Martin PetrovMarketing @ Morningscore.io
SEO in 2021 is very different from what it was even just a couple of years ago. Google continuously upgrades the ranking algorithm, and as such, we in SEO must adapt. Because of that change, the tools we use change as well. Overall, having explored a ton of SEO tools and features, we’re happy to say that we really do see some innovation in SEO lately.
Many tools still tailor to experts, but plenty of platforms are also exploring another “yet unconquered” market. Namely, we’re talking about tools that simplifying the SEO process for more novice users. And with such drastic changes on the SEO landscape, I couldn’t miss the chance to share our (and our users’) observations of which SEO tools are best in 2021.
Because of that, we have compiled a list of the 30 best SEO tools. All of them can contribute to your SEO work in different ways. As a result, we’ve grouped them into six neat categories: all-in-one tools, keyword research tools, technical SEO, backlink analysis, link building, and rank tracking.
Below, we’ve broken them down by their most impactful features. And if you’d like to skip ahead to the infographic, click here. 🙂
What are the best SEO tools of 2021?
As of March 2021, there are close to 200 free and paid SEO tools. Some of these tools serve a specific niche while others are built to serve all main SEO practices. Here are the SEO tools that stand out the most in 2021:
- Moz Pro
- LSI Graph
- Screaming Frog
- Yoast SEO
- SEO Site Checkup
- Xenu’s Link Sleuth
- Check My Links
- Moz Local
- Authority Labs
- Tiny Ranker
- Rank Ranger
How we determined which SEO tools are best in their category:
To look at all SEO tools as equal is not fair. That’s because there are so many different platforms out there – some of which combine individual tools – and others niche in one particular area of SEO.
So to be as unbiased as possible, we’ve split these SEO platforms into 6 different categories:
- All-In-One SEO Platforms
- Keyword Research Tools
- Technical SEO Tools
- Link Building Tools
- Local SEO Tools
- Rank Tracking Tools
And just before we begin with the breakdown, let’s very briefly point out what we’ve looked at to come to the conclusion that a tool is truly “best-in-class”.
- General community feedback – Do people like, enjoy and share this tool with others. After all, if the right people aren’t using the tool there’s something wrong with it.
- Data quality – Obviously, that’s a huge one. A tool that does not provide you with as true data as possible cannot be classified as a best-in-class.
- Usability – How easy it is to find your way around the tool. This also slightly includes how fast you can learn to use the specific tool – both if you had to switch from another tool or if you’re absolutely starting from scratch.
And while we’ve tried to compile the list of the best ones out there, of course, it really comes down to personal preference. 😃
🏆 What are the best all-in-one SEO tools?
While some SEOs still use several individual niche tools, all-around platforms are the go-to solution for many others.
That’s because there are clear advantages to housing all of your SEO data in one place – where it’s quick and easy both to analyze and work with it – but also report to clients and/or management Then again, there’s also the quality of the data – if a tool isn’t showing accurate metrics, it’s often a good enough reason to switch.
With that, let’s look at some of the best and most popular all-in-one SEO tools:
Ahrefs has some of the best data on the market and is overall a very popular platform. They have many different tools that allow you to get a taste of their huge database. You can also check out what your competition is doing which is always a bonus. To be fully objective, while we personally find it a very useful part of our toolbox, we’ve heard that most novices have a hard time working with it.
Similarly to Ahrefs, SEMrush is a very extensive SEO tool that offers a detailed look into important website data – be it for your own site or for competitor research. These two tools are often considered the strongest competitors in the SEO tools market because of their similar high quality platforms. As a platform, SEMrush comes a bit more complete in that it also provides Google Ads PPC data – and, therefore, it’s called SEMrush (and not SEOrush 😄). While Ahrefs and SEMrush have many tools that overlap, I personally find SEMrush great for more automated suggestions (i.e. looking for things I wouldn’t have thought about myself) – and, opposingly, use Ahrefs where I want to explore things by myself.
A new tool that helps you measure the value of organic traffic in your currency. Compared to bigger tools, the focus here is to actually simplify things and present them in a nice manner. The idea behind it is simple – imagine if your clients could see the value you’re seeing. The great thing about it is that unlike most other tools, it actively guides you in improving your SEO (where most platforms present you with data which you have to make sense of). Because of that, most veteran SEOs are surprised when they see the new workflow this tool introduces. Check Morningscore out here.
If you think about how SEO tools got so popular, it’s not unreasonable to point at Moz for that. Moz was more or less the first of its kind – collecting tons of data from everywhere on the internet. If you’ve been dealing with online marketing, you’ve probably heard their name at some point. That’s because Moz has not only outstanding data but also one of the largest communities on SEO. The tool itself offers great features & data – and we’ve written about it in the past. And you can only expect that with so much experience in the game, their software is top-notch.
Another great and popular all-in-one SEO tool. Similarly to Morningscore, the main difference in Mangools compared to other popular all-in-one tools from my experience is again the workflow. Mangools offers several different tools, each of which has its own brand so to speak – KWFinder, SERPChecker, SERPWatcher, LinkMiner & SiteProfiler – and are separated on individual pages instead of being merged into one platform.
Read More: Moz’s Plans & Pricing Structure
🔍 What are the best keyword research SEO tools?
Alright, let’s be fair here – in 2020, thinking solely about “keywords” is a little outdated. We’re all focusing on topic clusters already anyway. And therefore, here I will use the term “Content Research” instead.
Good topic research is the cornerstone of your SEO. I’ve tried quite a few tools and processes to find new topics – and I’m sure the following tools will help you find the right ones to reach your target audience – just like they’ve helped me.
As a free alternative to Google keyword planner, KeywordTool will help you discover both seed keywords but also long-tail (and some LSI keywords) based on Google’s search suggestions, analyze your competitor’s keywords and provide you with search volume data. It’s important to mention here that the Free version lets you find keyword ideas – but does not show you any metrics related to them.
AnswerThePublic is honestly an insane tool that I absolutely love and use every time I’m working with content. It gives you crazy good insights into what your customers are searching for – and presents it in a nice, visual way. It’s a great place to brainstorm and get inspiration for further research.
An amazing brainstorming tool that helps you find LSI keywords which are keywords that are semantically related to your main/target keyword (often referred to as synonyms but objectively they aren’t necessarily only synonyms). Using such LSI keywords lets you boost topic relevance without the risk of over-optimization – simply because you help Google understand specifically the purpose of your keywords.
This amazing little tool comes as a free browser add-on for Chrome and Firefox. It’s really good in that it displays keyword data directly in your browser window whenever it finds keywords. This includes both popular metrics like Search Volume and Cost-Per-Click data – but also offers keyword suggestions. To make things more clear, where this tool really stands out is the ability to see keywords and data directly while you’re searching in Google.
BuzzSumo is a very handy tool for every SEO Content person out there. It’s great because it’s so specialized into content. With it, you can find and predict not only specific keywords / topics – and how your post will do in the SERPs – but also whether that post has a chance of getting exposure on any Social Media.
Read More: “The Timeless Long Tail Keyword Research Guide”. In it, you will learn how to find gems you can rank for – and some of the tools mentioned here in action.
🤖 What are the best technical SEO tools?
To make sure we’re on the same page, I’ll give you this little disclaimer – Everything that has nothing to do with your content / keywords / topics AND backlinks, I’ve classified as technical SEO. The other name you’re likely to hear is on-page SEO tools – but I personally stray away from this term because it sounds a bit too limiting (especially to beginners or clients who have no idea what actually goes into it).
So except for obvious little fixes that fall under Technical SEO, we’re also looking at more master-like abilities with which you help Google’s web crawling bots understand your website and its structure. It can certainly be difficult to become very good at this part – but fortunately a few tools lately are focused on simplifying this process and presenting the findings in a much more organized way.
With that in mind, here are the best technical SEO tools we recommend you try out:
With DareBoost you can get a very detailed web performance report of your website. They also explain how to fix the issues from the report precisely so that you can optimize your loading time and technical SEO.
Screaming Frog is considered one of the best desktop website crawlers and audit tools. It will crawl your website just like Google’s web crawling bots do and give you an evaluation of your onsite SEO. To use this software, you need to download it and run it on your computer. Doing that will let you scan any website (similarly to how Google’s crawling spiders do it) and find a very extensive list of data. Screaming Frog really shines in the hands of an expert who is very comfortable when working with technical SEO – but often novices struggle with it. The reason for that is because while Screaming Frog shows you many data points, it does not necessarily aggregate them into anything meaningful – and therefore, you need to have a good understanding of what you’re looking for to make use of the tool. And to name a few things that you can do with this tool, it can definitely help you identify common errors and issues, discover duplicate content, analyze meta data – and even generate XML sitemaps.
Another nice, free tool you can use to get an SEO audit. The report gives you insight into issues from 5 categories: SEO, usability, performance, social and security. On top of that, it also goes into details on how you can actually fix or improve those issues.
One of the most used WordPress SEO plugins. It optimizes your on-page technical SEO. And before you say “But Martin, you said no content!” let me explain this. Yes, Yoast SEO does ALSO work on a per-page basis where it gives you tips about your content. BUT the tool takes care of MANY technical SEO setup related settings. That is basically to say, you can decide whether you want to actively use it every time you write an article – but you can be sure you’ll be using it passively every time you do everything on your site simply by having it set up properly.
SEO Site Checkup
To give you the right idea about this tool, it’s only fair to call it “the visual Screaming Frog”. I really like the fact that it shows you quite a lot of important stats about your website – in a very presentable way. And similarly to other popular new tools, SEO Site Checkup also includes tips and advice on how you can fix certain issues.
🔗 What are the best link building SEO tools?
Tracking your website and keyword rankings is a part of your SEO process that allows you to make content decisions to get the most out of SEO.
By knowing exactly where you stand you will be able to re-evaluate your current strategy and readjust your future tactics to prevent a decrease in site traffic.
Majestic is one of the classics when it comes to link building. They have a huge database of links they have been crawling for close to two decades now. And where Majestic really stands out from competitors is their historical index of links. After all, having so much experience in the market has its advantages.
Xenu’s Link Sleuth
This is a very interesting tool in all sense of the word. Firstly, you have the small, unconventional brand which is usually known only by experienced SEOs. Then there’s the very simple, “old-school” user interface. On the other hand, the functionality that comes with the tool is also quite stunning. It’s was classified as the fastest broken link checker and with it you can scan websites in seconds and find link opportunities.
Check My Links
Check my Links is a Google Chrome extension allowing users to find broken or redirected links on any web page. The difference here is that it’s a visual tool that highlights all links on the page you’re running it on. On one hand, it can be used internally to check your own website – but it also allows you to check other websites too. It’s also a very helpful tool if you already know that a page has a broken link – and all you need is to find exactly where they are located.
LinkHunter is a new school SEO tool made that automates the whole process of finding link opportunities and reaching out to webmasters. Being in the SEO industry for a while, I’ve been primed to believe such tools are inefficient and the error rate is quite high. But let me tell you, you’d be surprised at how good this thing is. Within a couple of minutes of entering my target keywords, I was already looking at a list of close to 200 guest post opportunities in a small niche. Even if you “opt out” of its outreach tool and decide to do things by hand, you still have a massive massive list to work on within minutes. Check out LinkHunter here.
Buzzstream is another great link building outreach tool. This platform has been around for quite some time and they have been mentioned everywhere countless times. It truly is a must have for advanced marketers.
📍 What are the best local SEO tools?
Critical for businesses which serve only specific locations, Local SEO tools deserve a category of their own. Whether you’re a smaller or larger business, serving one or multiple locations, appearing when and where your customers are searching is integral for your growth.
Whitespark features a full suite of tools helping you with your local listings. One of their unique features is the Local CItation Finder helping you identify where your business has been mentioned (without a link) so that you can work that channel, find competitor citations which you can acquire or simply track where you’ve been mentioned.
BrightLocal’s platform is great for finding and managing local SEO citation opportunities for a flat fee. They have a ton of listings available – and also provide you with access to lists of Data Aggregators for further business exposure. The tool is also great for agencies as it offers a White-label service.
Yext is an expensive but powerful tool with several key competencies. Besides local listing submission and management, the tool also comes with a ton of other useful features for local business – such as a landing page builder, review management tools, analytics software and even its own niche search engine.
A great Local SEO tool with great pricing. With Moz Local you’re able to manage your business listings all at once (e.g. synchronized automatic NAP updates), post and manage your social media channels, and get submission opportunities in tons of local business directories and aggregators. The tool is available for the United States, United Kingdom & Canadian markets.
Synup is a reputation management tool which allows you to manage your business listings and reviews. Furthermore, the tool comes with partner directories across USA, Canada, Australia, The UK & India.
📊 What are the best rank tracking SEO tools?
All the content you write and links you build have no meaning until you start tracking a more objective metric – ranks. Rank Tracking is such an important part of SEO that many companies have niched in to develop very advanced platforms specifically for tracking your positions in Google. Unsurprisingly, because of the constant updates in both Google’s algorithms and their interface, the rank tracking SEO tools niche has seen some great innovation, too. Let’s explore the best:
While Authority Labs comes with a great rank tracking tool, where it really stands out is their Google Analytics integration that handles “not provided” keywords through custom reporting.
Tiny Ranker is a tool with a simple interface and daily updated rankings.
Just as the name suggests, this tool really is “Pro”. The amount of data they collect and aggregate is through the roof – and they feature rank tracking in 8 search engines including YouTube & Amazon.
In summer 2020, Rank Ranger announced their new Absolute Visibility metric. Sounds pretty standard, but trust us, there’s a lot more happening under the hood. The new metric actually uses what is commonly known as a “Google Pixel” – it measures how far down in the SERPs your listing appears – and determines from that whether you’re getting the expected visibility and traffic you should be getting. Apparently, in 2020, ranking #1 is not enough any longer.
AccuRanker is an all-around rank tracking tool with a user-friendly interface. The great part about it is that with just a few clicks you can turn your SEO reports into business metrics – by integrating to analytics and reporting tools where you can correlate ranks & dollars.
Infographic: 30 Best SEO Tools You Need To Know
Ready for more goods?
Here’s our eye-pleasing infographic (humble brag) with each of the categorized tools that are listed above for a quick and clear overview.
Note the legend at the top of the infographic where you can find what all symbols mean.
How does Morningscore compare to the listed tools overall?
At Morningscore, we have 3 main goals:
- Connect SEO and business – Make it more natural for non-SEOs to understand what’s going on behind the scenes; how SEO (or the lack thereof) is impacting your bottom line. Most SEO platforms focus purely on SEO metrics – and somehow avoid the fact that SEO should make sense financially.
- Simplify SEO – This goal is very much interlinked with the first one. Making things more complex definitely doesn’t help you explain to your boss what’s going on. And with that in mind, we want to make SEO understandable and less intimidating for the rest of us and not just hardcore professionals. We want to help you not only get traffic for the sake of having traffic – but rather get “meaningful” traffic that directly translates to sales.
- Guide users in SEO – And last but not least, unlike all other SEO tools, we’re making a tool that actively guides you in doing SEO – and offers not only monitoring and access to a huge database – but also suggestions, advice, new opportunities and overlooked issues.
So if you were to draw a conclusion from these 3 points, we want to make SEO more meaningful, we want to make sense of SEO as a marketing channel.
Obviously, to achieve all of that, we also need to be very proficient in UI/UX. Regardless of how simple we think our stuff is, if you, the end customer, still look at 1999-Excel-Like-Tables every time you log in, we haven’t achieved our goal of truly simplifying SEO.
Who is it for?
Experts and beginners alike.
As a novice in SEO, you don’t have the full picture – and don’t know what to focus on. Left even with the most comprehensive database in the world, you still need to spend tons of hours reading up and learning SEO. And this is where our platform shines – by simplifying SEO and offering advice and direction.
Experts, however, are usually very strict on how they spend their time. Therefore, Morningscore frees up your time and mindspace by having smart automated suggestions and work plans. That way, you can spend your time where it matters – on actually delivering the results.
How is it able to do that?
By giving you an SEO tool that will give you a unique insight into just how much your organic traffic is worth, along with keeping track of external links and monitoring competitors. All this combined with a simple and sleek user-friendly platform that presents the data to you in a clear, easy-to-understand way. After all, Morningscore brings you some of the best search engine data – sourced both internally and through the best data providers worldwide.
To see all metrics compared, take a look at this features page where you can see how Morningscore compares to other tools. Alternatively, if you’re already using an SEO tool, compare it individually to Morningscore through one of the pages below:
- Moz Comparison
- Tiny Ranker Comparison
- WooRank Comparison
- Site Analyzer Comparison
- SEMrush Comparison
- Mangools Comparison
- Keyword Revealer Comparison
- DeepCrawl Comparison
- Ubersuggest Comparison
That being said, let’s explore in-depth both the SEO features you already know – and those which you haven’t used before.
Standard SEO tools features:
- Large database – Our system finds all of the keywords your and your competitors’ websites appear for in Google. With that, we offer smart keyword autosuggestions for you to track. And with Morningscore, you can track keywords and backlinks in any country and industry – for any website.
- Full backlink data – You get a full overview of your freshest backlinks index through our industry-leader API data provider Moz. With this, you can track exactly where your or competing websites get links from in a simple and easy interface. You can benchmark how strong your link profile is compared to your competitors by using the Linkscore metric. And with the New & Lost Links section, you can make sure to track and recover the much valued “link juice”.
- SEO traffic & traffic potential – See exactly how much traffic each position brings you – and set goals for reaching higher positions. Along with that comes a detailed list of keywords that contribute to your traffic – and suggestions on what to focus on.
- Site audit tool – Morningscore’s Onpage Crawler, also known as the Website Health Tool, benchmarks your site according to Google’s own website guidelines. This thorough analysis scans your full website – and not just the front page – and guides you in optimizing every issue. This way, it ensures you’re getting the most of SEO by having an optimized site – which is exactly what Google loves regardless of your business size, industry and competition.
New SEO features:
- SEO value – Automatically measure your SEO value in your currency. Our main metric – Morningscore – makes complex data simple to understand and lets you track the “cost of your traffic”, showing you exactly how much your traffic is worth – and how much you’re saving on Google Ads by improving your SEO.
- SEO missions – Track your SEO activities with great precision and see current & historical errors & fixes, improvements, and achieved goals.
- See your monthly traffic potential with #1 ranks for all your top-20 keywords and also what the potential of your competitor’s keywords is like
- SEO competitor intelligence tools – Closely track your competitors’ SEO performance and monitor changes in their keywords and links. And with the Competitor Comparison Tools you can easily see if your SEO efforts are paying off . This is the only tool that will show you just how much they’ve invested in SEO
- SEO investment suggestions – The new SEO Missions Tool offers different objectives that are tailored to your SEO level which are prioritized by their potential Return-On-Investment. In other words, the tool finds low-hanging fruits for you to implement.
- Prioritized rankings – Our Keyword Rank Tracking Tool shows your ranks by priority – and hints how much traffic and value you get from your current keyword positions, along with suggested keywords that have the highest potential impact on your SEO efforts.
That concludes our list of the best SEO tools currently out there. Did you find it useful? Now, picking an SEO tool should be justified – and to do that, you need to understand how Google decides website rankings. If you’re already familiar with that, you can head straight to our guide on backlink analysis which will show you exactly how to use the tools described above.
But if you’re not the one that usually does the nitty-gritty SEO technicalities, this interesting case study compares conversions and strategies from both “push” and “pull” marketing (i.e. Facebook vs Google) and should be an interesting read. And last but not least, you can brush up on your SEO knowledge with this huge SEO glossary of terms and phrases.