Our Favourite SEO Tools For Small Businesses

Nivo Digital

11 September 2018

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We could go on for hours about all the exciting SEO tools there are available for businesses these days, but we’ve narrowed our list down to the ones we think are the most useful. Some of them are free, some are paid, some are ‘freemium’, but we’re big fans of all of them.

Keyword Research Tools

Honestly, we could write an entire post just about all the different keyword research tools that are available – but luckily, others have done just that! We don’t agree with Google Adwords Keyword planner being the top of the list for free keyword research – it’s no longer a good first port of call. UberSuggest and others are far better options now. 

One tool we like that doesn’t appear on that list is Keywords Everywhere [FREE]. It’s a browser plugin – available on Chrome and Firefox – that adds search volume, CPC and competition information to a tonne of different websites.

If I type ‘digital marketing’ into my search engine of choice, this information pops up just under the search bar:

Even more helpfully, I also get a list of related keywords, as well as other keywords people are searching, in the sidebar.

We love AHRefs [Paid] – it’s a lot more than just a keyword tool – it covers site audits, backlinks, competitor research, and a whole lot more beyond. It’s extremely powerful. A 7 day trial will only cost you $7, but after that point, packages start at $99 per month, so it’s not the cheapest tool in the shed, but it’s got a lot going for it.

The Keyword tool alone includes thousands of suggestions, using data from 100+ countries, accurate search volumes, keyword difficulty scores, click data (this is the only tool that differentiates between keyword search volume and how often people actually click the results), return rate, % of paid clicks, SERP overviews and position histories. And, like I said, that’s only one of the tools in its package.

Website Audit Tools

Do you know you need to do some SEO but you have absolutely no idea where to start? Do you need to check if your website is working properly, but don’t know how to find out. It’s ok – we’ve got a couple of tools here that can help.

SEOptimer [Freemium] is a popular option, although the free version limits you to one page per search, so you can’t check your whole site in one go. But you can get a free trial, which might give you as much info as you need right off the bat, or pay $29 a month for the full service. The tool grades your page on a number of items and gives you recommendations on how to improve those scores.

HubSpot’s Website Grader [FREE] and Neil Patel’s SEO Analyzer [FREE] are both useful tools for checking on the performance of your website. 

SEO Analyzer gives some especially useful details around page speed, which should give you some action points for improving page load times – which we all know are extremely important.

Website Grader gives you a score out of 100

If your site isn’t ‘great’, not to worry. The tool will tell you what’s wrong, and spit out an action list to help push those numbers up.

If you’ve got some budget available, a tool like SEMrush [Paid] is extremely powerful. You can view site performance, backlink profiles, link opportunities, SEO recommendations, competitor research, PPC, social media, content suggestions, and tonnes more.

It integrates with trello nicely, so any of the errors and warnings it provides can be added straight onto the relevant card.

It’s not cheap, at $99.95 a month for the smallest package, but if you’re serious about improving your website, it’s got plenty to offer.

One more we should mention, is Check My Links [FREE]- it’s a Chrome plugin that analyses the links on a webpage to highlight if they’re working or not.

Not only is it great to check your own website and ensure your links are fully functional, it can be a useful tool when it comes to linkbuilding and outreach. This screenshot comes from using Check My Links on the BBC News homepage – so it just goes to show that any website can find itself with broken links!

Analytics Tools

Obviously the first one on this list is Google Analytics [FREE]. If you haven’t already, get your website set up in GA and start looking at your data.

If you’ve never used it before, the amount of information available can be a little overwhelming, but you can find out not only how many people came to your website and for how long, you can also find out what pages they looked out, where they went next, where they came from, demographic information, referral sources, and a whole lot more. Take an afternoon to start digging in.

Another fantastic Google tool is Search Console [FREE]. You can even set it up within Analytics to make it easier to access all your data in one place. What Search Console does is give you information about the search terms people are using, how many of them saw your website in their search results (and at what position), and how many clicked on your link.

If you see a lot of impressions, but a low click through rate, you can try tweaking your meta descriptions/search snippets. Essentially, you know that people are seeing your result but not clicking on it, and you can see what they were looking for. Making sure your meta description includes some of the keywords from their search makes it more likely that they’ll click on your link. Of course, you do have to make sure the information on the webpage matches what you’re talking about in the description, otherwise all the people who click will bounce away when they realise you’re not actually answering their question.

Content Ideas Tools

If you’re stuck for ideas but you know you need a blog post or two, what you need are Content Idea tools to help you generate some topics for your website. You could use your keyword research – that’s obviously designed to tell you what people are searching for – but what if your keywords aren’t triggering enough inspiration?

Enter Answer The Public [FREE]. Don’t mind the somewhat unimpressed looking chap on the homepage, this is an extremely useful tool. Put in your keyword – let’s say ‘Digital Marketing’ – and the website kicks out a whole host of topic ideas. And if you’re using Keywords Everywhere, hover over any of them and you’ll see search volumes, so you can pick the ones that people are searching for.

If you don’t like the funky visualistion of the data, you can choose to get everything in a more-readable but less interesting format, too.

HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator [FREE] gives you five topic headlines to get your creative juices flowing. Type in your keyword and you’ll get a week’s worth of post ideas to get you started – and that’s if you post once a day.

If you’re looking for slightly more tongue-in-cheek ideas, or fancy something a bit different, plug your keyword into Portent’s Title Maker [FREE]. Most of the ideas are a bit silly, but they’re great for sparking a few new ideas. And if your brand is a bit irreverent, you might find some topics that work right away.

Time to explore…

There are so many tools out there to review your website and SEO that we’ve only covered a portion of them here – these are the ones we use a lot.

Have a play with some of these tools, find others that suit your needs, and discover what’s going on with your website. If you’d like any help with any of them, or want to talk about SEO until the cows come home, get in touch