5 Reasons Why SEO Tools are Worth the Investment

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SEO is important for businesses that gain any customers through their website.

It can be done without tools but it will be basic and difficult to do.

Are SEO tools worth it?

If you use your website to gain customers or visibility, some SEO tools are worth the investment. They are especially useful for the following areas:

  • Website audits
  • Keyword research
  • Competitor research
  • Backlink research
  • Tracking your website’s SEO progress

How many SEO tools should you use?

The more competitive the niche, the harder it will be to gain an advantage, hence the more tools you may need.

For small and local businesses in not very competitive niches, one or two SEO tools are probably enough. For larger companies or companies in very competitive fields, three or four tools are probably needed.

The SEO tools you should use depends on:

  • The aspect of your site’s SEO you need to improve
  • What your competitors are doing
  • Your strengths and interests

5 reasons you should invest in SEO tools

Let’s take a closer look at the 5 areas of SEO mentioned above and what tools could help with each one.

1. Website Audits

Sitebulb dashboard screenshot
SItebulb is an excellent SEO tool for auditing sites and finding suggestions for improvements

Website audits come in different forms. Some, for example, aim to look at the security of your site. Others aim to look at how SEO-optimised your website is.

What does SEO-optimised mean? It means how easy it is for Google to crawl, read and understand your website.

You could have the best written product/service descriptions and content in your niché, but it won’t be much use if Google can’t crawl or doesn’t understand it.

Generally, SEO audits find issues such as:

  • Broken links
  • Links to redirects
  • Missing or too long/short meta-descriptions
  • Images that are too large
  • Images with missing alt text
  • Pages without h1s or with too many h1s
  • Pages with ‘thin content’ (i.e., not enough content)
  • Page titles that are too long


All of these issues are theoretically possible to discover without an SEO tool. You could, for example, simply look through your website very carefully and check each page, image, link…

Of course, this would be extremely time-consuming and ineffective.

An SEO tool can crawl your website in minutes and give you a detailed list of issues to fix.

Many SEO tools include audit features that can help you do this.

I recommend Sitebulb, an SEO tool that gives great, in-depth audits which cover all the main issues most crawls do (and more!).

It not only lists your errors, but also prioritises them and gives very helpful suggestions, such as internal linking opportunities.

In my experience, Sitebulb’s crawls are more thorough than most other tools. It can also recrawl specific pages (other tools often require a complete website re-crawl, which can be frustrating when all you want to do is re-check one specific issue).

Sitebulb offers a free 14-day trial for new customers, which I highly recommend! The paid version is also excellent value for money (only £10 a month for the basic version).

2. Keyword research

Semrush

If you want to rank in Google, you first need to know what you want to rank for.

Keyword research is essential for SEO. Without it, the time spent researching and writing blogs could very likely amount to nothing.

Google’s free tool, Google Trends, is a very useful tool for basic keyword research. Using Google itself is also very useful. After all, knowing what is currently ranking for a particular keyword is a big part of keyword research.

However, to do more detailed research around keyword volumes, difficulty, and related keywords, SEO tools are essential.

Semrush (pronounced ‘sem-rush’, not ‘s-e-m-rush’) is one of the most well-known and popular SEO tools out there. It is also the only one (currently) to have IPO’d.

It has multiple useful features, including the world’s largest keyword database, which runs in the billions. It is growing so fast that I won’t put down the current number – it will go out of date too quickly…

In my experience, Semrush often has information on the difficulty and volume of keywords that other tools don’t. This is especially useful if you (or your client) are working in a niché.

I definitely recommend trying out its 7-day trial.

3. Competitor research

Knowing what your competitors are doing is especially important in SEO where, whether you like it or not, you will have to compete directly with them in the search results.

Essential things to know about your competitors are:

  • Who they are
  • How much traffic they are getting
  • What keywords they are ranking for
  • How many (and what) backlinks they have


A number of tools can help you answer these questions.

One of those is Ahrefs. Of particular use is its ‘site explorer’ tool, which gives a detailed overview of any URL.

You can also look at what keywords and backlinks your rivals have that you don’t.   

It has a range of different tools and functions that are worth exploring to find out more about your competition. In the meantime, it’s worth trying out their free 7-day trial.

4. Backlinks

Besides analysing what backlinks you and your competitors have, it’s important to be able to find backlink opportunities. Without the right tool, doing this would be very limited.

There are a number of ways Ahrefs and Semrush, for example, can help you find backlink opportunities. One of the simplest ways is to do the following:

  • Search for your target keyword
  • Copy the URLs of the top ranking results and paste into Ahrefs’ ‘Site explorer’ or Semrush’s ‘Domain overview’
  • Click on the backlinks made available in these tools
  • Toggle the settings to look for broken backlinks for these articles
  • Email these sites to inform them that they have a broken backlink to an article and offer your own article as a potential replacement

This process would be impossible without these tools.

Besides this, there are a number of other techniques that require SEO tools. I will detail those in future blogs. For now, I can simply state that both Ahrefs and Semrush are excellent for all kinds of backlink research.

5. Tracking your website’s SEO progress

Google_Search_Console

Keeping an eye on your overall traffic and rankings is crucial for SEO. It helps your record your progress and understand what you are doing right (or wrong).

A powerful free tool for this is Google Search Console. Once you have set this up, you have a powerful and reliable tool for keeping track of your SEO progress.

Many of the above mentioned paid-for tools also keep track these, too. Semrush can even create white label reports that clearly present the data you need.

Conclusion

Whether you are a fulltime SEO or simply want to improve your site’s traffic and visibility, using at least some SEO tools is essential.

Nowadays, many new SEO tools are appearing and existing ones are continuously improving and increasing their functionality.

Knowing what areas of SEO you need tools for is the first thing to think about. A reminder of what these are:

  • Website audits
  • Keyword research
  • Competitor research
  • Backlink research
  • Tracking your website’s progress

Many tools will cover some or even all of these aspects. Each one has difference strengths.

Fortunately, many of these tools have free trials. I recommend trying them out for yourself and exploring which ones are right for you.

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