Discuss SEO research and different ideas come to mind.
Maybe you think SEO research is just for those who are incredibly gifted with analysis.
Or maybe you shrug off SEO research because you feel it isn’t a necessary part of doing business online.
Whatever comes to mind, whether or not you’ve done search engine optimization research in the past, we can (or should) all agree: It’s a critical part of making the right SEO decisions for your website.
Most consumers use the internet as their primary source of information, shopping and social interaction.
It’s also important, however, to pick the right tools.
And because it’s so important to choose the right tools and have the right understanding of several tools, we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 tools to help you get ahead in your SEO efforts.
But before we dive into the list, let’s look at some things I think you should look for in an SEO research tool.
What to Look for in SEO Research Tools
There are three basic qualities to seek out in any SEO research tool before you even consider investing.
Usability & Versatility
First, it needs to be usable and versatile.
This one is fairly obvious. If the tool is hard to use, you probably won’t get that much out of it anyway.
If it only covers one tiny area of SEO research, you might have to get three or four more tools just to cover your basics.
Second, you need to enjoy using it.
Fitting your SEO research tool to your personal style is very important because it needs to be easy to come back to.
If you dread opening the tool, you won’t keep on top of it as much as you otherwise would.
This is why I always recommend that you try the free trials for multiple tools before choosing a few to land on permanently.
Finally, it needs to provide beneficial, valuable information.
I wish I could say all SEO research tools offer good, reliable information, but this simply isn’t the case.
The information on some sites is far more extensive than others. Therefore, you should also research exactly where tools gather information before you trust it with your SEO success.
10 SEO Research Tools to Effortlessly Get Ahead of the Competitive Curve
This is by no means an exhaustive list of decent SEO research tools. However, these 10 tools are simply some of the best tested.
I’m confident they’ll help you as you try to do effective SEO research.
Monitor Backlinks focuses on the creation of backlinks, while also monitoring your competitors. It’s a thorough tool that grants users the ability to launch successful backlink campaigns.
As you launch backlink campaigns, Monitor Backlinks provides tools to track what types of backlinks are created, whether they’re “follow” or “no-follow” links, where they originate and how they affect traffic.
Also, you have access to detailed graphs and custom reports to show the various aspects of your progress.
The information provided by Monitor Backlinks is thorough and helpful without being overwhelming. The dashboard and other pages are laid out and easy to use, which is a huge help to those learning about SEO or backlinks.
Monitor Backlinks also comes at a fair price, which is incredibly helpful because a backlinks tool is a must-have for any website owner.
The smallest plan is only $25 a month and allows you to monitor one domain and two competitors.
The recommended plan is $90 a month and gives you four domains and four competitors of coverage.
Monitor Backlinks also offers a free trial, so give it a whirl!
Moz is one of the most famous SEO tools currently available because it has one of the most massive online databases of keyword usage, which gives both current and historical data.
While Moz is a diverse tool with valuable information in every corner of SEO research, it shines in its keyword research.
Using Moz to research keywords is beneficial in two ways:
First, you can discover new keywords with lower competition, making it easier to break into.
Second, you can also monitor your competitors’ keyword efforts and analyze the precise keywords that bring them the most traffic.
Ultimately, keywords are one of the quickest ways to get found. Using Moz is an excellent way to find new keywords to boost your search engine presence and get you discovered frequently.
Moz’s basic plan is $99/mo and provides five campaigns, 300 keyword rankings and 100,000 crawled pages a week.
All plans include 24-hour support, multiple search engine support, a 1-on-1 walkthrough and more.
For larger companies or more intense analysis, there are advanced plans at higher costs which cover more campaigns, crawl more pages and offer additional support.
SEMrush is another fantastic tool that provides great information about SEO to help you improve web traffic.
The most fundamental feature SEMrush offers is a technical SEO audit of your site. This means you’ll be given actionable steps to improve and optimize the actual website for search engine discovery.
But what happens when your website is fully optimized and you still don’t rank?
SEMrush also offers a full suite of tools to help monitor and analyze your performance after you complete your technical audit. This suite includes keyword research tools, rank tracking tools and backlinks analytics to help you understand and create backlinks.
Similar to other tools, SEMrush helps you locate keywords that both add value and avoid competition. This helps your PPC perform better and gives your website an edge on search engine results pages.
The basic plan on SEMrush costs $99/mo and is ideal for freelancers or small businesses that are just starting up. This plan includes 28 tools for optimizing your search engine results, PPC and other aspects of your website and competitor analysis.
Additional advanced plans are available for larger companies, the smallest of which starts at $199/mo and includes the features of the basic plan plus branded reports, historical data and higher limits.
Ahrefs is, at its core, a competitor research tool. But it also gives you great resources in other areas of SEO.
They provide incredibly in-depth keyword and search engine results analysis for your competitors, showing exactly how they outrank you. Included with this is an analysis of how those keywords affect their traffic (and which strategies most improve their results).
You can also compare your performance in the same areas against theirs to start to understand exactly how to close the gap.
In addition to excellent competitor analysis tools, Ahrefs also provides great tools to research keywords, create backlinks, generate great content and more aspects of SEO. I think this ultimately makes it such a good tool—it takes the idea of competitor research it does so well and applies it to minor areas of SEO.
The basic plan with Ahrefs starts at $99/mo and is enough to help any small business increase its traffic.
If you own a larger business or work for a larger marketing agency, there are advanced plans to accommodate five or more users and generate enormous amounts of reports and crawl tons of web pages.
Mondovo is a rare combination of usability and complexity, which makes it a real SEO research powerhouse.
It has great in-depth tools in almost every area of SEO, including tools for link research, rank tracking, site audits and an on-page analysis.
Mondovo’s link research system is also very thorough and valuable for any business owner. Link research with Mondovo is simple and easy because you’re given the important details about all of your links.
This includes information like source page, link type and status and anchor text.
No SEO tool is complete without a reliable way to track your rank and progress. Mondovo is no exception.
Using their rank tracker tool, you can compare your rank with up to 10 competitors on any specific keyword you want—a great way to monitor progress and assess your future needs.
The site audits and on-page analysis tools are excellent for the base level of SEO, which ensures your website is optimized at the technical level.
With these tools, you can analyze any website needs to make it lighter and faster, then take the necessary steps to fix them.
Site audits reveal your site’s needs on a micro level and the on-page analysis tool helps optimize larger aspects of your website like images, text and more.
Mondovo is only $20/mo for the most basic account, but advanced accounts allow for bigger companies to take advantage of Mondovo’s services.
The basic account offers support for one user, two campaigns and $20 of reporting credits, which is used to generate the reports you need on Mondovo’s system.
Majestic is another popular SEO program that helps users research backlinks.
Majestic’s easy-to-use interface and in-depth database provide an edge on your competitors. You can track and manage backlinks campaigns to create an online presence and boost your traffic.
Using Majestic gives access to the world’s largest backlink database and helps you understand exactly how competitors generate their backlinks—and how you should respond.
There are also many other useful features on Majestic, such as the site explorer that reveals in-depth information—backlinks, traffic, SEO ranking and more—about any site on the web.
The value of revealing backlink and competitor research cannot be overstated. It’s essential for everyone involved in SEO to understand their backlinks and those of their competitors.
Majestic starts at $49/mo for the basic plan, but, as with the others, has variable pricing and can be changed at any time to fit your needs and the needs of your company.
SpyFu is the closest you can get on the internet to feeling like a spy, which is fun, to say the least.
The reason it’s so much fun to use is in its simplicity. Input your competitor’s URL and access crucial information about them—that’s it.
What kind of information? Their keywords, how much traffic they get, how much they spend on PPC, how well they rank and their biggest competitors.
Anyone who’s spent much time around SEO and online marketing knows this is a big deal. When you fully understand your competitor’s strategy, you’re perfectly poised to beat them.
That’s what SpyFu does for you. It gives you the keys to unlock your competitor’s vault and allows you to look inside. With that information, you can learn to beat them.
SpyFu starts at only $33/mo (when you opt for the yearly plan).
As always, there are more expensive options for larger companies, but even the minimal plan gets access to all SpyFu data. The only difference between the plans? The number of leads, number of tracked keywords, etc.
While it’s kinda’ ironic Google offers a service to improve your rank in, well… itself, that doesn’t mean the tool itself is bad. It’s actually very helpful and a go-to for many web professionals.
Google Search Console, previously called Google Webmaster Tools, is a suite of tools to help you understand your website.
While the information is simpler and mostly concerned with your website (rather than your competitors), the tool is still invaluable. It helps you optimize your site, identify your traffic and understand where it originates.
One of Search Console’s most valuable tools offers the ability to check your website’s code. This code can locate problems such as duplicate meta descriptions, missing title tags and lengthy/short titles or meta descriptions.
Optimizing your website’s aspects is the initial step to ranking high on search engine results page.
The search analytics function shows you click counts and how many visitors have seen your website, information that’s also easily customizable.
This data includes queries, pages, countries, devices, search type, search appearance and dates.
Using this data is useful in understanding your web traffic and understanding how to optimize it.
For instance, if you know what queries drive people to your website, you can focus on that material to create even more traffic.
The best part about Google Search Console is that it’s free. This tool is perfect for the beginner who isn’t ready to invest money in SEO. However, it has something to offer everyone, which is why it’s generally popular amongst web professionals.
Serpstat is a very well-known, all-in-one SEO platform. This is due to the wide range of tools offered and the easy-to-use formatting of the website.
One of my favorite parts about this tool is the well-organized dashboard, which makes it simple to view the most important information in each category without scrolling or clicking around too much. This is very valuable to me and something I highly recommend.
Some of the data Serpstat gives users is details like visibility, search engine traffic, organic keywords, PPC usage, competitors and a backlinks overview.
Each subcategories’ dashboard is just as organized and helpful as the overview page. The data given is not only helpful but easy to understand, which makes this tool so useful for anyone looking to improve their online presence.
The smallest plan with Serpstat is only $19/mo, but they offer advanced plans for anyone who needs more than the allotted 300 queries per day.
KWfinder is another great keyword tool, but with quite a different approach than the previously mentioned.
What makes KWfinder fun and unique is its simplistic (but still very thorough) approach to keywords. It essentially has one goal—to help you break into new keywords that don’t have much competition.
How do they do this? They provide you with lists of longtail keywords, detailed with information about their difficulty, search volume and value.
This given information is not only extremely detailed, but also well-organized and useful. Their difficulty ranking system is very helpful for quickly scanning the list to narrow down the possibilities.
Another interesting and useful feature of KWfinder is the questions function, which creates a list of results that users type as questions that include your keyword.
Google searches are commonly phrased as questions, so this sheds light on your target audience’s interests as well as identify high-value keywords.
KWfinder is definitely a must-have for those interested in finding new keywords and improving your search engine rankings. (Hint: That’s everyone reading this.)
As a feature of Mangools, you can purchase KWfinder premium through Mangools for $29.90/mo and receive 100 keyword searches per 24 hours with 200 keyword suggestions per search.
As always, larger options allow up to 1,200 keyword searches per 24 hours. An added bonus at this price is access to other Mangools tools like SERP analysis and rank tracking.
In this article are some excellent tools. Maybe you saw a few out of these 10 tools that are valuable for you.
My point is, you have multiple options here. And the only way to decide is to take them for a test drive.
If you still aren’t sure which tools you want to use, scan the list and sign up for free trials. Get to know each of them and how they might fit into your business model.
What’s important to remember is that no single tool will have everything you need. You’ll need to use multiple SEO tools to cover all your bases to get the most out of your efforts.
Hopefully, you’ve found the information here helpful. Now get out there and use it.
Yassir Sahnoun is a content strategist, writer and co-founder of WriteWorldwide. He helps SaaS businesses with content strategy and SEO. You can learn more about Yassir at YassirSahnoun.com.