5 Best SEO Tools you NEED to be Successful

Becoming an expert in SEO takes time. If you are just starting to learn SEO, or are just trying to learn some SEO tips for your website, it can be overwhelming. Where do you start?

What are the best SEO tools to get you on the right track? Well I decided to put together a list of the 5 best SEO tools that will help you if you are just starting to try to build an SEO strategy, or if you already have some experience.

5 Best SEO Tools

1. Google Search Console

Setting up your website with Google Search Console is one of the first things that you should do when starting to work on SEO. This is a great tool that helps you analyze different aspects of your site such as indexing, mobile usability, and your link profile. It helps notify you when there are issues with your site that need to be addressed.

One important aspect about the Google Search Console is the Performance tab. This shows you the queries that are landing website visitors, along with the pages these website visitors are landing on. This is a great way to understand what is currently working for you, as well as what needs to be improved moving forward.

The Coverage section will make sure that all of your URLs are being indexed. If any of your URLs are not being indexed, that means that they will not show up in the search results. The Search Console will notify you when there are any indexing errors with any of your URLs.

The Mobile Usability tab works in a similar way. It analyzes your site and how it interacts with mobile devices. If they are able to identify any errors with the mobile usability of your site, you will be notified as to what is wrong.

The last useful section that I am going to go over is the Links section. This section is helpful because it shows you the different sites that are linking to your website along with what page they are linking to. This is a good way to determine the number of backlinks you have and if this is an area you need to improve in.

2. Screaming Frog

Almost every SEO uses Screaming Frog. It is a great tool that allows you to analyze your site in many different ways. Many SEO’s refer to Screaming Frog as the ultimate SEO audit tool. This program allows you to analyze more of the technical aspects of your site including duplicate content, broken links, and issues with titles and Meta information.

This tool finds all sorts of issues with your site that would otherwise take you a very long time to find. Having duplicate content on your site hurts your chances of ranking for a few different reasons. Google does not like to see duplicate content on your site. Also, when you have duplicate content on your site, that content is essentially ranking against each other which doesn’t help you.

Another way Screaming Frog can be beneficial for you is because it allows you to generate a sitemap. Sitemaps are important because they help search engines crawl your website. It basically puts your site into a format that search engines understand and can follow better.

Using Screaming Frog is a great way to run a technical audit on a website. This program will identify many issues with your site that need to be cleaned up.

3. Google Analytics

I don’t think many people realize how powerful Google Analytics is. If you have any amount of traffic coming to your site, Google analytics can be extremely helpful to determine how they are getting to your site as well as the exact type of people that are coming to your site. This can be a lot of help when you are trying to come up with strategies to get more visitors.

The main areas in Google Analytics are Real Time, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions. These are all different areas that can be beneficial for you to analyze the traffic that is coming to your site.

Real Time shows you information about the visitors on your site as of right now. You can pull up different ways to view the information, but it will essentially show you all kinds of information about the type of people that are on your site, where they are located, and how they landed on your site.

Audience shows you information specific to the visitors themselves. This would include anything from the demographics, interests, and locations of these website visitors. It is extremely useful to be able to see this type of information. You can identify entirely new target markets based on the interests of your website visitors.

Another great way to view your data is to view the acquisition information about your website. This is referring to how you were able to get these website visitors. This gives you very specific information about exactly where your visitors are coming from. For example you can find out how many website visitors are coming from Facebook, and how many are coming from Google, along with the search query that brought them to your site.

The behavior area in Google Analytics gives you information about what happened when the users were on your website. It will show you what landing pages your visitors were brought to, along with their exit pages. This can help you determine if there were specific reasons that users may have left your website.

The last area I am going to go over is the conversions area. You can set up different goals in Google Analytics to determine exactly what a conversion is. Maybe a conversion for your website is getting someone to sign up to your newsletter. Google Analytics will give you steps to install code on your website so that whenever someone signs up for your newsletter, you will have a completed goal in Google Analytics. This is a great way to measure the success of your marketing campaigns.

4. Ahrefs

I am going to try to keep this section as short as possible, but I cannot say enough about Ahrefs. If you are going to try to get by with using only one SEO tool, this is the tool that I would use. In my opinion, this is the best SEO tool out there. They have a great keyword research tool, they have a site explorer that allows you to analyze your own site, or competitors’ sites. A few other great things that Ahrefs provides are their Content Explorer and their Site Audit.

Ahref’s keyword explorer tool is an awesome tool that allows you to find out the search volume for keywords, how difficult it is to rank for those keyword, similar keyword suggestions, and the top websites currently ranking for those keywords. This tool gives you so much information. While this data is never going to be perfect, it gives you a great idea if specific keywords are worth targeting, or if you should focus on some other keywords.

The site explorer tool allows you to analyze any site you would like. It gives you valuable information about the keywords they rank for, their estimated organic traffic based on the keywords they are ranking for, and also their entire backlink profile. This is a big reason I see Ahrefs as one of the best SEO tools, because you can see all of this important information about yourself and your competitors.

With Ahref’s site explorer, you can also take a look at competitors’ SEO vs SEM strategy. You can see how much traffic they are getting organically, and also how much they are spending on their paid search strategy.

The content explorer allows you to find all different kinds of content based on the keyword that you provide. This tool allows you to also filter the data in many different ways to find the type of content you are looking for. I personally use this tool a lot to find topics to write blog posts about.

The site audit is relatively new for Ahrefs. It allows you to plug in a website, and it will give you some errors that need to be fixed on your site that are similar to the types of issues that Screaming Frog will show you. It shows you the priority of the issue as well. It will either show that it is something that needs to be fixed now, or it is something that maybe isn’t crucial, but would still be good to clean up.

5. Backlinko’s Google Ranking Factors

Ever since I found this article, I have looked back to reference it more times than I can count. Backlinko put together a list of what they believe covers all of the ranking factors Google uses in their algorithm. It is a list of 200 ranking factors and is a great resource to reference when trying to rank your website. Some of these ranking factors are more important than others, but they have all proven to have at least some significance in the rankings.

 

Conclusion

Although there are so many useful SEO tools, I think that these 5 are the best SEO tools for both beginners and experienced SEO’s:

  • · The Google Search Console is a great way to be sure that there are no errors/issues with your site.
  • · Screaming Frog is a good way to run on-page and technical audits for your site and be sure you do not have any issues such as duplicate content or broken links.
  • · You can see some very interesting information about your website visitors and how they arrived to your site with Google analytics.
  • · I think that Ahrefs is a good all-in-one tool that allows you to analyze your competitors and figure out exactly how to out-rank them.
  • · Backlinko’s Google Rankings article is a great resource to reference when trying to rank your website.
  • These 5 SEO tools should easily help you achieve your desired SEO results.

Author Bio

My name is Tyler Nalbach and I have been working in SEO for over a year now. I am the owner of SEO Align, with the goal of helping website owners increase their organic traffic. I have a blog where I mostly write about SEO and SEM strategies.

 

What is Structured Data and How Can it Help Your Website?

In the world of SEO having an advantage is vitally important. And this advantage is harder to find in modern digital marketing, especially as someone, somewhere, is probably trying the same thing. That is why being able to get technical with your SEO is vital. Technical changes and additions can put you a level above your competition, improving your rankings significantly.

One of the biggest technical on-page SEO techniques currently being implemented as a matter, of course, is structured data. You don’t need to know how to code, but it can help.

So, here is what structured data is exactly and how it can work to improve your site’s SEO.

What is Structured Data?

Structured data, to put it simply, is extra information implemented in the code of your site. It gives search engine’s additional data that they otherwise would not have had. This data can be used to improve search results, as it can help to generate better information for the user searching. So, for example, it could pull out a full answer to a question, pull additional information (such as company data or products) and or just improve the look of a search result.

Here’s an example of what a structured data snippet looks like in Google Search:

Appearing in this hallowed spot in search can be quite impressive (it takes a lot of effort). But, it can also go a long way to improving your overall SEO performance. Implementing this, then, can be vitally important to learn as an important tool in your technical SEO tool kit.

Different Types of Structured Data

The good thing about structured data is that there are different types of structure and they can be implemented on your site, no matter the industry or website niche. This can include anything from recipes to events, with anything in between. The fact is that there is no limit when it comes to Structured Data, as it is always developing and being advanced by a dedicated community.

The advantage to this is that you can tailor your markup to your own individual website and niche. So, if you are a website that is concerned with cooking and recipes then you will obviously implement this on every relevant page. Likewise, as a job site, you would markup your individual job postings to make the role easily findable.

Of course, there are some markups which you should have on every page as a matter of course. This includes organizational markup on the homepage, product markup on products, rating markup to show your 5-star products or services, and can even be used to create a knowledge graph about an individual person. Obviously, your choice of Schema markup will be completely dependent on what you want to achieve in search.

To decide this, you need to take your site page by page. That way, you can tailor the markup to the individual content of every page.

Better Search Snippet Appearance

The biggest advantage of this is quite simple. Your markup just looks better. Take the two examples below:

Amazon is obviously very good at selling online. So, it’s no wonder they have Structured Data implemented very well on their site. If you type in “magnesium 60 caps supplements”, a random example, it’s no wonder they appear first organically. Through good structured data implementation, they clearly show the rating of the product which is 4.5 stars and the number of reviews. Both extremely important factors for the consumer.

Boots, on the other hand, don’t have any additional information displayed. And, for this reason, a high proportion of users will choose the Amazon result. Obviously, these are quite big brands and so people might choose Amazon for brand loyalty, ease or whatever other reason. But the same could be said even if these were two no-name results given as example instead.

Of course, this implementation isn’t perfect. Preferably, the search result would also show the price of the product. As giving the user that information straight away can actually improve your search click-through rate quite a bit.

This highlights the fact that even if you don’t manage to get Rich Snippets, which is the goal of many people’s Structure Data implementation, there can still be a benefit to your search results. More information, especially in relation to products, can improve a user’s search experience and thus draw them to your site much more easily.

Click-Through Rates Improvement

One reason that people choose to implement Structured Data is the fact that it reportedly improves click-through rates. It’s like the logic expressed above; the better looking your search result is, the more likely people will click through to it.

The fact is that click-through rates on the first page of Google never go beyond 20.5%. So, making your search result as attractive as possible, especially if you’re not in position one, actually can be very important. A title, link and text aren’t much for the user to go on. Providing them with as much additional information as possible, then, can actually work in favour of your site.

So, if you have relatively good rankings but struggle to actually generate traffic to your site, you may want to consider your search appearance. It could be the click-breakthrough that you need.

How to Implement Structured Data Markup

Implementing Structured Data isn’t as difficult as you might expect and you shouldn’t feel intimidated. Especially as you won’t need much, if any, coding knowledge to actually implement this.

For the simplest solution, you should use JSON-LD Structured Data language, it’s easy to use and supported by Google themselves. Here’s an example of organization markup, as tested in the Google Structure Data Testing Tool:

It’s quite straightforward, in that you have a certain number of fields that you need to input and most of them make logical sense. The brackets, punctuation and everything in between is what can confuse and trip up those new to this type of technical SEO implementation. If you’re struggling, there are a few resources you can check out to find the right type of implementation coding.

For example, you can auto-generate some JSON-LD markup using this tool. It’s basic, but it can really help you in the early days of learning Structured Data. Especially if you’re struggling.

And don’t worry about putting this into your site CSS code. We have already established: you don’t need to know coding to do Structured Data. Instead, depending on your platform, you can find an appropriate platform which achieves the same thing for you. On WordPress, you can use plugins such as Schema App (which allows for custom schema markups), Schema & Structured Data for WP & AMP, and WP SEO Structured Data Schema.

As a concluding thought, there can be a lot of positive reasons you might want to implement Structured Data on your website. And implementing it isn’t as hard as you might imagine. So, start a plan to implement Structured Data on your site today and benefit from the impact on your search results tomorrow!

Bio

Zack Halliwell is a freelance writer in the business and marketing niche, giving advice on anything from the perfect branding to the latest Alexa development. When not writing he can be found on long mountain walks with his dog, Batman.