Originally posted on adweek.
Feeling overwhelmed with all the search marketing tools available?
It’s hard enough to learn all the best practices and to stay up-to-date in the fast-paced SEO industry. Don’t make it even harder on yourself by using the wrong tools.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s enough to get you pointed in the right direction and well on your way to improving your website rankings.
1. Google Analytics
In my experience, most small businesses have Google Analytics installed on their websites (you do have Google Analytics installed on your site, right?), but when it comes to actually using it—well, that’s a different story. If you’re just getting started with Google Analytics, then first set up Goals (leads and sales) in the Admin area. Then get familiar with the Channels report within the Acquisitions reporting section. This report gives you a high level overview of all your different marketing channels so you can see where your traffic is coming from and which marketing channels are converting into leads and sales.
2. Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog is an “SEO spider,” which means it crawls your website to find broken links, ensure redirects are working, analyze metadata, find duplicate content and more. The free version is a great place to start—and probably sufficient for most small businesses—but if your website is larger than 500 pages, then you’ll need to invest in the paid version. Use Screaming Frog to schedule regular audits of your website to catch potential issues before they impact your SEO.
Ahrefs covers a lot of bases when it comes to SEO, performing site audits, competitor analysis, keyword research, rank tracking and more, but it’s perhaps best known for its link analysis capabilities. This makes it essential for any business that’s embarking on a link building campaign for their website. In addition to the tool itself, Ahrefs has an active private Facebook community where you can get support from other marketers, along with robust documentation and tutorials to help get you started.
Another solid paid SEO tool is SEMrush, but this one requires a bigger investment considering the SEMrush Business plan is $449.95 a month. Like Ahrefs, SEMrush is categorized as an SEO multi-tool because it performs a number of different functions, ranging from keyword research to analyzing backlinks and traffic. You can see which keywords your website (or your competitors’ websites) are ranking for, and deep dive into traffic trends and SERP positions.
Ever notice that Google suggests similar searches when you’re typing into Google’s search field? Wouldn’t it be great if you could get a list of all the suggested keywords?
Well, you’re in luck because Ubersuggest does exactly that. When you type a keyword into Ubersuggest, then the tool will show you all the related keywords that Google will suggest to searchers. Plus, you’ll see the keywords’ monthly search volume, level of competition and more.
6. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is an SEO plugin for WordPress and, among the thousands of SEO plugins out there, it’s the one we recommend our clients use to improve on-page SEO. Yoast SEO makes it easy to edit page Titles and Meta Descriptions so they are all unique and optimized for the keywords you want to rank for.