SEO tools: What are the best? - Unity Online

14 December 2020

SEO isn’t rocket science, but that doesn’t mean it’s always straightforward. Luckily there are plenty of tools designed to simplify the SEO process. These tools can highlight website issues, make mundane tasks easier, and offer recommendations to improve performance. Here are just a few of the SEO tools we trust and use every day when working on our clients’ digital marketing campaigns.

Screaming Frog

Winner of the most memorable name, the Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a website crawler that looks for common SEO issues. Downloaded as a desktop application for PC, Mac or Ubuntu, it mimics the way a search engine spider crawls a website, gathering data that can be analysed to inform website improvements. This automated audit process saves time and ensures no URLs are missed.

The free version of the tool can be used to crawl up to 500 URLs. This tool is particularly useful for finding broken links, analysing page titles and meta data, and highlighting duplicate content. Pretty great for a free tool.

There is a paid version available too, with no URL limit. The paid tool offers additional features, including spelling and grammar checks, Google Analytics integration, Google search console integration, and free technical support.

So what are some of the benefits of Screaming Frog?

Broken Links

Once you have run your site crawl, it is as simple as clicking on “response codes” and using the drop down to filter by error code.

Meta Data

This allows you to see all of your meta titles and meta descriptions in a single place. You can then filter these in multiple ways: those that are too long (so they get truncated on google), too short, or  even by duplicates. If that wasn’t enough, you can even use SERP Snippet to see what your meta data will look like on search engines.

Redirect Audits

One of the most useful parts of the tool (in my opinion). Using Screaming Frog, you can find any and all redirects on site. You can upload old site crawls (after a migration) to test that your redirects are working correctly. Or you can extract all redirect loops and chains into a csv file so you can fix those too.

SEMrush

SEMrush is a suite of tools used to improve the visibility of a website and discover marketing insights. This includes tools for SEO, PPC, social media, content marketing and market research. There are three levels of subscription available, Pro, Guru and Business. Although there is no free option available, they do offer a free 7 day trial (which I recommend just so you can see what the tool can do for yourselves).

SEMrush helps you to measure a website’s online visibility, improve website and brand visibility, and report the results of these improvements.

To begin, set up a Project for the domain you want to analyse and improve. Then choose from the 12 speciality tools on offer.

Some key tools include:

Site Audit

Set up an audit of your site. Site audit crawls your site and reviews 130+ technical mistakes, before splitting them up by priority and severity (giving you the best picture of where to start first).

Keyword Gap

Keyword gap analysis allows you to see how your site compares against up to five competitors. Discover what keywords your competitors rank for that you don’t. The tool even shows your top opportunities, by showing your 5 weakest and missing keywords, while also providing their search volume.

SEO Checker

Written some content, but your page still isn’t performing? This is where SEO Checker comes into play. Enter a keyword you want to rank for, and what page you want to appear. Then integrate Google Analytics, Search Console, and SEMRush Site Audit, and you will be given a list of actions that could improve the page. Is your content in depth enough? Is it as easy to understand as the top 10 performing SERP results? This tools will let you know.

The variety and versatility of these tools makes SEMrush useful for all aspects of digital marketing, not just SEO.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs combines five SEO tools into one, and the combined tools are a combination of other tools (keeping up?).The Ahrefs toolkit includes;

Site Audit

With this you can crawl every page on your website and see what issues those pages have. This looks at everything from page performance, to content quality, incoming links and more.

Site Explorer

Want an idea of a site’s organic search traffic? Maybe you want to see a competitors backlink profile and see how many referring domains they have? Then this is something you should check out. Site explorer combines organic traffic research, paid traffic research, and a backlink checker to help you build the best picture of a site (or a competitors site) that you can.

Keywords Explorer

An absolutely amazing keyword research tool. Data from 170+ countries? Check. Multiple search engines? Check. SERP Overviews? Check.

Ahrefs refine their search volume data every month, so you know the data you are seeing is always up to date. And one of the most useful parts of the tool is being able to see the parent topic for all target keywords. This is brilliant, as a single page can rank for potentially hundreds of related keywords, and this gives you an overall idea of the topic of a keyword instead.

Content Explorer

This tool has a multitude of uses. From allowing you to see what sites have not linked to you yet (just search a topic and use the “unlinked domains” feature to see those sites that don’t link to you yet).

Use the tool to see content trends over time, check brand mentions, even reverse engineer your competitors content marketing plan.

Rank Tracker

This allows you to set up rank tracking so you can monitor your rankings (across multiple search engines in over 170+ countries!).

It allows you to visualise how your site does. Have you gained any rankings, lost any keywords? You can even add your competitors into the rank tracker as well so you can see exactly how your site compares.

A choice of paid plans are available, starting at $99 per month. There’s no free option, but free learning materials are available via the Ahrefs blog and Help Center.

Moz Pro

Like Ahrefs and SEMrush, Moz Pro is an all-in-one suite of tools. These tools include:

Keyword Explorer

The keyword research tool of the offering. However keyword explorer combines various keyword research metrics and puts them in a single place. This allows you review not only your keyword research, but any suggested keywords you may have missed.

Site Crawl

Moz web crawler allows you to find any issues on your site that may need fixing. It monitors broken redirects, title tags and a bunch of other issues. You can even set it to crawl weekly, meaning you can stay on top of any issues that arise and fix them before they turn into a bigger issue.

Moz Pro also makes it easy to create custom PDF reports, which can be quickly pulled together and shared with clients or colleagues to show progress.

Moz also offers a range of free SEO tools which can be accessed simply by creating an account.

All of the mentioned tools also have their own SEO learning resources that i highly recommend. Moz offers its SEO Learning Center with tonnes of resources for those who are new to SEO and want to learn more. SEMrush offers their SEMRush Academy, with loads of videos and courses on various aspects of SEO (and other digital marketing skills), and Ahrefs also has the Ahrefs Academy as well as their blog too.

These are just four of the SEO tools that we use at Unity Online to help deliver great results for our clients. If you need extra support with digital marketing, contact us to see how we can help.

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