If you decided to go down the road of SEO, take a moment and give yourself a pat on the back. SEO is not easy and many people stay away from it or do it all wrong, but what exactly is SEO? We advice you take a look at the linked blog that gives all the introduction you need into this powerful growth strategy.
With that being said let's take a look at some of the best tools you can pick from when starting in SEO. As well as their price, ease of use, and experience level.
In This Blog:
- Recap: What Is SEO?
- Google Keyword Planner
- Google Trends
- Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
Recap: What Is SEO?
If you want to dive right in without reading anything else, we are excited for your eagerness! So let's just quickly talk about what SEO is again, and if you read our "What Exactly Is SEO?" blog feel free to skip right over this and dig into our list of tools.
Still here? Awesome, lets jump in.
SEO is the unseen mover of the internet. When you look something up you get a great list on the first page, ever wondered how that stuff is ranked? Well, SEO is what does it! Things like content, length, links, images, and much more is taken by the all-mighty and mysterious Google crawler and those that do better are listed higher in search.
The idea of SEO for a long time was disregarded, sites would just fill pages with backlinks and give a two second read to find a solution to a user's questions. And while that worked at the time, SEO has advanced and became much, much different. Two pillars of SEO – on page and off page SEO (sometimes called on and off site) – have grown over the years. No longer can you quickly give a solution and ten backlinks, now you must make good content that is longer and rich with info.
Again, make sure to check out our other SEO blog for a full rundown, but with a quick recap out of the way. Lets jump into the tools that make SEO more digestible!
If you wanted a tool that does pretty much everything. Semrush is your best bet. You do keyword tracking, competitor analysis, site audits, and much much more. All under one roof. If you look up anything SEO related you are likely to bump into Semrush as its becoming more and more a household name. But with that being how expensive is it? What about ease of use and experience level?
Like a few of these tools, the pricing is rather steep. While Semrush is a fantastic tool it is also tailored towards companies that have a team of SEO people. Not so much one person teams, unless you are a freelancer of course. While the cheapest plan is $99.95 dollars monthly. This only gives you the basic plan and the best is up to $374.95 monthly. Or pay annually and save some money. Either way there are limited features with the lowest plan, so going higher is almost needed. But if your company is not actively engaging in SEO, this may not be the best option.
Ease Of Use
If the price got you worried but you want to use this tool, you may be wondering how hard is it. Well the good news here is that its very easy to use. Tooltips on everything, a smooth UI and more, Semrush is something you can pick up and run with.
In line with the ease of use, the experence level you need in order to use the tool is not that high. You of course want to know a basic level, but you don't need to be an expert in order to use Semrush like a pro. And start growing with SEO.
Growing in popularly as well is the backend crawler, ScreamingFrog. This is a very different tool compared to the rest of this list. While most on this list are nice front end tools pretty to look at, ScreamingFrog is a backend crawler. What that means is its data driven and complex. If you like lots of info crammed into a screen and many tabs this is one for you. Like Google's crawler ScreamingFrog will crawl everything on your site and give a great and very in-depth report. What links are broken, how to fix them, a visual crawl map, and so on. While it is a harder tool, it can provide some fantastic insight.
Good news ScreamingFrog is a lot more affordable and friendly to the pockets of freelancers and small teams. Sitting at $209 yearly. Or you can use a free version to test it out and see if you like it. While a free version is amazing, it only crawls 500 links and any good site worth its weight will have many many more then 500. But hey, you get to mess around with most of it and get your feet wet.
Ease Of Use
This is a hard tool to use. It is a back end crawler so it can feel and looks very overwhelming. Lots of tabs, columns, and options.
This is the rare case where you should now more then the everyday person in order to use this tool. They state it is tailored to the SEO experts and to the eager beginners. With a line like that its worth buckling down SEO knowledge before buying in.
From easy to hard back to easy up next it Ubersuggest. A tool from the legend Neil Patel who helps countless companies grow their SEO game, is Ubersuggest. Think about it like Semrush lite. This tool does rank tracking, audits, keyword suggestions, and even a labs section. Here you can mess around with some visualization and an AI blog writer to help brainstorm topics. If you are new to SEO Ubersuggest a great option.
Sitting in a solid middle ground, Ubersuggest has lifetime and monthly payment options. The most likely option is the "Business" plan which allows 2-5 websites and checks in at $49 a month or $490 lifetime payment. There are also two other plans to pick from at varing prices.
Ease Of Use
This is a very easy to use tool, one of the simplest on this list. Most of the time its simply type something in a field and hit enter! That's it.
Just like its ease of use, Ubersuggest is perfect for complete beginners.
Ahrefs is an alternative to Semrush and brings in a heavy focuses on ranking as well as competitor research. You get access to info that you will get use to seeing with all of these tools, and with ahrefs a strong focus on technical SEO. Another solid middle of the road option.
With multiple plans with annual or monthly options you have a lot of flexibility for your spending. Also if you want to try it out you can get a webmaster account for free before you decide to spend a time.
Ease Of Use
Similar to Semrush, Ahrefs sits in the middle of easy and difficult. You get a mix of raw data and easy to use UI. While they also have tooltips for everything, having some knowledge of SEO before using this tool could not hurt. Knowing this would be the case Ahrefs offers education hosted on their site to get you up to speed.
Having some idea of your goals and where you want to go will only help you if you decide to use Ahrefs. As well as a understanding of technical SEO.
Google Keyword Planner
The first tool starting off the Google Suite of additions to this list is Google Keyword Planner. Everyone who is serious about using SEO to grow should not skip over these Google tools. They are wildly helpful and what's better then using a tool made by the people who crawl the sites that are ranked! They are the headmasters of SEO and their tools do the best they can to help.
The best part of this tool is that it is free to use! Yup, you do not need to spend a dime in order to use Google Keyword Planner. That is if you use a Ad account to use it, but making one is also free.
Ease Of Use
The best part of Google's tools is that when they are made Google keeps the user in mind, mostly. So all of there tools are relatively simple to use. And this is only for keywords so your scope is very limited, you don't have all the other stuff to worry about when using this tool. Google keeps everything sepreated in different applications.
Minimal. You need only know how to set up your account and what keywords are. As well as how they should drive your content.
Up next in the Google tools is Google Trends. Just like Keywords trends is great to see what people are actually looking for on the web. You don't want to make content and talor it to something that nobody is searching, no one will see it! The most important part of SEO is making sure you are ranking for the right things. A tech company won't want to rank for things against their goals. Doing so can tank SEO hard.
Ease Of Use
Google Trends is very easy to use. It is essentially like searching normally on the web, but instead of quarry terms you are searching trends through search terms. And everything is based off a chart making it super easy to read and understand the data.
No experience needed. Matter of fact, trends is one of the least SEO realated tools here. Many people just use Google Trends to help guide their everyday content making, like Youtube videos and TikTok shorts.
Google Search Console
Likely the most important tool in the Google Suite is Google Search Console. Like Semrush and Ahrefs this tool is all about showing how your site is preforming. The added bonus again is that this comes from Google itself, so the information is likely as accurate as it can get. You are able to see how many of your pages are indexed vs non-indexed, how much traffic you are getting, how many clicks, how your backlinks are preforming, and much more. Everyone going into SEO should keep this one under their belt.
Ease Of Use
Not as easy as the other Google tools but not as difficult as other tools on here. While you have lots of options and info to look at it is all displayed with graphs and other visualizations.
A higher understanding of how Google tracks things as well as SEO is needed here. Without it the graphs would be harder to understand. There are also little tooltips so if you want the most out of Google Search Console it is a good idea to have a intermediate understanding of SEO, as well as how your site works.
Very similar to Google Search Console, Google Analytics helps you go even deeper into understanding how your website is preforming. ScreamingFrog and this google tool could be best friends as this has lots of info to help guide and fix your site. As well as optimize for SEO. Matter of fact, ScreamingFrog has a Google Analytics API integration, allowing you to use both tools at the same time. How does this effect the other factors?
Ease Of Use
If ScreamingFrog has a integration with Google Analytics that should put into perspective how hard it is to use this tool. That being not as easy as the other Google tools on this list. While the others where more or less enter info into a field or explore site info, this goes deep into the information provided by Google S.C. Be prepared for a slightly steeper learning curve.
intermediate level of understanding of SEO concepts and your site structure as well as the elements included within.
Finally moving onto something a little different we have Keyworddit. This tool is all about using one of the largest social media sites out there, Reddit. Here you can input keywords and pull the most relevant search terms from Reddit. Being able to tap into this massive community can be great as there are subreddits for everything under the sun. Some have thousands of members such as r/IdiotsInCars showing some insane road mishaps. But if you can think of it, there is likely a Reddit community for it. So it goes without saying if you can grow on Reddit you can get a influx of business.
Keyworddit is also free.
Ease Of Use
It is a simple tool, put in a keyword and get relevant results. You don't even need to have SEO knowledge.
None! You just need to know what Reddit is and how to look though subreddits. Some understanding of how Reddit works can't hurt.
Last up we have Hunter.io and once again this is less of a SEO tool and more of a site builder or guidance tool. The cool thing (or creepy depending on how you look at it) is that Hunter finds or 'hunts' emails. One important element of good SEO is having solid backlinks. Backlinks are when outside websites point to you. Now that may sound easy but if a website is toxic or just spam it can actually hurt you, this is also something that is tracked in nearly every Google tool. From Search Console to Analytics. One way of getting healthy backlinks is reaching out to sites you may have linked to and ask them for a link back to you. How would you do that? Find their emails and contact them. Hunter makes it a lot easier to find these emails.
Hunter.io is not completely free but you are able to get a certain amount of free searches that give back a restricted amount of results. So if you wanted to test it out you can but plans start at $49 a month to $399 a month. Depending on how serious you take your backlinking there are a few options to chose from.
Ease Of Use
The only thing you have to do in order to use Hunter is put in a website and let it do the rest. It will pull emails it finds of employees in seconds. Overall a very simple application to pick up and use.
You don't really need to have much experience to use hunter.io. It is kept simple for a reason, you only need to know the sites you want to collect emails from. It is a great tool for growing your backlinks.
When deciding to step out into the wide land of SEO you can pick from countless signposts and guides. While some are expensive and others free, there is an option out there for you and your business. Just sticking with Google's tools can be important and will separate you from others who may not take SEO as seriously.
Make sure to check out our larger SEO guide here --> "What Exactly Is SEO?" for a more in-depth dive into what this is all about. And we give you some tips you can act on right away at the end. We also have many articles on a bunch of topics all tailored to help you succeed. Make sure to check them out!