As a content marketer, search engine optimization (SEO) should be an essential component of your workflow. When you want your blog posts, e-books, and whitepapers to get as much exposure as possible, you need to know the best keyword, link audit, and audience research tools out there. Start using these 10 top SEO tools, and find out how to get your content seen.
Google AdWords Keyword Planner
Image via Flickr by Sebastian Hillig
For most content marketers, keyword research is a smart place to start improving SEO. Sign up for a free Google AdWords account to gain access to the search engine giant’s Keyword Planner tool.
Here, you can assess how well certain keywords have performed over time, and you can identify new keywords using phrases, categories, and websites. This handy tool also multiplies your existing keyword lists and provides forecasts for keywords under consideration.
Moz Pro Keyword Explorer
Keywords are a critical part of any SEO effort, and many content marketers find that paid tools offer much more value. Try Moz Pro Keyword Explorer to streamline keyword optimization.
Test out this paid tool with a free trial, and learn how it can help you do research quickly, offer intuitive suggestions, and prioritize long-tail keyword opportunities. With Moz Pro Keyword Explorer, you’ll even get an accurate estimate of how much search volume your keyword will get, and you’ll gain better understanding of search engine results page (SERP) ranks.
As you develop your content plan, you’ll want to make sure you’re ahead of the curve and that you’re providing readers with valuable material. To do this, use Google Trends to track the popularity of certain search terms over time. Check each keyword to assess whether it’s rising in popularity or if it’s already jumped the shark.
If you want to include a few popular topics in your content plan, Google Trends is also a great place to find new ideas. Make note of the related terms and popularity for each keyword, and factor the best ones into your content marketing plan.
If, like many content marketers, you use WordPress to publish, Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin is a must for your website. This free plugin analyzes SEO for every post and page on your website, assessing details like keyword density, link placement, and titles and headings.
This essential WordPress plugin offers recommendations for optimizing keywords throughout your site. As an additional bonus, it even allows you to apply SEO titles and meta descriptions to each post and page. The paid Premium version includes more features and premium support.
For most content marketers, just having a list of solid keywords to work from isn’t enough. You’ll need to understand why they work and how well related content performs, too.
To dig into the details, use a tool like BuzzSumo. When you enter a keyword or a search term into this paid tool, it pulls up relevant top performing content. From there, you can analyze backlink sources and social shares to find out how the content became so popular. Use this data to give your own campaigns a boost as you develop content on related topics.
Ahrefs Content Explorer
While you certainly want to develop a content plan that’s packed with original and highly sharable material, there’s no reason you can’t look at existing content to find out how and why it ranks so highly. Use Ahrefs Content Explorer to find top-rated content in your industry, quantify social shares, and get a closer look at backlinks.
With this tool, you can even analyze traffic, dig into keywords, and track shares on a range of social networks. Set a specific timeframe to analyze popular content from a certain week or month, or research keywords and content over history.
Whether you already have a long list of ideas for future content or you’re just starting the brainstorming process, you need to know more about your audience. As well as you might think you know your readers, Jumpshot can provide details you didn’t even think to ask.
Jumpshot offers a comprehensive behavioral analysis platform that helps you understand every move your audience makes. Want to know where your audience originates, when and why they buy, or where they navigate after they leave your site? Use Jumpshot’s Search Feed and Audience Analytics tools to learn which keywords work and how your audience footprint measures up.
Ahrefs Site Explorer
If you’re serious about content marketing and SEO, you know that backlinks are just as important as keywords. After you’ve worked hard to generate valuable links from high-ranking sites, you need to know whether they’re generating the traffic you anticipated.
To audit your links, use a tool like Ahrefs Site Explorer, which offers a comprehensive suite of components. Use the Backlink Checker and Organic Traffic Research tools to measure how well a URL performs in terms of search traffic and link juice. Dig into the Paid Search portion of the interface to measure pay-per-click (PPC) ads and paid keywords.
When you want to know how your site measures up to your competitors, use a tool like SEMrush. This competitor analysis software helps you research how your competitors rank in terms of keywords and traffic. It also reveals backlink sources and PPC ads, which can be helpful references as you develop your brand’s own content marketing strategy.
After designing and deploying a content marketing plan that prioritizes SEO, you’d be remiss not to track your results. In most cases, you can easily do this by taking an in-depth look at the Google Analytics for your site.
Log in to your Google Analytics account to assess your site traffic, conversion rates, and audience behaviors. Find out which backlinks drive the most traffic to your site, and which keywords are driving audiences your way. Take your analytics to the next level by defining goals that enable you to measure your return on investment (ROI) and ensure that you’ve optimized your content successfully.
Are you ready to make your content shine and give it the attention it deserves? Put these 10 SEO tools to work and start increasing your ROI.