Every SEO knows that they if they want a powerful, advanced SEO tool, they’ll need to pony up some cash for it.
Now, there are a number of free SEO tools out there that are very good, but they have limited capabilities, because they’re free.
So if you’re into keyword research, or looking to evaluate potential link prospects or perform competitor analysis at a higher level, you’re going to have to bite the bullet, open your wallet and pay for premium tools.
Trouble is, it’s hard to know which SEO tools are really worth the money.
With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of 5 of the most advanced SEO tools I use in my daily SEO activities – OK, I work for the team behind one of them. These tools, though, are invaluable to my SEO efforts
I use Link Assistant’s Rank Tracker to monitor SERP listings for my clients. Now, there are a lot of keyword rank checkers on the market, but in my experience Rank Tracker stands head and shoulders above the rest. I prefer Rank Tracker because it has everything I’m looking for in a rank checking tool: speed, accuracy, ease of use and slick reporting tools.
Some of the features I love in Rank Tracker are:
- Limitless keyword tracking: you can track rankings in over 590 search engines with no keyword or domain limits
- Auto-pilot tracking: set the tracking tool once and run rank checks automatically for set dates and time
- Historical rank tracking: every time you check your rankings, Rank Tracker charts the all ranking changes for each individual keyword and your site’s overall SERP visibility
Cost: $99 for Rank Tracker software
NOTE: Link Assistant also offers a host of other tools that I’ve heard great things about but haven’t had time to test drive. But going by the quality of Rank Tracker, I’m sure these other tools are just as effective.
When I’m digging up competitive intelligence for a new client or even a new keyword vertical I want to target, I always pop open the SEO Book Competitive Research Tool. For the record, the SEO Book Competitive Research Tool is powered by SEM Rush. But I’m advocating using the tool through SEO Book because, as an SEO Book member, you get access to a slew of other great advanced SEO tools and SEO training as well.
With the Competitive Research Tool, you can conduct site-wide or page specific analysis to â€œspyâ€ on your competitors and discover:
- Keyword Metrics: Which keywords are competitor sites or a their individual pages ranking for
- Traffic Value: What’s the percentage of traffic that a particular keyword drives to a competitor’s website
- Related Keyword Values: What are the highest traffic and most valuable keywords related to your own target terms
For example, I’m working with a new client who owns a bridal boutique. First thing I did was to run a quick analysis on a competitor website I identified to see which keywords are driving the most traffic.
What’s interesting here is that none of the other keyword competition tools I tried identified the keyword â€œwedding favoursâ€ (UK spelling) as a high value keyword. Many didn’t even return the UK spelling at all. But using the Competitive Research Tool, I’ve learned it’s this site’s top traffic-driving keyword and one I should target.
Cost: $300 per month, which includes access to advanced SEO tools, a great forum community and SEO educational guides.
Link Management, Link Marketing
I’ve demoed numerous link management tools and Buzzstream is far and away the link management software on the market. Buzzstream provides a comprehensive suite of tools for link tracking, monitoring link relationships and for collecting link building intelligence.
Buzzstream also makes link building a whole lot easier with their Buzzmarker feature. This tool automates the process of researching and screening link prospects by scanning an entire website for key metrics, such as:
- Toolbar Page Rank
- Domain age
- Number of inbound links
It also grabs all available contact information, from email addresses, to WHOIS info, to Twitter and Linkedin profiles.
Once you’ve reached out to a prospective link partner, Buzzstream records all your outreach touches with a prospect (be it on email or Twitter) and tracks activity on the prospect’s site to see if a link has been added to your site.
Cost: Buzzstream for link management starts as low as $29 per month for a â€œSolo Package.â€ Buzzstream offers a social media monitoring tool too, which is excellent and provides daily link and brand citation alerts.
Every day, there’s another, new competitive link analysis tool coming on the market. But for my money, Majestic SEO is still the king of backlink intelligence. One of the primary reasons Majestic SEO is #1 is because it boasts the largest link data index in the world. To me, this differentiating feature is critical because if you want to outrank your competitors through link building, you need access to the best, freshest and most comprehensive link intelligence data on the Web. The recent upgrade of the Backlink History Tool lets you chart the historical link discovery patterns of competitor sites to your own.
Majestic SEO is also a great tool to monitor your own site’s link profile. Once you verify site ownership, you can obtain detailed reports on your sites:
- Proprietary backlink data
- Anchor text distribution
- Historical link acquisition data
- Top referring domains
Plus, the tool offers a â€œdaily updateâ€ feature that provides a daily journal of new inbound links. What’s more, Majestic SEO captures data on deleted links and link redirects, so you can investigate any drop in SERP position or traffic activity if you feel it’s link-related.
Cost: A monthly subscription to Majestic SEO starts at just £ 9.99, which gives you up to ten standard backlink reports and five advanced reports to analyze hundreds of thousands of links.
Keyord Research & Content Authoring
This one’s mine :) – I’ve heard some search marketers describe WordStream for SEO as â€œkeyword research on steroids,â€ which is pretty accurate. WordStream for SEO features a suite of really powerful keyword analysis and content authoring tools to perform:
· Keyword Research: generate keyword suggestions that are pulled from a deep database of search engine queries
· Personalized Keyword Suggestions: mine your own site data to discover relevant, proven keyword opportunities that people have used to find your site
· Keyword Analytics: instead of guesstimates based on popularity, WordStream for SEO gives you accurate visit and goal data for your keywords on a continuous basis
· Keyword Organization: with sophisticated grouping and organization capabilities, you can segment keyword lists and discover new content opportunities
Another fantastic feature in WordStream for SEO is the Firefox Plugin for blogging, which connects your keyword research with your content creation efforts.
The WordStream for SEO Firefox Plugin works alongside content management platforms (such as WordPress, Blogger and Drupal) to help you generate better, more focused, search engine ready blog posts, product pages and sales copy.
The plugin also keeps a running count of each keyword phrase you use as you type, working to keep your writing â€œon messageâ€ after the initial research stage. WordStream for SEO is also fantastic for content topic discovery. It taps into your site’s historical search query data so you can get fresh content ideas based on proven keywords.
Cost: The WordStream for SEO suite of keyword research and content authoring tools starts at just $49 per month.
Thanks for the guest post, Ken!
Just about every day I get asked which tools do I use, so over the next couple of weeks I aim to share the best ones (like my recent Clicky real time web traffic stats review).
I’ll be reviewing a few (if not all the tools above in more depth later in the month, and a few others).
Any questions, or indeed tools you like, feel free to share in the comments :)
PS – Disclosure – This is a guest post, no affiliates, no paid links.
If you develop seo or web dev tools and feel left out, do drop me a line about a guest post, like this useful how-to from Ken which shows interested folks in my feed what’s available out there.