Are you interested in ranking on page 1 of Google? If you are in business, this is probably a given, but Google doesn’t make it easy. Regular updates and new algorithms seem to be a recipe for a constant headache for SEO managers struggling to stay ahead of the game.
SEO is all about making your website easier to be found by interested people, and with the right arsenal of SEO tools, this task can and does become much easier, if you use them to their best advantage. Of course, there are many free tools but they are limited, so if you are serious about advancing your rankings you need to commit to the paid versions.
Successful SEO has several facets and there is a tool for each process. They can be divided into the following categories.
The searches that users put into the search bar to find the information they are looking for are known as keywords. As Google has improved the accuracy of their searches, the length of the search terms has increased, with many searches taking the form of a short sentence.
Keywords have always been an integral part of SEO, although how they are used has changed and developed. Finding the right keywords for each page can result in a steady influx of visitors each year, and if coupled with keyword search intent, which refers to the idea behind the search, the result can be high-quality organic traffic.
KWFinder makes a big promise when you head to their home page, as the ‘only keyword research tool in the universe you will ever need’. This might be a slight exaggeration but its attractive starting price of approximately £23 per month and ad-hoc keyword research functions definitely makes it worthwhile considering, even if it lacks some of the functions of the big guns such as Moz.
Ahref Keywords Explorer – if you are looking for in-depth information then this is the tool for you. Input your keywords and you will get back the search volume as well as features like first-page competition, keyword difficulty and amount of searchers who click on a result. It comes as part of a whole suite of tools and starts at £75 a month.
Moz Keyword Explorer is a keyword tool with IQ. It seems to think out of the box and gives suggestions that you won’t necessarily find elsewhere, which can pay dividends. Prices start at £60 a month which includes many features and tools as well as the keyword explorer.
SEMRush – billed as an all-in-one marketing tool, SEMRush offers a wealth of features including keyword research and analytics, and a host of reports and tools. Costs start at about £75 a month.
KeywordTool.io – KeywordTool makes it easy to filter the results it generates to find the best keyword for you; which is just as well, as it churns out a huge amount of suggestions based on your keyword. It will also give you keyword ideas from your competitors’ sites as well. Well worth the monthly cost which starts at about £60.
One factor that Google uses to rank your website is how popular it is, and they do this by looking at the backlinks to your site (the amount of references hat other sites make to your website using your URL). However, Google is interested in the quality of the links and how relevant and natural they are, so it’s no longer acceptable to buy a load of backlinks. Your content should be good enough that other websites want to mention it, and if authority websites link to your, Google is even more impressed.
A new audience may also click on backlinks within their favourite websites and find you this way as well. Monitoring the quality of these backlinks can help you manage your SEO, and keeping an eye on your competitors’ backlinks can also be enlightening in terms of their strategy.
Ahrefs – we’ve already mentioned Ahrefs as a keyword tool but this great platform covers all aspects of SEO including backlinks. It’s Site Explorer provides an in-depth search of your backlink profile and your organic traffic. If you are serious about improving your SEO then make sure Ahrefs is in your armoury.
Cognitive SEO – this complete SEO suite of tools includes a web crawler and SEO audit feature, content audit and rank tracking, keyword and content optimisation tool, as well as a comprehensive backlink analysis. It can help discover unnatural links so you can fix them quickly. Expect to pay a minimum price of £105 a month.
Analysing content for SEO purposes has two purposes: to explore and analyse the texts that your competitors are publishing, particularly those that are ranking highly; and to ensure your own content is optimised for search engines. With the right tools, you can compare your content against your competitors and analyse how to improve your own content to rank better.
Most of the good all-in-one programmes will include content analysis, such as Ahrefs and SEMRush.
Competing an SEO audit on your website regularly will ensure your content and keywords stays relevant as well as producing the results you are looking for. An audit is basically an inventory that allows you to view what content you have onsite and whether there are any glaring holes, as well as what is and isn’t performing well. There are now some great tools to make this job easier, saving you from having to do it all manually on a spreadsheet.
Key tools you could consider include:
Deep Crawl – this tool will provide in-depth reports across a large number of websites, including reports on the content and site structure of your competitors. You can customise how you use the tool and can manage your SEO team from within the programme as it offers a task management platform to help everyone keep track of roles. Pricing starts at £10 a month
ContentKing – this cloud-based programme makes it easy to access your reports anywhere and at any time. It provides real-time auditing which includes technical auditing, SEO monitoring, SEO alerts so you know if anything does go wrong and can fix it quickly, and much more. ContentKing costs from £19 a month.
Screamingfrog – this desktop programme is quick and easy to use, giving a detailed analysis across your whole website. It works like a spider crawler and will find potential SEO problems within your website. It includes thirty reporting factors, such as metadata and descriptions, response time, anchor text, broken links, duplicate content and much more. It offers a free version or for more features choose the annual price plan at £149.
Tracking your keywords will help you discover how your keywords are performing and if your website is optimised well. Most of the SEO suites of tools provide Keyword Ranking Reports (KRR) but you may also want to consider some single tools.
One, in particular, is Authority Labs, which offers a search engine ranking and keyword data service without being tied into a contract. You can tap into daily data as well as local results, which can be pretty crucial for locally SEO. The other plus point is the ability to track your mobile ranking, which is becoming ever more important. Prices start at about £37 a month.
Outreach services are vital when building backlinks or for guest posting. These tools can help you to promote your content by reaching out to the bloggers and influencers Content management is included in several of the SEO Suites packages such as Moz but it’s also worth looking at Pitchbox and Ninja Outreach.
Pitchbox – this tool will help you find influencers within your niche quickly, and also features automated follow up amongst its many features. Pitchbox costs approximately £160 per month
Ninja Outreach – Ninja Outreach is a more affordable tool costing approximately £50 per month and combines influencer outreach marketing and analysis.
A final word
With so many tools to choose from (and this is just a dip in the ocean), it can be difficult to decide which to choose. It is a personal decision, based on multiple factors such as experience in the business of SEO, size of your company, budget and what you want to achieve. As a starting point, consider the sites such as Moz, Ahrefs and SEMRush.
Of course, if you need any more help with your SEO, we will be more than happy to provide more detailed guidance.