Why Use SEO Software?
You launched a business because you have a great product or service, but you won't stay in business long if people don't know about it. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) software can help. Having your website search-engine optimized increases the visibility of your business, which naturally increases sales and keeps you in business.
Picking the best SEO service can be challenging. For our buying guide, we initially considered over 40 different SEO software options. We looked for all-encompassing solutions that offer multiple tools. We tapped our own in-house SEO experts who spoke with us about the importance of SEO and identified four tools – keyword research, domain key word position, backlinking, and keyword traffic tools – that are critical components of the best SEO software. These tools, coupled with helpful reports, give you a decided advantage when creating an SEO plan. In addition, we spent over 140 hours researching SEO software online and reading articles on this emerging methodology.
In this buying guide, we focus on suites of software that offer multiple tools to comprehensively assist you with your SEO campaigns. For more information on individual tools, check out our SEO Tools Buying Guide.
Based on our research, we highlight the standouts for backlinking, analytics, the best applications for small businesses and enterprise-level businesses, and businesses on a tight budget. Here are our recommendations:
Best for Backlinking
Backlinking is an important part of increasing traffic to your site. This strategy simply places a link to your site or page on another website.
SEO PowerSuite offers a program called LinkAssistant dedicated specifically to link building. After you choose your research technique from various prospecting options, LinkAssistant runs a search and finds hundreds of prospects for you. The search results also show you the value of each prospect. If you like what you see, you can contact the potential link directly from within the program.
Recommendation for Back Linking – SEO PowerSuite
Best for Reporting & Analytics
Advanced Web Ranking offers various detailed and helpful reports to help you grasp where your site ranks and how you can improve it. These reports include accurate – not estimated – rankings, competitor monitoring, traffic performance, social media exposure and more. You can create customized reports, which you can gather daily, weekly or on demand.
Recommendation for Reporting & Analytics – Advanced Web Ranking
Best for Budget
If you need help with SEO, but you don't have a large budget, you may want to look at software offered by SheerSEO. Pricing varies depending on the number of domains you manage and the amount of keywords used, but its prices are lower than those of similar plans from competitors. However, increasing the number of keywords or pulling campaign reports more frequently than SheerSEO's weekly allotment costs above and beyond the monthly price listed on SheerSEO's website.
Recommendation for Budget SEO Software – SheerSEO
Best for Small Business
SEO Effect is a good place for small businesses to start when they want to improve their SEO rankings. SEO Effect lays out the steps of your SEO plan, making this software easier to use for businesses that lack an SEO team. This SEO application contains all of the important tools you need to improve your site, including a keyword research tool, an SEO page-scanning tool, the ability to collaborate with your colleagues and more.
Recommendation for Small Business – SEO Effect
Best for Enterprise
If you're looking for more advanced SEO software to help you manage a lot of data and domains, SEOlytics is worth looking into. While it offers plans for smaller businesses, it has especially impressive options for agencies and enterprises. You can run unlimited visibility, keyword, and domain-ranking reports; customizable domain analyses; international tracking and daily rank tracking for keywords; a customizable link monitor; and more. You can add more features to your plan as needed to match the requirements of your business.
Recommendation for Enterprise-Level Businesses – SEOlytics
Best for Social Media
Social media is increasingly becoming more important to the world of SEO. Using social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter help spread the word about your business and increase your website traffic. SheerSEO monitors your social media accounts to help you improve your SEO through these channels. This SEO reporting software is the service to choose if you need help with SEO specifically through social media.
Recommendation for Social Media – SheerSEO
Is SEO Reporting Really That Important?
SEO software can be an amazing tool to improve your website's rankings in search engines. The solutions in our buying guide offer tools to help you choose better keywords and increase traffic, but the tools that make these changes are not enough. It is also imperative that your software has thorough and accurate reporting and analytical tools.
SEO is most effective when you can track your progress and compare your performance against that of your competitors. With helpful reports, you can see areas where your website can improve and design campaigns to further increase traffic, giving your website – and your business – a competitive edge.
For the purposes of our evaluation, we looked for all-encompassing SEO solutions that offer multiple tools. Multiple tools can seem overwhelming, and it may be confusing to know what exactly to look for. Based on our research and discussion with experts, below are four critical features to look for in SEO software:
Keyword Research Tool
The heart of most SEO programs, this tool shows keywords related to your site and the number of times these keywords are searched for. You can use this feature to identify the terms that are the most likely to drive traffic to your site. This tool is essential for creating an effective and efficient SEO strategy.
Domain Keyword Position Tool
While the keyword research tool can be used for particular pages as well as domains, the domain keyword position tool displays information relevant to your domain as a whole. This tool gathers data to show you where a domain currently ranks on popular search engines depending on the search term. You can see this data for multiple keywords.
SEO software offers a number of ways to help you establish backlinks to your website, such as helping you find opportunities for things like guest blogging, which can help increase traffic to your website by promoting your product and providing a link on your guest post back to your site. The backlink tool in most SEO software lets you enter a certain domain or webpage and see how many referring domains and backlinks there are to that page.
Keyword Traffic Tool
To assist you with your own SEO, it can be helpful to go to a popular website and see how people get there. With a keyword traffic tool, you can go to any domain and see what keywords people are entering into search engines to find that site. For example, you might find that customers looking for a payment processor find that particular site by searching for "credit card processing." Armed with this information, you can then search your own site and buttress it with the popular search terms that are the most relevant to your industry and business. This can increase your rankings in search engines, thereby increasing traffic and sales.
Making your website SEO friendly can play a vital role in helping your business succeed. SEO software can help you boost your company so you appear higher in the search rankings and generate more traffic to your website.
All of the software in our buying guide offer powerful keyword research tools. For especially helpful backlinking, we recommend SEO PowerSuite's LinkAssistant. Advanced Web Ranking has insightful reporting and analytics that are important for evaluating what your site needs and how you can improve it. If you need to save money on SEO software, we recommend SheerSEO. Small businesses might want to check out SEO Effect, while we recommend that enterprises and agencies investigate SEOlytics.
To find the best SEO software for your business, peruse our recommendations and read our additional articles for more information.
Contributing Reviewer: Jill Bowers