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The key to building and sustaining organic traffic is knowing which are the best SEO tools to use. Today, there are so many SEO checkers on the market that it be hard to know where to begin. Should you invest in software or use a free program and conduct your own SEO analysis?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a search engine optimization specialist or just starting to learn how Google works. These are the best SEO tools for keyword research, link building, traffic analysis, and understanding the competition.
Best SEO Tools for Keyword Research
Keywords are the basis of driving traffic to your website.
No matter what you’re writing, it’s important to understand your target audience, which means knowing what search terms they’re typing into Google.
There are many different SEO tools for conducting keyword research. Whether you’re running a one-person startup or launching an SEO firm, the following tools provide some of the most actionable information.
Related: 4 Keyword Search Strategies to Grow Your Business
SEMrush is one of the most popular SEO analysis options on the market. It allows you to track paid traffic, social media-driven traffic, and, of course, desktop and mobile traffic.
It’s also home to a popular keyword research tool. Enter a word or phrase and this SEO checker will tell you its search volume, potential, difficulty, and competing companies that already rank for it.
SEMrush also recommends related keywords and help you build a keyword strategy. This means going after longtail keywords, or keywords that contain more than three words.
This is only one of SEMrush’s features. It can also conduct an audit or your website, which looks at the quality and quantity of your backlinks.
Related: Mobile Audiences Are Your Future
Google Keyword Planner
Though SEO analysis is becoming increasingly important for Youtube, Amazon, and the App store, most entrepreneurs are primarily concerned with how their content appears on Google.
You will need a Google AdWords account to access all of Google’s Keyword Planner’s capabilities. However, Google’s Keyword Planner is actually free to anyone with a Google account.
This SEO tool has two main capabilities: discovering keywords and looking at keyword metrics.
In the first case, you enter words connected to your industry, for which Google will give you a list of suggested keywords. This includes approximate monthly search results, cost per click estimations, and competition.
In the second, you can use Google’s Keyword Planner to compare keyword analytics. It shows you the number of impressions and clicks for a thirty-day ad targeting a specific keyword.
It also shows you how much all of this would cost.
Of course, search engine optimization’s primary objective is to avoid paying for ads, it can be useful to know how much this traffic would cost–and how much you’d save with a successful optimization strategy.
Related: Get the Most From Google’s Keyword Planner
Do you want to learn about keywords without investing in an SEO tool? Ubersuggest is a free program that lets you gather data related to a keyword or domain name.
Specifically, Ubersuggest will tell you a keyword’s volume, the average cost per click, and how difficult it is to rank for it. It also suggests related long-tail keywords and shows the top site ranking for the word you entered in.
If you enter a URL into Ubersuggest, it displays that site’s organic keywords and traffic. This SEO checker also quantifies a website’s number of backlinks and can track the evolution of that site’s search engine optimization over a few months.
Keyword.io is an SEO checker for running keyword research on a number of different platforms including Google, Amazon, Youtube, Alibaba and Wikipedia. If you’re looking for keywords beyond Google, Keyword.io is a useful starting point.
Once you type in a keyword and select your region, Keyword.io will create a list of hundreds of longtail keywords related to your entry, which you can filter. You can look specifically at Wikipedia keywords, for example, or search through those of any of the other platforms.
To export that list, and see monthly search volume and related keywords, you have to invest in Keyword.io’s PRO option.
SEO Analysis for Link Building
Another important component of optimizing your website is building domain authority off-page. In other words, how other websites link back to yours affects how Google views your site. The more backlinks you have your site, the better a resource Google considers you to be.
Keep in mind that links are not all of the value. The higher another page’s domain ranking, the more valuable their backlink to your site is.
Moz Link Explorer
In addition to running a blog, Moz offers search engine optimization software.
Moz has an ‘SEO toolbox’ that can audit your website has a Keyword Explorer tool. This includes essential keyword metrics like monthly search volume and SERP analysis, meaning review of the top three websites ranking for that keyword.
Moz also has a Link Explorer tool, which finds problems within a website’s structure. Is Google indexing all your links? How are backlinks affecting your domain score? What can you learn from your competition’s link structure? Moz’s SEO checker can provide all this data.
Measuring Traffic with an SEO Checker
Measuring organic traffic–the number of people who find your website through search not advertising–is the only way to know that your approach to search engine optimization is working.
Google Search Console
A great way to know whether your SEO is working on Google is to get that information directly from Google.
Google Search Console shows you everything you need to know about how a website appears in Google search. This means how frequently it appears on Google and which keywords it’s ranking for. It will also show your click-through rate.
Additionally, Google Search Console analyzes a website’s potential indexability, spam problems, and which sites link to yours. All these capabilities are free.
Best SEO Tools for Auditing Your Website
Not sure where to begin with search engine optimization or what you need to do next? The only way to improve your website’s SEO is to understand what you need to improve. This begins with auditing your website.
A website audit is when you use a program to crawl your website the way Google would.
This means finding big and easy to fix errors within your site, quantifying organic search data, and analyzing backlinks. An audit typically considers factors like page load speed, content quality, and HTML tags.
Most of the tools on this list have an auditing feature as part of their SEO checker. But different software can give you conflicting information. This means that there is value in conducting SEO analysis with multiple programs, but that information isn’t equally valid.
Ahref is one of the most comprehensive SEO tools for auditing your website. In a matter of hours, Ahrefs crawls every page within your website and creates a report on it.
Ahref’s SEO checker includes a wide variety of features, starting with an overall site health rating that it compares graphically to earlier audits of your website.
Another important feature when it comes to auditing your website is understanding how your external and internal links work. Ahrefs will find the 404s, slow loading pages, orphan pages, and broken pages.
It also looks at internal website issues, including content quality. Is word count high enough? Does the website have duplicate content? Ahrefs can identify these issues, too.
Ahref’s site audit is only one of its SEO tools. A package includes a keyword explorer, content explorer, and a site explorer. The site explorer provides data on keywords, traffic, links, and more over time for any website–including your competition.
The Best SEO Checkers on the Market
Ignoring the online component of entrepreneurship is no longer an option. And considering the price of Google advertising, it’s more important than ever to develop an SEO strategy.
This means having the best SEO tools for keyword research, measuring traffic, understanding the competition, and auditing your website. For those who are new to SEO analysis, a free tool to learn about keywords, links, and how others are structuring their websites is a great place to start. But for long-term results, it’s worth investing in a paid SEO checker so you can see what works long term.
SEO success means making changes, tracking their results over time, and remembering that you’ll have to adapt your strategy once Google algorithms update again.