Essential SEO tools to grow your business
Want to know the top SEO tools used every day by SEO professionals? Check out this list to gain valuable insights on your website.
I’ve been involved in SEO tools and content marketing for many years, and throughout that time I’ve worked client side, in advertising agencies, and on my own ventures.
No matter where I’ve worked, one thing has been consistent and that is SEO’s need tools and lots of them. Some of them are complicated and some provide amazing insights with just the click of a few buttons.
The below SEO tools are ones that I found deliver highly useful information with little to no training needed.
What it’s good for: BACKLINK + CONTENT RESEARCH
This is a valuable tool to understand, the primary function allows you to view and export all the backlinks that currently and previously link(ed) to the site you are reviewing. They also rank the domain and URLs by what they call DR and UR (domain rating / URL rating), which basically means the higher the number, the better chance you have to rank.
"Paid search advertising data is also available, although I feel this is not as accurate as the organic information, so take it with a grain of salt."
The secondary functions, which are still cool, allow you to review top content on the site by links, social shares and estimated traffic.
Why would you use it?
One of the best ways to get to know an online competitor is to look through their backlinks. Doing this will give you valuable insights into the SEO strategy they have implemented and you can use this information to make sure your strategy will be a cut above. It should also give you ideas on how you can leverage your own network to create digital partners who can backlink to your site.
The secondary function which provides you the ability to see top content by links and shares is a very handy function providing you with information on the types of content you should be creating and how good it will need to be. My advice is to always aim to be at least twice as good as your competitor.
What it’s good for: KEYWORD RESEARCH + AUDITING
This is one of the most useful tools I have ever come across. SEMrush allows you to find out what keywords a website ranks for in Google and a very close estimate on which position they rank. I find this is normally accurate to 2 -3 spots either way.
You’re also provided with a list of the top competitors targeting the same keywords as the website you are researching.
Paid search advertising data is also available, although I feel this is not as accurate as the organic information, so take it with a grain of salt.
To use SEO tools like this all you need to do is type in the domain name of the site you want to research, set the country you want the data from, and you’re away.
Why would you use it?
The primary reason I use SEMrush is to get an overview of where websites currently rank in Google so I can look for pages that I need to better optimise (if it is something I work on) or pages that are driving a lot of traffic to a competitor (so I can find out how to be more competitive against them).
One simple benefit you can get this from tool is to look at which product/service pages and blog articles you have posted that are sitting on the end of page one or the top of page two of a Google search with high volume or for purchase-oriented search terms, by doing this you will know where there are opportunities for easier and faster wins in your optimisation efforts.
What it’s good for: RESEARCH + AUDITING + OPTIMISATION
Screaming Frog is, in essence a web crawler (or spider, if you will), that provides you with very detailed information about your website, including a list of all pages with URLs and current response code. (Quick response code explanation: 200 good; 404 bad, needs 301; 301 page is redirected; 500 server error, contact your host.)
It also shows all your title tags and meta descriptions with character count and tells you what the H1 and H2’s are on each page. This information is just scraping the surface of the data you can obtain with this tool but it is a good place to start.
Why would you use it?
This tool is a great way to get a quick fundamentals health check of your site. Just punch in your domain name, change the settings in the top left to ‘HTML only’ and hit the go button.
Once it has completed the crawl, export the data into excel or Google sheets and then you have a simple way to make sure your title tags are optimised to the primary keyword for the page and are the right length (under 60 characters).
The tool makes it easy for you to view your meta description copy to ensure it will stand out on the search results page and checks that you don’t have a lot of broken URLs (404s).
There are plenty of other tools out there, I will be exploring a few more of my favourites in a future article.
Do you have any favourite SEO tools? Let us know in the comments.