Using strategic SEO tools is an important way to help your website organically rank at the top of a web search. Appearing on page 1 of the search results is critical, according to a 2019 study done by Clickflow and Backlinko that analyzed 5 million Google queries. Their analysis states that the #1 result in Google's search results receives 31.7% of all clicks, and less than 1% of Google users go to the second page to find results.
There are many factors that can help a website rank higher in a particular search, such as backlinks from reputable sites, targeted keywords and relevant content. Free and paid SEO tools can help you know how your website is performing and how to improve it.
SEO Tools That Tell You Where You Rank Now
Before trying to improve your position on the search page, your company needs to know how users currently find your website and the pages they visit now.
According to Kenny Mazursky, founder of Down to Earth Marketing, small businesses can use free SEO tools like Google Search Console (GSC) to get the organic search results and analytics they need to build a plan. GSC can help your company measure your site's search (organic and paid) traffic and performance. You can submit sitemaps and other URLs for Google to crawl to index your website to help it rank higher in search results. Google can also alert you when there are problems, like website indexing and pages not found issues, and let you know which URLS are affected.
This free SEO tool includes Google Analytics, which shows the search queries and sources that attract users to your site. It helps analyze your site's impressions (page views), clicks (clicking through to a link) and position on Google's search page. These SEO tools should be used weekly or monthly to track changes and any progress toward your goal.
However, not every user searches with Google. According to Statista, which has been tracking global search engine market share for the last decade, Google dominates with a 86.6% of all searches. Their next closest competitor is Bing at 6.7% and Yahoo! at 2.7%. These search engines have slight differences on how they rank results. While all search engines value backlinks and content, Google emphasizes the effectiveness and speed of your mobile site, whereas Bing uses social media in ranking as part of their algorithm. Regardless of what engines your customers use, SEO tools can help you deploy a better discoverability strategy.
How SEO Tools Can Help Your Business to Organically Rank Higher
Now that you know how and where users come to your site, you can employ SEO tools to increase your search ranking without having to be an expert. One of the most popular “all in one” SEO tools is Moz Pro. According to David Crown, CEO of Los Angeles Property Management Group, Moz Pro is “the best balance of hard numbers analysis and intuitive user experience. I especially appreciate the link research options, which have helped us shape our link-building strategy."
If you already use WordPress to manage your site, another accessible "all in one" SEO tool is AIOSEO. This plug in to WordPress makes it easy to set up based on your industry. In less than an hour, you can use SEO features like sitemaps, optimized search appearance, SEO meta titles and descriptions, and SEO keywords.
Some business owners like to use more niche SEO tools to dive deeper into a specific organic ranking strategy. Typically, when a search engine evaluates a web site, it looks at several facets, including:
Using SEO Tools to Track the Number of High Value Backlinks
Reputable websites linking to your site can increase its ranking on an online search. Lianne Sanders, content editor at fitness website Total Shape, suggests Ahrefs because it “provides good recommendations on how I can improve my backlinks. It has a huge backlink index which is incredibly important in my work.” The list is built by crawling the entire web and displaying the most up-to-date backlink index. The site explorer part of this SEO tool is essential since it displays what is working for your competitors.
Google ranks insightful and relevant content—content that gives better answers to keyword queries—higher in their search results. This is also based on indexed content and its length.
Andrew Maff, CEO of marketing company Bluetuskr, mentions SEMRush as his favorite SEO tool. “It gives me all of the metrics I need to follow both our on-page SEO strategies as well as off-page," he says. "I love how it also helps us find backlink prospects for us. Before we were manually searching and it was a pain.”
Using SEO Tools to Conduct Relevant Keyword Research
Creating content with strong keywords is a must for SEO success. To do that, you need to know what relevant content people are actually searching for. Google Keyword Planner is a free SEO tool that can help you to discover new keywords related to your business and see estimates of the number of searches they receive on the web. If you're interested in paid search options, Google Keyword Planner also can show you the cost to target specific keywords.
But other research tools can offer different options and more data. Kevin Bloom, director of marketing at Hinge, a branding and marketing firm for professional services, recommends Ubersuggest for keyword research. “It helps me identify more popular search terms and understand how difficult it would be to rank for those terms,” he says.
How SEO Tools Help You Create Relevant Content
Search engines rank insightful and relevant content—content that gives better answers to keyword queries—higher in their search results. This is also based on indexed content and its length. Michael Steele, CEO of Flywheel Digital, which helps optimize digital retail for manufacturers, says that Surfer SEO helps “create clear content briefs with recommendations based on AI and natural language processing. Knowing how long content should be, what languages should be included, and what subtopics to cover has helped improve the rankings of content to generate phenomenal results for clients, while saving time and effort on our end.”
Gerald Lombardo, co-founder of The Word Counter, a grammar tools company, suggests the new Google Question Hub as one of the top SEO tools which allows content creators and copywriters to gain direct insight on what users search for. “This tool helps you zero in on the questions of your audience and provides solutions that you can configure into your site's content and direct more traffic to your pages. We're able to identify content gaps and then create comprehensive answers that fill those gaps,” he says.
Local SEO Tools
People are increasingly searching for local products and services. Evian Gutman, founder of Padlifter, a marketplace for short term renters, likes MozBar, a Chrome browser extension where, based on what the user is looking for, “you can create custom searches by engine, country, region or city," he says. "You can find and highlight keywords on a page and differentiate links by type (e.g. follow vs. no-follow links, internal vs. external links). You're able to quickly assess ranking probability of a page coming up in a particular search with the two key metrics of page authority and domain authority.” ("Authority" measures the strength of a single page, domain or subdomain to get you to rank higher on a search page.)
How to rank higher on an online search page can be more art than science. But these SEO tools will give you the information you need to help your website rank higher for relevant searches for your business.
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