Here’s how your decision process will go: Pick SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Moz as your SEO workhorse. Every time I log in, I find a hidden feature or report that makes me giddy. On specific features, I prefer the link analysis in Ahrefs over the other tools. So if you’re planning on doing a lot of link building, it’s worth getting through the learning curve. Best SEO Crawling Tool: Screaming Frog SEO Spider There’s one type of SEO task that the main SEO tools struggle with: crawling and auditing huge sites. And the audit tools in SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz are pretty basic. I’ve done a bunch of outreach projects out of Gmail and a Google Sheet. Don’t bother trying to pay for any of the paid analytics tool. Google Analytics gives you more than you’ll ever need and it’s completely free. It’s completely free and you’ll get access to your data once Google Search Console verifies your Google Analytics account.
Most “SEO tools” are a waste of time — here’s what you really need.
When I first started using SEO tools and tried to figure out which one was right for me, I was pretty confused.
There are a bunch of tools in the space, they seem to overlap a lot, and there are way too many specialist tools to sort through.
And which one’s have data that I can trust?
After using all these tools for years and years, I’ve come to realize there are only a few choices you need to make.
First, there are three main tools in the market: SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz. Everyone uses one of those three. We’ll get to our recommendations for these down below.
I call them the SEO workhors — and all three of them qualify as one of the best seo tools. These workhorses carry the bulk of the weight in any SEO program, but you only need one SEO workhorse.
Any serious SEO program absolutely needs a SEO workhorse. The rank tracking, keyword research, and link analysis are all too difficult or time consuming without one. I’ve tried to get away without paying for them; that was a mistake. I could have gained a lot more traffic by using one of these tools from the beginning.
After you pick your main SEO workhorse, I highly recommend you take full advantage of the free tools. Google Analytics and Google Search Console are both world class and I consider them both required tools in day-to-day SEO operations. Plus they’re free.
Beyond that, there are a few specialty tools worth picking up if you’re doing those types of tasks.
Pretty simple all-in-all.
Here’s how your decision process will go:
- Pick SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Moz as your SEO workhorse.
- Install a SEO plugin if you’re on WordPress.
- Add an advanced SEO crawling tool if your site is massive.
- Add an outreach tool if you’re doing link building.
- Get the free SEO tools in place: Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
Best SEO Tool for Beginners: SEMrush
If you’re new to this whole SEO thing, I highly recommend that you go with SEMrush.
Compared to the other “SEO workhorse” tools, it’s by far the easiest to use. Ahrefs definitely has a learning curve and Moz has never clicked with me — I can never understand where to find anything.
SEMrush’s rank tracking reports are also the best in the industry. I check our reports every morning. Within a few minutes, I feel like I’m in complete control of what’s going on. All the other tools spread stuff out all over the place. Or the reports coddle me too much and don’t have enough density. SEMrush has that perfect balance of usability and depth with its reporting. You’ll have everything you need without getting overwhelmed.
SEMrush has all the other essential parts of a SEO workhorse: link analysis, keyword research, and competitive analysis. All of them are more than good enough to hold their own against the other SEO workhorses.
Just for Quick Sprout fans, SEMrush is offering a 7-day free trial, which they don’t normally do. In order to give you full access to their pro plan, they will ask for a credit card before starting the trial.
Best SEO Tool for Advanced Folks: Ahrefs
If you’re more comfortable with all this SEO stuff and want a tool to really flex your skills, go with Ahrefs.
They’re the “new” SEO kid on…