To be successful with search engine optimization (SEO), you must use the right tools.
It’s simply impossible to conduct keyword research, analyze competitors, track rankings, track traffic and conversion trends, identify technical problems, and implement effective content marketing without the proper tools.
Yet with so many tools on the market, how do you know which to choose?
Here is a roundup of the top 13 SEO tools for small businesses.
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a powerful and completely free website analytics tool. Once installed properly on your website, you’ll be able to report on which marketing tactics drive the most traffic, which marketing tactics drive the most leads and sales conversions, how visitors use your site, which content they prefer, and so much more.
2. Google Search Console
Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) is Google’s free SEO tool. Once you set up your account, you’ll get alerts if Google finds errors on your website and you’ll be able to view key stats like keyword rankings, number of clicks per keyword, number of times your website showed up in the search results per keyword, and your click through rate when your website showed up in the search results.
Plus, you can link Search Console to Analytics to unlock even more reporting tools in your Analytics account. For example, once you’ve linked these two tools, then in Analytics you’ll be able to review keyword rankings, click through rates, impressions, and the landing pages that are ranking in Google.
3. Google My Business
Back in 2o11, Google launched their ill-fated social network, Google+. The platform never really took off but Google did endow it with one very important feature: preferential SEO treatment. Businesses or individuals with Google+ accounts were much more likely to appear at the top of rankings or on a side suggesting bar. Then, in 2014 Google formalized the practice and gave us Google My Business.
Every single local business should have a well-maintained profile Google My Business profile. Not only does it help your business to rank higher, it provides easy contact information, location information integrated with Google Maps, and testimonials from Google as well as other listing sites. In short, it’s a free and indispensable tool for every local business.
4. Rank Ranger
Rank Ranger is a robust, all-around SEO analysis tool. But before you get lost in the data, focus on what Rank Ranger does best: tracking your keyword rankings. You’ll be able to track your website’s organic rankings over time in the major search engines, plus your local rankings in the “map” results. This will help you identify trends up or down in your rankings so you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
5. Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog is another SEO tool with lots of bells and whistles. What sets it apart is the free SEO Spider tool that you can use to quickly conduct a technical SEO audit of your website. After downloading the tool, all you need to do to get started is type in your website’s domain name, and click the box to Crawl All Subdomains.
In just a couple of minutes, you will see a detailed audit of all of your webpages. From meta tags to error status codes, you can spot problems without taking the time to manually audit each and every one of your website’s pages.
6. Moz Local
One of the biggest factors in your local “map” rankings is citations. A citation is simply a mention of your name, address, and phone number (NAP) on another website online. The most common citations are business directories like Yelp, Bing Local, and even Facebook business pages.
Moz Local is one of the best tools available to quickly audit your citations. You’ll see if your information is consistent across all directories, if you’re missing any important directories, and if you have duplicate listings that could be dragging down your rankings.
OK, this one isn’t exactly a tool, it’s a formula that is available in Google Spreadsheets. If you’re comfortable with spreadsheets, but you’re not familiar with ImportXML, then you’re going to love this!
Although it can be used to pull any type of data into a Google sheet, from sources as diverse as XML, HTML, CSV, TSV, and RSS feeds, it is particularly useful for businesses trying to organize SEO webpage data. For example, you can pull the current title tag, meta description, and even headers of a webpage into a single sheet, so you can review and document edits. Here’s a quick primer on using ImportXML for SEO.
This is a huge time saver!
As mentioned above, citations are important for ranking high in Google’s local “map” results. But how do you find citations?
That’s where WhiteSpark comes in…
WhiteSpark is a tool to find citations relevant for your particular business. Plus, they provide the option to pay them to set up the citations to save you time.
BrightLocal is yet another citation building tool that is similar to WhiteSpark. In our experience, these tools will uncover different citation opportunities so using both can ensure you get the most exposure. Plus, BrightLocal has the same option to pay them to create the citations for you.
Understanding and effectively using backlinks is critical for SEO, and Ahrefs gives you a full suite of backlink tools.
Use Ahrefs first to analyze your own site and make sure your backlinks are from legitimate websites. If you find that many of your backlinks are from spammy sites, then Google may penalize your website and it’s going to be difficult to obtain high rankings until you remove or disavow those backlinks.
Next, use Ahrefs to analyze your competitors to see where they are getting their backlinks. This is invaluable information you can use to steer your SEO strategy.
11. Moz Open Site Explorer
Moz Open Site Explorer is yet another backlink tool. Unfortunately, no tool is 100% accurate when it comes to finding all of your backlinks or the backlinks of your competitors. That’s why we recommend using multiple tools to get the full picture.
12. Raven Tools
Raven Tools enables you to create automated marketing reports for SEO, PPC, and Social Media. The reports pull data from the most common tracking tools – Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Google Search Console, Facebook, and Twitter.
You can schedule these reports to be sent out weekly, monthly, or quarterly, which can help to save you and your team time and money.
13. SEO Quake
SEO Quake is an all-in-one SEO toolbox that comes in the form of a browser plugin. Essentially, it’s a very handy quick reference tool for evaluating both your own site as well as the competition. Quick and easy SEO metrics for individual pages or a full SEO Audit function which instantly evaluates the quality of a site’s on-page and off-page SEO.