SEO, search engine optimization, is one of the most necessary marketing tools out there. If you aren’t thinking about SEO and incorporating it into your every page, you aren’t doing what needs to be done to get your page recognized by potential investors and customers. SEO involves using a combination of content creation, content promotion, and technical factors to improve your website ranking in order to appear higher on a search engine results page (SERP).
We go into more detail on key SEO factors here, but here’s a short rundown of what search engines like Google take into consideration when determining page rankings:
- Content: create up-to-date, relevant, and interesting content on a continuous basis
- User friendly design: make sure your page is mobile-friendly, and loads quickly for mobile and desktop users
- Backlinks: the more that trusted websites link back to you, the more authority you gain in Google’s eyes, and the higher you can rank
- Keywords: be smart about keyword usage. You need to avoid keyword stuffing, while still ensuring that keywords relevant to your business appear in your content and metadata
If you’re still wondering exactly how SEO helps, here are some stats to convince you how essential it is to growing your business:
- 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine
- 57% of B2B marketers stated that SEO generates more leads than any other marketing initiative
- 81% of people perform some type of online research before making a large purchase
- 47% of consumers view 3-5 pieces of content created by a company before talking to a salesman
- 72% of online marketers describe content marketing as their most effective SEO tactic
- Leads from search engines have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (ex. cold-calling, direct mail, etc.) have a 1.7% close rate
Why do you need SEO tools?
We won’t try and sugarcoat it, SEO is a long and complicated process. There isn’t a tool out there that can scan your website, work some mumbo-jumbo-code-magic, and catapult you to the #1 spot on Google where you will reign supreme for all eternity. There are however, extremely useful tools that will give you a leg up and make your life at least a little bit easier. These tools provide important insights into your page analytics, competitors’ pages, and the thoughts of all the potential customers you’re trying to attract to your page.
SEO is something that you have to work on constantly; first, to achieve your desired ranking, and then to maintain your desired ranking. There are a lot of analytics involved, and working with tools that give you the information you need in an easy-to-use way is a great way to invite SEO success. It’s safe to assume that your competitors are using these tools to get ahead, and you don’t want them to be the only ones with the advantage.
Our Top 5 Favorite Tools
While you don’t need to use every tool on this list, we recommend checking them all out, deciding which ones you like best, and then incorporating them into your overall SEO strategy.
1. Google Search Console: This is Google’s official way of talking to you about your site. It only takes about 5 minutes to setup so, if for no other reason than that, you really should sign up for it. With the Console, Google will let you know:
- Any usability issues with your site, the URLs where the issue exists, and actionable insights to resolve the problems
- A list of keywords for which you currently rank
- A list of backlinks
- The number of indexed pages on your site – you can tell Google how many pages are on your site, which can be highly beneficial so that Google knows exactly what to index – pages can’t be ranked if they aren’t indexed
- Duplicate metadata
- Security issues
- And more
2. SEMrush: This research tool provides detailed information about keywords, their position in SERPs, the URLs ranking for each keyword, and how that traffic has changed over the past 12 months. You can use it to assess your rankings, find new opportunities to increase your rankings, and compare your website to your competitors.
SEMrush will give you an estimate of the organic traffic that your site is attracting, and tell you what it would cost if you were paying for that traffic. This can be really helpful for budget discussions, as you decide if you want to add pay-per-click to your marketing plan. SEMrush will also give you an estimate for how much your competitors are spending on advertising.
3. Moz: This SEO tool packs a lot in: keyword recommendations, performance insights, site crawls, and more. Moz offers several free SEO tools, as well as paid options. Take advantage of its extensive keyword research, check out pages’ domain authority, and see what keywords are related to better plan your content creation.
4. Ahrefs: Use this tool for backlinks and SEO analysis. With Ahrefs, you can analyze your site and your competitors’ sites, giving you key insight into why and where they are ranking the way that they are. Analyze your site’s backlinks, find the most shared content for any topic, get keyword ideas and traffic estimations, and analyze your website for common SEO issues.
5. Answer the Public: This is your insight into the questions that people actually want answers to, which will help you a lot as you plan content to draw people to your site. Input any keyword into Answer the Public, and it will return several cool graphics that show you the related questions and phrases people use when searching for that keyword. Now you know what people want to know, and you can craft content that addresses those needs. For example, search for coffee, and find out that people want to know things like which coffee machine to buy and where coffee comes from.
Whether you’re just getting started with SEO, or looking for something new to add to your repertoire, we hope that one or more of these tools fits your needs. Each one has a lot of great features that can help you navigate the many pieces of SEO, and help you bring more qualified leads to your site. Good luck, and if you’ve got questions, reach out at any time!