SEO can be daunting. There is so much information out there on what to do and what not to do, and then, when you think you have figured it out, it changes. That’s the nature of the game: SEO is constantly evolving. However, while it can be hard to jump into, there are tools out there that make our lives as SEOs easier.

Whether it’s helping us with technical audits or keyword research, SEO tools are a godsend in this industry. It’s true that there are a lot of tools out there and, honestly, it’s all about finding the ones that work for your company. With that being said, here are our top 5 favorites.

  1. SEMrush

semrush

SEMrush is a leading competitive research website for digital marketing, and it tops the list of our favorite SEO tools. The SEMrush SEO research software gives companies competitive data to help them increase their organic, paid, and referral traffic. I primarily use the following tools offered by their site:

Keyword Analytics – The SEMrush keyword research tool is very diverse and effective. Not only can you find accurate search volume and competition for your targeted keywords, but you can also analyze your competitions targeting of certain keywords. SEMrush also provides accurate, up to date tracking of your ranking for any given keyword that you’re targeting.

Domain Analytics – The domain overview section provides a high-level view into your site’s key statistics. This tool allows you to view your backlink profile, organic traffic, paid traffic, and organic rankings. We like to check this tool for our clients daily, as it provides an overall view into your SEO performance.

Projects & Reports – The project and report tools allow you to create custom PDF reports for research, technical, and rank-tracking audits. These are especially useful when creating monthly progress reports for your business or your clients.

While the program was originally used mostly for keyword research, they have integrated new platforms which make it one of the most versatile tools out there. Not only can you monitor your site’s health, you can analyze your competitors’ as well.

You want to be able to know what is working for them, what isn’t, and how you stack up against them. SEMrush provides one of the most accurate and user-friendly tools to do so. You can view their keywords, position in the SERPs, the CPC of their keywords, the estimated traffic of their keywords, and more. And you get it all in real time.

SEMrush’s versatility is one of their shining aspects. You can look at more than just SEO – you can also view your PPC traffic and create PPC reports. One last thing that makes us love SEMrush? It’s easy to use. You can find everything you need on the dashboard, and, with only so many hours in our day, it’s nice to have everything right there.

  1. Screaming Frog

screaming-frog

If there is one part of SEO that can make even seasoned experts want to pull their hair out, it’s technical SEO. It can be daunting and tedious, looking through a whole site for potential issues.

This is where Screaming Frog comes in. It is my favorite tool for advanced technical SEO. Screaming Frog is an SEO spider that you install on your computer which will crawl a website and evaluate the SEO.

It’s fast, too. Within minutes, an entire eCommerce site with thousands of SKUs can be crawled for:

  • Broken internal and external links
  • Missing meta tags
  • Response codes – 301, 302, 404, 503, etc.
  • Canonicalization errors
  • Word/character count
  • HTLM, JS, CSS, AJAX elements
  • Analytic tracking codes
  • Images
  • txt file analysis
  • Duplicate content

There are other uses for Screaming Frog, as well. You can generate XML sitemaps, analyze your page titles, extract data with XPath, and integrate it with your Google Analytics.

It also gathers results extremely quickly and is incredibly easy to use, which, in this confusing part of SEO, is a welcome trait.

  1. Buzzsumo

buzzsumo

As the link between SEO and social media has grown more interdependent throughout the last several years, this tool has begun to have a huge impact on my SEO efforts.

Buzzsumo allows you to track how your viewers are interacting with any of your images, blog posts, or pages. All you have to do is enter the URL of any web-based content, and Buzzsumo will display any interaction it has seen with social media. You can view shares, likes, pins, and more – on virtually any social media channel – within seconds.

Buzzsumo is also helpful in providing you with popular content. In order to give your readers the most relevant content, it can be extremely beneficial to see what content has been popular in the past. Buzzsumo searches across social sites to see what topics get the attention.

It can also show you where the topics are getting the most attention and how much. This gives you valuable insight on what you need to post and where.

  1. Ahrefs

ahrefs

If you’re reverse engineering your competitors’ websites or you’re running a backlink audit, you want to utilize Ahrefs. It is the most powerful tool for monitoring backlink profiles, and it is more accurate and up to date than their competitors.

Ahrefs contains the largest index of links and, with their powerful interface, you can track new and lost backlinks as recent as the previous hour. It also provides in-depth domain and URL ranking analysis, which can help to identify low-quality, or “spammy” links, as well as any gray hat SEO tactics.

Their interface is easy to use, and they provide graphs and visualization options, which makes everything easy to understand. They have both a free version and a premium version, which starts at $79 a month and goes as high as $499.

  1. Spyfu

spyfu

Spyfu is hands-down my favorite SEO program for competitor analysis. Their Keyword Kombat tool allows you to enter up to three domains and creates a Venn diagram that displays their common or unique keywords for paid and organic. This is one of the fastest ways to identify missed opportunities in your keyword research.

If you don’t know who your top competition is, SpyFu will provide relevant competitors within your business niche. So many SEO tools list completely unrelated websites as your “top competitors,” but that’s not the case with SpyFu. This can be a huge gain for you to identify missed opportunities within your content.

While this tool is great for SEO, to help you outrank your competition and move up the SERPs, it can also provide great PPC data – from finding profitable keywords to the best ad copy.