SEO Tools: which are the best and how they work [Mini-Guide]

SEO professionals who aim to place a website for certain keywords at the top of a search engine results page (SERP) can no longer do without these tools known as ”best SEO tools”. To get a website off the ground and reach the first page of Google, SEO software is an indispensable tool for both the neophyte and the SEO specialist.

In this mini-guide, I will introduce you to both the main free SEO tools and the best SEO tools offered in freemium and premium versions. Knowing them and knowing how to use them is a prerequisite for optimizing a website and producing content that helps climb Google SERP, and they should definitely not be missing from your SEO curriculum.

Tools to do a general site check-up (SEO Audit)

Hidden beyond the SERPs, the spiders weave their web waiting for the next site to “sift through” – yours!

Surviving the harsh law of Big G. requires an army of the best SEO tools around but, as in any battle, you need to know that without a plan you won’t get far.

It is for this reason that I have decided to divide the SEO tools according to the steps involved in a proper analysis procedure.

Every self-respecting SEO knows that a textbook SEO check-up requires a thorough analysis of the site structure. In order to prepare the first report, we need to identify the criticalities related to to the architecture of the site as well as those related to content.

This work is indispensable to ensure good results in the medium to long term and to ward off an SEO’s biggest nightmare: penalizations inflicted by Google algorithms such as Panda and Penguin.

Let us, therefore, start by proposing the SEO tools that cannot be missing for a general site analysis.

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Google Search Console

After torpedoing the much better-known Webmaster Tools in the name of branding, the colossus created by Larry Page and Sergey Brin has decided to bring its creature back to life with a decidedly more appealing name.

Search Console is among the most important Google SEO Tools and is Google’s main free suite in the SEO area. It allows us to better understand how the search engine “talks” with our site and what idea it has of its content.

The transversal nature of the numerous functions of this SEO tool makes it possible to perform a general check-up on the site’s health and intervene accordingly.

To allow Google Search Console to collect data from your site, all you have to do is copy the HTML tracking code and paste it into your WordPress site. It is also useful to know that there are special plug-ins to quickly complete this procedure.

Search Console will automatically run an initial scan of your site to check its general health, sending you an initial report containing:

  1. Penalization
  2. Technical problems with pages and links
  3. Data on organic research
  4. Indexed URLs
  5. Sitemap

SEO Tools List

Three functions offered by this SEO tool can be highlighted:

  • The number of clicks per keyword – This figure tells us how many times users clicked on content related to a specific keyword, helping us to understand which keywords best index our site.
  • Impression and CTR – how many views (impressions) we got in the SERP. A high number of impressions accompanied by a low CTR should lead us to reflect on the title or description, either of which may be unclear or inconsistent with the keyword.
  • Position – The average position in SERPs of our page for a given query.
  • Filters – Google Search Console enables different types of comparisons such as comparison of search data by device used by the user or the comparison of two pages of the site. The latter filter allows us to perform A/B Tests comparing the URLs of two pages and draw insights for optimization.

google search console data

  • Tag Title and Meta Description – The Voice “HTML Enhancements” allows you to check for problems with titles or meta descriptions. Duplication or lack of these elements within published content can lead to serious indexing losses, so it is always a good idea to perform a constant check-up within this section.
  • Backlinks – From here, we can obtain the list of sites linking to our site and assess their removal based on relevance and quality.
  • URL indexing – does Google bother to sift through all the pages of your site? With this function, you can find out. A site with original and quality content does not should have “no index” (non-indexed) pages, however, in some cases, even a temporary decision to exclude them from being crawled by spiders may make strategic sense.
  • Sitemap – Inserting the sitemap and feeding it to Google is always a good SEO move. The heir to Webmaster Tools there also assists in this by allowing the sitemap to be sent to Google, which can assess the organization of content, the structure of internal links and index the URLs of the relevant pages.
  • Crawl error – Another feature of this SEO tool is to detect errors related to URLs that the spider failed to crawl correctly. The error to which one must pay the most attention is the much-hated “error 404”. Ignoring it means jeopardizing the user experience, with all that this entails the company’s brand reputation. The Google tool will tell us which pages within our site present this problem, allowing us to understand the causes and act accordingly.

Start using Google Search Console today!



SemRush for an SEO is a bit like the hammer for Thor: without it, he feels lost.

It is no coincidence that SemRush is one of the platforms dedicated to SEO analysis most valued by specialists in this field.

The wide assortment of tools on offer makes it possible to obtain an accurate analysis of the health of the site and to monitor, via reports, the progress of the strategies adopted.

SemRush is a freemium platform. With free registration, you can access most of the tools and get up to ten daily reports. For geeks, however, various premium packages are available.

As with Google Search Console, this tool also has a registration procedure for entry of the tracking code.

tool semrush

Let’s see which of SemRush’s functions are the most used:

  • Overview – By typing in the domain of the site, you can obtain valuable information on traffic trends, and the Google positioning of the main keywords, whether for organic or paid search. It is also possible to collect data on the main competitors.
  • Organic search – In this section of the dashboard, the analysis platform lets us know the volume of keywords that lead users to your site, as well as the position occupied by the domain in Google’s SERP for a given keyword.
  • Backlinks – With this tool, in addition to detecting the volume and quality of links pointing to the site in question, we can detect various specific data, such as to the follow/no-follow attribute.
  • URL – This report is extremely useful for analyzing a specific URL. Most of the data provided will concern keywords: position, search volume, traffic generated, etc.
  • Keyword – SemRush’s Keyword Research allows you to identify the keywords that allow industry leaders to rank high in the SERPs. Thanks to this feature, it is possible to capture data that is useful for both organic and paid searches.

Start practicing with SemRush!

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Among the main SEO tools, SEO Zoom is one of the most powerful tools for performing an in-depth site check-up and is particularly appreciated by SEO specialists for the amount of data it provides both for monitoring their projects and the activity of competitors.

The functionalities of this SEO suite largely overlap with those of SEMRush. However, SEO Zoom can boast greater “verticality” on SEO topics by providing the user with decidedly more sophisticated keyword analysis tools thanks to an unrivaled keyword database.

The platform designed by Ivano Di Biasi is offered free of charge, but in order to take full advantage of its potential, you will have to subscribe.

After entering all your project data, you will be able to connect SEO Zoom to Google Analytics and Search Console, and easily monitor your competitors, keyword references, and your brand’s ranking on the network based on backlinks. You will provide real-time data on keyword positioning, without losing track of social shares.

  • Analysis Tools – This is the workhorse of this SEO tool. Traffic analysis is closely linked to keyword reporting. Through this tool, you can identify both the most competitive keywords and those with the greatest potential. At the same time, you can monitor the traffic and efficiency of your content on the basis of the keywords used. By means of extremely intuitive graphs, you can collect data on estimated visits and their variations over different time periods. SEOZoom will show you which events may have influenced the traffic variations. You will receive constant updates on the backlink profile, of which you can find out not only the percentage ratio between dofollow and nofollow links but also the anchor text with which your site was linked.
  • Competition – You can compare two or more domains, collecting data on relative traffic and keyword distribution. In parallel, through the “Social Signals” function, you can find out the level of sharing on all social networks.

Learn how to use SEOZoom

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SEO tools for keyword analysis

To create quality content, it is necessary to identify the keyword for which we intend to be indexed by the search engine bots.

This first, seemingly trivial step plays a strategic role: identifying the main keyword is essential for setting the SEO title, which, as you know, is a critical ranking factor.

The best way to identify the keyword is to consult special SEO tools.

What are keyword analysis tools for?

Identifying relative search volumes

  1. Identify related
  2. Identifying the long-tail
  3. Understanding competitor strategies
  4. What are the best SEO tools for keyword analysis?


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Google Keyword Planner

Although Google Ads is a tool dedicated to the world of advertising and thus the bread and butter of SEM (Search Engine Marketing), it provides, among its infinite functions, the keyword planning tool, an indispensable tool for any SEO.

Keyword Planner, once it has identified the terms on which to develop content, will access Google’s database and, through the user search history, will be able to provide you with a list of keywords related to your search term.

This SEO tool, created for those who have to manage Adwords advertising campaigns, is characterized by the numerous search filters it makes available:

  1. Geolocation
  2. Reference period
  3. Relevance of results

But also for the keyword list information it generated:

  1. Average monthly search frequency
  2. Average keyword cost

These last two pieces of data, for example, can be very useful for analyzing the choices of your competitors and evaluating the strategies to be adopted.

Start using Google Ads Keyword Planner!


One of the starting points in keyword research and analysis is the study of the related, i.e. the semantic category that the search engine associates with the relevant keyword.

Ubersuggest is undoubtedly one of the most popular free SEO tools among search engine optimization specialists. The function of this tool, which is easy to use and features an extremely intuitive graphical interface, is very similar to Google’s automatic suggestion.

The operation of Ubersuggest is reminiscent of that of any search engine. Once you enter your query, the system will process a series of search terms closely related to the keyword on which you intend to build your SEO strategy.

Try the free version of Ubersuggest!

Google Trends

What terms are most searched by users online? How do keyword search volumes vary by reference period? To answer these and other questions, the king of search engines has created Google Trends.

This free tool is particularly useful for knowing and analyzing user behavior in online searches. Through the graphs produced by Google Trends, you can collect data on queries and keywords of interest to you by selecting the geographical area and parameters for a specific time frame.

For more in-depth keyword analysis, we can turn to online platforms that offer numerous SEO tools in both freemium and premium versions such as SemRush or SEOZoom.

To go deeper into this topic, I suggest you do not miss the valuable advice Valentino Mea illustrates in the tutorial Keyword Research: how to search for keywords for SEO purposes.

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SEO Tools for Backlinks and Link Building

The arrival of Google Penguin disrupted the lives of those who until the day before were climbing the SERPs with ease, gorging themselves with backlinks of all sorts. The young brother of the already feared Google Panda, it has definitely cut the legs off a technique that led to far from natural link building.

For an SEO specialist or SEO copywriter, link popularity and link authority are two vital pivots on which to build quality link building.

If monitoring internal linking is more of an exercise in style, managing external linking certainly requires more scrupulousness. That is why I prefer to focus mainly on SEOs tools to manage this sensitive variable.


The net offers numerous free SEO tools for tracking backlinks. However, for the most scrupulous SEOs, the reports provided by free SEO resources are not always satisfactory.

Among the link analysis tools, Ahrefs remains one of the most popular for both the amount of data provided and for the intuitiveness of the graphical interface.

It is a very important tool for managing link building and link audit campaigns and for analyzing the health of a site from an SEO point of view. The Ahrefs tool differs from other SEO tools by the strong analysis of a website’s backlinks. In this sense, it is very reliable.

Thanks to Ahrefs, in addition to not getting smacked by the penguin, you can get to know:

  • Which sites link to yours
  • Which anchor texts are used
  • The quality of backlinks
  • Which URLs receive the most backlinks
  • Real-time reports

This valuable SEO tool is offered in freemium mode. Once you have performed the free analysis of five backlinks you will have to buy the paid version.

Majestic SEO

Another useful SEO tool for analyzing backlinks is Majestic SEO. Like the previous tool, it is available as a freemium version, providing discerning subscribers with detailed analysis. What can you do with Majestic SEO? 

  • Analyzing competitors’ backlinks
  • Locate the main anchor text related to the external link
  • Identifying link relationships to facilitate link building
  • Analyzing the “qualitative weight” of backlinks on URLs
  • Knowing the quality and trustworthiness of a site through Trust Flow
  • Knowing the quality and reliability of a link through Citation Flow

majestic seo tool

Start using Majestic SEO today!

MOZ-Open Site Explorer

MOZ is undoubtedly the smartest SEO tool in link structure analysis. Once the URL of your site has been entered, you will get an in-depth report on link popularity and detailed data on both internal and external links.

As one of the main metrics, Open Site Explorer issues a score indicating the authoritativeness of the site based on backlinks. But why is Moz’s OSE so useful?

  • Provides a list of incoming links
  • Performs a thorough internal link analysis
  • Indicate which URLs of your site are most frequently linked
  • Identify from which URLs links pointing to your site originate. A report that Anchor Texts other sites use to link to the

seo tool moz

Start using Moz Pro, thanks to which, you can implement the right strategies to improve Domain Authority and Page Authority by ranking higher in the SERPs of the major search engines with your website content and differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Site scanning and analysis tools

Google sows panic by unleashing its little monsters on the web. Spiders, crawlers, bots, call them what you will, the fact remains that these industrious bogeymen of the web try to satiate their hunger by spending day and night constantly searching for sites and web pages to scan.

The scanning of the entire site (blog) normally forms part of the reports produced during the check-up phase, however, since this is a crucial aspect in identifying the main criticalities of a site, I preferred to dedicate a specific area to the SEO tools used in the identification of more serious problems. In this section, you can learn about the tools dedicated to “crawler simulators”.

Screaming Frog

After all these online SEO tools, have you wondered if there was an SEO analyzer software you could install on your PC? Screaming Frog answers this question. Screaming Frog is an indispensable desktop SEO tool for any link-building campaign.

screaming frog image

The first activity with which I start an SEO audit is usually website crawling. Screaming Frog, the only SEO tool that requires to be downloaded to your device is a real simulator that scans your site as a Google spider would do.

With this valuable tool, you can perform a series of on-site SEO analyses.

What can you do with Screaming Frog?

  • Identifying broken links (404 error)
  • Analysing title and meta-description criticalities
  • Detecting Duplicate Content URLs
  • Detecting blocked URLs from the robots.txt file (exclusion from indexing)
  • Identifying follow/nofollow links
  • Generating the sitemap

The functions of this SEO tool are endless, but being a “spider simulator” it is particularly appreciated because it provides useful reporting to identify criticalities that could generate heavy penalizations by Google.

Start using Screaming Frog now!

Visual SEO Studio

This SEO tool, created by Federico Sasso, simulates the scanning processes of search engine crawlers, allowing the SEO specialist to perform real-time scans on different sites.

Visual SEO, while being a suite with numerous functions, is particularly appreciated for identifying issues that normally turn the nose up at Google bots.

visual seo studio

With this made-in-Italy tool, you can trace the site exploration paths followed by the spider. In this way, you will be able to understand the order in which the pages of the site are scanned, identify which paths are useless or too twisted to the detriment of the “crawl budget”, and detect unwanted redirects.

This analysis is particularly useful because it allows the crawl path to be modeled and made more efficient to suggest to the crawler, thus reducing site crawl times.

Visual SEO Studio allows you to perform an in-depth analysis of all pages containing links pointing to your site, but not only that, it explores the contents of sitemaps and sitemaps contained within robot.txt files. Again, knowing and possibly restructuring the sitemap of your site provides considerable advantages such as:

  • Tell the spider which pages to index
  • Listing URLs with which to associate actions such as 404 or 301
  • Improving Page Rank by Reducing Scan Times

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SEO Tools to monitor loading speed

The loading speed of a site and its pages is one of the most strategically important elements, particularly for the quality of the user experience. A slow site that takes a long time to load content will eventually annoy your users, resulting in a loss of potential customers.

Google loves sites with short waiting times, which is why it is necessary to create pages light, winking at spiders, and minimizing the user abandonment rate.

Let us, therefore, look at the main tools for analyzing the speed of a site.

Google Pagespeed Insight

With this free SEO tool from Google, it is possible to analyze the loading speed of your site and identify critical issues that have contributed to the slowdown. Information will be provided on how to intervene on these aspects and optimize page loading times.

google pagespeed insights

Ahrefs, based on the data collected, assigns a score from one to one hundred to the loading speed from both desktop and mobile.

Find out what Google Pagespeed is!

Gt Metrix

One of the most widely used SEO tools to monitor the loading speed of a site is certainly GT-Metrix.

In reality, the loading speed of the site is only the starting point of an accurate analysis. GT Metrix, on the basis of Performance Scores, pinpoints with extreme precision the factors that slow down page loading, indicating which files need to be replaced or modified.

gt metrix

A page with infinite loading times may contain images that are too heavy. In this case, I suggest you optimize them without affecting their quality by using tools such as Pixlr Express or Tinypng.

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How to control content duplication

Content is king. How many times have you heard this phrase repeated? It is true, content is an indispensable strategic lever and that is why taking care of its production in every aspect is vital. With the emergence of Google Panda, the issue of duplicate content has become crucial. Indeed, publishing duplicate content carries heavy penalties from Google.


This free SEO tool with an extremely simple and intuitive graphic interface allows us to analyze the content we are interested in, detecting the possible presence of duplicates around the network. The report released by Copyscape us will indicate which and how many words on our pages have been duplicated and published on pages of other sites.

copyscape tool

By entering the URL of a page, Copyscape makes it possible both to detect copied content and to detect whether our content that has not yet been published contains complete or partial duplicates of texts already present on the web.

Try Copyscape now!


Copywriters are known to have a recurring nightmare, that of duplicate content. Panda has become an increasingly intransigent judge on the subject of duplication, so much so that even partial overlaps between contents of the same site are not tolerated.

siteliner content

If you have this fear, Siteliner is for you. To find out the quality of your content, you simply enter the site’s domain name and run the scan. One of the most interesting aspects of this SEO tool is the representation of data in the form of graphs and tables that are very easy to analyze. What data can you analyze?

  • Pages scannable by spiders
  • Percentage of duplicate, common, and original content
  • URL of duplicate content
  • Percentages of duplicate text

If you are curious to know whether your site contains duplicate content, try Siteliner.

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SEO tools for traffic analysis

In this fight to the death, SEO tools play the role of faithful squires, without whom even the wisest SEO would risk an authentic Caporetto. Although the bulk of the work is devoted to optimizing the content, every self-respecting SEO Specialist knows the importance of data analysis. The litmus test comes when you have to start sift through Google Analytics data, and then draw conclusions on how well you are doing.

Google Analytics

In the end, it’s always about numbers. Even the best SEO Copywriter knows that after hours spent studying, researching, and devising strategies to rout (or pander to) spiders, one has to pass the Google Analytics exam before one can pat oneself on the back. It is he who decrees the success of an SEO strategy.

The main function of Analytics is to provide us with data, measurements, and statistics on the actions users take as they wander through the pages of our site. After analyzing the data, you will be able to understand through which channels they arrived, how they explored the site, why they abandoned it quickly, what content they spent time on, and how much of this time it took to generate conversions or not.

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Moreover, they can be studied:

  • Audience – From this report, you will get a detailed profile of the user who has surfed our site. You will be able to see whether they are first-time users or constant visitors to your pages, from which type of device they connect, and from which geographical area they connect.
  • Acquisition – To correct and implement your SEO strategy, it will be crucial to know your traffic acquisition channels. This report will help you track clicks generated by organic traffic, social or Adwords campaigns, etc.
  • Behavior – With this report, you can study user behavior on your site. You will understand which paths they follow during navigation, i.e. which pages they access, which they move on to, which content they prefer, and which they abruptly abandon.

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The data provided by Google Analytics helps to identify the strengths and weaknesses of our strategy, enabling us to apply the necessary corrections.

  • Why does a page have a high bounce rate?
  • Why does that content have a low CTR?
  • What specific content with which query is displayed and clicked on?
  • Is the average time spent on that page low due to long loading times?

We could go on for hours, but I am sure that these few lines will give you a pretty good idea of the power of this indispensable SEO tool.

After creating an Analytics account, you will be provided with a tracking ID. This is a code that you will have to copy into the code of all the pages of your site (blog). If you use WordPress, you can simplify this by using a plug-in such as Tracking Code Manager, which does this automatically.

Check your site now with Google Analytics.

Now is the time to act!

Google, in its eternal struggle with SEOs, tries to equip its scourges by arming them daily with increasingly sophisticated and demanding algorithms.

SEOs, for their part, in order to survive in this minefield, must systematically update their arsenal of SEO tools without having too many qualms about resorting to heavy artillery.

Let’s be clear, the philosopher’s stone of SEO that will make you immune to all adversity does not exist. SEO remains an empirical science that requires experimentation, sweat, and sleepless nights contemplating the ceiling for mistakes made, but that is the way of the digital world.

Knowing the analysis tools and making good use of them will make this road to content optimization and page indexing less painful. What are you waiting for? Put what you have learned into practice and start using the suggested SEO tools now!

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