The phrase SEO tool is an umbrella term that includes any piece of software or service which can:
- help you improve your website’s visibility
- build a credible online brand
- garner strategic and competitive intelligence
- research keywords and links
- track social media performance
- create better content and
- grow your website
Because of this, SEO tools are an important part of any online entrepreneur’s resource arsenal. Luckily, the internet abounds with dozens upon dozens of SEO tools, covering a wide range of functions.
Below there is a list of 10 of the most popular SEO tools out there, with explanations of how they can assist in your online business.
If you are interested in link building, then this is one of the most convenient browser extensions you can get. MozBar lists important SEO metrics for each web page you visit, including domain authority, page authority, on-site HTML elements, and number of backlinks. It also allows you to highlight the types of links you’re interested in (dofollow, nofollow, internal, and external), as well as determine the website’s location, based on its IP address.
All of these features are available with the free version of MozBar. For $99 per month, you can create a standard Moz PRO account, which unlocks access to additional MozBar analytics features, but also to the entire Moz toolkit, including a mentions tool, a rank tracking tool, on-page keyword optimization, a keyword difficulty and SERP analysis tool, and more.
2. Google Analytics
Currently, Google Analytics is the Internet’s top rated web analytics and reporting service. For online marketers, it is an invaluable tool that can be used to obtain detailed statistics about a website’s traffic and its sources. This essentially helps publishers understand how visitors are interacting with their website.
Google Analytics can identify where visitors come from, how long they stay on a page, and what country they access the website from. Thanks to its integration with Google AdWords, it can also track conversions; and it’s e-commerce reports can track sales activity.
Blogs and websites may share Google Analytics data with potential advertisers to show how their website is performing and what kind of audience it reaches.
Basic functionality is free, while the premium version can be accessed for an annual fee. Google Analytics Premium offers the chance to work directly with Google and obtain “enterprise-level data.”
CopyScape is an online plagiarism checker and duplicate content detection service that can be quite helpful if your content is being distributed across the web.
Content owners and publishers can use this service to check whether their content has been stolen and republished elsewhere on the web, or whether old content is being repackaged and presented to them as something unique and original. Copyscape functions by matching original content with pages on the internet that contain similar text.
Copyscape also offers two premium services. Starting from $4.95 per month, the Copysentry service monitors your pages and automatically checks for copies once a week, while Copyscape Premium can perform comprehensive plagiarism checkups for only 5c per search.
4. SEER’s SEO Toolbox
A free, all-in-one toolbox based on SEER’s own in-house tools and designed to satisfy most SEO needs, SEER Toolbox targets online marketers who lack the technical know-how of seasoned programmers. Consequently, it works with spreadsheets, not programming code, boasting that if you can use the SUM () function, then you’ve got all the knowledge you need to excel (pun intended).
With SEER toolbox, you can easily create mashups, get quick access to relevant data ready for analysis, and better coordinate with your SEO team, since everyone would be using the same tools. The “all-in-one” function allows SEER toolbox to swiftly pull data from varied sources (like Google Analytics, Twitter, SEOMoz, Majestic SEO and more).
Praised for the massive amounts of “raw data” it can deliver (more than any other SEO toolbar available), SEOQuake keeps track of all manner of relevant parameters, including Google Page Rank, Google Index, Google Search information, Google Links (plus similar data for other popular search engines), Alexa rank, keyword density, domain IP and page source, but it also allows users to easily create their own parameters.
With so many features and things to track, SEOQuake is great tool to help you get a sense of how popular or useful a website is, often in a single glance. If you’re a beginner, this toolbar is a great place to start teaching yourself some SEO basics.
This quirky app resorts to social media analytics to evaluate its users and measure their online social influence. The app then assigns a numerical value to that influence, called a “Klout score.”
Klout draws data from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Wikipedia and Instagram to measure the size of a user’s social media circle, as well as their ability to drive action via the content they create.
It takes into account metrics such as retweets, follower counts, likes, subscriptions and memberships, and uses them to calculate social “outreach.” As a SEO tool, Klout can be used to measure your social media presence, and to better understand how your audience is responding to your content.
Although it is growing in popularity, Klout has also been criticized for producing “Klout scores” which can’t accurately represent one’s social influence. A famous example shows that according to Klout, US president Barrack Obama is less influential than a number of bloggers.
Primarily useful for link research and link building, Ahrefs comes with a large index of links, detailed anchor text distribution charts, and a user friendly interface to boot. The tool updates every 15 minutes, and can show backlinks, domains, and the best pages of a domain.
Ahrefs can generate SEO reports that can help you spot mistakes in titles, headers, meta descriptions or meta keywords; or find broken pages and duplicate content. A mentions tracker allows you to keep an eye on mentions of your brand or other relevant terms.
While this is mostly a paid tool, some limited functionality is offered for free (mostly as a free trial). Three paid subscription levels are available: for a monthly fee of $79, the Professional package can check up to 5000 backlinks per request; for $179, the Elite package ramps that number up to 15,000; and for $499 per month, users can gain access to an enterprise-tier package which displays a whopping 30,000 links per request.
8. Majestic SEO
Majestic SEO is known for having one of the largest link intelligence databases on the web, which makes it a great option for anyone interested in online marketing and PR.
It offers a suite of useful competitive intelligence tools: a Site Explorer which provides URL/domain summary data, a keyword checker, a backlink history tool that shows the number of backlinks for a URL or domain, webmaster tools to verify the ownership of your domain, a wide range of standard and advanced reports, and much more.
Free services are offered to individual users who want to get data for the sites they own. Silver, Gold, and Platinum subscription levels are marketed toward SEO professionals and SEO agencies, starting from $29.99 per month, or $299.90 per year.
9. Social Crawlytics
This is a nice competitive research web-based tool that can help you keep track of your competitors’ most shared content. It can quickly scan URLs to show you where your competitors’ content is being shared and promoted, and then compile useful social sharing metrics. Its intuitive dashboard makes it very easy to monitor, schedule and analyze those metrics.
Since this tool is free, you can jump right into using it if you have a Twitter handle and a URL to search. After you’ve tweaked the parameters of your search, all you have to do is provide an email address and Social Crawlytics will send you the report once it is compiled.
One of the most interesting features of the Social Crawlytics report is the Sunburst data graph, which “gives you a great visual view of how your shares are split up when approaching from a search engine’s point of view.”
10. Raven Tools
This popular suite offers a classic lineup of SEO, content and research tools. Raven addresses four main areas of interest for online entrepreneurs, namely SEO, social media management, content marketing, and PPC management.
If you’re confused about the myriad of SEO toolkits out there, Raven is a great place to start because it offers a lot of features in one place. Its SEO toolset alone contains over a dozen great resources.
For example, it features two time-saving tools: Site Finder – which uses Bing data to quickly identify the best linking opportunities, and Backlink Explorer – which pulls out all the backlinks for a URL or domain (including nofollow links) and compiles a comprehensive report.
But this is just a fraction of what the Raven software can do. However, quality comes at a cost. While a 30-day trial is offered for free, for $99 per month, you get unlimited access to the entire Raven tools suite. A nice perk about this offer is that the price covers up to four users, each with unique login credentials, which makes Raven a good choice for a small SEO team.