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Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is something of a mythical term for many businesses. They usually have a vague idea of what it is and the value it provides, they might even try to prioritise it as an essential business consideration without really understanding the mechanics behind it.The contemporary digital agency, however, knows all too well just how crucial it is to get it right when it comes to SEO. In the age of technology, a business or brand that doesn’t rank favourably in search results may as well not exist, and the slightest difference between competitor search rankings can make an exponential difference to sales leads converted from search.But with the understanding of the essential requirement for SEO comes the inevitable malaise surrounding the mundane and tedious nature of manually implementing effective SEO. Doing it the ‘old-fashioned’ way requires significant time and effort, ultimately leading to greater costs to the agency. So, in the interests of enhancing your SEO capabilities and unlocking your business potential, we’ve listed some of our favourite SEO tools, ranging from keyword research software to handy SEO toolbars and more.

Google Keyword Planner

This free keyword research tool is powered by the biggest name in search, Google, and is accordingly invaluable to your SEO efforts.Based within the Google Ads suite of software, Keyword Planner maps trends and data on to a city, region and even a suburban level, and in combination with competitor home pages it is effortlessly simply to draw down high-volume keywords and generate insights into competitor search behaviour. It’s also one of the most intuitive and easy-to-use tools of its kind, making it a great learning platform to grasp the basics of SEO.

Screaming Frog

Don’t be put off by the name. Screaming Frog is perhaps the best site crawler available to the SEO expert.Before one even considers a site audit, it’s recommended to do a crawl with Screaming Frog, which will not only help identify errors and false positives that might otherwise end up in the audit, but it can also help pick up missing page titles, meta descriptions and meta keywords, whilst alerting one to oversized images, URL and canonical errors, and errored response codes.Trust us, you need Screaming Frog.

Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz has been setting the standard in the SEO game for ages and their keyword explorer is one of the best in the business.Searches in the Moz Keyword Explorer are returned with a powerful set of data, which gives insights on expected monthly searches, difficulty ranking for competing against first page search results for that term, estimated organic click-throughs and suggested priority to assign to optimise the term. (with a higher score indicating higher demand and lower competition)

Google Search Console

Another invaluable Google product, the powerhouse of search delivers another top-notch offering with their Search Console.Following a recent overhaul, the latest version of the tool comes packed with innovative new features, data and reporting capability, whilst updating many of the older features with powerful new models.An invaluable aspect of Google Search Console is its reporting process, which is a fail-safe for wiped accounts that may arise from website change-over issues, as all the data is stored in the GSC database.

SEMrush

One of the most reputable names in SEO is SEMrush, and for good reason.This powerful tool is renowned for its highly accurate paid and organic keyword data and deep competitor information, allowing for unrivalled keyword and technical research and competitor analysis.Competitor ranking data and market analysis can provide powerful insights into competitor search efforts and allow one to enhance and refine one’s SEO strategy for an essential competitive edge.

Ahrefs

Link analysis is one of the most valuable aspects of SEO and Ahrefs is widely acknowledged as the leader in contemporary technical link analysis.Ahrefs’ software is able to identify patterns in a site’s link profile, which can then be used to analyse the site’s linking strategy and use this insight to gain an advantage over them. Furthermore, one is able to then pinpoint the links pointing back to the site to root out any unwanted links.Ahrefs also helps to determine the timelines of missing backlinks, as well as many other powerful linking features.

Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest is a brilliant free tool that can be used by anyone to optimise their keywords.With its handy autocomplete toolbar, the Ubersuggest omnibox saves time by helping you find the ideal keyword for your needs. Searches are returned with a great summary detailing search volume, estimated Cost-Per-Click (CPC) and the rough level of competition (based on logarithmic data) for that keyword.Ubersuggest even goes as far as offering results beyond just the web, with Google Image, Youtube, News and Shopping results available to really get a holistic understanding of keyword performance.

Barracuda Panguin

Barracuda Panguin meets a key, niche requirement for an agency’s workflow, in that it is perhaps the best tool available to conduct a site penalty investigation.Operating through a website’s Google Analytics account, Barracuda Panguin’s software overlay plugs into the Analytics data of the site itself. The overlay then makes it possible to pinpoint specific situations in which potential penalties may have occurred. Of course, there is a margin of error in identifying such penalty occurrences, but this tool will certainly help to narrow down the data events and greatly enhance these investigations.

Botify

A truly holistic, in-depth SEO tool that is rare to find, Botify is probably one of the most complete and comprehensive SEO tools there is.With the ability to reconcile search intent with technical SEO, using in-depth keyword analysis, one is able to go deeper into the data to draw rich insights. Botify’s powerful technical analysis capabilities not only make it simple to identify rank-contributing SEO factors, but through its detailed reporting it is possible to pick out subtle changes and patterns in user search behaviour, regardless of the industry of focus.

Google Search Console XML Sitemap Report

Yes, another Google product. But the giant that is Google never fails to deliver extremely useful SEO tools and software, and their XML Sitemap Report is a key element of any agency’s reporting capabilities.In any SEO audit, it’s essential that one conduct a thorough sitemap diagnosis to pick up any issues therein. The technical insight gained from such a diagnosis is essential in achieving the desired 1:1 Ratio of URLs added and sitemap updates, and Google’s Sitemap tool is invaluable in this endeavor.