In this episode…
Today, I’m taking a look at some of the best SEO tools, both free and paid, to determine which is true “best” and the most useful to busy business owners and marketing managers like yourself.
There are hundreds of great SEO tools. Probably thousands. Understandably, the very best tools come with a monthly or annual fee, but there are some essential free tools that I’d recommend every marketer tries at least once, including:
- Screaming Frog
- Google Search Console
Screaming Frog is the most popular tool for SEOs (including within our SEO team), from beginners through to experts alike.
It’s the go-to tool for all web crawling, and it’s not just for SEOs either. Content Marketers and writers can use it to find all the content on a website so it can all be categorised and revised to be more useful (something I’d recommend doing at least once a year).
There are other great web crawler tools that come highly recommended, including Sitebulb (which we’re big fans of), but Screaming Frog remains as the best freemium tool available.
Oh, Moz. A suite of SEO tools that are super useful for all marketers. Primarily used for the Moz “Domain Authority” score, the tool is also incredibly useful for campaign tracking and management, especially for local SEO campaigns.
Google Search Console
Arguably the best free SEO tool available. There’s no tool that gives you the quantity and quality of data as Google’s Search Console tool.
Search Console tells you which phrases people are searching for when they find your website, how many people saw your website and clicked on your URL, and just how high in the search results your URLs are (on average).
No SEO’s toolbox is complete without it and no tool gives as much measured data.
“What’s measured data?”
Measured data is data directly from the source. Unlike most SEO tools, which guess how many people are searching for a phrase and clicking on the URLs which rank first, Search Console is near-accurate data directly from Google. All the other tools are guesstimating (using clever formulas, but they’re guesses all the same).
And then there are the paid tool behemoths:
Oh, SEMrush how we adore thee.
Okay, we love SEMrush. It’s our go-to tool for our agency. Pretty much everything we do goes through SEMrush in one way or another. From keyword research to competitor and content research, there’s not a lot missing from this Swiss army knife of SEO tools.
You can try SEMrush for free at thankyouninjas.com
Ahrefs is a brilliant all-in-one tool and (pretty much) identical to SEMrush in every way.
Ahrefs’ database, however, is one of the most beloved within the SEO community for keyword research and competitor analysis.
The battle for “Best SEO Tool” is always between SEMrush and Ahrefs, but there are lots of tools which are right up there near the top of the mountain with them.
Spyfu is one of them.
It’s a durable tool which includes competitor research tools, a tool for keyword research, and backlink data too.
Spyfu has been around for many, many years, continues to improve all the time and is cheaper than some other similar tools in the market.
Serpstat is the youngest of the tools reviewed here yet is absolutely crammed full of the same brilliant tools you’ll need to accomplish your marketing goals.
There’s a site auditing tool, a keyword research tool too, as well as the same competitor and content research tools as the top tools in the market (SEMrush and Ahrefs).
Comparing SEMrush vs. Ahrefs vs. Spyfu vs. Serpstat
Now, which tool is the best?
I could spend a long time testing each part of every tool mentioned above, but I’m going to focus on the one area which is going to be the most useful to you: competitor research. In particular, competitor website visibility.
I can’t log into a competitor website’s Google Search Console accounts and see how much traffic they’re earning, but I can see how much traffic our client’s websites are getting each month.
In this small test, I compared the actual monthly traffic of five sites we manage against the traffic estimates of the five paid tools mentioned above. I then awarded points to the tools whose traffic estimates were the closest to the real numbers.
You can see and hear me break down the numbers in the video and podcast above, but if you don’t have time for that, then here’s the final league table:
SEMrush’s data was the closest to reality. And that’s no surprise to us at all. It’s the reason we continue to use SEMrush for all of our client campaigns because it’s the most reliable. No, it’s not as good looking at your competitor’s Google Search Console account, but it’s the next best thing available.
We highly recommend SEMrush. If you’d like to try it for yourself then it starts from $99 a month — BUT, you can try it for free by visiting the link thankyouninjas.com.
This is an exclusive offer for our wonderful, wonderful community (count yourself amongst that number).
If you want to take your marketing to the next level, then all of these tools will help you get there, but for us, SEMrush is the winner without a doubt.
00:00 — Best SEO Tools
01:16 — Screaming Frog
01:40 — Moz
02:26 — Google Search Console
04:22 — The “Super” SEO Tools (Ahrefs, SEMrush, etc) Compared
- Screaming Frog
- Google Search Console
- SEMrush (try it for free via thankyouninjas.com)
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