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8 SEO Tools for Small Businesses

We’ve helped hundreds of small business owners grow their business with SEO, and we know what works, what doesn’t work, and most importantly what matters most. Using our knowledge and experience, we’ve compiled a list of the 8 Best SEO tools for small businesses and things to consider when selecting the right tool for your business.

Why Small Businesses Need SEO Tools

Competitive Edge: SEO tools can provide comprehensive insights for search terms your customers are searching as it relates to your business and it’s offerings.

If you know what your customers are searching for, you know what content you should be creating. Providing high-quality, complete, and accurate content to search engines will help your website populate higher in the search results for phrases that can drive more potential customers to your business.

Higher ROI: SEO is proven to outperform other forms of marketing over time, provided it is done correctly. If you work on your SEO consistently, the results should compound and provide you business with a sustainable stream of new customers.

Trust and Credibility: When was the last time you clicked to the second page of Google? Rarely, right? People trust search engines, and being on that coveted first page tells your potential customers that you’re a top player in your field.

Features to Look for in an SEO Tool

  1. User-Friendliness: If you’re going to use an SEO tool regularly, you should make sure it’s easy to navigate and operate. Some SEO tools are more niche, and they can feel distracting from what matters most. However, every SEO tool included in our list is user-friendly.
  2. Comprehensive Analytics: A great SEO tool should provide you with insights and recommendations based on data provided from both your website and search engines.
  3. Keyword Research Capabilities: The right tool will also make it easy for you to explore what your potential customers are searching for as it relates to your business.
  4. Link-building Assistance: Backlinks have become less important over the years, but you shouldn’t rule them out entirely. All of the SEO tools on our list have varying ranges of link-building capabilities.
  5. On-Page SEO Recommendations: SEO goes beyond the words on the page. You’ll need a tool that provides you with clear directions on how to improve your SEO for each page on your website.
  6. Mobile & Local SEO Features: If you’ve taken a look at your website’s traffic analytics, you know why this is important. Most SEO tools today include mobile optimization and insights, but not all.

The Best SEO Tools for Small Businesses

1. Google Search Console (GSC)

It’s free, we use it every day, and it notifies you with recommendations to improve your SEO. Google is the worlds most popular search engine, GSC allows you to see your data directly from the source!

Here’s our top 10 favorite Google Search Console features:

Performance Report: This report provides insights into how often your site appears in Google search results, which search queries show your site, the click-through rate (CTR) for those queries, and more.

URL Inspection Tool: This tool allows you to fetch as Google, view the crawl, index, and serving information about a particular URL on your site, and request indexing for individual URLs.

Coverage Report: This report shows which pages on your site are indexed, which aren’t, and why. It can help you identify and fix indexing issues.

Sitemaps: You can submit your XML sitemap to Google through the Search Console to help Google discover and index your content. The sitemaps section will also show any errors or issues with your submitted sitemaps.

Mobile Usability Report: This report identifies pages on your site that may have usability issues on mobile devices. It’s crucial given the rise of mobile search and Google’s mobile-first indexing.

Core Web Vitals: This report provides insights into the user experience of your site in terms of loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability. It’s a part of Google’s emphasis on page experience as a ranking factor.

Security & Manual Actions: If Google detects any security issues (like malware) or if your site has been penalized with a manual action, you’ll be notified in this section.

Links Report: This provides data about who links to your website and how your site links internally. It’s a great way to understand your site’s backlink profile.

Enhancements: Depending on the type of content on your site, you might see additional reports here, like AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), rich results (like recipes or job postings), etc. These reports help you understand how these features are performing in search and if there are any issues.

Search Appearance: This section provides insights and tools related to how your site appears in search results, including structured data, rich cards, and other search features.

2. Google Analytics

Go one step further and dive deeper into how users are interacting with your website using Google Analytics. Search Engines, like Google, also consider how users interact with your website in order to determine it’s quality and relevancy to the users initial search query.

5 super useful Google Analytics features:

Real-Time Reporting: This feature allows you to see real-time data about who is on your website, what pages they’re viewing, where they’re from, and what actions they’re taking. It’s especially useful for monitoring the immediate effects of a new campaign or content update.

Audience Segmentation: Google Analytics lets you segment your audience based on various criteria like demographics, behavior, technology used, acquisition source, and more. This helps in understanding specific user groups and tailoring your marketing strategies accordingly.

Acquisition Reports: This feature provides insights into how visitors arrive at your site. You can see traffic sources broken down into categories like organic search, paid search, social, direct, and referral. This helps in understanding which channels are driving the most traffic and which ones might need more attention.

Behavior Flow: This visual representation shows the path users take through your site, from the source, through the various pages, and where they drop off. It’s invaluable for understanding user navigation, identifying potential issues, and optimizing the user journey.

Conversion Tracking: With Goals and E-commerce tracking, you can monitor specific user actions, like form submissions, product purchases, or downloads. This helps in understanding how well your site fulfills your target objectives and identifies areas for improvement.

3. SEMRUSH

Our first paid tool on the list, SEMRUSH offers a complete suite of SEO solutions. Our team uses this tool to assist in providing our SEO services because of it’s capabilities. It’s the most expensive tool on our list, but compared to other options it is the most comprehensive.

Our top 5 favorite SEMRUSH features:

Domain Analytics: This feature provides an overview of a website’s online visibility. You can analyze organic search traffic, backlinks, paid search activities, and more. It’s especially useful for competitor analysis, as you can see where your competitors are getting their traffic from and which keywords they rank for.

Keyword Magic Tool: This is a powerful keyword research tool that provides extensive keyword ideas based on a seed keyword. It offers data on search volume, keyword difficulty, competitive density, and more. You can also see related keywords, questions, and variations.

Site Audit: SEMrush’s site audit tool scans your website and provides a detailed report on its health. It identifies issues related to crawlability, content, links, and coding. The tool offers actionable recommendations to fix these issues, which can help improve your site’s SEO.

Backlink Analysis: This tool provides insights into a website’s backlink profile. You can see the total number of backlinks, referring domains, anchor text distribution, and the quality of these backlinks. It’s useful for understanding your link profile and identifying potential link-building opportunities.

Position Tracking: This feature allows you to track your website’s rankings for specific keywords over time. You can monitor daily ranking changes, see how you stack up against competitors, and get insights into SERP feature opportunities.

4. Ahrefs

A more cost friendly alternative to SEMRUSH, Ahrefs offers a full suite of SEO tools similar to SEMRUSH. Ahrefs data is not as comprehensive as SEMRUSH, but it is more comprehensive than others on our list.

Top 5 Ahrefs Features:

Site Explorer: This is perhaps the most well-known feature of Ahrefs. It allows users to research any website’s backlink profile, organic search traffic, and paid search activities. You can see the number of backlinks, referring domains, organic keywords, and more for any domain or URL.

Keywords Explorer: A comprehensive keyword research tool that provides data on search volume, keyword difficulty, click metrics, and more. It supports over 170 countries and offers keyword ideas, SERP overview, and ranking history.

Content Explorer: This tool lets you discover top-performing content in your niche based on metrics like organic traffic, backlinks, and social shares. It’s useful for content research and understanding what topics resonate with audiences.

Rank Tracker: Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker allows you to monitor your website’s keyword rankings over time. You can track your rankings on desktop and mobile across different countries, see featured snippets, and get regular updates.

Site Audit: This feature crawls your website and provides a detailed report on its SEO health. It identifies issues related to internal and external links, performance, HTML tags, and more. The visual reports, like the site’s crawlability and performance over time, are particularly insightful.

5. Moz Pro

Moz offers a suite of free SEO solutions beneficial to any small business, but the Moz Pro version provides a complete dashboard filled with everything you need. Moz Pro has recently begun to raise their price closer to SEMRUSH, despite not having as much data varieties.

6. Ubersuggest

A good option for entry-level SEO specialists or business owners looking to ‘get their feet wet’. Uber suggest is a great tool to find new keyword solutions. They have released more features, but the accuracy is not good enough for it to be a considering factor in our list. Ubersuggest made our list because of it’s ease of use, and streamlined user experience for sourcing new keywords.

7. Yoast SEO (for WordPress users)

Yoast is the most distinguished SEO tool on our list for small businesses, as it’s become the most widely used SEO Plugin of choice since it’s release in late 2010. The plugin offers a freemium subscription model, and while the free version covers all the essentials, more advanced SEO capabilities are unlocked in their premium version.

10 things we love about Yoast SEO:

User-Friendly Interface: Yoast SEO offers a clean and intuitive dashboard, making it easy for both beginners and professionals to navigate and optimize their content.

Focus Keyword Analysis: Allows users to set a focus keyword for each post or page and then provides feedback on how well the content is optimized for that keyword.

Readability Analysis: Beyond just SEO, Yoast also analyzes the readability of content, providing suggestions to make it more user-friendly.

Meta Data Customization: Users can easily customize meta titles and descriptions for each post or page, ensuring that search engine listings are optimized and appealing.

Breadcrumbs Control: Easy-to-implement breadcrumbs, which can enhance user navigation and potentially improve the site’s structure in the eyes of search engines.

Canonical URLs: The plugin allows for easy setting of canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content issues.

XML Sitemaps: Yoast SEO automatically generates XML sitemaps, which can be submitted to search engines to aid in content indexing.

Schema Markup: The plugin helps implement schema markup, which can enhance the appearance of listings in search results (e.g., showing star ratings for reviews).

Integration with Google Search Console: Yoast SEO integrates with Google Search Console, allowing you to identify and fix crawl errors directly in WordPress.

Regular Updates: Yoast SEO is regularly updated to keep up with the latest SEO best practices and changes in search engine algorithms. This ensures that users always have a tool that’s in line with current standards.

8. Bright Local

Bright Local has developed a lot of new features and has really honed in on the Local SEO niche. Local SEO is crucial for most small businesses to be seen and remain competitive in their local market. This tool has a few unique features specific to Local SEO that the other on our list don’t have.

5 Bright Local Features Specific to Local SEO:

Local Search Rank Checker: This tool allows businesses to track their local search rankings for specific keywords across multiple search engines, including Google, Google Maps, and Bing. It provides insights into how well a business is performing in local search results over time.

Citation Builder: Citations, which are online mentions of a business’s name, address, and phone number, play a crucial role in local SEO. BrightLocal’s Citation Builder helps businesses create, fix, and clean up their citations across a wide range of directories to ensure consistency and accuracy.

Google My Business Audit: This feature provides an in-depth analysis of a business’s Google My Business listing, highlighting areas of improvement and offering recommendations to optimize the listing for better local search visibility.

Local Search Audit: This comprehensive audit tool evaluates various local SEO factors, including on-site SEO, off-site SEO, Google My Business, and citations. It provides a holistic view of a business’s local SEO performance and areas that need attention.

Reputation Manager: Online reviews are a significant factor in local SEO. The Reputation Manager tool helps businesses monitor, generate, and manage their online reviews across various platforms, ensuring they maintain a positive online reputation which can influence local search rankings.

Choosing the Right SEO Tool for Your Business

Every business is unique, and most of the SEO tools on our list offer a free trial or limited version that you can try for free. We encourage you to explore them to discover which tool(s) you think is best for your business.

Never forget that we recommend the main focus of any SEO campaign be the quality of your website content itself. No amount of optimization and technical fixes can make poor quality content rank!

The focus of your SEO efforts should be on creating new content, providing your expertise on any given topic. These tools are here to help you in that endeavor so you have the best chance possible to rank higher and grow your business.

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