Chapter 1. SEO Foundation

Best SEO Tools - How To Use SEO Tools?

Doing SEO yourself seems challenging, but it gets easier with the right tools. This learning section covers the essential tools you'll want to use. We focus on the best SEO tools that SEO beginners should consider as their first set, including the ever-popular Google SEO tools.

Why do you need SEO tools?

SEO tools are essential for optimizing your website to improve its visibility and ranking in search engine results. SEO tools can be categorized based on seven key purposes. Some tools are used for multiple purposes, especially integrated SEO platforms like Semrush, Ahrefs, and Moz, which cover most of the key features required for SEO.

1. For Traffic and SERP Monitoring

First, you may want to know how much traffic your website receives and how it ranks on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

If your website has many pages, tracking rankings for all pages and ranked keywords may be very time-consuming. In that case, you should consider using paid tools to capture your page rankings and keywords ranked on SERPs efficiently.

2. For SEO Audit

A website audit is a time-consuming task. With proper SEO tools, comprehensive website audits become much more manageable, such as checking for broken links, ensuring mobile-friendliness, evaluating page loading speeds, and identifying crawl errors,

Many tools are available for website and web page audits. Paid tools usually provide more comprehensive features as a one-stop solution, but you can also conduct site audits using a combination of free tools.

To learn more about website audits, go to this tutorial: "What Is a Website Audit and How To Do it?".

3. For Keyword Planning

The first step of on-page SEO is researching and identifying the best keywords for your content. You can check monthly search volume and keyword difficulty (or competition) level using keyword planning tools. If you use paid tools, you can also get keyword recommendations for your content writing.

To learn more about keyword planning, go to this tutorial: "Why Is Keyword Research Important and How To Do It?".

4. For Content Writing

When creating content, you may need some support to understand best practices, such as optimal keyword density, appropriate meta tags, and structuring content for better readability and engagement.

To learn more about content writing, go to this tutorial: "9 Key Steps in SEO Content Writing for Individual Web Page".

5. For Backlink Analysis

Backlinks are a significant factor in SEO. Tools for backlink analysis provide insights into your site’s backlink profile, helping you understand who is linking to you, the quality of these links, and how they impact your SEO.

To learn more about backlinks, go to this tutorial: "What Are Backlinks in SEO and How To Build Them?".

6. For Schema Markup

Implementing schema markups properly requires experience. Tools that assist with schema markup enable you to structure your website’s data in a way that is easily understood by search engines.

To learn more about schema markup, go to this tutorial: "What Is Schema in SEO? | Structured Data and Rich Results".

7. For Competitor Analysis

Understanding your competitors is essential in SEO. There are different types of competitor analysis. The main ones are:

  • Target keyword and rankings analysis
  • Backlink profiling
  • Traffic analysis

You need the right tools to do competitor analysis.

Google SEO Tools

Google provides a wide variety of free tools. With these tools, you can do most basic SEO tasks.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps website owners monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot their site's presence in Google Search results. As explained in the previous learning section, it is the most essential SEO tool in SEO for Google Search Engine.

Google Search Console Landing Page

Google Search Console provides insights into how Google views your site, including information on indexing status, search traffic, mobile usability, and issues that might affect your site’s performance in search results.

It also allows you to submit sitemaps, check backlinks, and see users' search queries (keywords) that bring users to your site.

Google Search Console is available here.

To set up Google Search Console, you can refer to several articles, such as "Google Search Console: The Ultimate Guide for 2024".

Note: Bing also provides a similar tool called Bing Webmaster Toos, but considering Google's search engine market share, mastering Google Search Console is more critical.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is vital for SEO as it offers in-depth insights into website traffic and user behavior, which is crucial for optimizing search engine strategies.

Google Analytics Landing Page

Analyzing user engagement metrics, like active users, average engagement time, and returning users, helps improve user experience and content relevance.

The tool identifies traffic sources, revealing which channels, such as organic search or social media, are most effective in driving visitors.

Although specific keyword data isn't provided, pairing Analytics with Google Search Console can yield valuable keyword insights from well-performing landing pages.

Conversion tracking in Google Analytics enables the identification of the most effective organic paths leading to user actions like purchases or sign-ups. This helps content strategy and keyword targeting.

Google Analytics is available here.

Google Keyword Planner (Google Ads)

Google Keyword Planner is a feature of Google Ads. It is primarily designed for paid ads campaigns, but you can also use it for SEO.

Google Keyword Planner UI on Google Ads

To use it, you need to create a Google Ads account. It's free unless you run actual ad campaigns.

Google Keyword Planner is helpful when identifying suitable keywords for your website.

It suggests relevant keywords and phrases, providing insights into their search frequency, which guides the website owner in choosing keywords likely to draw more visitors. The tool also reveals how competitive these keywords are, indicating the potential challenge in ranking for them. As you can set geography in keyword planning, it also helps local SEO.

Google Ads is available here.

This article, "How to Use Google Keyword Planner", is helpful if you want to learn how to use Keyword Planner.

Google Trends

Google Trends is a handy tool for SEO, offering insights into what people are searching for online. It helps identify trending topics, guides content creation to match current interests, and increases website traffic.

Google Trends Landing Page

The tool shows how search interest in specific terms changes over time, enabling you to catch onto rising trends or seasonal patterns in search behavior.

This feature is excellent for planning timely content. It also lets you compare different keywords while assisting in selecting the most impactful ones for your SEO strategy.

Additionally, regional data from Google Trends aids in tailoring content for specific locations. These insights can significantly enhance your SEO efforts, making your content more relevant and searchable.

Google Trends is available here.

Lighthouse

Lighthouse is an open-source, automated site audit tool created by Google to improve web page quality. It audits Performance, Accessibility, Best Practices, SEO, and PWA (Progressive Web Apps).

Lighthouse Extension on Chrome Web Store

Lighthouse is available as a Chrome extension (click here) and in Chrome Developer Tools, allowing users to run it directly in the desktop browser. Assessing web page performance is a critical part of your website audit. Consider using this tool or PageSpeed Insights, which provides similar features.

PageSpeed Insights

PageSpeed Insights is a free web-based tool from Google web page performance.

PageSpeed Insights Landing Page

Its features are similar to Lighthouse; however, there are some differences.

For example, PageSpeed Insights focuses more on speed metrics and user experience, strongly emphasizing field data. Another difference is accessibility. PageSpeed Insights is a web-based tool that allows you to access and check web page performance from mobile devices. If you want to be able to check your website performance even when you are traveling, you can use PageSpeed Insights.

PageSpeed Insights is available here.

Structured Data Markup Helper

The Structured Data Markup Helper provided by Google is a tool for creating schema markup (structured data) for web pages.

Google Structured Data Markup Helper UI Example

This tool simplifies marking up elements on your website, like articles, products, and events, with appropriate schema.org vocabulary. Once the tagging is complete, the tool generates the corresponding JSON-LD or Microdata code, which can then be added to the HTML of the web pages.

Structured Data Markup Helper is available here.

Rich Result Test

Google also provides a Rich Result Test as one of its Search Console features to verify if webpages are eligible for Rich Results in search.

Google Rich Results Test UI Example

Rich Result Test is available here.

Google Search Central

Google Search Central, formerly known as Google Webmasters, is not a tool but an official Google resource that provides tools, documentation, and guidance.

Google Search Central Landing Page

It is a one-stop knowledge library for anyone looking to enhance their site’s interaction with Google Search and better understand the search result mechanism.

Google Search Central is available here.

If you are an SEO beginner, you should start with SEO Starter Guide, which is a must-read document for SEO beginners.

Best SEO Tools for Free: Easy To Use for SEO Beginners

Several free and popular SEO tools can significantly enhance your SEO efforts. Here are the select free tools, mainly for website audits. To understand how these tools can be used for website audits, refer to "What Is a Website Audit and How To Do it?".

MozBar

MozBar is a Chrome extension that provides instant metrics on any webpage or SERP, including domain authority, page authority, and backlink profile analysis.

MozBar Extension on Chrome Web Store

This tool is handy when you want to quickly check the domain and page authority of your and your competitors' pages.

MozBar is available here.

SEO Quake

SEO Quake is a Chrome extension that provides a quick overview of various SEO metrics for web pages.

SEOquake Chrome Extension on Chrome Web Store

Using this tool, you can validate HTML tags, check the link status (both internal and external) on each page, assess keyword density, and compare key metrics with other URLs or domains. To understand how this tool can be used for website audits, refer to "What Is a Website Audit and How To Do it?".

SEO Quake is available here.

SEO META in 1 CLICK

SEO META in 1 CLICK is a helpful Chrome extension for SEO. It quickly provides a website’s meta tags, headers, link details, and image alt texts, enabling easy on-page SEO analysis and identifying areas for optimization with minimal effort.

SEO META in 1 CLICK Chrome Extension on Chrome Web Store

This tool is also helpful when you want to quickly check header structure, image tag, and OGP (Open Graph Protocol) implementations.

SEO META in 1 CLICK is available here.

GTmetrix

GTmetrix analyzes website speed and performance, providing insights into load times and optimization recommendations. This tool is helpful for developers who want to conduct technical SEO. Its performance report can provide more detailed information to improve page performance than PageSpeed Insights or Lighthouse.

GTmetrix Landing Page

GTmetrix is available here.

Paid SEO Solution Platform

If you want to improve your work productivity, using a paid SEO solution platform is highly recommended.

There are three major names that provide an integrated solution for SEO.

Semrush

Semrush is the largest SEO solution platform with around 17M unique visitors (as of Dec. 2023).

Semrush Landing Page

While Ahrefs and Moz primarily focus on SEO solutions, Semrush provides digital marketing solutions, including inorganic marketing (PPC) support tools.

Semrush is available here.

Moz Pro

Moz is the oldest among the three SEO solution platforms, with 20 years of experience. It has around 1M unique visitors (as of Dec. 2023).

Moz Pro Landing Page

Moz is also known for its proprietary Domain Authority metric. It offers a lower entry price than Semrush.

Moz Pro is available here.

ahref

ahref is the second-largest SEO solution platform, with around 4M unique visitors (as of Dec. 2023).

Ahrefs Landing Page

ahrefs has a good reputation for backlink analysis. It also offers a cheaper entry price than Semrush.

ahrefs is available here.

Other Paid-Tools

Other choices provide SEO solutions with more focused features than the three major platforms. For example, SimilarWeb focuses on competitor traffic analysis, Majestic specializes in backling analysis, and Spyfu emphasizes competitor keyword analysis.

Conclusion

In this learning section, we explored the key SEO tools that SEO beginners should consider. To what extent you want to use these tools depends on your role; however, having overviews of these tools will help you understand what you or your team can do using these tools. Even knowing the existence of tools may help you save time when encountering issues.


You can also learn this topic on Kindle. ClickAmazonKindle.

Doing SEO yourself seems challenging, but it gets easier with the right tools. This learning section covers the essential tools you'll want to use. We focus on the best SEO tools that SEO beginners should consider as their first set, including the ever-popular Google SEO tools.

Why do you need SEO tools?

SEO tools are essential for optimizing your website to improve its visibility and ranking in search engine results. SEO tools can be categorized based on seven key purposes. Some tools are used for multiple purposes, especially integrated SEO platforms like Semrush, Ahrefs, and Moz, which cover most of the key features required for SEO.

1. For Traffic and SERP Monitoring

First, you may want to know how much traffic your website receives and how it ranks on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

If your website has many pages, tracking rankings for all pages and ranked keywords may be very time-consuming. In that case, you should consider using paid tools to capture your page rankings and keywords ranked on SERPs efficiently.

2. For SEO Audit

A website audit is a time-consuming task. With proper SEO tools, comprehensive website audits become much more manageable, such as checking for broken links, ensuring mobile-friendliness, evaluating page loading speeds, and identifying crawl errors,

Many tools are available for website and web page audits. Paid tools usually provide more comprehensive features as a one-stop solution, but you can also conduct site audits using a combination of free tools.

To learn more about website audits, go to this tutorial: "What Is a Website Audit and How To Do it?".

3. For Keyword Planning

The first step of on-page SEO is researching and identifying the best keywords for your content. You can check monthly search volume and keyword difficulty (or competition) level using keyword planning tools. If you use paid tools, you can also get keyword recommendations for your content writing.

To learn more about keyword planning, go to this tutorial: "Why Is Keyword Research Important and How To Do It?".

4. For Content Writing

When creating content, you may need some support to understand best practices, such as optimal keyword density, appropriate meta tags, and structuring content for better readability and engagement.

To learn more about content writing, go to this tutorial: "9 Key Steps in SEO Content Writing for Individual Web Page".

5. For Backlink Analysis

Backlinks are a significant factor in SEO. Tools for backlink analysis provide insights into your site’s backlink profile, helping you understand who is linking to you, the quality of these links, and how they impact your SEO.

To learn more about backlinks, go to this tutorial: "What Are Backlinks in SEO and How To Build Them?".

6. For Schema Markup

Implementing schema markups properly requires experience. Tools that assist with schema markup enable you to structure your website’s data in a way that is easily understood by search engines.

To learn more about schema markup, go to this tutorial: "What Is Schema in SEO? | Structured Data and Rich Results".

7. For Competitor Analysis

Understanding your competitors is essential in SEO. There are different types of competitor analysis. The main ones are:

  • Target keyword and rankings analysis
  • Backlink profiling
  • Traffic analysis

You need the right tools to do competitor analysis.

Google SEO Tools

Google provides a wide variety of free tools. With these tools, you can do most basic SEO tasks.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps website owners monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot their site's presence in Google Search results. As explained in the previous learning section, it is the most essential SEO tool in SEO for Google Search Engine.

Google Search Console Landing Page

Google Search Console provides insights into how Google views your site, including information on indexing status, search traffic, mobile usability, and issues that might affect your site’s performance in search results.

It also allows you to submit sitemaps, check backlinks, and see users' search queries (keywords) that bring users to your site.

Google Search Console is available here.

To set up Google Search Console, you can refer to several articles, such as "Google Search Console: The Ultimate Guide for 2024".

Note: Bing also provides a similar tool called Bing Webmaster Toos, but considering Google's search engine market share, mastering Google Search Console is more critical.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is vital for SEO as it offers in-depth insights into website traffic and user behavior, which is crucial for optimizing search engine strategies.

Google Analytics Landing Page

Analyzing user engagement metrics, like active users, average engagement time, and returning users, helps improve user experience and content relevance.

The tool identifies traffic sources, revealing which channels, such as organic search or social media, are most effective in driving visitors.

Although specific keyword data isn't provided, pairing Analytics with Google Search Console can yield valuable keyword insights from well-performing landing pages.

Conversion tracking in Google Analytics enables the identification of the most effective organic paths leading to user actions like purchases or sign-ups. This helps content strategy and keyword targeting.

Google Analytics is available here.

Google Keyword Planner (Google Ads)

Google Keyword Planner is a feature of Google Ads. It is primarily designed for paid ads campaigns, but you can also use it for SEO.

Google Keyword Planner UI on Google Ads

To use it, you need to create a Google Ads account. It's free unless you run actual ad campaigns.

Google Keyword Planner is helpful when identifying suitable keywords for your website.

It suggests relevant keywords and phrases, providing insights into their search frequency, which guides the website owner in choosing keywords likely to draw more visitors. The tool also reveals how competitive these keywords are, indicating the potential challenge in ranking for them. As you can set geography in keyword planning, it also helps local SEO.

Google Ads is available here.

This article, "How to Use Google Keyword Planner", is helpful if you want to learn how to use Keyword Planner.

Google Trends

Google Trends is a handy tool for SEO, offering insights into what people are searching for online. It helps identify trending topics, guides content creation to match current interests, and increases website traffic.

Google Trends Landing Page

The tool shows how search interest in specific terms changes over time, enabling you to catch onto rising trends or seasonal patterns in search behavior.

This feature is excellent for planning timely content. It also lets you compare different keywords while assisting in selecting the most impactful ones for your SEO strategy.

Additionally, regional data from Google Trends aids in tailoring content for specific locations. These insights can significantly enhance your SEO efforts, making your content more relevant and searchable.

Google Trends is available here.

Lighthouse

Lighthouse is an open-source, automated site audit tool created by Google to improve web page quality. It audits Performance, Accessibility, Best Practices, SEO, and PWA (Progressive Web Apps).

Lighthouse Extension on Chrome Web Store

Lighthouse is available as a Chrome extension (click here) and in Chrome Developer Tools, allowing users to run it directly in the desktop browser. Assessing web page performance is a critical part of your website audit. Consider using this tool or PageSpeed Insights, which provides similar features.

PageSpeed Insights

PageSpeed Insights is a free web-based tool from Google web page performance.

PageSpeed Insights Landing Page

Its features are similar to Lighthouse; however, there are some differences.

For example, PageSpeed Insights focuses more on speed metrics and user experience, strongly emphasizing field data. Another difference is accessibility. PageSpeed Insights is a web-based tool that allows you to access and check web page performance from mobile devices. If you want to be able to check your website performance even when you are traveling, you can use PageSpeed Insights.

PageSpeed Insights is available here.

Structured Data Markup Helper

The Structured Data Markup Helper provided by Google is a tool for creating schema markup (structured data) for web pages.

Google Structured Data Markup Helper UI Example

This tool simplifies marking up elements on your website, like articles, products, and events, with appropriate schema.org vocabulary. Once the tagging is complete, the tool generates the corresponding JSON-LD or Microdata code, which can then be added to the HTML of the web pages.

Structured Data Markup Helper is available here.

Rich Result Test

Google also provides a Rich Result Test as one of its Search Console features to verify if webpages are eligible for Rich Results in search.

Google Rich Results Test UI Example

Rich Result Test is available here.

Google Search Central

Google Search Central, formerly known as Google Webmasters, is not a tool but an official Google resource that provides tools, documentation, and guidance.

Google Search Central Landing Page

It is a one-stop knowledge library for anyone looking to enhance their site’s interaction with Google Search and better understand the search result mechanism.

Google Search Central is available here.

If you are an SEO beginner, you should start with SEO Starter Guide, which is a must-read document for SEO beginners.

Best SEO Tools for Free: Easy To Use for SEO Beginners

Several free and popular SEO tools can significantly enhance your SEO efforts. Here are the select free tools, mainly for website audits. To understand how these tools can be used for website audits, refer to "What Is a Website Audit and How To Do it?".

MozBar

MozBar is a Chrome extension that provides instant metrics on any webpage or SERP, including domain authority, page authority, and backlink profile analysis.

MozBar Extension on Chrome Web Store

This tool is handy when you want to quickly check the domain and page authority of your and your competitors' pages.

MozBar is available here.

SEO Quake

SEO Quake is a Chrome extension that provides a quick overview of various SEO metrics for web pages.

SEOquake Chrome Extension on Chrome Web Store

Using this tool, you can validate HTML tags, check the link status (both internal and external) on each page, assess keyword density, and compare key metrics with other URLs or domains. To understand how this tool can be used for website audits, refer to "What Is a Website Audit and How To Do it?".

SEO Quake is available here.

SEO META in 1 CLICK

SEO META in 1 CLICK is a helpful Chrome extension for SEO. It quickly provides a website’s meta tags, headers, link details, and image alt texts, enabling easy on-page SEO analysis and identifying areas for optimization with minimal effort.

SEO META in 1 CLICK Chrome Extension on Chrome Web Store

This tool is also helpful when you want to quickly check header structure, image tag, and OGP (Open Graph Protocol) implementations.

SEO META in 1 CLICK is available here.

GTmetrix

GTmetrix analyzes website speed and performance, providing insights into load times and optimization recommendations. This tool is helpful for developers who want to conduct technical SEO. Its performance report can provide more detailed information to improve page performance than PageSpeed Insights or Lighthouse.

GTmetrix Landing Page

GTmetrix is available here.

Paid SEO Solution Platform

If you want to improve your work productivity, using a paid SEO solution platform is highly recommended.

There are three major names that provide an integrated solution for SEO.

Semrush

Semrush is the largest SEO solution platform with around 17M unique visitors (as of Dec. 2023).

Semrush Landing Page

While Ahrefs and Moz primarily focus on SEO solutions, Semrush provides digital marketing solutions, including inorganic marketing (PPC) support tools.

Semrush is available here.

Moz Pro

Moz is the oldest among the three SEO solution platforms, with 20 years of experience. It has around 1M unique visitors (as of Dec. 2023).

Moz Pro Landing Page

Moz is also known for its proprietary Domain Authority metric. It offers a lower entry price than Semrush.

Moz Pro is available here.

ahref

ahref is the second-largest SEO solution platform, with around 4M unique visitors (as of Dec. 2023).

Ahrefs Landing Page

ahrefs has a good reputation for backlink analysis. It also offers a cheaper entry price than Semrush.

ahrefs is available here.

Other Paid-Tools

Other choices provide SEO solutions with more focused features than the three major platforms. For example, SimilarWeb focuses on competitor traffic analysis, Majestic specializes in backling analysis, and Spyfu emphasizes competitor keyword analysis.

Conclusion

In this learning section, we explored the key SEO tools that SEO beginners should consider. To what extent you want to use these tools depends on your role; however, having overviews of these tools will help you understand what you or your team can do using these tools. Even knowing the existence of tools may help you save time when encountering issues.


You can also learn this topic on Kindle. ClickAmazonKindle.