Top 10 SEO Tools the Pros Use

Stop wasting time looking at fake page rank tools...

There’s a lot of SEO tools out there to help you optimize your website. Some of them do one specific thing very well, while others “do-it-all”. 

Regardless of the industry, you’re in, you must ask yourself if the SEO tools you’re using to build or measure your success online are really working for you.

Having been in this industry for as long as I have, I’ve learned to tune out a lot of the noise that’s in the SEO industry. That said, this toolset is going to lean towards tools used by the team here at Red Zone SEO more than what you may find as “top players” in the industry. 

Sorry Rand, Sorry Neil, Sorry Bruce. None of their tools are on this list. 

 

There are 3 main groups of SEO Tools we’ll be reviewing here:

  1. Keyword Research Tool
  2. Website Optimization Tools
  3. Analytics & Reporting Tools

Before you ask, yes. Yes, there are other tools out there for various tasks such as content creation, social media management, and marketing, CRM software, call tracking tools, paid search tools, email platforms…etc. Also, yes. Yes, there are many other tools on the market that are available.

Maybe we’ll do another post on those later, but this post is specifically about SEO tools we use regularly. 

 

Keyword Research Tools

  • Keywords Everywhere   This is a great tool that works via a Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox plugin. Once installed and setup, you will have the ability to retrieve keyword data on the fly. Up until recently (Oct 2019), this was a free tool that turbo-charged our ability to speak with new and existing clients on the fly about which keywords have volume and substantial PPC activity.
  • SEMRush  Without a doubt, if you’ve worked with our team on a campaign, you’ve heard us talk about SEMRush. While this company offers several services, our primary use with SEMRush is to determine what keywords a domain is currently on Google’s radar for. By radar, we mean the top 100 positions for a given keyword/phrase. As the saying goes, this tool helps us identify the low hanging fruit, which will help pave a path to more keywords hitting that radar once the ranking of the current page solidifies their rankings at the top. 
  • Google AdWords Keyword Planner   This is the best source for keyword data, as it’s literally from the horse’s mouth. There are several ways to go about using this tool. The best use in our opinion, anyway, is to create a list of keywords before pulling this up. Once you have your list of keywords, you can enter them here to get search volume and CPC data, as well as more keyword ideas. 

Website Optimization Tools

 

  • WooRank   When it comes to figuring out what to do next, the first report we run is WooRank.

Instead of wasting hours going through multiple sites to gather information to compile then analyze, WooRank does all that for you, with the click of a button. Reports are based on the domain and home page, but you can also scan inner pages as needed. Primarily, we’ll use this for the home page and then work with other tools, listed below, to dig deeper into a site. 

Here’s a shortlist of stones this tool turns over for you

  • Basic on-site Optimization Checks (Title Tag, Meta Description, Headings, Alt Tags…etc.)
  • Potential Indexing Issues (URL Resolve, Robots.txt, XML Sitemap, Broken Links…etc.)
  • Mobile Friendliness (Tap Target Sizes, Font Size Legibility, Mobile Viewport…etc.)
  • Structured Data (Checks for microformats, Schema.org & OpenGraph items/tags.)
  • Security & Performance (SSL, Asset minification, compression & Cacheability)
  • Technologies (Grabs Server IP & lists technologies used on the website)
  • Branding (Domain Length, Favicon & Custom 404-page check)
  • Domain (domain registration & expiration length and related available domains)
  • Off-Page (Checks for Backlinks, Traffic Estimate, Local Directories, Social Profiles)
  • Screaming Frog SEO Spider   It’s rare, but at times we’ll work through all the issues WooRank detects only to find a domain is still struggling to perform better on search engines. That’s where Screaming Frog comes in. If you’ve heard of this tool, you probably know how powerful it is. In most cases, we’ll never have to use this tool to its full potential. However, there are some really important issues this tool can help you identify. The big difference here from WooRank is this SEO tool will crawl your whole website vs. 1 page at a time. The other big difference is it runs on your local device vs. on a website or “in the cloud”. There’s simply too many things this tool checks for to fit into this post. We highly recommend checking out their website for more information. 
  • Google Search Console    This list wouldn’t be complete without Search Console. Like Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner, this is data straight from the horse’s mouth. More importantly, this SEO tool gives you the best representation of Google’s “opinion” of your website. 
  1. See how your site is performing on Google’s organic search results
  2. Identify Coverage issues that need attention
  3. Manage your XML Sitemap
  4. Manage Enhancements like Logos, Products, Breadcrumbs & Structured Data
  5. Identify manual actions or security issues3
  • RankMath   Formerly: Yoast–For WordPress websites, this is your checklist for every page and so much more.

Like above, this list wouldn’t be complete without this tool. 

RankMath Yoast provides a comprehensive solution that helps website owners produce XML Sitemaps and manage/analyze the overall SEO score for each page of a WP website.

UPDATE: RankMath is much better than Yoast in our experience. Faster, Cleaner code, less controversial/more valuable lateral moves. 

Analytics & Reporting Tools

 

  • AHREFS   This is one of the original SEO tools. 
    While they have developed more offerings, we use this service primarily to check on what a domains’ backlink profile looks like.
  1. ·Identify trends for links pointing to a domain.
  2. ·Identify which domains/pages are linking to a site.
  3. ·Determine whether or not links are being built/maintained by vendors.
  4. ·Determine the quality of the links pointing to your site.
  • RankRanger   When it comes to tracking rankings for specific keywords, from specific locations, nobody does it better than Rank Ranger. When you set up projects, you are given a broad choice of TLD’s to track along with the ability to include your competitors in the reports. While we run our own reports in our platform, this is a great SEO tool to accurately track your rankings across most of Google, Yahoo, Bing, and several other sites. Similar to Screaming Frog SEO Spider, this tool offers so many features it would be an injustice to try listing them here. Definitely check out their website for more information.
  • Google Analytics   You know what’s coming. You know we’re just going to talk about that horse again. While there’s no direct SEO benefit from having Analytics installed, it does put you in a better position to understand what’s going on with the traffic going to your website. I’d imagine many webmasters would argue this should be higher up on the list, and they’re probably right. Considering this tool does nothing until it’s installed and even then, you have to wait for some data to come in before it’s useful, getting this setup sooner than later is very important. While there are other tools out there to track traffic to your website, Google Analytics is free. Even if you are using another service to track your traffic, there’s no reason not to also use Google Analytics to track and analyze traffic sources, behavior, goals, and paths taken through your website.

Well there you have it. 

Those are the top 10 SEO tools we use, in most cases, every day of the week. 

Like I said at the beginning of this post, we don’t use MOZ or Neil Patel or Bruce Clay’s software. We don't need to. 

At the end of the day, they're just fancy versions of the tools we just listed.

More often than not, "All-in-One" tools tend to create more busy work without correcting critical basic issues first and foremost. Regardless of the tools you're using, it's always a good idea to get a second opinion from an expert in the field. 

We're here to help you optimize your search engine optimization processes. Call us any time.

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