There are many all-inclusive lists out there of every SEO tool imaginable, and I fully recommend checking those lists out.
However, the role of an SEO manager is quickly expanding and adapting as they are asked to take on a bigger role in digital marketing.
Throughout my years of experience I’ve honed down my go-to list of tools for each area of my job to improve my efficiency and effectiveness.
While this list certainly doesn’t represent every tool out there, these are the tools I’ve found to be most beneficial.
Keyword research has gotten more complicated, but it remains a foundational tool not just for SEO, but content marketing and lead generation as well.
- Keyword.Io (Free): Keyword.IO is a free tool that provides a much more comprehensive list of keyword ideas (especially long-tail) than Google Adwords’ keyword planner. Once the full list is compiled, Keyword.io allows you filter results by certain combinations, and download a .txt file of the keywords you decide to select.
- Ahrefs Keyword Explorer (Free and Premium Options): After pulling a list from Keyword.IO, I’ll hop over to Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer to pull additional keyword ideas. This keyword planner provides a traffic estimate for each keyword, but I’ve found Google Adwords Keyword Planner is still the best resource for pulling traffic estimates.
- Moz Keyword Difficulty Tool (Premium): Once I’ve pulled a full list of keywords and gotten traffic estimates from Google Adwords, I pull a keyword difficulty score. This assigns a numerical value to how competitive a keyword is and provides an analysis of the top 10 search results for that term.
- Industry Stats (Free): While data-driven marketing is generally acknowledged as important to a marketing team’s success, setting marketing goals is easier said than done without a previous benchmark to go off of. HubSpot provides a full list of Industry Stats, from average click through rates to the types of leads that make the largest purchases, that gives marketers a jumping off point as they hone goals to their individual industry.
- Google Analytics Event Tracking Code Builder by Raven (Free): Whether you’re an agency without access to a client's’ CRM or are working within a heavily siloed organization, Google analytics event tracking provides a method for to you to see if the hard-earned traffic you’ve been building to the site is actually behaving in a way that’s beneficial to the business. Raven’s tool helps you to easily create the code snippet based on the type of event you’d like to track. Also note, you can select whether the event should count as a second interaction on the site thus reducing the bounce rate on the page.
- Bit.ly (Free): Most marketers have probably heard of and used Bit.ly at some point, but it is good for much more than tracking clicks on social media posts. If event tracking isn’t an option, use a bit.ly link on your CTAs in blog posts, SlideShares and infographics to measure the content’s impact beyond traffic and social shares.
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- People per Hour (Free Account): While mass-order content sites like Textbroker can work great for certain industries, I’ve found the article quality to be much too low for the high-tech sector. People per Hour, on the other hand, allows you to vet individual writers (such as making sure they’re a native English speaker or have a college education.) The prices are still reasonable, but the quality has been consistently higher.
- Typeform (Free and Premium): If you don’t have your own design team at the ready to create quizzes, contest forms and landing pages, Typeform can help you to quickly create nice-looking content. The free version allows you to create unlimited content and either design your own theme or use one of the pre-existing templates. The paid version allows for more sophisticated features, such as calculating a score or using a logic jump.
- Title Generator (Free): Whether you’re needing a massive list of content ideas or are simply looking to hone in on the perfect title for that keyword-optimized, destined to drive large traffic numbers piece of content, the Title Generator from tweak your Biz will give you hundreds of ideas to build off of divided into article-type categories.
- Makerbook (Free): Makerbook is an image directory that provides free icons, graphics, fonts and even video.
- ShareLink Generator (Free): ShareLink Generator allows you to quickly create code for “Tweet This” buttons within the body copy of blog posts and landing pages.
- Ayima Redirect Path Chrome Extension (Free): Whether you’re completing a site audit, or monitoring a site’s health, this extension is wonderful for quickly following redirect chains and identifying incorrect redirects.
- Screaming Frog (Free and Premium): For the more extensive site audit, Screaming Frog is the best crawler I’ve found. It was recently updated to connect with Google Analytics, so it can provide even more insights on how on-page changes are impacting traffic numbers. Use Screaming Frog to quickly identify duplicate content, missing title tags and meta descriptions, internal links and more.
- Usabilityhub.com (Free and Premium): Usabilityhub is a web design and functionality testing platform. It operates as an exchange, so for every small test a user completes, he or she receives a credit that can be used to purchase testing. There is also an option to purchase credits. This is useful for testing a new site design or seeing if the right messaging is coming across. You are also able to reject any responses that are poor quality or spam.
- HRefLang Sitemap Tool (Free): This is another simple tool for quickly generating a sitemap with international targeting.
- webpagetest.org and PageSpeed Insights (Free): Site speed is continually growing in importance both for SEO and the overall user experience. Use these two tools together to get a breakdown of what is causing your site to lag.
- Send and Archive (Free): Keeping the email inbox clear is quite possibly one of the biggest challenges of the modern era. Send and Archive is an add-on within Gmail that allows you to reply to an email and archive it at the same time. To access, go to Gmail’s settings and scroll down under the “General” tab and select to show the “Send and Archive” button.
- Streak (Free): Streak is an extension that allows you to schedule messages for later (similar to Boomerang only without the limit of 10 messages/month.) It also allows you to create templates for those repetitive weekly emails.
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Have another trusted tool to add? I’d love to hear about them.