When it comes to managing and developing your online strategy, there are a plethora of free SEO tools out there and even more paid ones. It can sometimes be hard to identify which tools are valuable and which are just wasted space in your bookmarks list – but this post is here to help you with that.
Before we go any further, it should be said that you’re not going to be able to find a tool that will do your SEO for you completely, and neither should you try (a fully automated SEO strategy will definitely lead to a Google penalty). These, however, are the best SEO tools to assist you in your campaign and provide you with valuable data.
SEO Keyword Tools
When it comes to keywords, or even SEO in general, the Google Keyword Planner really is one of the first tools that you need to familiarise yourself with. Since this tool has been developed by Google itself, we can trust that the data is accurate – just beware that it applies only to Google and not to any of the other search engines (although we can draw similar conclusions about these).
The Google Keyword Planner is part of Adwords – Google’s tool for managing PPC advertising campaigns. However, the data it gives us can be useful for on-page organic search optimisation too. You can enter various keyword ideas into this tool and, filtering by language and location, you can find out how many people are searching for these keywords each month.You can also bring up a list of suggested keywords, with their search volumes, just by typing in a general seed topic.
So if you want to optimise a page and you can’t decide whether to use ‘Google keywords’ or ‘Google search terms’ as your target keyword, you can find out which one people are more likely to search for and act accordingly. The tool is free to use and is without a doubt one of the best SEO tools when it comes to on-page optimisation.
SEO Ranking Tools
There are a lot of paid SEO tools out there that can be used for tracking your keyword rankings, but there are also a lot of good, free tools that will do the job just as well. whatsmyserp.com and Rank Tracker are just two examples. These tools allow you to check your ranking performance on your target keywords. Enter your keywords, and they will return your Google rankings for you so that you can monitor your performance and find out which pages of your website are ranking for which keywords.
The great thing about these particular tools is that you can also use them to analyse the keyword performance of your competitors. If a competitor is outranking you on a particular keyword, or if there’s a gap in the market, then you can know about it instantly and take appropriate action.
Backlink Analysis Tools
Link-building should be a prominent part of any SEO strategy and luckily there are a few valuable online SEO tools that can help you with this. Majestic SEO is one of the most popular. The free version offers limited insights, but these can still be useful, allowing you to monitor your backlinks, your backlink sources, and how these have evolved over the lifespan of your website. Again, you can also analyse your competitors’ backlinking profile, giving you the opportunity to identify potential sources for links.
Ahrefs is another popular one and offers some strong advantages and keen insights, although it is a paid tool. The tool refreshes its data every 15 minutes, giving you up-to-date information, while its intuitive analysis reports make it very easy to use. This tool can be particularly useful in tracking your anchor text profile (the words used in links to your website, which impacts your rankings), and can be used to identify the strongest performing pages of your site in terms of backlinks.
Using Online SEO Tools
These tools will all be incredibly useful in your SEO campaign, but they need to be complemented with the right knowledge. They can help you to manage and analyse your strategy, but they can’t do the work for you. There are a lot of tools out there (especially link-building ones) that will claim to be able to automate your processes and provide you with results.
These should largely be avoided as using them will most likely result in penalisation from Google. For help with your optimisation tools or for any part of your online campaign, contact Premium SEO NZ for a no-obligation quote.
Tom McSherry is the founder and chief strategist of Premium SEO NZ. Tom has been in the digital marketing industry for 8 years providing digital copywriting and optimisation services to businesses in New Zealand and around the world. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.
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