SEO, or search engine optimization, has quietly become one of the most essential and powerful tools for promoting a brand or website that has an immediate ROI given that it’s far more cost effective than SEM and/or other paid social media campaigns (though in practice, both SEO + SEM are core part of digital marketing strategies). Encompassing a variety of techniques and strategies to properly adhere / cater to Search Engines’ (perpetually evolving) algorithms, is in many ways a work in progress – especially given that small changes in Google algorithms can upend “tried and true” SEO methods and force even the savviest SEO professional to innovate.
However, even though SEO is constantly shifting and requires a bit of a learning curve for a beginner to master, various studies show that most everyday Internet users never make it past the first five results in any given Google search – and companies that own keyword rankings for a particular topic have a significant leg up on competitors that can’t be dislodged simply by throwing money at advertising and marketing campaigns.
But what are the top tools for SEO professionals? How do SEO professionals perform keyword research and develop content and linking strategies to dominate the search terms in their particular market vertical? What tools can allow you to track the ways your competitors are implementing their own SEO strategies? Here are four of the most trusted and widely adopted SEO tools that the pros use, and that you should consider leveraging to help grow your own brand and reach more potential client and customer leads.
While there are new keyword research and SEO measuring dashboards emerging by the month, the current gold standard among SEO pros is Ahrefs. While Ahrefs was not the first comprehensive SEO measuring and strategy implementation platform, it has risen above similar tools like RankTracker and Cyfe because of the wide array of analytics tools it provides. Some of the most useful for SEO profs include:
Once SEO professionals have proven data that identifies essential keywords for targeting, the next step is to generate landing page and blog content that helps your website attract Google’s attention. However, content can’t just include keyword stuffing, which is the main mistake many SEO newbies make – in fact, Google’s algorithms have been proven to recognize quality and reputable content, and that means your content needs to be keyword optimized and truly useful for visitors.
But how do you strike a balance between the two? Enter Yoast, a popular WordPress plugin that allows you to measure your content for SEO efficiency as you create it. Once you install the Yoast plugin into your WordPress dashboard, it offers a few essential features for content writers to review as they write, including:
While these previous tools are largely geared toward providing SEO professionals information for developing a content and keyword strategy, a powerful website monitoring tool like ChangeTower offers the ability to stay on top of competitors and notify you about changes as they happen. ChangeTower works as a perfect complement to a tool like Ahrefs, offering a few additional features that can even better streamline your SEO initiatives. Some of the most useful features include:
For SEO professionals and website owners looking for an alternative to Yoast for sites that don’t incorporate WordPress, an emerging and useful option is ClearScope. While ClearScope offers many similar tools to Yoast, and can function similarly in letting you optimize and edit content as it is written, ClearScope also has a few unique benefits of its own that have led to rapid adoption among SEO pros over the past few years. Some of these unique benefits include: