The Only 5 SEO Tools You’ll Ever Need To Use
I counted how many search engine optimisation tools that are currently available online. And that’s the number I got to before I got bored. 226.
The budding SEO has far too many tools to choose from, and this presents a problem; If they’re not careful they’ll be paralysed by options, which will waste precious time and lead to inaction.
No action = No results = No profitable SEO career 🙁
To help with this problem I got the team together at my agency and asked the age-old question;
If we were stuck on a desert island and could only take 5 SEO tools with us, to run our (now very remote) search engine optimisation agency, what would they be?
This question sparked blood and tears within the office as everyone debated, argued and fought to include their favourite tool into the ‘desert island toolbox’.
I use the following five tools every single day and they are essential for anyone planning to embark on an effective SEO campaign. More importantly, they’re mostly free to use so there’s no excuse not to work with them.
Whether you’ve set-up your own website and want to rank it, started as an SEO freelancer, or even own a multinational digital marketing agency, you should have these five tools in your life.
****DISCLAIMER**** This is not a sponsored post. I have no affiliation with any of these tools. I just want you to make the most of these fantastic online tools, to improve your SEO.
To make it super-duper easy to learn how to use them properly, I’ve included a 5-minute ‘how to use it’ video for each of these 5 SEO categories.
Our 5 SEO Categories;
- Keyword research
- Link analysis
- SEO Overview / Competition analysis
- Technical Analysis
- Keyword Tracking / Reporting
With the main categories defined, let’s reveal the only 5 SEO tools you’ll ever need to become an unstoppable SEO machine!
Our 5 SEO ‘Desert Island’ Tools
We never said our desert island tools had to be exciting, but they’re certainly powerful!
Google’s Keyword Planner tool is the definitive keyword research tool. It may sound like a broken record but keyword research is the most important thing you’ll ever do as an SEO. Get it right and your client’s (and your own) website has the potential to grow very quickly. Get it wrong (most people do) and you’re on the road to the deepest darkest pages of Google.
HOW DO I USE IT?
Use it to give you hundreds of keyword targeting ideas for your website’s industry or niche
Use it to find out the average monthly search volume of any keyword
Use it to assess the trend of search traffic for each keyword. Is it going out of fashion or is it the next Kim Kardashain?
Use it to gain an idea of the commerciality of different keywords.
Use it to prove to your clients that the keywords you are ranking them for will generate their site traffic. It’s a Google tool so stop arguing.
Majestic is my absolute favourite SEO tool. As soon as we get an SEO enquiry at our agency, the website goes straight into Majestic’s open site explorer.
Majestic is a tool that mimics Google’s assessment of a website’s backlink profile. Majestic’s robots crawl sites in much the same way as the Googlebot, giving us a fairly accurate idea of how trustworthy and authoritative Google thinks a website is.
Its two main metrics are: Trustflow (TF) and Citation Flow (CF). These are widely used across the SEO community; the former gauges the trustworthiness of a site and the latter gauges the link power (or ‘juice’) coming to the site.
HOW DO I USE IT?
Use it for Majestic’s trust and citation flow metrics to compare the off-page optimisation of your competition’s websites.
Use it to assess the power of different links you may wish to try and acquire for your site.
Use it to assess the anchor text of your inbound links and detect over optimisation penalties.
Use it to get an impression of what Google thinks your website’s topic is about, given your link profile.
Use it as your primary link research tool – it’s by far the best site crawler.
I started playing around with this online tool a couple of years ago. However, it’s now become key part of our SEO arsenal. We use SEMrush to get great insight into the general condition of a domain’s performance within the search engines. It helps us understand current issues with the site, and reveals hidden keyword opportunities.
We put a domain name into the tool bar, choose the location, and SEMrush will tell us a whole host of information about the website’s traffic and keywords.
HOW DO I USE IT?
Use it for a general overview of the current and historic search engine performance of the website.
Use it to find keywords the website is currently ranking well on Google for so we identify ‘quick wins’ for clients.
Use it to identify your SEO competitors. You can then place their domains into Majestic and find good links you may wish to acquire for your site.
Use it to gauge a potential client’s position on paid advertising. If a potential client is already investing in online marketing it’s a good sign – they understand return on investment (ROI)!
Use it to identify any algorithmic penalties. The website traffic graph can show you any sudden drops of organic traffic, and the dates where it happened. These dates can be matched up with Google’s algorithmic update timeline so we can find out exactly what penalty hit the site.
Screaming Frog makes us proud to be British… almost. This UK built tool is ‘the daddy’ when it comes to technical analysis. Download their SEO spider and run any website through it.
The frog will return a list of URLs for every single page on the website, along with their associated on-page details (page title, meta description, H1s, H2s, word count, canonical tags etc.)
HOW DO I USE IT?
Use it to make sure your on-page optimisation is tighter than a man in spandex.
Use it to identify any duplicate content issues.
Use it to find and address any 404 or other crawl errors.
Use it to export all the website information into a nice excel spreadsheet. You can use many of the excel sort functions to quickly find any problems e.g excessively long page titles.
Use it to show clients/colleagues that you ‘painfully’ researched absolutely everything about a site’s on-page optimsation (you don’t have to tell them it took less than 10 seconds to generate!). The larger the client, the more they get seduced by a good ole’ spreadsheet!
After many trials with other keyword tracking software, Serpfox is now the only one we use. It allows you to monitor any domain’s progress in Google (or Bing) for your target keywords.
It supplies the search engine ranking of any given keyword in both numerical and graphical form, and there’s also a function that allows you to exclude Google Map rankings from your results.
Serpfox has recently updated its dashboard and reporting function so you can now generate slick SERPs client reports for any of your keywords.
HOW DO I USE IT?
Use it to monitor your keyword rankings
Use it to generate client ranking reports
Use it to identify which one of your pages is ranking top for each keyword
Use it to graph out your results in the search engines over time, identifying trends that may concern or delight you!
Use it to monitor your rankings in Bing.