17 Best SEO Tools that SEO Experts Actually Use in 2018

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 store’s needs.

Best Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools

  1. Ahrefs: SEO Keyword Tool

    Ahref - 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 Ahref’s Site Audit feature as it’s the best SEO analysis tool around. The tool highlights what parts of your website require improvements to help ensure your best ranking. 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.

    Syed Irfan AjmalSyed 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. That would be the Domain Comparison tool. We add our site and those of 4 of our competitors to it. This helps to find sites which have backlinked to our competitors but not us. This helps us find great link opportunities. But this wouldn’t have been so great 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

    Google Search Console: Top SEO ToolOffered for free to everyone with a website, Search Console by Google lets you monitor and report on your website’s presence in Google SERP. All you need to do is verify your website by adding some 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.

  3. SEMRush: Marketing SEO Tools

    SEMRush - Marketing SEO Tools

    Marketing SEO tools like SEMRush tend to be fan favorites in the SEO community. Experts love that you can easily assess your rankings and changes to them as well as new ranking opportunities. One of the most popular features of this SEO tool is the Domain Vs Domain analysis allowing you to easily compare your website to your competitors. If you’re looking for analytics reports that 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 as well as find some recommendations on how to improve your website’s performance.

    Liraz Postan - SEO ExpertsLiraz Postan, a 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 keywords related, social shares and word count- lets you a quick overview of what’s working and where to optimize. I generally use SEMrush on my daily work, love this tool, as well as 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

    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 PerryGeorge Perry, an SEM Specialist at Bandwidth raves about SEO keyword tool 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 those compare (volume, CPC, difficulty, etc) to the term I originally looked at. I’ve been able to help them 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: SEO Software

    Moz - SEO SoftwareSEO Software Moz kept popping up as one of the best SEO tools that experts actually use. Some raved about how Moz was always up to date despite Google’s regular algorithm changes. Others raved about their chat portal because it allowed them to always 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 for free that allows you to see your store’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 LindenmuthKeri Lindenmuth’s, a Marketing Manager at Kyle David Group, go-to SEO tool is none other than Moz. She says, “My favorite feature of the tool is its ‘page optimization feature.’ It tells you exactly what steps you can make 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 are performing 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: Keyword Tracking Tool

    Ubersuggest, developed by Neil Patel, is a keyword finder tool that helps you identify keywords and also the search intent behind them by sho.wing the top ranking SERPs for them. From 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 they include in their report are keyword volume, competition, CPC, and seasonal trends. Great for both organic, SEO and paid, PPC teams this tool can help determine if a keyword is worth targeting and how competitive it is.

  7. Answer The Public: Free SEO Tools

    Answer The Public - Free SEO ToolsFree SEO tools like Answer The Public allow you to easily find topics to write about for your ecommerce 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 for 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’ve only taken you five minutes of effort making it one of the most efficient ways to come up with SEO topics for new websites.

    Matt JacksonMatt 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

    SpyFu - Free SEO ToolsWhile SpyFu does have an amazing premium version, many of our experts raved about their 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 difficulty to rank for that keyword. You can also do some research on your competitors to determine which keywords they use. 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 ads they created on Google Adwords and more. It’s one of the most detailed SEO analysis tools on the market.

    Adele StewartAdele 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 and 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 on your marketing data. You can plug in your competitors to discover which keywords they are targeting so you can to overlap with theirs. Try reporting on how keywords perform over time to really understand your industry and optimize for users in the best way possible. And most importantly understand the things your website is lacking from both a technical and content perspective as this tools can identify duplicate content, downtime, and security issues and provide guidelines on how to fix them.

  10. Majestic: Marketing SEO Tools

    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 online store and the number of backlinks you have. It also works as an SEO keyword tool allowing you to find the best keywords to rank for while also having features geared to site comparisons and tracking your rank.

    Ryan ScollonRyan 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 bunch 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.”12. 

  11. Google Trends: SEO Checker Tool

    Google Trends Wireless Phone Charger

    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 not sure which SEO keywords are the ones for you, this is the best SEO tool to use.

  12. SEOQuake: Free SEO Tools

    SEOQuake - Free SEO ToolsSEOQuake 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 while also doing website comparisons to help you 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 ChartierBrin 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 - SEO Analysis Tool

    Siteliner is an SEO checker tool that helps 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 GordonTieece 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, as well as broken links and reasons any pages were skipped (robots, noindex 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 URL, match words, percentage, and pages. And because it’s smart enough to skip pages with noindex tags, it’s a safe bet that most showing 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

    Fat Rank - SEO ToolsSEO 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 what your rank is 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 online store for that keyword so you can make adjustments as needed.

    Blake AylottBlake Aylott’s, an 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 a see. It is extremely accurate and live. The tool is a life saver for when a client wants to know their current ranking for something and I can tell them with 100% accuracy. Fatrank is free and should be apart of every SEO’s arsenal of tools.”

  15. Keywords Everywhere: SEO Keyword Tool

    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. They use a combination of free SEO tools to 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 each day.

    Eagan HeathEagan 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 AdWords. Unbelievable value for a free tool!”

  16. Screaming Frog: SEO Tools Online

    Screaming Frog - SEO Tools Online

    Screaming Frog is considered one of the best SEO tools online by the 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 the speed at which you can get insights was faster than most SEO tools online. This tool also informs you of duplicate content, errors to fix, bad redirections, and areas of improvement for link building. Their SEO Spider tool was considered the best feature by top SEO experts.

    Jon HofferJon Hoffer, Director of Content at American Addiction Centers, loves the SEO tool Screaming Frog. He shares, “I wouldn’t be able to do my job without it. With this, I’m able to 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 noindexed 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. CORA: Advanced SEO Tools

    CORA - Advanced SEO Tools

    If you’re looking for a more advanced SEO tool, you might want to check out CORA. If you’re looking for an advanced SEO site audit, they don’t come cheap but they’re about as comprehensive as they get. If you’re a medium to large sized business, this is likely the type of SEO tool you’ll be using to better understand areas of weakness and opportunity for your website.

    Bradley ShawBradley Shaw, the number one ranked SEO expert in the USA, recommends the advanced SEO tool CORA. He says, “I use a wide variety of tools to serve my clients, always on the lookout for new tools that can provide an advantage in a very competitive landscape. Currently, my favorite advanced SEO tool is CORA. Note, this took is not for the beginner and requires a deep understanding of analysis as it relates to SEO. Cora works by comparing correlation data of ranking factors by evaluating the top 100 websites for a search term. By empirically measuring data I can provide my client’s in-depth analysis and suggestions far beyond typical SEO. Cora identifies over 400 correlation factors that impact SEO. It then calculates most essential factors and suggests which elements need the most attention. One great feature is that it works for any search term in any location on Google. Also, the analysis only takes a few minutes and outputs into a clean easy to interpret spreadsheet. I have tested the software extensively and seen ranking improvements for both my own website (I rank #1 for SEO expert), and my clients. I have been able to use the scientific measurements to improve Google rankings, particularly for high competition clients.”

Bonus Tool: Incognito

Switching to Incognito mode and performing Google searches will give you unbiased, ‘clean’ searches to get a better understanding of 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.

  1. Eric Enge

    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.

  2. Rand Fishkin

    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 types of content you can use to get better rankings for your website. We even mentioned his SEO tool, Moz, in our list above.

  3. Barry Schwartz

    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.

  4. Vanessa Fox

    As an amazing contributor to many SEO blogs in her time, Vanessa Fox’s career didn’t start in Google but she definitely made an impact 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 on the future of SEO is sure to be very active.

  5. Aleyda Solis

    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 approach to 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.

Conclusion

The best SEO tools on this list aren’t enough. I mean, they’re definitely going to help you better understand how you can improve your website’s optimization but they won’t do the work for you. 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 manufacturer descriptions and turning them into something that suits your niche 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. Think of these SEO checker tools as mentors telling you what you need to improve on. And follow their suggestions to skyrocket your growth. Your success falls on you. Take that next step.

Want to learn more?

What are your favorite SEO tools? Do you have a recommendation that wasn’t added to this list? Comment below!

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