The world of digital marketing is competitive; extremely competitive. With so many companies trying to get to the top of search rankings you know competition is tough. So how do you know that you have the edge over your competitors when it comes to your SEO? The answer is to compose quality authoritative content that attracts natural links and to use the correct tools to monitor and track performance.

If you want to climb to the top of the search results ladder faster than your opponents then it's important you use the correct tools to help with your SEO strategy. As well as providing essential research tools and tactical necessities such as campaign tracking and link building, SEO tools provide you with the insight of the success of your own SEO and how you can build to get ahead of your competition.

Not only that, but SEO tools can save you a lot of time. SEO isn't an easy thing to get the knack of, it takes a lot of time and trial and error, but SEO tools can help you get to grips with essential SEO techniques that will fuel an influx of traffic to your website.

At this point I guess you're wondering what SEO tools will benefit your company the most. I come across so many tools on a daily basis and it's hard to keep up or to know which ones are the most effective, but the tools outlined below are my personal favourites and ones we at Kalexiko use very regularly.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a great SEO tool and one of the favourites here. The sitelink and backlink explorer contains a massive index of links which updates every 15 minutes, which gives you an accurate and up-to-date report of all the links that point to your website. Furthermore all the links are clearly broken down into their type; such as dofollow, nofollow, site-wide and so on. The UI is friendly and provides graphs which are accessible, which makes it visually pleasant.

As well as these features, a host of other really important information is displayed and easy to access such as the number of IP addresses, anchor text cloud and new links displayed in a calendar format.

In terms of showing how your SEO stands Ahrefs allows you to compare your domain with your competitors to see how you compare and all of your links are scored based on their PageRank and quality.

At $79 a month Ahrefs is an absolute bargain.

Majestic SEO

Majestic SEO is another penetrative tool that provides you with an accurate and in-depth report of your links. I must say though, as a regular user of both Majestic SEO and Ahrefs, I do prefer the UI on Ahrefs.

Luckily for us, we are based in the same building (next door in fact) as Majestic SEO and any assistance we need or advice that we can give is just a matter of a stone's throw distance to speak directly to the folks behind it.

If you only want the data for websites you own, then you can register for a free version of Majestic SEO from their website. If you want to dig in a little bit deeper (or to the deepest that you can possible go) there are packages ranging from Silver to Platinum ranging from £29.99 a month to £250.00.

Search Metrics

Search Metrics is powerful, very powerful and addictive in a way that only an SEO tool could be; therefore it is one of my favourites.

With Search Metrics you can see the rankings for any domain and find long-tail keywords that you can target with ease. The Search Metrics UI is brilliant, it is fluid with clear graphs that show your search engine visibility over time (with dates included) for both organic and CPC SEO.

The Search Metrics suite also allows you to add projects and view on-page reports and the keyword suggestion tool is super helpful when researching keywords to kick-start SEO campaigns.

The Searchmetrics essentials package is available to you at a very reasonable 69 euros a month, but for the full capability you will want to invest in the suite at 399 euros a month.

CognitiveSEO

CognitiveSEO allows you to manage all of your SEO campaigns easily by tracking your targeted keywords. Before I discovered Cognitive SEO, I used to use SEOMoz regularly but through discovery I much prefer Cognitive SEO. This is mainly because they constantly strive to develop the tool further with regular updates.

In fact, CognitiveSEO recently launched an unnatural link detection tool which marks links that look spammy and should possibly be disavowed, which in the wake of Penguin 2.0 is very useful. Also, your links are shown to you in a brilliant spider graph format.

This is a great tool and at $99 a month definitely worth considering adding to your SEO arsenal.

Screaming Frog SEO Spider

The Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a great little piece of software and essential when starting a new SEO campaign. It will crawl your website and will present you with clear data on missing page titles, 404 error pages, broken links, duplicate meta tags and so on. You can view and analyse this information easily and accurately through the crawl data as it is collated and updated regularly through the UI.

SFSS is great when working with smaller websites and will save you a lot of time as you don't have to manually check through every page for issues.

You can get a free version from the SFSS website, but for just £99 per anum you can purchase a license which gives you access to the full range of features that it has to offer.

White Spark

It goes without saying that local optimisation is crucial to any SEO campaign. This tool will provide you reports on where to find citations, which are essentially online mentions of your company or brand. For example, your company may have a listing on Yell.com or a similar directory, but this listing may not link to your website.

This is useful as one of the ways that Google measures the online authority of your business is through your website's citations; so obviously your local SEO is affected by the accuracy and frequency of your citations. White Spark scours the internet for citation listings of the top sites ranking with a certain keyword. You can then use this information to start building your own citations.

This is another great SEO tool, I often enter a client's telephone number to see where it is listed across the internet. You can try a free trial or purchase a subscription (ranging from $20 a month to $100) by clicking here.

Buzz Stream

Buzz Stream takes the chaos out of building contacts across the web. It allows you to build your online credibility by helping you to create quality relationships with industry influences across the web.

Not only does it help you find contacts that will help to strengthen your online presence, but it also helps to organise them into relevant sectors and organises those you have contacted and those you haven't; all done for you.

Furthermore, Buzz Stream also has a module on it that lets you tailor separate messages for the different types of contacts that you want to outreach; it also keeps all your outreach link-building emails in one place so you know who to follow up and when. It also provides you will full contact details for each domain, which saves a lot of time.

As well as a free trial to get you started, there are three Buzz Stream packages that you can choose from; starter, plus and premium ranging from $29 a month through to $249 a month.

Google Webmaster Tools/ Analytics

This is essentially an SEO tool straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak. Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics give you a comprehensive account of everything you need to know about your website's SEO.

With these tools you can benefit from knowing who is coming to your website, how many hits it has, how people find your website and what is the most popular content; all of which is absolutely vital in the execution of a successful SEO campaign.

Google Webmaster Tools will also provide you information on pages which Google is unable to crawl, details from your website's search results like; how many searches returned pages from your site, the amount of your website's pages shown in these results and the percentage of click-throughs received.

As well as all this, Google Webmaster Tools/ Analytics also provides important information on all-important links. Obviously, as we have discussed in our many SEO articles, good links are vital for any website's SEO. Google Webmaster Tools/ Analytics will show if there are any broken links pointing back to your website which can then be fixed or removed; which will seriously get you into Google's good books.

It goes without saying that these tools are pretty mandatory for any SEO campaign and due to the fact that they are free you really have nothing to lose by giving them a try.

Mouseflow

Mouseflow is a handy little tool that allows you to record visitors to your website and generate instant heatmaps showing you where they click, scroll and points that generate the most attention. This is really useful as it allows you to trace the behavioural patterns of your website visitors and make improvements based around this information.

The real scroll behaviour is a particularly beneficial tool as you can actually analyse your content to see if a visitor views the whole of an article or a webpage and the pages they go to after.

Mouseflow has become one of the tools we use most here at Kalexiko, and is essential to ensure that your SEO is giving you a return and generates leads. There are several Mouseflow packages available, ranging from 10 euros to 199 euros, the details for which you can find here.

This is essential to ensure your SEO is giving you a return and generates leads.

Ready to boost your SEO?

If you're really serious about maintaining a good SEO campaign, then these tools are a great place to get started. As I said, they won't jump you to top of the rankings overnight, but with tactical implementation of these in your current SEO plan you will certainly start seeing results sooner.

If you think we have missed out any SEO tools, or if you have your own opinion on the ones that we have selected, then drop us a comment. We would love to discuss the tools that are out there and who knows, maybe we missed some out!