How long have you been on the Internet? Long enough to understand what it is and how specific things work? You might have already caught the trick: the Internet is not a constant thing; it’s not the same as it was twenty years ago. The only constant thing about it – the Internet is changing every minute. Websites are getting better or worse, outdated by their appearance or the data they present. Their quantity is growing second by second and the competition for a user’s attention is getting more serious.
That is where SEO enters the game.
If you are an ordinary visitor who searches for a specific type of information, you won’t see websites fighting to be the first and best result for your query on SERPs. You won’t see this, but fights on the Internet are hot as Hell.
If you do business on the Internet, you will most likely take an active part in these fights and, consequently, must know what SEO is and how to do it properly. If you are just starting your way in this niche, we will be honored to disclose the world of SEO for you and show what will most help you in 2021.
What is SEO and Why is it Important
SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and is a process of optimizing your website and content to be as high as possible in organic search results and get more traffic to your site. The process of such optimization includes working on different aspects of your website performance: technical, on-page (content and appearance), off-page (means of getting external popularity and recognition), link management and so on.
In simple words, a webmaster applies different techniques and strategies to make a website he or she owns popular, recognized, relevant and authoritative for users and search engines. The more the level of satisfaction with your website, the higher your website is in organic search results. Making it the first result on SERPs is the main goal of SEO.
SEO is important because it results in better website performance, better content and better user experiences. Each party gets something in the end:
- Users get high quality content and a great place to learn something new;
- A search engine provides users with top-notch results;
- A webmaster attracts/gets more traffic, active users, conversions and revenue.
Why is SEO important for business?
The main reason is popularity:
- SEO makes a business visible on the Internet and in real life. The Internet works faster than people talk. SEO makes your business recognizable;
- SEO teaches webmasters how to make valuable connections with other websites from the same or related niches and build links that promote a website on other platforms;
- SEO includes not only organic & vertical search (maps, images) but also paid search, where a company promotes its goods and gets more conversions.
How SEO Works
Basically, SEO doesn’t work, it brings results if YOU work hard. SEO is about changes you implement.
To be more accurate, SEO consists of advice, techniques, strategies and ways of improving a website’s performance from experts and professionals, guidelines from search engines and pieces of advice from experienced users. It “gives” you points and principles to consider while working on your website to create the best user experience. If you diligently pursue all the steps, your efforts will be rewarded with better traffic, higher rankings and more conversions.
Types of SEO and SEO Tools
There are two general types of SEO: White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO. The first one is about working on your website in an honest way following search engine guidelines: you’ll spend a lot of time and get strong results. The second one is all about sneaky tactics and dirty tricks for getting fast results: you’ll get fast results and a fast escort to the bottom from a search engine.
There are many SEO Tools. You can decide which of them to use depending on your goals.
If you want to work more on your content, you are most likely to use content SEO tools that were designed to give practical advice on how to optimize your copy for better rankings. This may concern keywords, content ideas, uniqueness checks, structure reorganization, optimization for a featured snippet and so on.
Technical SEO tools help to detect and “cure” technical errors if these are present on your website: page not found, broken pages, broken links, and so on.
Local SEO tools aim at improving your rankings and visibility in local search results. This type of tool concerns only local businesses.
SEO analysis tools are focused on detecting problems that may affect your rankings: meta tag optimization, site speed, mobile optimization, redirects and so on.
As you can see, there are a lot of SEO tools you can choose from. Just set your goals and start working. A decent set of SEO tools is a must have for webmasters who want to take the highest position on SERPs. Some prefer separate tools for a specific type of SEO research. Some like services that are able to cover multi-direction research about a website’s performance.
What is the best SEO software? – you may ask. There are a lot of good platforms you can reach your goals with. We want to present you a list of the best SEO tools for 2021!
GOOGLE SEO TOOLS
First, we can’t ignore Google SEO tools. The best free SEO tools you can get in the niche are run by Google. There’s Google Keyword Planner, Search Console, Trends, Analytics, PageSpeed Insights. All marketing people need to be logged into these on their browsers.
This tool allows you to check the mobile friendliness of your website and see if there are SEO issues (like duplicate titles and descriptions). You may even receive email alerts when Google identifies issues on your site. Unfortunately, it won’t show you a full list of technical and SEO issues on your website. An additional site audit tool is a must-have too, so you can see a full picture.
Summary: Good enough for an instant check of a website’s technical issues and mobile friendliness, but it won’t compete against the top SEO tools.
Official website: https://search.google.com/search-console/about
This is also free and it will help you get plenty of keyword suggestions, so you can research them and narrow your keyword list. You can also get bid estimates, so you can plan your advertising budget. Once you have found the best keywords for your website, you can add them to your advertising plan. You can also add them into a major SEO tool platform like WebCEO. You may finalize a list and launch a marketing campaign any time you are ready.
Summary: Google Keyword Planner is a must; it’s really informative. But you will have to wait until your account is matured to see accurate data.
Official website: https://ads.google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner/
Well, everything looks good, but when it comes to doing even more effective work, you will face the downside of free keyword tools. They usually have low limitations and really lack statistics data. You will have a hard time evaluating monthly searches, bid competition, search trends etc. – so it might not be so easy to pick the most effective keywords on a free tool. Even the AdWords keyword tool won’t give you precise data when you have just created a vendor account: you will only see huge ranges (for example, 1-10k). Once your account has matured, you will see more precise data, but that takes time and money.
ALL-IN-ONE SEO PLATFORMS
All-in-one SEO platforms can be more practical to use: there will be no need to switch between different tabs in your browser and always do separate reports. With a platform, you will feel free to focus on your goals while the software takes care of most of the monotonous tasks. So, which of the best SEO tools do you have in mind now?
Pricing: $119.95-$449.95/mo depending on the plan
At the very beginning, this platform was a great competitor metrics tool. But after a few years of work, they turned into a typical online SEO software: a rank tracker, an SEO auditor, a backlink checker etc. Using this platform will cost you $99/mo per user. That said, every additional user will cost you $70/mo. SEMrush has its own backlink tool, which is not the best, but they have integration with Majestic if you pay extra.
Summary: Some tools may be confusing at first. You can give this platform a try with the free trial period and understand if you like it or not.
Official website: https://www.semrush.com/
Pricing: $99-$999/mo depending on the plan
At first, Ahrefs’ specialization was with backlink checking. They had one of the biggest backlink databases in the niche – over 16 trillion known backlinks. Then they decided to develop more marketing SEO tools and offer a full SEO & marketing platform. Ahrefs is known for comparing websites, backlinks, PPC, organic keywords and shifts in rankings; it’s also good for page evaluating and exploring keywords. However, users have also been calling Ahrefs pricey and difficult to navigate and use.
Summary: This platform is mostly known for its backlink opportunities. They are doing really good in the niche, but the data in the non-backlink related tools is not always accurate.
Official website: https://ahrefs.com/
Pricing: $99-$299/mo depending on the plan
Having been the choice for digital agencies and optimization nerds since the turn of the century, the WebCEO platform comes with advanced tools for everything SEO: keyword research, backlink research, technical and code audits, rank tracking, social media citation monitoring, sitemap creation, manual submissions, internal link auditing and landing page optimization tools, all combined with competitor monitoring and research. Unlike SEMrush and other platforms that draw data from Majestic, the WebCEO Majestic backlink data doesn’t cost extra with fixed price plans and is only 40 cents per 1000 backlinks found when using the WebCEO Agency Unlimited Plan.
WebCEO is best known for its white label SEO implementations where partners operate their own tools on their own domains or subdomains. You can also place a lead generation button on your website to give your site visitors free site audits.
WebCEO fixed plans have no extra costs while the WebCEO Agency Unlimited Plan is very clear about its variable costs including $2 per active project per month + $4 per 1000 rank queries + 40 cents per 1000 backlinks found + 49 cents for processing more than 5 free site audits per day for your site visitors via a lead generation button. And that’s it. No hidden costs exist.
Official website: https://www.webceo.com/
Moz has its own tool for backlinks and every SEO professional knows about its metrics: Domain Authority and Page Authority. With these metrics you are able to evaluate your website’s link profile. They offer a keyword tool, a link explorer, a rank tracker, an on-page grader, a web explorer and other online SEO tools. However they don’t have any tools for social media marketing. Their Keyword Research tool won’t give you precise info on local keyword demand per month – only ranges, so you’ll have to guess what keyword will be more useful among many.
Summary: Moz is quite popular, but their Rank Tracker doesn’t have instant rank checking so you will just need to wait in a line. Sometimes there is just no time for that.
Official website: https://moz.com/
Pricing: $69-$499/mo depending on the plan
Serpstat is a relatively young SEO platform with a set of decent tools for website optimization: Keyword Research (with its own keyword database of – as stated on the website – more than 5 billion keywords), Rank Tracker, Backlink Analysis, Site Audit, and other. Users emphasize its simple and extremely convenient design although it’s a little bit outdated by appearance. Serpstat seems to have affordable pricing plans starting from $69/mo. A plugin, created by the company, shows a page analysis, domain analysis, and the SEO parameters of a specific webpage. This can be added to such browsers as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera.
Summary: Serpstat has proved itself to be a powerful newcomer. However, in comparison with the other more established all-in-one platforms, Serpstat is a bit weaker in terms of experience and its list of tools.
Official website: https://serpstat.com/
KEYWORD RESEARCH TOOLS
those that show you keywords you haven’t thought about but your potential customers have been thinking about:
This free SEO tool provides a lot of keyword suggestions from Google and Bing. They call themselves ‘a goldmine of insight for today’s marketers’. You can see an aggregated view of search queries with hints about the motivations and emotions of the people typing them. This will really help for inspiration and consumer insight in the age of Google. However, to use the full functionality of Answer The Public you will have to pay $99/mo.
Summary: This online SEO tool is really great to find keywords you never thought about; however, the tool may show keywords which are not relevant. Also, it may not work as well with very specific keywords.
Official website: https://answerthepublic.com/
LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords are keywords related semantically to a main keyword. Such keywords help search engines understand your content better. LSIGraph offers you a number of keywords for your niche & topic so it’s up to you to produce contextually unique content. With a subscription you get an unlimited number of LSI keywords with important metrics such as precise search volume data and latent semantic value; you will be able to discover top performing content, serve your clients with White Label CSV & PDF reports and monitor your profitable keywords with the Project Manager Library.
Summary: These keywords won’t drive you to position #1 instantly, but this will help your content ranking over time, when SEO effort has already been put in.
Official website: https://lsigraph.com/
Pricing: $20-$40/mo depending on the plan
An SEO tool created by Neil Patel, Ubersuggest declares itself to be an all-in-one SEO platform that offers tools for keyword research, domain research, backlink research, and site audits.
Patel’s Keyword Research Tool shows an overview of the Google SERPs for keywords with visits shown! You will see who your direct competitors are with a full profile on their estimated monthly visits by your keyword, domain score, number of backlinks and social shares.
Summary: Neil Patel did a great job creating a convenient tool for copywriters and webmasters. However, there are two disturbing points we want to underline. You can’t see global search results for a needed keyword. Instead you will get search volume only by a specific country.
Official website: https://neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/
Pricing: $33-$299/mo depending on the plan
SpyFu has been successfully playing on the market for over a decade. Besides dealing with competitor keyword research (both for organic and paid search) the service has developed into a platform that allows users to conduct multiperspective research on their and their competitors’ keyword performance: competitor research and analysis, detailed competitors’ and your PPC campaign examination, SEO analysis, ranking and backlink analysis, SERP analysis and more. Its interface and data presentation are extremely convenient and they have PDF reporting.
Summary: SpyFu is a well-known and recognized SEO tool for spying on competitors. This platform gives a lot of data for a user to analyze and use for future campaigns. However, their set is not as full as with all-in-one SEO platforms, so the possibility of doing multifaceted research is comparatively less.
Official website: https://www.spyfu.com/
Pricing: $10-$1000 depending on the plan
An extremely useful and convenient tool which shows search volume on a query when a user starts typing it. Keywords Everywhere uses data from Google, Bing, YouTube, Amazon, EBay, Etsy, and other important chill out spots. In addition, this tool shows such graphs as “Related keywords” and “People Also Search For” with the data on global monthly search volume, CPC, and AdWords competition. A user can easily export these lists in a CSV format.
Summary: A cool and useful tool which has two disadvantages. First, it works in just two browsers: Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. You will need to install one of those if you don’t currently use them. And there are details which are absent but could have been of great value – this tool doesn’t have search trend and keyword difficulty features. Second, it’s become a paid platform. Actually, this is not as tragic as you might think because the price is pretty affordable: for 100,000 keywords (with CPC, search volume and AdWords competition data included) you will pay only $10. You won’t need to pay until you reach the given limit.
Official website: https://keywordseverywhere.com/
SITE AUDIT AND SEO ANALYSIS TOOLS
Google and the visitors of websites love fast loading sites with zero technical issues. So you have to audit your site for errors on a regular basis. Mobile friendliness, page speed and errors – every factor is critical.
Starting Price: $89/mo depending on the plan
The tool is designed to make websites accessible and effective. They offer great capabilities for solving technical and SEO issues. With DeepCrawl you are able to audit your website, learn and understand your website architecture, recover from Panda or Penguin penalties, compare your website to your competitors and more. DeepCrawl fits both in-house SEO teams and Agencies & Consultants. Users say that it is easy and works reliably.
Summary: Fits agencies and enterprises, but sometimes the tool crawls websites too slowly.
Pricing: $29-$79/mo depending on the plan
This is a great choice for those who are working for locally oriented businesses and doing local SEO. It will be easy for you to uncover technical issues with the site’s local SEO profile. The most useful thing about BrightLocal is the ability to audit, clean and build citations from the most popular sites. Also, with BrightLocal you will never forget about Google My Business – we all know how important it is to register one’s location and keyword descriptions with search engines.
Summary: Their automated reports look really good! You’ll have to schedule a report and then wait a long time until it is scanned.
Official website: https://www.brightlocal.com/
You should ask yourself if you really need a standalone tool for technical/SEO audits. The big all-in-one SEO programs offer great auditors, so it will be much easier to use a platform instead of a variety of different SEO tools with separate logins.
LINK BUILDING AND ANALYSIS TOOLS
Pricing: $49-$399/mo depending on the plan
It shows special metrics like trust flow, citation flow, historical index, fresh index, etc. With all these metrics you can see your improvements and progress. You will see must-have data on your backlinks, so you can estimate if they are naturally earned or you’d better get rid of them. Also Majestic is a data provider – and the best SEO tools use their data.
Summary: Majestic is really cool and affordable – the biggest database on the web, with an easy interface and good usability. However, there are SEO programs that show backlinks divided into two columns: natural and unnatural.
Official website: https://majestic.com/
Pricing: €229-€2799/mo depending on the plan
This is a useful tool designed for link building and analysis. There are a few great features like link prospecting and outreach. Their most popular feature is Link Detox which scans all your backlinks and shows the ones which are at risk of a Google penalty (or already are under penalty). This tool makes identifying unnatural links easier, and a chart shows your backlink situation in percentages. In a quick glance you can analyze your backlinks and decide what to do next.
Summary: These online SEO tools are just what you need when you are running short on time and need a quick backlink profile analysis. They also offer other important SEO tools and detailed reports.
Official website: https://www.linkresearchtools.com/
Pricing: $14.90-$153.90/mo depending on the plan
Linkody is an amazing backlink monitoring tool that every webmaster should possess. Its main focus is set on monitoring your backlinks as well as tracking the success of your link-building efforts.
What’s more, Linkody automates the whole process for you! You will get notified when you gain or lose any backlinks and you will have a full overview of the necessary SEO metrics to assess your backlinks. To help you improve your link-building strategy, Linkody will give you insights into your competitors’ link building strategies.
Summary: This SEO software analyzes your backlinks as well as your competitors’ while also keeping an eye on the backlinks you are losing. Its detailed reports help you sculpt a link profile full of high-quality backlinks.
Official website: https://www.linkody.com
RANK TRACKING TOOLS
Google is completely local now, and obviously you will want to track your rankings across all the locations your customers are expected to be searching from. Rank tracking tools will always cost you some money.
Pricing: $25-$180/mo depending on the plan
This tool offers Rank Tracking, Analysis & Research and Reporting. This is a good tool to get up-to-date and easy-to-analyze SEO rankings for your website. Pro Rank Tracker supports most popular search engines, including organic desktop and mobile results, and other search elements. All the data you get can be analyzed so you see the progress. This tool also offers reporting options, so you are able to generate reports (white-labeling options are included) and send them to your clients and colleagues.
Summary: The tool is really good for rank tracking. You have to keep in mind that if you track the same keyword for a different location, on desktop and mobile search, it will cost you as 4 different terms.
Official website: https://proranktracker.com/
Pricing: $59.99-$179.99/mo depending on the plan
The tool allows you to track your global and local (by country) keyword rankings. Unfortunately, you can only rank by Google USA or Google – Your Country or Bing USA or Bing – Your Country so rankings data won’t be super accurate. You will be able to sort your keyword lists by search volume and rank; you will also be able to track changes in your rankings over time. This is standard for the industry. As for the pricing, tracking 50 keywords will cost you $59/mo.
Summary: Users enjoy WooRank’s simplicity and user-friendliness. I wish they had more accurate location data and the crawler was faster!
Official website: https://www.woorank.com/
Starting Price: $240/mo depending on the quantity of keywords and websites
It shows your SEO performance on one big dashboard. This tool takes data from Google Analytics, combines it with your rankings and allows you to solve issues. So you are able to easily and quickly find keywords which are already popular and converting.
Summary: At first, their interface is like a challenge. You have to look attentively to find powerful features. Luckily, their support is always ready to assist.
Official website: https://www.seomonitor.com/
Pricing: $49-$499/mo depending on the plan
This is a hybrid of a keyword research tool and a rank tracking tool. Its functionality has a lot in common with SEMrush, Authority Labs etc. Users enjoy getting what they need from the tool with no bells and whistles; such as advanced Featured Snippets ranking data.
Summary: Tracking your performance is easy once you get used to the interface of the tool. The reports take time to be generated so it is better to schedule them.
Official website: https://www.advancedwebranking.com/
In conclusion, to choose from all these best SEO tools, you should first decide which SEO tools and features you really need. Sometimes you can benefit even from Google SEO tools, but in most cases you will need a full SEO tools list. So, just calculate your monthly budget, remembering there may be limitations and hidden costs for different tools. This may help you pick the best SEO software.