You Ask, I Answer: Recommended SEO Tools?

Paul asks, “What is your favorite/most cost effective software for managing SEO? Keywords, tracking competitors, etc.”

My personal preferred choice is AHREFS, because it’s got a rich featureset and because its data export is the most generous of all the tools on the market.

FTC Disclosure: AHREFS sponsors the podcast I co-host, Marketing Over Coffee, and provided a copy to us free of financial cost. They did not ask to be featured in this video, nor did they ask for a review.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

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In today’s episode, Paul asks, What is your favorite, most cost effective software for managing SEO keywords, tracking competitors, etc? Good question.

This is going to be one of those topics where there’s a whole bunch of people who have their own preferred tool based on their workflow and their needs.

So my opinion here is just that his opinion it is unique to the way that I work and the work that trust insights does it is not a universal answer.

So you should, my personal opinion, again, is that you should try do the 30 day trial, all the tools on the market, see which one fits your needs and workflows best, and then make a purchase decision after that, because almost all the major vendors offer you a some sort of free trial seven, day 14, day 30 day whatever.

My personal favorite is a tool called RF.

So let’s flip this around here and there.

All right.

refs, I like for a couple of reasons, Scott, a good rich feature set that can help supplant other tools.

But most important, for me, and the work that I do is data export, its data export is some of the richest and most generous on the market, which means that, again, for the work that I do, the kind of work that I do, is ideally suited, being able to export 10s of thousands of lines of data is important to me, it may not be important to you.

So this is a quick look at the tool, you can see there’s like eight different sections up here.

And I’ll I’ll cruise through these relatively quickly so that you can get a sense of what the tool does.

Of course, there’s the usual rankings, the new and lost domains, this tells you that right here in 29th, has been a busy busy year for this is my personal website.

Some of the tools that I find very useful in here.

One is top pages.

The second is content gap.

And the third is top content.

So top pages health you, unsurprisingly, what pages are getting, comprise the majority of the traffic on your website, this is a useful report to know not only because you want to traffic, but also you can see the keywords that those pages are ranking for, and what position and ranking that they have.

So there’s obviously a whole bunch of stuff in here.

This is useful if you’re going to be doing like some statistical analysis, you want to see what do the top pages have in common, and the data export on this one is fantastic.

Content gap is really powerful.

I like a lot because it lets you analyze terms that competitors rank for that you do not.

and that in turn means gives you a work back plan.

So let’s, let’s put in my company website, trust insights, Ai, let’s put in our news service.

And let’s put in my podcast marketing over coffee.

And say at least one that you should rank in the top 10.

Now what this is going to do, this is going to come up with terms where there are other rank.

So if this was a a site that I wanted to compete against, I would want to find ways to to rank for these terms.

So let’s add in let’s add in one more target here, let’s add in toward data science.com.

That’s a good one cannot prove its I think it’s plural towards.

Now, these are all the terms that any of these sites rank for and at least one in the top 10 that I my website does not.

So these are the terms that I should be creating content for, like Monte Carlo simulation, principal component analysis things that my competitors, competitors are ranking for.

So if you put in your company and three years, your target companies, guess what you’re going to come up with a rich keyword list of things that you need to start creating content around.

Now, this is not enough alone, you need to then do your own analysis on these keywords to see are there opportunities where your competitors are weak, but you are strong.

And then how how have high volume, top content, no surprise here.

One thing is really nice is you can get some social shares, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest that you cannot get out of some other applications.

Now a lot of other companies have gotten very restrictive about social share data.

So you can get some nice social sharing data, as well as a little bit of search data in here.

But top content very, very useful.

Next up in the tool is content Explorer.

This one is really powerful.

If you’re familiar with buzz Sumo.

This is essentially a replicated version of that, but it offers an SEO angle to it.

So for example, instead of just top content, you can look at things have working links in specific languages published this year.

And again, this report will give you a sense of what’s the most popular content out there on a hot topic, I chose machine learning.

And you can filter by the amount of traffic that a story gets, for example.

And this, again, helps inform your content strategy, what kinds of things to do, you need to create content about that are getting the results that you would like to get for your content.

So very useful stuff.

Keyword Explorer, no surprise here, you put in your keywords, and it will come up with rankings for them.

Volume difficulty, again, this is ok as it is you need statistical analysis tools to digest this data and turn it into something actionable.

But this is where you get the raw data from if you’re like I where do I get keywords for my my topics, you can look at things like have the same terms as the keywords you’ve chosen and add them to your list.

So there’s a couple of here content strategy template that should go into my content marketing list actually, kind of surprised I didn’t have that in there.

Well, I do now.

Things that the terms that also rank for the terms that you search for questions that people ask about your top terms of what is content marketing, what is it Why is content marketing important.

So very, very powerful for coming up with a very quickly, a lot of ideas, the Rank Tracker, this is the one that a lot of people really care about being able to see how your site is doing what you rank for.

And then what competing sites you can put up the five competing sites in your Rank Tracker and see how you’re doing versus those sites.

I put in for fun Mark Schaefer his blog.

And there’s a few different keywords here that I rank for the his site does not now, this is not broad, this is the terms that you specify you want to compete on.

So you have to use other parts of the application to identify what you want to compete on.

And then you put it in here and you can see your rankings versus your competitors.

Site audit.

Great, very powerful tool, you plug in your site, you authenticate that it is your site, and then you go and you crawl and you crawl on your crawl.

And it tells you everything that you’re doing wrong on your website.

And then you have to make a decision whether or not you want to make changes to your site based on what it spits out, like what errors are there.

Like, I personally don’t care about h1 tags, because I know that my my theme template has them built in.

And so I maybe I just need to go and fix up a couple of parts of the template.

One of the more powerful things of this is that you don’t have to choose sites that you that you own, you can choose sites that you do not own, you want to crawl and for the most part other than, you know, the largest sites on the web, you can pick that.

So I advise a content site called narrative and narrative network, and it has 10s of thousands of URLs, I can crawl all those I’ll be it slowly and get analysis of their of that site’s content and what doing well and not link internet, there’s three other tools link intersect which tells you again how different tool where other sites are getting their links from that you’re not.

So this is more of a pitching list.

If you want to go pitch sites, you can do batch analysis for like a 200 sites at a time.

And compare domain a domain level metrics as well.

This is if you’re familiar with Maz domain tool, this again is very, very simple.

It looks at all those metrics.

I like RX again, rich feature set lot of capabilities we raced through them and this video, competitor tracking you name it.

But more than anything, it is that data export that if you want to use this data in other ways, if you want it then extract the URLs for your top pages pull the content out with a scraper.

In do topic modeling of top content, this is the tool to use because you will get enough data that you can build a statistically reliable model.

Same is true for top content top pages top competitor pages.

If you’re not doing stats, this may not be the tool for you, but not because it can’t do those other things.

The more basic SEO tasks it doesn’t very well.

It’s just that the the advantages for me are really around that data export.

So do your demos, do your trials.

Look at the pricing models look at the features you want.

I would strongly suggest doing the features requirement list first before you doing the trials so that you can see okay doesn’t have these things that we desperately need.

That’s the most important so great question Paul.

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