There's nothing quite like a sudden Google algorithm update to leave you 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 several 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.
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.
For universal SEO tips, you can use today to grow your business, check out our video guide below.
Best SEO Tools
- HubSpot Website Grader
- Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
- UpCity Free SEO Report Card
- Internet Marketing Ninjas
- Bing Webmaster
- Google Trends
- Check My Links
- HubSpot SEO Marketing Software
- Moz Pro
- Screaming Frog SEO Spider
- Keyword Hero
- SE Ranking
Free SEO Tools
These tools are free to use, but you might find a paid option that has more features. We've shared some of the best features in each tool as well as how you can get the most out of them for your SEO strategy.
The goal of marketing is to generate traffic and qualified leads via the company’s website. That’s why, as marketers, we need to understand exactly what we can do to improve the SEO of that website.
With HubSpot’s Website Grader, simply enter the URL of your website to automatically receive a report card with actionable insights about your SEO efforts. From there, you can sign up for the HubSpot Academy SEO course that teaches you how to improve your website's SEO, user experience (UX), and more.
With the HubSpot Website Grader, you can:
- Website performance: Learn about your website’s performance in seconds, and identify specific performance issues and receive clear, actionable feedback on how you can fix them.
- On-demand support: Receive how-to education on how you can improve your website.
- Improve specific website issues: 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.
- Optimize for mobile: Discover how to optimize your website for mobile.
- Boost web security: Learn how you can implement website security best practices.
- Enhance the user experience: Personalize your website’s UX to create a delightful experience for users.
Google Search Console has a number of tools available to help you appear in the SERPs for the search terms and phrases your target audience is looking for.
If you’re the owner of a business or an SEO on your marketing team, Search Console can help you conduct an initial SEO analysis from scratch or update your existing SEO strategy with fresh keywords. Google Search Console monitors, debugs, and optimizes your website — and you don't need to know how to code to benefit from this tool.
Here are some examples of website elements Google Search Console will teach you about and help you optimize:
- Keywords: Learn about the keywords your webpages are currently ranking for.
- Crawl Errors: Identify any crawl errors that exist on your website.
- Mobile Responsiveness: Understand how mobile-friendly your website is and discover opportunities to improve the mobile experience for your users.
- Google Index: See how many of your web pages 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).
- Analytics and Metrics: The website-related metrics that matter most to you, like 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:
- Filtering your referral traffic: Get rid of the traffic that has the potential of ruining SEO reports, such as fake traffic.
- Compare organic versus non-organic website traffic: Understand where your visitors are coming from and optimize those channels to increase traffic.
- Determine engagement metrics: 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: Identify which of your channels led to the most conversions and the value they bring to 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 your email address and a few data points, SEO Report Card will serve up a report that covers the following:
- Rank Analysis: A snapshot of where your website ranks on the most popular search engines.
- 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:
- Broken link tool: Identify broken links and redirects and use the site crawl feature to generate an XML sitemap of your website.
- Image metadata: See 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.
- On-page optimization tool: Use this to evaluate your web page content, meta information, and internal links.
- Side-by-side comparison: Compare the SEO of your web pages versus a competitor’s web pages.
- Page load time: Analyze page-load time and how long each component of a web page takes to fully display.
Microsoft Bing Webmaster gives you access to many tools that offer insight into 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:
- See backlink profiles: Learn about your backlink profile to understand referring pages, domains, and anchor links.
- Perform keyword research: 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: Crawl your website and identify technical SEO errors.
- Get SEO reports: Review any errors that are on your website and individual site pages.
Traditional SEO tools like the ones we've already discussed are great for conducting research and audits when your business is already established. But what if you're starting a new business venture and want to know what popular industries, topics, and ideas people are exploring? Google Trends is a great place to explore untapped potential that can yield a large keyword landscape for your website.
You'll want to note that Google Trends isn't where you'll get granular data. This tool performs best when you use it as a compass to set a direction for your SEO strategy, and then pair those insights with a more robust software like HubSpot's SEO Marketing Tool.
Here's what you should look for in Google Trends:
- Trends: Look for trends in specific countries or regions of the world.
- Popular topics: Find popular people and long tail keywords related to them.
- Comparisons: Compare and contrast trends over time.
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 performance.
Additionally, Seolyzer can help you:
- Monitor SEO issues: Identify poor response time, error messages, and crawl volume so you can resolve them before serious damage is done.
- Manage your unique KPIs: Analyze page performance, crawl volume, HTTP status codes, active and new pages, and desktop versus mobile responsiveness.
- Segment web pages: Determine what your most crawled pages are.
- Compare web pages: See what Google deems as the most important to the pages that are crucial to your business's bottom line.
- Measure SEO impact: Understand 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 for free. This includes on-page SEO audits, internal and external link reviews, real-time URL and domain comparison, and data file export.
Other things you can use SEOquake for are:
- Link Analysis: 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.
- Focus on metrics that matter: Adjust the SEOquake reports you receive to display only the parameters and metrics that you care about.
- Audit your website’s SEO: Identify any SEO-related issues that would be findable by search engines.
- Share your findings with stakeholders: Export the results of your SEO analysis into an adjustable and shareable report.
Seobility 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 Seobility:
- Find technical errors: Resolve on-page SEO issues quickly to recover lost traffic and prevent future traffic dips.
- Accurate SEO scoring: Receive an SEO score that accounts for various website factors including meta-information, page quality, link structure, and more.
- Meta information analysis: 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.
- Optimization opportunities: Identify areas for improvement regarding your page speed and quality (related to text, duplicate content, responsive design, and alt attributes for content).
- Link structure suggestions: Understand how your page and link structure can be improved by getting data about your headers, internal links, and incorrect anchor text.
11. 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:
- Identify broken links: Check each link on your webpages and identify all invalid links.
- Auto-highlight issues: Quickly see the good links in green and the broken links in red.
- Export broken links for further analysis: 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 limited format so you can analyze its 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 include:
- See the number of words on the page: Find the sweet spot for copy length on your webpages.
- Determine the number of internal and external links on your page: This allows you to see how your linking strategy is working on each page.
- See all of your meta information: Review title tags, alt text, and meta descriptions.
13. CWVIQ Alerts
CWVIQ is a free email notification service for website owners to monitor site speed and get notified when your pages are loading slowly. Page speed and Core Web Vitals are essential components of SEO, with website speeds impacting your rankings and user experience. CWVIQ is a free service that pings your website routinely to check for loading speed and other Core Web Vital metrics to alert you in case your website was witnessing any issues. CWVIQ also sends subscribers a weekly summary of the monitored speed through the week, along with CWV metrics.
Examples of what you can do with CWVIQ include:
- Monitor website performance: Obtain weekly reports and analytics on page speed and web performance
- Optimize backend performance: Identify underperforming website elements to improve load times and user experience
Paid 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: $45/ mo for the Starter plan, $800 for professional, and $3,200 for enterprise.
HubSpot's Marketing Hub includes an SEO marketing software tool that's perfect for helping you build authority across your website. Since this software is integrated with HubSpot landing pages, webpages, and blog posts, you'll never miss an opportunity to optimize your content for traffic and conversions.
No matter if you're creating your first content strategy or you're an expert in all things SEO, HubSpot's SEO Marketing Software gives you the tools and the confidence to rank in the SERP and report on your performance.
HubSpot's marketing software doesn't keep SEO in a silo. This tool works in conjunction with:
- Email: Send professional emails using your own branded designs.
- Marketing Automation: Create dynamic campaigns for segmented audiences.
- Lead Management: Track leads through each stage in your sales process.
- Analytics: Review your campaign to identify success and opportunities for improvement.
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 Ahrefs' main features are:
- Site Explorer: Shows you the performance of specific webpages on your website.
- Content Explorer: This allows you to search high-performing webpages under specific keywords and topics.
- Keywords Explorer: Generates the monthly search volume and click-through rates of specific keywords.
- Site Audit: Crawls specified verticals within your domain and reveals a number of technical issues at the page level.
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:
- Build links: Analyze backlinks from other websites to your site.
- Use the Keyword Magic tool: Identify all keywords you need to successfully build an SEO strategy.
- See your competitors' strategies: Identify the paid keywords or ad copy used in the PPC ads of your competition.
- Receive recommendations: See how you can increase your organic traffic by optimizing your content.
Price: 10-day free trial; $29/mo
Sometimes you don't need an SEO tool with all the bells and whistles if you only need to do keyword research. KWFinder is a great software that fills the gap between nuts-and-bolts SEO work and copywriting. You'll find keywords that aren't too difficult to rank for but still carry the potential to bring in traffic.
What makes KWFinder unique is how seamlessly it shifts between languages and regions so that you can serve your audience no matter where in the world they are.
Some of the top features KWFinder offers include:
- Hidden long tail keyword insights: Find long tail keywords that give you more opportunities to acquire traffic.
- Competitor keyword insights: See how your competitor's keyword strategy compares to your own, plus find more keyword opportunities.
- SERP analysis tool: Analyze competition in the SERP to understand what elements readers are looking for on your pages.
- Local keyword research tool: See what searchers are looking for locally and appeal to local markets for more niche traffic.
Price: Free 5-day trial, $29/mo for Standard, $79/mo for Standard, $129/mo for Agency.
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: 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: 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 the Word Count tool: View the word count of any page directly from the SERP.
- Run Facebook Ads: Get a visual of what they look like from a search engine's perspective.
- Use the Keyword Suggestions tool: Get a list of related keywords you might want to rank for along with their Search volume & CPCs.
Price: Free 14-day trial, $79.99/ mo for Pro, $199.99/ 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 sections to help you easily analyze your site and identify targets for optimization. Here are a few features of the report:
- Marketing Checklist: Review common marketing tasks that you can complete as part of your SEO strategy execution.
- SEO: Analyze your SEO metrics against your goals.
- Mobile: Decide which mobile optimization tactics to employ based on the mobile data.
- Social: Get insight into how social media is playing a part in your traffic and SEO goals.
Price: Free 30-day trial, $24/ mo for Starter, $124/ 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: Find them based on their industry and how engaged they are across various social networks.
- Identify candidates for backlinks: These are individuals who will likely be receptive to your backlink request for other reasons that are unique to your business's niche.
8. Moz Pro
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:
- Website crawler: Analyzes up to 3,000 links on a given URL.
- Email report: Details that crawl data for the pages your site links to.
- Insight into various "crawlability" factors: These include duplicate content and redirects that could be influencing your SEO performance.
Price: 30-day free trial; $14.90/ 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:
- "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: See 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: Download 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 €149/ 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 of Screaming Frog SEO Spider are:
- Java Program: Screaming Frog includes an intuitive Java program with easy-to-navigate tabs.
- Easy export to Excel: Further analyze your SEO data.
Price: $249 one-time payment for Life-Time plan, $99/ mo for Subscription (one website), or $899/ mo for Agency (10+ websites)
If you're buying a website domain that has been used in the past, or you're rebuilding a poor SEO strategy, you may discover some problematic backlinks while conducting your audit. Artificial or unnatural links have the potential to seriously hurt your search ranking. Remove'em helps get rid of those links.
This tool has the ability to:
- Scan your backlink profile: Discover a list of contact information for the links and domains you'll need to reach out to for removal.
- Export a list of backlinks: If you wish, you can disavow backlinks by telling Google not to take these "bad" links into account when crawling your site.
Price: $99/ mo for Monthly plan, $79/ mo for Annual plan, $199/ mo for the Expert 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: See when people are talking about your most relevant keywords.
- Monitor keyword trends: Understand keyword research behavior among your target audience and customers.
- See real-time searches: View the keywords and phrases that your audience is researching in real-time.
- Get ideas for your website and blog: Discover new content ideas based on relevant keyword research.
13. 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: Uncover the success you receive from your intended keywords.
- Separate traffic: Identify brand versus non-brand search traffic.
- Optimize your position in the SERPs: Optimize your website for specific target keywords.
- See query details: Understand whether your visitors used informational versus transactional queries to find on your website.
Price: $39/ mo for Basic, $69/ mo for Professional, $129/ mo for Unlimited.
SpyFu is a competitor keyword research tool 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: Use this insight to develop more competitive PPC strategies that can compete in the ad space.
- Download a competitor's SEO keywords: Use this insight to develop more competitive organic keyword strategies that can compete in the SERP.
- Review ranking trends: the ranking of a page or website for a keyword over time.
- Discover keyword ideas: 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: Your website will be automatically crawled and you'll get an immediate notification if something is problematic in terms of SEO.
- Get detailed reports: Find insights about your on-page and off-page SEO elements.
- Use the Domain Comparison tool: Compare two competitors' 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, $319/ mo for Standard, $449/ mo for Pro, or $1,279 for Enterprise.
ContentKing is a 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.
With ContentKing, you can also:
- Improve your SEO: Use ContentKing's 24/7 website audits (and algorithms) to gain insight into your SEO and receive tasks that will help you optimize your webpages.
- Get alerts: Get notified whenever something on your website is broken or is no longer well-optimized so you can efficiently fix the issue.
- Track Changes: Follow the history of all your content changes on your site (such as changes on individual web pages and changes in robots.txt) and search the history of your changes.
- Visualize data: See real-time dashboards and reports.
17. SE Ranking
Price: $39.00/ mo for Essential, $89.00/ mo for Pro, or $189.00/ mo for Business.
SE Ranking is an all-in-one SEO platform that analyzes website health and performance keyword rankings and traffic. It also provides insights into your competitors, allowing you to better understand the SEO landscape and adjust your marketing strategy. Since SE Ranking is a white label SEO tool, you can build custom SEO reports with branding and personalization options.
Now that you've learned about some of the best free and paid SEO tools on the market, determine which option will help you achieve your SEO goals and get started auditing, optimizing, and monitoring your website, individual web pages, and content.
With SE Ranking, you can also:
- Keyword Rank Check: Monitor your and your competitors’ keyword positions and provide accurate keyword rank analysis, evaluate SEO potential, and show historical data changes.
- Website Health Audit: Evaluate all your website pages to create an in-depth report of website tech and performance errors with actionable tips on how to resolve them.
- Competitor Analysis: Scope your competitors’ website traffic dynamics, keyword rankings, and other data in organic and paid searches.
- Backlinks Analysis: Analyze any website and create a complete report of the backlink profile with dynamics of new and lost site links and referring domains, anchor text distribution, and pages linked out to the most.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.