If you were getting ready to go for a hike, you’d start by packing a backpack with water, food, sunscreen, another layer, and a rain jacket. Your goal would be packing your backpack with the essentials while leaving behind items that add unnecessary weight.
Choosing an SEO toolset also requires intentional preparation. Carefully craft your SEO toolset to ensure you have all the SEO software you need — without data overload nor unnecessary expense. We’re sharing the best SEO tools for the beginner to the advanced marketer.
Best Free SEO Tools
Good news — the best SEO tools are free! Here are three must-use software tools, which are all from Google:
- Google Analytics — Measure website performance using this free, enterprise-level web analytics software. Simply set up an account and add the tracking code to your website. Then, you’ll begin to collect data about your website’s performance and visitors. Use Analytics to understand which traffic sources are driving your visitors — search engines, social media, referral websites, and more. Glean insights into which pages perform well and which are in need of improvement.
- Google Search Console — Set up a communication channel with Google via the Google Search Console. No, you won’t get to talk to an actual Google team member about your website traffic, but you will gain insight into which keywords are bringing your website traffic via organic search. You’ll also get feedback about how the search engine crawlers are navigating and indexing your webpages.
- Google My Business — If you have a local business with a physical storefront or services in a specific geographic area (think restaurants and plumbers for example), then Google My Business is for you. You’ll get a business listing that will show up on Google Maps, and more. Google My Business helps level the playing field for local businesses competing for real estate on www.google.com.
SEO Software for Beginners
Most SEO software is built for users with advanced SEO knowledge ranging from keyword research tools to technical SEO crawlers. They’re helpful for intermediate to advanced SEO professionals, but they can be overwhelming or even paralzying for beginners or users with small websites.
Pathfinder SEO was born out of the need to help small- to medium-sized businesses effectively apply SEO strategies. We call our approach “guided.” Pathfinder’s unique software combines tools such as keyword research, rank tracking, and monthly reporting along with a proven and easy-to-follow process. The Pathfinder process includes an SEO Checklist and Monthly Tasks — both of which break SEO into easy-to-follow steps. And the best part is the inclusion of SEO coaching.
Tools + process + coach = a beginner-friendly, affordable SEO solution.
SEO Software for Advanced Users
For advanced users or large websites which require more detailed technical SEO analysis, there are several best-in-class SEO tools:
- SEMRush — SEMRush is an online visibility toolset. It includes SEO features alongside tools designed to integrate with paid advertising, social media, content marketing, and more. Get this Guide to SEMRush to learn more.
- aHrefs —This all-in-one SEO software was born out of backlink research and competitive analysis. It features keyword research, content research, rank tracking, and web monitoring tools. If you are interested in learning more, check out this detailed review of aHrefs.
- MozPro — MozPro is an all-in-one, SEO specific software. It includes keyword research, rank tracking, reporting, off-site SEO analysis, and on-page graders. Check out this complete guide to MozPro to learn more.
Best SEO Software for WordPress
If your website is powered by WordPress, then you’re in luck — there are several powerful and easy-to-use plugins that will help you grow your website traffic.
- Yoast SEO — Yoast SEO is a multifunction SEO plugin. Built by SEO’s, this plugin is on the cutting edge of SEO. The free version includes everything you need for a solid SEO foundation. The premium version layers in even more tools like the ability to redirect pages and do a more in-depth analysis of your page content against your preferred set of keywords.
- All in One SEO — This plugin is feature-rich and easy to use. Build an XML sitemap, add page titles and meta descriptions to your posts, and much more. All in One SEO has over 2,000,000 downloads and is updated frequently to ensure it keeps up with the ever-evolving nature of SEO.
Regardless of which WordPress SEO plugin you select, installing the plugin is just the first step. The plugin needs to be configured to help you grow your traffic. Pathfinder SEO subscribers can follow our step by step process to do so.
Learn more about the best WordPress SEO plugins.
Choosing SEO Software
Take your time when choosing your SEO software. Start with the free tools — Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google Analytics. Then, add one paid platform at your current experience level:
- If you’re either new to SEO or a web professional doing SEO for small- to medium-sized businesses, then Pathfinder’s guided approach is a great fit.
- If you’re either an advanced SEO professional or working on larger websites, consider SEMRush, aHrefs, or MozPro.
Looking for a comprehensive guide to ALL of the SEO tools and software on the market? Backlinko features a review of 188 SEO products!
Lindsay Halsey is a co-founder of Pathfinder SEO. She has over 10 years of experience working in SEO with small to large businesses. Lindsay focuses on teaching business owners and freelancers how to get found in Google, Yahoo, and Bing via a guided approach to SEO. Stay in touch on Twitter - @linds_halsey.