ranks and web archive age. It also provides a link to the ‘Who is’ page and a useful cheat sheet and diagnostics page to give you a wide view of potential issues or opportunities on a particular page or website.
2. Google AdWords keyword planner
Knowing the right keywords to target is very important when writing your web copy. Google’s free keyword tool Google AdWords keyword planner is easy to use. Plugin your website URL and start reviewing the suggested keywords and there you go. Jill Whalen, CEO of HighRankings.com says that one should make sure that you use those keywords within the content of your website.
Although Google AdWords keyword planner is useful for keyword research, the numbers provided are approximations and not exact figures. It is intended to provide a guide to popularity rather than exact real-time search volume.
3. Google Optimise
Google Optimise is a go to tool for seasoned SEO experts. Without the right balance of content that can engage with your visitor and create conversions, your optimization is not effective.
Google’s free service Google Optimise helps you to test your site’s content: from simple A/B testing of two different pages to comparing a whole combination of elements on any given page. Personalization features are also available on Google Optimise. It is important to understand that you will need adequate traffic and time to make the actionable results to run complicated multivariate testing.
4. Ahrefs Backlink Checker
Ahrefs Backlink Checker is one of the most powerful tools in Understanding backlinks. Backlinks are the sites linking to you. It helps website owners and publishers see the link opportunities they might be missing out on.
They maintain a huge number of live backlink indexes. It covers 170 million root domains and 17 trillion known links. Although Ahrefs is not a free service, its backlink checker feature is. It provides a useful snapshot that includes your domain rating, the top 100 backlinks, top 5 anchors and top 5 pages and provides the strict minimum to get a feel of Ahrefs offerings.