If you want to see the best SEO tools in one place, then you’ll LOVE this (updated) guide.
I personally tested and reviewed 188 free and paid tools.
And you can filter through the list to find the best SEO software for you.
Check it out:
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Link Building tools
AuthoritySpy is designed to help you find the top influencers in your space. It discovers these movers and shakers by searching in places like AllTop, Twitter and Followerwonk.
If you do outreach at scale or with a team, you NEED a tool like Buzzstream. Why? Buzzstream makes the messy job of email outreach and link building streamlined and organized. Make sure to check out their new prospecting and email-finding features.
Check My Links
If you do Broken Link Building (or The Moving Man Method), then you’ll love Check My Links. With a click of a button, this Chrome extension quickly checks any webpage for broken links.
Citation Labs' Broken Link Finder
Instead of hunting for broken links page-by-page, The Broken Link Finder proactively searches the web for them. Just search for a keyword and the tool will scour the internet for broken links…and hand them to you on a silver platter. Then you can hit up the Wayback Machine to see what the content was (and create something similar/better).
Cool feature: You can sort your results by how many people link to the broken link.
Citation Labs' Link Prospector
A industrial-level link opportunity finder. Link Prospector scans the web for link building opportunities like resource pages, guest posts, blogs, news sites and more.
Detailed is like fantasy football for websites. It gives you updated rankings of websites in your niche (sorted by links and Twitter mentions).
You also get a report that tells you who shared or linked to each site in their database… which can be a goldmine for link building and content promotion.
DIBZ is a cool link prospecting tool. Just enter the type of links you want to build (for example, resource page backlinks) and it’ll get to work finding link opportunities.
Disavow.it turns your list of spammy URLs into a Google-ready disavow file. Good stuff.
Domain Hunter Plus
Domain Hunter Plus is similar to Check My Links. But this tool also checks to see if the broken link’s domain is available for registration. Cool feature in theory…but I rarely find any free domain names with this tool. That’s because authoritative domains tend to get scooped up pretty quickly. Still a helpful tool for broken link building or The Moving Man Method though.
Free Broken Link Checker
This tool checks a website for broken links. Helpful for broken link building.
GroupHigh is advanced blogger outreach software.
Despite the laundry list of features, it’s pretty darn easy to use. Just enter a few keywords to find blogs in your industry. Then filter by Domain Authority and last post date to whittle down the list to bloggers that are worth reaching out to. You can also reach out to them (and track your results) within the platform.
GuestPost Tracker is a giant database of 1000+ websites that accept guest posts. The tool also allows you to track sites that you’ve submitted to. Their sales copy emphasizes that the sites on their list are not part of a PBN. I took a look at a few of the sites in their database and they looked legit.
HARO (Help a Reporter Out)
Want to get backlinks from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal? You can hire a pricey PR firm…or you can use HARO. HARO is a “dating service” that connects journalists with sources. If you hook a journalist up with a nice quote or stat, they’ll reward you up with a mention or link. Takes a bit of grinding to get a single mention, but the links you get can be solid gold.
Want to get links from news sites like the New York Times and WSJ? The first step is to find the right journalist to reach out to. And JustReachOut makes this process MUCH easier than doing it manually. Just search for a keyword and the tool will generate a list of journalists that cover that topic. You can also pitch journalists from within the platform.
LinkBird is a keyword research/rank tracking/backlink analysis/link building hybrid tool. Fires off email alerts when it finds a new backlink pointing to your site.
Check My Links on steroids. Like many tools, LinkMiner checks for broken links on a page. But this free Chrome extension also shows you how many links the broken link has pointing to it. Uber helpful for broken link building.
Cool Feature: LinkMiner shows you how many outbound links a page has…on a Google SERP. That way you can zero-in on pages with lots of outbound links (and therefore, broken link building opportunities).
Linkody lets you know you when you get (or lose) a backlink. It also provides info on your new backlinks (like Mozrank and anchor text). Cool Feature: Linkody emails you when a competitor gets a new backlink. That way you can swoop in and try to get the same one for yourself.
Linkstant you an email alert every time you get a new link. Why is this helpful?
Well you can turn that one link into multiple links (and a relationship) with a quick “hey, thanks for linking to me” email. It also helps you identify reputation management issues quickly so you can nip them in the bud before they blow up.
An excellent tool that focuses on cold outreach. Cool Feature: MailShake provides email templates you can use for outreach. They have templates for guest post requests, LinkedIn outreach and more.
Marie Haynes' Disavow Blacklist
Wondering if a link is helping or hurting your SEO efforts? Then upload the URL of the page to Marie Haynes’ blacklist tool. It will let you know if the domain is on Marie’s comprehensive list of spammy websites. If it is, you may want to add it to a disavow file. Helpful.
If you want to get mentions (and backlinks) from sites like The New York Times and Forbes, you need to start rubbing elbows with journalists. And Muck Rack is an impressive PR tool that helps you quickly find journalists that cover your site’s industry.
Cool Feature: The “Journalist Directory” is a hand-curated list of journalists at over 500 media outlets. Includes their latest tweets, columns and up-to-date contact information.
Ninja Outreach is an impressive new blogger outreach tool. Search for influential peeps and reach out to them…all from within the tool. Includes outreach templates.
If you eat, sleep and breathe link building, then Ontolo is a tool I recommend checking out. It’s designed to do one thing: show you lots of link opportunities. Just enter a few keywords, tell Ontolo what types of links you want to get (for example:”links from guest posts”), and Ontolo will hand you a list of opportunities.
OutreachPlus is a new email outreach tool that aims to automate, simplify and track your outreach. Designed for link building, but also has features outbound sales and PR.
PitchBox is an all-in-one link prospecting and outreach tool.
Unlike many outreach platforms that are clunky and confusing, PitchBox is a breeze to use. Just enter a few keywords and the tool scans the web for people to promote to (and automatically grabs their contact info). Then reach out to them and track your results.
Remove’em is a pro-level link removal tool. This comes in hand if you got hit by Google Penguin or a Manual “Unnatural Links” penalty.
Cool Feature: “R-Score” evaluates all of your backlinks to let you know which ones are harmful. This makes sorting through thousands of links 10x easier.
Rmoov is one of the best link removal tools on the market. It comes packed with helpful features (like finding a site owner’s contact info and auto-generated link removal templates).
ScrapeBox is the self-proclaimed “Swiss army knife of SEO”. Even though this tool was built for black hat SEO, you can use ScrapeBox for white hat link building tasks (like link prospecting, finding contact information and even keyword research).
Siege Media Embed Code Generator
My favorite infographic embed code generator. I really like how you can specify the dimensions of the embed code box.
Technical SEO tools
All in One SEO Pack
An alternative to the Yoast SEO plugin.
The All In One SEO Pack has a few unique features that make it different than yoast, like auto-generated description tags, canonical tag support and a “bad bot” blocker.
Bing Webmaster Tools
As you might expect from Bing, Bing Webmaster Tools is good…but not nearly as good as Google Search Console.
But if Bing is important to you, this tool tells you everything you need to know about your site’s visibility in Bing. Cool Feature: Bing has a surprisingly good keyword research tool (see image below). And it can hand you keywords that the GKP will NEVER reveal.
A clean and straightforward site auditing tool. Provides info on site loading speed, HTML errors, and click depth.
Bright Local is an excellent tool that does insanely comprehensive local SEO site audits.
Cool Feature: Find duplicate or incorrect citations that are floating around online. Helpful if you recently changed address or just want to make sure your NAP citations are consistent around the web.
A nifty tool that reveals how a search engines spider sees your site. If you check out the screenshot below you’ll notice that search engine spiders get a very different view of our websites than us humans do.
A bit clunky to use, but Clusteric provides a ton of features like site audits, competitor analysis, search visiblity and more.
Dareboost is a robust website performance testing tool. Not only does the tool size up your site’s loading speed, but it tells you EXACTLY how you can fix issues that are slowing things down.
Deep Crawl lives up to its name. It scans every page on your site and gives you a comprehensive report that lists out you how many H1 tags you have on each page, noindexed pages, broken internal links, broken external links etc. Heck, it even tells you if your Twitter Card descriptions are too long.
EasyRidir makes redirecting traffic between different domains super easy. Just enter the URLs you want to send people from (and to), and the tool gives you DNS info that you can use to manage 100% of the redirects.
Forecheck crawls your site to uncover issues that may be holding you back from Google’s first page. It also color codes its reports so you know which issues to tackle first.
If you’re serious about SEO, you need to use Google Analytics. Enough said.
Cool Feature: Go to “Acquisition” –>”Search Console”–> Landing Pages. This will bring up the pages on your site that get the most impressions and clicks from Google. Look at the CTR field to see your pages that get the best click-through-rate. Finally, apply elements from those title and description tags to pages that get a bad CTR. And watch your organic traffic move on up 🙂
Google Analytics Referrer Spam Killer
When you link your Google Analytics to this free spam killer tool, it will add filters to your account that remove over 100 know spammy referrer websites from your list of referring domains. That way your GA data will be squeaky clean.
Google Mobile-Friendly Test
Google recently started to downrank sites that aren’t mobile friendly.
But how do you know if a page on your site is up to snuff? Just enter the URL into the Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool…and you’ll get a simple “yes/no” answer from Big G.
Google PageSpeed Insights
You know Google uses your site’s loading speed as a ranking factor.
Well Google PageSpeed insights tells you whether or not Google sees your site as lightning-fast or snail-slow. It also hands you actionable suggestions that you (or your web developer) can use to speed things up.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a suite of helpful tools straight from Google. You can see if you have duplicate meta data, how many pages you have indexed, security issues and more.
Cool feature: Go to “Search Traffic”—>”Search Analytics” to get a list of keywords that you currently rank for. Sort by “Position” so that your #1 rankings are at the top. Then scroll down until you find where you rank #10-#25 in Google’s search results. These are pages that you can sometimes push to page 1 with some extra SEO love (for example, pointing a few internal links to that page).
Google XML Sitemaps
A WordPress plugin that creates an SEO-friendly sitemap of your site automatically. However, if you already use the Yoast SEO Plugin, you don’t need this as Yoast does the same exact thing.
Google Page Speed Insights checks your site’s code. GTmetrix actually loads your site.
When I want to judge my site’s real loading speed, I always defer to GTmetrix. It also gives you recommendations for getting your site up to speed (literally).
Want to know if your 301 redirects are set up correctly? Or how about canonical URLs? Or maybe you’re not sure if your robots.txt files are blocking Google from indexing your pages. HeadMasterSEO lets you check these potential issues on huge lists of URLs with ease.
Hreflang Tags Generator Tool
Want to create Hreflang tags with ease? Aleyda’s excellent tool does the job right.
Do evil people steal your content? It’s possible for them to outrank you. To proactively prevent this, Kill Duplicate scans the web for content thieves. Cool tool but needs some UX work (confusing UX and some of the copy is in French).
LinkPatrol is an interesting WordPress plugin that shows you all of your site’s external links.
Cool Feature: If you need to remove or nofollow a bunch of links on your site, LinkPatrol makes it easy. Just choose a domain you want to remove or nofollow, and LinkPatrol will take care of them.
Lipperhey analyzes your site for technical SEO issues and provides a basic SEO content analysis.
Map Broker XML Sitemap Validator
A helpful (free) tool that makes sure you have a valid sitemap. The XML Sitemap Validator also double checks that the links in your sitemap work.
The Microdata Generator makes creating local SEO schema markup a breeze. This is perfect if you’re a local business (or have local SEO clients).
Just enter your basic biz info (like address, phone number, opening hours etc.) and you’re set.
OnCrawl is a solid site auditing tool. Like most others, this software gives you info on HTML issues…but also duplicate content, page depth and site performance.
Open SEO Stats
A nifty Chrome extension that gives you fistfuls of helpful info with the push of a button. You can see a site’s Alexa ranking, indexed pages, page speed, whois, on page SEO…the list goes on and on.
Wondering if your site got dinged by Panda, Penguin or another Google penalty? The outstanding Panguin Tool will help you get to the bottom of it. Just link up Panguin with your Google Analytics and the tool will show if your organic traffic dip happened at the same time as a major Google update.
A fast and free on-page SEO analysis tool. Provides recommendations to patch up any issues your page has.
A pro-level tools suite designed for digital marketing agencies. Raven Tools probably has the best site auditor tool I’ve ever used. And unlike most site audit tools, Raven shows you EXACTLY what you need to do to fix any SEO issues that your site has.
Cool Feature: “Thin content” reveals content that might put you at risk for a Google Panda penalty.
Referral Ghost Spam Removal Tool
Is referral “ghost spam” messing up your Google Analytics data? Well this free tool quickly filters out spam bots by creating a segment in GA that ignores traffic from spammy websites.
Rel Nofollow Checkbox
This WordPress plugin lets you easily set links on your site as “nofollow”.
Screaming Frog SEO Log File Analyser
Most technical SEO tools scan a list of URLs and tell you about errors and opportunities that it found. What makes the new Screaming Frog SEO Log File Analyser different is that it analyzes your log files. That way you can see how search engine bots from Google and Bing interact with your site (and how often). Helpful if you run a huge site with tens of thousands (or millions) of pages.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
Screaming Frog is the first technical SEO tool that I ever used. And it still holds up today. Great for quickly identifying technical issues that’s holding your site back from the first page. Free version works well. But to get really down-and-dirty, you definitely want to splurge for the full paid version.
Search Analytics for Sheets
Ever wish that you could see Google Search Console data from more than 90 days ago? Well you can’t. That is, unless you use the awesome Search Analytics for Sheets addon. Simple add to Google Sheets, authorize with GSC, and you’re good to go.
SEO & Website Analysis (WooRank)
This free Chrome extension gives you important SEO info from within your browser.
Just click a button and the SEO & Website Analysis by WooRank analyzes your page’s basic SEO metrics (like title tags that are too long). But the tool also hooks you up with other helpful info (like whether your site is mobile optimized and how fast it loads).
Yes, you can use this extension for your own site. But in experience this tool is even better for competitor analysis because it shows you the site’s Facebook and Twitter pages, what technology they’re using on their site, and traffic estimates…all from within your browser.
SEO Monitor is a one-stop dashboard for your SEO performance.
Cool Feature: SEO Monitor takes Google Analytic’s data, mashes it together with your rankings, and helps solve the “(not provided)” issue. This is SUPER helpful for discovering keywords that convert well for you. That way you can put more SEO muscle behind those keywords.
SEO Site Checkup
A very easy-to-use SEO audit tool. Also includes backlink analysis data, uptime reports and site speed recommendations. The white label reports for digital marketing agencies look really sharp.
Simple tool for seeing your site from the eyes of a search engine spider.
SEObility is a robust (yet user-friendly) site auditor.
Cool Feature: “Page Levels” reveals pages that are deep down in your site’s architecture (in other words, several clicks away from your homepage). Pages that are lots of clicks from your homepage are sometimes hard to get indexed. So this helpful feature can help you find these pages…and bring these pages closer to your homepage.
SEOmator is an extremely solid SEO audit software suite that gives you boatloads of information on your site’s SEO health.
SERPmetrics answers the question: “Has everybody’s rankings changed…or is it just me?”. Just head over to this tool to see how volatile Google has been over the last 30 days.
Simple Htaccess Redirects & Rewrite Generator
Let’s face it: technical SEO can be a confusing nightmare…especially when it comes to redirects. Fortunately, Aleyda Solis’s tool makes sure your redirects are setup correctly before you roll em’ out.
Site Analyzer a high-quality site audit tool. Yes, $10 for a 100 page scan is a little steep. But the tool hooks you up with a lot of helpful information, especially when it comes to page optimization.
A VERY in-depth site audit tool. If there’s a potential SEO issue with your site (like a broken link or a title tag that’s too long), Site Condor will identify it. Even I was a bit overwhelmed with the issues it found at first. Fortunately, the tool comes packed with a “View Recommendations” button that tells you how to fix any problems that it finds.
Cool Feature: “Site Graph” visualizes your site’s link structure. This is perfect for seeing how authority (aka PageRank) flows through your site.
Siteliner is a lightning-fast technical SEO scanner. It’s especially helpful for identifying duplicate content issues on your site.
Topvisor can be helpful if you’re in charge of technical SEO for several different websites. With a few clicks you can identify issues and opportunites across 10+ different domains. The major downside is that it has a very steep learning curve due to the confusing UI.
Varvy SEO Tool
A clean and easy-to-use site audit tool. You just need to a URL and Varvy spits out a bunch of helpful info in seconds. Specifically, you’ll see your site’s technical SEO issues, social shares, recent Twitter and Facebook mentions, external links and more.
Website Grader by HubSpot
A helpful tool that grades your website based on performance (loading speed), mobile optimization, and on-page SEO.
Website Penalty Indicator
Wondering whether or not you got slapped by a Google Penalty? Well Website Penalty Indicator can give you some much-needed insight. The tool lines up your organic traffic with dates of Google penalties…like “Mobilegeddon” and the Phantom update.
If you do local SEO for clients, you need to have Whitespark in your arsenal. You can easily find hundreds of NAP citations with a few clicks…and reverse engineer your competitor’s citations with ease.
Cool Feature: Offline Tracking turns “how did you hear about us?” into online data you can use to double down on what works. Integrates with Google Analytics.
Top-notch website analysis tool that tells you everything you need to know about your website’s SEO health.
Yoast SEO Plugin
Yoast is the #1 SEO WordPress plugin for one simple reason: it works. It’s also the SEO plugin that we use here at Backlinko.
Cool Feature: “Bulk Editor” lets you edit dozens of pages with a click. Uber helpful if you ever have duplicate content issues on your site.
Zadroweb SEO Auditor
A free SEO auditor that provides a high-level SEO overview of your site.
Keyword Research tools
AdWord & SEO Keyword Permutation Generator
If you’re looking for a way to discover new keywords, try mashing a bunch of words together and see what happens.
(I’m not kidding)
Creating keyword permutations is a classic Adwords tactic that few people in SEO use. And the Dan Zambonini permutation tool is one of the best keyword combo tools that I’ve tried.
Answer The Public
Answer The Public combines Google Autosuggest scraping with a question scraper.
So if you want to know what questions your target audience types into Google, just pop the keyword into Answer The Public and you’ll get a hefty list.
ClearScope helps you easily create optimized content for today’s Hummingbird and RankBrain-powered Google. Type in your target keyword and ClearScope gives you a list of terms that you should include in your content (and how many times you should use those terms).
Overall: super helpful and insanely easy to use.
FAQfox is a question scraper tool. I like how you can choose the websites that FAQfox scrapes. So if there’s a particular site that your target audience hangs out on (for example, Reddit) you can ask the tool to only search that site.
An underrated keyword research tool that comes straight from Google.
Google Correlate is really simple:
It shows you keywords that tend to get searched for together. For example, let’s say you pop “gluten free” into the tool. Google Correlate tells you that people searching for “gluten free” also search for “cheese gluten free” and “flour gluten free”. Very cool.
Google Keyword Planner
The Google Keyword Planner is the only keyword tool that gives you data straight from the horse’s mouth.
Cool feature: The GKP tells you how likely someone searching for that keyword will buy something from you. How? Look at the “competition” and “top of page bid” columns. If the “competition” and “estimated bid” are high, you probably have a keyword that converts well. I put more weight on this than straight-up search volume. After all, who wants a bunch of tire kickers coming to their site?
Google Location Changer (SERPs)
This handy little tool shows you the SERPs for a specific local area (like Boston)…even if you don’t happen to live there. Helpful for sizing up the first page for local SEO campaigns.
I ALWAYS check Google Trends before pulling the trigger on a keyword. Why?
Because I want to know whether or not my keyword is getting more (or less) popular. If you skip this step you risk optimizing your page around a dying keyword.
Cool Feature: Scroll down to the bottom of the page and check out “Queries”. These are related keywords that you can pop into the GKP to see if they’re a good fit.
Gookey positions itself as a “keyword research tool for bloggers”. So it strips out complicated SEO data in favor of a dead simple UI.
A solid, reasonably priced keyword research tool with an excellent question scraper.
Cool Feature: “Divergent” shows you what time of the year certain keywords tend to spike. For example, if you want to see which gift card keywords tend to perk up around Christmas, GrepWords will show it to you. Ditto with Halloween and keywords related to “costumes”.
HitTail does two things very well:
1. It shows you which keywords tend to bring in the most traffic for you (this helps get around the “not provided” problem.
2. Shows you keyword suggestions. I was impressed by their keyword suggestions because they showed me keywords that I didn’t see other tools.
Imforsmb.com's Bulk Keyword Generator
If you do SEO work for local clients (like plumbers and electricians), this tool can help you find local keywords that potential customers search for. For example, if you tell the tool that your client is a plumber in Boston, it will hand you 40-ish keywords that customers might use in Google.
ISpionage is a keyword research tool that’s similar to SEMRush. Yes it has some SEO-focused features. But it’s definitely geared towards PPC peeps.
Cool Feature: “Share of Voice” tells you the potential organic traffic a page gets across Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Jaaxy is an easy-to-use keyword research tool that specializes in spitting out lots of closely-related keywords. Nice tool.
A unique keyword research tool that shows you keyword suggestions as a word cloud. Bigger keywords=more search volume. It also color codes keywords based on Adwords competition (which is a good sign of a keyword’s profitability).
Keyword Revealer is a standard keyword research tool with a cool “Keyword Tree” feature. The keyword treee shows you keyword ideas as a tree. And when you click on a “branch” in the tree, a new set of branches appears. Helpful.
This tool probably gives you more keyword ideas than any other tool on the market. Why? Because it finds keywords from a bunch of different places, like Ebay, Amazon and even Yahoo. In fact, the last seed keyword I put into it (“paleo diet”) generated 15,000 keywords!
The one downside to this tool is that it doesn’t show you how many people search for the keywords that it spits out. So you need to manually upload the keyword list into the GKP to get search volume info.
Keyword Tool & Content Assistant
A solid keyword research tool with the features you’d expect. But what makes it unique is the “Content Assistant”. This feature gives you a massive list of LSI keywords that you can use to beef up your content.
Keyword Tool Dominator
A keyword tool that scrapes autocomplete suggestions from sites like Google, YouTube, Amazon, Bing and Etsy.
One of my favorite new keyword research tools. Why? Because it can bring up terms that you’d be hard-pressed to find with any other tool. Instead of seed keywords, Keyworddit scrapes Reddit for the most common keywords people use in a certain subreddit.
KeywordIn mashes up seed keywords to create hundreds of new keywords. You can pop these terms into the Google Keyword Planner to see if people actually search for them.
A Chrome extension (also available for Firefox) that dynamically inserts keyword research info into the sites you visit most. For example, Keywords Everywhere will insert monthly search volume CPC info into your Google Search Console reports.
A decent keyword research tool. While Keyword Spy is a bit dated (the copy still says “track your rankings in MSN”), it still works OK. The tool works just like SEMRush: enter a domain name into the tool and it will show you a list of keywords that the site ranks for. However, SEMRush is far and away the superior tool.
An excellent keyword research tool that scrapes Google Autocomplete results.
Although Google said they would be “restricting” access to Autocomplete, KeywordTool.io seems to have found a way around it. I just tested the tool and it brought back a bunch of excellent keyword suggestions just like it always does.
Even though Kombinator is designed for Adwords, it’s also great for finding keywords that you can use for organic SEO campaigns. Just pop in a bunch of different keywords and the tool will mash them all together. Then upload them to the GKP to check their search volume. Helpful.
An insanely easy to use alternative to the Google Keyword Planner. Just pop a keyword into it and you get search volume, estimated bid and first page competition data within seconds.
Long Tail Pro
A very easy-to-use keyword research tool. Enter a keyword and get suggestions. Simple and effective.
Cool feature: Only want to see keywords that have a search volume between 1500-2100? How about keywords with an estimated bid of at least $2.50? Long Tail Pro’s filtering feature makes it easy to see ONLY keywords that you actually want.
Power Suggest Pro
Power Suggest Pro is a desktop-based keyword research tool. Enter a keyword and it spits out ideas from a number of different search engines (like Google and Wikipedia). Cool Feature: “Ideas!” give you a list of common terms people use in search engines (like “best X” and “how to fix Y”). Helpful for coming up with new keyword ideas.
SanityCheck makes Google Search Console data MUCH more actionable.
Cool Feature: Striking Distance Keywords shows you keywords that are ranking on the 2nd or 3rd page of Google. This can be a pain to find in the GSC, but this feature reveals the same info with a single click. Nice.
SECockpit is probably most advanced keyword research tool on the market. Yes, you enter a seed keyword and get suggestions like any other tool. But SECockpit can do so much more than list out a list of related keywords.
It can spit out low competition keywords. It can show you keywords that get a minimum CPC in Adwords. It can even show you keywords that have YouTube, Ebay or Amazon results on the first page.
Cool Feature: SECockpit scrapes the “Searches similar to…” from the bottom of Google’s search results. This can often unearth keywords that you’d otherwise miss.
Let’s face it:
Most people enter seed keywords into the Google Keyword Planner that they pluck out of thin air. But with this free SEO tool you can find out what people actually type into search boxes.
How? Just create a scenario and ask people what they would search for in that situation.
For example, I created a scenario “How would you search for a hotel in Paris?”. You can see the results in the screenshot below. You can even export the list as a CSV file.
SEMRush is one of the few SEO tools that I couldn’t live without. Unlike most keyword research tools, SEMRush works by showing you your competitor’s top keywords. So rather than grinding away in the Google Keyword Planner, just pop a competitor URL into SEMRush and you’ll see every single keyword that they rank for. #solidgold
Cool Feature: “Pages” reveal the pages on your competitor’s site that generate the most organic search engine traffic. This feature is insanely helpful for executing step #1 of The Skyscraper Technique.
SEO Book's Free SEO Tools
SEO Book has a set of helpful SEO software tools that focus on technical SEO and keyword research.
I especially like their “Keyword Suggestion” gadget. Super easy to use and gives you all the info you need quickly (like monthly search volume, suggested bid etc.).
This tool just had a major overhaul. SerpStat remains an excellent keyword brainstorming tool. It generates lots of keyword ideas like before. But this updated version now provides helpful data like search volume, competition and more.
Cool Feature: “Search Questions” gives you questions that people tend to ask around your topic. Very cool.
SimilarWeb gives you a bird’s eye view of your competitor’s traffic figures, organic keywords, engagement metrics and more.
Cool Feature: “Similar Sites” show you websites that are closely-related to you or a competitor. Helpful for finding new outreach opportunities.
Soolve is a free tool that pulls autocomplete suggestions from a handful of different sources like Google, YouTube, Amazon, and Wikipedia.
I hadn’t used SpyFu in over 3 years. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that the classic PPC tool has been upgraded with a ton of new SEO-focused features. In fact they’re keyword competition feature was one of the best that I came across.
Cool Feature: “Keyword Kombat” uncover keywords that a few of your competitor’s rank for. If those sites have similar authority to you, then it stands to reason that you can leapfrog all of them with some amazing content and link building.
And yes, that name reminds me of Mortal Kombat too 🙂
StoryBase is a long tail keyword research MACHINE. Just enter a keyword and get hundreds of questions and phrases that people use to describe that topic online. Cool.
Suggestion Keyword Finder
A suprisingly helpful free keyword brainstorming tool. I’m not 100% sure how it works, but it spit out quite a few unique keywords when I tested it.
Make sure to check “Level 3” so that you get access to the largest list of keywords.
TermExplorer provides you with thousands of keyword ideas and thorough organic competition info. Solid tool.
This was the first tool that scraped Google Autocomplete data. And it’s recently been upgraded with LOTS of new features (including keyword suggestions from YouTube, competition, and filtering).
Webtexttool is a hybrid keyword research and content optimization tool. Cool Feature: “Overall” lets you know which keywords have the best ratio of search volume and competition.
Wordstream's Free Keyword Tools
Even though Wordstream’s free keyword tools are made for Adwords, their set of free tools are helpful for uncovering keywords for your SEO campaigns.
Cool Feature: “Keyword Niche Finder” mashes a bunch of keywords together. When I tested this feature I noticed a handful of keywords that weren’t in any of the other keyword research tools I tried.
WordTracker has its own internal index of keywords. Why is this important? Well it means you can come across long tail keywords that the GKP simply won’t show you. WordTracker also provides organic first page competition data.
Cool Feature: “Search for this Keyword” uncovers long tail variations of a given keyword. Repeat until you’ve found the long tail keyword you want.
Wordtracker scout is a very cool (free) Chrome extension that finds keywords within a piece of content.You simply need to head over to an article, click the “W” button and the tool will scan the page for keyword ideas.
Rank Tracking tools
Advanced Web Ranking
A rank tracking and keyword research tool hybrid. AWR takes some of the features of tools like SEMRush and Authority Labs and puts them under one roof. It also rocks a a solid site audit tool.
A kick-butt reporting tool designed for digital marketing agencies. Helps your clients quickly understand what’s going on with SEO and social media. Integrates with Google Analytics, YouTube, Twitter and more.
If you sell products on Amazon, AMZ Tracker is a must-have tool. Tracks your rankings on Amazon.com AND international Amazon websites (like Amazon.de).
Cool Feature: “On Page Analyzer” evaluates your Amazon product page for important Amazon SEO metrics like positive reviews and high-res images.
A reliable and easy-to-use rank tracking tool. The cheapest plan tracks 250 keywords, which is more than enough for most businesses. And for those of you that do Local SEO, Authority Labs tracks Google+ Local results too.
GeoRanker is an advanced local SEO (Google Maps) rank tracking tool. As you know, if you track local keywords (like “Boston tacos”), you can’t use most rank tracking tools. You need to see what people in Boston see. Well GeoRanker does exactly that. Choose your keywords and locations and get a report back that shows you your Google organic and Google local results.
Microsite Masters is a very solid rank tracking tool.
Cool Feature: “Scoreboard” shows you the keywords that had the most movement (positive and negative). Great for zeroing in on pages that might need attention.
NightWatch is an advanced SEO dashboard with a futuruistic UI. At a glance you can see your current rankings, traffic, keyword distribution, and more.
Pro Rank Tracker
Pro Rank Tracker is a quality rank tracking tool with a great user interface. If you’re tracking hundreds (or thousands) of keywords, you can group keywords into categories to keep things organized.
Rank Ranger is a reliable rank tracker that comes bundles with a handful of extra features like on-page audits, keyword research, and competitor analysis. Nice tool.
Rival IQ pits your social media and SEO presence against your competitors. It your chief competitor getting more Twitter mentions than you? Are they ranking for a new keyword? This excellent tool will let you know. Had a lot of fun playing around with this one.
Want to see the search results for Google.co.uk, Google.de or any of the other 150+ international Googles? Look no further than Search Latte. Just enter your keyword, pick an international version of Google, and you’ll see that country’s search results. No proxies or VPNs needed.
SEO Rank Monitor
SEO Rank Monitor tracks your keywords against your competitors. Also does YouTube Rank checking.
SERanking is a quality rank tracking tool that comes bundled with some bonus features like keyword suggestions and site auditing.
SERPFox is a no-fuss rank tracking tool that just works. A great value.
SERPS.com is an enterprise-level rank tracking product with a built-in keyword research tool.
Cool Feature: “Tests” let you test how on page-SEO changes affect your rankings. For example, you can change your title tag, wait a week, and SERPs.com will tell you if that change had an impact.
A very in-depth rank tracking tool. Show you not only where a page ranks, but how rankings have changed over time. Cool Feature: “Volatility” tells you if a given SERP is stable…or tends to shuffle around.
Sistrix is an enterprise-level SEO platform that shows you your site’s rankings, social signals, backlinks, anchor text distribution and more. Unlike many SEO tools with a million features, Sistrix is so easy my mom could use it.
Cool Feature: “Keyword Opportunities” show you a list of keywords that your competitors rank for…but you don’t.
WebCEO is a world-class SEO platform that gives you access to a bunch of quality tools to boost your SEO, from keyword research to technical SEO to rank tracking and even mobile optimization.
Cool Feature: “DIY SEO Guide” gives SEO beginners explicit steps to improve their site’s SEO.
If you’re on a tight budget, Wincher is the one rank tracking tool that you should add to your arsenal. The free version is pretty nice with weekly updates and 7 tracked keywords. But when you upgrade to the $8/month paid plan you get many of the same features as the big boys (like email alerts) for pennies on the dollar.
Wordtail is a nice rank tracking tool that has the features you’d expect from dedicated rank tracking software (like grouping keywords, in-depth reports and competitor tracking).
Content Optimization tools
BuzzSumo went from “new kid on the block” to “must-have tool” in the blink of an eye.
And it’s no wonder. BuzzSumo makes finding winning content (for example, if you want to execute The Skyscraper Technique) a walk in the park.
Cool Feature: “View Sharers” shows you who shared a piece of content on Twitter, which is outreach solid gold bullion. “BuzzSumo Alerts” tells you whenever a keyword or phrase (like a competitor’s brand name) gets mentioned around the web.
Can I Rank
This tool answers the question we’ve all had when evaluating a keyword: “Can I rank?”. CanIRank.com provides a nice breakdown of how your page compares to the first page competition (inducing domain authority, page authority and on-page SEO metrics).
EpicBeat analyzes successful content in your industry and tells you what tends to work well. For example, the software told me that popular content around the topic of “link building” tended to be video or infographic based. And list posts also tended to do well. Pretty cool.
Google SERP Preview Tool
This gives you a preview of how your site will appear in Google’s search results (using Google’s updated title and description length limits).
As you know, adding LSI keywords to your content can boost your rankings. The question is: how do you know which LSI keywords to add? Well this free tool does the job for you. And unlike most “keyword suggestion” tools that give you variations of the keyword you put into it, Keys4Up actually understands that meaning behind the word. For example, look at the screenshot to see the related words the tool found around the keyword “paleo diet”.
LSI Graph is a handy LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keyword generator. Enter a keyword and get a list of terms that you can sprinkle into your content.
Market Muse scans your content and compares it to similar content on the web. If it finds that other people cover topics that you don’t, it tells you about this “content gap”.
For example, let’s say you have a piece of content about low carb dessert recipes. If MarketMuse finds that your competitors use cover topics “Stevia” and “Agave Nector” — but you don’t — it will suggest that you write about these topics in your content.
nTopic is a “content relevancy” tool. In other words, it scans your content and gives you suggestions to make your post more SEO-friendly. Comes with a WordPress plugin that’s helpful for quickly analyzing and updating your content to boost its on-page SEO.
A rank tracking tool that also does page-by-page SEO analysis.
A top-notch technical and on-page SEO tool built with German engineering.
Cool feature: My favorite feature of Ryte is their TD*IDF analysis. TD*IDF identifies keywords that pages ranking for your target keyword tend to use. These terms are excellent LSI keywords that you can sprinkle into your content to bump up your on-page SEO.
Let’s face it: adding Schema markup to your site can be a confusing pain in the butt. This tool helps you ensure that your Schema is setup correctly from the get-go.
SEO Plugin By Squirrly
Ever write a post and wonder: “Is this post SEO friendly enough?”. Then you should give Squirrly a shot. It’s a WordPress plugin that automatically analyzes your content for SEO and human readability.
Cool Feature: Squirrly comes packed with a nice keyword research tool that works within the WordPress editor. In addition to the usual metrics (like search volume), it also shows you if that keyword is a hot topic of conversion online. The tool also shows you the stability of that keyword’s search volume over time.
If you want a quick-and-dirty look at your content’s on-page SEO, give SEOptimer a try.
This free tool quickly analyzes your page and lets you know if there are any issues (like missing image alt text and broken links) that might be holding you back from page 1.
A worthwhile site audit tool that also does keyword research and on page SEO/content analysis.
Structured Data Markup Helper
Let’s face it: implementing structured data markup correctly ain’t easy. So why not let Google’s tool lend a hand? Google’s free tool helps you build proper schema markup quickly and without any fuss.
Text Tools is an advanced LSI keyword tool. It scans the top 10 results for a given keyword and shows you which terms they tend to use. If you sprinkle these same terms into your content, it can boost your content’s relevancy in the eyes of Google. You can also compare your content to the top 10 to uncover LSI keywords that your content might be missing.
TrendSpottr shows you content that’s trending on Twitter. So if you want to do some newsjacking or get your hands a hot topic, this tool can help you do it.
Upcity is one part SEO tool and one part online marketing course.
This means that instead of getting a list of fancy charts and error messages, the tool tells you how to get on the right track. This is perfect for small business owners that do DIY SEO.
Cool Feature: “Curriculum” walks you through the basic steps you need to have an SEO-friendly website in 2015. Tailored to local businesses and people new to digital marketing. You get checklists and video game-style points for completing the important tasks (like creating a Facebook page or setting up an editorial calendar).
YoRocket optimizes your title and description tags to boost your organic CTR. I originally developed YoRocket for internal use at Backlinko. And it worked so well that I decided to release it to the public.
Cool Feature: “Title Tag Testing” allows you to test two titles against one another…and use the one that brings you the most traffic.
Backlink analysis tools
The best link analysis tool on the market…by a mile.
Ahrefs has a massive index (over a trillion links) that’s updated at least once a day. It’s also super duper simply to use. Because of its excellent user interface and index, Ahrefs is one of the few SEO tools that I use every day.
An SEO tools suite that focuses on link analysis. Also has a helpful “Unnatural Link Detection” feature that identifies risky backlinks that might have caused a penalty (or can cause a penalty down the road). Solid tool.
Kerboo is an SEO tools suite for search engine marketing pros. Includes backlink analysis, link prospecting, on-site SEO audits and rank tracking. Cool Feature: “LinkRisk” analyzes your link profile and identifies spammy/dangerous backlinks.
Link Research Tools
A solid link analysis tool with some link building features built into it (like link prospecting and outreach).
But LRT’s cool feature is its “Link Detox” tool. This tool automatically scans your backlinks and shows you which links put you at risk of a Google penalty (or links that already caused a penalty). In other words, it makes identifying spammy links super easy. When I ran a test of Link Detox it was almost 100% accurate at differentiating between good and bad links.
With a huge, updated index Majestic is one of the top link analysis tools on the market. The tool also has a few helpful propriety metrics like “TrustFlow” and “CitationFLow” that tell you whether or not that site you want to get a link from is authoritative or spammy.
Cool Feature: “Clique Hunter” shows you sites that tend to link to your competitors (but not you). Just pop in a few sites and Majestic shows you the various “cliques” that they belong to. This is a great way to new discover link building opportunities.
A comprehensive SEO platform that gives you info on newly acquired backlinks, keyword rankings and site speed. It even sends you alerts whenever one of your competitors gets a new link. I especially love the dashboard because its clean and gives you ONLY the essential info you need.
Moz Pro is a software suite that contains quality tools for link analysis (Open Site Explorer), on-page optimization, and keyword research.
Cool Feature: Moz’s Keyword Explorer is one of the best keyword research tools on the market. Why? It provides super-helpful info on SERP features that appear in the search results for a given keyword (like the number of Adwords ads, Google News results, and more).
Nifty toolbar for Chrome and Firefox that shows you the Page Authority and Domain Authority of the page you’re on.
But the toolbar also shows you the DA/PA of Google search results (this feature only works for Moz Pro subscribers). This is an awesome way to size up the first page competition.
Open Link Profiler
A solid link analysis and reverse engineering tool.
Yes, Open Link Profiler’s index isn’t as massive as the big tools (like Ahrefs and Majestic). But its paid version has some cool features (like on-page analysis and site audits) that can make the monthly payment worthwhile. Also, the free version is the best free backlink analysis tool I’ve ever used. So if you’re balling on a budget and want to see your competitor’s backlinks for free, give OpenLinkProfiler a shot.
Cool Feature: “Hub Finder” is very similar to Majestic’s “Clique Hunter”. Enter a few competitors into the tool and see who links to them (but not you).
A suite of quality desktop-based SEO tools that include a rank checker, backlink analysis tool, site auditor, and keyword research tool.
SEO Tools for Excel
The best “SEO tool for excel” that I’ve used so far. Easily check a site’s backlinks (via ahrefs or Majestic API), social shares, HTTP status, word count, external links and more. All from within Excel.
SEO Weather's Bulk Metrics Checker
How’d you like to see the PA and DA for a big ol’ list of URLs? Pop the list into the Bulk Metrics Checker, hit “go fetch” and you’ll get a handy list.
SEOGadget for Excel
If you want to pull data from Moz and Majestic into an Excel spreadsheet, the SEOGadget for Excel tool makes it easy.
ShareMetric gives you a lightning-fast screenshot of an page’s social shares, links and Google keyword rankings. Especially helpful if you want to see what keyword a page ranks for in seconds. You’ll need an SEMRush or Moz API to get backlink and keyword info. Nice tool.
If you want to check info on a huge list of URLs (like Domain Authority, number of backlinks, whois information, social shares and readability), URL Profiler is the best tool on the market to get the job done.
WebMeUp Backlink Tool
WebMeUp is a quality link analysis tool with a HUGE index of “897,704,758,673” backlinks. I’d love to see the tool use some sort of authority metric (like Ahref’s Domain Rank). Otherwise it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff in your link profile.
Video SEO tools
Morningfame gives you insanely actionable insights on your YouTube channel.
Cool Feature: “Growth Opportunities” tells you which videos performed best… and which videos bombed. That way, you can double down on what’s working.
A great way to spy on your YouTube competitors. You can see a channel’s monthly views, subscribers and earnings…all on one screen.
A kick butt tool for getting the most out of your YouTube channel.
Cool Feature: Brand Alerts lets you know where people are talking about you on YouTube. Most other “brand monitoring” tools ignore YouTube. So this feature fills in that gap.
VidIQ is a professional video SEO software suite. Includes tools for video keyword research, analytics, and video optimization.
Cool Feature: “Boost”. You can Boost a video to get awesome keyword suggestions for your video’s title, description and tags.
WordLift helps you identify entities that you’re writing about… and make those entities clear for search engines. A bit tricky to use, but I see some potential here.
YTCockpit is one of the few tools out there dedicated exclusively to video keyword research. And it does a nice job. Along with keyword suggestions, you also get a slew of data on the videos ranking on YouTube’s first page (including HD vs. SD, number of subscribers and average views).
So…What Do You Think?
Now I want to hear from you.
What do you think of this list?
Or maybe I missed one of your favorite tools.
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below.