18 Best SEO Tools that SEO Experts Actually Use in 2020
Mastering SEO optimization can be hard, especially if you’re just starting out. Fortunately, finding the best SEO tools is easy, we’ve compiled them all on this list. We reached out to over 30 SEO experts to find out what the best SEO software is and what keyword tracking tools are impressing the SEO experts. You don’t need to try all these tools, you just need to figure out which one works best for your business.
- Why Use SEO Tools?
- Best Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools
- 1. Ahrefs: SEO Keyword Tool
- 2. Google Search Console: Top SEO Tool
- 3. SEMRush: Marketing SEO Tools
- 4. KWFinder: SEO Keyword Tool
- 5. Moz Pro: SEO Software
- 6. Ubersuggest: Keyword Tracking Tool
- 7. Answer The Public: Free SEO Tools
- 8. SpyFu: Free SEO Tools
- 9. Woorank: SEO Ranking Tool
- 10. Majestic: Marketing SEO Tools
- 11. Google Trends: SEO Checker Tool
- 12. SEOQuake: Free SEO Tools
- 13. Siteliner: SEO Analysis Tool
- 14. Fat Rank: SEO Tools
- 15. Keywords Everywhere: SEO Keyword Tool
- 16. Screaming Frog: SEO Tools Online
- 17. Serpstat: All-in-one SEO platform
- 18. Bonus Tool: Incognito
- Top SEO Experts
- Want to Learn More?
Why Use SEO Tools?
SEO tools save you from tedious keyword research and data analysis. With these tools, you’re able to see what’s working and which parts of your strategy could benefit from some tweaking. The best SEO tools also provide reports about how you measure up to competitors and where the greatest opportunities lie. What’s more, they allow you to measure search performance countries, regions, or languages.
It gets better. If you’re managing more than one website, SEO tools can help you assess each site’s performance on the fly. Many entrepreneurs with multiple websites end up putting a lot of data in spreadsheets and analyzing it manually. But that soon becomes overwhelming and raises the risk of the reports being inaccurate. Fortunately, you can use SEO software to save hours of effort and generate accurate reports at a click.
Best Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools
1. Ahrefs: SEO Keyword Tool
Ahrefs is one of the most recommended SEO tools online. It’s only second to Google when it comes to being the largest website crawlers. SEO experts can’t get enough of Ahrefs’ Site Audit feature as it’s the best SEO analysis tool around. The tool highlights what parts of your website need improvements to rank better in search engines. From a competitor analysis perspective, you’ll likely use Ahrefs to determine your competitor’s backlinks to use them as a starting point for your own brand. You can also use this SEO tool to find the most linked to content within your niche, check and fix broken links on your website,and get an overview of your best-performing pages (so you can see what information is drawing in the visitors).
Syed Irfan Ajmal, a Growth Marketing Manager at Ridester, loves the SEO keyword tool Ahrefs. He shares, “Ahrefs is surely our most favorite tool when it comes to various facets of SEO such as keyword research, rank tracking, competitor research, SEO audit, viral content research and much more. We add our site and those of our competitors to it. The tool then shows us the sites which have backlinked to our competitors but not us. This helps us find great link opportunities. But this wouldn’t have been so easy if Ahrefs didn’t have the largest database of backlinks. Ahrefs has been instrumental in getting our site ranked for several major keywords, and getting us to 350,000 visitors per month.”
2. Google Search Console: Top SEO Tool
Offered for free to everyone with a website, Google Search Console lets you monitor and report on your website’s presence in Google SERP. All you need to do is verify your website by adding a code to your website or going through Google Analytics and you can submit your sitemap for indexing. Although you don’t need a Search Console account to appear in Google’s search results, you can control what gets indexed and how your website is represented with this account. As an SEO checker tool, Search Console can help you understand how Google and its users view your website and allow you to optimize for better performance in Google search results. It’s especially useful for new websites as it lets site owners submit web pages for search indexing.
3. SEMRush: Marketing SEO Tools
Marketing SEO tools like SEMRush tend to be fan favorites in the SEO community. Experts love that they let you easily assess your rankings as well as identify changes and new ranking opportunities. One of the most popular features of this SEO tool is the Domain Vs Domain analysis, which allows you to easily compare your website to your competitors. If you’re looking for analytics reports to help you better understand your website’s search data, traffic, or even your competitors, you’ll be able to compare keywords and domains. The On-Page SEO Checker tool allows you to easily monitor your rankings and find some recommendations on how to improve your website’s performance.
Liraz Postan, Senior SEO & Content Manager at Outbrain, recommends SEMRush as one of the best SEO tools. She says, “My favorite SEO tool is SEMrush with the feature of “organic traffic insights”. This feature lets me see all my leading articles with one dashboard, along with related keywords, social shares and word count. This gives me a quick overview of what’s working and where to optimize. I generally use SEMrush on my daily work, love this tool, and love using its site audit to optimize our site health. We improved our site health by 100% more since we started using SEMrush, and we increased conversions by 15% more from our content pages.”
4. KWFinder: SEO Keyword Tool
An SEO keyword tool like KWFinder helps you find long-tail keywords that have a lower level of competition. The experts use this SEO tool to find the best keywords and run analysis reports on backlinks and SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Their Rank Tracker tool helps you easily determine your ranking while tracking your improvement based on one key metric. Plus, if that’s not enough, you’ll get a ton of new keyword ideas to help you rank your website even higher.
George Perry, an SEM Specialist at Bandwidth, raves about KWFinder. “I like that not only does it show me information on the keyword that I was searching for, but pulls in good suggestions for related terms, and how they compare (volume, CPC, difficulty, etc.) to the term I originally looked at. I’ve been able to help my clients target not only those big, pie in the sky vanity terms, but to better target those terms that are lower in the funnel and more likely to convert, allowing me to target them through focused content that answers the questions they’re actually asking.”
5. Moz Pro: SEO Software
SEO software Moz Pro keeps popping up as one of the best SEO tools that experts actually use. Some specialists raved about how Moz was always up to date despite Google’s regular algorithm changes. Others praised Moz’s chat portal that allows them always to get an insightful response to every question asked. Whether you’re looking for keyword recommendations or a site crawl, Moz is a full-service powerhouse. You can get great insights into how your website is performing but also how to improve it. They also have a free MozBar toolbar that you can download to see your website’s metrics while browsing any page. If you’re looking to learn more about SEO, you should also consider checking out MozCon, their annual conference.
Keri Lindenmuth’s, Marketing Manager at Kyle David Group, go-to SEO tool is none other than Moz Pro. She says, “My favorite feature of the tool is its ‘page optimization feature.’ It tells you exactly what steps you can take to improve the SEO of every single page on your website. For example, it will tell you to ‘Include your keyword in this page title’ or ‘Add an image with a keyword alt tag.’ This tool has substantially improved our client’s business simply by the fact that it gives increased transparency. We can compare their site’s traffic and optimization to that of their competitors. We can see which pages and search terms their competitors perform well in and alter our web practices to compete against theirs. Without a tool like Moz, SEO really becomes a guessing game. You have no idea where you’re doing well and where you can use improvement.”
6. Ubersuggest: Keyword Tracking Tool
Ubersuggest, developed by Neil Patel, is a free keyword finder tool that helps you identify keywords and also the search intent behind them by showing the top ranking SERPsFrom short to long-tail phrases, you can find the right terms to use on your website with hundreds of suggestions from this free great keyword tool. Metrics Ubersuggest includes in its reports are keyword volume, competition, CPC, and seasonal trends. Great for both organic SEO and paid PPC, this tool can help you determine if a keyword is worth targeting and how competitive it is.
7. Answer The Public: Free SEO Tools
Free SEO tools like Answer The Public allow you to easily find topics to write about for your blog. I’ve used this tool in the past to create content around specific keywords to better rank online. Say you’re in the ‘fitness’ niche. You can use this free SEO tool to create content around keywords like fitness, yoga, running, Crossfit, exercise and cover the entire spectrum. It’s great for finding featured snippet opportunities. Say you hire a freelancer to create content for you, all you need to do is download this list and send it over to them. And it would only take you five minutes, making it one of the most efficient ways to come up with SEO topics for new websites.
Matt Jackson, Head of Content at Wild Shark, loves free SEO tools like AnswerThePublic. He shares, “One of my favorite tools when compiling SEO content for a site is AnswerThePublic.com. The best feature of the tool is that it presents a list of the questions that web users are asking about a particular keyword. If I’m running out of genuinely useful content ideas, or if I’m compiling an FAQ page, it provides invaluable guidance as to what, exactly, people are searching for. It is not only useful for SEO content, it means that our clients can answer questions on their site, minimizing the number of customer service calls they receive and giving greater authority to a page and the overall business. And here’s a quick tip: prevent neckache by hitting the Data button, rather than straining to read the question wheel.”
8. SpyFu: Free SEO Tools
While SpyFu has an amazing premium version, many of our experts raved about its free features. If you’re just starting out, you can easily grow into the paid features as you start succeeding. You can easily view the number of times a keyword gets searched each month while easily determining the ranking difficulty for that keyword. You can also do some research on your competitors to determine which keywords they use. Additionally, you can search your competitor’s, or your own, website to easily see how many organic keywords they have, how many monthly clicks they get, who their paid and organic competitors are, the campaigns they’re running with Google Ads, and more. It’s one of the most detailed SEO analysis tools on the market.
Adele Stewart, Senior Project Manager at Sparq Designs, can’t get enough of SEO software SpyFu. She shares, “I have used SEMrush and Agency Analytics in the past, but SpyFu has the one-up on my client’s competitors. All of SpyFu’s features are great, but my absolute favorite is the SEO Research feature. You’re able to plug in a competitor’s domain and pull up information on their own SEO strategy. You can see what keywords they pay for vs. their organic standings, review their core keywords, and even assess their keyword groups. Using SpyFu has been integral to my client’s SEO successes. There’s so much more to track and report on, plus I don’t have to put in as much effort in research as I did with other SEO software. SpyFu pulls the information I need and organizes reports in a way that is presentable and understandable to my clients. I’ve already seen increases in indexing and rank for keywords that we didn’t even think of.”
9. Woorank: SEO Ranking Tool
As a top SEO analysis tool, Woorank offers free and paid options to track and report your marketing data. You can plug in your competitors to discover which keywords they are targeting so you can overlap with theirs. Try understanding how keywords perform over time to optimize for users and search engines in the best way possible. And most importantly, understand the things your website is lacking from both a technical and content perspective. Woorank can help you identify duplicate content, downtime, and security issues and provide guidelines on how to fix them.
10. Majestic: Marketing SEO Tools
Majestic is one of the best marketing SEO tools according to experts. It has countless useful features like The Majestic Million which lets you see the ranking of the top million websites. Did your website make the cut? The Site Explorer feature allows you to easily see a general overview of your site and the number of backlinks you have. It also works as an SEO keyword tool to find the best keywords to target while also having features geared to site comparisons and tracking your rank.
Ryan Scollon, SEO Consultant at RyanScollon.co.uk recommends the SEO tool Majestic. He says, “My favorite SEO tool is Majestic, with its main feature allowing you to check the backlinks of a website that you specify. My favorite feature is the ability to add your own client’s site and a bunch of competitors, allowing you to easily compare a variety of SEO metrics such as trust flow, referring domain count, and external backlinks count. Not only does it help us understand the [client’s optimization] weaknesses, but it also provides a simple table that we share with our clients, so they too can understand the problems and how they stack up to their competitors. We also use Majestic to audit competitors’ backlinks, as we can sometimes find a handful of easy opportunities to tackle before moving onto other link building tactics.”
11. Google Trends: SEO Checker Tool
Google Trends has been around for years but has been underutilized. Not only does it give you information regarding a keyword but it offers great insight into trends around the topic, which can be invaluable at any stage of a business’s growth. Search for keywords in any country and receive information around it like top queries, rising queries, interest over time, and geographical locations depending on interest. If you are unsure which trends are the ones for you, this is the best SEO tool to use.
12. SEOQuake: Free SEO Tools
SEOQuake is considered one of the best free SEO tools. This Chrome extension acts as an SEO checker tool that performs on-page site audits, assesses both your internal and external links, and also does website comparisons to determine how you perform against your competitors. Other features of this SEO analysis tool include keyword analysis such as keyword density, an easy to read SEO dashboard, and an export feature that allows you to easily download and send data to key people on your team.
Brin Chartier, an expert digital marketer, and SEO content creator, loves the free SEO tool SEOQuake. She says, “I love a good browser extension, and SEOquake is the best free SEO tool for instant SEO metrics on any website or SERP. I can instantly pull an on-page SEO audit for myself or competitors, and the SERP overlay feature is an awesome visualization of key page metrics that I can export to CSV & share with my team. This tool saves me hours of manual work that I can use to actually move the needle creating SEO optimized content instead.”
13. Siteliner: SEO Analysis Tool
Siteliner is an SEO checker tool that helps you find duplicate content on your website. What’s duplicate content? Identical content to other websites. And Google penalizes websites with it. With SEO tools like this one, you’ll be able to scan your entire website to find duplicate content, broken links, average page size and speed, the number of internal links per page, and more. It also compares your website to the average of websites checked with this tool to help you better understand where you stand.
Tieece Gordon, a Search Engine Marketer at Kumo Digital, recommends the SEO tool Siteliner. He shares, “Siteliner is one of my go-to SEO tools whenever I’m presented with a new site. Identifying and remedying potential problems almost automatically improves quality and value, reduces cannibalization, and adds more context to a specific page if done correctly, which is the whole reason for using this tool. For a free (paid version offering more available) tool to offer the ability to check duplicate levels, broken links, and reasons any pages were skipped (robots, no-index, etc.) though, there can be no complaints at all. The key feature here that Siteliner does better than any other I’ve come across is the Duplicate Content table. It simply and easily lays out URLs, match words, percentages, and pages. And because it’s smart enough to skip pages with no-index tags, it’s a safe bet that most showing a high percentage need to be dealt with. I’ve seen a lot of ecommerce sites relying on manufacturer descriptions, service sites that want to target multiple areas with the same text, and sites with simply thin pages – sometimes a combination of these, too. I’ve seen that adding valuable and unique content has seen rankings, and in turn, sessions and conversions jump up for clients. All of this has stemmed from Siteliner. It may not be the enterprise-level, all-singing, all-dancing software that promises the world, but its simplicity is perfect.”
14. Fat Rank: SEO Tools
SEO Chrome extensions like Fat Rank allow you to easily analyze your website’s performance. This SEO keyword tool lets you know the ranking of your keywords. You can add keywords to your search to find out your rank per page for each keyword you optimized for. If you don’t rank for the top 100 results, it’ll tell you that you’re not ranking for that keyword. This information allows you to better optimize your website for that keyword so you can make adjustments as needed.
Blake Aylott’s, SEO expert at Project Build Construction, favorite free SEO tool is one no one ever really talks about. “The SEO tool is called Fatrank. It’s a Chrome extension, and it shows the rank for any search query you type in as for a URL as long as you’re on that URL. If I need to know how I am currently ranking for a keyword, I can simply type it in and see. It is extremely accurate and live. The tool is a lifesaver when clients want to know their current ranking for something, and I can tell them with 100% accuracy. Fat Rank is free and should be a part of every SEO’s arsenal of tools.”
15. Keywords Everywhere: SEO Keyword Tool
Keywords Everywhere is another great SEO Chrome extension that aggregates data from various SEO tools like Google Analytics, Search Console, Google Trends, and more to help you find the best keywords to rank for. Free SEO tools like these simplify the process of determining the best keywords for your website. So rather than going through several websites each day, you can use this one tool to save you a huge amount of time.
Eagan Heath, Owner of Get Found Madison, is a huge fan of the SEO tool Keywords Everywhere Chrome extension. He shares, “It allows both me and my clients to see monthly U.S. keyword search volume right on Google, which is great for brainstorming blog topic ideas. It also allows you to bulk upload lists of keywords and see the data, which Google now hides behind enormous ranges unless you pay for Google Ads. Unbelievable value for a free tool!”
16. Screaming Frog: SEO Tools Online
Ribbit, Ribbit. Screaming Frog is considered one of the best SEO tools online by experts. They love how much time they save by having this tool analyze your website super fast to perform site audits. In fact, every person we spoke to said that the speed at which Screaming Frog gives you insights was faster than most SEO tools online. This tool also informs you of duplicate content, errors to fix, bad redirections, and improvement areas for link building. Their SEO Spider tool was considered the best feature by top SEO experts.
Jon Hoffer, Director of Content at Fractl, loves the SEO tool Screaming Frog. He shares, “I wouldn’t be able to do my job without it. It lets me crawl client and competitor sites and get a broad overview of what’s going on. I can see if pages are returning 404 errors, find word counts, get a list of all title tags and H1s, and analytics data all in one place. Upon initial glance, I can find opportunities for quick fixes and see which pages are driving traffic. Maybe meta descriptions are missing, or title tags are duplicated across the site, or maybe somebody accidentally non indexed some pages – it’s all there. I also love the ability to extract certain data from pages. Recently, I was working on a directory and needed to find the number of listings that were on each page. I was able to pull that information with Screaming Frog and look at it next to analytics data. It’s great to know what competitors actually have on their sites. This is great for content ideas. Overall, Screaming Frog gives me the chance to run a quick audit and come away with an understanding of what’s going on. It reveals opportunities for easy wins and actionable insights. I can determine if site migrations went off without a hitch; they usually don’t. With the inclusion of traffic data, I’m also able to prioritize tasks.”
17. Serpstat: All-in-one SEO platform
Serpstat is a growth-hacking platform for SEO, PPC, and content marketing goals. If you’re looking for an affordable all-in-one tool to solve SEO tasks, analyze competitors, and manage your team, Serpstat will be a great choice. Many experts are now switching to the tool, as it has collected keyword and competitor analysis data for all the Google regions in the world. Moreover, Serpstat is known for its awesome features. The most popular one is a Missing Keywords feature, which identifies the keywords that your competitors are ranking for in the top-10 search results, and you aren’t.
Dan Taylor, Senior Technical SEO Consultant & Account Director at SALT.agency, switched to Serpstat after trying other tools: “I’ve used a lot of keyword research and analysis tools in the years I’ve been working in digital marketing, and a lot of them have become really lossy and tried to diversify into different things, losing focus on what people primarily use the tool for. Serpstat is a great tool for research, doing some performance tracking, and monitoring multiple data points. It’s also user-friendly, and the fact it allows multi-user on the 3rd tier plan is a game-changer. To sum up, Serpstat is a great addition to the suite of tools that we use and is a very capable, cheaper, and less lossy alternative to other popular platforms.”
18. Bonus Tool: Incognito
Switching to Incognito mode and performing Google searches will give you unbiased, ‘clean’ searches to understand what your user sees and the results they get when searching for keywords. Using the autofill options will give you suggestions of semantic keywords to use. As one of the free and best SEO tools, searching in Incognito is helpful as it shows where you truly rank on a results page for a certain term.
Top SEO Experts
SEO has become a huge discipline in the past 10 years and all the above SEO tools wouldn’t have existed without the SEO experts behind them. We wanted to give a quick shout out to these people for their hard work to help websites rank better and convert more.
Eric Enge is the founder and CEO of award-winning digital marketing agency Stone Temple, acquired by Perficient in July 2018. Now the general manager of Perficient Digital, he is a writer, researcher, teacher, and keynote speaker. He won the 2016 Search Personality of the Year Award and CEO of 2016 Best SEO Agency of the Year award.
As the most well-known SEO expert in the industry, Rand Fishkin is the founder of Moz and Sparktoro. Known for his infamous ‘Whiteboard Friday’ videos, Rand shot to fame by being outspoken about SEO and the many different content you can use to rank better in search engines. We even mentioned his SEO tool, Moz, in our list above.
Barry Schwartz is the master of sharing content around anything to do with SEO. Normally the first person to write about algorithm updates (sometimes even before Google), Barry is the news editor of Search Engine Land and runs Search Engine Roundtable, both blogs around the topic of SEM. Barry also owns his own web consultancy firm called RustyBrick.
As an amazing contributor to many SEO blogs in her time, Vanessa Fox’s career didn’t start in Google, but she definitely left her mark there. Vanessa is an author, keynote speaker, and created a podcast about search-related issues. Interested in how people interact online and user intent Vanessa’s impact SEO’s future is sure to be very active.
Aleyda Solis is a speaker, author, and award-winning SEO expert. She is the founder of Orainti, an international SEO consultancy Agency, that helps international clients scale their organic search growth. She has won the European Search Personality of the Year in 2018 Award and was mentioned in the 50 online marketing influencers to follow in 2016.
The best SEO tools on this list are gold. They give you insights that would otherwise take ages to generate. That said, you’re going to have to put in the work to get the results you want. That means producing content that’s SEO optimized, rewriting all your product descriptions, and taking what you’ve learned from these SEO tools and making adjustments. If you’re on a budget, most of these tools have free features or trials you can play around with. Try them out. Do it. Discover what you need to improve to rank higher in SERPs. And follow the tool’s suggestions to skyrocket your growth. Your success falls on you. Take that next step.
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What are your favorite SEO tools? Do you have a recommendation that wasn’t added to this list? Comment below!