UPDATE: This SEO tools post was first published on 28 October 2018 and updated on 4 October 2021.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of making changes to your website in order to improve your website’s ranking on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. The ultimate goal is to attract more potential customers to your business. To efficiently carry out the SEO exercise, there are countless SEO tools to help (including two free SEO tools).
If you desire guidance from GoDaddy, consider GoDaddy Search Engine Optimization.
These tools are used for different purposes such as:
- Keyword research, or identifying the words you must add to your web pages.
- Competitor research, to see how search engines are ranking their websites.
- Rank tracking to monitor your site’s position in search results for various keywords.
- Link building — in other words, getting other reputable sites to link to your pages.
SEO tools are indispensable in helping businesses position their websites to bring in more leads. Let’s explore five of the best.
5 of our favourite SEO tools
The first step in generating more business leads is to bring more people to your website. To do this, you need to make sure your website gets listed by Google, Bing and other search engines.
There are many SEO tools — including two free SEO tools — and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Before using or investing in one, it’s a good idea to do a little research. Let’s look at five of our favourites.
1. Google Ads Keyword Planner (free)
Keywords play a central role in every SEO effort. By identifying the words potential customers are typing in to look for your products or services online, you can add them to your pages in sufficient quantity to capture the attention of search engines. Keyword Planner can also be used to identify topics related to our industry that you’re not currently addressing on your website and create web pages for those topics.
Google’s free SEO tool allows you to do basic keyword analysis. It shows monthly traffic for various keywords, along with how much competition there is for each one (lower competition keywords are more desirable). This tool also tells you which keywords your website is currently ranking for.
- Provides the largest range of related keywords.
- Can reveal the keywords used by your competitors.
- Provides filtered search based on location, language, country, etc.
- Cannot find very unique or untargeted keywords.
- Provides keywords used only in Google search engines and not others like Yahoo and Bing.
- For most profitable keywords, need to use other keyword research tools like KWFinder.
For small business owners who want one tool that can do everything for them, SEMrush is a good choice. This tool does everything from one dashboard — from keyword research, on-page auditing and rank tracking to link building and pay-per-click (PPC).
The main advantage of using SEMrush is that you can find the keywords that your competitors are using to drive traffic to their websites. You can then use this information to select related low-competition keywords for your own website.
This tool offers a free trial (get pricing here).
- Good for on-site SEO, idea generation and keyword research.
- Excellent in discovering your competitors’ site traffic and rankings.
- Offers PPC keyword recommendations for those who plan to place paid ads on search engines.
- Includes position monitoring, back link tracking, data visualizations and an on-page SEO checker.
- Back link reporting needs improvement as not all links are registered.
- Lacks a keyword list management feature.
3. Moz Pro
Moz Pro is a complete SEO toolkit. It provides keyword research and management, search engine ranking and visibility, site error analysis, SEO opportunities identification, reporting and optimization.
Like SEMrush, Moz Pro offers a free trial version (get pricing here).
- Good for keyword research, reports and visualizations.
- Easy to track your rankings and those of your competitors.
- Provides great page optimization insights (broken links, slow load times, etc.)
- Crawls and audits your website.
- Creates custom reports — you can even automate recurring reports.
- Helps to find new link opportunities and also maximize the effects of existing links.
- Keyword explorer capabilities need improvement.
- Site audit features are not robust.
- Needs the ability to add more competitors for rank tracking.
- Slow and low crawl test limit.
4. Screaming Frog SEO Spider
The Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a website crawler that analyzes key SEO elements on any web page. It is an excellent program to audit a website from a technical point of view. It helps to understand details like the total number of pages on a website, titles, meta descriptions and broken or blocked links. It also creates a sitemap for you.
This tool will analyze up to 500 web pages for free, but if you want all the features you’ll need to subscribe (get pricing here).
- Can check status codes for a set of web pages.
- Crawls websites for custom text and finds canonical links.
- Easily find duplicate pages and identify missing titles and descriptions.
- Cannot crawl a large site, as it runs out of memory.
- Being quite technical, it is difficult for beginners to use.
5. Google search console (free)
This is a free SEO tool to analyze your website, make your web pages Google-friendly and attain a higher page ranking.
The Google Search Console helps to index your website and web pages, provides information about its search traffic, updates for technical status, finds errors and URL parameters.
- Good for a basic site auditing.
- Helps Google to understand your site structure.
- Shows your website’s current status and suggest ways to increase the rankings.
- Checks the webpage’s indexing and helps you in improving it.
- Astounding page speed insights feature.
- Ability to add sitemaps and check your robots.txt file.
- Measure the speed performance of both your desktop and mobile sites.
- The HTML errors list is not accurate.
- Not possible to group keywords and pages and track performance for groups.
- Effective for only Google’s search engine platform.
- Crawl errors need better guides/explanation for how to resolve.
Thus, depending on your requirements and budget, you can use one or more of these SEO tools to get the best SEO results.
5 reliable SEO tools
You might experiment with a few of these tools before deciding — or even use more than one. The Google tools are free, so there’s no risk there and several of the others offer free trials or select features at no cost. All except Screaming Frog are quite user-friendly, even for those with limited technical skills.
So what are you waiting for? Time to improve your business prospects!