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SEO tools are an absolute must if you’re serious about ranking higher on Google.

Whilst you’d be better off outsourcing SEO, that option can be too expensive – especially for startups and new businesses.

In this article, I’m going to show you some of the best tools to get you flying up the rankings. Some are free, some offer monthly subscriptions and some are ‘Freemium’. 

If you’re wanting to generate traffic from organic search and take this thing seriously, they’re all gonna be extremely helpful.

Keyword Research is a vital starting point for any SEO campaign. Knowing what people are searching for will help you provide answers and resources for an existing audience.

There are plenty of keyword research tools out there (there’s more on this list). But one of the best is the good old Google auto-suggest.

It’s an old trick and very well-trodden path for this topic but it bears repeating. 

Simply start typing a query and Google will suggest searches for you. This data is gold. If Google is suggesting it, then you know there are searches for it.

Google Auto Suggest

UberSuggest is a free tool from Neil Patel, one of the internet’s leading authorities on Search Engine Optimisation. 

Simply pop your keyword, product, service or business type into the tool, select your country and voila… Keyword difficulty, search volume, demographic information and a heap of other valuable data is churned out for you.

You can upgrade for around £8 per month to see things like historical keyword data but the free tool is going to give you plenty of useful data.

Uber Suggest

Another free keyword planning tool.

Meant for use with Google’s Ad platform, this tool does have its limitations.

But when it comes to getting accurate search volumes Google Keyword Planner will do the job.

There’s an incredible resource on this from Ahrefs so if you’re looking to sharpen your GKP skills this is a worthwhile read.

SEMrush is by far the most powerful tool on this list – therefore, unsurprisingly, it’s also the most expensive.

If you’re looking to take your SEO seriously and your rankings to the next level, then it’s an almost necessary expense though.

The amount of things this tool does are too many to mention here so I’ll just list some of my favourites…

  • Full site audit (with 130 checks) 
  • Position tracking
  • Detailed keyword research
  • Backlink reporting & monitoring
  • Backlink building strategy and content suggestions

The list goes on.

You’ll even find SEO optimised content templates and Lead Generation. Plus automated notifications for lots of different parameters and custom reports straight to your inbox. 

It’s the next best thing to having an agency doing your SEO for you. 

As I mentioned it’s the most expensive tool on this list, starting at around $83 per month. But you can get a free 7 day trial here: if you’re wanting to try it out and/or use it to get some vital data then cancel your subscription.

This free Chrome extension is a tool I use on an almost daily basis. 

Don’t tell AHrefs I’ve said this but I’d gladly pay upwards of £20-30 a month for this tool. And it’s FREE. 

When coupled with Google search, you can easily see the domain rating, backlink potential and traffic potential for any given search term. 

This is really powerful when doing keyword research or coming up with content ideas that will help you build backlinks and rank quickly for a given topic or question. 

SEO Tool Ahrefs

Google Analytics & Search Console

Once you’ve done your research and started working on your SEO, you’re going to need to track how well you’re doing.

There are plenty of paid tools for this but none of them are arguably as powerful as Google Analytics – and they’re certainly not free.

Whilst getting to grips with analytics can feel overwhelming at first it’s worth learning your way round as this tool can give you valuable insights. 

Even the basics such as finding out bounce rates on specific pages and learning where your traffic comes from is going to prove important and useful for SEO

Search Console will go one further from an SEO point of view giving you crucial nuggets like: Search performance, crawl errors and more.

Neil Patel’s second entry on this list is his ‘SEO Analyzer’. 

Offering you a great insight into your on-page and technical SEO. 

You’ll have to sign up to get access to larger reports but the amount of information you’ll get is definitely worth an email address. 

The SEO Analyzer will throw up any issues with your website and rank them from ‘low priority’ to ‘Critical’ giving you an excellent starting point for your technical and on-site SEO fixes.

SEO site analyser tool

Ok, so the website is a bit weird. 

But functionally, this thing works really well. Type in your given topic and this tool will give you circular graphs with all the questions that people ask relating to this topic, online.

This is perfect for coming up with your longtail keywords or finding out if you’re answering a question that anyone is even asking. 

Answer the Public colour grades each question, so the brighter the green the higher number of people are asking the question.

There’s a paid version of this, starting at $79 a month but the free version will give you more than enough for just your own website/blog. 

One for the WordPress users.

I can’t write an SEO tools blog and not include Yoast. 

Yoast is a free WordPress plugin that allows you to have easy control over meta data, snippet information and more. 

It also grades all of your pages for SEO – based on your chosen keywords and tells you how readable your content is. Which, believe me, is really handy. 

Yoast SEO

As you progress on your SEO journey, you’ll quickly realise one thing…

Backlinks are very important. 

There’s a whole host of material out there on how to build a better backlink profile and there’s 100 blog posts to be written on that topic alone. 

Ahrefs FREE backlink checker will allow you to not only check up on your own backlink profile but do some backlink related competitor analysis. A very powerful tool and free of charge. 

backlink checker

Speaking of backlinks…

If your website’s been around a while. Maybe you’ve had less than perfect SEO work done in the past.

Maybe you’ve fallen into the trap of building links to your site from harmful or spammy websites.

Whatever the reason sometimes you may have to disavow bad links. 

Google’s disavow tool allows you to do exactly that, helping you clean up your backlink profile.

Depending on the state of your backlinks, this one change alone could have a huge effect on our rankings. 

12 SEO tools then, that you can start utilising straight away.

Without having to break the bank.

You could spend a little and use an all powerful system like SEMrush and have everything neatly packaged and monitored or you can use a combination of 8-9 of the above tools to create your own SEO suite for next to nothing.

Try these options and see which works best for you. 

Just remember to monitor results and be patient. SEO is not a short-term strategy but long-term it can deliver more traffic and customers than any other digital marketing tactic.

About the Author

SEO and PPC expert Stefan Cardwell

Stefan Cardwell is a digital marketer with over 11 years experience. A specialist in Search Engine Marketing and enthusiast for all things inbound and digital. 

Owner of Keyk. Digital Marketing, Stefan has helped a huge number of businesses increase revenue through effective marketing strategies and high return digital advertising campaigns.