Search engine optimization (SEO) tools help businesses increase their rankings in search engines like Google. We evaluated more than 35 SEO tools to compile a list of 11 easy-to-use and affordable SEO tools small businesses can use in-house to complete regular SEO audits and updates.
Top 11 Small Businesses SEO Tools
|SEOquake||Businesses that need a free real-time SEO audit tool on a per-webpage basis|
|Ubersuggest||Businesses that need a free keyword research and content idea generation tool for multilingual markets|
|Screaming Frog||Businesses that need to pinpoint website and link-profile performance issues that harm Google rankings|
|Copyscape||Businesses trying to prevent or resolve low Google ranking based on duplicate content|
|HARO||Businesses that need to boost inbound links from high-authority industry websites|
|Hunter||Businesses that need to boost inbound links from niche industry websites|
|Longtail Pro||Businesses that need to incorporate low-competition, highly profitable long-tail keywords into their SEO strategy|
|SpyFu||Businesses that need to learn who their ranking competitors are, then learn their keyword strategies|
|Moz Pro||Businesses looking for an affordable SEO toolkit with free tools and expert SEO guidance|
|Ahrefs||Businesses that need to monitor their rankings against competitors to compete on link building|
|SEMrush||Growing and midsized businesses needing a complete SEO workflow tool|
Many small businesses may find SEO audits and updates too time consuming to complete regularly. Given the importance of SEO for sales, these small businesses would do well to contact a Fiverr SEO expert who can complete the task in a timely, thorough, and knowledgeable manner. To get started, search “SEO expert” on Fiverr, then contact 4.5- to 5-star experts with your needs.
“When it comes to SEO, your end goal should be to provide the best user experience, which is what SEO is all about. To do that, you want to provide the most useful information to your potential clients or customers. That means getting as granular as possible and as specific as possible with your website content.” — James Bowen, Founder & CEO, Ripen Digital
Primary functions: Provides key SEO metrics on a per-page basis, including internal and external linking, search engine results page (SERP) ranking, domain SEO comparisons, keyword difficulty levels, and social media engagement
A SEMrush product, SEOquake is a browser extension that offers free real-time SEO audits for individual webpages. Using the browser extension or SEO dashboard, users can type in a domain or page URL and receive real-time reports of internal and external link metrics like anchor texts and link types, URL comparison metrics, social sharing metrics, page keyword analysis, ranking on different search engines and more.
This tool is right for small businesses or solopreneurs looking for free per-page SEO analysis to compete on per-page ranking. To begin using this tool for free as a browser extension, download it from the SEOquake website via its “Install SEOquake” button. Then, click on the extension to begin using once you are on a webpage or SERP you’d like to analyze. This tool should be used in conjunction with other tools on this list that offer SEO trends in time.
Primary functions: Multilingual keyword research, content ideation, and free SEO webinars by Neil Patel
Ubersuggest helps businesses understand what keywords they should be targeting, then generate keyword-rich content ideas no matter their target market’s language. A free tool offered by marketing influencer Patel, it allows you to search for any keyword in your target market’s language and receive an instant overview report on search volume, high-performance seasons, how competitors use it, ranking difficulty and what content best ranks for your keyword.
This tool is right for businesses on a tight budget needing to market to multilingual markets. All reports are free, no matter how in-depth you research your keywords, including reports for keywords in more than 80 languages and country-specific dialects. In addition, you can receive keyword research tips from Patel via his frequent free SEO webinars. Because this is only a keyword research tool, you will need to use other tools on this list for a complete SEO strategy.
Price: Free to £149 (approximately $192) for a one-year license
Primary functions: Crawling websites to locate website and link-profile SEO issues
Screaming Frog is a website crawler that allows you to pinpoint website and link-profile performance issues that hinder high Google rankings. These include broken links; page title and meta-data faux pas like being too long, short or duplicate content; low-content pages; and robot directives that would keep Google’s bots from discovering content like no index and no follow directives; and more. You can download diagnostic reports, then fix any problems.
Screaming Frog is right for small businesses suspecting website performance issues or a low-quality or broken link profile that keeps them from ranking well. For a complete SEO transformation, however, this tool should be used in conjunction with off-site SEO optimization strategies like local business listings and optimization and link building efforts as well as on-site keyword research and optimized content creation.
Price: Free to $19.95 per month
Primary functions: Checking and alerting for duplicate content
Copyscape’s two services include plagiarism checking for finding copies of webpages and automatic web scanning to find duplicate content and alert you to it. Because duplicate content can cause your content to receive a lower ranking in search engines, Copyscape helps prevent small businesses from losing hard-earned SEO ground. Copysentry is also a Copyscape service. It scans content automatically and weekly, then sends email alerts of duplicate content.
Copyscape tools are right for businesses that have experienced ranking problems due to duplicate content or want to prevent this from happening. They should be used in conjunction with high-quality content production, whether it be in-house or via an outsourced goal-based content production service provider like Hibu. Other tools that should be used with it include link building and keyword research tools to lend to high-quality content.
Price: Free to $49 per month
Primary functions: Develops connections with high-authority websites for high-authority link building
HARO currently connects journalists from media outlets like The New York Times, Mashable and Wall Street Journal to subject matter experts. This offers subject matter experts like you a means to land high authority links to improve Google ranking. First, sign up to be a source. Then, filter for high authority sites to respond to and provide an expert response to journalists’ questions. Include a professional bio and website link. Used quotes will often include your link.
HARO is right for small businesses needing to build their high authority inbound link profiles for higher search engine rankings. Although most websites represented on HARO are high authority requiring an Alexa ranking of less than 1 million, some are higher authority than others. To filter for the highest authority sites, a tool like Ahrefs can help you evaluate whether a source outlet is high authority or not and, therefore, worth your time to pitch.
Hunter helps you access otherwise inaccessible decision-maker email addresses at businesses via a URL so that you can connect for link-building purposes. Link building helps Google view your site as relevant enough to earn high-authority and relevant links, earning you a higher ranking. An email address allows you to pitch an article with a link or offer to replace broken links on recipients’ websites. It offers a verified email address or a likely email structure like email@example.com.
Hunter is right for small businesses needing to build their link profile for free and can be used by one-website businesses or agencies. We recommend using this tool in conjunction with a tool like Ahrefs, which can help you gauge what websites are high authority for valuable link-building purposes. It is also best when used in conjunction with other public-relations tools like HARO to increase response rates.
7. LongTail Pro
Pricing: Seven-day free trial; small business plan starting at $25 per month when billed annually
Primary functions: Low-competition, long-tail keyword research, keyword competitive scoring, and long-tail keyword profitability reporting
LongTail Pro allows users to find low-competition, long-tailed keywords to help them rank better on Google SERPs and increase conversions. Users search for root keywords, then receive hundreds of long-tailed keywords, along with a Keyword Competitive score based on LongTail Pro’s proprietary algorithm. This tells marketers which long-tailed keywords rank well easily. Their Rank Value then allows users to gauge long-tail keywords’ profitability on their websites. The tool also offers rank updates, a keyword research course, and SERP lookups.
LongTail Pro is right for small businesses on a budget that want to improve their ability to rank by keywords but don’t have the resources to compete on high-competition keywords. It also helps companies reach leads in the later stages of the customer journey (including the interest and desire stages) who are looking for more specific, in-depth understanding of products or services.
Price: Packages range from at $39 per month to $79 per month; discounts available when paid annually; 30-day money back guarantee
Primary functions: Competitor keyword research by history, ranking, backlink, and more; social outreach for influencer marketing and backlink building by keyword; identify keyword gaps
SpyFu offers marketers the ability to understand their competitors’ keyword strategies, then gauge how they stack up, what lessons can be applied to their own SEO and the keywords and influencers who can help them better rank in the SERPs. Founded in 2006, it comes highly recommended, with feature placements in Forbes, Entrepreneur and “The 4-Hour Workweek.”
SpyFu is right for businesses needing to learn who their ranking competitors are and how to apply their keyword strategies to compete via influencer marketing. A more affordable tool than some keyword research tools, it’s best used in conjunction with other SEO tools that focus on website user experience analysis and guidance, inbound link building, content creation and more.
9. Moz Pro
Pricing: Lots of free tools; $99 per month for five campaigns a month; $179 for 10 monthly campaigns and keyword planning; and free 30-day trial
Primary functions: Keyword research, link building, expert guidance, SEO reporting, on-site performance analysis and business-listing performance analysis
Moz Pro calls itself an all-in-one suite of SEO tools for analyzing your website, building a healthy link-profile, analyzing competitor SEO, planning your SEO keyword strategy, ensuring effective off-site local business listings and more. It also offers free tools like its Keyword Explorer, Link Explorer, Mozbar and Check My Business Listing tool. In addition, users access expert SEO guidance for free from around the world via its Q&A forum.
MozPro is right for your brand if you are a startup or growing business that needs SEO on a budget and the guidance of SEO experts to answer questions. There are three small to midsize-business packages so that you can upgrade as you grow. To get started, sign up for its free 30-day trial or try its free SEO tools. You can access these tools on its website via its header-menu option labeled “Free SEO Tools.”
Pricing: $7 seven-day trial; packages ranging from $99 per month to $179 per month
Primary functions: Competitive link and keyword analysis, keyword and backlink research, rank tracking and web monitoring
Ahrefs is well-known for the ability to conduct competitor link analysis and monitor brand content search rankings. It also offers keyword research tools; content research by backlink, organic traffic and social shares; gap analysis based on the factors your competitors rank for that you don’t; site audits; SERP checker; historical data; and more. It helps brands research competitors to develop a competitive advantage on SERPs.
Ahrefs is right for small or growing brands looking to increase their SERP rankings against competitors. It comes with a $7 seven-day trial and, when paid annually, each plan receives a discount of two full monthly payments. It is recommended you use the site along with other SEO tools that perform SEO tasks like business listing reports, website user experience analysis, social media management, marketing calendars and more.
Pricing: $99.95 per month with no long-term-contract obligations; custom plans and free trial available
Primary functions: Comprehensive SEO suite
SEMrush offers a comprehensive SEO toolkit and all-in-one dashboard for managing SEO campaigns of any size. Founded in 2008, SEMrush now claims to be the world’s leading competitive research service. However, it does more than just competitive research. Packages include on and off-site SEO analysis; an intuitive user interface for project-based SEO tracking and analysis; link profile audits; a marketing calendar; brand monitoring; keyword research; competitor SEO analysis; an all-in-one analysis dashboard; and more.
SEMrush is right for businesses needing an all-in-one SEO toolkit and analysis platform. You can get a feel for what the tool can offer you by inputting your URL in its homepage Domain Overview tool, choosing your country and selecting “Start Now.” It also offers limited-time 14-day trial promotions that you can access by searching for “SEMrush Free Trial” on Google.
How We Determined the Best SEO Tools for Small Businesses
Small business need tools that can help them pinpoint their SEO weaknesses so they can be fixed on an affordable budget. We looked for a well-rounded list of tools that small businesses can lean on to complement each other for an in-house SEO strategy. We reviewed more than 30 tools and narrowed down our list to 11 tools that best serve small businesses in creating an in-house SEO strategy based on cost, reviews, functions, ease-of-use and their small-business focus.
Here were our primary evaluation criteria for best SEO tools:
- Cost: We looked for SEO tools that come with a free or reasonable price tag for small businesses
- Ease of use: We looked for SEO tools with intuitive interfaces, downloads, implementation and reports
- Function: We looked for tools that complement each other to cover primary SEO audits and tasks small businesses should regularly perform
- Small business focus: We excluded tools that offer enterprise-level functions that would overwhelm small businesses with any increased technical expertise required
- Reviews: We looked for tools that other small businesses have used and found helpful in producing winning SEO results
For some small businesses, time is more valuable than money (within reason). Because SEO strategy planning and implementation can require significant time, many turn to SEO marketing agencies like Hibu, which can become an extended SEO marketing team for small businesses, offering affordable on-page SEO optimization, duplicate content detection, site architecture analysis, link building, press releases, business listings and more.
Small Business SEO Pro Tips
For best SEO results, it’s important for small business marketers to always be up-to-date on the latest best-practices for wooing search engines and customers via great user experiences. We reached out to the experts to learn their tips and tricks.
1. Offer Frequent Keyword-rich Content
“Use a free tool like Moz Keyword Explorer to discover relevant, long-tail keyword phrases. When I have a list of five or 10 good keyword phrases, I write a blog post on each keyword phrase as a topic. You need to write at least one blog post per week to get the Google bots crawling your site most frequently. Good SEO is not a short-term quick fix. You must be prepared to write good, quality content, not just fluff. And you must be willing to do it diligently and consistently, week after week.” — Eric Bryant, Founder, Gnosis Media Group
2. Optimize for Voice Search & Ranking
“According to Google, one in every five searches comes from a voice search. This shows us that the rise in the digital assistant is real and is changing the way search queries are performed. Because of the rise in voice searches, it’s important to make sure that your SEO marketing strategy shifts to meet with this growing trend. This will mean needing to focus on longer keyword searches of a more natural and conversational tone.” — Reuben Kats, Chief Operating Officer, Falcon Marketing
3. Design for Customers & Search Engines
“The most common mistakes I see with small businesses SEO is that all of the focus is either on the user or on the search engines. Few people do a good job of creating websites that both look pretty and are accessible to search engines. Most people get caught up in the design of the new site, in making huge images and pretty animations, and don’t make the site properly accessible. Other people go the opposite way and make sites that are technically easy for crawl bots to access, but are difficult for their customers to use or which don’t have a good customer funnel to convert users to customers.” — Megan Durham, Chief Technical Officer, Agile Impact Group
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What Is Search Engine Optimization?
SEO is the ongoing process of improving and maintaining your business’ online presence to organically rank higher in search engine results and drive more traffic to your business. It includes link building, local business listing and optimization, website architect optimization, social media management, optimized content creation and publishing, Google penalty resolution, duplicate content checks, competitor SEO analysis, rank monitoring and more.
What Is Link Building and Why is it Helpful in SEO?
Link building is increasing the number of relevant links that point to your website. Relevant links to your website signal Google that your website is valuable to target audiences. Some link building strategies include link acquisition via high-quality content creation, including links on resource pages and directories, replacing broken links with relevant links in relevant third-party content and linking unlinked mentions.
What Are the Different Types of SEO Techniques?
There are two primary SEO techniques, which are black hat SEO and white hat SEO. Black hat SEO includes techniques like link spamming, keyword stuffing, cloaking and using hidden text and links. This strategy often leads to quick SEO growth, but that growth is often short-lived as businesses experience Google penalties or spammed sites with irrelevant links.
White hat SEO is earned via a great user experience and often produces sustained growth and a favorable Google ranking. While always focused on improving the user experience, white hat SEO marketers employ techniques like relevant link building, quality content production and placement, high-quality website design, local business listings, relevant keyword research and optimization, content tagging and more.
How Can I Outsource My SEO to Save Time?
Many small businesses struggle to maintain a consistent and white hat SEO strategy because it requires more in-house expertise and time than they have. So, many outsource their SEO strategies to experts who can manage it at a reasonable price. Hibu manages the entire SEO strategy planning and implementation from web design to business listings and more.
The Bottom Line
The best SEO tools help small businesses gauge how well they rank in search engines like Google and what they can do to rank better. In the end, higher rankings translate into higher conversions and sales. Given its importance, small businesses must use the budgets and time they have to conduct regular SEO audits. The 11 tools we’ve listed were included because, together, they offer small businesses an easy-to-use tech stack for in-house SEO audits, even on a budget.
If you need help with your SEO improvements because you have little time to devote to serious SEO strategy, then consider hiring an expert at Fiverr. By searching for SEO experts, you can find someone with extensive experience in SEO optimization who you can pay a relatively low fee to manage your own very important SEO efforts that may make a huge difference in sales.