My whole aim with Optimisey is to help people learn more about and get better at SEO (search engine optimisation).

I’ve worked on websites for around 20 years. In that time I have tried a lot of different tools and techniques but there are literally thousands out there. Which are the best SEO tools?

I want to help you sort the wheat from the chaff.

Skip to: SEMrush | Marie Haynes’ Search News You Can Use | ScreamingFrog |

A caveat and Affiliates

First off a little caveat: some of these are affiliate links, meaning if you buy them I get a little kick back.

That one was a hard one for me to square. I know how it looks: “Does he really recommend that – or are they just paying him to?”

Answer is: I really recommend them. I use them myself and if I think they’re no good, I won’t tell you the opposite, no matter how much they offer me to say otherwise.

Better than that, I’ll lay it out in crystal clear terms what the cost for each tool or product is and what I get out of it.

I run the free Optimsey MeetUp events (with sponsors to cover some costs) and this website myself so if it helps you to think of it as supporting that, that works for me.

Sound fair enough? On with the SEO tools list.

Optimisey recommends

SEMrush - one of the best SEO tools around

Name: SEMRush – SEO Super Tool

Description: If you can only afford to invest in one tool better make it a good one, right?

SEMrush is Optimsey‘s tool of choice in this regard. It’s a real SEO Swiss army knife:

  • Need to research keywords? ✓
  • Want to track your rankings? ✓
  • Curious about your competitors? ✓
  • Monitoring social media? ✓
  • Doing PPC research? ✓
  • Building or vetting backlinks? ✓

And that little lot is barely scratching the surface – it does a whole lot more. Plus the SEMrush team are actively building new tools all the time.

With this Optimisey link you get a free 7-day trial.

If you’re not blown away by it’s power and potential in that first week, fair enough. I’m pretty confident you will be.

Price: £75 (USD$99.95) a month for Pro plan; £149 (USD$199.95) a month for Guru plan; £298 (USD$399.95) a month for Business plan.

Annual price (for comparison): £894 (USD$1199.40) upwards (discounts available if you pay annually)

Type: SEO keyword tracking; keyword research; competitor research and monitoring; CPC research; social media monitoring; brand monitoring; backlink checker… etc. etc.

Optimisey gets: 40% of each payment you make

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Still not sure – tell me more

Marie Haynes Consulting's logo

Name: Marie Haynes’ Search News You Can Use

Description: Search News You Can Use ‘does what it says on the tin’. Struggling to keep up with all the changes in search engines (aren’t we all?) this is for you.

Marie is an expert curator cherry picking not only the biggest news in search but also providing solid advice on what to do about it.

Think £13 (less than £1 a day) is a lot to pay for a weekly email ? Try the lite version for free or take a one-episode-only look (for free) at the back catalogue to see the sort of thing you’re going to get for your money.

With a subscription you also unlock the entire archive. More top notch search advice than you can imagine.

I’d also heartily recommend checking out Marie’s SEO podcasts – often largely based on her most recent newsletter.

Price: £13 (USD$18) a month

Annual price (for comparison): USD$216 (£161)

Type: Weekly email subscription

Optimisey gets: $18 – your first month’s subscription

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Screaming Frog logo

NAME: Screaming Frog – SEO SPIDER

Description: The creators themselves describe their SEO Spider tool as: “…a website crawler, that allows you to crawl websites’ URLs and fetch key onsite elements to analyse onsite SEO.”

For me it’s one of the key tools in my arsenal. When you want to analyse a website, check page titles and meta data it can be a brutal manual process. Screaming Frog does a lot of the heavy lifting for you.

Point it at a website and it will crawl it (in much the same way as the search engine crawlers do) and show you all those details in handy, easy to read tables.

From there you can easily sort (and Screaming Frog pulls out) pages with missing titles and meta data; duplicates; those over or under advised thresholds; page titles that match the H1 etc. Basically a plethora of SEO no-nos made a lot easier to spot and therefore fix.

It’ll also pick out images missing alt-text; protocol conflicts (http and https); pages that are/aren’t canonically linked… there’s just loads in there and I’ve barely got started. You should definitely check it out.

They have a log-file analyser too.

Price: Free (with limits); or £149 per user, per year
Annual price (for comparison): Free/£149

Type: SEO spider/crawler

Optimisey gets: £0

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DeepCrawl's logo

NAME: DeepCrawl – SEO Crawler

Description: DeepCrawl is another site crawler tool.

You can point the tool at a website of your choice (not necessarily your own either, if you want to take a close look at a competitor!) and it will whizz into action. The result is a report citing all sorts of issues with the target site – from pages with thin content, to orphaned pages, 404s, redirects and all sorts more.

One of the best things about DeepCrawl is that their crawler is cloud-based – meaning it doesn’t bring your computer to a shuddering, fan-spinning halt as it tries to ingest hundreds of thousands of URLs.

There are also a series of great integrations so you can plug in your Search Console data, Google Analytics data, backlinks from Majestic and a whole load more, including optional JavaScript rendering.

Another key differentiator is the DeepCrawl team. It’s packed with top-notch SEO talent to whom, as a customer, you can have access. They do operate as an SEO consultancy too so you won’t get limitless help just for paying your monthly fee – but they’re broadly a ridiculously helpful and intelligent bunch.

Price: Free trial available (with limits); or £63 per month (1 month free if you pay annually)
Annual price (for comparison): £693

Type: SEO spider/crawler

Optimisey gets: £0

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LittleWarden's logo

NAME: LittleWarden

Description: When he spoke at Optimisey #5 about ‘Killing Giants’ Ross Tavendale summed it up perfectly: ‘Their tag line says it all: monitoring the tedious’.

LittleWarden does all the jobs you wish you didn’t have to but… if you neglect can really bite you on the behind.

When does your SSL certificate run out? Do you know? What about your domain? When’s that up for renewal? Is your Google Analytics tracking working? You sure? What if your last site release broke it? What if the devs accidentally noindex’ed the whole site… again.

That kinda stuff is dull to check but if any of them happen you are in trouble.

If any of them happen, you can get LittleWarden to check and it’ll let you know when it happens.

For £19.99 a month? It’s terrific value. That’s surely more than you’d lose in sales if your site goes sideways or you put a stack of customers off with ‘not secure’ messages.

It’s got to be less than the amount of time/resource you’d spend checking those crucial site details (on a daily basis) yourself. And it’s certainly worth it for the flack you’d cop from your boss/bank manager/self if you let one of those things break.

It’ll monitor all sorts of things for you. LittleWarden inventor, Dom Hodgson, has nailed it with the tag line.

Price (all per month): Freelancer plan £19.99; Small Team plan £29.99; Agency plan £49.99; Large Agency £119.99
Annual price (for comparison): From £200 to £1199.90 per year (you get 2 months free if you pay annually).

Type: Site monitoring tool

Optimisey gets: £0 (maybe a free account from Dom, if y’all click this link and buy your own!)

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Screenshot from the homepage

Name: Keyword.IO – keyword research

Description: Struggling with your keyword research? Getting a wide range of keywords around a topic is hard. This is where comes in.With a database of 93 million (and counting) keywords you enter your ‘seed’ keyword (say “dog food”) and you’ll get a raft of related keywords to help focus your content and give you myriad more content ideas to boot.Still not convinced? There’s a free version so you can ‘try before you buy’ – but if you’re looking to expand out your keyword research and really target those long-tail keywords, a Starter subscription unlocks features like:

  • related keywords
  • downloads (handy if you’re planning to build them out in spreadsheets etc.)
  • API access and a whole lot more.

Running CPC campaigns? Push up to a Pro plan and unlock the motherload:

  • monthly search volumes
  • CPC prices from Google AdWords
  • Competition data (how hard/expensive will that keyword be?)
  • Bigger API limits – handy if you’re patching it into other tools.

Price: £22 (USD$29) a month for Starter plan; £36 (USD$49) a month for Pro plan
Annual price (for comparison): £259 (USD$348)

Type: SEO keyword research tool

Optimisey gets: 30% of each payment you make

Note: you need to create a log-in to buy a subscription.

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