Choosing the best SEO tool for you can be a hard task as the competitive landscape of SEO tools has become so broad. Using the right tools can make the difference between successful SEO campaigns (with happy customers and more significant profit) and unsuccessful SEO campaigns (with hours of frustration and little to no results).
For small business owners and freelancers, it may even be harder. Freelancers and small business owners have much on their plate and, therefore, they need the best SEO tool out there to make time available for their core business, even though they may not make much money (yet).
In this blog, I discuss why you need an SEO tool and what factors you need to consider when picking the best SEO tool for you. Then, I explore some of the finest SEO tools currently available, so you know from which ones you can pick.
Why would you need an SEO tool?
If you are an SMB owner, spending too much time on the all-important SEO means you will not have time available for other areas of your business (or personal life). In that case, having a monitoring tool with only the most important metrics such as backlinks and keywords might be the best way to go.
If you are a freelancer, it often comes down to personal preference and finances. However, there are cases where clients might insist on reports using some specific tools, if your area of expertise is digital marketing, for example. In these cases, you would also have to consider their choice of preference.
In any case, there are two metrics of utmost importance: the quality of the data you get and your time. High-quality and reliable SEO tools speed up your research process and allow you to browse tons of relevant data, helping you get more industry insights.
Factors to consider when picking the best SEO tool
To pick what is best for you, you should take into consideration several factors. Do you run a large corporation that needs a full-blown SEO suite that a team of experts can use? Are you a digital agency looking for the best ROI for your corporate clients? Alternatively, are you a freelancer helping local businesses?
In any case, you can begin by answering these few questions:
- What is my specific purpose of using an SEO tool?
- What is my budget?
- How advanced am I?
- What is my personal preference?
- What does the client want?
Giving specific answers to these questions is a valuable exercise because it can impact your campaigns and have a positive influence on your bottom line. You have heard the cliché “there is no one-size-fits-all solution.” Still, you see many new entrepreneurs going for high-end (and sometimes too complicated) tools. The following paragraph will explore some of the best SEO tools out there, so you can see their offer and decide whether they are too complicated or just right for you.
Are these the best SEO tool for you?
Here, I explore five of the industry-defining tools, so you know a selection from which tools you can pick.
In a short period, Ahrefs took over the SEO world with extensive and precise metrics. One of the greatest features that stands out is its ability to crawl the web. In fact, Ahrefs was known only as a backlink crawler for a long time. This study shows they are one-third as fast as Google in terms of crawling capability, surpassing Yahoo and Bing.
Nowadays, Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO tool, allowing you to explore content, find keyword metrics, track keyword performance, and link opportunities. However, this tool might come off as pricey to many users, especially marketers and freelancers on a low budget, casual bloggers, or small and medium businesses with no dedicated marketing staff.
Back in the days, SEMrush used to be revolutionary with their SEO tool. However, the tool has proven to show incorrect and insufficient data several times over the past decade. SEMrush has somewhat been able to catch up with its competitors as it has added new and robust features.
Consequently, SEMrush is still one of the best SEO tools out there when it comes to competitor-based keyword research and content insights and ideas. Small business owners and freelancers will have to decide whether this tool offers enough (or too much?) for them and whether the results yielded are reliable.
Morningscore is a relatively new tool on the market. The makers of this tool stand behind the idea that the SEO industry has seen much negative feedback because of unnecessary complexity and marketers with bad intentions. The purpose of the tool is to help business owners make sense of SEO. However, if you are an SEO geek, this tool will most likely not appeal to your preference as it focuses on metrics relevant for SMB owners and marketing managers.
Unlike SEMrush and Ahrefs, Morningscore packs a light and user-friendly interface that does not get in the way of doing your SEO. Even though many specialists looking for deep insights might find the tool incomplete, it delivers a powerful data-punch for small and medium business owners, freelancers, CEOs & CMOs, marketing managers, and bloggers.
This can also be attributed to the trend that is noticeable across industries. Many companies are starting to realize their users do not need tons of data that often turn out to be ineffective. Rather, they need an instinctive user experience and nothing but the most important metrics. To me personally, this sounds like a good SEO tool for small business owners and freelancers.
· Moz Open Site Explorer
Like Ahrefs and SEMrush, Moz is one of the most well-known tools out there. It has been serving webmasters and marketers for years, helping them improve their SEO. The reason for that is that Moz is a full-featured SEO suite: it includes backlink analysis, keyword research and ranking, and a site audit tool combined with page optimization.
The tool is powerful enough to carry out any task a modern marketer might need, and one such feature is the Keyword Explorer tool that lets you find keywords and phrases defined by several metrics. The Open Site Explorer allows you to browse websites (and find backlink opportunities) based on quality metrics. Additionally, it has a function called Spam Score, which implements a checklist that takes into consideration several crucial factors from a webpage and determines whether a backlink from a website carries any value.
Still, their backlink data is not as broad and accurate as that of Ahrefs & Majestic, which could be an influential factor for many marketers. For small business owners and freelancers, though, this big package may be overwhelming.
· Majestic SEO
Majestic is one of the old-school players when it comes to SEO. Many will recognize this tool as the specialized SaaS that lets you track and monitor backlinks. This is indeed its specialty; it is well known for its extensive index dating back to 2011. The backlink data collected is incomparable to most tools out there, with a mass so large that it even challenges Ahrefs.
Majestic’s features do not end here as the engineers behind this tool have created a chrome extension that allows you to get data about specific domains easily. Additionally, marketers can make use of Majestic by searching their extensive index for backlink opportunities – a feature that anyone in SEO appreciates immensely.
One thing has to be clear, though. Many people refer to Majestic as an all-in-one SEO tool, which it is not. Yes, the vast backlink data allows you to gain great insights but the tool does not support keyword research and rank tracking. As a small business owner and freelancer, you will have to decide where your priorities lie (by answering the questions mentioned above).
Much to decide when picking the best SEO tool for you
I think there is much to decide when you are a small business owner or freelancer looking for the best SEO tool for you. I have listed the top five but I am sure there are many, many more. The best thing to do is to put them all in a row, answer the questions mentioned above, and make a list of pros and cons.