Over the past several years, there has been a proliferation of SEO tools and platforms on the market. At Shore3, our online marketing team routinely evaluates new platforms and tools to use for our small business SEO services. We're publishing this detailed analysis of popular SEO tools to help you understand what's out there and how each platform can help your business.
Unlike many SEO platform comparisons you will find online which are written by the makers of said products, this review is unbiased and is written from a buyer's prospective. Let's dive in!
Platforms & Our Analysis
AgencyAnalytics is best for web design and marketing agencies (like us!) who need to manage multiple projects under one account. Unlike most of the tools we tested, AgencyAnalytics isn't intended to help you audit your site or perform SEO, per se. It's more focused on reporting and tracking progress. It integrates with a variety of analytics platforms, social media, email marketing tools, call tracking platforms and more to pull it all together into one dashboard. It also has powerful automatic reporting tools which can help a marketing agency create report docs to share with clients.
The bottom line: AgencyAnalytics is a great tool if you're an agency, used in tandem with one or more of the SEO platforms that follow in this review. If you're a small business owner, you likely don't need most of what AgencyAnalytics offers.
Ahrefs is one of the most powerful and well-respected tools in the professional SEO world. Their product is great for building backlinks, researching keywords and competitors, and tracking your keyword ranking. They maintain a huge database of links and proprietary data which can be valuable for SEO research. However, all of this data comes at a high premium. Their price plans are expensive and lower tier packages are fairly limiting, even if you are only performing SEO for a single website. The tool also is very powerful which means the learning curve is steep.
The bottom line: Ahrefs is a great tool for a professional marketer, but probably overkill if you are a small business owner looking for DIY SEO/marketing tools.
Moz is another leading authority in the SEO industry. They offer a wealth of online guides and also Moz Pro, their paid software for optimizing your website. Moz Pro is geared towards SEO novices but still requires some technical knowledge and ability to edit the code of your website. However, if you're looking for a DIY SEO tool, it's a great place to start. Moz Pro combines rank tracking, SEO auditing and link building into an all-in-one suite.
The bottom line: Moz Pro is a great tool for beginners or do-it-yourself marketers but still requires some technical understanding and ability to edit the code of your website to fix SEO issues.
Shore3 Top Pick
Raven Tools is a great combination of power and simplicity/usability. It combines popular SEO tools including keyword research, rank tracking, and even a new website auditing tool into one suite. We like Raven because it's affordable (starting at $49/month if paid monthly) and has a diverse set of tools, even PPC management for your paid online marketing campaigns. One thing it's missing is the ability to set up templated todo lists but this feature is likely only needed if you're an SEO agency.
The bottom line: Raven Tools is a great pick for DIY marketers and agencies/freelancers alike.
SE Ranking is another versatile toolbox for SEO and research, earning a spot as a top pick and favorite amongst the tools used by our team. It is affordable with a variety of payment plans and options. It combines SEO rank tracking, site audits, and a new budding research toolset into one product. We have high hopes for SE Ranking's new research tools, but right now the data quality is not quite as good as some competitors like Ahrefs and Majestic. The SE Ranking user interface is also disjointed and can come with a bit of a learning curve, with some modules sporting a new sleek design (e.g. the keyword research tools) but other tools/screens looking completely different. This shift can be jarring when navigating between tools within the suite.
The bottom line: SE Ranking is an affordable multi-function suite of tools, but has some room for improving research data sets and usability.
Shore3 Runner Up
SEMrush is a powerful research tool for SEO. While it isn't as strong in the areas of site auditing and providing actionable advice, it offers a somewhat lower cost alternative to quality link building and research data compared to competitors like Ahrefs. The UI is a bit complex giving this tool a medium learning curve, but they have a lot of educational tutorials in their help center.
The bottom line: SEMrush is great for advanced marketers looking for a trove of backlink and research data for their SEO projects.
Shore3 Runner Up
WebCEO has been around for a long time in the SEO field. They started out as desktop based software, and have pivoted to offering their product as a web based solution like the rest of the tools in this review. WebCEO offers a wide array of SEO tools but does not offer any PPC management functionality like Raven. We also found the tool can be a bit slow to run audits and update stats, rankings etc. However, it's still a great value starting at $39/month for the Lite limited version, or $99/month for the Startup edition we reviewed.
The bottom line: WebCEO is worth considering if you are looking for an SEO tool that can provide actionable steps and don't need PPC management right now.
Here's the comparison table summarizing features and strengths/weaknesses of each platform we compared.
We hope this comparison is useful to you as you decide what SEO platform is right for your agency or business. If you are a small business owner and don't know where to begin when it comes to SEO, you may want to think about hiring an experienced SEO company (shameless plug!) to help you create your online marketing strategy and execute on it.
Have you used any of these tools? Have an idea for a future marketing comparison you'd like to see? Let us know in the comments below!
New to SEO and not sure where to begin? Contact us for a free consultation to see how we can help.