In this post, I open up my own toolbox to give you an insight into a selection of the tools I use myself more or less every day.
However, I'm only dealing with tools that can be used across CMSs - so no Yoast, WP Rocket, Shopify apps and other CMS-specific solutions in this post.
Common to all the tools is that they require practice to master. Therefore, the post here will be an overview of the tools and their benefits and advantages, as I could write seven skyscrapers about each of the seven tools if I really wanted to go into depth.
If you want more nerdy and specific tips than I have column space to give you in this post, write to me at ak@webamp.
The chef does not cook with a dull knife. The painter does not paint with old, cheap paint. And the carpenter does not carve with a dull chisel. But the cook, the painter and the carpenter also know that neither knife, paint nor chisel does the job alone. They need an arsenal of tools to do a solid job. Good tools are half the job.
The same applies as a webmaster with ambitions for top rankings on Google - you can't search engine optimise without good tools. But one good tool isn't enough either. Your toolbox needs to be filled to the brim with tools that each serve their purpose, while complementing each other.
So with no further ado: let's open the toolbox and take a look at the cases.
Ahrefs is always at the top of my toolbox when I take over a SEO case. That's not to say it's only useful in the initial stages of your SEO strategy. It's also great for ongoing monitoring and optimisation - there's a reason I call it the SEO consultant's all-in-one tool.
But if I still have the programme at the top of my toolbox, it's because I see it as an indispensable tool for establishing a data base. This is not least due to Ahrefs' "content gap" feature. It allows you to compare your own visibility on relevant keywords with that of comparable competitors.
By entering competitors' domains, specific paths or URLs and holding them up against your own, you get a list of keywords that competitors are found on - but that your website is not. In this way, the content gap feature is an exemplary tool for keyword analysis because you find new keywords that can make you visible to your target audience.
In the example below I have compared the website of a dental clinic with 3 competitors in the Ahrefs content gap function.
Here, for example, I can see that all 3 competitors are found on "teeth whitening", as well as I get data on estimated monthly search volume (5,000) and keyword difficulty (3) on the keyword. This way I already know that:
I can then do this exercise with other relevant keywords from the list. Then I can dive deeper into my competitors via Ahrefs. For example, I can use Ahrefs' link building tool "Referring domains" to see which websites my competitors have backlinks from.
Finally, in the "overview" I can get additional data about a given keyword - for example, I get a list of typical questions about teeth whitening as well as input for alternative keywords.
This gives me a data-driven direction for the text on my landing page, because I now know what questions and subtopics are being searched for on Google. This increases my likelihood of ranking high.
I usually organize and categorize my keywords in a spreadsheet afterwards, because that way I get an overview of keywords within the same category and the prioritization of these. This ensures that I'm not just writing landing pages based on keywords - but also with a focus on matching users' search intent.
In general, Ahrefs comes with a wide range of features that make it easier to create both on-page and off-page SEO. In addition, you can use it to track keyword trends (Rank Tracker), just as you can use it to identify technical pitfalls (Site Audit).
I highly recommend you explore the Ahrefs Academy universe if you want to geek out on the myriad options and features of this all-in-one tool.
Make no mistake about the silly name - Screaming Frog is indispensable for the technical SEO consultant. Indeed, it's my go-to tool when identifying technical pitfalls on a website.
In fact, I always crawl a website in Screaming Frog as one of the first things I do when I need to find SEO technical pitfalls for a new client. The screaming frog tells me a lot of parameters that I would otherwise have to look through thousands of lines of code to find.
Via Screaming Frog you can, among other things:
In short, Screaming Frog gives you an insight into all the technical challenges that can prevent your website from performing in Google's organic search results. And then it's just a matter of optimising based on the information Screaming Frog serves up to you on a silver platter. .
You can read more about how in Webamp's seven tips for improving your SEO via Screaming Frog.
You can download the program for free here - on the site you can also buy a license for Screaming Frog. However, this is not necessary for most cases, as the free version allows you to crawl up to 500 URLs, which is mainly relevant for larger webshops with many URLs.
Many SEO specialists have been tearing their hair out since Google made speed a ranking factor in 2020 with the Core Web Vitals algorithm update.
Because with the infamous algorithm update, website speed suddenly had a direct impact on SEO. This meant that website speed was no longer just a question of user patience, but also of website ranking in Google search results.
I've seen many online discussions about whether speed optimization is the responsibility of SEO specialists or developers. Because while developers may have the skills to optimize speed in many cases, it's also the responsibility of SEO specialists to identify speed pitfalls precisely because the speed of a website is so SEO-critical.
And this is where PageSpeed Insights is indispensable. Because PageSpeed Insights gives you insights into specific speed pitfalls on both desktop and mobile devices.
By entering your URL into the tool, you will get an overview of your website's ability to meet the Core Web Vitals parameters - and not least whether it passes or fails Core Web Vitals. Finally, you'll also get suggestions for improvements that could help it pass - and thus perform better against Google's user experience and load time requirements.
Who is ultimately responsible for improving the shortcomings pointed out by PageSpeed Insights is another discussion altogether. In Webamp's SEO department, we work on speed optimisation ourselves - partly because we think developers' skills are better served elsewhere, but also because as SEO specialists we feel responsible for solving our customers' SEO challenges without compromise.
Google Search Console - formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools - is Google's own gold mine of SERP and SEO technical data.
Here you will find indispensable data on how Google users interact with your website in search engine results. In addition, Search Console can provide you with information about any user and technical pitfalls on your website - including page experience, Core Web Vitals, mobile-friendliness and other technical parameters that affect the user experience, and therefore your SEO.
Finally, Search Console gives you an overview of the coverage on your website - for example, are there invalid URLs, 404 pages or pages that are not indexed by Google and therefore do not appear in search results?
In other words, Search Console is an essential tool in the webmaster's toolbox because it gives you concrete and data-based suggestions for improvement.
For me, Search Console is probably my most frequently used tool. This is not least because the platform gives me insight into optimisation options on alternative keywords. I get this in the "efficiency" tab, where you can get insight into how your subpages perform in Google's results as measured by the following criteria:
The figures are based on real user activity on Google, so you won't find any more "pure" data about how successful your SEO strategy is. For example, you will know how many times your subpages have been exposed on a given keyword in a given period.
You can also filter by country and device to get an insight into your SEO performance in different countries and different devices - for example, are you lagging behind in some of your geographic markets, or performing worse on mobile than desktop?
And this is where Search Console shines compared to, for example, Ahrefs, SEMrush and similar platforms. Because whereas Ahrefs and co. work with an estimated monthly search volume, in GSC you can actually see the real search volume in a given period.
This gives you a much more data-driven basis for assessing whether it makes sense to be visible on a given keyword - and possibly optimising your landing page accordingly.
For example, does it make sense to update a landing page because it has been exposed enough times on different keywords than you originally intended when you wrote it?
Let's take an example from a bricklaying company's landing page on extensions. The page has been viewed 50,962 times in a given period for the search term "extension", which has been the first priority. In addition, the page is displayed on a number of related search terms.
And with a ranking in the fine company of Google's top 10 on the keyword, the site has also received a respectable amount of clicks on the various searches.
But GSC tells me that the site has also been viewed 3,846 times for the search "extension detached house" - a keyword we didn't have in mind when we wrote the text for the site, but which the site nevertheless gets views for in Google's search results. But with an average Google position of 42 for this keyword, the click-through rate is unsurprisingly quite low.
In other words, the masonry company has missed out on a considerable amount of potential clicks during the period by not optimising the page for this keyword. Otherwise, we just need to optimize our content to rank higher for this keyword.
Where Search Console gives you technical data as well as statistics on how your users interact with your website in search results, Google Analytics gives you insights into your users' behaviour after they've clicked through to your website - and it's an almost inexhaustible source of valuable data once you've learned how to navigate its many features.
You can use this data to optimise content, navigation, conversion and much more on your website.
By the way, Google Analytics is not just a SEO tool. Anyone who works with online marketing and sales or runs a webshop or website can benefit from Analytics - whether you work with search engine marketing, social media marketing or are a business owner with ambitions to generate leads through your website.
The layers of analytics are many and deep, and you can quickly get lost in a tangled web of filtering options once you scratch the surface of the data. But this is also where Analytics shines. Because there's virtually no limit to what data you can uncover about your users' actions on your website.
I might as well say it right away. Analytics is a MONSTER that, on closer inspection, may seem impossible to tame. And it doesn't help that Google is currently in the process of phasing out the current Analytics Universal in favor of GA4, which in many ways differs considerably from Universal.
Therefore, I will not go further into Analytics in this post - partly because both Universal and GA4 are far too comprehensive, partly because it is currently possible to use both Universal and GA4. And the two platforms are so different that it would be like learning Danish and Afrikaans simultaneously to learn to understand the two platforms at once.
That's why I highly recommend visiting Google's Skillshop if you want to learn how to use Analytics.
Structured data is a way of technically optimising your content so that search engines understand it better. You can read more about this in Webamp's introduction to structured data.
However, structured data can be a bit of a long shot if you can't write JSON-LD, which is the coding language Google recommends for writing structured data.
Yours truly is no code cruncher either, which is why the Schema Markup Generator is my go-to tool for creating schema markups. Schema Markup Generator speaks fluent JSON-LD. It only needs input from you and it will return a flawless schema markup(Schema.org is the universal vocabulary of structured data). Thus, this little tool makes it possible for even anyone to generate their own schema markups.
Afterwards, you can test your code in Google's Rich Results Test tool to make sure there are no errors in your code - the Schema Markup Generator may ensure error-free output, but it also requires you to give the tool the right inputs.
Afterwards you can copy and paste the code into your website - either directly into the source code or via the Tag Manager. I'm a big proponent of the latter, as it gives me all my structured data in one place, so I don't have to search my website's backend to edit or delete a schema markup.
In the following I have used Schema Markup to create a FAQ markup on Webamp's subpage about online marketing. On the left, I've inserted my questions and answers, and on the right, Schema Markup has acknowledged with an error-free script, which I've subsequently tested and implemented on the subpage.
And the result? First, Google now understands even more easily that the site is about online marketing. Secondly, my little FAQ now appears in the search results, which means Webamp takes up more space in the search results and we increase the chance of getting more clicks on the search result - in technical terms, we increase our CTR.
Last but not least, it creates a better user experience because users can get answers to typical online marketing questions directly on the results page. And good user experience equals good SEO.
This is how my schema markup is interpreted by Google, which translates JSON-LD into easy-to-read human language, presented in a clear fold-out section.
It's not me who has given Thruuu the label "awesome", but the developer himself. But Thruuu is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. Let me elaborate...
Good content is the cornerstone of any successful SEO strategy. Because if you hit the mark with your target audience - and therefore your users' search intent - you'll also be rewarded with better rankings on Google, because Google is always interested in delivering the most relevant results to its users. That's why text, images and other content on your website are a top priority once you have your keyword analysis in place.
But if your texts and other content are to secure your website higher rankings on selected keywords, they also need to be competitive. In other words, they need to be on a par with your competitors - in terms of information, angle, length and structure.
However, chewing through your competitors' copy to find a common thread in what gets a given landing page into the top 10 on Google can be a bit of a chore - and that's where Thruuu comes into its own.
Because with Thruuu, you can gain insight into the content that's performing on Google's results page with just a few clicks. This means you don't have to manually click around the landing pages you want to compete against for a given keyword.
Enter the keyword you want data on (remember to also select language, country and other desired parameters); and voila: Thruuu gives you an overview of your competitors' parameters that can help you produce content that can get your landing page to the top - including:
In addition, you can export your data to a spreadsheet for easier overview and organisation when deploying your content on your landing page.
This way, you get an overview of content and SEO technical formalities that ensure higher rankings. Not least, you can better angle your content according to search intent, because you can see angles and sub-angles within a given search query. This makes it easier for you to produce content focused on topics rather than keywords - aka semantic SEO.
For example, here I entered "teeth whitening" and scraped the search results for data on that search.
Then I can dive into the individual landing pages - below the landing page that is at the top of the search in the organic rankings.
This allows me to look over my competitor's shoulder and find out why this particular landing page is performing so well in search results.
SEOtools is software that ensures your SEO strategy is 100% based and strategically targeted - from initial keyword analysis to ongoing monitoring and optimisation.
Because they give you a data-driven foundation for your SEO strategy. This way you avoid shooting in the dark and increase your probability of success with your SEO.
From keyword planning and content optimisation to technical and data analysis, there are a myriad of SEO tools available. In this post, you'll learn about Ahrefs, Screaming Frog, PageSpeed Insights, Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Schema Markup Generator and Thruuu, which make up a palette of tools that can help you in all parts of your SEO strategy.
A good start is half the battle. Bad beginnings are.... well, not good. If you don't have the resources to put together a well thought-out SEO strategy, we at SEO are ready to help you get on the right track to higher search engine rankings.
you are always welcome to drop me a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether you're a generalist or a marketing specialist, our SEO specialists have put together some great advice for you on our blog.
Learn more about SEO in Webamp Academy.