Finding the right SEO tools is a shortcut to success with your blog. Skip the endless lists of 100+ tools and cut through the clutter with my carefully curated list of the best SEO tools for every part of your workflow.

Best SEO Tool Overall


Semrush is an all-in-one SEO and digital marketing platform used by over 12 million subscribers, including many leading brands. Semrush provides robust keyword research, detailed site audits, backlink analysis, rank tracking, competitor monitoring, and other capabilities to strengthen your online visibility.

These are my go-to SEO tools that I use myself and recommend to other marketers and business owners in my LinkedIn audience of over 21K – based on my personal experience of SEO coaching and consulting for over three years and blogging for over a decade.

I regularly test out new and emerging SEO and blogging tools. From time to time, I’ll add new tools to this list. Expect regular updates!

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll earn a small fee if you choose to use them. There’s no extra cost to you – and I only recommend products that I’ve both used personally and think are awesome. Thanks for your support! 

Best All-in-One SEO Tool: Semrush

Semrush is my top pick as the best SEO tool overall.

It’s not only an industry leader used by millions of marketers, but it also offers a versatile range of capabilities to tackle many tasks right out of the box.

Features that make Semrush my top overall pick include:

  • Keyword research tools that reveal high-traffic terms along with insights into the competition. This helps guide your content creation and link-building strategies.
  • Site auditing capabilities that identify critical technical issues that could affect performance, such as crawling errors, broken inbound links, or page speed problems.
  • Robust rank tracking and position monitoring that keeps tabs on your site’s visibility in the SERPs.
  • Backlink analysis that shows who links to your competitors and your own site, giving you all-important intel to plan outreach campaigns.

I like Semrush because it checks a lot of boxes as a command center for multiple SEO tasks without requiring extra integrations.

Best Budget-Friendly Alternative: SE Ranking

SE Ranking is my top pick for a budget-friendly all-in-one SEO tool. I particularly like its keyword research capabilities, which give you access to a database of 3.4 billion keywords. This makes it easy to find high-volume, low-competition keywords to target in your content.

The website audit tool is another extremely useful feature of SE Ranking. It easily identifies technical SEO issues, like broken links or duplicate content, and tells you how to fix them.

SE Ranking also offers backlink monitoring, competitor analysis, on-page SEO optimization, and rank tracking. These tools give you a comprehensive view of your website’s SEO performance and help you identify areas for improvement.

One of the main reasons I recommend SE Ranking is its affordability. With plans starting at just $39 per month, it’s a great option for small businesses, bloggers, and freelancers who want access to powerful SEO features without spending a lot of money.

Best SEO Tools For Every Part of Your Blogging Workflow

Best For Advanced Keyword Research: Semrush

The Keyword Magic Tool in action

Semrush isn’t just my top pick for the best SEO tool overall, but it’s also my favorite for keyword research.

With the Keyword Magic Tool, it’s super simple to just plug in a broad seed keyword (like “yoga”) and get hundreds of content ideas at your fingertips in seconds, ready to explore further.

Semrush provides tons of powerful metrics to help you understand the competition level, search volume, search intent, and other important metrics for each keyword.

Key Features

  • Keyword overview: Look up vital stats like search volume, difficulty level, and cost-per-click for any keyword you’re considering targeting. This helps me figure out which terms are worth optimizing for.
  • Organic research: Dig into the keywords driving traffic to your competitor’s sites. Helps find promising new options to target.
  • Keyword Magic Tool: This smart generator can crank out thousands of long-tail variations from any seed keyword I put in. Great for expanding my scope.
  • Keyword gap analysis: Compares the keyword profiles of different sites side-by-side. Enables me to spot opportunities that my competitors have covered but I haven’t yet.

Semrush Pros & Cons

  • Super versatile platform – truly the Swiss Army knife of SEO tools.
  • Powerful keyword research capabilities that make the task easy.
  • Includes search intent tagging for each keyword.
  • Platform layout can feel overly complex until you get used to it.
  • With so many features, you probably won’t use all of them in your daily work.
  • Expensive product if you only need keyword research functionality.


Semrush offers the following pricing plans:

  • Pro: $129.95 per month
  • Guru: $249.95 per month
  • Business: $499.95 per month

You can get a discount of up to 17% on these prices if you purchase an annual plan.

Best for Beginner Keyword Research: RankIQ


RankIQ offers a range of features to help content creators and bloggers improve their rankings and drive organic traffic. One area where this tool really shines is its keyword research capabilities. It’s my top choice for beginner bloggers looking to streamline their keyword research process.

The Keyword Library is an expertly curated database where you can find a vast array of low-competition, high-volume keywords across numerous niches and industries. The RankIQ team keeps the library constantly updated so users can always access to fresh, relevant keyword ideas.

What sets RankIQ’s keyword library apart is its focus on low-competition keywords. These are the hidden gems that your competitors may overlook. They offer an excellent opportunity for your content to rank higher on the SERPs, without you having to go head-to-head with more established websites.

For beginners, the keyword library is a game-changer. Instead of spending hours manually researching keywords, analyzing search volumes, and assessing competition levels, RankIQ does the heavy lifting for you. With just a few clicks, you can access a ton of keyword ideas that are primed for targeting.

Key Features

  • Extensive keyword library: Low-competition, high-volume keywords covering a wide range of niches and industries.
  • Focus on low-competition keywords: RankIQ prioritizes low-competition keywords that are easier to rank for and have less competition
  • Essential keyword metrics: Each keyword comes with crucial data such as search volume, keyword difficulty, and potential traffic, so you can make informed decisions about which keywords to target.
  • Powerful filtering options: Refine your keyword search based on criteria like search volume, keyword difficulty, and SERP features.
  • User-friendly interface: RankIQ’s keyword library is designed with beginners in mind, offering a simple, intuitive interface that makes keyword research accessible to everyone.
  • Time-saving: No need for hours of manual keyword research.


RankIQ offers three pricing plans for bloggers at every level. I’m currently using the Standard plan, which is plenty for my needs (as a one-person blogging business). RankIQ doesn’t gatekeep any of its features; you get access to everything but simply pay more for extra reports or briefs each month.

Standard Plan ($49 per month)
  • 16 AI SEO reports or content briefs (note: you can mix these up)
  • Access to all other features
Pro Plan ($99 per month)
  • 36 AI SEO reports or content briefs
  • Access to all other features
Agency Plan ($199 per month)
  • 80 AI SEO reports or content briefs
  • Access to all other features

Or check out my latest RankIQ review to discover the tool in detail, plus how I use it in my daily workflow.

Best For On-Page SEO: Surfer

Surfer SEO is a content ideation, creation, and optimization platform. It enables users to easily generate content outlines complete with suggested headlines and questions. These outlines serve as drafting frameworks when writing new blog posts and articles for SEO.

As you’re writing in Surfer, it provides you with real-time feedback and metrics on structure, word count, inclusion of target keywords, and images. This helps shape your content for better search rankings and readability.

A unique aspect of Surfer is its multilingual support beyond English and Spanish. Writers can optimize and analyze content for international SEO in numerous languages.

Surfer also offers plagiarism-checking features. All generated content is scanned to ensure originality before publishing. This avoids duplicative work and potential penalties when producing written content, whether by AI or humans.

Key Features

  • Content editor: Get guidelines and handy content suggestions to write better, more rankable content, faster.
  • Keyword research: Use Surfer to get a head start on your keyword research and create an SEO-ready content strategy in minutes (complete with smart clustering)
  • Surfer AI: Create ready-to-rank articles in minutes, with outlines that use AI to pull competitor data straight from Google Search results.
  • Plagiarism checker: Make sure every article you write is original, every single time.
  • Page audit tool: Got pages that struggle to rank? Optimize them in minutes based on AI-driven insights straight from the SERPs.

Surfer Pros & Cons

  • Powerful optimization capability that draws data directly from the SERPs. You can be sure you’re getting the latest data.
  • The audit tool goes into great detail with all the aspects of your post that need optimizing (and it really works).
  • Offers a range of handy integrations with commonly used tools, including Jasper AI, WordPress, Google Docs, and Contentful.
  • Expensive (may be out of reach for beginner bloggers/small biz owners).
  • The lowest priced plan is quite limited, e.g. only 5 AI articles / 100 keyword searches per month. Getting more capacity quickly adds extra costs.
  • Surfer has a complex workflow that takes time to learn if you want to use it to its full potential.


Surfer currently offers the following pricing plans:

  • Essential AI: $125.10
  • Advanced AI: $251.10
  • Max AI: $449.10
  • Enterprise: Custom Pricing

Runner up: NeuronWriter

NeuronWriter is an AI-powered content planning and ideation tool for streamlining your SEO content creation and optimization process.

It saves you loads of time spent on topic research, ideation, and long-term content calendars by providing smart suggestions and frameworks tailored to your website and audience interests.

NeuronWriter also provides smart content recommendations by analyzing your existing website content alongside your competitors to determine useful missing pieces around popular themes.

It explores latent semantic connections between current articles on your site to recommend relevant next topics to potentially cover. This results in cohesive, valuable article suggestions that fill knowledge gaps for readers interested in your broader subject areas.

Key Features

  • Boost your content with NLP terms
  • Cover topical knowledge gaps thoroughly
  • Quickly create a content outline based on competitor research
  • Easy-to-follow content score checklist
  • Easily compare your content with the top-ranking competitors


NeuronWriter offers five pricing plans, as follows:

  • Bronze Plan: $23/month
  • Silver Plan: $45/month
  • Gold Plan: $69/month
  • Platinum Plan: $93/month
  • Diamond Plan: $117/month

You can access cheaper prices by paying for a year’s plan in advance.

Even better, there’s a lifetime deal for NeuronWriter currently available on AppSumo.

Best For Topic Clustering: Keyword Insights

Key Features

  • Keyword discovery: Generate hundreds of related terms in seconds
  • Keyword clustering: Use AI to cluster similar keywords into topics
  • Search intent classifier: Groups keywords according to search intent
  • Content briefs: Use competitor intelligence to create outlines that rank

Keyword Insights Pros & Cons

  • Makes content briefs really easy to write, enhancing the SEO workflow.
  • Performs keyword clustering very fast, including clustering, search intent and hub and spoke categorization.
  • User interface can feel overwhelming and messy, due to many options.
  • Lack of recommended word count column for competitors


Keyword Insights offers three plans:

  • Basic: $58 / month
  • Professional: $145 / month
  • Premium: $299 / month

There’s also a 4-day trial for $1, which includes 6,000 keyword clustering credits and 5,000 AI-generated words.

Runner up: Keyword Cupid

I’m always looking for tools that make content planning less of a headache. Keyword Cupid fits that bill by automatically organizing keywords into perfectly clustered topics.

Rather than me spending hours trying to manually connect related keywords, Keyword Cupid’s algorithms analyze search and ranking data to identify natural topic groups. For example, for a site focused on hiking, it would instantly pull together keyword clusters around trails, gear, wilderness safety, and so on.

These AI-generated keyword groupings make sure all the content I create and optimize stays tightly themed and relevant. I simply browse the tool’s interface to see hundreds of content-worthy topic clusters along with keyword opportunities inside each group waiting to be targeted.

Key Features

  • AI on-demand: Trains machine learning models on the fly based on your input keywords to produce tailored topical clusters
  • Live data pulls: Scrapes the latest search data to generate real-time, accurate keyword groups
  • Geo-targeting: Scrape and cluster keywords from Google results pages for specified locations
  • Device targeting: Customize clusters based on search patterns from mobile, desktop or tablet users
  • Search engine targeting: Compare clustering across engines like Google and Yandex for the same keywords
  • Interactive mindmap: Visualize hierarchical related keyword groups and edit relationships
  • Downloadable Excel files: Get granular clustered keywords by content structure with target pages and silos outlined
  • On-page suggestions: View recommendations for optimal page length, etc. based on ranking content
  • Silo structuring: Interlink content clusters to build authoritative topical keyword pillars


Keyword Cupid offers four pricing plans:

  • Starter: $9.99/ month
  • Freelancer: $49.99/ month
  • Agency: $149.99/ month
  • Enterprise: $499.99/ month

Best For Backlink Analysis: Ahrefs

Ahrefs is well known in the SEO space for having one of the most robust backlink indexes and discovery tools available.

Powered by the fastest backlink crawler on the market, Ahrefs provides access to its mammoth index containing over 14 trillion live backlinks. Few competing tools can match this depth of historical link data spanning over 7 years.

I use this data to decipher why competitors rank where they do, identify toxic links on my own sites and those of potential link-building partners, uncover new link-building opportunities, and better guide my outreach efforts.

Key Features

  • World’s largest backlink index: over 14 trillion live backlinks indexed with 7+ years of historical data
  • Fastest backlink crawler: rapid crawling velocity delivers the most up-to-date backlink intelligence
  • Domain rating (DR): proprietary metric scoring overall domain authority by link profile
  • URL rating (UR): unique page-level authority metric assessing individual URLs’ link value
  • Domain traffic: estimate of monthly visitors driven to sites from linked domains
  • Page traffic: visibility into monthly visitors to specific linked pages
  • Linked domains: quantify number of unique domains with links to target site
  • External links: total backlink count from external sites pointing at target URL

Ahrefs Pros & Cons

  • Super clear and easy to use interface
  • Most up-to-date backlink database available
  • Makes competitor analysis easy and fast
  • You have to watch your credit limits carefully to avoid unexpected charges


Ahrefs offers four pricing plans:

  • Lite: $99/month
  • Standard: $199/month
  • Advanced: $399/month
  • Enterprise: $999/month

You can also get two months free if you sign up for an annual plan.

Runner up: Semrush

Semrush also has good backlink analysis capabilities – and is a strong competitor to Ahrefs in this area.

For me, Ahrefs has a slight edge in terms of its clean layout and the number of backlinks it identifies.

But if you’re already using Semrush, then I don’t recommend purchasing both tools just for the sake of backlinks. Semrush is more than good enough.

Key features (Backlink Analytics tool)

  • Identify all incoming links and linking domains
  • Understand how authoritative a referring domain is and where it’s located
  • Detect backlink types
  • Research single URLs, domains, and anchors
  • Breakdown backlinks by type: text/image/form/frame, or follow/nofollow/sitewide
  • Easily compare competitors’ outreach strategies and backlink profiles


Semrush offers the following pricing plans:

  • Pro: $129.95 per month
  • Guru: $249.95 per month
  • Business: $499.95 per month

You can get a discount of up to 17% on these prices if you purchase an annual plan.

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Best For Site Audits: Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is a popular website crawler perfectly suited for conducting in-depth site audits and uncovering technical SEO issues. It works efficiently with even very large sites to index all of the key pages and content. For technical SEO needs, it’s my number one tool of choice.

Data gathered by Screaming Frog includes crawling for broken links, redirect chains, duplicate pages, thin content, and errors preventing full indexing. You can also use the tool to review robots.txt directives, generate XML sitemaps, and extract specific data points via XPath and CSS selectors.

Key Features

  • Find broken links: Instantly crawl sites to identify 404 errors and server issues. Export bulk lists of problems to fix.
  • Audit redirects: Track down temporary and permanent redirects, redirect chains/loops. Check redirects for site migrations.
  • Analyze titles and metadata: Review page titles and meta descriptions for issues like missing data, duplicates, or non-optimal lengths.
  • Discover duplicate content: Identify duplicate or thin content pages.
  • Review robots and directives: Check crawled pages for noindex, nofollow and other blocking robot metatags and directives.
  • Generate XML sitemaps: Quickly create XML sitemaps for better indexing and manage priority/change frequency.
  • Visualize site architecture: Interactive diagrams of page relationships and linkage flow for site structure analysis.

Screaming Frog Pros & Cons

  • Really comprehensive feature set for technical SEO use cases
  • Plenty of mileage available from the free version
  • Large amount of technical data can be overwhelming for beginners.
  • Not the most user-friendly interface to navigate.


Screaming Frog has an ultra simple pricing structure, with just two licence options:

  • Free version = $0
  • Paid version = $259/year

Runner up: Sitebulb

While Screaming Frog remains a powerhouse for comprehensive site audits, Sitebulb stands as a close second for its unique strengths around prioritizing issues by business impact.

This UK-based platform offers robust crawling capacities similar to Frog with detailed reporting on vital onsite optimization elements.

What sets Sitebulb apart is its focus on identifying problems that likely directly hurt conversions or customer experience. Sitebulb aims to surface the most financially negative issues obscuring site potential, drawing on a combination of AI guidance and real user data.

This enables you to prioritize better, based on real lost revenue data rather than just guessing the best order to tackle traditional SEO fixes manually.

Key Features

  • Crawl huge websites with ease
  • Generate data visualizations and PDF reports (great for clients)
  • Get detailed audit scores and audit comparisons
  • Audit individual URLs in extreme detail

Sitebulb Pros & Cons

  • Really comprehensive feature set for technical SEO use cases
  • Plenty of mileage available from the free version
  • Large amount of technical data can be overwhelming for beginners.
  • Not the most user friendly interface to navigate.


Sitebulb offers three pricing plans, starting from the following:

  • Lite: $13.50/month
  • Pro: $35/month
  • Sitebulb Cloud: $245/month

Prices increase if you want to add additional users to the plan.

Best For Performance Tracking: Advanced Web Ranking

Advanced Web Ranking makes visibility monitoring a breeze for SEO professionals, bloggers, and business owners.

This all-in-one platform provides comprehensive rank tracking and website analytics tailored specifically to search optimization efforts.

You can connect multiple domains and import lists of target keywords to begin tracking current ranking positions across major search engines like Google and Bing. Historical snapshots let you easily spot ends and emerging competitors.

Advanced Web Ranking pulls in user behavior metrics from Google Analytics alongside rank data, for a transparent look at the direct impact that search visibility has on your site traffic and conversion rates.

Key Features

  • Monitor website rankings in over 4,000 search engines across 190 countries
  • Select any location in the world, down to a city, state, country, or even define the GPS coordinates that you wish to track
  • Quickly visualize the keywords you rank for above the fold, and segment those that need improvement

Advanced Web Ranking Pros & Cons

  • Localized rankings make the reports very accurate – better than all-in-one tools
  • Branded reports look professional and are great for working with clients
  • Affordable solution for projects with many keywords
  • Can be slow to update keywords, especially on large projects


Advanced Web Ranking offers four pricing plans:

  • Pro: $99/month
  • Agency: $199/month
  • Enterprise: $499/month
  • Custom 50K: $700/month

You can get a 10% discount on all these prices if you purchase the annual plan. There is also a 30 day free trial.

Joint Runners Up: Ahrefs & Semrush

You can actually track a decent amount of keywords using Ahrefs or Semrush.

So if you already have one of those tools, I recommend sticking with it for the time being.

Unless you have a really huge amount of keywords to track, for example for multiple clients – then I’d recommend looking into a dedicated tool like Advanced Web Ranking.

The rank-tracking capabilities in Ahrefs or Semrush will be sufficient if you’re just running one or two simple blogs.

Best For Managing Internal Links: Link Whisper

Every good SEO specialist knows how powerful internal links can be.

In fact, increasing the number of relevant internal links to a blog post can do amazing things to its ranking. One of the first things I do after publishing a new blog post is add plenty of internal links pointing to it.

But managing all those internal links can be a huge hassle. It’s easy to forget which posts are linked to which other posts, and the internal linking game can become very hit and miss.

That’s where Link Whisper comes in. It’s a WordPress plugin that brings all of your blog’s internal links together into one handy dashboard.

In the Links Report, you can easily see the number of internal links pointing to and from each page on your site. Then, you can add new internal links in bulk, at the click of a button, making the whole process really fast and easy.

Key Features

  • Automatically add internal links to pre-defined targeted keywords
  • Internal link suggestions as you write
  • Detailed internal link reporting
  • Quickly find orphan pages and fix broken links

Link Whisper Pros & Cons

  • Makes handling internal links much faster and easier
  • Helps you avoid orphan pages and broken links, which can damage your rankings
  • The link suggestions feature could be more accurate. It often suggests anchor text that isn’t relevant, or articles that don’t properly fit the context.


Link Whisper offers four different price plans, depending on how many sites you wish to license.

  • Single Site License: $77 annual subscription
  • 3 Site License: $117 annual subscription
  • 10 Site License: $167 annual subscription
  • 50 Site License: $347 annual subscription 

There’s currently a special deal where you can get $30 off any plan.

Best Tool For YouTube SEO: TubeBuddy

This lightweight and affordable little tool allows you to do powerful keyword research within the YouTube search engine.

YouTube is the perfect way to naturally complement and enhance your blogging efforts.

Adding a related YouTube video to your blog post enhances time on page, and can be very beneficial for your rankings.

What’s more, having a YouTube channel about your expert topic is a great way to boost your EEAT and build solid authority with your audience.

YouTube is a search engine too. So creating videos that get traffic involves a keyword research process – just like you do for your regular blog. That’s where TubeBuddy becomes your essential co-pilot.

Key Features

  • Identify the perfect keywords and tags to use in your videos
  • Find and analyze keyword ideas just by browsing YouTube
  • See where your video ranks for all of its tags in YouTube search
  • Find out what thumbnails and titles work best for your audience and increase your CTR

Pros & Cons

  • Highly intuitive user interface
  • The Pro plan is very affordable
  • Offers essential insights on keyword competitiveness
  • Provides helpful YouTube SEO checklist
  • If you have more than one YouTube channel, then you’ll need to buy a second plan
  • You can only use it on a Chrome browser


TubeBuddy offers two simple pricing plans:

  • Pro: $4.99/month
  • Legend: $31.50/month

There’s a 20% discount available if you sign up for one of the annual plans.

Top Free SEO Tools (That I Use Daily)

Alongside the many paid tools that make up my daily toolkit, there are many seriously useful free options that provide essential support in my everyday SEO and blogging work.

Here’s a brief rundown of the best SEO tools for free. If you’re not already using these, I recommend checking them out and getting to know them better.

Google Search Console (GSC)

Google Search Console is a free platform from Google that provides a wealth of data on how websites perform in Google Search. And where better to get that data than right from Google itself?!

In Search Console, I monitor metrics like Google search impressions and clicks, keyword positions, and overall indexing status for site pages. Issues preventing proper crawling or indexing by Google can also be identified and debugged through GSC, ensuring my sites maintain good technical health.

I also use Search Console to pick up emerging trends related to shifts in Google algorithms and results. Features like sitemaps, manual indexing requests for new content, and connecting additional site properties round out GSC’s offerings.

Detailed SEO Extension

This handy Chrome extension is perfect for getting a quick snapshot of a website’s key features.

I typically use it to look at heading structure, meta descriptions, and word count of any webpage that I’m interested in. It’s super useful – not only for quick competitor research, but also for kicking off site audits for clients.


This free tool gives me detailed insights into all the software and apps that a certain website is using. It’s an easy way to find out which CMS they’re using (for example WordPress or WebFlow), and a whole host of other products and services that go into a typical website.

Ahrefs Toolbar

Even if you don’t want to pay for full Ahrefs access, you should still consider installing the toolbar. It’s completely free and gives an immediate snapshot of any website’s organic search performance, including the domain rating, site traffic and number of ranking keywords.


SEOQuake is a free, widely-used browser extension that places robust SEO analysis capabilities right at your fingertips as you browse sites. With SEOQuake installed, you can instantly audit any page for onsite optimization best practices and external visibility drivers.

Specifically, SEOQuake crawls page content and structure on the fly to check elements like meta titles and descriptions, header tags hierarchy, page speed metrics, and accessibility barriers. At a glance, you can gauge how well pages are technically optimized for search bots and users.

The tool also examines external factors like number of backlinks pointing to the target URL, redirect chains, and linked root domains. Comparing domain-level metrics between competitors helps inform your content and outreach strategies.

The SERPs (yes, Google!)

Know what the most underrated SEO tool is? Probably the Google search results themselves.

When researching new topics for content, I always Google my target keyword and manually review the top 10 search results. This is a goldmine for fresh insights on competitors.

It can also bring you brand-new content ideas, using search result features such as People Also Ask and Google Autocomplete.

Actionable Next Steps

Choosing the right SEO tools can mean the difference between success and failure for your business blog. But with so many options out there, with huge feature sets, it’s difficult to know how to narrow them down.

In this post, I’ve selected the best tools for tackling every part of the typical SEO workflow – from keyword research and topic clustering all the way through to on-page SEO and performance tracking.

The closest thing to an all-in-one SEO tool is Semrush. It provides a suite of tools to improve your rankings, including in-depth keyword research tools, competitor analysis features, powerful backlink tracking, site audit, and rank tracker features. I use it daily to manage all my sites, both my own and those of clients.

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