What is search engine optimization exactly? Is it just some internet marketing method? Is it really necessary?
SEO may seem like a technical field. In reality, it’s one of the most intuitive and necessary aspects of running a website. After all, you use search engines every day, just like your customers.
Thus, SEO is essential for all businesses.
Marketers use a suite of SEO backlink tools to increase online visibility, rankings, traffic, clicks, and sales.
You read correctly. You need a suite of tools, not one. SEO encompasses several methods.
Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of the best SEO tools for 2021.
1. Search Engines
Let’s start with the first SEO tool ever created, the search engine.
Technically, there are several search engines on the market, like Bing and DuckDuckGo. However, Google’s market share is over 92%! If you’re going to start anywhere, it should be Google.
Google’s search engine is a treasure trove of data. Even better, this data is free.
How to Use Search Engines for SEO
Let’s follow a simple search experiment:
Inhabit the mindset of your target audience. What type of terms and phrases would they use to find your niche? What sorts of questions would they ask?
For example, suppose you own a blueberry cider business. What would a potential customer type into the search bar?
Here are a few examples:
- Buy blueberry cider online
- Blueberry cider reviews
- Blueberry cider near me
- Blueberry cider recipes
- Order blueberry cider
- Blueberry cider brands
Customers may also type “blueberry cider” along with their location.
As you type in these phrases, also known as “keywords,” you’ll notice a list of search suggestions. These suggestions are also valuable SEO data. The more keywords you search, the more keywords you’ll uncover.
You just performed your first keyword research. Googling is a good start, but the data behind keywords is even better.
2. Search Trends
There are several ways to retrieve data for search terms.
Let’s start with Google Trends, another free tool. This tool is also great for finding blog topics, news stories, and website ideas.
First, enter a keyword into the Google Trends search bar. It’ll bring up a page with different data points.
- A graph for interest over time
- Interest by subregion
- Related topics
- Related search queries
You can also view trends across Google’s other search engines, including Google Images, YouTube, Google Shopping, and Google News.
Google Trends is an excellent source for regional SEO.
3. Keyword Research Tools
If you really want to dig into keyword data, you need a real keyword research tool. Many SEO backlink tools come with keyword research features. Some are more advanced than others.
At a minimum, a keyword research tool will reveal the following data:
- Search volume
- Search volume time ranges (i.e., monthly)
- Ranking difficulty
- Geographic location breakdown
Many tools go even further by revealing the following:
- Top-ranked content for keywords
- Competitor keyword analysis
- Number of backlinks required to rank
- Keyword gap analysis
- Internal keyword auditing
- Keyword density analysis for content
Some SEO tools even have content creation tools built into the platform. These tools analyze keyword density as you go.
4. Keyword Tools For SEO Beginners
There are many keyword research tools on the market. Play around with free trials to find the best one for your project. You may not need a full suite of features like other businesses.
Google’s Keyword Planner is a great source for beginners.
This tool comes free with a Google Ads account. Google Ads is also free to use. However, you do need a website to get an account.
If you just want to use Keyword Planner, take the following steps:
- Purchase a domain name from GoDaddy or WordPress.com
- Build a quick 1-page or multi-page website
- Register for an Ads account with your site and email
You also need a website to use Google Analytics, another free SEO tool. You’ll learn more about that SEO tool later.
Once you’re registered, head straight to Keyword Planner. Type a search query, and Keyword planner will reveal the following data:
- Related keywords
- Relevant keyword groups
- Search volume by range
- Keyword competition
Since Keyword Planner is a Google Ads tool, competition data is for PPC bidding. PPC stands for pay-per-click, which is a paid SEO method. The higher the competition, the more expensive the bid.
However, you can use competition ratings for organic SEO. High ratings also mean the keyword is harder to rank for in organic search results.
Speaking of organic SEO, Keyword Planner’s grouping feature is great for content creation. It provides you with a primary keyword and a group of secondary keywords. By optimizing content with these keywords, you improve your ranking in search engines.
5. Content Creation
Content creation is a cornerstone of every organic SEO strategy. Organic SEO refers to Google’s main search results. The text ads above the regular results are an example of paid SEO.
There are several SEO content types to know:
- On page web copy
- Social media content
- Press releases
- Guest posts
- Landing pages
- App store descriptions
- Amazon pages
- Product reviews
- Online guides
Web copy refers to all your website content, including about pages, product pages, contact pages, FAQs, and more.
All content must be written according to Google’s algorithm standards. Thus, content must be original, researched, and well-written. Marketers follow the Google E-A-T method for high-quality content.
Here are a few points to know:
- Create long-form content (1,000+ words)
- Cite authoritative sources
- Include data and stats
- Include visuals to support the content
- Link to quality sites
Break up content with small paragraphs, media, and block quotes. This technique helps the eyes rest so readers can better absorb the content. Visuals also help readers remember the content.
6. CMS Tools For SEO
As you learned, some SEO tools come with content creation tools. These features analyze your SEO data by density. However, you’ll need a more robust content management system to create truly optimized content.
There are plenty of content management systems, also known as CMS platforms. Don’t worry about experience. You can always get your feet wet with free website builders.
Free website builders introduce you to formatting basics like H2 and H3 headers. They also have feature-rich editors with bullet points, images, multiple fonts, text wrapping, and more.
As an SEO rule of thumb, include a primary keyword in your intro, a header, and another in the conclusion.
Keep paragraphs short, no longer than three sentences. Use media, small paragraphs, and bullet points to make the content more readable. Search engine spiders love crawling well-formatted content too!
You can always upgrade to a paid content management system. If you have web development skills, you could use an open-source CMS like WordPress. WordPress also has a cloud version that’s great for beginners.
You could use a CMS with built-in SEO tools or install an SEO plugin. These tools scan content for keyword density, length, opportunities, and link building. Some tools automatically alert Google to newly published content.
Your CMS should have a section for your meta description. This description appears in the URL’s search results. Remember to place at least one primary keyword in your meta description too.
Image SEO is vital to content creation but frequently overlooked. Image SEO refers to your images’ alt description.
Like your meta description, include your primary keyword in your alt tag. Describe the image itself in your alt tag too. Alt descriptions are essential for inclusive website accessibility.
7. Internal and External Link Building
Your content is almost there, but it’s not completely optimized yet. Next, sprinkle internal and external URLs for link building purposes.
Link building increases your search engine position. However, not just any links will work.
Remember those Google E-A-T guidelines? Quality is essential.
Only include internal links to your own site and high-quality external links. External links are hyperlinks outside of your site.
Here’s a quick rundown of quality external link sources:
- Credible Online Publishers (Time, New York Times, etc.)
- Quality industry or expert blogs
- Government institutions
- Colleges and Universities
- Credible stats and case studies
- Official city websites
- Research centers
Be careful when citing sources. For example, if you’re citing a scientific stat, make sure it’s from a research institution, respected publication, or college.
Next, pepper your content with relevant internal links. This strategy will boost rankings across web pages. You can use SEO tools that check for broken internal links.
8. Backlink Tools
Backlinks are the other piece of the link building puzzle. These are a bit trickier to acquire than internal and external links.
External and internal link building is easier. All you have to do is link out to content. Backlinks link to you.
You could sit around and wait for people to link to your content. This method is awfully slow.
Quality content creation is just one way to attract backlinks. You also need to promote your content. Otherwise, bloggers, web admins, and social media users won’t see it.
Most CMS platforms automatically promote your content across your social media channels.
However, CMS platforms only promote content on your channels. There are social media promotion services that share your content on multiple platforms. This method is another way to get fast backlinks.
Wiki SEO is another popular strategy. This method is great for news sites and other informational sites.
First, find a Wikipedia article that’s relevant to an article on your website. Next, update the Wiki article and add your website as a source.
You can also write a brand new Wikipedia article from scratch. However, this method isn’t as easy as it looks. Your article must be approved by Wikipedia, and its editors are notoriously strict.
The next option is direct outreach. If cold emailing isn’t your cup of tea, you can always hire an agency to do it for you. Plus, they have more experience in blogger outreach.
Outreach is an excellent way to land more guest post opportunities. Guest posts are blog posts you write for other websites. They’re also one of the best (and fastest) ways to get backlinks.
Let’s explore these tools further.
9. Guest Posting
Cold outreach is one way to land guest posts. However, you could start by limiting your search to sites that currently want guests posts.
Most sites will advertise if they want guest posts. Look for web pages like “become a contributor” or “submit an article.” Most pages will have contact information or a submission form.
Some websites are incredibly easy and only require high-quality posts. They’ll also state how many backlinks to include in the content. Some websites don’t allow any backlinks, so it’s important to check beforehand.
Try to guest post on high-traffic websites or sites with high DA scores. DA, also known as domain authority, measures a website’s overall health.
You may find some guest posting sites with instant submission, but these sources are rare. Websites typically approve guests posts to avoid spam.
Cold outreach, Wiki SEO, and instant approval sites are three ways to score good backlinks.
You can also use a tool like SEOjet that comes with guest posting features. Thus, all the outreach and posting are done for you. All you have to do is supply the content or use a service to write the posts.
10. SEO Analytics
SEO has a lot of working parts. How do you know how each one is performing? How do you see your rankings, backlinks, and changes over time?
You need reliable SEO analytics to monitor all your progress. You already learned a little about analytics through keyword research tools, but there’s a lot more.
You need an in-depth look at your website’s performance. SEO is more than just keywords, content, and links.
The following web performance elements are essential for SEO:
- Site speed
- Uptime and downtime
- Load time
- Browser compatibility
Fortunately, Google and Bing provide free web consoles to site owners. These consoles track backlinks, search engine traffic, website errors, and Google penalties.
Google Analytics goes further by providing website traffic, visitor demographics, real-time activity, and more.
Supercharge Your SEO With the Right Tools
Does your SEO feel more like an afterthought? Boost your skills and your rankings with these SEO backlink tools.
Remember, SEO is a group effort. Research a range of tools to find the best ones for your site. Experts can also carry the SEO load, letting you focus on innovation.
The blog is also here to assist. Keep reading to discover more topics!