In this post, I’m going to share my favourite SEO tools and tell why you why I like them. If you’re looking for the best SEO tools that can help save time and effort from otherwise having to manually do things, continue reading.
Whilst no SEO tool is ever going to do your work for you, these tools can be helpful for any SEO professional in their workflows and processes. You often get more data that you might not otherwise see. Whether you’re analysing your own websites to identify site issues or whether you’re looking to perform some competitor analysis to determine what their link strategy is or how they’re using content to generate traffic, these tools can help you with all this and more.
Here’s the list of my recommendations for the best paid and free SEO tools of 2023
Tools by Google
Google Search Console (Free)
Google Search Console (GSC) is an absolute must-have monitoring tool for every site owner and one of the most useful tools for SEOs. Unlike third-party guesstimate projections that can be got from tools, the data on Search Console is your first-party data and is only accessible by you and not your competitors. You can use the Google Search Console to see all sorts of useful things such as;
- View the number of Impressions and clicks your site is getting. Keywords that are driving these impressions and clicks.
- Inspect your site pages to check Google coverage issues, indexation or even request indexing.
- View Google crawl stats and crawl issues.
- Check if your website has any issues such as mobile site issues, issues with processing any schema on your site or also know if your site has been hacked or not.
- Use it as a rank tracker to check the average positions of your most important search terms.
- Review your site’s backlink profile at a surface level.
Tip: Use Keywords in Sheets / Search Analytics for Sheets, to access search console data using the new Google Search Console URL Inspection API. You can also use Screaming Frog and Sitebulb to easily access the newly released Google Search Console URL Inspection API for SEO. You can use valentin.app to bulk inspect URLs from the search console.
Google Trends (Free)
Google Trends visualizes the relative search popularity of a keyword over time.
Mobile-Friendly Test (Free)
Use the Mobile-friendly test tool by Google to check the Mobile-friendliness and mobile-usability errors of a given page. I use this tool all the time to check the Googlebot-rendered HTML of a page. If you want to bulk test the Mobile-Friendliness of several tools, check out TechnicalSEO.com’s Mobile-Friendly Test (Bulk Testing Tool).
PageSpeed Insights / Web.dev (Free)
The PageSpeed Insights tools let you test the web page performance of any given page including checking Core Web Vitals (Field and Lab data of a given page). The PageSpeed insights also integrate the Lighthouse Core Web Vitals lab data of a given page. If you want to easily compare the performance metrics of your pages against each other or your competitors using Google PageSpeed Insights, check out PageSpeed Compare.
All-in-One SEO Tools
SEMrush / Ahrefs (Paid)
Google Search Console is very useful if you want to analyse your own site in-depth. if you are looking for a tool to analyse your competition and adapt their best practice, there are tools that can help you with it. My favourite tools are SEMRush and Ahrefs. For many SEO professionals, Ahrefs or Semrush is your All-in-one SEO toolset you can use to do all sorts of things such as;
- Get estimates of how much traffic your competitor sites are driving.
- See the keywords and rankings your website ranks for, their search volumes, keyword difficulty scores etc for today’s date or a historical date. Beyond these metrics, you can view localised rankings for many different countries.
- Built-in SEO keyword research tool to find new keyword opportunities. The alternative is to use Google’s Keyword Planner.
- Can be used as an SEO rank checker tool to track all your keywords with daily updates and keep an eye on your competitors.
- Spy on your competitors to see which pages are getting the most traffic and from which keyword, how they’re building links, what sort of content is performing best for them etc.
- Find Featured Snippet opportunities.
- Use it for site audits to find technical and on-page SEO issues. Now, a great feature in the site audit section of these tools is that you can set up scheduled audits on a weekly basis. This allows you to monitor changes that are happening on your site on every subsequent crawl.
- View backlinks and total referring domains of any website. Alongside being able to view all the pages that link to a website, you can also view helpful metrics of the linking pages such as the page authority of the linking domain, whether it’s a follow or a nofollow link, sponsored or UGC link etc.
- and a lot more.
If you are managing small to medium-sized websites and have a subscription to either SEMRush / Ahrefs, I wouldn’t bother using any other tool for a keyword research tool, backlinks analysis, rank tracking, competitor analysis etc. You can give these tools a miss – Keywordtool.io, Keyword Surfer, Ubersuggest, KWFinder, Wordtracker, Spyfu, Serpstat, Keyword.io etc as SEMRush / Ahrefs all in one capability is good enough.
SEO Website Crawling, Log Analysis and Auditing Tools
Screaming Frog (Free / Paid)
Screaming Frog is THE SEO audit tool for analysing your website and finding technical SEO issues. You can use Screaming Frog to run site audits, to find all sorts of technical SEO issues such as issues with metadata, content, broken links, non-200 status code pages, indexation checks, duplicate content issues, page size, messed up redirects and more. Screaming Frog also provides a separate LOG Analyser tool that provides invaluable SEO insights on Googlebot-crawled URLs.
Deepcrawl / Botify / Oncrawl / Sitebulb Enterprise Crawlers (Paid)
Screaming Frog is an industry-leading website crawler for technical SEO site audits. This should be enough if you are managing small to medium websites. If you are managing large enterprise websites, you would need an enterprise site audit solution such as Botify / Deepcrawl / Sitebulb / OnCrawl to perform in-depth technical SEO analysis and site audits. These enterprise tools can be used for log file analysis to monitor Googlebot for effective crawl budget optimisation.
SEO Rank Trackers
SEO Monitor / Getstat / Rank Ranger Rank Tracking (Paid)
You can use Ahrefs / SEMRush to track all your keywords with daily updates, keep an eye on your competitors, do keyword research and a lot more. This works well for small to medium-sized websites. For large-scale rank tracking and SERP analytics, my recommendation is to go for SEO Monitor / Getstat / Rank Ranger. These tools allow you to monitor, analyse and improve your SEO rankings across devices and locations. SEO Monitor is a great tool for tracking your rankings and forecasting.
Link Research Tools / Majestic (Paid)
You can use Ahrefs / SEMRush to track and analyse your backlinks or your competitors. There are also industry specialist link profile analysis tools available such as LinkResearchTools (LRT) or Majestic to bring you the Link Intelligence data that you need.
SEO Chrome Extensions
Robots Exclusion Checker Chrome Extension (Free)
Robots Exclusion Checker is a free Google Chrome extension that alerts you of indexation or crawl restrictions of the page opened in your browser.
Ayima Redirect Path (Free)
Ayima Redirect Path is a free Google Chrome Extension that returns the page status code & path to the URL. Great to help identify bad status code pages and redirect chains.
Web Vitals Extension (Free)
Use the Web Vitals Extension to quickly check the core web vitals of a given page.
Core SERP Vitals (Free)
Use the Core SERP Vitals to quickly check the core web vitals metrics on Google SERPs.
View Rendered Source (Free)
View Rendered Source is a chrome extension that allows you to compare the pre and post-rendered versions of pages.
International SEO Tools
MobileMoxie SERPerator (Free)
The SERPs change dramatically depending on your location. MobileMoxie’s Serperator tool helps you check the SERPs across different locations and devices. A great tool to quickly check your International SEO Google rankings on mobile. All you need to do is enter your search term, specify a location, and choose up to two devices.
I Search From (Free)
I Search From is similar to SERPerator. I have been using this tool for years to view the SERPs from my client locations. A handy tool to validate your international SEO rankings.
Search Laboratory Regional SERP Selector (Free Chrome Extension)
The Search Laboratory Regional SERP Selector Chrome extension allows you to see what the Google SERPs look like for a chosen location or language. This is a great way to see if the correct version of your website is shown within the correct SERPs.
SEO Tools for Generating Content Ideas
Answer the Public (Free/Paid)
Most keyword research tools use Google Keyword Planner as their primary data source. Answer the Public is different and not your typical keyword research tool. The tool focuses on questions that people ask on forums, Quora, Reddit, blogs, social media etc and turns these questions into a list of keywords. A great tool when it comes to helping you with structuring your site content to answer search intent.
Alsoasked is an AnswerThePublic alternative to discover the questions people are asking.
Soolve provides search suggestions and completions from the top providers on the internet for a given query.
Speed Optimisation Tools
There are several tools available to see how your site pages perform, reveal why they’re slow and discover optimisation opportunities. You can also check core web vitals metrics using these tools. My favourite page speed testing tools are PageSpeed Insights (Free), GTMetrix (Free / Paid), WebPageTest (Free), Reddico (Free) and Fast or Slow (Free). Using Fast or Slow, if you are using a single site to serve international customers, it’s a great tool to test the speed of your site from different locations all over the world.
Use a combination of these tools to check if there are any major performance issues. The majority of these tools provide a waterfall view to highlight particular bottlenecks/issues. Also, look at visual graphs such as content split as an example to check the mix of JS/images causing performance issues.
Other SEO Tools
MOZ Domain SEO Analysis Tool (Free)
The MOZ DA tool is a free SEO tool that can be used to get a quick overview of a website’s domain authority. Moz Domain Authority, or DA, is pretty much industry standard recognition of a site’s authority. Whilst it isn’t 100% perfect, DA is a very useful shortcut to understanding how authoritative a site is in relation to other sites.
SEO Tools I haven’t tested yet…
I have been recommended so many SEO tools over the years I have worked in SEO but just have not had the time to give them a try. I thought it would be worth listing them here to hear about your experience with using these tools.
Surfer SEO: For content optimisation.
Seolyzer.io: Crawler & log analysis for all SEO
nozzle.io – Ranking Data- Big Query- BI Dashboard.
ContentKing: Real-time SEO Auditing & Monitoring platform.
Frase: End-to-end SEO content creation workflow, powered by AI.
Have I missed your favourite SEO tool? Please comment and share!