- Google Keyword Planner: PPC keyword research
- Google Search Terms Report (Bing has it too)
- Google Search Console: Use to optimize existing SEO content and finding spinoff topic ideas. Most important dataset is the link data (Search Traffic > Links to your site > More) because staying up-to-date with toxic backlinks is one of the most essential steps in off-page SEO. Helps fix issues related to sitemap and indexing. Needs to be used in unison with Bing Webmaster tools.
- Google Tag Manager
- Google Analytics
- Google Mobile Friendly Test: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
- Google Core Web Vitals
- Google Trends: Use to identify the evergreen value of a keyword and see a trend report showing interest over time.
- Google SERP Preview Tool: Shows you a preview of what your web pages will look like on Google, which can drastically impact your CTR.
KEYWORD RESEARCH & CONTENT TOOLS
- Wordstream Keyword Tool: Use for PPC keyword research and strategic advice.
- Seed Keywords: Allows you to create a scenario for a particular search—basically, it tells you what people search for when asking a particular question. For example: “If you have a faulty PC and you need to get it fixed, what would you search for?” Totally free.
- MarketMuse: “Amazing AI tool for content production planning and outlining.” (David Toth) Free.
- io: Use to find long-tail keywords. The tool uses suggestions from eight different platforms as well as Google autocomplete. Free with no numerical data, paid starts at $69/month.
- Dashword: “I use it to discover key topics that should be included in my content and get tips for improving the SEO of articles and blog posts.” (Janet Berry Johnson) (dashword.com)
Keyworddit: Mines Reddit to look for topic ideas.
- Soovle: Use for initial brainstorming for new keywords. It pulls data from 16 search engines. It doesn’t provide volume, competition, or cost data, but it’s good for content ideas and understanding user intent. For example, did you know that some YouTube users search for lawn mower sounds for sleep? Who knew? You can choose a subreddit and the tool pulls keywords from posts and comments. For example, r/businessowners.
- Answer the Public: Useful for finding question keywords and targeting “People Also Ask”. Displays results with visualizations. Free for three searches a day. Paid starts at $99/month.
- Growthbar: This tool uses AI to generate SEO content outlines that include proper keywords, headlines, word count, links, and tone. Features include organic research and keyword suggestions with competitiveness scores and metrics. Starts at $29/month. Has free Chrome Extension.
- Ubersuggest: Keyword research tool for long-tail keywords and niche keywords. Ideal for keyword research and competitive research. The tool shows SEO difficulty score, social shares, and content ideas. Free for three keywords/day, paid starts at $29/month. Paid version has Chrome extension that provides data as you search.
- pro: SEO analysis tool with suggestions for improvement. Includes ongoing website scans that audit your website and provide insights into issues to fix. Also has a website traffic checker to view competitor site traffic, a backlink tracking feature with notifications and a rankings check. $29+/month.
- SpyFu: Use to find the most profitable keywords used by competitors. Shows every ad campaign run by competitors and their organic searches. Features include PPC ad rank tracking, PPC monitoring/strategy of competitors, keyword grouping of competitors AdWords, AdWord advisor that suggests useful keywords, and a keyword spy tool. Basic pricing starts at $33/month.
- Screaming Frog SEO Spider: Superfast website audits. The tool crawls your site to find broken links, missing tags, and duplicate content. It also identifies redirect chains, generates XML sitemaps, and analyzes metadata and page titles for length. Free for up to 500 URLs.
ALL IN ONE
All of these tools have keyword analysis, SERP analysis, keyword gaps, site analysis, SEO audit, and integrations (with apps, plugins, CRMs and other reporting tools).
- SEMrush: Often referred to as the gold standard for premium keyword research platforms, it has over 40 tools and reports. Key features are organic research, advertising research, product listing ads for competitors, and traffic analysis. “Great for managing competitor analysis/search strategy and website technical site health,” says AAM Member David Toth. Unique features are a content marketing toolkit, social media marketing, and keyword intent feature. Paid version starts at $119.95/month. “Like a lighthouse as I surf through the ocean of websites” – said someone on the web.
- Ahrefs: “Like a bloodhound with content research” – said someone on the web. Started as a backlink analysis tool, so it’s the largest backlink index in the world and is now the second-fastest web crawler (only behind Google). It is the best tool for linkbuilding, and its keyword tool generates millions of keywords on a single query. It also has a ranking history, a content explorer, and an outbound link report. Unique feature is click metrics – learn how many searches result in clicks, distribution between paid and organic results, and how often people search the same keyword in 30 days. $99+/month.
- Moz Keyword Explorer and MozBar: “The mac daddy of SEO.” –said someone on the web. Features include rank tracking, keyword analysis, backlink analysis, and site audits. Unique feature is organic CTR and priority score. Free for 10 searches/month, standard package starts at $99/month. Has a free Chrome extension that provides page and domain authority and generates an instant report on the website you’re visiting.
- Serpstat: Website analysis tool that includes in-depth SEO and PPC research, tracks universal search results, keyword research with cluster research and search volume, backlink analysis with two years of data plus competitor backlink info that includes ad strategies and budget. Lite plan starts at $69/month.
- SEObility: Website monitoring including page response time, link building tools, rank tracking, on-page analysis including metadata, local search results, competitor comparison, and email reporting. Basic plan is free, $50/month for premier.
- SEOquake: Includes metrics like external links, Alexa and Google rankings, domain age, and SEMrush rank. SEO Bar plugin provides quick info when searching the web. Has a SERP Overlay tool that can be exported to CSV. Entirely free.
- Mangools: Great for a small budget. Has five different tools: KWFinder for keyword research, SERPChecker for checking website rankings, SERPWatcher for keeping track of changes in keyword rankings, LinkMiner for analyzing backlink opportunities and competitors’ backlinks, and SiteProfiler for analyzing competitors’ websites. Basic package starts at $29.90/month.
- VidIQ: “Critical for those trying to leverage video, specifically on YouTube.” (AAM Member David Toth) Free.
- Hubspot: “If you are using marketing automation platforms like Hubspot, they have a great SEO feature for topic clusters that can help reverse engineer which content/keywords is performing the best.” (AAM Member David Toth)
- Yoast SEO WordPress plugin: “I love how it gamifies SEO by encouraging me to get the green dot for SEO and readability.” (AAM Member Janet Berry Johnson)
- SEOWorkers Analysis Tool: Helps save a lot of time in analysis and provides background info on data. Some of the data is under-the-hood stuff that you wouldn’t normally think to check for. Plus, it teaches you about SEO in addition to showing you the SEO data that matters.
- Neil Patel SEO Analyzer: Website crawler tool that has info about estimated traffic score, SEO score, and backlinks, plus it shows you broken or blocked pages. It also gives tips on how to improve your site.
- ClickFlow: Shows you old pages on your site that are no longer performing well. Good ideas for a content refresh. Connect the Content Decay Tool to Search Console.
- Pagespeed Insights: Tells you what you need to fix for your site to load fast on any device. Free.
- Pitchbox: For influencer outreach and content marketers. Helps you get in touch with influencers and bloggers for link building opportunities. Includes email templates and lead details with prospect info as well as workflows and filters. Custom monthly pricing.
- Fat Rank: Google Chrome extension that helps you find out where your website ranks on Google. Includes unlimited keywords and domains, a graph feature, and downloadable CSV reports. Totally free.
- KWFinder by Mangools: Claims it’s the only keyword tool in the universe you will ever need. Used for keyword analysis, search volume, local keyword research, keywords your competitors rank for, SERP analysis and site analysis. Free for 5 searches a day. Paid starts at $29/month.
Sources: Adam Enfroy, Wordstream, Neil Patel, Tech Radar
About Rachael McGrew
Rachael McGrew is the Business Development Director for Landmark CPAs, one of Arkansas’ largest accounting firms. In her role, she wears many hats, including overseeing the firm’s marketing and business development strategy, managing internal and external communications, maintaining the firm’s social media and web presence, planning and executing firm events and community outreach programs, coordinating recruiting campaigns, and serving on industry association committees.
Rachael is the co-chair of the AAM Minute and leads the AAM Hubspot Circle. She is a graduate of the Leadership Fort Smith program, an Arkansas Business and Northwest Arkansas Business Journal 40 Under 40 honoree, and a member of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Arkansas’ Western Council.