The Best SEO Tools Every Startup Needs in 2018

best seo tools

As a startup, SEO is one of the best tricks in your arsenal. To that end, it helps to have the best SEO tools to help you get ahead.

Don’t believe us? Let’s put it this way: 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and 81% of people do research online before making a purchase.

This means that if you’re not on search engines, you’re falling behind. You can make your life a lot easier by using the best SEO tools in the business to up your game instead of struggling to learn SEO piece by piece.

A Few SEO Priorities

Before we dive into which of the best SEO tools should be on your list, we should talk about what your priorities are from an SEO tool.

SEO is evolving rapidly, thanks to Google’s frequent algorithm updates. This means that your SEO has to stay ahead of Google. However, there are some factors that have remained evergreen, and should thus be part of any SEO tool worth its salt.

Web Crawling

In other words, these are tools that organize the Internet before a user ever types a query.

Web crawlers are programs that browse the web to collect information and index existing sites. Search engines use them as a tool to provide fast results when you type in a search.

Google and other search engines use crawlers to create an index, like the index at the back of a book. Crawlers will crawl your site and add it to Google’s index for all the relevant search words, which allows Google to provide results faster by searching its index instead of the whole web.

The best SEO tools include web crawling because they allow you to tweak how crawlers read your site, which can help with your ranking.

Backlinks

This is also known as the golden ticket to SEO, or that thing that’s been driving you up the walls for months.

Let’s say you’re a cooking blog with a lot of recipes, and another site posts a list including a link to one of your recipes. For you, the link to your site from that list is a backlink, which Google views as adding to your domain authority.

This is why you should be a link building master. It’s all about working towards those backlinks.

While a tool can’t give you backlinks (if it says it can, run the other way) it can help you track your existing backlinks to get a closer look at your strongest and weakest keywords and pages.

Metrics

SEO involves a lot of data. It’s easy to look up and realize you’ve spent an hour wading through numbers.

In the end, it’s not about whether the best SEO tools can provide you with those numbers. It’s about whether they can empower you to understand those numbers and figure out how to use them to your company’s advantage.

A Few of the Best SEO Tools

Now that you know what you need to look for in the best SEO tools, let’s talk about 13 of our favorites.

All of the tools here provide different core services, whether it’s keyword research, link building, or checking out what your competitors are doing to thrive. Some are free, some aren’t.

But with the overabundance of SEO tools on the market, these have stood the test of time as quality tools for enterprising businesspeople to help their companies thrive, whatever their goals may be.

Let’s break them down.

Google Keyword Planner

It’s free, it’s intuitive, and it’s from the king of search engines. We’d be remiss if we didn’t include part of the Google toolbox as part of the best SEO tools.

Google Keyword Planner is part of Google’s webmaster suite. It was designed for advertisers, but you can also game the system to spot organic keywords.

Keyword Planner has a few key functionality points. You can:

  • Search for a keyword
  • Search for ad groups
  • Get search volume
  • Group keywords into ad groups
  • Get traffic forecasts
  • Multiply keyword lists for new keyword ideas

For those who don’t know, ad groups are a set of related keywords that may not show up in keyword searches.

In essence, Google Keyword Planner is designed to be your one-stop shop for all things keyword-related.

Ahrefs

If you want a crawling tool, you can’t do better than Ahrefs, which built its reputation as one of the best SEO tools available for its web crawling capability.

Ahrefs has one of the largest available backlink indexes on the web. As in 12 trillion historical backlinks (yes, trillion) and 6 billion web pages crawled daily. So if you want to know how you’re being indexed, Ahrefs is the place to go.

SpyFu

Ever wondered what your competitors are doing to succeed? SpyFu helps you find out.

Yep. You can learn exactly what your competitors are doing. SpyFu allows you to download your competitors’ most profitable keywords and ads for organic and paid search. All you have to do is enter your competitor’s website to get started.

SpyFu offers other SEO tools that make it a comprehensive platform, including the full core of keyword search and management tools, all packaged in a user-friendly interface that is a breeze for SEO experts and beginners alike.

Fair warning: the ad metrics can get confusing for the less-seasoned SEO user.

Buffer

Why is a social media management tool on our list of the best SEO tools? Because it allows you to optimize your social media, which is more important than you might think.

Aside from helping you dodge the usual social media mistakes that small businesses fall into, Buffer keeps your social media interactions simple.

It has a comprehensive content builder that makes optimizing your posts easy, and a publishing schedule helps you keep your campaign on track. You can manage all of your social accounts in one place, and it has a browser extension that lets you add content on the go.

Screaming Frog

We gave you one awesome web crawler, but if we’re listing the best SEO tools on the market, we can’t let you leave without mentioning Screaming Frog.

Think of Screaming Frog like the free, equally awesome cousin of Ahrefs. It is equally legendary for its crawling capabilities. This includes websites, links, images, apps, even chunks of code, all to give you useful data about how you can improve your ranking.

Screaming Frog also has the benefit of directly pointing out errors that you’ve made so that you can correct them as you go, rather than extrapolating from the data.

SEMrush

If you know anything about the best SEO tools available, then you’ve definitely heard of SEMrush.

There’s a reason why they have so much name recognition. Basically, they’re everything you need from an SEO tool, all in one place. That includes keyword research, backlink tracking, desktop and mobile search analytics, and project-based campaign structure.

As the tools on this list go, SEMrush isn’t on the cheap end. But if you want to have all of your tools in one place in one quality package, then SEMrush is a solid investment to keep your SEO on the right track.

Majestic SEO

Think of Majestic SEO as the more comprehensive cousin of SpyFu with a healthy dose of the link index capability of Ahrefs.

Here’s how it works: Plug your competitor’s site into the search bar. Majestic SEO will then give you a breakdown of their site structure and how their SEO is working. You can also use the tool on your own website.

The strengths of Majestic fall into three categories: web crawling, position monitoring, and keyword research. If you’re looking for a tool that combines all three, then Majestic is a good bet to get started.

SEO Powersuite

It’s all in the name, isn’t it? For our full-package best SEO tools, SEO Powersuite is one to be reckoned with.

SEO Powersuite offers four key tools: a rank tracker, an SEO spyglass, a website auditor, and LinkAssistant. These four tools together combine to give you one full-picture SEO tool.

The website auditor, for example, allows you to check on things like detailed crawling statistics, broken links, 40 key SEO factors and more, while the LinkAssistant gives you link building reports, on-the-fly link verification, and email correspondence with your webmasters.

Essentially, if you want to invest in a tool that gives you everything, it’s worth your time to consider SEO Powersuite.

Longtail Pro

If you know your way around keywords, then you know what long tail keywords are–multi-word phrases or search queries that you can optimize instead of a single-word keyword.

Longtail Pro is designed with keywords in mind. It offers you a number of tools for keyword research and keyword ranking goals. For example, you can get a keyword competitiveness score, but you can also set custom difficulty targets and calculate keyword profitability, all within one tool.

And when you need to show the data, it’s easy to export the numbers out of Longtail Pro. That’s the whole tool: it covers what you need it to cover and it makes it easy in the process.

Raven Tools

Raven Tools isn’t just one of the best SEO tools. It’s also a wide-ranging tool that covers more than just SEO. It tackles content marketing, PPC, and even social media tools, all within one platform.

These guys do a little bit of everything. You can research your competitors using the best data from Moz, Google, Majestic and more. Or, you can build and track your backlinks. Or you can just fix little SEO errors that need correcting.

Whatever you need, Raven Tools has found a way to help you with it.

Rocket Ranking

There are a lot of SEO tools you look at and can’t help but think that it’s made for a business three times your size. Not so with Rocket Ranking. It’s made with startups and small businesses in mind, which makes it one of the best SEO tools for startups to turn to.

You have a variety of tools at your disposal to build domain authority and social clout at the same time, with everything from a backlink counter to a social media like and follow tool to a keyword profit calculator.

MergeWords

Think of MergeWords like merging onto the highway. You could take two different roads, but it’s just more efficient to have one road where you can go faster.

Here’s how it works: The site prompts you with three boxes. You type a keyword into each box and MergeWords will help you figure out how to bring them together. Or, you can load sample SEO data from an outside source like Adwords for more ideas.

From there, MergeWords is efficient in helping you turn search information into data that you can plan your SEO campaigns around. It’s not necessarily as tidy as the others, but it makes the most of your time.

SimilarWeb

Last but certainly not least on our list of the best SEO tools is SimilarWeb.

If you need SEO research, whether it’s about your customers, websites, or even your competitors, SimilarWeb is designed to collect all the data you need in one place.

It also helps you refine what you have–for example, by helping you pick a target audience, or pick up on branding cues that you might have cruised past. And it’s all in readable graphs and charts that help you make sense of the information and use it to your advantage.

Making Sense of the Best SEO Tools Available

What good is it to have the best SEO tools on the market if you’re still clueless on how to use the information they give you?

That’s where we come in.

We craft award-winning SEO campaigns tailored to what your company wants to achieve (and your budget, too). We take the time to understand your business, your customers, and your target audience to make sure your campaign is exactly what you’ve been dreaming of.

If you need to talk to an SEO expert, or just can’t wait to get started, head to our contact page to get in touch.