Tools make the life of every SEO professional more manageable.
Whether you are a professional, an agency, or a business that has decided to embark on the SEO adventure on your own.
Here are some recommendations to keep in mind as you build your ranking toolkit.
It is true that SEO professionals can access many free and paid platforms, tools, and software.
But if your company and your competitors use the same tools, data, and approaches, how do they differ from each other?
Why Use SEO Tools?
As with virtually every decision we make, when it comes to tools, it’s good to think about the ever-present question: why?
Why do we use tools in the first place?
Why not work without them?
Essentially, we use tools to save time.
When you think about most of the tools you use or want to use, they usually speed up the collection of information or present it in a way that makes it easier to draw conclusions.
Take a moment and think about one of the tools you use and one of the tasks you use it for.
Guaranteed to fit one or more of the above purposes.
But of course, there are hundreds of tools to choose from.
I am not going to pretend that the list that I show below is completely exhaustive.
I have only included tools that I use myself and only those that would apply to most people.
That being said, they are tools that have proven invaluable to my regular routine.
Some you will know well, others you may see here for the first time, and, surely, you miss some.
The Usual Tools
You can probably guess what my go-to list of tools is.
Let’s go see them.
Semrush is a robust all-in-one suite of tools that covers multiple areas of SEO, SEM, and SMM and generally does them well.
Some of the key tools within the suite that I use regularly are:
- Audit – There are definitely more sophisticated technical audit tools out there, but the Semrush tool runs regularly and provides a quick and easy platform for monitoring bug spikes and drops, etc.
- Position Verification: Their position verification tool is excellent. You can select the location from which the different positions (or several) are verified and monitor them daily. For those with a large number of terms, they are also presented in an easy-to-understand and filtered way.
- Social Poster – Semrush has a robust social posting and tracking tool. You can track your progress against competitors and monitor RSS feeds for quick and easy post ideas. It’s not as robust a social tool as some dedicated ones, but it’s solid enough and good enough for many use cases.
Semrush is generally quite affordable for the variety of purposes it serves (although it can be expensive if you need to add users, white-label reports, or use plugins).
And since it is generally well known, it is easy to find tutorials and manuals on the internet.
Hands down, this is the best value tool on the market.
Screaming Frog is a tracker or crawler.
Give it a website or a list of URLs and configure how you want it to crawl (depth, user agents, paths, etc.), information about what data you want to collect, plus some time, and it returns a site audit with various visualizations and filters.
There is a free version that is good for crawling up to 500 URLs, though it has limited customizations.
For a paid version, you will have to pay annually.
But as I said, it’s the best value tool on the market for all it offers.
Is good for:
- Custom tracking.
- Search for specific text or HTML on pages.
- Easily export issues to send to developers.
- Create XML sitemaps.
- Great views.
Other Known Tools
Other known tools I use are:
- Google Analytics.
- Search Console.
- Bing Webmasters Tools. This tool, although known, is used by a few people. It’s like Search Console, but with much more detail and information, making it the unsung hero of SEO tools. I recommend you try it.
Technical SEO Tools
- Jet Octopus is another technical SEO suite. It’s similar to Semrush but with different filter options and of course a different crawler. It allows you to easily group issues into the sections of the site where you’ll find them, like a combination of Semrush and Bing Webmaster Tools.
- Merkle. It includes several free SEO tools that cover the entire spectrum, from outline to pre-rendering.
- schema.org. It is a structured data testing tool.
- Mobile Moxie – Free and paid tools to test your mobile SEO.
- Uptime Robot – To make sure your sites are up.
But all the technical SEO in the world won’t get your rankings without great content.
So let’s take a look at some unusual tools on the content side.
- Infranodus. One of my favorite content-related SEO tools. Surprisingly cheap (although it’s arguably not a content tool, it’s what I use it for the most). Within Infranodus, you will find a huge variety of tools. My most used tools help me dig deeper into the concepts included in the top Google results and how the concepts connect to multiple pages within a listing. In short, you can enter a query and it will produce an interactive mapping of how the terms in the results connect to each other, which I think helps me not only better understand how Google might view a concept, but also a user.
- People also ask: A nice visualization of people’s questions in relation to the topics you are researching.
- Answer the public – A nice visualization of how questions relate to a group of phrases, by question intent.
Link Related Tools
Of course, I have tools that I use to monitor my links and the links of the competition.
My favorite tools in this category are:
- Ahrefs. While technically Ahrefs is a toolkit one could compare to Semrush, it’s in the links where I find it really shines. I find that it grabs new backlinks faster than other tools and generally has a stronger database. When I’m looking for new links, looking for gaps in link profiles, or just researching competitors, this is my first (but not only) stop.
- Majestic SEO. I don’t use Majestic regularly, but I wanted to include it on the list as it’s a solid backlink tool worth considering.
- Search Console. I don’t think I need to tell you why Search Console is an important tool for monitoring your backlinks.
And the AI Arrived
Of course, we can’t forget about AI.
There are all kinds of AI-powered tools and I’m not going to tell you which one is the best as I haven’t tried them all and I’m far from deciding which one(s) I will choose yet.
That being said, you can access some of the core technology for free!
While there has been a lot of hype around ChatGPT, I still prefer to access technology (GPT-3) in the OpenAI playground.
It’s the same technology with (IMO) better flexibility and interface.
Can be used for:
- Content outlines.
- Write mass e-commerce data.
- Feed chatbots (although there are plenty of pre-made solutions for that, too).
- And much more, including full content creation. (Use at your own risk!)
Imaging AI Tools
AI tools for image generation are also popular today.
I have used text-to-image generators for:
- Images for articles.
- Featured images.
- Digital ads.
- Social posts.
AI Text Generation Tools
The main tools that you can use for text-to-image generators include:
- Craiyon (formerly DALL-E mini): Free and unlimited use.
- Stable Diffusion (via Dream Studio): 200 generations free.
- DALL-E 2: 15 free generations.
The above tools are not the only ones I use. (I have 39 on my bookmarks alone!) But these are the ones I’ve found to work for me over the years.
Of course, you can use different tools as your situation or budget may differ.
The important thing is that you have the tools for all the main tasks.
Thanks for Reading.