SEO Resources and Tools for 2021
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With so many options to choose from, how do you know what tools for SEO suit your website’s needs? As usual, the answer is “it depends”.
When we start talking about SEO, things tend to get complicated, hard to digest and that’s only if we can find the problems holding us back.
The good thing is that there are plenty of SEO tools (both free and premium) that can help find, understand and fix the issues websites face.
But first, what is an SEO tool and what do they do?
What are SEO tools?
Basically, Search Engine Optimization tools help identify, resolve and maintain problems that websites face. They also uncover oppotunties for your website and helps you capitalize on them.
Depending on the tool, how these steps are displayed will be different and the more comfortable you get with a tool, the more you will gain from it and in less time.
First, you’ll want to identify issues and opportunities. This is usually the result of a complete SEO audit. If done correctly, technical and on-page errors will be visible.
Next, a complete SEO tool will show opportunites for your website. This usually comes in the form of keyword and competitor research. You can identify keyword and backlink gaps for content and potential links you can create for your website.
Finally, once you get your website healthy, you want to keep it that way. Over time, websites will get errors and SEO will evolve. Keeping tabs on your website will help your site stay healthy and continue to grow.
Now we understand the basics of what an SEO tool does, let’s get into the best ones out there for your website.
Best Automated All-In-One SEO Tools
An all-in-one SEO tool covers most, if not all the main points of Search Engine Optimization – keyword research and tracking, competitor analysis, backlink analysis, website audit – and depending on the tool, likely much more.
Many website owners and digital marketers swear by a number of tools, but they all have their pros and cons. From price tags to user friendly, some do sections of SEO better than others.
The good news is that many offer free (or very cheap) trail versions of the software so you can get a feel for it before you make a purchase.
SEM Rush is often seen as the industry leader in SEO tools. The dashboard overview has valuable reports to analyze your website and make data driven decisions.
You can get a 7-day trial for free and monthly subscriptions start at $130.
Ahrefs is another highly rated tool for a range of SEO functions. From keyword research, competitor analysis and backlink profile, it’s another great option.
A 7-day trial costs $9 and monthly subscriptions begin at $130.
Power Suite Pro
Power Suite Pro is another tool for users to maintain website health and SEO. It’s budget friendly in comparison to other tools, but less user friendly and not cloud-based.
There is a basic trial software for free, yearly packages start at $650.
Moz is another premium SEO tool with very user friendly interfaces and useful reports. Backlink and content analysis is easy to perform on Moz, as with many other features.
Moz gives a generous 30-day free trial, then starts at $130 per month.
Often the tool many website owners start with, due to the competitive price and user-friendly layout. Track your keywords, 200+ searches a day and domain analysis.
Up to 5 free daily searches or the basic plan begins at $22 a month.
Best Tools for Keywords Research
Apart from the all in one tools we have already talked about, there are a few extra tools that you can use to help your keyword research efforts.
Don’t for get to use Google features to get ideas and terms people are commonly searching for. there are two ways to do this:
- Go to Google and start typing in a search. You’ll see a window drop down. These are suggestions Google thinks you might be looking for. These are common terms others are searching for on the search engine.
- Actually complete the search and scroll to the bottom of the page. Here, you’ll find a bunch of “people also searched for” terms. These are another clue into the terms being searched for on Google.
Answer The Public
This is where my keyword research begins. Type a broad keyword into the search bar and you’ll get hundreds of variations, synonyms and questions related to the word.
You can perform a few free daily searches, or $130 per month.
This Chrome Extension gives data on related keywords whenever a Google search is performed. The free version will give a list of keywords, while the paid version gives rough volume.
Very competitive pricing, cost varies with number of searches. ~$10 yearly.
Another great way to get up to 100 keywords for free. Type in your keyword (broad usually works best) and you’ll find related terms pop up. Don’t trust the difficulty score here.
You can perform a few free daily searches, plans start at $38 monthly.
BEst Tools for Competitor Research
Competitor research is important in many niches. From discovering who are your main organic competitors to devising a solid strategy to climb above them in the rankings, researching your competition is important in SEO.
Identifying who the main players are in your industry is important for several reasons:
- What content are your competitors creating and how can you out do them?
- What keywords are they targeting? Is this traffic valuable for your business?
- What backlinks are valuable to their website? Can you replicate these to your website?
Often, Google is a solid place to start identifying your competition. Type a few of your main keywords into Google, in an incognito window. What websites come up? Write down the first 2-3 pages of relevant results, if any show up multiple times, these may be a good competitor to keep an eye on.
While other tools off competitor analysis, Spy Fu does it better. From your top competition, how they get their traffic, their top keywords, backlinks and more.
You can get a basic search for free and a monthly plan begins at $43.
A tool that is well known for it’s ‘Alexa Rank’ feature. Type in your site to get a domain and competitor analysis. This is an all in one tool, but with a higher price tag.
Alexa offers a free 14 day trial, free basic analysis, or $195 per month.
Best Tools for Backlink Building and Analysis
Although backlinks are harder to come by in modern SEO they are still an important part of ranking well in search engines. On top of that, you want to make sure your backlink profile is natural and hasn’t been targeted by negative SEO.
Many of the all-in-one tools will cover a solid backlink profile analysis, but there are some unique tools to use to identify opportunities and threats to your website.
Google Search Console is likely the first place for new links to show up as being indexed. It’s a good idea to have a look every month or so.
Help A Reporter Out
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a great way to earn high authority and quality backlinks by responding to journalist requests. Being unique, helpful and thorough in your responses can get powerful links.
HARO is a totally free tool for most, but $19 a month gains premium tools.
Best Technical SEO Tools
Technical Search Engine Optimization is important for the errors that exist on your site that are harder to identify.
Once again, many of the comprehensive SEO tools identify technical issues in a website audit, but we can have a look at a few specific tools to make it easier.
You might not hear the name of Screaming Frog as much as others on this list, but this is a great website crawling tool. It identifies a range of SEO issues and can export easily.
The free version crawls up to 500 URLs, full version is $255 a year.
Broken Link Checker
Broken links are harmful to your website health and your search rankings. If you’re looking to search a website of these links, you can use this tool to find all that exist on a website.
Broken Link Checker is totally free.
Best Site Speed Tools
As search engines evolve, site speed is a real issue facing many websites.
To pass Google’s page speed test, Web Core Vitals, can be very difficult for many websites.
A slow website will not only hurt your website’s organic rankings, many other factors will also take a hit, such as conversion rate. All these tools below are totally free to test your website loading time.
Pingdom is one of the best tools to understand site speed issues on a website. Plug in the URL you want to test, you’ll get a basic overview and analysis for opportunities for things to improve.
You can use Pingdom for site speed testing for free.
Google PageSpeed Insights
Directly from Google, this tool is useful at understanding site speed issues and tips for passing the ‘Web Core Vitals’ test that is used to indicate how fast a page loads.
Google PageSpeed Insights is free.
Another popular tool to test page speed. Similar to Pingdom, it gives an overall score, problems, and recommendations to improve. The waterfall report is useful to understand loading issues.
For testing a website loading time, GT Metrix is also totally free.
Great User Experience Tools
User Experience (UX) is quickly becoming one of the most important signals to Google and other search engines.
Basically, when a user visits your site, do they have a good or bad experience? Average time on page and bounce rate are two important factors Google keeps track of.
If a site loads too slow, people may click away in frustration. Test too small or clickable resources too close together? People likely won’t stick around long.
A user’s interaction (or lack of) is recorded by Google, if other pages do better than yours, competitors likely go higher than your result.
Hot Jar is a heat map which tracks user interaction and records it so you can discover helpful insights. Does part of a landing page break down causing user to exit? Identify ways to improve your landing pages.
Hot Jar is free for sites up to 2,000 pageviews a day, then $51 per month.
If your site is a little larger, Crazy Egg is similar to Hot Jar, but a cheaper option for larger sites. It is equipped with an unlimited A/B testing feature and provides insight into better converting buttons and copy.
After the free trial period of 30-days, plans start at $31 a month.
Ready.Mobi tests your website design on multiple devices at once. Your website will be visited by different screen sized devices. This handy tool will also show a range of errors that may impact the UX of your site.
This is a free tool to test and create an account to store results.
Tools for Website Analytics
There are plenty of website analytics tools and resources out there. However, there are only a couple that can really be trusted.
Google keeps tabs on visitors from your site – how long they stay, what links they click on, the device they used and the location they searched from.
It’s not hard to get a lot of this information for yourself. It’s the best way to make data-driven business decisions.
Google Analytics is the best way to track and gather information about the users that visit your website. This tool is all about the users that visit your site. The tracking code will collect information on the people that visit your website.
Google Analytics is free.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is information directly from Google. This tool is the most accurate way to track keywords and landing page positions in the search results. You will also find manual action and security penalties inside the console.
Google Search Console is free.