So you want to buy the right SEO tools for your business.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most powerful strategies in digital marketing. It’s also one of the hardest to master—especially when you don’t have the right tools.
Ranking in the top spot for a relevant keyword can mean thousands of passive website visitors every month.
SEO tools make your journey to that top-ranking spot easier and faster by helping you with:
- Keyword research
- Competitor analysis
- Technical SEO
- Website audits
And much more!
We created this SEO Tool Buyer’s Guide to give you a better understanding of some of the leading tools on the market—so you know exactly which ones you need to accomplish your goals. But first of all, you need to understand how to find the right SEO tool for your business.
Let’s dive in!
- 1 How To Find The Right SEO Tool Suitable For Your Business?
- 1.0.1 Get clear on your goals
- 1.0.2 What are the exact problems you’d like to solve using an SEO tool?
- 1.0.3 How much are you willing to spend on SEO?
- 1.0.4 Where does SEO fit into your overall digital marketing strategy?
- 1.0.5 Are you more interested in simplicity or comprehensive features?
- 1.0.6 What’s the size and makeup of your team?
- 1.0.7 How much work will be paired with the SEO tools?
- 2 Best 20+ SEO Tools To Use in 2021
- 2.1 All-in-one SEO Audit Tools
- 2.2 The essential (and free) SEO tool suite
- 2.3 SEO article writing tools
- 2.4 Keyword Research Tools
- 2.5 Location-based or Local SEO Research Tool
- 2.6 Conclusion
How To Find The Right SEO Tool Suitable For Your Business?
Get clear on your goals
There are hundreds of SEO tools on the market. Tool buying lists like this can feel overwhelming when you don’t first know what exactly you’re looking for in an SEO tool.
Before you proceed with this guide, answer the following questions to determine which SEO tools you need.
What are the exact problems you’d like to solve using an SEO tool?
SEO tools can be used for everything from competitor research to brand monitoring, from keyword research to drafting articles. Before you start browsing tools, consider the challenges you’re facing with SEO. Write down the biggest pain points. This will keep you focused, so you don’t overinvest in flashy features you don’t need.
How much are you willing to spend on SEO?
Established companies can easily spend tens of thousands of dollars per month on SEO. Meanwhile, bootstrapped founders find opportunities every day to rank using a completely free tool suite. You can make progress at any budget, so it’s better to know your limits and preferences before you begin your tool search.
Where does SEO fit into your overall digital marketing strategy?
Is SEO one piece of a broad marketing strategy? Maybe you just need a simple keyword tool. Are you ready to double down on SEO to outrank all your competitors? Maybe it’s time to invest in multiple core software to give yourself a competitive edge. Determine your digital marketing strategy before shopping SEO tools—so you don’t over or underspend.
Are you more interested in simplicity or comprehensive features?
People new to SEO may only be able to access a fraction of the benefits available in the most technical tools. Meanwhile, simple SEO tools may be too simplistic to SEOs who need more niche technical knowledge about their website or keywords. Take an honest look at your knowledge and experience before you buy.
What’s the size and makeup of your team?
Large in-house teams might have very different needs than agencies that work with several companies. Small teams will likely have unique needs as well. Keep the dynamics of your team in mind as you browse tools.
How much work will be paired with the SEO tools?
No SEO software will auto-magically help you rank #1 in search results. Investing in the most robust, expensive tools won’t get you far without application. Do you have someone on your team who’s ready to own this side of your business to justify the tool?
Once you understand, what kind of SEO tools you need. The below list of SEO tools will definitely help you to find the best one for your website.
Best 20+ SEO Tools To Use in 2021
All-in-one SEO Audit Tools
One of the most common tools in an SEO specialist’s toolbelt is an all-in-one dashboard. Within this category, there are two primary leaders—SEMrush and Ahrefs—but they’re far from the only ones.
SEO dashboards share many features in common. They tend to provide keyword research tools, various website audit functions, and comprehensive analytics for studying and tracking the SEO performance of your website. Let’s discuss some popular all-in-one dashboards.
SEMrush is a leading SEO tool. It provides a comprehensive dashboard for analyzing websites, finding keyword opportunities, and writing optimized pages and articles. Track the position of your website and perform keyword research to find opportunities to outrank your competitors. In addition, SEMrush has a content-forward approach to its services, meaning the tool helps you draft blogs and social media content.
$119/month for SEMrush Pro
- SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant add-on for Google Docs provides information in realtime to help you produce optimized articles
- Technical SEO audits keep you informed about the search health of your website
- Social media scheduling isn’t directly an SEO feature but is helpful to most marketing teams looking for a well-rounded strategy
- Local Listing Management is great for improving the SEO of businesses with multiple locations
- SEO Content Template uses keywords to form an article structure you can follow based on the top search results for that keyword
Ahrefs began as a backlink tracking software, and over the years has grown into a fullfledged SEO dashboard. You can use Ahrefs to audit websites, look for niche keyword opportunities, and understand the competition around keyword phrases. The backlink analyzing abilities continue to be some of Ahrefs’ most popular features. From gaining technical SEO insights to creating high-performing content, Ahrefs is built to cover all the bases.
$99/month for Ahrefs Lite
- Domain rating and audits to look for easy SEO wins
- Keyword opportunities help you find gaps in what your main competitors are versus aren’t ranking for
- Ahrefs’ SEO Toolbar is a Chrome extension for SEO research without opening Ahrefs.com
- Mentions notifications to see where your brand is being talked about online
- Competitor SEO analysis lets you reverse-engineer the SEO strategies of others in your industry
[Source: SE Ranking]
SE Ranking is an SEO dashboard that includes many of the popular features in Ahrefs or SEMrush. You can get real-time search trend data, look for keyword opportunities, and track the search performance of your website.
$31/month for SE Ranking Optimum
- Keyword suggestions help you discover new long- and short-tale keyword opportunities
- Google Analytics integration for real organic search data about how your website is appearing in Google results
- Website comparison to uncover keyword opportunities based on what your competitors rank for
- Simplified UI makes SE Ranking easier to learn than some of the larger competitors
Serpstat is an SEO software suite that evolved from a simple keyword research tool to a powerful all-in-one SEO and “growth hacking” tool. It reveals competitors and their tactics, offering suggestions on how to beat them at their own game.
$69/month for Serpstat Lite
- Position tracking lets you see how your website ranks over time
- Competitor research helps you uncover keyword opportunities that others have ignored
- Keyword research builds your SEO strategy with endless keyword ideas
SerpWatch tracks SEO rankings with keyword monitoring and data cross-referencing that includes revenue, featured snippets, and Google Analytics. SerpWatch connects seamlessly with Slack so that your team can receive updates without leaving its go-to messaging tool.
$1/month to track 5 keywords per month
- Integrated keyword monitoring with email and Slack notifications, plus Zapier integration
- White-labeled reports with ongoing updates about your SEO performance
- Cross-referenced rankings with featured snippets, Google Analytics, and revenue reports
AccuRanker is an SEM and SEO tool that helps users track website rankings through keyword data. You can use it to manage multiple domains, automate reports (with custom templates), and integrate with other important tools.
$109/month for 1,000 keywords
- Fast, up-to-date keyword rank tracking gives you the latest information about your website and target keywords
- Comprehensive keyword analysis to find ranking opportunities
- SERP history shows past performance and helps you find new trends
Alli AI helps you optimize your site, build backlinks, scale your outreach, and get more traffic fast. Get step-by-step instructions on how to optimize your site’s code and content. The best part is, Alli AI uses artificial intelligence to grow your business by continuously optimizing your best keywords.
$99/month for Alli AI Hobby, which includes 100 keywords for one domain
- Artificial intelligence continually finds new keyword opportunities for your website
- Code suggestions to optimize technical SEO
- One-click approval optimizations for developer-free website updates based on Alli AI suggestions
- Long-tail keyword suggestions for your website
The essential (and free) SEO tool suite
Google is the #1 search engine, owning a whopping 87% of the total search market. By extension, Google has more data about search than any company in the world.
While many Google tools (like the ones below) are free, we would be remiss to leave it out of any article about SEO. We’ll cover two core Google SEO tools.
[Source: Search Console]
Search Console is Google’s performance tracking tool. Configure your website with Search Console to track impressions, clicks, and your average search ranking. Plus, Google shows you the terms people searched to find your website.
- URL inspection lets you check if a landing page or article appears in SERPs
- Core Web Vitals put your website through mobile and desktop speed tests to find opportunities for improvement
- Performance tracking allows you to see how your website (or individual pages) has performed over time
[Source: Keyword Planner]
Part of the Google advertising tool suite, Keyword Planner provides keyword search ranges. This allows you to find search opportunities based on real Google data (as opposed to the estimates other tools use).
- Search volume ranges tell you approximately how many people search that phrase every month
- Keyword suggestions populate automatically when your keyword search is similar to phrases in a similar category
- Keywords can be saved easily when you find good opportunities
SEO article writing tools
Content is still king.
Writing articles to answer real customer questions and problems is one of the foundational practices in SEO. But writing any old article won’t necessarily cut it with Google. Quality counts.
Fortunately, there are several great tools on the market to help you write clear articles that customers (and Google!) love. Here are some of those tools.
Clearscope helps you write heavy-hitting SEO blog posts using a simple formula. Put your target keyword into Clearscope and the tool provides dozens of necessary additional keywords to include in your article. It literally gives you live, step-by-step instructions for writing an article that competes with the best results for that search term.
$170/month for Clearscope Essentials
- The A-F grading system helps you understand the current state of your article, based on how it compares to other top-ranking articles
- Live article grading updates help you write articles within Clearscope, WordPress (via a plugin), or Google Docs (via an add-on)
- Keyword suggestions not only tell you which words to include but how many times each word should be included
[Source: Yoast SEO]
Yoast is a popular SEO WordPress plugin to help blog writers produce easy-to-read, search-optimized articles. Using a frown-to-smiley face spectrum, Yoast offers real-time feedback about your article. Just plug in your target keyword and Yoast will make suggestions about how to optimize your article.
There’s a free version, but the most advanced features like internal link suggestions, more keyword tools, etc. are available in the Pro version for $89/year
- Simple rating system to determine the SEO health and overall readability of your blog post
- Straightforward recommendations for how to improve and optimize the article
- Previews let you easily edit how your blog will appear in search results
Copywritely is an alternative to tools like Yoast or Clearscope, which assist you in writing articles in real-time based on SEO best practices and keyword data. In other words, it’s an SEO content tool that helps perfect your copy for both search engines and readers. The big difference is that Copywritely runs through several checks instead of just one or two. It helps you optimize for search, grammar, and clarity, as well as to catch plagiarism
$18/month for Copywritely Personal
- Automatic content proofreading for issues (plagiarism, readability, keyword stuffing, grammar) before you publish
- Competitor data analysis to help you create successful SERP-topping copy
- Foundational checks and reports to make sure your content is readable and search-engine friendly
Another WordPress plugin, Rank Math helps you manage your listing and optimize articles for search. You can analyze your existing website for actionable SEO improvements, change the way your article appears in SERPs, and detect and fix broken links.
There’s a very limited free version, with a Pro plan starting at $59 per year
- Easy redirect tool helps you fix broken links to avoid 404 pages
- Content overviews give you a bird’s-eye view of each article to find new ranking opportunities
- Content audits let you compare your site and individual articles against your target keywords
Keyword Research Tools
Real customer language is the foundation of many marketing best practices. And SEO is no different.
Keyword research is all about finding out what your target customers or readers are already typing into Google. By knowing what your readership is searching for, you can create content that directly answers their queries—and puts you among the top answers on Google.
Here are a handful of tools to help you find the best keyword opportunities.
KW Finder by Mangools
KW Finder is a user-friendly, streamlined tool that offers many of the benefits of more complex tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush. As an all-in-one dashboard, you can use KW Finder to find keywords, look at your website backlink profile, and track your ranking in SERPs, among other functions. The simple dashboard is also easier to understand at first glance than its more technical alternatives.
$29/month (when paid annually) for Mangools Basic
- Keyword difficulty lets you build an SEO strategy based on the level of competition for your target keywords
- Backlink analysis lets you see the backlink profile of any website
- Siteprofiler gives you an overview of your website, including your best performing keywords, strongest backlinks, and more
- Additional alternatives include Moz Pro and Ubersuggest.
AnswerThePublic uses keywords to generate questions and phrases that you can use as points in your article. It’s great for sourcing talking points and headings when you aren’t sure where to begin.
Free for the base features. For more tools and searches, $99 per month.
- Common questions and phrases to spark article and section ideas for certain keywords
- Categories make it easy to browse your keyword to find a new article or heading ideas
- Robust keyword information lets you sort keywords by Data or Visualization to consider the keywords in different contexts
[Source: Keywords Everywhere]
This tool is a freemium Chrome and Firefox extension that offers keyword suggestions as you browse the web. The dashboard lets you search specific keywords to find new opportunities and get insights into the level of competition for a certain search term.
Credits-based payment system starting at $10 to search 10,000 keywords
- Chrome and Firefox extensions to provide new keyword ideas in real-time as you search the web
- Keyword upload to view monthly search volume on your target keyword
- Domain analysis to see the target keywords for your website
[Source: Exploding Topics]
Exploding Topics is a trend-tracking tool that regularly lets you know about growing trends. The tool, co-founded by SEO expert Brian Dean of Backlinko, uses search trend data and online mentions to let you know about topics that are growing in demand.
There’s a free weekly email containing upcoming trends, with the Pro version starting at $47 per month
- Emerging company information tells you about booming companies before they’re popular (“I knew them before they were cool”)
- Trend alerts ping you about, well, exploding topics
- Trend breakdowns help you understand which topics are growing and why
[Source: Keyword Hero]
One of the common challenges of using Google Analytics is that it sometimes limits the amount of search data you can view. Rather than telling you the exact keyword someone typed to find your website, for example, Google Analytics will sometimes say “(not provided).” That’s where Keyword Hero comes in. Keyword Hero lets you see all of your organic keywords and their specific performance metrics inside your Google Analytics account.
Free up to 2,000 sessions, then $9/month for the next tier Big Hero account
- “(not provided)” section in Google Analytics turned into real search results, so you know what people are searching on Google to find your website
- Specific performance metrics to know how often people use certain keywords to find your website
Location-based or Local SEO Research Tool
Is your business location-dependent and you require local SEO? There are SEO tools and services to help you rank locally for “near me” searches. Let’s explore some of our favorites.
Wincher is the simplest SEO rank tracker with all the professional functionality you need to follow your SEO progress and track online performance. It updates the data every 24 hours, so you will get the freshest rank tracking data for the most affordable price. Wincher also provides free and unlimited keyword research, an on-page SEO checker, and competitor tracking.
14 days of a free trial
29 EUR/m (monthly billing) or 24 EUR/m(annual billing).
- Daily updates of online positions (without exclusions) and manual refresh if you need to get the most accurate data
- Local rank tracking in over 10k locations across 180 countries
- Free competitors tracking
Yext is a tool for multi-location businesses that need to optimize for local search. While its features aren’t limited to SEO, the Yext digital marketing tool suite helps multilocation companies rank for local “Near me” searches. It’s ideal for restaurants, retail stores, and other brick-and-mortar businesses.
$4/week (paid annually)
- Location-based landing pages let you target specific geographies for “near me” search
- Key business information listed in all the major local directories
- Yext analytics to see how different stores are performing in local search
- Multi-language features enable you to rank locally for search terms across languages
[Source: Moz Local]
Moz actually offers two core products: Moz Local and Moz Pro. (The Moz Pro tool is another keyword tracking and website ranking dashboards like Ahrefs and SEMrush.) Moz Local helps businesses appear in local search results by managing local listing information.
$129/year for Moz Local Lite
- Listing management and distribution ensures that you appear in relevant listings
- Review monitoring allows you to respond quickly when poor reviews show up online
- Duplicate listing deletion to avoid confusing customers—or Google
There are hundreds of SEO tools on the market. In this guide, we covered some of the heavy hitters—as well as several that have been popular among the SEO fraternity. At the end of the day, choosing the right SEO tool comes down to your goals. If you’re a full-time SEO, then getting a leading all-in-one dashboard like Ahrefs or SEMrush might be your best investment.
Small business owners looking for low-cost tools to help them find keywords might want something more accessible like SE Ranking, Yoast, and the Google Suite.