Tools and knowledge are the two most significant components of a specialist's efficiency.
Both are essential to make you the top expert in your field. Knowledge is key to make the most out of the assets you have. And suitable tools can help you become faster, more efficient, and more productive.
This is why I prepared a list of top tools and resources that will boost your SEO game and help you maximize your results.
Don’t worry – I won’t bore you with the very basics. When it comes to tools, I skipped the most obvious ones, like Google Search Console or Google Analytics.
The list is designed for those who want to improve their results with limited funds or even for free. I excluded the most expensive tools that aren’t an absolute must-have, especially at the beginning of your SEO adventure, like Hubspot, Mixpanel, etc.
While most of the items listed below won’t cost you a thing, a few positions are paid. But they’re limited to those that are so useful that replacing them with cheaper substitutes would decrease the SEO performance.
First, I’ll introduce the most important SEO tools. Then I’ll move to resources: Facebook groups, influential SEO people, and courses.
Let’s cut to the chase!
13 essential tools for SEO specialists
This free Chrome extension is a must-have tool for all Internet marketing experts. It provides not only data from queries, like monthly volume or CPC, but also allows us to conduct keyword research directly in Google search by providing a convenient clipboard option.
In addition to that, you can find assessed monthly organic traffic and the number of quality backlinks for each Google's result. And it's available for everyone for free.
Using the Wayback Machine is the key to understand Google's algorithm dependencies. Most SEOs, while analyzing SERP correlations, are focused on the present circumstances around the particular keyword.
Wayback Machine allows us to add the third dimension – time. The juxtaposition of the past activities (on-site and off-site) with the position's changes helps to distinguish what aspects are the most important for Google's algorithm around a given niche.
Whitespark's product, Citation Finder, is an essential tool for folks who offer local SEO services. It provides useful information on the local SEO environment for each location. Although it isn't free – the expenses range from $17 to $80 – the price-performance ratio is worth it.
This simple but convenient mini-tool for crafting appealing meta tags is dedicated for SEOs who like to visualize tags before implementing. A visualization of the intended meta optimization helps assess further impact. In many cases, even one single character makes a huge difference, especially for those who operate in highly competitive industries.
GTmetrix will help you diagnose technical problems related to the website's performance. Running a simple test allows you to verify the speed of your website. Based on the report, you can assess the impact of each component on the overall loading time.
Before publishing an article, why not check it for plagiarism?. Duplicated content is a significant issue in content marketing, so, using tools such as quetext may help you avoid potential problems. I usually check a few random bits from every piece of content before publication, just to make sure the text is unique.
Keep in mind that the goal isn't to achieve a 100% uniqueness. Just make sure not to publish a copy-and-paste version of an already existing piece.
Another Chrome extension on the must-have list. Lighthouse was created by Google to help verify the website's efficiency beyond loading time. The available sections include performance, accessibility, good practices, and even SEO insights.
8. Surfer Audit
The audit offered by Surfer is based on real-time crawlers and data-driven optimization suggestions. Besides examining the on-site factors connected to the content, it includes the Natural Language Processing (NLP) for determining content gaps.
Surfer's Audit is also a useful source of information for backlink acquisition. It analyzes and creates a list of link-building opportunities for any domain in a few seconds. It isn't free, but the low subscription prices starting at $29 won’t hurt your wallet.
It's crucial to be in touch with the newest trends and changes in Google's algorithm. Any tweak resulting in volatility changes is a signal to check the impact on the organic traffic and adjust the SEO activities as soon as possible. SEMrush Sensor will help you keep things under control and react quickly, so make checking SERPs fluctuations a part of your daily routine.
An alternative to keyword research for Google, Amazon, Bing, YouTube, and other platforms.
The basic parts of overall functionality and data are available for free. Conducting more in-depth analysis requires a subscription, and the lowest package costs $89 monthly. To be honest, I would recommend subscribing only in case you will utilize it for non-Google related purposes.
This position doesn't require an introduction. It's a mandatory tool for every SEO specialist. Backlinks are essential, and Ahrefs is considered an all-in-one off-site SEO data powerhouse.
Although using Ahrefs costs quite some money, I wouldn't recommend suspending the subscription even in the hardest crisis. The cost of the lowest package (Lite) is $99 per month; to be honest, it seems like a fair price point.
12. Screaming Frog
Real-time domain crawling is something you should do regularly. Analyzing your clients' websites will help to prioritize on-site-oriented SEO activities. It's an excellent way to find potential bugs, deficiencies, and gaps. Screaming Frog provides valuable data that allows you to solve problems related to indexation, canonical URLs, duplication, and many others. The annual subscription of the SEO Spider license is £149.00.
Linkody is an essential tool to track and work on link building campaigns. Links are tracked 24/7 and reports on any change or new links are sent via email. The tool provides comprehensive backlink profiles with tons of metrics to assess valuable links, or disavow harmful ones. Linkody makes it easy to get a good understanding on how you stand compared to your competitors.
Powerful but very affordable, it's definitely a tool you want in your toolkit.
HubSpot Free CMS allows you to build a website and optimize it with built-in SEO features and a ton of other powerful CMS tools integrated within one platform.
15 Resources & People That Will Boost Your SEO Game
Tools are only as good as the hand that wields them.
General SEO knowledge is crucial to make the most out of your tools. I increased my efficiency, adjusted my marketing approach, and crystalized my SEO strategies thanks to my constant search for resources, articles, books, Facebook groups, reports, case studies, or thought leaders. Anything that helps you act confidently and achieve better results is your best professional ally.
In this section, I’d like to recommend a few Facebook groups worth joining and the best thought leaders to follow.
1. Facebook Groups to Join
This Facebook group is founded and managed by Chris M. Walker. The main topics regard all things SEO SEO, including on-page and link acquisition. A wide variety of real case studies, ideas, and strategies introduced by users make the group a useful source of information.
It's a fantastic group dedicated to the data-driven SEO approach. Over 50K members share information about ranking signals. Regular events like "Pick His Brain" increase the value and attractiveness. The administrator, Steven Kang, takes care of the quality and discipline.
If you operate in the affiliate industry, it's a must-join group. It’s been founded and managed by Matt Diggity, who shares news, case studies, tools, and strategies. Membership allows you to stay up to date with the newest trends, gain extensive knowledge, and learn through real-life examples.
The community of Surfer's users is always happy to help and find the solution to every on-page-SEO problem. The group's name comes from our SEO tool, Surfer, but it has grown way beyond the product. Besides case studies, strategy descriptions, and relevant articles, Surfer's team organizes regular events like, for example, webinars to help the members absorb SEO knowledge.
It's a source of on-site-SEO oriented information, including technical aspects related to the structure and content. Although the Facebook group is relatively new, it provides a lot of valuable knowledge. On-site SEO efforts as opposed to backlinks acquisition, guarantee faster results for a lower price, so it’s worth checking out.
A go-to place for grey hat SEOs. The administrators, Craig Campbell, Matt Diggity, James Dooley, and Gary Wilson, share high-quality resources and case studies. Fluency in grey hat strategies is priceless in achieving good positions in Google for high-competitive keywords.
2. Influential SEO People to Follow
An SEO influencer, keynote speaker, blogger. Featured in The New York Post, Search Engine Journal. He's the Founder of Diggity Marketing, Leadspring, The Search Initiative, Authority Builders, and the Chiang Mai SEO Conference. Follow him for case studies, SEO test results, and affiliate marketing tips.
Neil Patel is an author, entrepreneur, marketer, and blogger. He co-founded Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics. His online marketing knowledge and experience are massive. Follow his blog to learn all things online marketing on all levels of advancement.
Jessica Foster is s an SEO content writer and strategist at Keys&Copy. She regularly publishes on Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal. Her expertise is oriented around the on-site SEO, leads generation, and analytics.
Chris M. Walker is the CEO & founder of Superstar SEO, Legiit marketplace, and Superstar Academy. Besides providing SEO services on his own, managing affiliate campaigns, he spreads his knowledge across the FB group and webinars. An experienced entrepreneur who trains business owners, coaches students, builds software, and somehow stays personally connected to his 100,000+ followers. Connect with him on social media.
Viola Eva s a marketing consultant and SEO. She educates through blog posts, conference speeches, and social media. Search Engine Journal contributor who inspires. Her expertise in content creation is an excellent source of knowledge for further SEOs and copywriters.
Brian Dean is a marketing specialist and founder of the esteemed SEO blog – Backlinko.com. He teaches through blog posts, videos, and conference speeches. I benefited by analyzing his case studies and implementing SEO hacks into the optimization strategies.
Steve Toth is an experienced SEO who understands the game. He provides practical SEO tips every week in his newsletter, where you can find information on all things digital marketing. No fluff– just golden nuggets of SEO knowledge. It's a great source of knowledge for any SEO who wants to be one step ahead.
3. Free SEO Courses
Last but not least, I'd like to recommend SEO courses created by Surfers with the participation of amazing industry specialists.
The course is focused on three main components of SEO. It contains a lot of technical information, proven strategies, and the newest trends. The modern approach to content marketing, keyword research, and link building is divided into seven lessons sent to each user daily. Contributors include the aforementioned Jessica Foster, Matt Diggity, or Chris M. Walker. And it’s 100% free!
In this video course by Matthew Woodward, you’ll learn a few handy strategies to move up the search rankings. The course consists of four action-packed videos that will teach you all there is to know about increasing traffic within an eyeblink. And there’s a bonus: when you sign up, you also get a tool that automatically generates quick win strategies!
This online, interactive SEO textbook by Suso includes 15 lessons on advanced SEO topics, accompanied by case studies, videos, and quizzes. The course goes deep into the science behind Google algorithms. All the facts and SEO tips are explained from a technical, analytical perspective. I recommend it to everyone who wants to gain a really in-depth understanding of SEO.
The second course is dedicated to content enthusiasts and copywriters who want to increase the value of their work by incorporating basic SEO rules into the process. The course takes seven days; each day, you get one powerful lesson that will change the way you do content.
The online marketing industry changes rapidly. To stay on top of the game, you need to use the proper tools, keep up with the newest trends, and constantly expand your knowledge and skills. If you follow trustworthy people, join knowledgeable communities, and take high-quality SEO courses, you’re bound to become a great specialist in your field.
This list includes tools that I consider a foundation of being a truly professional SEO. But it’s by no means definitive.
Do you know of any tools, courses, or thought leaders that you’d like to see on this list? Make sure to share in the comments, and I’ll expand the article!
You should also read:
- Pareto Principle Optimization - 80/20 rule in SEO
- What is Technical SEO?
- How To Win SERPs with Surfer’s Audit