My Top Five Tools for any SEO Specialist

Ryan MacKellar Blog 0 Comments

There are a lot of SEO Tools in the market. To the untrained, it’s overwhelming. The good news is that beyond accomplishing a specific task, only a few SEO tools are really essential to accomplish most of what you need in this job. Here is a list of my favourites and  how I use them.

Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is one of the most powerful SEO tools on the market. Anybody needing to do site audits and other technical SEO tasks should have it. While it shares much of the ability to identify on-page issues and status code errors as the SEMrush & Moz Pro, it’s ability to test with different user agents and devices, generate sitemaps and other powerful technical tools make it one of the best in business.

My favourite feature is the rendering function, which provides a screenshot of the page as Google would see it. In short, if you are beginning work on any new site, the first thing to do is scan it with Screaming Frog and go through the results.

SEMrush

Another powerful tool that comes packed with different functions. What I like about SEMrush is its verstaility: I feel that it helps me accomplish a lot of different tasks. I find its traffic estimation feature especially useful when prospecting for new off-site opportunities and competitive research.

In addition, it’s keyword ranking tool provides an accurate screenshot of how you and your competitors are ranking. Finally, the site audit function is also useful when looking for errors on a new website. While not as powerful as Screaming Frog, it can identify different issues and is useful as a cross reference.

Ahrefs

As you can see in the name, ahrefs is all about the links and that’s what makes this tool indispensable. In my opinion, it is the best at crawling the web and gathering backlink and other data. Three features I particularly like are:

  • The total referring domain tool, which lets me review the links of my competitors and see if I can replicate them
  • It’s content explorer tool, which I can use to scan the web for brand mentions of my clients and reach out for a backlink
  • New referring domains, which is fast at notifying me if I have a new link that has gone live.

Nightwatch

This is the real niche tool of the list. It’s a rank tracking tool that I have used in the past and find it to provide useful information. While it’s hard to make a tool like this display accurate data about how your website is ranking (given that location is such a variable in search results), the trends it provides are a reason reflection of reality. Given that Google Search Console ranking data much less accurate, a tool like this needs to be in the arsenal of any SEO Manager.

Google (and it’s tools)

While an obvious choice, it’s worth mentioning the importance of Google, its tools and data. First, it’s worth noting just how much data can be captured from Google itself using the site:, info: & cache: operators. Then there’s Google Search Console & Google Analytics, perhaps the two most important SEO tools of all.

Finally, I’ve always enjoyed using Google Keyword Planner. Despite the numerous keyword research tools on the market, I find that it displays the most accurate search volume data, allows me to see the search volume in specific cities and get relevant long-tail keywords that I can target in blogs.

A note about Moz: I’m not as familiar with the Moz Pro set of tools; however, I feel as though they offer nothing that cannot be accomplished with the tools described above. In addition, they are worse at some essential tasks compared the ones described above. As a result, I have opted not to the include.

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