As an online marketer, finding the best SEO (search engine optimisation) tool can be the difference between spending a few hours figuring out what a client needs (then delivering) and laborious days building bespoke reports that needs to be tailored by hand client after client. And while every client has different needs and wants, one ‘core goal’ reverberates throughout them all – they want to be found online. And if you’re anything like me, you want them to be found too. So! Here’s my list of the best SEO software that I’ve used (and continue to use).

Quick, free SEO Report

All potential clients expect you to explain what you’re going to provide them with when you say “Yea I’m an SEO guy” or “Yea I can help you get to page 1 on Google”. Why not go one step further and instead of sending a bunch of bullet points about what you can offer, send over a nice little report that you’ll charge to expand upon? This shows the potential client you know what you’re talking about, but more than that it shows them where they’re at now and sets up a baseline for you to improve on (everybody wins).

And for this tasty little report, there’s nothing better than WooRank.

woorank for travisleestreet.comSimply enter your potential client’s website into the Woorank tool and there you go – a pretty report on:

  • Traffic estimations (mine is low because I need to blog more as they helpfully point out in their ‘top priorities’ section)
  • Traffic rank
  • Visitors locatization (my traffic is mainly from the USA huh? Well, good to know my mom reads my blog)
  • Social monitoring (HUGELY important for SEO)
  • Twitter account stats
  • Mobile (great for tie-ins for mobile optimisation if you happen to code as well)
  • SEO basics
  • SEO content (you might want to reserve this for an actual paid audit)
  • SEO keywords (don’t rely too much on this one as they’re pretty basic)
  • SEO authority
  • SEO backlinks (this is where our last featured tool comes in)
  • Usability
  • And Security

So a very nice and robust little report, all for nothing (of course you’re limited to one report per IP – but there’s always ways around that – but I didn’t tell you that).

So thanks Woorank! (I know they’re going to read this because I’ve linked to their website and they should be picking up backlinks if they’re doing their job properly.)

SEO Audit

So you impressed the potential client and got the job huh? Congrats! Now its time to do the audit. There’s plenty of tools out there that will help you along the way (Woorank being one of them) but sadly there is no such thing as a free audit tool. These tools take a lot of work to maintain and if you’re making money off someone else’s company – its only fair to pay them (I’m actually addicted to buying software subscriptions – its a problem).

SEO audit tools for the non-technical of you (if you are technical – go do it yourself ya nut!) are numerous but they depend completely on how much SEO work you pull in (ie. they range from expensive to moderately kinda sorta expensive).

The top of the line starts at $99/month and the lower end is about $49/month (great news for those of us in the UK – thanks exchange rates!). But while the higher end products are great, they pack a lot in and can often be overwhelming for someone who wants to get the job done and reported on instead of getting distracted, putting over-due importance on minor issues and delivering a veritible bible to their clients (who are out for simplicity, hand-holding and results – that’s it.)

So instead of giving you a pros and cons of everything there is in the market I’ll just cut to the chase and tell you what I use. For the freelance marketer there’s nothing better than WebCEO.

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WebCEO’s strength lies in their ability to make technical audits actionable – as in “Hey this is broken, here’s how you fix it”. This information and explanation can be copy and pasted from the software and inserted into a nice technical SEO brief that you charge your client for. Then, WebCEO tells you how to right the wrong. Which is another billable expense. They have a great search engine directory that you can submit your website to as well which cuts out a lot of manual submission time. The one thing I found frustrating about this service though was their confusing way in which they interpreted keywords (or rather, the way in which they made me do all the work to excise the right keywords and extrapolate where in fact my client’s website was being ranking and for what). This is where our next section comes in.

Keyword Research

I’ve searched long and hard for a simple way that I can create keyword buckets (they are what they sound like) to contain keywords that I’d not only like to rank for, but that I’m currently being found for. All with a just few clicks so I can serve several clients at once. Well, you can believe I did a little tiny dance when I cam across the good people at Positionly who fulfilled my every keyword wish.

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Okay, so I know its stupid to say how genuinely nice the people at the company is, and how when I pointed out that they had a broken link on their website they sent me a hand-written note and bunch of stickers, or how well designed their software is that it makes we want to use it every day instead of commenting on the actual service first… but if that’s stupid then I don’t wanna be smart.

When their website’s tagline says ‘The Future of SEO Management’ I’m inclined to believe them. Why? Because they have taken a very complicated thing, and made it simple. Yes, like Apple or Google these guys have made something infinitely complex (in this case keyword research and tracking) and turned it into an enjoyable experience. With simple exportable reports (that don’t cost points which cost money every time you want to create one / export one – I’m looking sternly at you Hootsuite), servicing and managing your clients’ expectations is a breeze.

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Positionly have focused on the exact right things – keyword rank tracking and backlinks. Because as we know, backlinks play such a huge part in getting to where we want to be in search results. But also, they are the life blood of any self respecting online marketer, because backlinks means press. And press means exposure. So you’re killing two birds with one stone; getting clients ranked and motivating yourself to get more articles written about them!

In a word – genius.

UPDATE: Positionly now offer ‘Research’ which allows you to audit a website for a desired keyword. The feature gives you an in-depth assessment on your ranking and what you need to do to improve it – showing errors and mistakes and how to easily correct them… in essence, replacing my recommendation for Woorank completely.

Oh, and they just launched an iOS app soyou can track your rankings on the go.

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Happy days.

Do you have any SEO tools that you like to use? Let me know in the comments.


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