Braving a pretty brutal storm can definitely give you some perspective. It shows you what really matters and convinces us that we should spend our time a little more wisely. After the year we’ve had, we might as well live it up a little bit, right?

It’s time to take a chance. Make 2021 the year you try new strategies, check out some different tools you haven’t considered before, and improve in the areas you’ve been having issues in. 

SEO seems to be something most marketers struggle with – a puzzle that can’t be solved. It’s intimidating and technical, and algorithms are constantly changing, making it seem that any progress you make is bound to be short-lived. When it comes to SEO, there’s so much we know we want to achieve, but we just haven’t gotten around to it. Well, now’s the time, and there’s no need to outsource.

No more putting off your SEO strategy to focus on other tasks and initiatives. If 2020 has proved anything to the business world, it’s that online shopping and searching isn’t going anywhere, so it’s crucial to get a firm grasp on your business’s SEO if you want to thrive in this market. It’s time to be smarter about bringing your business to your consumers. 

You don’t need to do this all on your own, however. There are some great SEO tools to check out that will help you take a step in the right direction. I’ve outlined a few here that will help you get your feet wet and provide your website with a map leading to your customers’ search results. 

1. ContentKing

Whether you’re just starting to focus on your website’s SEO or you’ve been implementing an SEO strategy for years, ContentKing is a powerful tool that takes the guesswork out of where you may be falling short. ContentKing provides a holistic view of your site’s health, and its dashboard breaks down information into the following categories:

  • Health – the overall health of your website
  • Pages – recommended changes per website page
  • Issues – the total amount of site issues being tracked
  • Active Incidents – Issues in progress

It also provides graphs that track when changes in pages, website health, and issues are being made. It sounds like a lot, but ContentKing helps you divide and conquer by breaking off these metrics for more important pages, and their platform is super easy to navigate and understand. 

By pulling data from Google Search Console and Google Analytics, you can gain additional insight into your campaigns, and ContentKing tells you exactly what to do so you can implement these changes as quickly as possible. 

Pricing: Plans start at $39 a month and are based on the number of pages you want to track. You need to track a minimum of 1,000 pages, but users, the amount of websites, and rechecks are all unlimited across platforms.  

2. Ahrefs Content Explorer

This tool is hot off the press from Ahrefs. What’s unique about this tool is that you can use it to locate the most talked about topics on social media, providing you with all you need to reverse engineer your SEO strategy. 

By searching terms from your keyword list, you can discover articles that have nailed optimization for those terms. Instead of spending hours on Twitter looking for relevant articles that have high share counts, Ahrefs Content Explorer does the digging for you, and quickly. 

Since Ahref’s Content Explorer gives you a list of articles from the past thirty days (most popular to least), you can examine those articles for SEO tactics to implement in your own practices, such as mimicking headline structure or picking up on actionable terms used in subheadings. 

This tool can also be used as a way to curate content and boost your social media engagement. Use the list of articles to inform the content you’re going to create, and since they’re already ranking, you can link to them to absorb some of their link-building juice. Share them out on your social channels, using applicable hashtags, and track how well they manage to engage your audience.    

Pricing: Ahrefs offers a seven-day free trial. Their Lite plan is seven days for $7, then $99 a month.

3. Moz Pro

You’ve probably heard of Moz, as they’re one of the more popular SEO software tools out there. Moz Pro is their all-in-one solution that offers a ton of features to give you that much-needed full-service SEO support. Like ContentKing, Moz can do a full site crawl to track your website’s overall SEO health and uncover issues. 

Some businesses think they know what keywords they want to rank for, but strategies and customer search patterns change. What’s helpful about Moz Pro is that it does the keyword research for you, so you know the right words to target. More than that, it provides you with customized data reports so you can really understand what is motivating your customers and the exact kinds of questions they’re asking search engines. Nothing is set in stone, so if you need to make adjustments to your keywords, Moz Pro keeps them organized for you, so tweaking is a sinch. 

You can compare your site’s rankings month over month and track how your competitors are performing. This helps you get a leg up in your industry and more quickly spot any actions that led to a decline in your results. 

Pricing: Moz offers a 30-day free trial, but paid options start at $99 a month. 

4. SEMRush

SEMRush is a popular option (in fact, we use it!). It’s great because it provides domain analytics broken down into the following categories: 

  • Organic Keywords – the keywords people are using to search that your site ranks for
  • Organic Traffic – how much organic traffic your site sees withing a certain time frame
  • Paid Keywords – they paid keywords you’re using to generate traffic and how successful they are
  • Paid Traffic –  how much site traffic is from paid search tactics 

You can also access robust traffic analytics on your competitors, including the number of site visits they see and where that traffic is coming from (direct, organic, paid, or another site).

One feature we love is the ability to create custom projects to tap into various areas of our site. We use this to, among other things, determine site health, toxic domains affecting our SEO, and which pages need to be optimized. 

There is so much data to dig into within SEMRush’s platform, and it can be a bit overwhelming. If you’re looking for something more intuitive and straightforward, this may not be the option for you. 

Pricing: Their Pro plan starts at $99 a month. 

5. Squirrly 

Optimizing your content for search engines can result in very robotic or jargon-filled language, which isn’t great for engagement. While it’s important to be aware of your content rank, you need to remember that you’re writing your content for humans, too. That’s what’s great about the Squirrly SEO plugin. 

You can use it to search long-tail keywords related to any topic, which ensures you’re optimizing for SEO but doing so in a way that doesn’t sound too technical. The plugin also makes suggestions on how long your pages should be and what you need to do to get a certain amount of organic visitors each day. It can help you establish your pillar pages for a smarter internal linking strategy and, of course, find the right keywords to focus your content around. 

Pricing: Their plans start at $20.99 a month.

6. CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer

Headlines are a huge contributor to whether or not the content you’re writing will pop up in search results. They also affect whether or not people will want to actually read your article. Headlines are like first impressions, and therefore they should be crafted carefully. 

What we love about CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer is that you can put in your headline, and it will break down the word balance based on four categories: 

  • Common – How “known” your word choices are. You want to strike a balance and not be too far leaning in one direction.
  • Uncommon – How “unknown” your word choices are. Same as above. 
  • Emotional – Does your headline evoke a feeling from readers? Ones that do will get more engagement. 
  • Power – Do you add a punch? Is it impactful?

It will also break down your headline type (for instance, this article headline would be considered a list) and explain why it’s more beneficial or appealing. It tells you what sentiment it’s evoking, your word and character count, and the skimmability. It’s incredibly simple and makes a great addition to your content creation process. 

Price: This tool is 100% free! 

There you have it! Just a few tools to help you on your journey to more optimized content. The time to tackle SEO is now. Make 2021 the year your content ranks so you can get more organic site traffic to convert!