Even though I am not an avid “pilot” of SEO tools, I confess that it is impossible to live without some. In the early days of search engine optimization we had few resources, the use of spreadsheets was the flagship of our “intelligence”. It is a good thing that this has changed and today we have a plethora of tools and languages (eg Python, R) that are strong enough to help anyone who wants to optimize their website for searches.
I will show below 10 SEO tools that I use for practically all my clients and that you can also (and should) use on your website to optimize it. It is a list with personal preferences. There are other excellent free tools, more expensive and also cheaper. Each team must choose the tools with which they feel most comfortable and can obtain better results.
What are SEO tools?
The SEO tools provide the necessary resources for you to follow the performance of your website in searches, in a more agile way.
They help discover opportunities and identify weaknesses or problems that can prevent your site from ranking well on SERPs.
SEO tools can help you, among other things, with:
- Keyword research;
- Site structure;
- Building links;
- Local SEO;
- Website performance;
- Content SEO;
- Positioning check.
It is important to note that tools don't do the job alone. I mean, some do, but you need to know how to use them to get the most out of it.
Read too: "6 objections to SEO and how to deal with them“
Some tools are very specific, focused on solving a single problem while others are more comprehensive, helping in several areas.
Do you need SEO tools?
Regardless of the size of the SEO project, it is essential to use some tools.
Without the right tools you will not be able to:
- Monitor the traffic of your pages;
- Identify HTML errors that may be affecting your positioning;
- See who is linking to your pages;
- Know which terms are most used in searches;
- Understand how your competitors are performing, etc.
Can I do SEO only with free tools?
However, depending on the size of your project, it can become very difficult to achieve good results only with free tools. You can participate in a Formula 1 race with a popular car, but don't expect a good result.
I could make a list with hundreds of free tools but I prefer to indicate my “10 more”, the ones I consider essential for an SEO project. (If you are interested, the Search Engine Journal made a list with 109 free SEO tools).
Top 10 SEO Tools
When it comes to analyzing website traffic, possibly the Google Analytics it is the best tool for the job. It is possible to install GA on your website, app and even on external connected tools such as a retail outlet, for example.
It is a tool that is already 15 years old but Google has been updating its functionality. Recently, App + Web properties have brought new data modeling and excellent features.
Its free version is sufficient for most sites. Larger sites can hire the premium version and have more functionality and extended limits.
Google Tag Manager
THE Google Tag Manager allows you to manage implemented tags without having to edit the site code with each change.
With it, you can implement Google Analytics, Google Optimize, configure events that you want to monitor and implement scripts from other tools.
With GTM, it is easier to send additional data to GA using custom dimensions that can be configured to extract data from the site, from datalayers, for example.
It is a free tool.
Google Search Console
Perhaps one of the main if not the main tool for SEO.
As Google Search Console you can find out how your site and pages behaved in searches over a given period. Impressions, clicks, CTR and placement are shown for the search term and triggered page.
The GSC also offers resources to analyze the health of your site, know when and how your pages are being crawled by the search engine, if your AMP pages are up to date and much more.
Despite all these features it is a completely free tool.
As Google Trends you can search for interest in a certain subject from 2004 until an hour ago. Sorting by category, country and type of search are some features.
Especially useful for understanding how people search for a product or solution. It is possible to compare terms and analyze by region.
It is also a free tool from Google.
Google Data Studio
THE Google Data Studio is a powerful tool for data visualization. With it it is possible to add several data sources like Google Analytics and Google Search Console and generate reports and dashboards.
Although there are many data visualization tools available (Tableau, Power BI, etc.) Data Studio offers excellent resources and can be used by everyone. As it is not a plug and play solution it can scare less familiar users but with a little practice it is possible to extract good insights with this tool.
Another free tool, however, to connect with some products, you may have to subscribe to other services. I suggest taking a look at the connectors on Supermetrics.
An exceptional tool for on-page SEO. With the Screaming Frog you crawl your site and can detect errors that compromise performance.
The free version can crawl up to 500 URLs so it is not enough for most sites. The premium version is powerful and has numerous features.
Read too: "10 Important Items for On-Page SEO“
Use the GTmetrix to see how quickly your site loads. Discover points that may be hindering the loading and see tips to optimize the speed of the site.
In the same vein as GTmetrix you can also use the WebpageTest to perform site speed tests from different locations using different browsers.
Both are free.
SEMrush is the Swiss Army knife of digital marketing tools.
With it you can perform keyword research, monitor backlinks, perform technical audits on the website, etc. It is also possible to monitor competitors and discover terms and pages on which they are well ranked.
Due to the high volume of features it was difficult to expect it to be free. Although it is not the cheapest tool on the market, investing in any of the plans is an excellent deal.
PageSpeed Insights / web.dev / Lighthouse
I quote the three tools as one as they basically have the same functionality and are built on top of the Lighthouse.
They offer a very complete view of the loading of your pages and provide good suggestions for improvement and documentation to correct flaws. It also offers a clear view of the performance of Core Web Vitals, a ranking factor already announced by Google for 2021.
Read too: "Google Page Experience: UX as a ranking factor“
Yoast SEO (for WordPress)
My last suggestion are the Yoast SEO plugins, for WordPress sites. Although they are intended for WP sites, it is possible to learn so much from them that any developer should have them as a reference.
Yoast's SEO plugins offer all the necessary resources for you to produce high quality content, make a good link, structure your website properly and much more.
The free version of the SEO plugin already has good features but the premium version is even better. With the recurring subscription you have additional plugins for local SEO, video SEO, etc.
Working with SEO has never been easier with as many tools as we currently have. Many tools are free but without a doubt the premium tools I mentioned above are worth the investment.
It should be noted that a tool alone does not work a miracle. It takes a good analyst to get the most out of each tool. This, with the right tools, is able to provide valuable business insights.
10 SEO tools for all projects:
- Google Analytics;
- Google Tag Manager;
- Google Search Console;
- Google Trends;
- Google Data Studio;
- Screaming Frog;
- GTmetrix / WebpageTest;
- PageSpeed Insights / web.dev / LightHouse;
- Yoast SEO (for WordPress sites).
Choose the right tools and make a good SEO project!