Looking for the best free and paid SEO tools in 2016? Check out this updated list of SEO tools in our updated SEO Guide.
When it comes to lists of SEO tools, you typically see the same names bounced back and forth. Today, I’d like to share some tools I use on a regular basis that you may not have in your toolkit just yet. The best part – they’re all perfect for SEOs and businesses with smaller budgets.
You can’t begin any search marketing campaign without a list of great keywords to target. iSpionage is known for their PPC research tools, but they also have powerful keyword research features as well. When you enter a keyword into their search, you will first see the top 10 PPC competitors along with a graph showing the advertising trend for the keyword.
After a block of related keywords is one of my favorite parts: a glimpse of the top-performing, longest-running ads in Google related to your keyword.
What’s nice about this is you can see how other websites are using the keyword. When you click on the Ads tab, you can review even more ad copy and landing page combinations sorted conveniently by the number of days seen. It can be a great way to spark some ideas on content and calls to action.
Last but not least, you can see the top SEO competitors in Google based on organic search traffic. Some results will list the number of backlinks, pages, and total number of keywords each competitor has in the search index. This can help you gauge what it will take to beat them for a desired keyword phrase.
Other handy features offered to paid members are the Keyword Monitor Dashboard and Competitor Alert. With the Keyword Monitor, you can keep track of your current rankings for the keywords you are tracking. It also includes a historical analysis so you can see the progress of your search marketing campaign.
With the Competitor Alert, you can enter your top competitor’s domains and be notified when they add new ad copy, PPC keywords, and SEO keywords. This way, you don’t have to keep checking up on your competitors to find out if they are targeting something new.
Once you have your targeted keyword phrases organized, your next job will be researching the backlinks of your competitors. cognitiveSEO offers a visual approach to learning about your competitor’s backlink profile that includes charts for deep link ratios, dofollow to nofollow, website types, website categories, link trustworthiness, and much more.
You can also use the new Visual Link Explorer tool to see the link profile as a whole and drill down into the specifics.
You can also drill down into the traditional list of backlinks to filter out results.
cognitiveSEO also offers additional features to help you with your link building campaign including a link management tool that you can use to upload backlinks you have acquired / requested to monitor their status as well as a rank tracking tool to make sure your SEO efforts are yielding results. There is even a handy to do list feature to help you manage tasks assigned to various members of your team.
Broken Link Finder
The broken link building strategy is a great one to employ for link building, but it can be time consuming. Fortunately, there is a faster way to do it. The Broken Link Finder tool allows paid members to search for a keyword or keyword phrase and get potential broken link opportunities.
You can then export the backlinks for these broken links into a CSV to start contacting webmasters in hopes that your helpful tip about a broken link will result in your link getting placed on their page. You can use your membership credits to reserve a particular search result so that no one else can discover it again or use them to find similar broken link opportunities.
If you are working on a local website, then Whitespark is a must have resource. This citation finder will go out and find local search opportunities based on your website’s keywords and location.
You will get to see the domain, direct submit link, type of website, Majestic SEO AC Rank, Domain Authority, and date discovered. The results are based on of backlinks / citations that other local competitors have gained. It’s a great way to get new link building opportunities for local and non-local websites alike.
Unfortunately, if your website has acquired any form of bad links in the past, it is susceptible to a link penalty from Google. If you think your website has been hit with a Google penalty based on you links, then the Link Detox report from Link Research Tools is a must have. You simply enter your domain or upload your links from Google Webmaster Tools. It will then mark your links as healthy, suspicious, and toxic. This will give you a better idea of which links to remove first.
When you export your report, you will see details about why a link was marked as suspicious or toxic. Along with the reasoning, you’ll see the URL linking to your website, what page it’s linking to, anchor text, dofollow / nofollow, and other metrics.
Best of all, you don’t have to have a recurring membership plan with LRT to get access to this tool. You can sign up for a Daypass at $39 for 72 hours access and 3 Link Detox reports (plus access to some of their other tools). Just be sure to export your reports before your daypass expires.
These are some of the tools I use for keyword research, competitor research, local search, and link building. What are your favorite lesser-known tools for SEO?