Whether you need to do small business SEO or enterprise-level SEO, many of the same tools can be used. In today’s post I’ll examine some of the SEO tools that I’ve used. Keep in mind this is not a comprehensive list. It’s best if you find out what works best in your situation. I’ll be talking about Google Analytics, Google Search Console, SEMrush, Moz Pro, and having a knowledge of your content management system.
Search engine optimization is all about knowing your audience. When you know your audience, they interact with you on your website. Search engines such as Google or Bing will see this and rank you higher on their search results. Having Google Analytics is one of the most basic things you can do to help improve you SEO.
First off, you are able to see the data for what pages people go to. You can see which blog posts or pages are most popular. This helps you understand the type of content your audience is digesting and finds helpful. Along with other tools such as being able to see what times your site is visited most, the bounce rate, time on a page, and which page people leave your website from, you are are able to paint a picture of what your customers are like and what topics they enjoy.
Google Analytics offers many other tools. Really, I could write an entire blog post on just what you can do with this powerful tool. Explore it and become familiar with it. Then set it up according to your needs.
Google Search Console
As a webmaster, this is something you should be looking at frequently. I log into search console at least once a week. Sometimes though, you may need to more often. Search Console tells you lots of metrics that will help you improve your SEO. For example, one tool I use a lot is search analytics. I see which pages people click on, which pages have the most impressions, and what pages rank well.
Another great use for Google Search Console is seeing suggested improvements to your website. The search appearance section can be used to improve your SEO directly. Whether that’s by highlighting data, adding structured data (or making sure it’s formatted correctly), accelerated mobile pages (AMP), and rich cards. Since this website uses structured data and AMP posts, I use those sections a lot.
The last part I want to mention about Search Console is the sitemap section. This allows you to manually submit your site for indexation. Although Google will index your site automatically, it’s nice to see where you are at by submitting a sitemap. You should make sure your sitemap submission is up to date. If you submitted a sitemap four months ago and have since added lots of products or blogs to your website, chances are the data isn’t going to show up for the new material. Luckily, if you have submitted a sitemap in the past, Google saves it and you can simply click a button to resubmit it.
This is my first choice for an all-around SEO analysis tool. It’s got options to do keyword research, competitor analysis, social media analysis, link building, and website analytics. Pretty much anything you could want to do to improve SEO is here. I highly recommend taking a look at this tool. The keyword research tools is one of the industry’s best.
The free plan let’s gives you unlimited access to most of the tools. It let’s you create one project (website) to analyze and up to 100 pages to crawl. The crawl will return all your website errors and tell you how to fix them. However, if you pay for a monthly plan, your ability to improve your SEO is multiplied hundredfold. You’ll be able to create more projects and have increased access to all the tools.
When I was deciding what SEO analyzer I wanted to use, it really came down to SEMrush and Moz Pro (I’ll talk about them next). What sold me on SEMrush was the robustness of the product itself, the easy layout, and customer service. Particularly the last one. The team at SEMrush makes sure there are helps all throughout the product that explain what each section means and what to do about it. When I was new to the product, this was extremely helpful. In addition, the account rep reached out to me and pointed me to a webinar to get familiar with SEMrush and answered all my questions.
I feel like SEMrush values their customers a lot. I wrote them a note one day telling them I appreciated their product and that it was extremely helpful. In return, they reached out and gave me a free month of an SEMrush upgrade! It’s little things like that.
I know I’m biased towards SEMrush but truly I honestly wanted to give Moz Pro a shot. First off, Moz is a huge leader in SEO! It’s impossible to talk about search engine optimization without mentioning Moz. They’ve played a bit part in pioneering what webmasters and SEO specialists know about search engines. I read their SEO blog several times a week and their community forums can answer literally any question you have. Moz has successfully fostered a thriving SEO community.
Their tool is no different. You can analyze your site, check your backlinks, conduct keyword research, and gives you insights into what your competitors are doing. A lot of the sames things SEMrush does. What I liked about the tool was how there are suggestions from some of the experts at Moz on how to fix errors you encounter. By doing this, you gain further connection with the Moz community. It’s not a faceless program that’s teaching your SEO, it’s the people at Moz.
What ultimately was the deal breaker for me between choosing Moz and SEMrush came down to their free tools and layout. There isn’t anything ability wise I disliked, but I feel like the best tools of Moz are available for free. Granted, you won’t have as much access as if you were a subscriber but I feel like your can get by. When I was a subscriber, I also didn’t like the layout as much as I did SEMrush. There are no red flags, it is just personal preference.
Having a Knowledge of Your Content Management System
Content management systems (CMS) are what you host your website on. Examples include WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly. Having a knowledge of how your CMS works and what you can do with it is necessary to SEO. For example, if you find an error on your website through Moz Pro but don’t know how to go back to your website and fix it, your SEO isn’t going to improve. A lot of CMSs have tools built in to help with SEO but that often isn’t enough. You need to know how to go in and fix the issues themselves.
Personally, I chose WordPress. It’s updated frequently, easy to use, and you can do anything through the use of thousands and thousands of plugins. However, it’s not for everyone. Make sure you do your research before choosing which CMS to go with.
SEO Tools are a Must
Attempting to improve SEO without the use of tools such as the ones mentioned is foolish and impossible. Knowing how to use these can improve your rankings on search engines much quicker than if you were to make your website and continue on unawares. If you are serious about gaining online traffic, selling your products, and ranking well on search engines, it’s essential to use these tools or hire an SEO specialist to use them on your behalf.