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If you’re familiar with SEO (Search Engine Optimization), you know how ever-changing and evolving the industry is. While anyone in this field needs to stay up on the latest industry trends, the most important part of the job is tracking and strategizing your SEO plan. Trying to do this without an SEO tool is a fool’s errand.
This comparison looks at the leading SEO software options and distinguishes what sets them apart from one another. You’ll notice that these solutions have free trials, but after that, there is a monthly fee involved. While there are free SEO tools out there, any experienced online marketer knows that to find a quality solution, you’re going to have to pay for it.
It’s important to keep in mind what you’re looking for in your SEO marketing before choosing a tool. Are you the webmaster for one website? Are you an SEO service provider with dozens of clients? Do you just need a keyword tracker?
How about an easier way to do keyword research? Or maybe you have a great keyword strategy and just need to focus on backlinks. There are different tools for different goals and some tools that try to combine every possible SEO strategy.
Best SEO Tools
We’ve chosen three SEO tools that set themselves apart from the competition based on what they’re best for.
It’s always a concern when it seems like one product is trying to do too many things at once. This was my hesitation when I first learned about SEMRush years ago. But after a few years of daily use, I’m comfortable saying that SEMrush does a little bit of everything, and does it all well.
The backbone of SEMrush is the Analytics Reports. From this tool, you can research search data, traffic and competitors for a domain or a keyword. If you are into paid advertising, you can get a deep look into what keywords your competitors are bidding on and how much traffic they are generating from their efforts.
Piggybacking on all of this research is SEMrush’s backlink analysis. We are customers of SEMrush and use most features of the service in our SEO marketing.
SEMrush is constantly adding new features. Some of its latest additions include:
- Ability to track mentions of your brand or a specific topic on forums like Reddit & Quora
- New Traffics Analytics API
- Instagram returns to their Social Media Toolkit
- Open beta version of Log File Analyzer
- New Audience Targeting report lets you collect data on the audience that viewed ads from a domain you’re interested in
Here is an overview of SEMrush’s interface:
SEMrush offers a 7-day money back guarantee on all plans. The following prices are monthly. You get discounts if you pay annually.
|Price Per Month||$99.95||$199.95||$399.95||Must Contact|
|Reports Per Day||3,000||5,000||10,000||Must Contact|
|Scheduled PDF Reports||5||20||50||Must Contact|
SEMrush also provides custom plans if there isn’t a stock product that works perfectly for you. For example, if you just want to add another session (simultaneous login) or user, you can pay for this a la carte.
Our readers have access to an exclusive 14 day free trial for SEMrush Pro! Just use this link to get started.
AuthorityLabs is your go-to tool for daily search engine ranking tracking. The local tracking feature (you can filter by country, city or zip code), is a great tool for those targeting local areas. Other features include competitor tracking and mobile rankings.
Another unique feature is the “Now Provided” report. By linking your account with Google Analytics, you’ll be able to easily see what terms you are ranking for and can implement those terms into AuthorityLabs with one click. If you have multiple domains covering the same topic, you can save time with domain groups — a unique feature in our findings. We have used AuthorityLabs in the past to track keywords by monetary value.
New additions to AuthorityLabs include:
- Data API is newly redesigned for user-friendliness
- Ability to collect custom data points about specific SERP features
- Can track product rankings on Amazon, Walmart, Targets and more
Here’s a look at the AuthorityLabs Interface:
AuthorityLabs offers a 30-day free trial.
|Price Per Month||$49||$99||$225||$450 (Starting)|
Ahrefs offers among the best backlink analysis available among all SEO tools. Not only is its backlink database massive compared to other tools, but Ahrefs’ competitor analysis is also among the best.
Another top feature is its Content Explorer, which searches the web for the most popular content for any keyword or topic. Other key features include SERP overview and position history, related keyword ideas and the difficulty level. Ahrefs takes some time to learn, but its results are worth the learning curve.
New additions to Ahrefs include:
- Content Explorer 2.0 (total revamp) unveiled in April 2019, includes UI & filtering improvements, broken pages, content trends graph, new in-line charts and more
- Release of Keyword Explorer 3.0 (major backend updates): tools are faster, and they added 9 more search engines, including Yahoo, YouTube, Bing, Amazon and more
Here is a look at Ahref’s interface:
Ahrefs offers a 7-day trial for $7 for its Lite and Standard plans. You can save 20% off the following prices if you pay annually.
|Price Per Month||$99||$179||$399||$999|
|Number of Users||1||1||3||5|
While these services didn’t crack our “Best of” awards, they are all worthy of a look if you are serious about search engine optimization.
If you’re looking for backlink analysis but can’t afford Ahrefs, our top choice for backlink SEO research, LINKCheetah is a solid alternative. Although it’s relatively new on the SEO scene, it’s getting great reviews so far — and its monthly cost is far less than Ahrefs. But, you get less, too.
Unlike Ahrefs, however, LINKCheetah is solely a backlink analysis tool. LINKCheetah is reliable for what it gives you, and if backlink research is all you need, it’s worth considering. Otherwise, you may want to look elsewhere.
Here is a screenshot of LINKCheetah:
LINKCheetah offers a 14-day free trial. You can save 25% off of the following prices if you pay annually. All plans include all of its features.
- $49/month for 500 domains
- $79/month for 2,500 domains
- $129/month for 5,000 domains
- $199/month for $10,000 domains
Long Tail Pro’s core areas are keyword research, competitor analysis and rank checking, but its main strength is as a keyword ranking tool. Long Tail Pro pulls keywords from Google’s Keyword Planner and uses a unique Keyword Competitiveness algorithm to calculate each keyword’s ranking potential (on a 1-100 scale).
This tool can save you a ton of time by quickly analyzing the top 10 results in Google for each of your keywords. It also checks SERP data points in your meta tags, domain and page authority and much more. Its new Rank Value tool gives you an estimated monetary value, including income from AdWords and Amazon Affiliates, of ranking in the #1 spot for any given keyword.
Here is a screenshot of Long Tail Pro:
Long Tail Pro offers a 10-day money back guarantee and 30% off if you pay annually.
|Price Per Month||$37||$67||$147|
|Daily Keyword Lookups||800||2,500||6,000|
Majestic (formally MajesticSEO) is laser-focused as a leading backlink history checker. As you probably expect, with this tool you can track referring domains and backlinks to any URL. Where does Majestic start to differentiate itself? The detailed reporting of new and lost backlinks and anchor text reports.
The feature we are most impressed by is Majestic’s custom Trust Flow and Citation Flow scores. Trust flow is a method of looking at a site’s link profile and comparing that profile to other websites with a similar profile. If those sites are quality, the Trust Flow is higher. If those sites are not quality, the Trust Flow is lower.
Citation flow looks at the number of links and the quality of them and assigns a score. We are customers of Majestic and use it as our primary backlink tracker.
Here’s a look at Majestic’s interface:
All plans include a 7-day money-back guarantee.
|Price Per Month||$49.99||$99.99||$399.99|
|Number of Users||1||1||5|
|Analyzable Links||1 Million||20 Million||100 Million|
Moz is a known leader in the SEO world. Its blog is consistently one of the best resources for online marketers. There are a handful of Moz products available, but we’re focusing on its most popular product, Moz Pro.
The core competency of Moz Pro is tracking keyword rankings, but you also get access to Moz’s Link Explorer — a powerful link profile analysis. Another fantastic feature is a site crawl that identifies possible SEO issues, similar to SEMrush’s Site Audit.
Here is a look at Moz Pro’s keyword tracking interface:
Moz Pro offers a 30-day free trial. You can also save 20% off the following monthly prices if you pay annually.
|Price Per Month||$99||$179||$249||$999|
Raven Tools’ main focus is on custom reporting, so if you are an agency that represents a lot of clients, this could be a good fit. Raven started as an agency more than 10 years ago and couldn’t find an online marketing solution that had everything it needed, so it created its own.
Its drag-and-drop reporting allows you to provide an all-encompassing report for whatever your client desires. Raven Tools has a site auditor, keyword ranking reporting and a link checker. You can create white-label reports with performance metrics from Google Analytics, Search Console, AdWords, Facebook, Bing Ads and more.
Here’s a look at Raven’s site auditor:
Raven Tools offer a 14-day free trial. You can save up to 30% if you pay annually. All plans offer unlimited branded reports.
|Price Per Month||$49||$109||$199||$299||$479|
|Monthly Page Crawls||50,000||400,000||2 million||5 million||7 million|
IMPORTANT NOTE: This SEO service is currently closed to new members, and there’s no pricing information. We are unclear on whether this product is still for sale or supported. We do not recommend signing up at this time.
SEOBook, owned and operated by SEO guru Aaron Wall, is slightly different than all of the other offerings in this comparison. Wall’s business started in 2003 with one of the most successful SEO books in history and then transitioned his efforts into an online SEO course.
The course is geared towards novice marketers — it claims that you are hiring your own personal SEO expert when you pay for its service. At $300 a month, the cost isn’t cheap, but if you’ve made it this far in the article and you’re completely overwhelmed by the content, a personal SEO expert might not be a bad move.
Once you join, you get personal interaction, but SEOBook also has its own proprietary tools like a keyword suggestion tool, keyword list generator, keyword ranker and competitive analysis.
Here is a look at one of the SEOBooks’ tools:
SEOBook does not have a free trial, but it does offer prorated refunds.
SEO PowerSuite is a bundle of some powerful, professional SEO tools: Rank Tracker, SEO SpyGlass, WebSite Auditor and LinkAssistant. It offers a free version that has a ton of features, but you can’t save any of your projects.
To get the most out of SEO PowerSuite, you must first pay a one-time fee for the software license and then pay a monthly fee for Search Algo updates — these keep your software in line with search engines’ changing algorithms and let you store projects in SEO PowerSuite Cloud.
Here is a look at the SEO PowerSuite interface:
SEO PowerSuite offers a free version — a fantastic way to try out most of its robust features. All editions include unlimited websites and keywords. It offers deep discounts on its monthly Search Algo subscription if you pay annually or every two or three years.
- $299 Professional License (one-time fee)
- $8.33/month Search Algo subscription
- $699 Enterprise License (one-time fee)
- $19.95/month Search Algo subscription
You also have the option to purchase each tool separately. Individual pricing is the same for Rank Tracker, SEO SpyGlass, LinkAssistant and WebSite Auditor.
- $124.75 each: Individual Professional Tool (one-time fee)
- $299.75 each: Individual Enterprise Tool (one-time fee)
SerpBook is an SEO checker that has a similar approach to that of AuthorityLabs in that it focuses on automatic keyword rank checking. SerpBook gives you local and global rank tracking for Google, Bing, Yahoo, Google Mobile, Google Maps and YouTube. You can choose a plan for either bi-hourly updates or daily updates.
SerpBook also automatically updates PageRank, Backlinks, Alexa and Google Mobile. We have used SerpBook in the past for quick alerts when one of our top terms has a significant ranking change.
Here’s a look at SerpBook’s rank tracker:
SerpBook offers a 7-day free trial and a 14-day money back guarantee on all plans. You can save 20% by paying annually.
Bi-Hourly (Every 2 Hours) Updates
|Price Per Month For Bi-Hourly Updates||$16||$30||$48||$88||$160|
|Keywords/Domains Per Month||50||200||500||1,000||2,000|
|On-Demand Keyword Updates Per Day||150||600||1,500||3,000||6,000|
|Starter Daily||Personal Daily||Beginner Daily||Business Daily||Enterprise Daily|
|Price Per Month For Daily Updates||$12||$36||$68||$124||$292|
|Keywords/Domains Per Month||100||500||1,000||2,000||5,000|
|On-Demand Keyword Updates Per Day||100||500||1,000||2,000||5,000|
SpyFu’s focus is competitive research for SEO and PPC. You can find out what your competitors are doing by seeing which keywords they buy, which ads they run and which organic keywords they rank for. What stands out? Not only do you see this competitive information now, but there’s a 12-year history provided. SpyFu also offers keyword tracking on Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Here is a look at SpyFu’s research tool:
All SpyFu plans come with a 30-day money back guarantee.
|Price Per Month||$39||$78 |
(1st month is $39)
|Weekly Tracked Keyword Rankings||5,000||15,000||40,000|
|Sales Leads & Domain Contacts||250||500||2,000|
|Historical Data||6 months||10+ years||10+ years|
|Custom Brand Reports|
Ubersuggest is a free keyword suggestion tool led by internet guru Neil Patel. It’s an easy-to-use way to find keywords you won’t get from Google’s Keyword Planner.
This site also gives you access to a free SEO analyzer report and a free A/B testing significance calculator. You can also schedule a consultation with Neil Patel. Sure, what you get from this site is basic compared to our other services reviewed here, but, hey, it’s entirely free.
Here’s a look at Ubersuggest in action:
SEO Tools Overview Video
View this video for a quick visual recap of SEO tools and how they can help your business.
Now that you have SEO software to track your results, you first need to get your top terms up there. Learn about keyword trend analysis and how you can use keyword trends tools to find out which of your terms may experience growth, which are merely seasonal, and which are expected to decline.
After all, why optimize on a term that won’t be searched for in a few years? Conversely, optimize now on a low-competition term that’s barely searched for, with the insight that it’s going to blow up in the near future to get a nice leg up on your competition.
What’s your go-to SEO tool?
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