If there’s one thing every website owner can agree on, it’s the importance of search engine optimization (SEO). And over the years, there have been hundreds of SEO tools developers can take advantage of to give their rankings a boost.
What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is the process of optimizing your website to display content the way search engines prefer. However, instead of search engines providing clear guidelines for what they are looking for, it’s a guessing game.
No seriously, it really is a guessing game. They provide the bare minimum when it comes to how rankings are displayed. This is because they want to reduce the chances of people trying to game the system with bad practices.
Thus, it is up to content creators to figure out what works best. And as a result, SEO tools have been designed based on information collected by thousands of websites to provide you with tips to optimize.
And to be perfectly clear, while there are multiple search engines in the world, the only one you should be focused on is Google. It dominates virtually every country in terms of search volume. Today, it accounts for 86.86% of the search engine market share.
It’s also safe to assume that if you optimize for Google, you optimize for all search engines.
Best SEO Tools to Boost Your Rankings in 2021
1. Google Keyword Planner
If you are looking for help finding keywords for your next blog, look no further than the Google Keyword Planner. Keywords are an essential part of SEO because they are the terms that visitors look for in search engines.
And as such, there’s no better option than Google itself when it comes to keyword research.
Luckily, the Keyword Planner is simple to use. You can search for individual keywords or some that are related to your website. The information you can view includes the frequency the keyword is searched for, how searches change over time, and even the competition you can expect.
Most notably is the inclusion of an advertisement budget. This is in the form of a “Suggested Bid,” and its purpose is to provide a rough estimate of how many results the keyword is likely to bring up.
With that said, this estimate is based on Google searches and does not take into account your website’s social media efforts.
Benefits of Google Keyword Planner
- Provides keyword information to help you pick out the most profitable option
- Did I mention it’s free?
- There is no limit on the number of keywords you can research
Price of Google Keyword Planner
- It’s a free SEO tool
2. Yoast SEO
When it comes to on-page SEO tools, there is no bigger name than Yoast SEO in the WordPress community. It is a comprehensive tool that provides SEO tips and helps improve the readability of your content for actual visitors.
After all, it’s easy to forget that the content is actually for real people.
On the SEO front, Yoast provides a variety of tips like keeping track of keyword usage, reminders to fill in the meta description, tracking the number of outbound and internal links, image alt attributes, and title width of your post to name a few.
It also helps you increase the readability of content by displaying the percentage of passive sentences, the Flesch reading score, catching consecutive sentences, checking the length of sentences, and more. All of these tips for both SEO and readability happen in real-time.
Benefits of Yoast SEO
- Provides simple and effective SEO tips while writing
- Checks the readability of your content to make sure visitors can enjoy it
- All of the tips are in real-time
Price of Yoast SEO
- There is a free WordPress plugin available
- The premium version for one website costs $89
3. Ahrefs Broken Link Checker
Ahrefs Broken Link Checker is an excellent choice if you want to rid your website of broken links. Broken links can significantly hurt your rankings if search engine bots continuously find them, and that’s something you want to avoid.
Thus you need a tool that can check your entire website in a matter of seconds.
After all, websites that have been around for years likely have thousands of links, which means manually checking them on a daily basis is out of the question. This tool allows you to enter your website’s URL or any for that matter, and in seconds you can view broken links.
While the free version is a great starting point, the premium version has a variety of filtering options. You can search between internal or external links, the type of broken link, and much more. These options are ideal for larger websites.
Benefits of Ahrefs Broken Link Checker
- View all broken links in a matter of seconds
- Locate both internal and external broken links
- Filtering options help big sites
Price of Ahrefs Broken Link Checker
- A free version of the broken link checker is available
- Ahrefs SEO plans start at $99 a month
4. Google Search Console
The Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) is a free service to help website owners track technical problems that hurt your website’s rankings. Google will analyze and tell you exactly what your website is doing wrong.
And trust me, you are going to want tips directly from Google.
This includes being able to see your website’s performance for specific keywords over the last 16 months, a URL inspection tool, the ability to directly upload a sitemap to Google (you no longer have to wait for the bots), and mobile usability tracking tools.
It is important to note that almost every major search engine has a similar service. While I am mentioning Google Search Console, you may want to also take a look at others like the Bing Webmaster Tools. These tools are tailored for the specific search engine.
Benefits of Google Search Console
- Optimization tips directly from Google
- Checks the mobile usability of your website
- Upload sitemaps directly to Google for fast results
Price of Google Search Console
- It’s a free service
5. Google XML Sitemaps
Google XML Sitemaps is a free WordPress plugin with over 2 million active installs. It focuses exclusively on generating a sitemap that can help search engine bots crawl through your website. It works on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Ask.com.
Everything the plugin does is automatic, so it doesn’t get any easier.
A sitemap is exactly what it sounds like, a map of your website. It contains a list of pages within a domain and search engines can use it to crawl through a website. This will ensure that the bots crawl through the pages you want them to and speeds up the indexing process.
In fact, you can speed up the process even faster by uploading your sitemap on the Google Search Console. For new website’s it could take anywhere from four days to four weeks before a search bot crawls through your content. Providing a sitemap to Google speeds it up tremendously.
Benefits of Google XML Sitemaps
- Provides Sitemaps compatible with multiple search engines
- The plugin does all the work, simply install it and press the button
- Helps search bots navigate your website
Price of Google XML Sitemaps
- It’s a free plugin for WordPress
6. Google My Business
If you own a business that only operates locally, optimizing your local SEO is critical for success. And Google My Business was designed with this thought in mind. This free service helps you customize how your business appears in both searches and on Google Maps.
And trust me, local businesses need all the help they can get.
I guarantee you have been taking this feature for granted as a user. If you’ve ever does a “stores near me” search on Google, you will see a list and Google map showing the location of stores that match your search. As a result, it’s one of the most powerful SEO tools for local businesses.
This allows customers to find the location, business hours, the website for ordering online (essential for restaurants), phone number, and customer reviews. All of this information is added via the Google My Business service. Again similar services are available for other search engines like Bing Places for Business.
Benefits of Google My Business
- Tremendously helps your local SEO
- Helps customers find your business with Google Maps
- Makes your phone number visible in searches
Price of Google My Business
- It’s a free service
Speed plays an important role in both the visitor experience and your rankings. In fact, it’s one of the very few confirmed factors Google uses in its rankings. GTmetrix can help you determine how fast your website is loading.
And it provides tips to help you improve the speed.
This tool provides an enormous amount of data that you can use to troubleshoot your pages. It provides a letter score based on the structure and performance of the website and how long it takes for various pages and elements to load.
For instance, if you have a very large media file like a banner on your homepage that takes too long to load, the tool will make you aware of that. By using the troubleshooting tips it provides, you can shave load time with minimal work.
And there’s even a free version available.
Benefits of GTmetrix
- Provides numerous statistics about your website’s load speeds
- Find out what’s slowing your load times
- Compare your website speeds against the average
Price of GTmetrix
- It’s a free SEO tool for online speed tests
- A Solo plan starts at $10 per month
- The Starter plan starts at $20 per month
- The Growth plan starts at $40 per month
Have you ever wanted to see what the competition’s pages are ranking for? If so, then the Scraper extension for Google Chrome is an excellent choice. It allows you to datamine information from just about every page on the internet.
Although to get the most out of this tool, you need to have some basic HTML knowledge.
Let’s not beat around the bush, the competition that websites face has no equal. It is fierce and every website owner is doing everything within their power to get ahead. Thus, the idea of content scraping is born.
This is a technique that allows you to pull content from established web pages that are ranking highly and figure out why that is. As you can imagine, this isn’t an SEO tool to examine your website, it’s to look at the competition.
It can give you more insight into what the competition is doing better than you.
Benefits of Scraper
- Allows you to see what the competition is doing on pages
- View keywords they are ranking for
- Easily sort through content on large pages
Price of Scraper
- It’s a free extension for Google Chrome
Use Multiple SEO Tools
As you can see there is a great variety in the types of website SEO tools you can choose from. Some focus on finding keywords while others focus on the way content is written, and there are many other types of tools.
The biggest mistake you can make is limiting yourself to one tool because each one offers its own benefits.
Getting opinions from multiple sources is ideal in the SEO world, after all, the rules are constantly changing. Not every tool updates at the same speed, and that could cost you if it’s the one you rely on.
I highly recommend utilizing an analytical tool, keyword research tool, and an on-page SEO tool, like Yoast SEO. Utilizing these three types of tools in conjunction with one another will help tremendously, and there is no real disadvantage.
While many websites spend a tremendous amount of time writing to please Google, it’s important to remember that the content your write is for people. Even if you rank highly, the traffic you gain won’t last long if they start actively avoiding your posts.
This happens often to websites that regularly produce low effort content or use clickbait titles to draw in visitors. High-quality content is what makes successful websites, and SEO is how they are found.
Thus, even if you have the best SEO ranking, it will only result in a short-term gain.
What SEO tools do you use to boost your website’s rankings?