I’m no stranger to SEO tools, having tried a countless number of tools in the past few years. Since I deal with several clients with SEO requirements at my digital marketing agency, I’m always open to experiment with new tools or revisit some of the old tools with new/improved features.
The year 2020 was no different. I experimented with different SEO tools throughout the year. I liked a few and some were just meh!
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By and large, the tools featured in this article were my go-to SEO tools in 2020, and I firmly believe they will be setting the trend in 2020 as well. If you aren’t using them already, you are surely missing out.
So without further ado, here are the 8 amazing SEO tools you must try in 2021.
Ahrefs is my favorite link building tool. The backlink audit carried out by Ahrefs is simply gold standard. The tool conjures up the most accurate backlink data one can obtain and the team behind Ahrefs is working hard to ensure that we get the most accurate backlink data we are looking for.
Aside from link building, you can also use Ahrefs to track your position on Google and other search engines on a regular basis. The upgraded version of keyword research tool on Ahrefs (called Keyword Explorer 2.0) is a powerful feature that allows you to obtain tons of keyword ideas to create new content for your website.
Granted, it’s more expensive than most of the tools featured here, but the ROI on this tool is pretty damn good.
If you’re serious about building high-quality backlinks for your site, this is the tool you need to have on your side.
Read my in-depth review of Ahrefs to learn more about its features.
Semrush is delightfully easy to use and does most things an SEO tool should do astonishingly well. If you run a digital marketing agency, then I highly recommend you try Semrush to dazzle your clients with reports that’ll provide a wealth of information about their website and content.
Semrush allows you to do the following for $119.95/month:
- Keyword Analysis
- Site Audit
- Position Tracking
- Advertising Research
- Backlink Research
I won’t go into much detail about how useful this tool is since I’ve done so extensively on this blog (check out this in-depth review). Suffice it to say, Semrush is my preferred tool for keyword research, competition analysis, and content marketing.
For more information on how to use Semrush, check out these articles below:
#3 Raven Tools
I used Raven Tools in 2015 and was quite disappointed despite reading rave reviews about it on marketing subreddits and review aggregator sites. So when I recently signed up for a 30-day trial, I was pleasantly surprised by how much the tool has improved. Among other things, these three features impressed me the most:
- Site Auditor
- Custom Reports
- Backlink Explorer
This is yet another tool that I’d recommend to agency owners as it allows you to create interactive marketing reports for your clients’ websites.
The interface is not as user friendly as is the case with the other tools in this list, but its features more than make up for its clunky design.
Having said that, Raven Tools is just too similar to SEMrush in terms of features and between the two, I find SEMrush more reliable and cost-efficient (the PRO plan on Raven costs $99/month). But for some reason, if you’re not happy with SEMrush, you could try Raven Tools.
Serpstat allows you to do organic keyword tracking, spy on your competitor’s keywords, perform SEO site audits, PPC analysis, and much more.
I mainly use Serpstat for the following:
- Keyword Research
- Backlink Analysis
- Competition Analysis
- Site Audit
- Rank Tracking
Serpstat offers a free plan wherein you can perform 30 searches and audit 100 pages in a month. Paid plans on Serpstat start from $19/month.
Though there is room for improvement, I’m sure the team at Serpstat is more than qualified to upgrade and refine some of its features to make it a top-quality SEO tool. And for $19/mo, there’s no reason to complain.
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Essentially a content marketing tool, Buzzsumo allows you to search for the most popular/shared content online for any given topic. The pro version of the tool allows you to see who has shared the content online and filter by type (such as influencers and brands) and location.
A nifty feature if you’re planning to create similar (better) content online and then do email outreach to promote your content. If you’re a fan of Brian Dean and his skyscraper technique, then Buzzsumo is the tool you should subscribe to right away in order to successfully implement skyscraper technique and get high-quality backlinks.
When combined with a blogger outreach tool like the next one on my list, Buzzsumo is a must-have tool to rank high in search engines.
I thank my lucky stars and AppSumo for giving me a lifetime access to Ninja Outreach back in 2015. Since then, Ninja Outreach has been my de facto blogger outreach tool to reach out to influencers to promote my content and get quality backlinks.
Aside from blogger outreach, you can use Ninja Outreach to do any of the following:
- Lead generation
- Link building
- Collecting contact information (you can also use their Chrome extension for this)
- Content promotion
- Twitter and Instagram prospecting
- Finding guest posts
If you’re in search of a reliable blogger prospecting and outreach tool, then Ninja Outreach is just what you’re looking for.
Moz had had a pretty rough last eighteen months with the scrapping of Moz Content and FollowerWonk, two content marketing tools that were challenging Buzzsumo. Furthermore, the company recently laid off 28% of its staff in an effort to shift their focus back to their SEO offerings.
I’ve made my thoughts clear about Moz Pro in the past, mainly in this comparison article between SEMrush and Moz. While I’m a fan of Rand Fishkin, I’ve not been a huge fan of Moz Pro, the flagship SEO offering from the company. I always felt it was too pricey and didn’t offer enough bang for the buck.
That said, the FollowerWonk fiasco turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Rand Fishkin and team got time and resources to focus on their core SEO product. I signed up for a Moz Pro trial recently and was really impressed with the improvements made by the tool.
The user interface is neat and features such as backlink data and on-page grader are more accurate. I also love the fact that they’ve spent considerable time building Moz Local into a powerful local SEO tool. I used Moz Local to optimize local search rankings for one of my clients in the travel industry and was fairly impressed with the results.
Would I invest $99/month on this tool? Probably not, as most of the features offered by Moz are offered by SEMrush and Ahrefs as well. But there is no doubt in my mind that Moz will continue to set industry standards for SEO tools in 2020 and beyond.
#8 Keyword Hero
Want to gain a serious advantage over your organic competitors? Then start using Keyword Hero.
If you use Google Analytics to track the performance on your website, you’ll know Google displays only 3% – 8% of the keywords people typed into the search box to get to your website. Most of the organic keywords are hidden under (not provided) section.
This is where Keyword Hero comes in. By using Keyword Hero, you can uncover 95% of your site’s organic keywords. Armed with this knowledge, you can optimize the keywords on your website and improve your search rankings.
All it takes is a simple 2-minute integration with your Google Analytics and Search Console account.
You can start using Keyword Hero for free. The free plan allows you track organic keywords from 25 most frequented URLs from your website.
Aside from the tools featured in this list, I also recommend you use the following free SEO tools to propel your site’s search rankings:
- HubSpot Website Grader
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Bing Webmaster Tools
- Google PageSpeed Insights
- Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin
Need more free SEO tools? Check out this full list of 35+ free SEO tools that can help you boost your search rankings.
Hope you found this article useful. What are your go-to SEO tools in 2021? I’d love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
If you liked this article, you may also like:
- 25 Proven Ways to Get High Quality Backlinks [Refreshed for 2020]
- Semrush vs Moz: Which SEO Tool is the Best?
- 10 Technical SEO Tips to Instantly Boost Your Site’s Rankings
Editor’s note: This article was first published in Jan 2017, but has been completely revised and updated for 2021.