There's nothing quite like a sudden Google algorithm update to leave marketers feeling equal parts confused and concerned. It seems as though search engines like Google wait for you to get all of your ducks in a row and then unleash an update that makes your efforts instantly obsolete.
Plus, there's still some secrecy behind how Google evaluates websites and determines which sites appear — and how they appear — on the search engine results page (SERPs) for different queries.
The good news is that there are a number of search engine optimization (SEO) tools out there — some free, some paid — that can help you view your website the way search engines like Google see it — this way, you can improve your ranking and relevance for your target keywords.
In this blog article, we’ll review 11 free SEO tools and 14 paid SEO tools.
(Note: Some of the free tools below also offer paid plans while some of the paid tools also offer free plans — so, we recommend you check out the pricing pages for the tools you’re most interested in to determine which plan is ideal for your needs and goals.)
Best SEO Tools
- HubSpot Website Grader
- Google Search Central: Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
- UpCity Free SEO Report Card
- Internet Marketing Ninjas
- Bing Webmaster
- Check My Links
- Moz Pro Tools
- Screaming Frog SEO Spider
- Keyword Hero
11 Free SEO Tools
Marketers work to generate traffic and qualified leads via their company’s website. That’s why it’s important for marketers to understand exactly what they can do to improve the impact and SEO of that website.
With HubSpot’s Website Grader, simply enter the URL of your website and you’ll automatically receive a Report Card with actionable insights about your SEO efforts. From there, you can sign up for the HubSpot Academy Website Optimization course that teaches you how to improve your website's SEO, user experience (UX), and more based on the type of feedback you received on your Report Card.
With the HubSpot Website Grader, you can:
- Learn about your website’s performance in just seconds.
- Identify specific performance issues and receive clear, actionable feedback on how you can fix them.
- Receive how-to education and on-demand support on how you can improve your website.
- Gain access to a five-lesson HubSpot Academy course on Website Optimization so you can understand how to improve upon your website’s specific problem areas.
- Discover how to optimize your website for mobile.
- Learn how you can implement website security best practices.
- Personalize your website’s UX to create a delightful experience for users.
Google Search Central (formerly known as Google Webmasters) has a number of tools meant to help you appear in the SERPs for the search terms and phrases your target audience is looking for.
If you’re a business person or marketer, Search Central guides you to use Google Search Console to help with your SEO and website analysis. Google Search Console monitors, debugs, and optimizes your website — and there's no coding knowledge necessary.
Here are some examples of website elements Google Search Console will teach you about and help you optimize.
- The keywords that currently rank on your website.
- Any crawl errors that exist on your website.
- The mobile-friendliness of your website.
- The number of your web pages that are in Google’s Index (if they aren't in Google's Index, you can use the tool's URL Inspection Tool to submit a page for indexing).
- The website-related metrics that matter most to you including clicks, impressions, average click-through-rate (CTR), and average position.
Although Google Analytics has a paid version, the free version of the product can help you manage your website’s SEO — this is especially true if you pair Google Analytics with Google Search Console. In doing so, all of your website’s SEO data will be centrally located and compiled, and you can use queries to identify areas for improvement with the keywords and phrases that you want your website and web pages to rank for.
Other ways that you can use the free version of Google Analytics to understand and improve your SEO are:
- Remove spam traffic — or filter your referral traffic — to get rid of the traffic that has the potential of ruining SEO reports, such as fake referrers (which bring fake traffic to your website).
- Compare organic versus non-organic website traffic.
- Identify which of your web pages receive the most traffic so you’re able to understand what you can do to improve SEO on those pages.
- Use Site Content Reports to determine engagement metrics on each web page, engagement for the directories and pages on your website, page exit metrics, as well as acquisition, behavior, and conversion of landing pages.
- Review the Multi-Channel Report’s Assisted Conversions feature to identify which of your Channels — which are defined as sources of your traffic, such as paid and organic search or referral sites — led to the most sales or conversions, and the value of those sales and conversions for your business.
The Free SEO Report Card by UpCity lets you analyze your website to determine how it stacks up against the competition.
In exchange for a bit of your contact information, SEO Report Card will serve up a report that covers the following:
- Rank Analysis: A snapshot of where your website ranks on Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Your ranking is based on your main keywords.
- Link Building: A detailed account of the number of websites that link back to your site.
- On-Site Analysis: A look at how successful you were in incorporating your main keyword throughout your site.
- Website Accessibility: Information about your site's load time and accessibility.
- Trust Metrics: An overview of your site's level of trust or authority.
- Current Indexing: An indication of how many of your site pages have been indexed.
Internet Marketing Ninjas is an SEO-focused company with a variety of free tools you can use to compare your website against the competition, optimize web pages for certain keywords, generate meta tags, and increase organic traffic to your website.
Here are some examples of the free Internet Marketing Ninja SEO tools you can take advantage of:
- Identify broken links and redirects and use the site crawl feature to generate an XML sitemap of your website.
- View images (plus their alt text and display size) and all of your page links (external, internal, etc.) on your web pages to review what’s working well and what’s broken or needs an update.
- Use the on-page optimization tool to evaluate your web page content, meta information, and internal links.
- Get a side-by-side comparison of the SEO of your web pages versus a competitor’s web pages.
- Analyze page-load time and how long each component of a web page takes to fully display.
Microsoft Bing Webmaster gives you access to a number of tools that offer insight into your your website such as reporting, diagnostic, and SEO tools. The SEO tools that you can use for free have the power to help you analyze your website, manage backlinks, and review keywords to ensure your site is well-optimized for organic search.
Here are some of the other things you can do with Bing Webmaster's SEO tools:
- Learn about your backlink profile to understand referring pages, domains, and anchor links.
- Perform keyword research to determine which keywords and phrases your audience is searching for as well as the search volumes of those keywords and phrases.
- Use the site scanning feature to crawl your website and identify technical SEO errors.
- Get SEO reports that tell you about any errors that are on your website and individual site pages.
Seolyzer is a free site crawling, log analysis, and SEO tool that helps you determine how search engines like Google view your website. Seolyzer pulls information that crawling bots leave in your server’s log files while browsing your site to identify and create your SEO KPIs. The tool also identifies error codes, redirects, and page speed and performance.
Additionally, Seolyzer can help you:
Quickly identify, and continually monitor, SEO issues on your website such as poor response time, error messages, and crawl volume so you can resolve them before serious damage is done.
Manage and analyze your unique KPIs with Seolyzer such as page performance, crawl volume, HTTP status codes, active and new pages, and desktop versus mobile responsiveness.
Segment your web pages to determine what your most crawled pages are.
Compare your web pages that Google deems as the most important to the ones that you deem as the most important (e.g. revenue-focused pages).
Measure the impact of your SEO efforts on a page-by-page basis or by the category of the page.
SEOquake is a Google Chrome extension that automatically checks a web page’s SEO parameters quickly and for free. This includes on-page SEO audits, internal and external link review, real-time URL and domain comparison, and data file export.
Other things you can use SEOquake for are:
- Get a detailed description of how all of your links are doing — including URLs, anchor text, and other link types — with the tools Link Examiner feature.
- Adjust the SEOquake reports you receive to display only the parameters and metrics that you care about.
- Compare different domains or URLs for the SEO parameters that matter to you.
- Audit your website’s SEO to identify any SEO-related issues that would be findable by search engines.
- Export the results of your SEO analysis into an adjustable and shareable report.
Seoability is a free SEO-checker tool. With it, you can test your website’s level of compliance with today’s SEO guidelines. By simply entering your URL, your site will be analyzed and you’ll receive tips on how you can better optimize your website.
In addition to a detailed SEO audit of your website, you’ll gain access to 1,000 subpage audits, email reporting and alerts, and keyword monitoring.
Here are some more advantages of using Seoability:
- Find technical errors and other on-page SEO issues so you can resolve them quickly.
- Receive an SEO score for various website factors including meta-information, page quality, link structure, and more.
- Understand the specific SEO issues with your meta information such as meta titles/ descriptions, meta tags, and invalid or incorrect domain names or page URLs.
- Identify areas for improvement regarding your page speed and quality (related to text, duplicate content, responsive design, and alt attributes for content).
- Understand how your page and link structure can be improved by getting data about your headers, internal links, incorrect anchor text, and number of links.
10. Check My Links
Check My Links is a Google Chrome extension that you can use to ensure your links on both internal or external web pages work. For instance, if you were to search a term on Wikipedia, Check My Links would be able to tell you how many links that Wikipedia page has in total and how many of those links are broken.
This is helpful because you can make corrections to broken links immediately (or hopefully, before a page goes live). Check My Links is ideal for developers, content editors, and web designers according to its creators.
Here are some more examples of what Check My Links can do:
- Check each link on your web pages and identify all invalid and broken links.
- Auto-highlight the good links in green and the broken links in red.
- Copy all of your bad links to your clipboard in one click.
BROWSEO is an SEO browser that allows you to review your webpage in a stripped-down format so you can analyze it's UX and content as well as gain insight into its SEO. Once you input the URL, the output will hone in on your HTML so you're able to understand the page's structure, optimized search terms, and other SEO-related factors.
Examples of what you can do with BROWSEO are:
- Get the number of words on the page.
- Discover your server response code.
- Determine the number of internal and external links on your page.
- Identify the headers on your web page.
- Get all of your meta information (e.g. title tag, meta description).
14 SEO Tools
Next, let’s look at some paid SEO tools. (Note that some of these tools have free trial periods. Some also offer entirely free plans but with restrictions in terms of flexibility and customization.)
Price: Seven-day trial for $7, $99/ mo for Lite, $179/ mo for Standard, $399/ mo for Advanced, $999/ mo for Agency
Ahrefs is an advanced SEO resource that examines your website property and produces keyword, link, and ranking profiles to help you make better decisions on your content.
Some of its main features are:
- Site Explorer, which shows you the performance of specific webpages on your website.
- Content Explorer, which allows you to search high-performing webpages under specific keywords and topics.
- Keywords Explorer, which generates the monthly search volume and click-through rates of specific keywords.
- Site Audit, which crawls specified verticals within your domain and reveals a number of technical issues at the page level.
When using the Keyword Explorer, Ahrefs also produces the "parent topic" of the keyword you looked up. A keyword's parent topic is a broader keyword with higher search volume than your intended keyword, but likely has the same audience and ranking potential. This gives you more a valuable SEO opportunity.
Price: $119.95/ mo for Pro, $229.95/ mo for Guru, or $449.95/ mo for Business
SEMrush is an elaborate dashboard that reports on the performance of domains as a whole and their specific pages. SEMrush offers numerous resources, one of which is the SEO Toolkit.
Toolkit allows you to track a website’s visibility improvement over time as well as identify which keywords it's ranking for, what the page's rank is for a keyword, the keyword's monthly search volume, and more.
SEMrush also allows you to:
- Compare your page performance against your competition.
- Analyze backlinks from other websites to your site (also known as link building).
- Research appropriate keywords.
- Discover and take advantage of similar on-page SEO opportunities.
- Use the Keyword Magic Tool to identify all keywords you need to successfully build a profitable SEO or PPC campaign.
- Identify the paid keywords or ad copy used in the PPC ads of your competition.
- Use the social media publishing and analytics tools.
- Receive recommendations for how you can increase your organic traffic by optimizing your content.
- Upgrade your account at any time for greater flexibility and more features.
Price: Free five-day trial, $29/ mo
GrowthBar is a Chrome extension that can help you perform keyword research, competitive analysis, and track SEO rankings. With the GrowthBar, access data points about any website directly from the search engine results pages. This allows you to assess your competitors' performance and view the growth channels, keywords, backlinks, and ads that are working for them.
Here are some more key features of GrowthBar:
Use the Top Keywords and Backlinks feature to see which paid and organic keywords are driving the most traffic for your website and get a list of the most authoritative backlinks pointing to your site.
Get your Keyword Difficulty Score to quickly assess how hard it would be to rank for a particular keyword based on the strength of the domain authorities of the URLs ranking on page one.
Use Word Count to view the word count of any page directly from the SERP.
Run Facebook Ads and get a visual of what they look like from a search engine's perspective.
Use the Keyword Suggestions tool to get a list of related keywords you might want to rank for along with their Search volume & CPCs.
Price: Free 14-day trial, $59.00/ mo for Pro, $179.00/ mo for Premium, or contact for Enterprise quote
Woorank's in-depth site analysis helps marketers reveal opportunities for optimization and improvement. This analysis takes into account the performance of existing SEO initiatives, social media, usability, and more.
Each report is divided into eight sections to help you easily analyze your site and identify targets for optimization — here are the sections:
- Marketing Checklist
Price: Free 30-day trial, $24/ mo for Starter, $99/ mo for Group, $299/ mo for Professional, $999+ for Custom
Although backlinks to your website are critical to ranking well on Google, the outreach you do while link building can feel a lot like cold calling. BuzzStream makes it easy to research the appropriate people, come up with effective email messages, and track who's accepted each link request.
BuzzStream also helps you:
- Identify candidates for outreach based on their industry.
- Identify candidates for outreach based on how engaged they are across various social networks.
- Identify candidates who will likely be receptive to your backlink request for other reasons that are unique to your business's niche.
Price: Free 30-day trial, $99/ mo for Standard, $149/ mo for Medium, $249/ mo for Large, $599/ mo for Premium
The Moz Pro subscription serves as an all-in-one tool for increasing your business' search ranking. Moz's collection of research tools provides subscribers with the resources they need to identify SEO opportunities, track growth, build reports, and optimize their efforts.
Moz Pro also includes:
- A website crawler that analyzes up to 3,000 links on a given URL.
- An email report that details that crawl data for the pages your site links to.
- Insight into various "crawlability" factors, such as duplicate content and redirects, that could be influencing your SEO performance.
Price: $14.50/ mo for Webmaster, $24.90/ mo for Advanced, $49.90/ mo for Pro, 99.90/ mo for Agency, and $153.90 /mo for Agency XL
The best way to understand the performance of your off-page SEO is by having a good overview of your backlinks. Linkody allows you to discover, track, analyze, and disavow backlinks all from an easy-to-use interface.
Aside from that, the tool checks your links 24/7 and informs you of any changes so you can take immediate action in case a link is lost or broken.
Other Linkody features include:
- The ability to “spy” on your competitors’ backlinks. Simply enter the URL of your competitor and let the tool pull all the links and metrics. The information returned will help you discover niche-relevant, high-quality backlink opportunities for your brand.
- Gain useful insights into your most important metrics when it comes to backlink tracking, such as the ‘rel’ attribute, Google indexation status, the website’s Domain Authority, Spam Score, Alexa rank, and more.
- Create white-label reports that can be shared with your team and/or clients to get a better idea of your backlink distribution and link-building progress.
Price: Free or €99/ year
Designed specifically for the SEO-minded, this program crawls the websites you specify, examining the URLs for common SEO issues. This program simplifies and expedites an otherwise time-consuming process — especially for larger websites. (It could take hours or days to manually evaluate the same URLs.)
Other notable features are:
- An intuitive Java program with easy-to-navigate tabs.
- Easy export to Excel for further analysis of any of your data. For instance, if you use Optify, Moz, or RavenSEO to monitor your links or rankings for specific keywords, you could simply create a .csv file from your spreadsheet, make a few adjustments for the proper formatting, and upload it to those tools.
Price: $249 one-time payment for Life-Time plan, $99/ mo for Subscription (one website), or $899/ mo for Agency (10+ websites)
Artificial or unnatural links have the potential to seriously hurt your search ranking. Remove'em helps get rid of those links. The tool has the ability to:
- Scan your backlink profile and turn up a list of contact information for the links and domains you'll need to reach out to for removal.
- Export that list if you wish to disavow them using Google's tool.
- Tell Google not to take these "bad" links into account when crawling your site.
Price: $99/ mo for Monthly plan, $79/ mo for Annual plan, $399/ mo for Enterprise plan
AnswerThePublic is a search listening and keyword tool that listens to autocomplete data from Google and other search engines, and then provides you with a list of phrases and questions that people are searching for around your keyword. This allows you to craft your website and content to your audience to increase traffic and conversions.
With AnswerThePublic, you can also:
- Receive updates when people are talking about your most relevant keywords.
- Monitor keyword trends and understand keyword research behavior among your target audience and customers.
- View the keywords and phrases that your audience is researching in real-time.
- Get ideas for your website and blog content based on relevant keyword research.
11. Keyword Hero
Price: 14-day trial for any plan, Free for Little Hero, $9/ mo for Big Hero, $49/ mo for Giant Hero, and $149/ mo for Ultimate Hero
Keyword Hero pairs your visitor's sessions with the keywords they used to land on your page, all within your Google Analytics account. In other words, this tool gives you an understanding of the search intent of your organic traffic.
Here are some more actions you can take with Keyword Hero:
- Identify the organic traffic and conversions you receive from your intended keywords.
- Optimize your site structure and web pages for your target keywords.
- Separate your brand versus non-brand search traffic.
- Optimize your position in the SERPs by optimizing your website for specific target keywords.
- Identify the type of query (informational versus transactional) that your visitors used to arrive on your website.
Price: $39/ mo for Basic, $79/ mo for Professional, $299/ mo for Team
SpyFu is a competitor keyword research for Google Ads. In addition to keyword research, it helps with PPC competitive research, SEO competitive research, and the creation of custom lists and domains.
The tool helps you drive traffic to your Google Ads campaigns and website, monitor both paid and organic rankings on Google, Bing, and Yahoo, and obtain reliable and accurate contact information for leads.
With SpyFu, you can also:
- Download a competitor's PPC keywords to understand their clicks and how much they pay for keywords.
- Track the domains bidding on your Google Ads.
- Download a competitor's SEO keywords.
- Review the ranking overtime of a page or website for a keyword.
- Identify the backlinks your competitors use.
- Discover keyword ideas and get keyword advice for your Google Ads to increase chances of conversion.
Price: Pay as You Go (starting at $5), $19/ mo for Small Business, $49/ mo for Professional, $179/ mo for Unlimited
Seomater is an SEO auditing and website crawling tool. It assists with technical SEO analysis and SEO on-page optimization testing. Once the tool crawls your site, you'll receive an SEO report that explains your website's various SEO-related elements including internal and external links, backlinks, page quality and speed, social media, organic presence, and more.
Your analysis will also come with tips on how you can improve each of these SEO elements. In addition, you can:
- Use the SEO Monitoring Alerts feature so your website is automatically crawled and so you're notified immediately if something is problematic in terms of SEO.
- Get up to 13 detailed reports about your on-page and off-page SEO aspects.
- Use the Domain Comparison tool to compare two competitor's websites to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their SEO (such as broken links, content quality, HTML tags, and more).
Price: $139/ mo for Basic, $219/ mo for Standard, $319/ mo for Premium, or contact a rep for an Enterprise quote
ContentKing is real-time SEO auditing and content tracking tool — it tracks your website 24/7 so any issues related to SEO don't go unnoticed for too long. The tool is cloud-based, meaning there's no installation required and your data and reports are available whenever you need them.
You can also:
- Use ContentKing's 24/7 website audits (and algorithms) to gain insight into your SEO and receive tasks that will help you improve your SEO.
- Get alerted whenever something on your website is broken or is no longer well-optimized so you can efficiently fix the issue.
- Track all of your content changes on your site (such as changes on individual web pages and changes in robots.txt) and search your changes history.
- Visualize data (from all of your websites) with real-time dashboards and reports.
- Easily collaborate with your team or clients from within the tool.
Now that you've learned about 25 free and paid SEO tools, determine which option will help you achieve your SEO goals and get started auditing, optimizing, and monitoring your website, individual web pages, and content.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Feb 10, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated February 11 2021