If I asked you to tell me the distance from earth to the moon (and you weren’t an astronomy nerd who already knew the answer), how would you do it?
You would probably Google it right?
I mean with a tool like Google sitting in your pocket, you sure as heck wouldn’t go to the local library and dig through an encyclopedia to find the answer.
And yet, the “encyclopedia approach” is the equivalent of what most entrepreneurs do when it comes to SEO.
Despite the hundreds of free and paid tools online that can help them to quickly and easily double the success of their SEO efforts, many entrepreneurs seem dead set on doing things the hard way.
They bumble around the world of SEO, trying to “fake it until they make it.”
And because of this, they end up losing thousands of dollars in profit and hundreds of hours in wasted time.
For many entrepreneurs, they simply don’t know which tools to use or don’t want to invest the money necessary to take advantage of them.
If this is you, then consider this article your holy grail.
I am going to list out all of the best tools to help you master SEO for the least possible investment.
Equipped with this knowledge, you will be able to take your SEO and your business to heights you never knew were possible.
Let’s get started.
1. Moz’s Open Site Explorer
Moz — or more specifically, Open Site Explorer — is by far one of my favorite SEO tools on the modern market.
It is simple, easy to use, and even the free version comes equipped with a powerhouse of SEO goodies.
The first is their open site explorer.
With the open site explorer, you can analyze your website to uncover content and link building opportunities that you might be missing.
You can track your link profile over a period of time so that you can clearly see which tactics are working and which ones aren’t.
And you can even compare your website to your competitor’s so that you can develop a more intelligent and targeted link building campaign.
In addition to this, you also have access to their Keyword explorer and MozBar which allow you to discover the best keywords to target and analyze the metrics of any site you visit.
If you are new to the wonderful world of SEO, then Moz equips you with all of the tools that you need to get going in the right direction.
2. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the golden child of SEO tools.
Nearly every business already uses Google Analytics to improve their SEO, and if you are not currently taking advantage of it, you will be left in the dust.
I have yet to find a better platform to track and measure important SEO data and uncover hidden trends that you or your competition are currently missing.
You can find out how you are generating your organic traffic, find your highest performing backlinks, and even learn how well users are engaging with each page on your site.
If you are not using Google Analytics, then quit reading this article, start your account, and then come back.
3. Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog is a tool that is a little bit more technical and deals predominantly with on page SEO as opposed to backlinks and traffic.
However, it is still incredibly valuable.
Want to find broken or missing links on your site?
Screaming Frog has got you covered.
Want to make sure that your titles and metadata are up to par?
Want a clean XML sitemap to review?
Screaming Frog offers all of this and more, and that’s just the free version.
4. Google Trends
If you want to stay ahead of the curve, then Google Trends is a must use tool.
It allows you to track trends as they appear and gauge the interest levels for current topics.
What’s interesting is that even though a certain topic may remain popular, the words and phrases people use to talk about that topic may change.
This means that the content you are writing and the keywords that you are targeting will have to change as well.
For example, a while ago, the wonderful world wide web made a subtle but important transition.
Instead of using the word e-mail, the powers that be decided to simplify everyone’s life a little bit and cut out the hyphen, changing the word to email.
Why would this matter to you?
Well, let’s say that you were writing an article titled “E-mail Marketing 101.”
The topic is relevant to a large portion of the population and it is extremely valuable to the right people.
But it doesn’t matter.
Because, if you are targeting “e-mail” instead of “email” your SEO ranking will be damaged and fewer and fewer people will actually be exposed to your content.
However, by using Google Trends, you can catch on to changes such as this and pivot your SEO efforts accordingly.
For those of you familiar with Hootsuite, you might be a little bit confused as to why I am including a social media management platform on a list of SEO tools.
Let me enlighten you.
Social media is absolutely essential to your SEO efforts.
Without a strong social media presence and effective campaigns, you will never be able to become an SEO Jedi Master.
You will be stuck as a padawan, sitting by and watching as all of the other pupils at the Academy get their lightsabers because they mastered social media and you didn’t.
However, with Hootsuite, you can uncover the secrets of the force and easily automate and master your Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook marketing.
No matter what your current social media skill level, Hootsuite gives you everything you need to take your social accounts to the next level.
And once you begin to optimize your social media, your SEO will follow.
5. The Wayback Machine
This tool is kind of like a time machine.
It allows you to go back and see what websites looked like back in the day.
This might seem like it is a purely nostalgic tool, however, it is actually extremely valuable for SEO.
It doesn’t matter whether you are looking at the numbers for your own website, a client’s site, or even a competitor’s site.
The Wayback Machine will allow you see exactly what changed about a site whenever you notice a change in the metrics.
So, for example, if you notice that you or a client start losing traffic for no explainable reason, the Wayback Machine let’s you see exactly what changed to set off the drop.
Maybe you notice that they started implementing excessive advertisements, a new website design, or some other sort of cosmetic change that negatively affected their appearance.
With the Wayback Machine, you can uncover the culprit and quickly remedy the issue.
User experience is directly tied to SEO performance.
And one of the most important parts of UX is the speed of your website.
If people show up to your website, love the look, the navigation, and the content, but can’t access what they want without a 30 second wait time, they will not be coming back.
It’s as simple as that.
There are too many resources available online and the attention span of the general populace is too short to forgive a slow website.
This makes tools like GTmetrix essential for your SEO success.
GTmetrix allows you to examine your website speed, diagnose potential problems, and discover the best opportunities for improvement.
You may be tempted to overlook this aspect of SEO and focus more on backlinks and content marketing.
And while both of those things are important, so is UX.
User experience is essential, and this simple tool will allow you to quickly and easily optimize your website to be one of the freshest and fastest sites on the block.
Linkody is a great tool that answers two incredibly of the most important questions regarding your website’s SEO.
- Which websites are linking to yours?
- Are you losing links for some reason?
It answers these questions easily and automatically and allows you to examine your link building campaigns and the results that they are generating.
Linkody sends you automatic messages to let you know when you gain or lose a link, the date the link was added, and the website that linked back to you.
And the coolest part?
With this tool, you can track the link building campaigns of your competition as well.
This is invaluable knowledge for optimizing your campaigns and absolutely crushing it at SEO.
How would you feel if you never had to do any research regarding your link building campaigns again?
Well, if you use Ontolo, you don’t.
Ontolo does all of the research work for you and develops a list of potential linking opportunities that you can pursue.
This means all that you have to do is pick and choose which link building opportunities you feel will have the biggest positive effect and then get to it.
But be warned, this tool doesn’t come without a tag.
At $97/month Ontolo is not cheap, however, it is one of the best tools that you can use and will save you hours of work and thousands of dollars in the long run.
Ahrefs is by far one of the most powerful SEO tools in the world.
It offers an incredibly thorough site explorer tool that provides a detailed backlink profile for any website, whether it is your own or a competitor’s.
Ahrefs also comes with a position tracker tool that allows you to determine just how effective your SEO efforts are.
You can track keyword rankings and discover how your site is performing on mobile devices with the click of a button.
Add in the plethora of other SEO tools that are at your disposal when you use Ahrefs, and you can become an unstoppable SEO machine.
One of the keys to succeeding as an entrepreneur is using every tool at your disposal to increase your odds of success.
If you can effectively leverage the 9 tools detailed in this article, your business will never be the same.
You will quickly become the Yoda of SEO and will see your website popping up all over Google.
So in the famous words of Ellie Goulding “What are you waiting for?”
Get out there and get to work.
What is your favorite tool for absolutely crushing it at SEO?