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Best SEO tools for small businesses – your digital marketing guide

8-minute read

Woman business owner working on her laptop
Rosanna Parrish

Rosanna Parrish

5 October 2023

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We all use search engines as part of our professional and personal lives – but how can you use this to your advantage to help promote your business? The answer is SEO.

By using SEO, you can improve your website’s visibility by following certain rules and guidelines. To help you better understand the world of SEO, there are a range of paid and free SEO tools you can use to make strategic digital decisions.

In this guide, we’ve listed some of the best SEO tools to help market your small business.

  • SEO analysis tools

What is SEO?

SEO stands for ‘search engine optimisation’ – but what does that mean? SEO is how you improve the visibility of your website on search engines (sometimes called its ‘search ranking’).

This is usually accomplished by using keywords – combining those relevant to your business with those that perform well on search engines. It’s a delicate balance, but luckily there’s an array of free and paid tools available online to help you navigate search results and improve your visibility.

Whether you're looking to find relevant keywords or analyse your website’s health, keep reading to discover some of the best SEO tools you can use for your small business.

Best SEO tools

SEO analysis tools

SEO analysis is all about checking your website’s health and making sure it’s performing its best. If you want to make better strategic decisions as part of your digital marketing strategy, check out some of these paid and free SEO analysis tools.

Google Search Console – free

If you want better site visibility on Google, why not use a tool by Google itself to better understand your website performance? Google Search Console is a free SEO analysis tool which helps you to understand the general health of your site, as well as how users are finding you.

You can get data on indexing and Google crawling, traffic data for your website, as well as understanding if it works well for mobile users. Google Search Console will also update you whenever it senses something is wrong with your site.

Google Analytics – free

Google Analytics is a similar and complementary tool which helps you understand the amount of traffic your website is getting.. Using this free tool, you can see how users find your website, which pages perform well, and how long users stay on each page, among other things.

It’s a valuable tool which helps you create reports to develop not just a better digital marketing strategy – but perhaps a better business strategy overall.

You can learn more about how to use Google Analytics to your full advantage with the Google Analytics Academy.

NP Digital SEO Analyzer – free

If you’re new to SEO and looking to get some free and fast insights about your site performance, Neil Patel of NP Digital created the SEO Analyzer. This free tool is simple to use and gives you lots of valuable insights about your website and its competitors.

Whilst not as detailed as some other tools we’ve mentioned, it’s a great entry point to the world of SEO.

Similar Web – free and paid

Similar Web is a paid SEO analysis tool but has a great free feature to use without signing up. By putting in your website address, you can get some basic SEO data including your ranking on search, page visits, visit duration, and compare your site to your competitors. It also includes details on audience demographics such as location, age, and gender – making it another good starting point to SEO before you move on to more detailed tools.

SEO rank checker tools

Checking your rank on search engines is an important part of any SEO strategy. This helps you know if you need to make any major changes to your website. Check out some paid and free SEO rank checker tools below.

SEMrush – paid

SEMrush is one of the most widely used SEO tools in the world – used by small and big businesses alike. It can be used for many aspects of digital marketing, but its SEO rank tracking lets you monitor your website’s performance at a keyword level. It will also update you on any changes to Google’s algorithm so you can better keep up with the changing landscape of SEO.

Small SEO Tools – free

Small SEO Tools is another free and easy to use tool and offers a great introduction to SEO. To use this tool, just enter your website’s URL along with up to 10 keywords to see how you rank for each one.

You can even put in multiple competitor URLs to see how your website compares – great for seeing how your competitors are doing in your industry.

Moz – paid

Moz is another popular SEO tool that you can use for a variety of digital marketing reasons. Whilst Moz is mostly a paid tool, they do offer some free SEO tools which can be valuable when you’re just starting out in digital marketing.

Moz is also widely known for their how-to guides and training resources. Check out their beginner’s guide to SEO if you’re looking to get started.

The Hoth – free

The Hoth is a free SEO ranking tool which is powered by the paid service SEMrush. By entering your website’s URL, you’ll get a list of the top traffic-driving keywords to your website. This will include how highly you rank for each keyword, the traffic percentage, and what the search trend looks like over time.

SEO keyword research tools

Keyword research is a major aspect of SEO. You’ll want to choose keywords that lots of people are searching for – but will need a competitive edge to stand out against more established websites.

You’ll also need to make sure that any keywords you use are related to your business. There's no point using a high-ranking keyword if it doesn’t relate to your product or service.

These free and paid SEO keyword research tools can help you to find the right keywords to improve your website’s visibility.

Ahrefs – paid (free version available)

Ahrefs is a popular paid SEO tool which has a lot of features – including an excellent keyword explorer that helps you find the right keywords for your website. By searching for terms you’d like to target, you can see their search volume and traffic potential. It will also tell you the keyword difficulty for any term you search for.

As well as the keyword you put in, Ahrefs will suggest related questions and other keywords to help you increase your views. You can even check the keywords that your competitors are ranking for to help you make better content decisions. This can be particularly useful when building out product descriptions or informational pages on your website.

There’s also a less detailed, free version of Ahrefs you can use to see if you like the product.

Google Keyword Planner – free

Another free SEO tool from Google, Google Keyword Planner helps you to choose the right keywords. You can search for whatever terms relate to your business and Google Keyword Planner will suggest the most appropriate keywords for you.

What makes this tool unique is that it integrates with Google Ads, so it’s a great tool to use with paid ads as part of your digital marketing strategy.

ChatGPT – free

Although not a dedicated SEO tool, ChatGPT can be a great way to find valuable SEO insight. By feeding the AI a prompt about what you’re looking for, ChatGPT can provide you with relevant keyword examples for your website.

But that’s not the only way you can use ChatGPT in your digital marketing. Check out the other ways you can use AI as part of your marketing strategy.

Google Trends is another free SEO tool from Google that gives you insight into what’s currently trending online. Whilst the homepage features a selection of currently trending topics to explore, you can also search for topics that are relevant to your business.

You’ll be able to narrow down your search through location and time to see if any patterns emerge. This can help you make predictions for marketing campaigns – and even what products or services you offer next.

AnswerThePublic – free

Another free tool, AnswerThePublic lets you have three daily searches to help make smarter SEO decisions. One of the most valuable features of AnswerThePublic, which many free SEO tools don’t have, is the suggested questions feature.

When you search for a term, you’ll get a whole list of suggested questions related to that term. This means you can specifically target people who are turning to Google for their frequently asked questions.

SEO audit tools

Completing an SEO audit is how you make sure your website is performing well and fully optimised for search. Check out the following tools to see how you can audit your company website.

Screaming Frog – paid

Screaming Frog is a website crawler which can help you audit your website. It can help you tackle common SEO problems such as finding broken links, analysing your meta details, and discovering duplicate content (perfect if you have a larger website).

Although it’s a paid programme, Screaming Frog offers free access to crawl 500 URLs so you can try it before you buy.

Lumar (Deepcrawl) – paid

Lumar (previously known as Deepcrawl) is focused on improving your website’s performance. Whilst their services include lots of features, their website audit tools allow you to analyse the data and build reports about the health and performance of your website.

Whilst this is a paid service, it’s hugely customisable, which makes it a great choice if you have a larger website or a strong focus on digital marketing.

Seobility – free

A good free option to perform an SEO audit on your website is Seobility. Its SEO Checker is free to access, giving you the ability to check up to 1,000 pages. You’ll be awarded a score which is based on the health of your website – taking meta details, linking, and overall page quality into account.

It will then offer you a list of improvements you can make to start improving the health of your website.

Serpstat – paid

Serpstat is a paid SEO audit tool with price plans to suit all sorts of businesses. Their individual price plan is a great choice for self-employed business owners managing their own SEO.

It gives you access to 100 searches a day to help with keyword research, competitor analysis, and site audit tools. You can even schedule your audits so you’re always learning and growing from the data you gather.

YouTube SEO tools

Google and other search engines aren’t the only websites you can target with SEO. Did you know that YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine? It relies on keywords and linking opportunities when deciding what content to show and in what order.

YouTube can be a great way to promote your business. You could be a contractor showing your property renovations or a jewellery maker showing the behind the scenes process.

You can also make money on YouTube through your content. But if you want people to see your videos, you’ll need to use SEO to your advantage.

TubeRanker – paid

TubeRanker is a paid YouTube SEO tool that helps you optimise your videos to get the furthest reach. It can generate relevant tags to use, recommend keywords, and even has a YouTube video title generator tool.

Offering a basic and advanced plan, you can get a more analytic look at YouTube to help boost your reach.

TubeBuddy – paid

TubeBuddy uses AI to help you make strategic decisions to grow your YouTube channel. It makes keyword and tag suggestions to help boost your visibility on YouTube Search. Its AI offerings include a video title generator, a thumbnail image analyser, and even insight on how to turn your longform content into shorter edits.

We’ve mentioned Google Trends above, but it can also be a useful tool on YouTube search. When planning what YouTube video content you want to make, you can check for any potential trends to help you make a decision.

If you're looking for a professional to support you with your SEO strategy, read our guide to finding an SEO agency for small businesses.

Have you used any of these SEO tools for small businesses? Let us know if they’ve helped grow your business in the comments below.

More small business digital marketing guides

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Photo: simona/stock.adobe.com
Rosanna Parrish

Written by

Rosanna Parrish

​​Rosanna Parrish is a Copywriter at Simply Business, specialising in legal and HR content. Trained at London College of Communication, she has been creating content professionally for eight years at publications across the UK and Spain. Starting her career in health insurance, she also worked in education marketing before returning to the insurance world. Rosanna also writes about wellbeing in the workplace. She lives by the sea and does her best writing in coffee shops.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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