This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.
Reviews

Best SEO Tools

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

Trust us, we know SEO. That’s why you see our articles so often when you search Google for information on the best software options. So, we speak from experience when we say that SEMRush is the best SEO tool for most people’s needs. It continues to be one of the most powerful SEO tools in our arsenal, but it’s suitable for beginners and seasoned pros alike. You get dozens of features to help simplify keyword research, run SEO audits and competitor analysis, and optimize everything.

The Best SEO Tool for Most

SEMRush Logo

SEMRush

Best for Most

Most SEO tools are incredibly challenging for beginners to use. However, SEMRush delivers the perfect balance of power and ease of use without sacrificing essential features. As you grow, you can add more advanced SEO capabilities to bolster growth. Paid plans start as low as $99.95 per month.

Whether you’re a complete beginner or experienced SEO expert with years of experience, SEMRush is an easy-to-use software that covers everything SEO without sacrificing usability or advanced features. From keyword research and backlink monitoring to in-depth analytics, it delivers everything you need to optimize your site for better rankings and attract more qualified visitors from Google.

As you grow, you can upgrade to higher tiers to unlock even more functionality to help you grow even more.

The Best SEO Tools To Consider

  1. SEMRush – Best SEO tool for most
  2. Google SEO Tools – Best free SEO suite (you need this, too!)
  3. Answer The Public – Best for niche blogs and businesses
  4. Ahrefs – Best all-in-one SEO package for advanced users
  5. Moz Pro – Best for community support
  6. SpyFu – Best for competitive analysis
  7. SEO Spider – Best crawling tool for massive websites
  8. SEOQuake – Best free browser extension
  9. Pitchbox – Best for outreach

When It Makes Sense To Invest In SEO Tools

SEO encompasses a lot of things, from keyword research, building links, and competition analysis to content creation, on-page optimization, and off-page optimization. If you feel like you have a strong grasp on all the moving parts, it makes sense to invest in the tools you need to streamline each piece of the puzzle.

The good news is that doing so doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars a month.

All-in-one SEO tools are expensive. They’re effective and can be very powerful if you know how to use them. But it’s a common misconception that they’re the only way to truly optimize your site to move up the rankings.

There are several free tools on our list that you can use in conjunction with one another to get the job done well if you don’t have the budget for an expensive SEO tool.

As your rankings improve and you start seeing more organic traffic leading to an increase in revenue, you can upgrade to paid tools or an all-in-one solution to save time and further optimize your site for search engines faster than with free tools.

By that point, you’ll be bringing in enough money to justify the investment.

So, to answer the question of when you should invest… it’s never too early. If you have a website, want it to show up in search results, and have a decent understanding of how SEO works, consider any of the SEO tools on our list an excellent move for your business.

#1 – SEMRush — The Best SEO Tool for Most

SEMRush Logo

SEMRush

Best for Most

Most SEO tools are incredibly challenging for beginners to use. However, SEMRush delivers the perfect balance of power and ease of use without sacrificing essential features. As you grow, you can add more advanced SEO capabilities to bolster growth. Paid plans start as low as $99.95 per month.

Some SEO tools are highly specific, focusing on being really good at a particular area like keyword research, content optimization, or generating backlinks. Very few SEO tools are able to combine everything SEO into one tool and do it well.

SEMrush is the expectation of that rule. It comes with (almost) everything you could ever need in an SEO tool. And then some.

Whether you’re brand new to SEO or have an established strategy you’d like to improve, SEMRush is intuitive, accessible, well-organized, and highly detailed. In other words, its comprehensiveness doesn’t sacrifice ease of use.

If you’re not sure what to write about or what keywords to cover, the keyword research module will help you find millions (yep, 1,000,000s) of keywords, complete with all of the difficulty, volume, and CPC data you need to choose the best keywords for your business.

When you’re ready to start writing, SEMRush’s content tools offer actionable tips in real-time to help you craft SEO and human-friendly content that satisfies everyone.

As you write, you’ll get real-time suggestions to improve your content for better rankings.

You can also run SEO audits of existing content to find new ways to improve what’s already there. SEMRush’s content tools help you make the most of the words you already have and the words you’ve yet to write (even if you aren’t an experienced writer).

The market analysis tools let you look at your competitor’s traffic, sources, and marketing strategies. If it works for them, why wouldn’t it work for you?

You can then use what you learn to inform your own marketing strategies, fill in any current gaps, and discover new ways to outshine your competition.

If paid ads in search results or social media are your jam, SEMRush has a module for that, as well.

SEMRush is known for excellent ranking reports that aren’t overwhelming, robust competitor analysis that includes referral and traffic source comparisons, and detailed keyword analysis.

They also offer select SEO tools designed specifically for writers, agencies, and PR experts. 

Above all, you get the best pieces of all the SEO tools out there in one place. From data and numbers to writing content, peeking at your competitors, and developing efficient strategies to reach that coveted #1 spot.

SEMRush offers three package levels (with both monthly and annual plans). The annual plans include:

  • Pro: $99.95/month
  • Guru: $191.62/month
  • Business: $374.95/month

Signing up for a free trial to see if SEMRush is right for you today!

#2 – Google — The Best Free SEO Suite (That You’ll Need No Matter What)

Google Logo

Google SEO Tools

Best Free SEO Suite

When someone asks you a question you don’t know the answer to, you Google it, right? Or you tell them to Google it. Either way, Google has quickly become a household name everyone’s familiar with, overshadowing the other options out there. So, it makes sense to use Google tools to ensure your content ranks well on the world’s most widely-used search engine.

Google is the most popular search engine on the internet. There’s a reason we all say “Google it” when referring to searching for something online. Most, if not all, of your visitors will probably find you through a Google search vs. something like Bing or Yahoo.

So, using Google’s SEO tools to make sure you’re optimized for Google is a no-brainer. We recommend having both Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

Both are easy to set up with a few pieces of code. They both also have clear instructions on how to get started.

There’s a lot of confusion over the difference between these two tools, so we’ll start there. What separates the two and why do you need both?

Google Analytics provides traffic, click, and conversion data to help you understand how your business is performing from an analytics standpoint. Google Search Console, on the other hand, focuses on your website’s presence in search engine results.

It’ll show you where your posts and pages rank, what terms they’re ranking for, how many clicks each page receives, and if there are any glaring SEO issues with your website.

Both of those give you info directly from Google’s backend, and both work well alongside the other tools on this list. 

But the real beauty of Google’s tools is that they’re both free. All you have to do is prove to Google you own your site. After that, you’ll have full access to both Analytics and Search Console at zero cost.

With a price tag that equals exactly $0, there’s no reason not to use them. If you’re anything like us, getting your hands on as much data and as many details as possible is fascinating. Plus, you’ll have everything you need to know about your website’s performance on the world’s most popular search engine. Straight from the lion’s mouth.

While these tools won’t cover your entire SEO toolkit, we recommend using both in conjunction with other tools on this list.

#3 – Answer The Public – The Best Keyword Tool For Niche Blogs and Businesses

Answer the Public Logo

Answer the Public

Best Keyword Generation Tool

Answer the Public helps niche blogs and businesses discover new keyword opportunities in just a few seconds. All you have to do is type an idea and the tool returns hundreds (if not thousands) of related searches people are using. Learn more about how your audiences uses search engines, today!

If you’re on the hunt for long-tail keywords, those all-in-one SEO tools do okay. But there’s one standalone tool that specializes in long-tail keywords and helps you find the right keywords for niche topics.

Answer the Public is different from the other tools on our list for many reasons, but that doesn’t make it any less effective.

To get started, all you have to do is enter a topic, like affiliate marketing, dog toys, iPhone apps, rain jackets, water bottles, snowboarding, or running shoes. You don’t have to sign up for anything, which makes it super handy when you’re stuck or looking for those super niche keywords.

From there, the tool gives you a list of questions real people are asking online about the topic you entered. Here’s what we got when we entered “snowboarding”:

There are some real gems, here, right off the bat. People want to know if snowboarding lessons are worth it, which foot goes in the front, which snowboarding pants to buy, and how similar snowboarding is to skateboarding.

Each of those could be a blog post or FAQ section all on its own. And that’s just the tip of the Answer the Public iceberg.

Not only does it give you questions people are asking, but it also gives you other phrases and terms that include prepositions, feature a comparison operator (like vs. or the word “or”), are alphabetical phrases, and additional related keywords.

For terms that include prepositions, we see that people want to know if skiing or snowboarding is safer, which one is harder, which one’s easier on the knees, which one’s best for older adults, and which is best for kids to start with.

Under related keywords, we get snowboarding lessons, snowboarding gear, snowboarding boots, snowboarding near me, and snowboarding jacket. I can then take those terms and run a new query to get even more ideas to fuel future content creation.

In just a few seconds, you get hundreds of potential content ideas you can target in your blog posts, FAQ pages, sales copy, and product descriptions.

If you want to see SEO stats for each keyword, you can put them into another tool, like SEMRush or Ahrefs to see how many searches it gets per month, the keyword difficulty, and more.

It’s super easy to download all the terms as a .csv file so you can easily import it into another tool.

Overall, Answer the Public is an excellent place to start if you want to get those long-tail keywords around a specific topic but don’t know where to start. The biggest caveat is that you can only run a few queries a day for free. If you want unlimited searches, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid subscription.

Paid plans start at $79 per month for individuals if you pay for the year up front. It’s pretty pricey, but worth it if it’s something you’ll use every day.

#4 – Ahrefs — The Best All-In-One Tool For Advanced Users

Ahrefs Logo

Ahrefs

Best All-in-One Tool for Experienced SEOs

As an advanced SEO, you’ll appreciate Ahrefs’ customizable in-depth reporting, various analysis tools, and complete flexibility. You get everything you need to take your already advanced SEO game to new heights (and better rankings), complete with hundreds of tutorials to help you out.

Ahrefs is one of the few all-in-one SEO tools that actually pulls its own weight. Many developers spend years trying to create an all-in-one tool but end up falling flat—Ahrefs is the exception. It’s an incredibly comprehensive SEO tool on equal footing with SEMRush.

From an overall standpoint, SEMRush and Ahrefs do the same things and have just about all of the same features—at the end of the day, it comes down to preference when choosing between the two.

Both tools help with keyword research, content optimization, ranking difficulty scores, finding competitors, analyzing traffic trends, backlink analysis, competitor analysis, SEO audits, and generating unique content ideas.

One area where we feel Ahrefs comes out on top, though, is keyword research.

Ahrefs does a better job at giving you all of the information you need to pick the right keywords, including small details you won’t find in SEMRush, like the number of backlinks you’ll likely need to outrank competitors for the number one spot, the ability to look at information from multiple search engines, plus traffic potential for different topics and keywords.

Fair warning, though: It’s not as intuitive or approachable as SEMRush. Even expert users report discovering features they didn’t know existed long after signing up. If you’re new to SEO, you will struggle a lot more here than with SEMRush—Ahrefs’ interface isn’t as beginner-friendly nor is it as intuitive to navigate.

But for more experienced SEO users, that same density and independence will make Ahrefs more appealing and exciting, not less. 

Ahrefs is also known for having the best backlink analysis tool in the SEO field, as well as the ability to search for popular content around keywords. 

They offer four pricing levels:

  • Lite: One user $99/month, available with a $7 weeklong trial
  • Standard: One user, $179/month, available with a $7 weeklong trial
  • Advanced: Up to three users, $399/month, no trial available 
  • Agency: Up to five users, $999/month, no trial available

Annual payment on any of those plans gives two months for free. It goes without saying that Ahrefs is incredibly expensive. But it’s one of the few all-in-one SEO tools that’s worth its weight in gold.

#5 – Moz Pro – The Best For Community Support

Moz Logo

Moz

Best for Community Support

One of the best ways to learn SEO is from SEO specialists who’ve spent years learning everything there is to know. Moz delivers an all-in-one SEO solution complete with a massive community of SEO experts (600,000 and counting) ready to answer your questions. Pricing starts at $99 per month.

Moz Pro is also an all-in-one SEO tool and is commonly considered the third option after SEMRush and Ahrefs. Like those two, Moz includes site ranking and audit tools, keyword research options, and backlink analysis that evaluates a number of different metrics. 

There are two areas where Moz stands out over the first two all-in-ones, however. One is in the optimization of your website, where Moz’s page optimization feature gives you specific advice on what to do to improve the SEO of any page of your website. Users looking for step-by-step guidance in building their site’s SEO will appreciate this feature a lot!

The other element where Moz shines is in its community. The thousands of people who use Moz Pro embody a supportive spirit and happily offer advice and answer questions on every aspect of SEO marketing. Moz also makes several free versions of its SEO tools available to members of this community whether they’ve signed up for a Moz Pro package or not. 

So, if the direct support of both the SEO company you use and that company’s other users is important to you, Moz Pro is the tool you’re looking for. It offers a Standard plan with basic tools for $99/month, an expanded plan for $149/month, and higher-level plans for agencies and larger businesses, as well as add-on options for companies that want stronger local SEO listings. All packages come with a 20% discount for annual payment. 

#6 – SpyFu – The Best For Competitive Analysis

SpyFu Logo

SpyFu

Best for Competitive Analysis

Spying doesn’t have to be creepy. Keeping an eye on competitors is a totally legal way to gain a competitive edge and nudge others out of their rankings in search engine results. With SpyFu, you can gain insight into what other businesses are doing, how they’re doing it, and how you to outperform them.

Now we’re going to get into a series of SEO tools that specify, highlight, or focus on particular pieces of the SEO process. 

First up is SpyFu, a tool that offers some of the best competitor analysis in the field. As its name suggests, its job is to help you (legally) spy on your industry rivals—at least on their SEO practices.

SpyFu has a whole bag of tricks to learn what your competitors are up to. A few to note include:

  • Determining which keywords they use and how they rank for them
  • Finding out many organic keywords they have on their site
  • Discovering how many clicks they get per day, week, or month
  • Digging up who their competitors are (other than you, of course)
  • Investigating what Google Ad campaigns they’re running

With info like this, you’ll be set to take your competition down and rise above them in every Google search. Best of all, you’ll have access to ALL the data SpyFu uncovers no matter which level of their services you sign up for. 

SpyFu offers packages at $39, $79, and $299 per month, with discounts between 20%-33% available with annual payment. 

#7 – Screaming Frog SEO Spider – The Best Crawling Tool For Massive Websites

Screaming Frog Logo

Screaming Frog

Best for Crawling Big Websites

Crawling websites with hundreds (or thousands) of pages is a massive task, yet it’s crucial to ensure your pages and posts are actually appearing in search engine results. Most all-in-one tools aren’t robust enough to tackle the job, but SEO Spider is the industry leading website crawler for various browsers.

While we’re on the topic of task-focused tools with fun names, let’s look at the SEO Spider by Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider is built to handle one aspect of SEO that most all-in-one tools don’t do well: auditing massive websites for consistent and accurate SEO, also known as “crawling.” (Insert the obvious spider-crawling joke here.)  

Auditing a site with just a few (or even a few dozen) URLs isn’t too huge a task. You wouldn’t want to do it by hand, but an all-in-one tool will have a robust enough audit tool to get the job done. 

But if your site has hundreds or thousands of URLs, SEMRush or Ahrefs by themselves are just not going to cut it. You need a dedicated crawler like SEO Spider. Its entire job is to automate the audit process, so you don’t have to worry about broken links, redundant content, missing or incorrect tags, and so on without having to click on every page yourself. 

You can use SEO Spider for free on smaller sites if you want—its free basic package works on sites with up to 500 URLs. But it is really meant for the supermassive sites out there. Its paid version at $180/year includes full features, several advanced options, and no-cost tech support. 

#8 – SEOQuake – The Best Free Browser Extension

SEOQuake Logo

SEOQuake

Best Free Browser Extension

SEOQuake delivers instant SEO data as you browse the web. With it, you can perform page audits, link assessments, keyword analysis, and competitor comparisons right within your browser window. You can even view metrics like external links, Google index, and SEMRush rankings for the page you’re on.

SEOQuake is a Chrome browser extension rather than an independent tool, limiting its breadth of performance somewhat. But it makes up for that in sheer convenience. 

You can perform page audits, competitor comparisons, link assessments, and keyword analysis without ever leaving your browser window from the extension’s toolbar. 

It even has an overlay you can activate to show different metrics of the page you’re on, including Google index, number of external links, SEMRush ranking, and more. 

And it handily exports any data you gather with it, so communicating its analysis to your team is a snap. 

Plus, SEOQuake is free to use with no subscription required. One limitation is that it only works for Google Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Opera, no other browsers (so Safari fans are out of luck). 

#9 – Pitchbox – The Best For Outreach

Pitchbox Logo

Pitchbox

Best for Outreach

Organic traffic and internal efforts aren’t catch-all solutions for better rankings. But SEO outreach is a tedious task with a lot of moving parts to manage. Pitchbox helps streamline that process while helping you save time and find better prospects. Paid plans start at $195 per month for up to two users.

As much as we’d all love for organic traffic to solve all our problems, reaching out to get backlinks is a major component of SEO. And this outreach, perhaps more than any other aspect of the SEO process, is tedious and time-consuming, so much so that it’s easy just to let it fall by the wayside rather than keep up with it by hand. 

Enter Pitchbox. Imagine if your follow-up spreadsheet, your CRM, and Answer The Public had a baby, and you’ll have an idea of how Pitchbox works. 

You enter a keyword, and Pitchbox comes up with the best sites related to that keyword for you to reach out to for backlinks and features. You reach out to one of those sites, and Pitchbox automates all your follow-up emails. You go to look for that site again a few weeks later, and Pitchbox has all its info stored and ready for you. It takes the entire headache of outreach away. 

And their plans allow for multiple users, so you can share it with your team and make their lives easier, too. The Basic plan, which allows two users, starts at $195/month, and higher-level plans add more users.

Methodology For Choosing The Best SEO Tools

Unlike many “best of” lists, choosing the best SEO tools isn’t about just picking one tool and forgetting the rest. Instead, it’s about picking the set of tools that best meet your needs and priorities. To make that choice, here are a few points to consider. 

All-In-One vs. Specialized

Any business will benefit from using an all-in-one SEO tool that lets them handle just about every part of SEO at a basic level. 

But you may need or value specific tasks like competitor analysis, outreach for backlinks, or niche-based keyword research and want to dive deeper into them. In that case, a basic all-in-one tool may struggle to give you everything you need. 

The good news is that many specialized SEO tools dovetail with their all-in-one counterparts, so you won’t have to spend a lot of time navigating redundant information.

Experience Needed

Some tools will be easy for beginners to use right away. Other tools have a pretty steep learning curve. Which ones will be right for you will largely depend on how much SEO experience you already have and how comfortable you are with its terms, tasks, and tactics. Choosing tools that match your experience level will make or break your SEO experience. 

Business Size and Growth

Are you going to be overseeing these tools yourself, or will a team member do it for you? Do you have a small site with only a few URLs to manage or a larger one with hundreds? Are you actively planning to scale your business soon, or are you comfortable where you are? These questions will help you find the best SEO tools and subscription plans for your business to make sure you don’t skimp or take on too much. 

SEMRush Logo

SEMRush

Best for Most

Most SEO tools are incredibly challenging for beginners to use. However, SEMRush delivers the perfect balance of power and ease of use without sacrificing essential features. As you grow, you can add more advanced SEO capabilities to bolster growth. Paid plans start as low as $99.95 per month.

Summary

If we had to pick just one SEO tool to recommend…well, we’d probably still cheat and recommend two: SEMRush and Google. Those two work well together, are excellent choices for SEO beginners, and cover all the basic services at reasonable prices. 

But don’t forget, picking the best tools for you doesn’t have to mean only picking one. Make sure to check in with what you really want out of your SEO investment, and then choose the specific tools to get you those results. Start with one of the all-in-one tools, plus Google, then add one or two that focus on the tasks you value most. 


Make your website better. Instantly.

Over 300,000 websites use Crazy Egg to improve what's working, fix what isn't and test new ideas.

Free 30-day Trial