There's always been a sense of mystery about how Google evaluates a website for SERPs (search engine results pages). SEO experts and professionals have cracked some of the code in the last decade, and there’s now enough information to help you achieve the best search engine rankings for your pages.
It's not easy (or even possible) to completely master search engine optimization, but search engine optimization tools are an excellent way to keep your high rankings on Google. These SEO tools are also essential when Google updates its algorithms, requiring you to rethink your SEO strategy!
So if you’re looking for the best SEO software in 2023, we've got your back, as this article covers the 12 best SEO tools to climb the Google ladder in 2023.
Featured SEO Tools [Editor’s Picks]
- Ahrefs - Best All-Round SEO Tool
- SEMRush - Best For Analyzing Competitors
- Moz Pro - Most Comprehensive SEO Tool Set
- Ubersuggest - Best for Content Strategy
What Are SEO Tools?
SEO was first developed to improve web accessibility. It followed HTML4 guidelines and helped make a website's content and purpose more easily identifiable.
This meant that web pages needed unique titles to appropriately reflect the contents and headings to identify other relevant information. These titles, headings, and other on-page signals improved user experience while showing search engines the content of a page.
People loved it. Why? Because SEO helped them to rank higher in the SERPs, and they could track performance via google analytics, resulting in more free and organic traffic via search results.
Google still considers these on-page cues, but it now looks at more off-page information besides on-page SEO.
Software for search engine optimization was developed to help users manage their SEO, both on-page and off-page. These search engine ranking tools also help to establish, maintain, and track your strategies.
Why Use SEO Tools?
You can certainly do all of your own SEO tracking and reporting, but it's not always worth all the time and energy. A tool for search engine optimization can make your life easier, saving you from tedious data analysis, keyword research, and finding broken links, which takes hours, if not days.
SEO tools also offer site audits to review your current SEO strategy, showing your strong and weak areas. Companies love using SEO audits or Google analytics to compare metrics with competitors.
Beyond those perks, SEO optimization tools can help you accurately assess and manage SEO strategies and performance reports for multiple websites, removing the potential for human error.
Bottom line? The top SEO tools save time and effort and help you manage your search engine optimization strategies based on Google analytics.
Why Do SEO Tools Help Businesses Grow?
These days, digital marketing is a crucial part of a business's growth strategy and success. A positive online presence and strong search results can boost a brand's image and bring plenty of organic, converting traffic.
But it's not enough to build a website.
Each website has to vie for a slice of the traffic pie, and one of the best ways to do that is with SEO. Here's how SEO and the best SEO ranking tools can help.
- Bring traffic to your website, increasing your visibility & online presence
- Build your brand's authority & credibility
- Boost lead generation and sales
- Provide long-lasting results that you can build upon
Remember, SEO and SEO marketing tools won’t have the same impact unless your website is user-friendly. Your landing page should always offer a good user experience (UX) to keep visitors and customers coming back.
Applying for SEO jobs in 2023? Check out these SEO Interview Questions
Picking the Top Tools for SEO
There are several factors you’ll want to consider when picking the best SEO applications to enhance your website’s Google ranking.
- Analysis and insights: Does it offer detailed reporting on site speed, content quality, link-building opportunities, crawl errors, or other important metrics?
- Ease of use: Is it easy to learn and use effectively, or is there a steep learning curve?
- Price: Is it affordable for the provided features and services?
- Customer support: How comprehensive is their support? Does it include email, online chat, or phone support? Is it limited to a few support articles or FAQs?
How We Tested The Best SEO Tools
To help you pick the best SEO platform, we considered the following criteria during our tests.
- User Experience (UX): Easy, user-friendly & intuitive?
- Core functionality: Does it have the main SEO features?
- Data Visualization: Does it generate easy-to-interpret data analyses?
- Analytics capabilities: How extensive are these?
- Pricing model: Are there multiple price points for a range of user budgets?
- Additional features: Does it offer any bonus or original features?
The 12 Best SEO Tools in 2023
To help you choose the best SEO tool, we've covered 12 of the best tools for SEO optimization, starting with a comparison table of the key information for each.
Best Value Plan
Best all-around app for SEO & keyword tracking, critical issue alerts for SEO strategy, learn about competitors' backlink strategies
Detailed keyword analysis, competitor strategy information, keyword magic, SEO strategy recommendations
7 days or Free tier
Audit your website, actionable SEO insights, track site ranking over 1000s of keywords, 1-on-1 walkthrough, 24-hour support
Find long-tail keywords & get insights, local keyword research, competitor keyword insights
Robust keyword research tools, site audit, traffic analyzer
7 days or Free tier
Marketing checklist, mobile & social media data analysis, SEO analysis
Bulk backlink checker, site explorer, keyword tool to find the best keywords
7 days (money back) or Free tier
Competitor keyword analysis, Pay-Per-Click/SEO/keyword research tools
30 days (money back)
Lead finder, find contact information, find whether influencers are attached to campaigns
Super-fast, SEO website tools for audits, informed of SEO errors & duplicate content, find areas for improvement
Hide unwanted results & branches, monitor keyword trends, see real-time keyword searches
Facebook ads feature, AI writing, AI blog post ideas, AI outlines
1. Ahrefs - Best All-Round SEO Tool
If you've spent time researching SEO software tools, you've probably come across Ahrefs. This is unsurprising as it’s one of the best options and a massive website crawler that’s second only to Google.
As one of the top-rated SEO software, Ahrefs helps you plan, maintain, and track your SEO strategies. For example, this tool allows you to find what people have been Googling to quickly gauge the potential search traffic you'll get from a topic.
Ahrefs also allows you to estimate the difficulty level to rank for a keyword, helping you to decide whether to focus on that keyword or to look for another with lower competition.
Many experts use and recommend Ahrefs due to its well-designed site auditing feature, highlighting areas of your website and your SEO strategy that needs improvement.
Ahrefs can also help you determine a backlinking strategy by examining competitor backlinks. You can also view competitor search results and their highest search volume pages using the Site Explorer feature.
What We Liked:
- Well-documented with tutorials & user support
- Plenty of advanced tools for knowledgeable users
- Free trial available
- Free tier: Access to Webmaster Tools, 5000 crawls per month
- Lite: $99 per month, or $83 per month equivalent if paid yearly
- Standard: $199 per month, or $166 per month equivalent if paid yearly
- Advanced: $399 per month, or $333 per month equivalent if paid yearly
- Enterprise: $999 per month, or $833 per month equivalent if paid yearly
2. SEMRush - Best for Analyzing Competitors
SEMRush is an excellent SEO management tool that boasts a comprehensive feature set for producing detailed keyword analysis reports and summaries of your various domains. It will also show content optimization recommendations to boost your organic traffic.
Like Ahrefs, SEMRush allows you to compare your SEO metrics against the competition. You can compare your SERPs ranking with theirs, use traffic analytics to find the primary traffic sources and search volumes for your competitors, and compare your backlinks to other sites.
There’s even an option to overview digital marketing channels for several competitors simultaneously with "traffic sources comparison".
Through the years, SEMRush has added more tools, including tools for agencies, a white-glove split-testing service (SplitSignal) for PR agencies, a traffic-boosting tool, and a writer marketplace for your content.
- Free tier: Simple Sign-Up Account, limited access to tools with 10 requests/day
- Free trial: 7 days for Pro
- Pro: $119.50 per month, or $99.95 per month equivalent if paid yearly
- Guru: $229.95 per month, or $191.62 per month equivalent if paid yearly
- Business: $449.95 per month, or $374.95 per month equivalent if paid yearly
What We Liked:
- Lets you form your own strategies by analyzing competitor metrics
- Dashboard is robust, informative, & easy-to-use
- Range of different tools
- Free trial available
3. Moz Pro - Most Comprehensive SEO Tool Set
Moz Pro is a strong candidate for the best SEO program thanks to various tools to increase rankings, traffic, and online visibility via SERPs.
Features like Moz Pro spider allow you to audit your website by checking for possible issues, highlighting them, and presenting recommendations to correct them and rank higher on Google.
Moz Pro offers a keyword research feature and a backlink analysis tool to obtain insights and SEO metrics like estimated domain authority and link anchor texts.
- Free trial: 30 days for Standard
- Standard: $99 per month, or $79 per month equivalent if paid yearly
- Medium: $179 per month, or $143 per month equivalent if paid yearly
- Large: $299 per month, or $239 per month equivalent if paid yearly
- Premium: $599 per month, or $479 per month equivalent if paid yearly
Note, each Moz Pro plan comes with 24-hour support and a one-on-one walkthrough.
What We Liked:
- Robust tools
- Provides actionable insights to help you adjust your strategies
- Supportive community
4. Mangools/KWFinder - Best for Keyword Research
Regarding keywords, KWFinder may be the best search engine rankings tool. KWFinder helps you find excellent long-tail keywords with lower competition, making it easier to rank highly for them. You’ll also find plenty of keyword ideas to develop your content strategy.
KWFinder also offers other tools, including the ability to run analyses on backlinks and SERPs and a rank-tracking tool that helps you find your ranking while tracking progress for one metric.
- Free trial: 10 days
- Mangools Basic: $49 per month, or $29.90 per month equivalent if paid yearly
- Mangools Premium: $69 per month, or $44.90 per month equivalent if paid yearly
- Mangools Agency: $129 per month, or $89.90 per month equivalent if paid yearly
What We Liked:
- Excellent keyword search
- Detailed keyword suggestions
- Rank tracking with crucial metrics
- Affordable keyword research tool
5. Ubersuggest- Best for Content Strategy
Acquired by Neil Patel in 2017, Ubersuggest has continued to establish its position as a contender for the best search engine optimizer software on the market.
Renowned for helping users to identify keywords for content strategies, you can use the Keyword Ideas feature to find related, question-style, preposition, and comparison keywords. This is especially useful if you want to rank for a particular keyword.
Ubersuggest offers many other features, including a traffic analyzer, site audit, backlinks feature, and more. If you know how to use Google Search Console (GSC), there’s no better combination than Ubersuggest+GSC.
And there’s even a great free SEO tool for newcomers who want to try out some features before making a financial commitment.
- Free tier: Limited access, daily quotas
- Free trial: 7 days
- Individual: $29 per month, or $290 one-time purchase
- Business: $49 per month, or $490 one-time purchase
- Enterprise: $99 per month, or $990 one-time purchase
What We Liked:
- Incredible for KW & content ideas
- Lifetime plans
- Free plans expanded
6. Woorank - Best for Digital Marketers
Woorank is one of the best SEO programs to help you improve your content and SEO strategy by tracking and reporting on marketing data, including data from your competitors.
Woorank is excellent for marketers as it can reveal areas for improvement, like fixing broken links. It also offers a marketing checklist and mobile and social media data to provide even more insight.
- Free trial: 14 days
- Pro: $79.99 per month, or $53.25 per month equivalent if paid yearly
- Premium: $199.99 per month, or $133.25 per month equivalent if paid yearly
- Enterprise: Custom plans
What We Liked:
- Excellent choice for marketers
- Has mobile & social media data
7. Majestic - Best for Link Analysis
Since its creation in 2011, Majestic has become one of the best and most useful SEO tools.
Majestic offers plenty of handy features, including keyword tools and tracking, and the Site Explorer to show your backlinks, broken links, and an overview of your websites.
And if you’re after something novel, check out The Majestic Million, a list that shows the top 1 million sites on the internet.
- Free tier: Limited access to tools
- Free trial: 7-day money-back guarantee for paid options
- Lite: $49.99 per month, or $41.67 per month equivalent if paid yearly
- Pro: $99.99 per month, or $83.33 per month equivalent if paid yearly
- API: $399.99 per month, or $333.33 per month equivalent if paid yearly
What We Liked:
- Provides a huge amount of data
- Plenty of features to manage your SEO
- Excellent data analyses
8. SpyFu - Best for Competitor Keywords
SpyFu is an excellent SEO tool for identifying keywords and search terms on Google AdWords. In other words? You can "spy" on competitor strategies and keywords, making it one of the best SEO tracker tools available.
- Free trial: 30-day money-back guarantee for paid options
- Basic: $39 per month, or $33 per month equivalent if paid yearly
- Professional: $79 per month, or $58 per month equivalent if paid yearly
- Team: $299 per month, or $199 per month if equivalent if paid yearly
What We Liked:
- Excellent features for competitor strategy research
- Easy to use
- Affordably priced
9. BuzzStream - Best for Finding Influencers
Backlinking is an excellent strategy to rank higher on the SERPs, but the process is almost like cold calling. Thankfully, BuzzStream can help with this.
BuzzStream helps identify outreach candidates like influencers and authorities that are relevant to your website. It also identifies backlink candidates likely to be receptive to requests and whether influencers are already involved in a campaign.
The best part? If you can’t find someone's contact info, BuzzStream can help.
- Free trial: 14 days
- Starter: $24 per month
- Growth: $124 per month
- Professional: $299 per month
- Custom: Starts at $999 per month (contact BuzzStream for more info)
What We Liked:
- Great for marketing campaigns
- Helps you find contact information
- Comes with outreach templates & follow-up messages
Looking to land a job in digital marketing? Look at our article on the top Interview Questions and Answers
10. ScreamingFrog - Best for Fast Site Crawling
ScreamingFrog is primarily a website crawler that examines URLs for SEO issues, and the best part is that it does this fast. And we mean super fast! Even for large websites with lots of pages.
Many SEO experts recommend ScreamingFrog for its time-saving benefits, but it also offers other features, including notifications about duplicate content, bad redirections, fixable errors, and areas to improve your link-building strategies.
- Free tier: Limited to 500 URLs per crawl
- Paid plan:
- 1-4 licenses for $209 per license per year
- 5-9 licenses for $195 per license per year
- 10-19 licenses for $179 per license per year
- 20+ licenses for $165 per license per year
What We Liked:
- Great crawling features
- Used by industry leaders
11. AnswerThePublic - Best for Audience Trends
AnswerThePublic doesn't offer the same features as traditional SEO tools software, but it's an excellent choice to establish your website's keyword and content strategies.
By listening to data from search engines, it can provide questions and phrases people have been searching for revolving around your keyword. This makes it easy to generate content ideas and put a blog together.
AnswerThePublic can monitor keyword trends, see searches in real-time, and provide keyword updates. And with a free tier (subject to traffic levels), it’s one of the best free SEO tools for topic recommendations or planning your social media calendar.
- Free tier: availability subject to AnswerThePublic's traffic
- Monthly: $99 per month, up to 3 users
- Annual: $79 per month equivalent, up to 5 users
- Expert: $199 per month, unlimited users
Note, All plans have unlimited searches
What We Liked:
- Hide branches or suggestions you don't want
- Versatile & useful for SEO, consumer research, & content marketing
- Free tier (limited by AnswerThePublic's traffic levels)
12. GrowthBar - Best Browser Extension SEO Tool
Unlike typical SEO software, GrowthBar is a Google Chrome browser extension that helps with keyword research, SEO rank tracking, and competition analysis directly from SERPs, all without opening Google Search Console.
GrowthBar can assess competitor strategies and performance via keywords, analyze growth channels, backlinks, and successful ads, and even help fix broken links.
It can also identify keywords with the most traffic and generate a list of the most authoritative websites backlinking to your own. You can even view keyword difficulty scores to see how challenging they are to rank for.
Beyond the usual SEO features, GrowthBar can work with Facebook ads, create AI blog outlines, and generate blog ideas! So not only does it give you content ideas, but it also helps with content creation!
- Free Trial: 5 days
- Standard: $48 per month, or $29 per month equivalent if paid yearly
- Pro: $99 per month, or $79 per month equivalent if paid yearly
- Agency: $199 per month, or $129 per month equivalent if paid yearly
What We Liked:
- Range of unique features in a single tool
- Support for content ideas & creation
- AI SEO content-writing service
Want to boost your SEO skills to get the most out of these tools? Check out one of the Best SEO Courses
SEO Experts Worth Checking Out
Sometimes, following SEO experts can help you learn more about the subject, including new Google and SEO developments as they happen.
1. Neil Patel
Not only is Neil Patel a NY Times Best-Selling Author, but he also co-founded many massively successful businesses like Hello Bar and Crazy Egg, to name a few.
Right now, you may know him as the owner of Ubersuggest, one of the best SEO tools on our list. However, Patel is a man of many distinctions.
- Recognized by The WSJ (Wall Street Journal) as one of the web's top influencers
- Top ten online marketers according to Forbes
- President Obama called him one of the best 100 entrepreneurs under 30
Neil Patel is also a contributing columnist for several publications, including his blog, QuickSprout.
Learn more about Neil Patel here.
2. Joost De Valk
If you’ve heard of the WordPress (and now Shopify) plugin Yoast SEO, then you’ve already heard of Joost De Valk.
De Valk founded Yoast and continues to advise the product team on various business aspects, though he has now taken a step back from actively running it.
Joost, a prolific internet entrepreneur, web developer, and digital marketer, continues to post about SEO-related subjects.
3. Brian Dean
Brian Dean has become a well-known SEO expert after creating the Backlinko blog. He is an SEO leader specializing in technical SEO, link building, content promotion, and website optimization.
Not only does he write about SEO, but he also breaks down some of the most complicated and advanced SEO strategies into actionable steps.
His company regularly publishes groundbreaking research and practical advice on keyword research, ranking strategies, and advanced link-building techniques.
In addition to being a sought-after speaker, Brian has been featured in publications like Entrepreneur, BuzzFeed, and Search Engine Journal.
You can check out Brian Dean's work here.
4. Rand Fishkin
As a founder and former CEO of MOZ, Rand Fishkin is widely recognized as a thought leader in the industry and is one of the most influential figures in search engine optimization (SEO).
He is known for writing several books on SEO, including The Art of SEO and Lost & Founder, delivering keynote speeches at conferences, launching Whiteboard Friday (a series of weekly videos on digital marketing), and regularly publishing articles online on his Medium.
In addition to his impressive career, he has a reputation for witty one-liners, creative graphics, and an engaging personality.
You can learn more from Rand Fishkin on his Twitter Feed, where he shares unique insights into the inner works of Google and other search engines.
5. Danny Sullivan
With extensive experience across multiple domains, including content optimization, link building, site architecture, and analytics, Danny Sullivan has a wealth of knowledge to share.
He is a passionate advocate for webmasters, regularly participating in Q&A sessions on popular SEO forums such as WebmasterWorld and SEOmoz. If you regularly use Google Search Console, he is an excellent person to follow for actionable tips.
Danny is also an acclaimed journalist and prolific writer, having written hundreds of SEO-related articles for leading publications like Search Engine Land and the American Marketing Association.
You can look through his blog content on Search Engine Land here.
This article has covered the 12 best SEO tools available in 2023 to help take your website(s) to the next level in the quest for search engine rankings.
Pairing great content with a solid SEO strategy is one of the best ways to increase website traffic. But remember, no matter how helpful these SEO tools are, they can’t replace the time and effort you need to invest in producing valuable content and an excellent website.
So make sure your pages and contents make the best impression on your visitors!
Looking for SEO without the price tag? Check out our List of Free Tools for SEO
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Which SEO Tool Is Best?
The best SEO tool software depends on your needs. The best all-rounder is probably Ahrefs, but if you need keyword research, try UberSuggest or KWFinder. SEMRush is one of the best for digital marketing, but if you want to create content, GrowthBar might be worth a look.
2. Are SEO Tools Worth It?
Some say free plans are more than enough, while others recommend paid tools. The right SEO tool for your needs, free or paid, is the one that supports your SEO and content strategies.
Many of the tools in our list offer a free trial or free tier, which can be helpful to test them out before making a financial commitment.
3. What Is Better Than Ahrefs?
Although not as feature-rich as Ahrefs, Ubersuggest is competitive thanks to its solid features and price point, which is quite affordable if you’re new to SEO and still learning. Neil Patel has also buffed up the free tier to offer more functionality which is a great way to test the tools and features.
4. Is SEO Worth It for Small Businesses?
Small businesses can use SEO to boost their online presence and improve their brand's authority, credibility, and trustworthiness. SEO is also essential to appear near the top of SERPs, bringing a lot of traffic and more potential conversions for small businesses, whether fully online or brick-and-mortar.
5. How Much Should I Spend on SEO?
SEO software prices can vary, but try not to opt for cheap SEO software, as you may be sacrificing quality.
It can also help to research businesses in your niche and how much they spend on SEO strategies. You’ll also want to consider how many keywords you want to target and how quickly you’d like to see results.
Ultimately, there is no ‘one size fits all’ price, so expect trial-and-error until you find the best return on your investment.
6. Can I Do My Own SEO?
Yes! But it's essential to have a solid grasp of the right tools and skills. You'll need knowledge of keyword research, how search engines work, page optimization techniques for search engines, and more.
And, of course, you’ll want to pick a strong SEO tool to help you on your journey. Lucky for you, any of the tools in our list is a strong choice.