SEO is an essential consideration for virtually every small business and website owner. The problem is, the optimization process is never-ending, and detecting and improving the weak spots, while also keeping an eye on your competition can get quite overwhelming at times. Luckily, there are a ton of tools out there to help you work smarter instead of harder.
There aren't enough hours in the day to test all the tools in the market, as they come and go, evolve and resolve one task or another (or lots of, at once). Therefore, I've collected a stack of helpful tools (free, freemium or offering free trials) covering nearly all major SEO aspects.
Hopefully, at least some of these will be a good fit for your business and will provide a helping hand in your SEO process.
Technical SEO & Diagnostic
Crawlability, Indexation, Links On Site
WebsiteAuditor is a great tool to start off with, and crawl your site to diagnose all kinds of issues. The best part of this tool is that it enables crawling on behalf of the Googlebot (or any other bot) to see each and every page and resource of your website with Google's eyes, to make sure nothing is restricted mistakenly.
WebsiteAuditor also enables you to generate robots.txt files and ready-to-submit sitemaps within a few clicks.
By scanning all kinds of links on a site, it shows the redirects, redirect chains and all broken links along with their sources.
Limitations: Crawls and analyzes up to 500 URLs per domain in free version
Similar tools to consider: Raven and OnPage.org for overall site audits, Robots.txt Testing Tool for robots.txt validation, XML-Sitemaps.Com for sitemap generation, Redirect Path for checking HTTP headers and redirects
A must-use free tool for diagnostics is good old Google Search Console. Aside from highlighting any crawling and indexation errors, it can help you detect and fix the reason.
In case of any manual penalty from Google's side, you can see the reason and the details in your account. Once the problem is resolved, you can also request a review to speed up the recovery process.
Another way to detect a possible penalty is using a tool like Website Penalty Indicator, which can help you correlate organic traffic spikes with the major Google's algorithm updates. If any noticeable decrease in traffic coincides with an update rollout, you can pay attention to the aspect it targets.
Similar tools to consider: Panguin Tool will highlight the impact of Google updates on organic traffic and visibility
Pingdom is a handy and intuitive tool to check your pages' speed and make sure that no issues prevent a smooth user experience.
The app provides all kind of performance insights, along with actionable advice on how to go about fixing any problematic elements. Pingdom also comes with immediate alerts in case of any unexpected issues, and there's a mobile app as well.
Limitations: Free with limitations, 14-day trial for paid plans
You can check out how your website performs on mobile with the free mobile friendliness checker from RankWatch.
Apart from showing how a page looks like on a mobile device, it checks the viewport and detects possible issues, such as links placed too close, unreadable text size, etc.
- AMP Project is an open-source initiative which helps create mobile-optimized content
- SEOchat's list of schema.org tools help you mark up your pages with microdata
- Google's Structured Data Testing Tool is another helpful diagnosis option
Keyword Research And Rank Tracking
Keyword Ideas And Analysis
KWFinder can help you extend your keyword list by providing all kinds of suggestions, keywords from Google Autocomplete and questions ideas.
Along with this, the tool also provides estimated keyword difficulty for each keyword, and the stats for top pages, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses at a glance.
Google AdWords Keyword Planner can help you generate the keyword ideas as well, and analyze potential profitability of any keyword by checking the search volume and competition for a specific location.
Rank Tracker lets you track however many keywords per domain in however many search engines. The app tracks local, universal, mobile and desktop rankings in customized search engines, exactly as they're seen from any precise location.
Rank Tracker also enables you to track multiple rankings for a keyword, and monitor the progress and SERPs fluctuations along the way. You can also track a competitor along with your site.
Limitations: The free version allows tracking, but the projects cannot be saved
On-Page And Content
A well-known plagiarism checker is Copyscape - a simple tool for finding the copies of your pages online to make sure the content you post is unique, and to keep your site protected from penalties.
Siteliner is another tool by the Copyscape team - it's an easy-to-use app to check for internal duplicated content.
The app analyzes the pages to return the duplication percentage for each, showing the number of page matches across the site and highlighting the least unique pages for you to revise.
Similar tools to consider: Hive Digital duplicate content tool
Content Optimization And Ideas
Yoast's WordPress SEO Plugin deservedly hold the crown as the leading tool for Wordpress site managers who are looking to create SEO-friendly content.
The plugin enables you enter a focus keyword (one in free version) in order to see the optimization details and recommendations to improve the page - all actionable and easy-to-follow.
Keyword Density Analyzer from SEOBook can help you analyze any webpage to see the word count and all the tags like title, description or image alts.
To uncover the keywords the page is optimized for, the tool provides a list of words and phrases most frequently used within each page element.
Similar tools to consider: Keywords Density Analysis Tool from Internet Marketing Ninjas (similar to Keyword Density Analyzer)
Backlink Profile Management
A great tool to try for backlink analysis is SEO SpyGlass. The tool tracks the backlinks for your site and enables you to load the links from your Search Console and Google Analytics, or add links manually from any other source.
The best part is, the tool can check all the links in real-time, so you can analyze your existing links in-depth.
SEo SpyGlass also provides loads of useful stats and calculates link value and potential penalty risks. In a few clicks you can also generate a 'Disavow' file ready for submitting to Google.
Limitations: Shows up to 1,100 links per domain in free version
Link-Building and Outreach
Competitor backlink profiles can be a great source of inspiration when it comes to link-building, but you can also research link-building opportunities like guest-posting, reviews, giveaways and many more using niche-relevant keywords and a tool like LinkAssistant.
LinkAssistant finds potential prospects using a selected link-building method, and helps you narrow the list down to the most promising ones, then reach out - with no manual research and no mess in your inbox.
Limitations: Up to 1,000 prospects per project in free version
Traffic Sources And Distribution
A full-featured and widely-used analytics tool to get to know your traffic stats is Google Analytics.
Apart from tracking the amount of traffic and the sources it comes from (direct, organic, referral, etc.), it provides you with valuable insights on user behavior, conversions, acquisition and more, to make data-driven decisions and improvements on your site.
To uncover insights into your competitors' traffic, sources and distribution you can try SimilarWeb Pro.
Additionally, SimilarWeb Pro shows estimated average daily visits, average visit duration, pages per visit and bounce rates. The tool also provides audience insights, geographical distribution of the traffic and categories/topics of interest.
Limitations: Google Analytics - free with limitations, SimilarWeb Pro offers a 3-month trial (5 domains, 5 results / metric)
These are just a few tools in a market that's constantly evolving and offering something new, but hopefully there's something useful for you to check out.
The right tool at hand can boost your efficiency in many ways - if something worthy of mention is missing from the list, feel free to share in the comments.