Like a carpenter without a hammer, an SEO without the proper tools won’t get far. The web is loaded with various web applications to help you reach the top of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). So, how do you know which to use? A great start is to use our free SEO Auditor tool to show you some basics, such as organic keywords, domain authority, and much more. In this quick guide, I will briefly touch on the best SEO tools I use daily and help you get more organized in your quest to dominate search marketing.
Google Webmaster Tools
Without a doubt, GWT is your best friend in SEO. Why? Because it’s free! Seriously though, it has so much data at your fingertips, and a critical first step is verifying your site and submitting an XML sitemap. You want to ensure that Google knows all the web pages within your site right away through the sitemap. Once set up, you have a wealth of information, such as search queries, links to your site, and so much more. For a detailed look at how GWT can help you leverage SEO, take a look here.
This is another great starting point for your SEO ranking needs. Just head over to SEMRush and enter your domain. You’ll get a quick snapshot of organic keywords and a ton of other traffic data, such as competitors in ads. All data comes with easy-to-read charts to see how your traffic performs over time. I like watching a few of their beta tools take flight. SEMrush also allows you to track keywords in their position tracking tool and sign up for an updated, weekly position tracking report. It's a really nice feature! They also have a backlinks section. It will be interesting to watch as this starts to really build a stronger index.
A highly underutilized SEO tool, but also very important, is Copyscape. Google does not like duplicate content issues with their Panda algorithm. This easy-to-use website tool finds all of the duplicate content on your site so you can start to clean it up. Did you use the same 200-character intro across social sites and directories that are on your homepage? Change the copy on your homepage for a quick fix. You definitely don’t want any copy out there with a match to your site's content.
This is by far my favorite SEO tool on the market today. For starters, the reporting in Raven is really nice. Raven is marketed as an organic SEO tool, and some of the reporting doesn’t pull some necessary data from ads, such as Goals defined in analytics. But for an all-in-one tool, I really like it and spend most of my time here. You can monitor your social accounts and closely monitor your links in the link manager. They leverage so many other APIs and deliver them all in one easy-to-use place for quick snapshots on your Google analytics and webmaster tools. The Research Central section helps you dive in and see what you need to look at immediately, along with the backlink data from MajesticSEO.
I’m a super advocate of page speed and site performance. It’s actually what we do best at Zadro Web. The technical side or on-page SEO is critical to your rankings, and the nice thing is that you have all the control to make changes to your site. GTMetrix shows you what you must do immediately to get the site performing optimally. Things like page speed, browser cache, optimized image, and file compression all really make a huge difference in SEO ranking. This is one tool you definitely want to utilize often. Get your site speed under 2 seconds!
Another fantastic tool to get into the technicals of your site is the Screaming Frog Spider Tool. Just enter your URL, and this amazing program will crawl your site at lightning speed. The free version will crawl up to 500 pages on your site, showing you many on-page data such as meta descriptions, titles, and semantics. Even better, it will show you pages that 404 on your site. This is a great way to find broken links and get them fixed. Screaming Frog can also create a properly formatted XML sitemap, which you can submit to GSC.
OSE – MajesticSEO - Ahrefs
Last but not least, we need backlink data, right? I really think that ahrefs.com or MajesticSEO should be your primary sources. They have the most comprehensive data of live links, and you can see your anchor text distribution nicely, which is critical for Google’s Penguin and in-depth analysis. However, I lean more on Open Site Explorer by Moz as a starting point. I really like the filtering options to dive in quickly to your site’s backlink data. Link building will always be a primary component of SEO, and understanding your link profile inside and out is mandatory.
I hope this small guide on the best SEO tools I use daily will push you in the right direction to really understand your SEO efforts and climb the Google search mountain. Are there tools I left out that you use often? Feel free to start a discussion in the comments. Until next time, happy SEO’ing.