Sitebulb is a new kind of crawling and auditing tool for SEO. It blends the reporting power of a SaaS product and the affordability and convenience of a desktop product. This has levelled the playing field, enabling smaller agencies, solo consultants and freelancers to access killer auditing software, without needing a massive budget!
Sitebulb takes the opposite approach, joining the dots for the user and presenting them with a simple list of contextual ‘Hints,’ which explain the problem and the web-pages affected by it. This saves a lot of time on would-be manual processing and stops folks from missing important issues.
Oh, and one more thing, if you’re a visual person like me, this is THE tool for you. Sitebulb provides you with all the graphs and data you need in order to produce effective, intelligent reports to your team or your clients, which makes it easy to communicate complex issues and convince stakeholders to prioritize the workload!
Old but gold
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is old but gold; the most reliable and accurate tool to get information from is none other than Google themselves. Even though GKP is mainly catered to Google advertisers, our SEO team actively uses this tool as one of the first tools for broad keyword ideas and keyword research.
Since its revamp in February 2018, GKP has greatly improved its user interface design and hence, ease of usage. It is now a lot easier to use for results analysis as it is more straightforward and instinctive. With just one look, GKP shows you a detailed result for keyword ideas, keyword volume and keyword trends. Our team mainly looks at these 3 details first in order to gauge how strong the keyword demand is before carrying out thorough, in-depth keyword research using other SEO tools to check for keyword competitiveness.
Our technical SEO team is highly reliant on Ahrefs. When it is time to get technical and go all out to outrank our competitors, Ahrefs is our bread and butter. We use it for in-depth keyword research, backlink analysis, competitor analysis, technical on-page SEO, and even for content outreach and promotion.
Using their site explorer function, we are able to analyze our competitors in seconds and determine how weak or strong their websites are. We love how Ahrefs sorts and summarizes the results we want so neatly for our analysts to decipher the data.
The best thing about Ahrefs is that they have a dedicated team producing useful content and videos on how to use their tools properly and effectively.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free and necessary tool we cannot live without. Our SEO team uses it to see our actual rankings for different keywords. Using its filters, we can see the live status of the keyword rankings and work on those that have fallen. This data tells us a lot about new competitors who are coming in and highlight the areas we can work on. Additionally, Google Search Consonle also tells us the exact traffic coming in for different pages over a selected period of time, which allows us to gauge how well an article is doing and to spot the areas that we can continue to improve on.
It’s hard to find an SEO tool that hasn’t been mentioned somewhere before, but here are two specific sub-tools under the SEMRush and Ahrefs umbrellas that help SEOs specifically with content and editorial work:
Identifying Commonly Asked Questions
The SEMRush “Keyword Magic” tool is a relatively new tool, and I use it at least once per day when building a client’s content strategy.
You start by supplying a “seed” keyword — something very high level — and you can select the “questions” option. You can then filter those questions by volume or competition. If you are operating in a highly competitive market, this is an amazing way to find relevant niches to target.
For instance, let’s say that you are an intellectual property law firm, but you already have a lot of IP content on your site. You can pop “IP Law” or “intellectual property” into the keyword magic tool, get the list of questions, and do a site search on your website to see if you have each of those questions answered. If not, you’ve found a great topic to write about!
Ahrefs also has a way to filter by questions, but for now, the SEMRush version under their “keyword magic” tool is significantly better.
Finding Gaps in Your Content
Speaking of Ahrefs, I think they have the best “content gap” tool on the market. Start off by identifying one, two, or three of your direct competitors. Then all you have to do is plug their websites into the tool along with yours, and Ahrefs will identify keywords they rank for that you don’t. You can then filter for specific keywords.
This is often my first step in building a content strategy — we often want to make sure we match a competitor’s footprint (and make our similar content even better) before branching out with, say, the SEMRush Keyword Magic tool.