6 Best SEO Tools for Digital Marketing Agencies

6 Best SEO Tools for Digital Marketing Agencies

Since starting my own digital marketing agency in mid-2015, I’ve experimented with several SEO tools. I’ve tried them all — free, freemium, and paid.

In some cases, I had to subscribe to a tool just because my client believed it provided the most accurate information about their website.

Here’s the harsh truth: Not all SEO tools are created equal. A majority of them are not worth your time and investment.

So in this article, I thought I’d help other agency owners avoid the pitfall of investing in a mediocre tool by listing down 6 SEO tools that are worth investing in.

Before we get started, let’s set some ground rules.

This list will feature only all-purpose SEO tools, meaning tools that include all of the following five essential capabilities:

  • Keyword research
  • Competitive research
  • Backlink analysis
  • Technical SEO audit
  • Position tracking

The list will not feature tools like BuzzSumo, Ubersuggest, and Google’s very own Keyword Planner. While these tools are uniquely useful, they are not all-purpose SEO tools.

For instance, Keyword Planner is just that — a keyword analysis tool within Google Ads. You can’t perform an SEO site audit with Keyword Planner. Similarly, BuzzSumo is an excellent content marketing and influencer outreach tool. You can’t use it for backlink audit or position tracking.

As such, the tools that are featured below perform all functions of SEO and provide actionable reports — from SEO site audit to competition analysis to rank tracking. By using any of these tools, you can improve the overall SEO of your clients’ websites and expect them to rank higher in search results.

If you’re able to find a tool within your current budget and one which can perform all the key SEO functionalities reasonably well, then you’d have arrived at your go-to SEO tool. I hope you’ll be able to find one such tool in the list below.

So without further ado, here are the 6 best SEO tools you can consider to scale your agency business.

Note: Before we proceed, I’d just like to iterate that we will be focusing on paid SEO tools. If you’d like to use free SEO tools, I’d urge you to check out 35+ Best Free SEO Tools to Instantly Boost Your Rankings.

6 Best SEO Agency Tools: Summary

Below are our top 6 recommendations for best SEO software for agencies. For an in-depth look at each of these tools, refer to the next section.

Budget-friendly Choice
  • Product Rating:
    4.6
  • Use it if you want to do high-quality website audits and spend less time on SEO reporting.

  • Starts at $55/mo
Top Choice
  • Product Rating:
    4.9
  • Use it if your top priority is keyword research, competition analysis, and site audit.

  • Starts at $129.95/mo
  • Product Rating:
    4.2
  • Use it if your top priority is backlink analysis.

  • Starts at $99/mo
  • Product Rating:
    4.3
  • Use it if you have a smaller budget, but would still like a reliable SEO tool.

  • Starts at $69/mo
  • Product Rating:
    4.2
  • Use it for its phenomenal keyword research capabilities.

  • Starts at $49/mo
  • Product Rating:
    4.0
  • Use it if your top priority is optimizing your clients' conversion rates.

  • Starts at $560/mo
Budget-friendly Choice
Product Rating:
4.6

Use it if you want to do high-quality website audits and spend less time on SEO reporting.

Starts at $55/mo
Top Choice
Product Rating:
4.9

Use it if your top priority is keyword research, competition analysis, and site audit.

Starts at $129.95/mo
Product Rating:
4.2

Use it if your top priority is backlink analysis.

Starts at $99/mo
Product Rating:
4.3

Use it if you have a smaller budget, but would still like a reliable SEO tool.

Starts at $69/mo
Product Rating:
4.2

Use it for its phenomenal keyword research capabilities.

Starts at $49/mo
Product Rating:
4.0

Use it if your top priority is optimizing your clients' conversion rates.

Starts at $560/mo

Top 6 SEO Tools for Digital Marketing Agencies

1. SE Ranking

Use it if you want to do high-quality website audits and spend less time on SEO reporting.

Price: Starts at $55/month (Start your 2-week trial)

SE Ranking

Almost any interaction with a client starts with the agency conducting an SEO audit of their website. SE Ranking handles this better than other tools as their Website Audit breaks any website down to details and identifies even the slightest issues preventing your clients from ranking at the top of the SERPs.

The tool analyzes websites against 110 parameters and lists errors divided into 19 categories. Each issue has a severity level so you can better prioritize fixes, a description to help you understand the problem, and fix tips to save time looking for an appropriate solution.

You can also customize the audit for each client, considering their specifics and needs.

SE Ranking offers several tools and it uses the same meticulous approach with each one of them.

  • If you need to analyze keywords, SE Ranking’s Keyword Research tool will give you all the necessary SEO and PPC metrics, with precise accuracy.
  • Need to track your client’s ranking? Keyword Rank Tracker will show you positions free from personalization.
  • Analyzing clients’ backlinks? Backlink Checker will evaluate each link against 15 parameters, including domain and page trust score, anchor text, etc.
  • Wondering how your clients’ competitors do in search? SE Ranking’s Competitive Research tools will evaluate their SEO and paid campaigns and provide you with insights on how to outperform them.

Another critical issue is reporting to clients regarding their SEO progress. With SE Ranking, you can create manual and automated reports using ready-made or customizable templates. The White Label tool lets you re-style the SE Ranking platform to your agency’s brand.

Top Features

  • Keyword Rank Tracker presents 100% accurate rankings daily in all major search engines for any target location.
  • Website Audit scans any website, identifies optimization problems, allows crawl comparison, and informs about changes on important pages.
  • Keyword Research shows thousands of suggestions and ungrouped search volume values.
  • Competitive Research analyzes who you need to outrank and provides insights into the client’s niche.

Side note: SE Ranking has a special cost-effective pack for agencies that includes additional read-only seats, additional client-level seats at a lower price, team training, and personal manager.

2. Semrush

Use it if your top priority is keyword research, competition analysis, and site audit. 

Price: Starts at $129.95/month (Click here for a free trial)

Semrush

Let’s kick things off with my favorite SEO tool: Semrush. I’ve been using Semrush since the early days of my agency and it’s my go-to product for all things SEO.

Semrush is primarily known for its keyword research and competitive intelligence capabilities. If your client is relatively new in the market or operates in a space with lots of competitors, then it’s not going to be easy to rank for high volume, high competition keywords. In such cases, your best bet would be to start targeting low competition keywords with high traffic potential.

You can use Semrush’s Keyword Magic tool to identify the best keywords to focus on for your clients’ websites. You can find both head terms and long-tail keywords for your campaign, but if you’re targeting long-tail keywords with high traffic potential, look for keywords that have low-to-medium search volume, low competition, and low keyword difficulty.

The Semrush toolkit also features one of the most advanced SEO audit tools on the market. With the Semrush Site Audit tool, you’ll be able to quickly identify and fix all the critical errors on your clients’ websites.

Top Features

  • Semrush’s Site Audit tool does a thorough technical SEO site audit and helps you fix all the critical SEO errors on your site.
  • The Organic Research report allows you to see your competitors’ best performing keywords, discover new organic competitors, and monitor position changes of domains.
  • The Keyword Magic tool lets you find the best keywords to focus on for your SEO and PPC campaigns.
  • With the Domain vs Domain tool, you can conduct side-by-side domain comparisons of up to five domains and see domains’ common and unique keywords.

3. Ahrefs

Use it if your top priority is backlink analysis.

Price: Starts at $99/mo

Ahrefs - Home Page

When it comes to backlink analysis, there’s no tool better than Ahrefs. It’s the preferred backlink analysis tool of leading experts in marketing and SEO because of its massive index size and the accuracy with which it presents the data.

Ahrefs boasts of having the world’s biggest index of live backlinks (16 trillion links) and its crawler processes up to 5 billion webpages a day. It also has a user-friendly interface which further bolsters its reputation as a top-notch SEO tool.

Over the last few years, Ahrefs has evolved into a complete marketing toolkit, offering separate tools for keyword research, site audit, and content. But Ahrefs continues to be known for Site Explorer — a backlink checker and organic research tool which offers an in-depth look at the organic search traffic and backlink profile of any website or URL.

With Site Explorer, you can see which websites link to your clients’ websites and their competitors’ sites and gauge the quality of their backlink profiles. You can also analyze the keywords the competitors are ranking for and see which pages bring the most search engine traffic.

Then there is Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker which is one of the most frequently used tools in SEO. With Rank Tracker, you can monitor your clients’ search rankings over time and chart their performance against that of their competitors’. You can also get scheduled reports delivered straight to your inbox.

Top Features

  • The Site Explorer tool provides an in-depth look at the backlink profile and search traffic of any website or URL.
  • Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker lets you monitor your Google search rankings on desktop and mobile across 170 countries and chart your performance against your competitors’.
  • With Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer 3.0, you can get thousands of relevant keyword ideas with accurate search volume, keyword difficulty score, and advanced metrics like clicks, return rate, and parent topic.

Side note: For a more in-depth comparison of features between Semrush and Ahrefs, check out Semrush vs Ahrefs: Which SEO Tool is Better?

4. HubSpot

Use it if your top priority is optimizing your clients’ conversion rates.

Price: Starts at $560/month 

HubSpot SEO Tools

HubSpot provides a whole suite of SEO and content tools to build your search authority and skyrocket conversions.

HubSpot’s SEO tools are integrated with HubSpot’s content strategy tool, a tool which allows you to easily discover and rank for the topics that matter to you and your clients. This integration can be really helpful when you’re researching potential keywords in your clients’ niche to create content on.

Since HubSpot’s SEO tools are also paired with other Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) tools such as landing pages, A/B testing, conversational bots, and calls-to-action, you can really focus on maximizing the conversion rates for your clients, both macro conversions (visitors buying their product/service) and micro conversions (visitors signing up for their newsletter, watching a promotional video, etc.)

Now let’s talk about the main drawback with HubSpot’s SEO suite: the cost. In order to access HubSpot’s SEO tools, you’ll need to upgrade to HubSpot Marketing Hub’s Professional plan which is $560/month. That’s a steep price to pay for a marketing software. As such, I’d suggest you consider this option only if you’d like to use premium CRO tools and to access your entire marketing software suite in one place. In other words, if conversions are your main goal, then you should probably go for HubSpot.

Side note: HubSpot also boasts of an extensive SEO resource library and their free SEO courses are remarkable for marketers and business owners who’d like to hone their SEO stills. You can sign up for the following free courses below:

Top Features

  • HubSpot provides topic suggestions based on relevance, competition, and popularity, as well as access to monthly search data so you can estimate how ranking for specific topics will translate to organic traffic gains.
  • You can get actionable on-page SEO advice in the same place you’re creating blog posts, landing pages, and site pages.
  • You can easily monitor the performance of your content to identify the topics that are working the hardest for you — and the ones that aren’t.
  • You’ll also get access to HubSpot’s Marketing Hub tools such as landing pages, chatbots, live chat, A/B testing, email marketing, and more.

Related: 15 Free HubSpot Tools and Resources Every Marketer Should Be Using

5. Serpstat

Use it if you have a smaller budget, but would still like a reliable SEO tool.

Price: Starts at $69/mo

Serpstat

The problem with most SEO tools is that they cost almost $100 per month. That’s the standard pricing practice in this industry. Popular SEO tools like Semrush, Ahrefs, and Moz are all similarly priced, which is not ideal if you’re just starting out.

Serpstat breaks away from this standard pricing practice with its basic plan costing just $69/month, making it a great alternative to Semrush and Ahrefs for small agencies.

Launched in 2013 as simply a keyword research tool, Serpstat has gradually evolved into a full-fledged SEO and PPC analysis platform.

With Serpstat, you can do keyword research, competitive analysis, technical site audits, backlink analysis, and much more. The data generated via this tool may not be as accurate or comprehensive as other tools like Semrush or Ahrefs, but it’s still a reliable SEO tool. And considering the fact that Serpstat’s plans start at a modest $19/month, it’s well worth the investment.

Top Features

  • Serpstat’s advanced site audit tool allows you to uncover and eliminate all the critical SEO errors on your website.
  • With the incredibly useful “Search Questions” function, you can research niche questions and find ideas for creating traffic-driving content.
  • With the “Related Keywords” report, you can generate all the search queries that are semantically associated with your seed keyword.

6. Mangools

Use it for its phenomenal keyword research capabilities.

Price: Starts at $49

Mangools SEO Package

Last but not least, we have the Mangools suite of SEO tools. Launched in 2014, Mangools includes five SEO tools — KWFinder for keyword research, SERPChecker for SERP analysis, LinkMiner for backlink analysis, SERPWatcher for rank tracking, and SiteProfiler for website analysis.

Mangools is perhaps best known for its flagship tool KWFinder  — a cloud-based keyword research tool that helps you generate the perfect keyword ideas that you can use on everything from blog posts, website content, landing pages, and copy on PPC ads. But the other SEO tools in the suite are just as useful and available at a fairly affordable price.

So if you’re operating on a shoestring budget, but would still like to invest in a tool that helps you with day-to-day SEO, Mangools is your best bet. It’s the most economical SEO tool on this list.

Top Features

  • KWFinder — Mangools’ keyword research tool — allows you to find keyword ideas with exact search volumes and it has one of the most accurate keyword difficulty metrics on the market.
  • With LinkMiner, you can find and replicate the most powerful backlinks of your competitors.
  • SiteProfiler — the website analysis tool — allows you to analyze your competitors’ traffic, most valuable content, and backlink profile.

Related: Semrush vs Mangools: Which SEO Tool is Better?

Final Thoughts

So these are the six SEO tools I’d recommend to digital marketing agencies. Based on your top priority and budget, you can choose any of these 6 SEO tools:

Budget-friendly Choice
  • Product Rating:
    4.6
  • Use it if you want to do high-quality website audits and spend less time on SEO reporting.

  • Starts at $55/mo
Top Choice
  • Product Rating:
    4.9
  • Use it if your top priority is keyword research, competition analysis, and site audit.

  • Starts at $129.95/mo
  • Product Rating:
    4.2
  • Use it if your top priority is backlink analysis.

  • Starts at $99/mo
  • Product Rating:
    4.3
  • Use it if you have a smaller budget, but would still like a reliable SEO tool.

  • Starts at $69/mo
  • Product Rating:
    4.2
  • Use it for its phenomenal keyword research capabilities.

  • Starts at $49/mo
  • Product Rating:
    4.0
  • Use it if your top priority is optimizing your clients' conversion rates.

  • Starts at $560/mo
Budget-friendly Choice
Product Rating:
4.6

Use it if you want to do high-quality website audits and spend less time on SEO reporting.

Starts at $55/mo
Top Choice
Product Rating:
4.9

Use it if your top priority is keyword research, competition analysis, and site audit.

Starts at $129.95/mo
Product Rating:
4.2

Use it if your top priority is backlink analysis.

Starts at $99/mo
Product Rating:
4.3

Use it if you have a smaller budget, but would still like a reliable SEO tool.

Starts at $69/mo
Product Rating:
4.2

Use it for its phenomenal keyword research capabilities.

Starts at $49/mo
Product Rating:
4.0

Use it if your top priority is optimizing your clients' conversion rates.

Starts at $560/mo

You can also check out these free SEO tools to supplement your SEO efforts, but to get the best results for your clients’ SEO and PPC campaigns, you’ll need to invest in at least one of the above SEO tools.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Why do agencies need premium SEO tools?

Agencies often manage multiple client accounts and need tools that can handle bulk analysis, reporting, and tracking. Premium SEO tools like Semrush and Ahrefs offer advanced features that cater to these needs, allowing agencies to work more efficiently and deliver better results for their clients.

2. What are some key features to look for in an SEO tool for agencies?

Key features include keyword research capabilities, competitor analysis, comprehensive reporting tools, white-labeling options, integration with other marketing tools, scalability, and customer support.

3. What makes an SEO tool “all-purpose”?

An all-purpose SEO tool includes features for keyword research, competitive research, backlink analysis, technical SEO audits, and position tracking. These tools provide comprehensive functionality to handle a variety of SEO tasks.

4. Why are free SEO tools not included in this list?

The article focuses on paid SEO tools that offer comprehensive features for agencies. While free SEO tools can be useful, they often have limitations in features and scalability compared to paid options.

5. How do I choose the right SEO tool for my agency?

Consider your agency’s specific needs, such as the priority of SEO tasks (e.g., keyword research, site audit) and budget constraints. Also, think about the tool’s scalability and whether it offers features that can grow with your agency.

6. Can I use these SEO tools for a small or newly started agency?

Yes, some tools mentioned offer budget-friendly options and are suitable for small agencies or those just starting out. It’s important to evaluate each tool’s pricing and features to find the best fit for your agency’s size and budget.

7. Is it worth investing in a paid SEO tool?

Investing in a paid SEO tool can significantly enhance your agency’s SEO capabilities, providing comprehensive data, insights, and automation that free tools cannot match. Consider the potential ROI in terms of time saved and improved SEO performance for your clients.

8. How often should I use these SEO tools for optimal results?

Regular use of SEO tools is essential for monitoring your clients’ website performance, tracking rankings, identifying technical issues, and staying ahead of competitors. Weekly checks and monthly in-depth analyses are common practices among successful agencies.

9. Can SEO tools guarantee better rankings for my clients?

While SEO tools provide valuable insights and data to inform your strategies, they cannot guarantee better rankings due to the ever-changing nature of search engine algorithms. However, using these tools effectively can significantly increase your chances of improving your clients’ SEO performance.

10. What support can I expect from these SEO tool providers?

Most SEO tool providers offer customer support through tutorials, documentation, online chat, email, and sometimes phone support. Look for providers with robust support options to help you maximize the tool’s benefits.

11. How does the integration of SEO tools with other marketing software benefit agencies?

Integration allows agencies to streamline their workflows and consolidate data across platforms, making it easier to measure overall performance and ROI. This holistic view can lead to more cohesive and effective marketing strategies.

12. How often should agencies re-evaluate their choice of SEO tools?

Agencies should assess their tools at least once a year or whenever there are significant changes in their needs, the landscape of SEO, or the tools themselves. This ensures that they are always using the best resources to serve their clients effectively.

Editor’s Note: This article was first published on October 3, 2019 and has been updated regularly since then for relevance and comprehensiveness.

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Sandeep Mallya
Sandeep Mallyahttps://www.startupcafedigital.com
Sandeep Mallya is the Founder & CEO of Startup Cafe Digital, an award-winning digital marketing agency in Bangalore, India. He is an active member of the startup community, having worked with several early-stage startups and accelerators. 99signals is Sandeep's online marketing blog. The blog currently features 200+ in-depth articles, how-to guides, and hacks on a wide range of online marketing topics such as SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, blogging, and more.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Great tools you have mentioned. Some tools can be used by individuals also to track their personal blogs and network. Recently I came across diib.com (I’m not here to promote that ;)). It looks great once you connect with the GA and other social media networks. The price is also not that high. You can try it. I’m sure it will be useful for you and readers here.

  2. I find AHREF data much precise and update compared to the SEMRUSH or any other tool. Unfortunately, it’s the most expensive one.

  3. Really great seo tools you have mentioned here. I have been using semrush for my agency. Like Louiser said about diib.com, I had used their free version recently, it was really good, if you had been through this tool, can you provide an indepth review on diib.com.

  4. I think SEMrush is all rounder, ahrefs is good backlinks checker, but Mangools is good enough to hold forth spot why you drop it to the end of your list, I think it is because it tired too early in free trial edition, I can not check it completely I think they want users to buy it to take a try. like ahrefs paid trial.

  5. Great one!!! We are very happy to have access to your website. We have got to learn a lot by reading your articles. Most of the SEO tools that you are provided in this blog were really helpful for me. The tools like Answer the public, Majestic, Fat rank, Keyword everywhere, Cora, Bonus Tools these tools were really new info for me. Will try those for Search engine optimization. Which the team of ibusinessmotivation.com appreciates you and your team. Thank you.

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