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The Top 10 SEO Software

Semrush Logo

Semrush

Best overall

4.0 4.0 Stars
  • Keyword tracking
  • Backlink analytics
  • Site crawling
Once upon a time, Semrush seemed to be for SEO experts only, but after multiple updates to UI and UX, the dashboard and data are much easier to read, even if you’re new to SEO. We named Semrush the best overall SEO tool because it’s a complete SEO tool that won’t break a small business’s bank.

Starting price: $99.95 per month paid annually

Basic functionality:
  • Keyword research: Yes
  • SERP tracking: Yes
  • Content optimization: Yes
  • Link management: Yes
  • Competitor research: Yes
  • SEO audits and analytics: Yes

Value-adds:

  • Local SEO

Customer support:

  • Support tickets, phone (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, Monday to Friday, in the U.S.)


No SEO platform is right for every user, but Semrush is about as close as it gets. It’s our top recommendation if you’re looking for a new SEO service in 2023.

Semrush checks virtually every box such as keyword tracking, site crawling, backlink analytics, and Application Programming Interface (API) access for third-party integrations. Its prices are relatively affordable, and you can add a variety of tools to your plan for an extra charge.

Furthermore, a 2020 visual update gave the application a new, attractive design and made it much easier to use. The left side of the screen displays various categories such as competitive research, keyword research, and link building. Even though it provides a lot of in-depth information, I felt that Semrush makes everything fairly simple to find.

You can easily identify potential high-value keywords based on factors like search volume, difficulty, intent, and recent trends. Even the cheapest plan supports daily tracking for up to 500 keywords at a time. Unfortunately, I felt that the tools themselves could be overwhelming, and there were some usability issues.

When I created a content template, for example, I could only export it as a Word document. Even worse, the document it gave me contained nearly 20,000 words, including the full text of 10 competing articles. There was no way to customize the report, export a smaller version, or export in any format other than Word.

Still, even though other providers might beat Semrush on specific features, it’s hard to find a better overall service for the average small business owner.

Who is Semrush best for?

Based on my experience, Semrush is a good option for most small business owners. You’ll probably spend some time feeling it out as I did with the content template tool, but it’s still more straightforward than most other applications with similarly deep features. For example, you can immediately gather all relevant information about a specific keyword — how many people are searching for it and how your competitors rank for the same search term.

Recent upgrades to Semrush

Semrush developed a new visual style in 2020 that significantly improved its ease of use and aesthetic appeal and introduced many features in 2021. For example, the new Keyword Intent metric synthesizes search data to understand what you are looking for when you enter a specific search term. This makes it easier to develop campaigns that respond to the real desires of your audience.

Pricing

The cheapest version of Semrush is the Pro subscription, which has a base rate of $99.95 per month paid annually, or $119.95 on a month-to-month basis. This plan comes with five projects, 500 tracked keywords, and 10,000 results per report. Guru ($191.62 per month paid annually) and Business ($374.95 per month paid annually) increase those limits and give you access to more advanced features.

Pros and cons of Semrush

Pros

  • Visually appealing interface
  • Flexible pricing with optional add-ons
  • API access (Business tier only)

Cons

  • More expensive than some alternatives
  • Questionable design decisions

      Summary

      • Starting price
        • $99.95 per month paid annually
      • Keyword research
        Yes
      • SERP tracking
        Yes
      • Content optimization
        Yes
      • SEO audits and analytics
        Yes
      Features
      • Keyword tracking
      • Backlink analytics
      • Site crawling
      Ahrefs Logo

      Ahrefs

      Best for experienced users

      4.0 4.0 Stars
      • Powerful keyword research tool
      • Excellent site auditing
      • Competitor research
      Ahrefs packs a lot of nuance into its powerful tools, making it a bit harder to learn. If you have experience though, it can be a great SEO companion. Its keyword research tool is well known in the industry, and it has one of the most extensive crawlers, second only to Google’s.

      Starting price: $83 per month paid annually

      Basic functionality:
      • Keyword research: Yes
      • SERP tracking: Yes
      • Content optimization: Yes
      • Link management: Yes
      • Competitor research: Yes
      • SEO audits and analytics: Yes

      Value-adds:

      • SERP history tool

      Customer support:

      • Email, help center, Twitter, 24/5 live chat support via dashboard


      Compared to the sleek, futuristic design of Semrush, Ahrefs appears a little more technical and complicated. It might not be as welcoming if you are new to it, but it offers some incredibly powerful tools. That’s why I picked Ahrefs as the top 2023 option for more experienced marketers.

      I’ve used Ahrefs for years, and it’s one of my favorite SEO tools for keyword (KW) research and competitor analysis. There is a lot more Ahrefs can do, including site audits, content suggestions, and helpful analysis of your site (or another’s). The links report is great for giving you a look at which links are helping or hurting your website.

      Who is Ahrefs best for?

      Anyone can learn to use Ahrefs effectively, but if you are less experienced you may need some time to understand how the application works. The interface is more barebones than Semrush and other competitors. Ahrefs enables data-driven insights including detailed comparisons and granular filters, but you need to know how to interpret that data to unlock its underlying value.

      Recent upgrades

      Ahrefs publishes monthly blog posts about recent updates to the platform. In July 2022, Ahrefs added a SERP history tool that shows the top search results for a given keyword on any given date. This makes it much easier to see how your website has compared to others over time.

      That was just one of several new features introduced in July 2022, and similar announcements have been made monthly for multiple years. You can be confident that Ahrefs will continue to receive regular upgrades and optimizations.

      Pricing

      Ahrefs is available for slightly less than Semrush at a starting price of $83 per month paid annually. That said, the most robust versions actually go far beyond Semrush in terms of price — the Enterprise tier is $833 per month paid annually. This plan comes with features like API access, activity logs, and access management.

      Pros and cons of Ahrefs

      Pros

      • Powerful, granular keyword research tool
      • New SERP history tool
      • Excellent site auditing (set up for multiple sites)
      • One of the best backlink analysis tools (extensive database, one of the biggest crawlers)

      Cons

      • Expensive after entry-level plan
      • Limited features on low-tier plan
      • Steep learning curve for some tools

          Summary

          • Starting price
            • $83 per month paid annually
          • Keyword research
            Yes
          • SERP tracking
            Yes
          • Content optimization
            Yes
          • SEO audits and analytics
            Yes
          Features
          • Powerful keyword research tool
          • Excellent site auditing
          • Competitor research
          SEOptimer Logo

          SEOptimer

          Best white-label reports

          3.9 3.9 Stars
          • White-label reports on high-tier plans
          • SEO audits
          • Keyword tracking and recommendations
          SEOptimer offers three plans; the low-priced one is suitable for individuals, while the other two are better for small businesses (specifically content or SEO agencies). Its standout feature is white labeling, so you can create SEO reports for clients with your branding on them.

          Starting price: $19 per month

          Basic functionality:
          • Keyword research: Yes
          • SERP tracking: Yes
          • Content optimization: Yes
          • Link management: Yes
          • Competitor research: Yes
          • SEO audits and analytics: Yes

          Value-adds:

          • White-label SEO reports

          Customer support:

          • Live chat, email


          SEOptimer is a good option for your SEO use, but it stands out, even more, when it comes to white labeling. With its white-label reports, you can give your clients and leads professional SEO reports at the click of a button. That makes SEOptimer a popular choice for SEO businesses that want to improve their offerings.

          After signing up, you can easily create reports with custom branding by uploading your company’s name, logo, and colors. This is particularly useful for lead generation — showing a prospect a clear, professional representation of their SEO practices will go a long way toward gaining their trust.

          SEOptimer reports cover a wide range of SEO factors such as broken links, page load speed, keyword positions, and search traffic. I ran a report on my own site and compared what I got back to what Google Analytics offers. It’s the same information, but it was far easier for me to read SEOptimer’s report and it’s more visually appealing.

          There are some limitations, such as with page crawling — if a site has thousands of pages, you might not be able to crawl them all with SEOptimer.

          Even if you’re targeting an international audience, you can generate reports in 11 other languages, including French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Support is available by email or live chat, but SEOptimer typically takes a couple of hours for a response.

          Who is SEOptimer best for?

          SEOptimer is going to be the best fit for selling SEO services to your clients. It comes with solid fundamental features like SEO crawling and keyword research, but the white-label reports are its main value-add. Given its relatively affordable price tag, you could easily justify the cost with a fairly low volume of sales.

          Recent upgrades

          SEOptimer has a Feature Request board for customer suggestions, and it published a list of new additions in June 2022. This update included an especially hard-hitting feature: the option to add competitors to audit reports so that clients and leads can see how they stack up against other websites in their niche. There were also several smaller additions such as automatic scheduling for recurring reports.

          Pricing

          After a 14-day free trial, you can continue with one of three SEOptimer subscriptions. You have your choice of paying month-to-month or saving 25% by paying upfront annually. At $19 per month, the DIY SEO tier is intended for your own use. You’ll need to upgrade to the White Label plan ($29 per month) to generate white-label reports for other clients. At $59 per month, the White Label & Embedding subscription enables you to place audit forms on your site for even better lead generation.

          Pros and cons of SEOptimer

          Pros

          • Extremely easy to use
          • Starts at just $19 per month
          • Available white-label reports

          Cons

          • Limited value outside of white-labeling
          • Embed forms double the subscription cost
          • Page crawling limited

              Summary

              • Starting price
                • $19 per month
              • Keyword research
                Yes
              • SERP tracking
                Yes
              • Content optimization
                Yes
              • SEO audits and analytics
                Yes
              Features
              • White-label reports on high-tier plans
              • SEO audits
              • Keyword tracking and recommendations
              Mangools Logo

              Mangools

              Best for keyword research

              3.9 3.9 Stars
              • Keyword research
              • Competitor research
              • Backlink tracking
              Mangools is an easy-to-use suite of SEO tools to help you research and manage keywords, SERPs, links, your site’s health, and your competition. Its claim to fame is keyword research.

              Starting price: $29.90 per month paid annually

              Basic functionality:
              • Keyword research: Yes
              • SERP tracking: Yes
              • Content optimization: Yes
              • Link management: Yes
              • Competitor research: Yes
              • SEO audits and analytics: Yes

              Value-adds:

              • Outstanding keyword research functionality

              Customer support:

              • Email and live chat (no listed hours)


              Mangools is an SEO software provider that offers a bundle of five tools: KWFinder, SERPChecker, SERPWatcher, LinkMiner, and SiteProfiler. These programs cover keyword research, search engine rank analysis, backlink tracking, and website evaluation.

              Each of the five services offer value, but I’ve always been impressed by KWFinder. It responds to one of the biggest SEO challenges: how to identify new keyword ideas with strong traffic potential. I used KWFinder exclusively before I learned how to use Ahrefs.

              KWFinder will help you find keywords with low rank difficulty and a relatively high search volume. I was impressed by the way it synthesized so much data into a fairly straightforward visual. Even if you’ve never used an SEO tool before, I don’t think you’ll have much trouble wrapping your head around KWFinder.

              Similarly, the competitor research tools are just as straightforward and offer solid value for sites struggling to rank. Rather than searching by keyword, you can search by domain and then see the top keywords sending readers to that website. The one downside I noticed is that there’s no clear way to directly compare two sites for content gap analysis.

              Who is Mangools best for?

              Mangools is best if you want to focus on identifying valuable keywords for your websites. I found it very easy to visualize and interpret data, and based on customer reviews, most users agree with that assessment. I would highly recommend Mangools if you’re having trouble settling on a content direction.

              Recent upgrades

              Mangools product updates have slowed down dramatically in recent years. As of August 2022, the most recent upgrade came in May 2021, and the main improvement was the addition of new keywords.

              That’s critical for KWFinder’s analytic capabilities, but it also doesn’t change the core functionality. Mangools should start publishing more updates in the near future, but I wouldn’t expect anything major.

              Pricing

              Mangools is available at three price points: Basic ($29.90 per month paid annually), Premium ($39.90 per month paid annually), and Agency ($79.90 per month paid annually). You’ll get a one-hour-only offer for a lifetime 10% off after creating a Mangools account. But one hour isn’t enough time to make a fully informed decision, which makes this feel like more of a gimmick than a true discount.

              Pros and cons of Mangools

              Pros

              • Strong keyword research tools
              • Responsive customer support
              • Outstanding ease of use

              Cons

              • Disappointing backlink tracking
              • Inconvenient pricing

                  Summary

                  • Starting price
                    • $29.90 per month paid annually
                  • Keyword research
                    Yes
                  • SERP tracking
                    Yes
                  • Content optimization
                    Yes
                  • SEO audits and analytics
                    Yes
                  Features
                  • Keyword research
                  • Competitor research
                  • Backlink tracking
                  Yoast Logo

                  Yoast

                  Best for WordPress

                  3.8 3.8 Stars
                  • On-page SEO suggestions
                  • Readability analysis
                  • Global settings for SEO preferences
                  Yoast is one of the most ubiquitous SEO tools. The WordPress plug-in is simple to use, and it’s a big help for anyone who needs a reminder to add a meta title, description, or targeted keyword on posts and pages. The free version is useful, but the paid versions unlock more helpful features and support.

                  Starting price: Free version available, Premium starts at $99 per year

                  Basic functionality:
                  • Keyword research: Not exactly
                  • SERP tracking: No
                  • Content optimization: Yes
                  • Link management: Yes
                  • Competitor research: No
                  • SEO audits and analytics: Yes

                  Value-adds:

                  • On-page SEO suggestions

                  Customer support:

                  • 24/7 support for high-tier plan
                  • Help center for all plans


                  Yoast is a well-known WordPress plug-in that isn’t a typical SEO tool — and it’s one of the easiest-to-use SEO tools on our list. It’s a great way to analyze on-page SEO and offers suggestions for improving your SEO on pages and posts. It scans the content on your site, sentence structure, passive and active voice, subheadings, and sentence and paragraph length.

                  You can use a 100% free version, and it’s a bit limiting, but a useful tool. I use it for my own website, which helps me see the problems it spots with my pages and posts. Yoast SEO happens behind the scenes and is automated, such as your SEO title — just choose how you want it to look under Search Appearance in settings.

                  Who is Yoast best for?

                  Yoast is essentially a keyword and content optimizer, so it’s ideal if you blog for your business or personal site. It can be helpful for small e-commerce businesses that want to optimize product pages, too. You can’t do competitor analysis, deep keyword research, or run reports on your top pages with Yoast, though (that’s not really what it’s meant to do).

                  Recent upgrades

                  The Yoast SEO Changelog provides information about new releases. As of August 2022, the newest major version is Yoast SEO 19, which came out in May 2022. That said, even this “major” update was limited to a few enhancements, compatibility updates, and bug fixes.

                  Yoast SEO is consistently adapting to the latest search engine updates, but things aren’t moving as quickly when it comes to product features.

                  Pricing

                  Yoast is one of a few applications on this list with a free version available. While you will be limited concerning some features, you can use this option indefinitely at no charge. At $99 per year, the Premium tier comes with helpful extras like internal linking tools, 24/7 support, and early access to updates. You can also bundle Yoast SEO with four other Yoast plug-ins for a single payment of $229 per year or $22 per month.

                  Pros and cons of Yoast

                  Pros

                  • Outstanding ease of use
                  • Available WordPress plug-in
                  • Free version available, just $99 per year for Premium

                  Cons

                  • Limited analytic tools
                  • Unimpressive visual design
                  • No keyword research

                      Summary

                      • Starting price
                        • Free version available
                        • Premium starts at $99 per year
                      • Keyword research
                        Yes
                      • SERP tracking
                        No
                      • Content optimization
                        Yes
                      • SEO audits and analytics
                        Yes
                      Features
                      • On-page SEO suggestions
                      • Readability analysis
                      • Global settings for SEO preferences
                      Netpeak Spider Logo

                      Netpeak Spider

                      Best for site audits

                      3.8 3.8 Stars
                      • Fast, thorough audits
                      • Backlink analytics
                      • Data enrichment
                      Netpeak Spider is an on-premise SEO tool that’s most helpful for site audits to help you clean up on-page SEO. It also offers data enrichment, so you can more easily do outreach for link building. As a bonus, Netpeak Spider is one of the most affordable SEO tools in the industry with an option for a lifetime license.

                      Starting price: $7 per month paid annually

                      Basic functionality:
                      • Keyword research: No
                      • SERP tracking: Yes (via Netpeak Checker)
                      • Content optimization: No
                      • Link management: Yes
                      • Competitor research: Yes
                      • SEO audits and analytics: Yes

                      Value-adds:

                      • Lifetime license available

                      Customer support:

                      • Email support
                      • Help center


                      Netpeak Spider is a popular SEO tool with a more narrow focus than many of the options on this list. While some other features are included, the primary focus is on site crawling and SEO audit tools. It’s also an easy-to-use tool, but there are a lot of settings that might be overwhelming.

                      A quick crawl from Netpeak Spider can identify common SEO problems like broken links, duplicate content, and misspelled words. This solves a critical pain point for many website owners: you might not even know what’s holding back your site rankings. Cleaning up these easily fixable issues could give your site more visibility in search engines.

                      If you wanted to check for the same issues on your own, it would be extremely time-consuming — particularly as your site grows. Netpeak Spider can perform a much more comprehensive crawl in just a few minutes and has other helpful features such as analytics, integrations with other software, and data scraping for backlink outreach.

                      I used Netpeak Spider for keyword and content gap analysis, but it falls short compared with other options because this is more of a technical SEO auditing tool. With plans available for less than $10 per month paid annually, Netpeak Spider is also much more affordable than full-service SEO platforms.

                      Who is Netpeak Spider best for?

                      Netpeak Spider is much cheaper than most other providers listed, so it makes sense for smaller businesses with a limited budget for SEO and content marketing. Given Netpeak Spider’s narrow set of features, it’s best for link building and cleaning up your websites — plus, you should already be confident in your core SEO strategy. Full-service SEO software often comes with similar crawling tools, so consider an alternative if you’re looking for a broader set of features.

                      Recent upgrades

                      Netpeak Spider’s release schedule seems to be every other month. Throughout 2022, there were minor updates, fixes, and additions. There’s no longer a freemium plan but rather a free trial with limits. In September 2022, Netpeak changed its pricing plans and added an onboarding window to make it even more affordable and accessible.

                      Pricing

                      Pricing is a substantial advantage for Netpeak Spider compared to most other SEO software. Additionally, Netpeak Spider offers extra discounts for lifetime licenses, so you can save some money if you’re in it for the long haul. The Starter tier ($7 per month paid annually) comes with most basic features, while Advanced ($12 per month paid annually) adds in infinite crawled URLs plus white-label reports and the new audit enrichment tool.

                      Business ($22 per month paid annually) is built for larger clients with features like VIP onboarding and a dedicated account manager. Rates are double the annual cost for lifetime licenses, but you get all future updates for a one-time fee.

                      Pros and cons of Netpeak Spider

                      Pros

                      • Starts at just $7 per month paid annually
                      • Crawls sites (even large ones) quickly
                      • Lots of parameters allow for deep dives into data
                      • Integrates with Google Analytics and Yandex

                      Cons

                      • Limited range of features
                      • Not great for visual reports

                          Summary

                          Netpeak Spider Logo

                          Netpeak Spider

                          • Starting price
                            • $7 per month paid annually
                          • Keyword research
                            No
                          • SERP tracking
                            Yes (via Netpeak Checker)
                          • Content optimization
                            No
                          • SEO audits and analytics
                            Yes
                          Features
                          • Fast, thorough audits
                          • Backlink analytics
                          • Data enrichment
                          Conductor Logo

                          Conductor

                          Best customer service

                          3.7 3.7 Stars
                          • Excellent support
                          • Custom-built SEO plan
                          • Site crawling
                          Conductor targets enterprise-level businesses to provide custom solutions for SEO and marketing. The support team from Conductor gets consistently high marks from customers because it offers direct support.

                          Starting price: Custom pricing

                          Basic functionality:
                          • Keyword research: Yes
                          • SERP tracking: Yes
                          • Content optimization: Yes
                          • Link management: Yes
                          • Competitor research: Yes
                          • SEO audits and analytics: Yes

                          Value-adds:

                          • Custom SEO roadmap
                          • Social SEO insights

                          Customer support:

                          • 24/5 support, custom success plan


                          Every piece of SEO software we’ve covered provides value, but it can be difficult to take advantage of that on your own. Especially in the early stages, it’s extremely helpful to work with experienced professionals who can contextualize a platform’s functionality and help you leverage it to the fullest possible extent.

                          Conductor made our list due to its uniquely responsive and helpful support team. I had an easy time getting help and found that numerous other reviewers have positively interacted with the customer service staff, while almost nobody has had a negative experience.

                          Conductor has a stronger focus on larger enterprise clients than other leading SEO software providers. However, there is a free Chrome extension that I installed and use occasionally to get an idea of what isn’t working well on my site.

                          Based on Conductor’s recommendations, I changed the wording on my site to drop the reading level down to a seventh-grade level. I still need to add alt text to my images, which the SEO plug-in pointed out.

                          If you use Conductor, you’ll have the chance to work with a team of experts who can answer questions and help you achieve your targets. The process starts with an organic marketing assessment in which its team will look at your current practices and help develop a roadmap for the future. That’s a much greater degree of support than you’ll get from most SEO software.

                          Who is Conductor best for?

                          Conductor is built for large-scale companies and organizations that want to build industry-leading campaigns. It’s a comprehensive SEO platform that can integrate with your full tech stack and supercharge every area of your digital marketing practices. On the other hand, Conductor’s robust features and custom pricing make it a less practical choice for small- and even mid-sized businesses.

                          Recent upgrades

                          Conductor announced new AI-powered content recommendationsin August 2022. This tool can help you develop more focused content by identifying key elements such as questions to answer and keywords to include in the headings and meta descriptions. Other product updates have been announced on a near-monthly basis, and I expect that to continue through 2023 and beyond.

                          Pricing

                          Since Conductor is aimed at large-scale businesses, it doesn’t offer any free plan or even pre-set pricing tiers. That said, there is a free Chrome extension with a narrower range of tools. Contact Conductor directly to get an idea of what its services would cost your company.

                          Pros and cons of Conductor

                          Pros

                          • Free Chrome extension with basic SEO features
                          • Comprehensive SEO services with active customer support
                          • Futuristic, appealing Interface

                          Cons

                          • Expensive for small businesses
                          • Issues with ease of use

                              Summary

                              • Starting price
                                • Custom pricing
                              • Keyword research
                                Yes
                              • SERP tracking
                                Yes
                              • Content optimization
                                Yes
                              • SEO audits and analytics
                                Yes
                              Features
                              • Excellent support
                              • Custom-built SEO plan
                              • Site crawling

                              Google Search Console

                              Best free SEO tool

                              3.6 3.6 Stars
                              • Site indexing
                              • Performance report
                              • Sitemap submittal
                              Google Search Console is a great way to ensure that Google indexes your site correctly. Plus, this tool will point out any errors, and pages that were no-indexed, and show you how well your site performs from a traffic, click-through-rate (CTR), and impression standpoint. And it’s free to use.

                              Starting price: Free

                              Basic functionality:
                              • Keyword research: No
                              • SERP tracking: Yes
                              • Content optimization: No
                              • Link management: No
                              • Competitor research: Indirectly
                              • SEO audits and analytics: Yes

                              Value-adds:

                              • Sitemap submittal

                              Customer support:

                              • Video training, help documentation


                              The Google Search Console is a free tool from Google that offers basic SEO and site optimization features. It won’t replace the functionality of a premium SEO service like Semrush or Ahrefs, but it’s surprisingly practical if you aren’t looking to spend any money.

                              Even if you pay for another application, it may still be worth leveraging Google Search Console in certain situations. For example, I used it recently to request a new crawl of my site after I made changes.

                              These crawls work differently from third-party crawlers like Netpeak Spider. Google will identify some optimization issues, but it will also change the way your site appears in search results. Without a manual crawl, Google may still be indexing your site based on outdated information. Requesting a crawl ensures that Google is using the currently published version of your site.

                              Google also offers mobile usability reports that help identify any optimization issues that may pop up for mobile users. These could include anything from small text to crowded buttons that are difficult for mobile visitors to select. Most of the Search Console’s features are simple, straightforward tools that offer an immediate SEO impact.

                              Who is Google Search Console best for?

                              Google Search Console makes sense if you are relatively new to the world of SEO. As your site grows, you will probably find that it doesn’t offer enough to meet your needs. But in the early stages, this tool will identify plenty of weaknesses and help you move the site in the right direction.

                              There are also Google-specific functions that continue to be useful even after switching to a more robust platform.

                              Recent upgrades

                              Google recently added a new Search Console Video index report to match the growing importance of video marketing. With this tool, you can see how many pages Google has identified a video on. You can also look at why certain pages aren’t indexed.

                              For example, you might use an unsupported video format, or the video may be too large or small for Google’s crawler to pick up.

                              Pricing

                              Google Search Console is free, and there aren’t any paid upgrades or add-ons to consider. If you’re interested in the Search Console, you may also like Google’s other programs, such as Google Analytics. You might add other services to your toolkit later, but Google’s suite of SEO tools offers a solid starting point.

                              Pros and cons of Google Search Console

                              Pros

                              • Free to use
                              • Request new crawls from Google
                              • Regular updates
                              • Clear, streamlined interface

                              Cons

                              • Small set of SEO features
                              • Limited customer support

                                  Summary

                                  Google Search Console

                                  • Starting price
                                    • Free
                                  • Keyword research
                                    No
                                  • SERP tracking
                                    Yes
                                  • Content optimization
                                    No
                                  • SEO audits and analytics
                                    Yes
                                  Features
                                  • Site indexing
                                  • Performance report
                                  • Sitemap submittal
                                  SEO Panel Logo

                                  SEO Panel

                                  Best open-source option

                                  3.4 3.4 Stars
                                  • Backlink tracker
                                  • Rank checkers for multiple ranks
                                  • Page speed checker
                                  Whether you choose the free on-premises version or a paid cloud-hosted version of SEO Panel, you get helpful features to track your backlinks, page speed, keyword positions, and your site’s rank. Paid versions of the SEO tool come with plug-ins to help you manage social media, customize your SEO Panel, and perform bulk keyword checks.

                                  Starting price: Free and open source

                                  Basic functionality:
                                  • Keyword research: No
                                  • SERP tracking: Yes
                                  • Content optimization: No
                                  • Link management: Yes
                                  • Competitor research: No
                                  • SEO audits and analytics: Yes

                                  Value-adds:

                                  • Free open-source tool

                                  Customer support:

                                  • Help tickets
                                  • Email support
                                  • Community forum


                                  Active open-source software is incredibly difficult to find, particularly in the B2B space. I was happy to have the chance to highlight SEO Panel, an effective SEO platform that’s surprisingly robust and simple to use. It was an easy selection of the best open-source SEO software in 2023.

                                  With SEO Panel, it was easy to track my position for various keywords, audit my site for basic optimization, and check backlinks leading to my website from other domains. It also supports these features for multiple domains in a single SEO Panel account.

                                  Even though SEO Panel doesn’t have the same amenities as a premium service, you can still use robust support resources. The website offers thorough documentation for virtually every element of the SEO Panel application.

                                  You can even request more help by creating a support ticket. SEO Panel easily integrates any other programs you use through the API. Those might be routine features for a paid application, but they make SEO Panel stand out as a free service.

                                  Who is SEO Panel best for?

                                  SEO Panel is primarily a good recommendation for startups and other small businesses in the early stages of growth. Like most other free software, SEO Panel can only offer so much. Even cloud subscriptions are relatively limited compared to premium alternatives. I also found the visual design disappointing compared to what’s available from paid applications.

                                  Recent upgrades

                                  SEO Panel used to put out more frequent updates, but the release schedule has slowed down since 2021. The most recent version of the application is SEO Panel 4.10.0, which added numerous features including minor bug fixes, PHP 8 support, and new PDF reporting tools. SEO Panel may continue to receive minor revisions, but what you see is mostly what you get.

                                  Pricing

                                  SEO Panel is free to use, but only on your server. The cloud version of SEO Panel is more analogous to other SEO services. You can get cloud hosting for $25 per month (Personal), $49 per month (Professional), or $99 per month (Business). While each subscription has unique features, they include installation, free upgrades, and a free subdomain.

                                  Pros and cons of SEO Panel

                                  Pros

                                  • Free and open-source (cloud hosting available)
                                  • Positive customer reviews
                                  • Surprisingly deep features

                                  Cons

                                  • No major recent updates
                                  • Limited scope for growing businesses

                                      Summary

                                      • Starting price
                                        • Free and open source
                                      • Keyword research
                                        No
                                      • SERP tracking
                                        Yes
                                      • Content optimization
                                        No
                                      • SEO audits and analytics
                                        Yes
                                      Features
                                      • Backlink tracker
                                      • Rank checkers for multiple ranks
                                      • Page speed checker
                                      LinkResearchTools Logo

                                      LinkResearchTools

                                      Best for link building

                                      3.3 3.3 Stars
                                      • Disavow file management
                                      • Link simulator for vetting links
                                      • Competitor analysis
                                      LinkResearchTools tells you what its best at with its name: link building. It offers plenty of other tools to help improve your linking strategy, analyze your competition, and prevent manual actions from Google that threaten your rank. Worth noting: It’s one of the more expensive SEO tools on the market.

                                      Starting price: $483.25 per month paid annually

                                      Basic functionality:
                                      • Keyword research: Yes
                                      • SERP tracking: Yes
                                      • Content optimization: No
                                      • Link management: Yes
                                      • Competitor research: Yes
                                      • SEO audits and analytics: Yes

                                      Value-adds:

                                      • Disavow file management
                                      • Link simulator

                                      Customer support:

                                      • Support tickets, phone (10 p.m. to 6 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday in the U.S.)


                                      LinkResearchTools is an SEO tool that focuses heavily on link building and competitor analysis. In addition to its paid plans, LinkResearchTools offers free tools via browser extensions (Chrome and Firefox) that aim at link strength, link verification, and redirects. Although LinkResearchTools does a great job of analyzing backlinks, helping you vet new links, and showing you what your competitors are doing, it isn’t a complete SEO tool.

                                      Although LinkResearchTools helps with keyword research, I was surprised to find that it doesn’t devote a whole tool to keyword research or recommendations — only keyword classification with recommendations for alternative keywords. I found keyword-specific features within other tools, such as link audits and competitor analysis, so I got an idea of which keywords to target. It’s just such a roundabout way of going about it.

                                      The most impressive tools from LinkResearchTools are based on link building, such as Link Juice Thief, Link Detox Boost, and Link Alerts. For example, the Link Juice Thief tool scans your competitors’ outgoing links point so you can link there and get them to indirectly link to your site (essentially “stealing” SEO juice).

                                      I also want to touch on LinkResearchTool’s attention to detoxing your site. The Link Detox Boost tool can help you repair your site after a Google Penalty. It can also prevent manual action — which can tank your domain authority (DA) rank.

                                      Link Detox reportedly helps speed up the process of disavowing links that hurt your score with automatic submissions to Google for recrawls of your disavow file (and probably other proprietary methods).

                                      Who is LinkResearchTools best for?

                                      LinkResearchTools designed its SEO tools for small to large businesses specifically for link building and competitor research and analysis. But its pricing isn’t accessible for most small business owners. It’s also missing a lot of standard tools that industry leaders include at a much lower price.

                                      Recent upgrades

                                      While LinkResearchTools publishes a changelog, the updates don’t appear to offer many new features. As of August 2022, the last two updates came out in May and June: the first was a new product website, while the second was a price increase. There were some other minor changes in 2022, but nothing that would do much to improve the value or user experience.

                                      Pricing

                                      Unfortunately, LinkResearchTools’ prices may be more than you’re willing to spend on SEO. The cheapest plan will cost you $483.25 per month, paid annually, with more robust tiers going up to $791.58 and $1,999.92. You’ll have to make a single payment of $5,799 just to cover your initial subscription. You can start with a one-week trial for just $17, but you may be charged the full price if you forget to cancel.

                                      Pros and cons of LinkResearchTools

                                      Pros

                                      • Visually appealing design
                                      • Powerful link-tracking tools
                                      • Quickly recover lost search rank

                                      Cons

                                      • May be too expensive for smaller businesses
                                      • No money-back guarantee or free trial available

                                          Summary

                                          LinkResearchTools Logo

                                          LinkResearchTools

                                          • Starting price
                                            • $483.25 per month paid annually
                                          • Keyword research
                                            Yes
                                          • SERP tracking
                                            Yes
                                          • Content optimization
                                            No
                                          • SEO audits and analytics
                                            Yes
                                          Features
                                          • Disavow file management
                                          • Link simulator for vetting links
                                          • Competitor analysis

                                          How I Tested the Best SEO Software

                                          Every SaaS provider looks great if you check out its homepage, but which ones deliver on those promises? To find out, I signed up for each of the 10 listed services and tested the application to see how it works in practice.

                                          When evaluating SEO software, I want to see what a particular platform can do and how easy it is. I also send a message to each customer support team to get an idea of what to expect when you have questions or concerns.

                                          During testing, I look at core tools like keyword and competitor research and any distinctive features that differentiate the software. I aim to get the fullest possible picture of what it’s like to use a given SEO platform for day-to-day digital marketing needs.