eg. Facebook or Google Analytics

Gavin Hirst - Sunday 3rd November 2019


Our 5 Favourite SEO Tools and what we use them for

First up, a little caveat to this post. We use way more than 5 SEO tools on a day to day basis. There are also some really comprehensive lists out there that will tell you about ALL of the SEO tools out there and do a really good job of reviewing them all – this is not that kind of post.

You can find a really helpful list of resources at the end of this post but we mainly want to focus on the 5 SEO tools that we find to be the MOST useful. Our go-to list.

So, let’s get into it and take a look at our 5 favourite SEO tools.

1.      SEMrush

SEMrush Screenshot

This has quickly become our favourite tool and for good reason. We moved to the paid version a couple of years ago and we have never looked back. The free version is actually really good, however the additional features of the paid version are worth every penny.

Within SEMrush, there is a whole suite of SEO tools – to be honest, it ticks a lot of the boxes for everything an SEO needs – from keyword research to technical auditing to link outreach. We tend to use a mixture of tools for carrying out all of those tasks, however if you can only afford to pay for one SEO tool, then SEMrush would probably offer the best value.

The key features that we use on a regular basis include:

SEO Content Template – this links in with Google Docs and allows you to see how well your content is optimised for the keywords you are targeting, comparing your content to the content ranking in the top ten for those target keywords. Absolutely awesome.

Keyword Magic Tool – enter a target keyword and SEMrush will come back with a list of thousands of related keywords – perfect for identifying cluster keywords.

SEMrush gets used on a daily basis by our team for a variety of tasks and would probably be our number one tool when it comes to overall use.

2.      Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog Screenshot

This has been a staple for the Digital Hothouse team since its launch. The ability to crawl any website and identify technical issues is an essential part of the work we carry out for clients as well as during the client prospecting process.

Screaming Frog crawls your site using a Google-like crawler (you can change the user agent to use Google’s crawlbot if you like). It then generates a report full of potential issues which are all neatly tabbed. From here, you can export any of those tabbed reports and analyse the data.

Screaming Frog just announced the release of Version 12.0 which has added some really awesome new features including:

  • PageSpeed Insights Integration
  • Database storage crawl auto saving and rapid opening
  • Resume previously lost or crashed crawls
  • Configurable tabs (a neat new feature so you can prioritise the tabs you most commonly use)
  • Redirect chain report improvements

3.      Google Analytics

Google Analytics Screenshot

Where would we be without GA? It would be like the blind leading the blind without the insights that can be pulled from GA. We recently signed up a new client who had no previous GA data and it was incredible to see how difficult it was to make recommendations and to set goals with no previous data to analyse.

Google Analytics is the only real way to understand whether the work you are carrying out is actually paying off. Yes, you can use other tools to see if you are now ranking for the keywords you are targeting, however does that tell you whether those keywords are actually driving traffic and ultimately converting? Nope.

GA provides organic insights that really help to shape the work we carry out for clients. Insights such as:

  • Organic traffic
  • Time on page
  • Traffic sources
  • Devices
  • Demographics
  • Page Speed

All of these help us to understand the nature of the traffic coming to the sites we are optimising and create strategies to improve on the areas that are not performing well. It does of course provide us with way more than just organic insights so we can gather an overall picture of where the traffic is coming from and how it is performing.

4.      Ubersuggest

UberSuggest Screenshot

Following some recent improvements, Ubersuggest is quickly becoming my go-to tool for keyword research. The fact that you can now link it in with Google Search Console means there is a wealth of data you can pull out of Ubersuggest.

This is a free tool and you can see how Neil Patel is trying to rival SEMrush. The new Ubersuggest tool has other tools baked into it like Traffic Analyser and SEO Analyser – ways of auditing your website, identifying top pages and discovering backlinks to your site.

One of my favourite features of Ubersuggest’s keyword research tool is the ability to filter the suggested keywords by type including:

  • Related
  • Questions
  • Prepositions
  • Comparisons

Comparisons is really good if you are looking to create content that compares one thing with another e.g. content marketing vs traditional marketing.

Whilst it doesn’t offer quite as many features as SEMrush, if you are looking for an amazing free SEO tool, then Ubersuggest has really upped its game.

5.      Google Search Console

Google Search Console Screenshot

The final tool making it into our top 5 is another SEO tool that is used daily by the team here at Digital Hothouse. Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) has become an indispensable tool for SEOs and perhaps that’s why they moved away from calling it Webmaster Tools – it’s a tool that is as much for SEOs as it is for Webmasters.

GSC is an extremely feature-rich piece of SEO software. There is so much data you can pull from it and because it’s a Google tool, you can rely on the accuracy of the data you are being provided. The most commonly used features include:

  • Performance data – including search queries that drive traffic to your website, top performing pages, most popular countries and the most common devices used to access your website
  • Coverage – the index coverage report is super-helpful at finding pages on your site that aren’t getting indexed. Within this tab, you can also discover a whole heap of potential issues and how to fix them
  • Mobile Usability – obviously with most sites now moved over to mobile-first indexing, this one is an important one. Annoyingly we do get false notifications about issues with mobile usability, but overall, it’s a great feature

One of the best things about GSC is that it can be integrated with GA and you can then pull out even more insights including organic CTR and more cool stuff.

Summary

Hopefully this gives you an insight into the SEO tools that we use on a regular basis. There are obviously a whole range of tools we use in addition to these including:

Make sure you check out some of the other posts below which go into more depth about some of these tools above and choose very carefully if you are on a limited budget in terms of the SEO tools you can invest in.

Resources

As we discussed at the start of this post, there are so many amazing posts already out there which provide comprehensive reviews of ALL the SEO tools out on the market, many with a particular focus on the free ones. Here are some of the best posts:

The Ultimate List of Free SEO Tools – Neil Patel

25 Amazing Free SEO Tools [2019 Reviews] – Brian Dean

The 60 Best Free SEO Tools [100% Free] – Moz

10 Awesome Paid SEO Tools that are worth the money – Search Engine Journal

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