SEO has a ton of technical elements that you can wrangle under your control using a handful of excellent tools. Most of these tools allow you to gain insight into aspects of your internet marketing you’d have no visibility for otherwise, such as how your page is crawled by search engines. Others are there to inspire you, keep you organized and make life easier.
Without the right SEO tools under your belt, determining how to improve is like fumbling in the dark. Even your best guess as to things like the right keyword to use could be wrong without sufficient data to influence your decision. Having these tools often separates true professionals, like SEO copywriting services, from ambitious amateurs.
So, to help you make smart decisions, keep tabs on your key SEO performance metrics and simplify your workload, take a look at the following 16 best SEO tools for businesses:
Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools
While some of the tool sets listed in this article are nice-to-haves, these two are absolute musts. Without them, you basically fly blind on your quest to gain rankings and traffic.
Google Search Console provides a suite of tools that allow you to measure and optimize your site in potentially limitless ways. The most simple tool, Fetch as Google, shows you exactly how your site looks both to the search engine crawler bots and to end users on the search results page. You can also manually force a crawl on new web pages, meaning you don’t have to wait for hours or days for Google to notice your new content. On top of all this, you’ll receive insights for your traffic, keyword relevance and more.
Bing Webmaster Tools provides a similar suite of helpful tools, but not quite as robust. Since Bing supplies voice search results for millions of devices, you should not overlook the #2 search engine when making optimization changes.
Google AdWords Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, SEMrush, Etc.
SEO hinges on your ability to signal relevance to search engines when someone uses a search term related to your business. Part of the difficulty businesses face in this task comes from not really knowing what keywords and terms are related to their business in the first place. Often, a business can assume someone will visit them by typing one query phrase, when in reality the majority of traffic comes from a far different phrase.
To make sure you aren’t off-base with your own keyword use, you are going to need a keyword research tool. Luckily, several out there are absolutely free to use.
Google AdWords Keyword Planner is likely the first free tool that springs to mind. You’ll have to sign up for a free AdWords account to use it, even if you don’t intend to run paid search engine ads. Then, you simply have to plug in some sample keywords, a business category or a sample web page URL to get actionable suggestions. Each suggestion includes data like search volume, competitiveness and typical bid price. Even though you won’t be bidding on your organic SEO keywords, these dollar amounts still signify how much “value” a keyword has in your industry.
Ubersuggest is another free tool that’s well-liked for its ability to spit out thousands of possible results. However, these results aren’t quite as easy to organize, so be prepared to sift through a lot of duds.
In addition to these free tools, there are more data-driven paid tools, like SEMrush. These tools account for deeper metrics, like conversion potential and whether you’ll compete with high-traffic sites for rankings. They can often provide a solid return on investment when used regularly to drive SEO strategy and optimization changes.
Google Mobile-Friendly Test and Page Speed Insights
It may seem like we’re covering a lot of tools from Google, but that’s just because they have so many free and useful products out there!
The first worth mentioning is the Google Mobile-Friendly Test. People are always on the go and use their devices nonstop these days, meaning that a huge chunk of your potential traffic is going to come from smartphone users. According to recent data, industries like Food & Beverage see as much as 72% of their search traffic come from mobile. Others are closer to 50/50.
In line with the mobile trend, Google wants to ensure that the search results it displays don’t irk its mobile user base. As such, they’ll tend to rank mobile-friendly websites better. You can use their mobile friendly test linked above to give your site pages a quick scan and receive feedback. Some of their suggestions will be technical and may even require a site overhaul, while others are quick fixes.
The speed at which your page loads is another ranking factor many websites don’t consider. Users tend to back out of pages that take too long to load. Accordingly, your ranking may suffer if your site is too slow. You can receive free optimization suggestions via Google — similar to their mobile-friendly tool — when you paste in your URL to their PageSpeed Insights tool.
Buzzsumo offers lots of food for thought and some inspiration for your next content ideas. Similar to a keyword planner, the free tool can use a keyword phrase to come up with a list of the most viral and popular articles related to that query. Businesses can then use these suggestions to mold their own content and inform their overall strategy so that they can get more clicks.
Yoast is a plugin for WordPress sites that automatically scans your content and analyzes it for SEO effectiveness. Using the software, you can track not just keyword use on a single content page, but across the whole site. You’ll also receive pointers on SEO nice-to-haves, like using active voice and short paragraphs in your content.
Ahrefs Site Explorer, Moz, and Other Backlink Analyzers
This might be the most useful category on this list simply because backlinks are such a powerful ranking signal. Google tends to rank sites better when they have lots of shared links among popular, authoritative sites.
To help you track the links coming to your website, you can use tools like Ahrefs, Moz and others to perform a deep analysis. You’ll find out who’s been linking your site, as well as how much you’re linking internally to your site from its various pages. Importantly, you’ll also find a complete list of broken links — links pointing toward your domain that end up on an error page since the address is incorrect.
Our final suggested tool may not be sexy, but it’s definitely vital. In fact, if you’re going to spend money on just one SEO tool, make it this one.
Copyscape quickly analyzes your content to make sure it’s not a duplicate of other content found on the web. Some duplicate phrases and quotes are likely to show up, but if more than 15% of your content can be found somewhere else, then it may be flagged by Google and result in a ranking penalty. Worse, you can be approached by other companies accusing you of stealing their content!
Give yourself peace of mind and prevent a fairly harsh penalty from spiking your traffic by running a Copyscape check before uploading any new content.
Other SEO Tools Professional Copywriting Services Often Use
The tools described are just some of what we use here at the Optimized Scribes office. Other popular tool sets for SEO include:
Got any favorites we missed? Let us know in the comments!
You don’t have to spend hundreds a month on SEO tools that don’t work before you even see results. You can work instead with an experienced SEO and copywriting services team to handle all the work for you and use the same tools as the pros. Contact us today to find out more!