Search Engine Optimisation is only as good as the tools that you use. Just as a carpenter needs a hammer, saw, logs, and so on, and a gardener needs a hoe, shears, shovel, etc., an SEO specialist has to be ‘armed’ with tools to perform his duty efficiently. It is impossible to rely on head knowledge and gut instinct in SEO. The reason is that the SEO industry is a highly competitive one. As a beginner in the industry, you would quickly discover that your competitors are ahead because they have access to powerful tools.

SEO tools provide the expert with data and insights upon which action may be taken. The industry gets more competitive by the day. For beginners, the following is a range of tools you may check out, categorized by their major functions, while Google’s own suite of tools is classified separately. You don’t need to try out every tool on the list; you only have to determine a couple of tools that work best for you. While some of them are completely free, others require you to make little payment.

All-in-one Tools

These are tools that perform a broad range of SEO functions. Most of them are paid apps.

  • Ahrefs: Ahrefs is not a single tool, but a collection of tools for a variety of SEO needs from keyword research to backlink research, content research, site audit, rank tracker, and more.
  • Merkle: Merkle has a range of tools primarily for technical SEO including sitemap generator, AMP validator, schema generator, SERP simulator, etc.
  • Moz: Moz is an all-in-one SEO toolkit for a site audit, backlinks analysis, keyword research, rank tracking, on-page optimization, etc.
  • Rank Math: Rank Math is a WordPress SEO plugin for a variety of functions: SEO analysis, local SEO, Google Search Console integration, and overall on-page SEO for WordPress-based websites.
  • Raptor: Raptor provides a suite of tools for website auditing, competition monitoring, technical SEO, etc. 
  • Raven Tools: Raven Tools is an all-encompassing SEO platform for a variety of features such as link building, website audits, rank tracking, competitor research, keyword analysis, etc.
  • Yoast SEO: Yoast is one of the most popular SEO tools. It is a WordPress SEO plugin for optimizing keywords, internal linking, simulate your page in Google, measure readability, and a lot more technical processes. The premium version is your best bet as the free version is severely limited.

Keyword Tools/Content Ideas

These tools would help you in your keyword research and for finding content ideas for your coming posts. 

  • Answer the Public: Answer the Public taps into Google’s autocomplete feature to uncover the questions that people are asking about a keyword. This can be a content idea goldmine.
  • Exploding topics: This helps you to discover rapidly growing topics online and take advantage of them just before they become widely popular.
  • Keys4UP: Keys4Up automates semantic-related keyword research for content marketers and journalists.
  • Keyworddit: Social media is great for keyword research, and Keyworddit just does that: enabling you to find the best keywords from Reddit. 
  • Keywords Everywhere: This is a browser add-on that can be installed on Chrome or Firefox. Its focus is competitor keyword research and keyword analysis for PPC. The pricing is neither monthly nor yearly, but rather users subscribe for ‘credits’ to analyze a certain number of keywords.
  • Keyword Surfer: A paid platform, this keyword tool by Surfer SEO is also a Chrome browser extension for keyword research in Google Search.
  • Keywordtool.io: This tool dubs itself as a Google keyword planner alternative. It uses Google Autocomplete to find keyword suggestions, but with an improved interface. 
  • KWFinder: KWFinder by Mangols is a paid tool (with a 10-day trial period) predominantly for keyword research. Use it to find local keywords, determine keyword difficulty, organize keywords into lists, find your competitors’ keywords, etc.
  • Seed Keywords: Seed Keywords works through the creation of what it calls ‘scenarios’. You connect with your contacts to know what they would do in a particular scenario and from there generate content ideas for your next post.
  • SpyFu: Spyfu is the paid keyword research tool primarily for analyzing your competitors. It is not only geared towards organic SEO but also PPC campaigns.
  • Ubersuggest: This is a free keyword tool by renowned SEO expert Neil Patel. It is a basic tool but very helpful for finding keyword suggestions and content ideas.
  • Wordtracker Scout: The Scout browser extension is a keyword research tool that matches data on any webpage to relevant keywords.

Link Building Tools

These link building tools enable you to either analyze backlinks or build relationships with other industry experts.

  • BuzzStream: This is a paid tool for researching influencers and conducting email outreaches. It is a useful tool for link building and content promotion.
  • Check my Links: Check My Links is a Google Chrome extension that crawls your website in search of broken links.
  • Help a Reporter (HARO): This is a tool mainly for journalists but it can be useful for SEO experts as well. You can use it to connect with journalists to get features and mentions on their platforms.
  • Hunter.io: By entering the domain name of any website, hunter.io finds addresses of employees of the company so that you can connect with them and expand your network.
  • Link Miner: Link miner is the tool for backlinks. Use it to find backlinks, determine the strength of links, preview backlinks live, etc. You get a 10-day free trial period before your subscription starts counting.
  • Linkody: Linkody is a backlink tracker to monitor your link building campaigns. 
  • Majestic: Majestic SEO is probably the most popular tool for link building. It investigates link and finds you backlinking opportunities as well as even give you the context of the links. However, this tool requires payment for premium usage.
  • Streak: Streak is a CRM tool for Gmail that works as a Chrome extension. It helps to manage your emails and make the process easier overall and comes at a price. 

Website Audit Tools

Website audit tools perform full reviews of your website. They are useful for diagnostics and perform different functions, depending on the purpose of the audit.

  • Bing Webmaster Tool: This is Bing’s version of Google Webmaster tools for developers. It gives you insights into your website and a range of diagnostic tools to rank better, primarily on Bing.  
  • CORA: CORA SEO software performs a very specific function: analyzing your website to determine the effects of Google Updates. It also measures your website against over 2000 ranking factors and lets you know where your site is lagging.
  • Dareboost: Dareboost is primary for website analysis and to test and optimize the speed and performance of your website.
  • Fat Rank: The Fat Rank browser extension shows you where your website (and your competitors’) rank in Google for keywords and phrases.
  • Lipperhey: Lipperhey is an absolutely free SEO tool for different services such as website traffic analysis, keywords ranking and suggestions, and so on.
  • Neil Patel SEO Analyser: This is different from Ubersuggest, or say, a more basic version of the latter. The SEO analyzer checks your website for site speed, backlinks, etc. and provides a detailed report.
  • Screaming Frog: This is a website crawler that analyses your site for various SEO issues such as finding broken links and duplicate content, generating XML sitemaps, visualizing site architecture, etc. Buying a subscription removes the cap placed on the free version.
  • SEMrush: SEMrush gives you analytics reports for organic search, backlink management, keyword research, and more.
  • Seobility: Seobility provides you with free SEO tools for site auditing, rank tracking, checking backlinks, and so on.
  • SEOQuake: SEO Quake is a browser plugin for instant real-time SEO site audits. 
  • SEOWorkers: the SEO analysis tool by SEO Workers provides a detailed analysis of your website. It dubs itself a ‘forensic SEO service’
  • SERPSim: the full name is SERP Simulator and its primary function is to generate SERP snippets and simulate Google’s results. This can help you ensure that your web page’s title is within the acceptable length.
  • SERP Simulator: SERP Simulator generates snippets of a page’s title, meta tag, and URL for you to see how your organic listings would appear in search results. 
  • SimilarWeb: SimilarWeb analyses website traffic for marketing insights. It works as both an in-browser software and an extension.
  • Siteliner: Siteliner analyses your website for duplicate content, broken links, providing XML sitemaps, and other reports. The free version has limitations, but the premium version is unlimited.
  • Woorank: Woorank is a paid tool for an advanced SEO audit of your website. It is particularly useful for technical SEO insights.

Search Rankings

These tools give you insights into your Google Search rankings and also details on how different factors affect your rankings.

  • Animalz Revive: The Google bot loves fresh and evergreen content. Once your posts start losing traffic, Animalz Revive alerts you so that you can update and optimize it. You first have to link it to your Google Analytics.
  • Can I Rank: CanIRank is the SEO software that not only gives you data, but also AI-backed recommendations for improvement.
  • Panguin Tool: Panguin from Flowji is a free SEO tool that measures the impact of Google algorithm updates on your website.
  • SERP Robot: A free tool for finding out Google ranking for your website in real-time.
  • Serpstat: This is another popular SEO tool for both organic SEO and PPC ads.
  • Varvy SEO Tool: Varvy measures your website against Google algorithm factors and determines how well it conforms as well as find areas that it lags. 

Technical SEO

These tools deal with the technical details of your website. You don’t need to be a web developer before you optimize the performance of your site.

  • Botify: Botify improves your site’s indexing and ranking by uncovering missed opportunities by search engines for you to transform them to your advantage.
  • Bright Local: According to its name, Bright Local is an all-encompassing local SEO. It is useful for site audits, reputation management, citation building, lead generation, etc.
  • Browseo: Browseo shows you how your site appears to site engines. This would enable you to view errors in structure and adjust accordingly.
  • Cloudflare: Cloudflare is a paid tool to improve your website security and performance.
  • GTMetrix: GTMetrix analyses your website to determine how fast it loads and other features. It helps in speed and performance optimization.
  • HeadmasterSEO: Headmaster SEO is a lightweight desktop software that checks URLs for redirect details, status code, response time, etc. You can run it for bulk URLs and also export your results into a CSV file. A premium version removes the cap on the free version.
  • Smush: Smush is a WordPress plugin that promises to ‘compress, optimize, and lazy load images’, and more. Image compression improves your page speed which is a factor that influences your Google rankings.
  • Where Goes: Many link problems arise as a result of too many redirects. Wheregoes analyses websites to track the redirection path of URLs and shortened links.
  • XML Sitemaps: An XML sitemap enables search engines to understand the structure of your site and crawl your website easily. The platform XML Sitemaps enables you to easily create such to boost your SEO advantage.

Google Tools

Google tools are completely free to use and provide a wide variety of features. Combined together, they are a very powerful SEO resource to get ahead of others.

Autocomplete: for ordinary internet users, autocomplete is simply a tool that completes their searches for them with suggestions. For marketers, it is a tool for uncovering useful keyword suggestions and content ideas.

  • Chrome DevTools: This is a tool primarily for web developers but can be useful for technical SEO. It is built into the Chrome browser and helps you to diagnose issues quickly to speed up your site and improve its performance. 
  • Data Studio: when connected with Seach Console, Google Data Studio is a great resource for SEO specialists.
  • Google Alerts: Alerts helps you set up notifications for desired content whenever it is mentioned online. You can use it to track your business mentions and up your link building strategy.
  • Google Analytics: Analytics is a sort of sister-app to Search Console. It tracks website traffic and gives you business insights to improve your strategy.
  • Google PageSpeed Insights: PageSpeed Insights does just as it is named: it measures your website speed to identify areas of improvement.
  • Google Trends: Trends show you trending topics on the internet. You can also use it to search for keywords to find related important keywords and phrases. It is useful for finding content ideas.
  • Keyword Planner: Keyword Planner is a Google Ads tool to discover the best keywords for your PPC campaign.
  • Mobile-Friendly test: This is an independent feature that is part of the Search Console that measures how optimized your website is for mobile devices. Google prioritizes mobile-optimized web pages when ranking.  
  • My Business: Google My Business helps you to set up your online business profile and listing to make you more discoverable on the web, in Search and Maps. It should be the starting point for local search engine optimization.
  • Search Console: Search Console analyses your site, generates reports, and gives improvement and optimization suggestions. It is the most important Google SEO tool.

Bonus

  • Detailed.com: Detailed.com is a newsletter that gives you free and private SEO advice to advance your strategy.

Conclusion

As I mentioned in the introduction, SEO is a highly competitive industry, so almost all the time you have to depend on these tools for insights, especially as a beginner without much industry knowledge. But tools are not everything either; you still need to follow SEO websites and monitor industry ‘gossips’ to get information quickly, especially about algorithm updates. Most importantly, build a firm relationship with other SEO experts as they would be helpful to you in the course of your duties.