SEO has proven itself. It’s no longer the buzzword reserved for niche online marketing circles. Nowadays, even the small business owner promoting their business online knows just how critical SEO can be to their success.
Unfortunately, while they understand the importance of SEO and its results, they still struggle with how to execute an effective SEO strategy and what tools to use in the process.
And who can blame them? So many tools exist for various uses at varying price points, and for even the most experienced, it can be hard to tell which one to choose.
Here, we’ve listed some of the best SEO tools that SEO experts are using in 2018 to help them create amazing content loved by both audiences and search engines.
When one of the most proven names in online marketing buys one of the most popular free tools on the market, you know it’s on to something special.
Neil Patel’s 2017 purchase of Ubersuggest had many showing a renewed interest in the tool, and for good reason. It’s one of the most comprehensive keyword suggestion tool and optimization tool for improving search engine rankings and executing PPC campaigns.
Add the fact that it’s free (unlike the other popular tools on this list) and you’ve got a winning combination.
Ubersuggest pulls in their keyword suggestions from Google’s Keyword Planner and Google Suggest, which means you’re getting data from the most popular search engine in the world. Along with the keyword suggestions, it also tells search volume, i.e. monthly average of how often people search for this term, and gives you an idea of how much competition there is for each keyword.
This information is more than enough to help online marketers build a solid list of keywords and phrases to target when creating website content, and engaging in online advertising.
If you’re looking for a more complex, robust platform that covers several areas of SEO research and analysis – including site analysis, backlink profiles, keyword suggestions, and content exploration – then Ahrefs is worth considering.
Beware, Ahrefs could cost you a pretty penny. Unlike many SEO tools, which have a free or freemium model, you have to pay to play with this tool. A 7-day trial will cost you $7 upfront, after which, regular plans start at $99 per month.
Ahrefs’ comprehensive dashboard is meant for the businesses and agencies with ongoing in-depth SEO needs. It features several charts and trackers that give you an overview of your website’s performance across the web, from individual page backlinks, referrals and SERP ranking and even social media shares.
If SEO is a big part of your online marketing strategy and you have the budget to accommodate it, Ahrefs should definitely be one of the tools in your marketing belt for 2018.
SEMrush markets itself as the ‘all-in-one marketing toolkit for digital marketing professionals’. It’s dashboard can be a bit overwhelming for the average small business owner, whom might not be so familiar with SEO terminologies, but the tool certainly packs a punch for those in highly competitive industries, as well as agencies and larger businesses that run analytics for multiple entities or divisions.
SEMrush gives over 20 ways to research your competition – from backlink reports, keyword suggestions, content performance, PPC recommendations and more. It’s also great at ad strategy analysis, which comes in very handy if you’re trying to create better Google Ads. One of the most useful features, however, is its ability to generate beautiful yet highly functional reports in a snap, which are necessary when sharing information in the digital world, because every second matters.
SEMrush does have somewhat of a freemium model, but it only offers a very limited trial. After a few clicks, it will ask you to register and subscribe to one of their plans, which start at $99.95 per month.
4. Moz Free SEO Tools
Moz is one of the biggest names in the SEO tools arena. Not only has it been around for many years, it offers one of the most comprehensive blogs for SEO practitioners. So it should come as no surprise that they have the most popular tools in the business.
You can spring for a Moz Pro subscription, starting at $99 per month, or get started using one of their useful free tools. These tools, however, are only good for dipping your toes into SEO. If you want to dive in, you’ll have to take the plunge with a paid subscription.
Two of the most popular free tools are the Open Site Explorer (or OSE) and the Keyword Explorer. OSE is Moz’s solution for website owners who want to get a good idea of what pages are ranking on their site, how their site is performing on search engines, and where their traffic is coming from. Of course, savvy searchers will also plug in their competitors’ sites and use that information to their advantage as well.
Moz Keyword Explorer tool provides keyword suggestions, search engine page rankings (SERP) analysis, as well as a brief glimpse at the top mentions of the brand, with a more-detailed listing available with a paid account. You can search up to 20 free terms per month.
If you like these tools, you can also check out other free tools by Moz for local SEO marketing, and their free Beginners Guide to SEO for a detailed introduction to the world of search engine optimization.
It’s easy to get lost in the world of SEO because there are so many tools with overlapping functions, similar price points which net you similar results. Any tools you choose will tend to be marginally better in some areas, while not-so-great in others. Therefore, it’s always important to do the relevant tests and figure out which is best for you and your business, based on functionality and the price you’re willing to pay.
Remember, even if you do choose a paid tool, continuing to supplement it with the free or freemium versions of the other tools will only help you get a wider range of results, picking up on something other tools may have missed. The more you have to work with, the better your SEO will be.