Developing a strong SEO (search engine optimization) strategy that helps you meet your website goals requires doing the right research first.
While there are a number of useful free SEO tools that you can use for that, there’s also a whole marketplace of SEO products that provide greater depth, and make it easier to learn what you need more quickly and efficiently.
For small businesses on a budget, any product you consider has to provide tangible value. It better either make you money, save you money or, even better, do both.
10 Top SEO Subscription Tools
To help you decide if an SEO tool is really worth the investment, here’s a roundup of the best paid SEO tools to consider.
Moz is one of the most familiar names in the SEO world. In addition to their free Link Explorer tool, they offer a suite of SEO products as part of their Moz Pro plan that helps customers:
- Perform richer keyword research and organize your results based on factors like search volume, difficulty level, and an analysis of the keyword’s SERP.
- More efficiently track your website’s rankings for different keywords and stay on top of who your main competitors are for each.
- Perform an ongoing analysis of your website to catch issues like broken links and missing title tags that can hurt you in the rankings.
- Audit your content to find opportunities to improve your on-site optimization across the site.
- Find new link opportunities and determine which to prioritize based on a website’s SEO authority.
For SEO professionals, Moz Pro is one of the main go-to tools for building a stronger SEO strategy.
Ahrefs is another popular option with a suite of tools that provide some similar functionalities. These include:
- Keywords Explorer – a keyword research tool that provides difficulty scores, search volume, and predicted clicks metrics.
- Content Explorer – a tool that reveals the most popular content on your topic to help provide inspiration and show you what pages you need to beat.
- Rank Tracker – just what it sounds like, this provides an easy way to track your rankings for your target keywords.
- Site Audit – an auditing tool that identifies issues like slow pages, missing meta tags, and low-quality content.
- Site Explorer – a competitor research tool that helps you analyze organic traffic and backlinks for other websites.
Their tools provide the option to set up alerts so you learn quickly about web mentions, changes in your rankings, and new backlinks.
SEMRush is an SEO platform with a number of useful features for building an SEO strategy. They provide similar functionality to Moz and Ahrefs when it comes to keyword research, rank tracking, backlink tracking, and site audits.
For companies that do online advertising, they also provide features to help you compare your PPC advertising efforts to those of your competitors.
They have a feature that makes it easy to see how your website stacks up against those of top competitors in the keywords you’re targeting and ranking for. They also help you identify your top competition in different geographic areas based on how search results vary. And they provide a traffic analysis tool that estimates how much traffic competitors are getting and where it comes from.
4. Majestic SEO
Majestic SEO’s suite of tools has many of the core features you need for SEO. That includes:
- A site explorer that provides a quick visual summary of a website’s top pages, the main anchor text it uses, and its link breakdown.
- Link tracking which quickly alerts you to new links you’ve gained and old ones you’ve lost.
- A backlink checker and comparison tool to see how your website’s link profile compares to other websites in your industry.
- A Clique Hunter tool that helps you easily spot any website linking to multiple competitors, suggesting they’re a valuable link building opportunity.
- A keyword checker that compares terms based on how competitive and popular they are.
Their tools can help you perform a thorough site audit, identify target keywords, and conduct a link-building campaign.
5. Raven Tools
Raven Tools packs a number of useful SEO features into an intuitive interface. They offer a Website Auditor tool to quickly identify errors on your pages. Their tool taps into the data collected by Moz, Majestic, Report Garden, and Tapclicks to deliver comprehensive rank tracking, keyword research, and site performance data.
They make it easy to put metrics for your site and competitor sites side-by-side to better understand where you stand, and what steps you can take to improve. And they provide a Backlink Checker and Link Spy features to help you identify opportunities for link building.
WooRank provides features to help you do three main things:
- Perform a website audit – with the help of website review reports, competitive analysis reports, and a site crawl analysis.
- Track keyword performance – the tool tracks your own ranking positions, and those of your top competitors.
- Take next steps – based on the audit and keyword data, WooRank produces a prioritized marketing checklist of actions you can take to improve your rankings.
While a simpler tool than some of the others on the list, it provides straightforward insights and suggestions that many website owners will value.
7. Advanced Web Ranking
One of the tricky aspects of rank tracking is that the search engine results page (SERP) isn’t consistent. A user’s location and browser history influences what they’ll see, meaning that one of your prospects will get a different result than another, and they could both be seeing something different than you do.
Advanced Web Ranking (AWR) lets you track rankings across all the different possible results pages.
You can see what a keyword’s rankings are for different search engines, locations, and device types. You also get data on what other features show up on the SERP, such as videos and ads. And you can see how current rankings in all those categories compare to historical ones.
Creating great content and promoting it are huge parts of SEO. BuzzSumo is a tool for analyzing what content is resonating with your audience and why.
You can track which articles in your target topic areas are getting the most shares around the web so you can better understand what works. And you can see who’s sharing them, which will help you identify influencers who can be valuable in helping amplify the content you create.
Similar to BuzzSumo, BuzzStream is a tool for identifying and connecting with influencers—a key part of link building and content promotion. It makes finding relevant bloggers, websites, and popular social media profiles easier using keyword searches and engagement data. You can use the tool to create a list of people you’d like to reach out to, find contact information, and keep track of your contact efforts.
For anyone doing influencer outreach as part of your SEO efforts, it can make the process more efficient and effective.
Link building has always been a big part of SEO, but in recent years link removal has become important as well. Recent Google updates have increasingly penalized the kind of spammy, low-quality links that black-hat SEO companies use to try and inflate their clients’ rankings.
Remove’em is a tool for identifying and removing bad links. It taps into several sources for link data in order to help you spot all the low-quality links in your profile. It provides templates for contacting webmasters of the sites you want your link removed from, and helps you check for the right contact information before you send. And it has features for keeping track of who you’ve contacted and which links have been successfully removed.
SEO Is Worth the Cost
For any website that helps you make money—whether a personal site that serves ads, a business website, or an eCommerce store—investing in SEO will help you increase your profits. This is one area where the old adage about having to spend money to make money is accurate.
But you don’t necessarily need to invest in a lot of tools and learn how to use them all to get your SEO efforts to pay off. As an alternative, you can hire SEO experts to do all the research and work for you.
Good SEO consultants will already have access to the tools needed to do the job. And on top of that, they’ll have the knowledge to use them effectively to get the best results. Set up a free consultation with HostGator’s SEO specialists, so you can hand off the work to someone with experience.
If you are already a HostGator customer, we also have SEO tools software that will help audit your site for improvements. You can add our SEO tools software package to your account, directly from your dashboard.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.