Let’s understand it like this, if your website is your army to fight your competition, SEO is the cavalry.
Back in 2005, all you needed to do to get business was to have a website. However, with the rise of search engines like Yahoo!, Google, Bing etc., keywords became the literal key in form of words to get you a place on the internet map.
Today, everybody has a website, everybody has content to provide but what everybody doesn’t have is ability to make it to the top results of search results.
Quite frankly, if your website ranks anywhere beyond the seventh result, you might as well not have it. Nobody’s got time to look that far.
Hence, using the correct keywords, more navigable websites which search engine could crawl through, interpret the content and index it in their database; are of utmost importance today.
The very act of making your website search engine friendly, by fulfilling the criteria above is SEO.
What are SEO tools?
SEO is a continuous and taxing process. To perform your SEO efficiently, there are some really fantastic tools available which not only help you see where you stand but also offer precious insights into your data.
Today we will discuss some of the most coveted SEO tools, which are expected to take the limelight in 2018:
The holy grail of all SEO, Google Analytics offers services like Real Time Analytics, powered with Adwords, web beacon etc, essentially tracking and reporting website traffic.
Cost: Google offers three packages:
- The standard freemium* Google Analytics
- The enterprise oriented, subscription based Google Analytics 360
- Google Analytics for Mobile Apps
While the first two deal mostly with website traffic, Google analytics for mobile apps supports tracking and recording data from iOS and Android apps on mobile devices.
- With Google analytics, you get to see your most important analytics data first.
- The ‘Advanced segment’ tab in Google Analytics UI lets you view how well your advertisement campaigns have been doing by searching through global or local directories (depending on your choice). Here, you need to input the sources where you have advertised and as traffic comes from these sources, it will be recorded under respective sources.
- The ‘Visitors’ tab lets you see the demographic information of your visitors, this way you not only get to know your niche markets but also you get valuable insights on how to streamline your campaign further.
- You can figure out what people have searched for using your website’s search facility from the site search tabs..
- Also, Google Analytics helps you in categorizing your most popular or most unpopular content.
- GA follows a Freemium service model – which means that only the basic services are free and to use many advanced services, you’ll have to buy a license.
The Verdict: While it’s cheaper and much more efficient than most other tools available today (also one of the most widely used), not every website needs an approach as comprehensive as Google Analytics. Depending on your requirement, you may choose to not use Google Analytics.
Fabled for its ability to back-link, Ahrefs is a data company. Which means that Ahrefs gathers, processes, organizes and draws conclusions from data which are useful for its clients. It provides assistance in the form of backlinking, competitor analysis, keyword framing, content research, rank-tracking, web monitoring etc.
Ahrefs offers a free trial but is essentially subscription based. The subscription will cost you $99 per month.
- The Ahrefs crawlers are constantly crawling the web and updating the Aherf database every fifteen to twenty minutes. This mean updated data-sets which are better equipped to look for keywords while crunching data.
- Strong back-linking abilities
- Support visualization of competitors’ Vs. your own performance.
- Not much to offer for teams aiming to develop quality content.
The Verdict: Ahrefs is a great tool for getting your analytics reports and keyword research, it already a go-to tool for many organizations, both big and small. However, the price on this tool will be more justifiable if the support for team functionalities was better.
SemRush is an elaborate tool covering various services needed for an SEO operation life-cycle. It provides tools for organic research, advertising research, display advertising, Backlinking, keyword research, product listing ads etc.
Cost: SemRush offers three packages:
- Pro: $99.95/month
- Guru: $199.95/month
- Business: $399/month
- Provides analytics reports for understanding competitor behavior and understanding their USPs.
- Let’s you see your competitor’s best keywords
- Helps you uncover your competitor’s ad-budgets and strategies for ad-campaigns.
- Helps you to stay aware of new competitors in AdWords, Bing Ads etc.
- Helps you in localizing your ad-campaign.
- Being the extensive tool it is, SemRush has a huge dataset. This means that when you look for a keyword, you will sifting through results as extensive as 30-70 pages.
- The UI is easy to understand and use but is meant for SEO professionals, not for business owners as it highly technical in terms of SEO. There is no package below PRO which is a bit beyond most of us.
The Verdict: If an SEO expert puts SEMrush to use, it can be highly useful. For a beginner, there are some quirks which may not be easy to avoid.
4. Linkio is a fantastic SEO tool made to help you manage your link building campaigns simpler and smarter. Linkio’s AI uses predictive analytics to guide your anchor text strategy. With the algorithm’s help, you get fewer interruptions, happier, more productive employees and better results.
Cost: free to try, subscription later
- It possesses the flexibility of a spreadsheet with a sophistication that removes tedious reporting, human error, and slow decision-making.
- It’s easy to make Linkio your own: custom columns, campaign templates, link types, sources and more
- If you’re worried about saying goodbye to your trusted spreadsheet, don’t be. Linkio integrates with Google Sheets so you can make useful and creative 2-way exports based on your team’s needs.
- Allows you to invite your entire team with unique permissions.
- Works only to automate back-link creation. Much like Social drift in nature, Linkio focuses only on one major task.
- Could prove expensive for smaller enterprises.
The Verdict: What Social Drift is to social media management, Linkio is to SEO, only a tad bit cheaper. If you have just launched your website and need it to have strong backlinks, Linkio is your go to tool.
5. LongTail Pro
LongTail Pro has carved itself a niche by providing one simple service for SEO, less-competitive and high-profitability keywords. While many other tools also offer the same service, you mostly need to buy a license to access this service. LongTail Pro offers you this service for free.
Cost: LongTailPro offers you four packages
- The 7 day Trial at $1
- Monthly Starter Plan at $37 pm
- Monthly Pro Plan at $67pm
- Annual Starter Plan at $297 per year
- Provides support for niche viability testing and keyword identification
- Helps you create targeted campaigns to boost your traffic.
- Allows multiple keyword search at the same time.
- Helps you find domain names automatically
- Provides support to check ratings on Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.
- Not a comprehensive-facility tool. It provides only select services from the SEO point of view.
The Verdict: While highly useful and efficient as LongTailPro does produce great keywords, it is expensive considering it doesn’t provide many analytical services which are part of a general package. For example, it doesn’t offer monitoring services like Seobility or predictive analysis like Linkio.
In conclusion, SEO is unavoidable and still needs to be done in moderation. The requirement of such balance makes choosing the correct tool tricky.
To actually improve your website traffic and draw profit from SEO, you would do good to first demarcate your requirements and carry out a streamlined campaign instead of going brute force about it.
The tools that we discussed today, are function oriented and would propel your web presence up by a notch when used mindfully.