What is SEO? SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the online marketing process of ranking your website or webpages to match a related search query within a search engine’s result page.
How Does SEO Tools Help My Website?
The short answer, SEO drives free visitor traffic to your website.
Unlike SEM (Search Engine Marketing) advertisement campaigns, SEO takes time, effort, and content investment to show results. SEO done right can help your website build desirable, long-term traffic over time.
Modern Day SEO
Today, SEO has evolved to focus more on algorithms such as Google RankBrain, Panda, and Penguin. We need more than just the right SEO practices, but the BEST SEO tools to help us improve keyword rankings and keep up with all the industry changes.
Best SEO Tools for Effective Search Engine Optimization
As keyword rankings fluctuate, tracking the daily SEO performance of your website is a must. When a keyword loses its ranking position, you can quickly lose traffic. Effective SEO tools can help you consistently win top-ranking positions. In addition, SEO tools can accelerate and improve SEO strategies in the following ways:
- Identify keyword opportunities to specific products and services
- Expand research horizons with new keywords
- Provide insights and audits to help improve SEO keyword rankings
- Monitor and analyze webpages for inbound and outbound backlinks
- Discover new backlink opportunities that your competitors are ranking for
- Track changes in keyword rankings with the potential gain or loss of visitors
- Improve visibility of keyword rankings
- Optimize the performance of a webpage by tracking webpage loading speed
Free SEO Tool #1: Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free SEO tool. Users should have an intermediate level of understanding in SEO before utilizing Google Search Console. To get started, create a Google account and claim your website within the platform. Learn how to set up Google Search Console.
The tool monitors the XML sitemap results of your website after a successful submission within Google Search Console. It discloses the number of pages that have been submitted and indexed by Google.
Google also tracks keyword rankings for your website through the search console. It analyzes data and insights of 1,000 keyword rankings. This data includes the number of clicks, impressions, click-through rate (CTR) percentage, and the average position of each keyword.
Additionally, Google Search Console identifies technical errors that will affect your SEO efforts, such as
- Manual actions and web spam indicated by Google
- Crawl errors, server errors, and 404-page errors
- Security issues that warn visitors that your website has been compromised
Free SEO Tool #2: Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free SEO tool. Users need to have a beginner’s level of understanding of SEO before utilizing Google Analytics. To access the tool, you must have a Google account and have claimed your website within the platform as the owner.
Google Analytics provides a tracking script to install on every page of your website to correctly track visitors’ data. Segments can be created within the tool to view data in categories such as all SEO traffic, organic traffic, Google organic traffic only, Bing organic traffic only, etc.
The tool is an excellent data management interface that collects and categorizes visitor data to help you understand user activities. In-depth reports can be aggregated to reflect real-time statistics and help you identify winning content and keywords. It is a great SEO tool to use in conjunction with additional keyword research tools that we will talk about next.
Paid Subscription SEO Tool #3. SEMRush
Semrush is one of our favorite all-around SEO tools. It is the tool we use and recommend. Semrush comprehensive keyword research features help you optimize content for the win. It uncovers phrase-matching, related keywords, and valuable long-tail keywords (keywords made up of three or more words) to improve organic search rankings.
Use the tool to quickly identify less competitive keywords to rank for and keep track of the keyword ranking progress with analytics reports. Semrush allows users to run periodic SEO audits to monitor the website’s health and address issues needing to be fixed so you can better optimize the overall website’s SEO performance.
Within Semrush, you will find 44 unique tools to help you succeed in SEO. Some of the feature categories include:
- Competitor Analysis
- Keyword Research
- On-page and Tech SEO
- Local SEO
- Social Media
- Content Marketing
- Market Research
- Leads and Clients Management
Semrush’s effective and robust competitor research feature explains what keywords your competitors use to rank organically. You can track competitor’s progress by looking into their domain position changes and discover their backlinks. Uncover vital information by understanding your competitor’s referring domain authority.
Beginner’s Guide to Semrush
For beginner’s, there are four critical tools within Semrush that we recommend to start and where to spend most of your time updating SEO for your website and blog:
- Position Tracking
- Keyword Magic Tool
- Site Audit
- Backlink Audit
Semrush Position Tracking
How will Semrush Help Your Website Succeed?
Semrush precisely tracks keyword rankings across Google search, per device type and geographical location. In addition, it has the ability to compare your website against the competitor’s per keyword, which shows how you measure up against competing websites.
Semrush enhances the performance of indexed webpages by guiding you through result-driven content strategy and marketing. Receive recommendations such as to consider adding a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section if your tracked keywords include the wording “People Also Asked,” or add a user review section as well as star ratings if the wording “Review” appears on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP).
Overview of the Semrush Position Tracking
People Also Asked
Reviews on SERPs
Google Ads on Top and Bottom of SERPs
Video on SERP
YouTube or similar videos from other platforms appear on the SERP related to the search term
Get keyword estimated monthly search volume
Estimated average cost-per-click (CPC)
Add Top Competitors
Displays how your competitors rank for the same track keywords. We recommend adding up to four of your closest competitors to get a sense of where you stand amongst the competition
Semrush Keyword Magic Tool
Semrush Keyword Magic Tool allows users to effortlessly explore and research keywords with lucrative monthly search volume relevant to your content, product, or service. You can even discover valuable keyword ideas as well as long-tail keywords that boost your website’s visibility in search engines.
For example, let’s say you are creating a blog post on how to cook pasta. Semrush can effectively determine the estimated monthly search volume for keywords you plan to target and track, making it easy to measure the value and worthiness of keywords against your content efforts. In this case, “how to cook pasta” has 12,100 monthly search volumes.
Additionally, Semrush recommends relevant keywords related to “how to cook pasta” with substantial monthly search volume, such as “how long to cook pasta,” “how to cook pasta in instant pot,” or “how long to cook fresh pasta.” Increase visibility by incorporating related terms and long-tail keywords in your content to expand the footprint on searches for landing pages.
Semrush Site Audit
Semrush site audit has over 130 SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and technical issue analytics to help users visualize how Google indexes their websites. The tool crawls your website, including every published page, to accurately assess a website’s overall SEO health. The report includes the following:
Health Site Score
Notices are issues of low severity detected on your website during the latest audit. For example, Notices are sent for pages blocked from indexing and crawling, orphan pages that are not part of the sitemap, and links to external webpages returning 403 HTTP status code, etc.
Number of Crawled Pages
Semrush provides a list of pages that are healthy, broken, contain issues, have redirects, or are blocked pages. Focus your SEO effort on pages with issues that require attention. The tool will provide details on what is broken within the page and what needs to be fixed. Anecdotally, pay attention when reviewing the number of crawled pages versus the number of published pages on your website. Make sure the numbers closely match each other because this informs you of how many pages Google would have indexed.
The Crawlability Rate describes the percentage of pages that were crawlable over the total pages published. Make sure all the pages you want to be indexed by Google are indexable and are not categorized as “no-follow.”
Percentage of Website in HTTPS
Pay attention to this percentage because ideally, the entire website should be 100% under HTTPS. For web security purposes, the minimum requirement should be 99% of all webpages fall under HTTPS.
The International SEO tool will only apply to websites that have international webpages in languages other than English. In addition, the correlating pages published in different languages need to be indexed correctly for the targeted country.
Core Web Vitals
You can validate webpages to meet Google’s Core Web Vital requirement and present the best user experience to visitors. Note the following three critical elements required to improve Google’s Core Web Vital.
- LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) – LCP is the time it takes for a browser to load the largest block of content on a webpage.
- FID (First Input Delay) – FID shows the time a webpage is unavailable for data input.
- CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) – CLS detects the webpage content shifts by combining shifts of all elements upon loading.
Semrush Backlink Audit
Semrush will start an audit and crawl your website for all backlinks that point to your website. During this discovery process, you will find exactly the total number of links, where they are coming from, the domain authority of the websites that are linking to you, and recommend whether a website is toxic through Semrush’s estimation.
One stat to review thoroughly is the number of toxic links and where you are receiving those links. Research these websites that have the toxic link label and confirm if there is any relevance for that website to create a link back to your website. If indeed the website is a poorly constructed, low-grade content website, has zero relevance, or contains offensive content then you should disavow the link through Google Search Console.
Paid Subscription SEO Tool #4. WordTracker
Paid Subscription SEO Tool #5. Ahrefs
Ahref is another comprehensive backlink checker that indexes all of the links pointing to your website and analyzes the potential impact each link has against your SEO campaigns. The tool uncovers links that enhance your website’s performance. Furthermore, it discovers and excludes low-quality links that may be hurting your website’s ranking.
Ahref also provides a handy Content Explorer, which strengthens your overall content strategy. It tells you what type of content is doing well and is receiving the most backlinks and shares so that you can keep an eye on the competition and execute better content planning going forward.