I remember back when I first started blogging that I would just hop onto WordPress, spend an hour or two writing some content, include a few images, hit the “Publish” button and move on to whatever I had planned next.
Embarrassingly enough, it took me a while to realize that I wasn’t getting any traffic and I began to wonder why my blog wasn’t doing as well as I would have hoped.
It turns out that I was doing everything wrong when it came to the different aspects of blogging like SEO, promotion, and social media.
Once I realized that I could make a few changes in order to start getting more traffic I began to implement everything I was learning and after a few months I was up to 100 visitors per day.
These days my travel blog and some of the other blogs I have get upwards of 3000 visitors every single day and for me this wouldn’t have been possible without some of the best SEO tools that I stumbled onto over the years.
I’ve used quite a surprising number of different blogging tools that all claim to make blogging easier – some of which have worked and some of which have ended up being a total waste of money.
At the moment I’m using about 10 to 12 different tools for SEO, social media, and general blogging support at any given time and today I want to share with you the tools that I believe everybody should be using whether you’re a beginner or professional blogger.
The Best SEO Tools for WordPress and Blogging
Although most of the content that I share here on my blog refers to WordPress, some of these tools you’ll be able to use with a variety of different blogging platforms although I would recommend setting yourself up with WordPress if you’re not using it already.
Some of these are going to be strictly for WordPress use only while others are a bit more general so you’ll be able to use them if you’re blogging on a platform like Squarespace, Wix, Blogger, or anything else.
With that out of the way let’s just jump right into it!
The first thing I do whenever I start a new blog and install WordPress is to head to the plugins page and immediately download Yoast.
Yoast, otherwise known as Yoast SEO, is one of the most helpful plugins for WordPress that gives you better control of your on-page SEO and provides you with a host of different optimization features.
With Yoast you can easily customize your blog posts so that they’re better optimized for search engines and you can keep track of a lot of different aspects of optimization without having to manually scroll through your posts every time.
Right off the bat you can select a target keyword and Yoast will analyze your post to see if you’ve included it, how many times the keyword has been included, and where in your content you’ve used your target keyword.
This is a great way to make sure that you’re using your keyword properly and that it’s included in all the right places even if you’re not too keen on SEO just yet.
Another thing I love about Yoast is that it allows you to change how your blog post is going to show up in search engine results. You can use it to change the title as well as the description of your post so that it includes some of the keywords that you’re using and this can even help your click-through-rate in search engines as well.
Social media is also a breeze with Yoast and you can choose a specific image that shows up whenever you are content gets shared on different social platforms. This is super helpful because you can always make sure that the right image is being shown to people on social media rather than something completely random.
There are tons of other features that Yoast provides and you’ll definitely want to install it if you’re not using it already.
Be sure to check out the Yoast site for a more in-depth look at the different features that you can take advantage of.
Cost: Yoast is completely free although there is a premium version.
You might have noticed that I spoke a little bit about keywords while I was discussing Yoast – and you might not even be aware of what keywords really are.
Basically, keywords are specific search terms and phrases that people are going to be using with Google and other search engines when they’re looking up more information about something.
For example, some of the keywords that I’m using in this post include ones like “best SEO tools” and “SEO tools for beginners”.
People are going to be searching for phrases like this and if your blog post is properly optimized for these specific keywords then you’re going to be a lot more likely to show up at the top of the search engine results.
You might be wondering how to find keywords to use for your content and for that I would have to recommend an amazing keyword tool called KWFinder.
I use KWFinder just about every day to find keywords that I can write content about and to check competition on other keywords that I might be interested in targeting.
The way it works is quite simple. You just put in a word or phrase into the search feature of KWFinder and it will generate a list of relevant keywords with competition levels as well as provide you with the number of monthly searches of any specific keyword.
This really makes it easy to find keywords without much competition and it also helps with inspiration if you’re having trouble coming up with topics or ideas to blog about.
Cost: KWFinder costs $29 per month but you can save money if you pay yearly.
When it comes to WordPress SEO tools I would have to say that Ahrefs is one of the best that I’m using at the moment.
It’s hard to explain everything that it’s used for in just a few paragraphs but basically Ahrefs is a marketing tool that I mostly use for researching and analyzing my competitors as well as keeping on top of everything related to my blog.
It can be used for a wide range of different purposes depending on what you’re hoping to achieve with your blog and you can use Ahrefs for things like:
- Finding popular content for specific search phrases and keywords
- Seeing which backlinks your competitors have
- Tracking the rankings of your competition
- Tracking your own website rankings and current keyword positions
- Finding new keywords and getting more ideas for new content
- Analyzing your traffic sources as well as seeing where your competitors are getting there traffic from
- Running a quick SEO analysis to see if there’s any issues with your own blog or site
There are tons of different uses for Ahrefs that really let you dive deep into the online marketing and optimization world and this tool can really give you an edge compared to any of your competition that might not be using it.
Cost: It is quite pricey however with the basic rate starting at $99 per month but I think if you want to take your blog to the next level and focus a lot more on building authority and driving traffic through SEO then you might want to consider shelling out for it.
- Check out Ahrefs with a free trial
For growing your audience with social media and finding people that you can connect with online Buzzsumo is a great tool for that.
It comes packed with some helpful SEO features and you can also use it for taking your social media presence more seriously.
Some of the different features of Buzzsumo include:
- Being alerted for specific keyword mentions
- Seeing which people have shared certain blog posts which makes it really easy to reach out to influencers that are actually interested in content that’s very similar to what you’re promoting
- Giving you a better look at the style and type of content that’s best suited for your niche
- Analyzing the content that your competitors are using
When it comes to creating amazing content that people are actually going to want to share on social media and link to you’re definitely going to want to take a look at Buzzsumo.
It’s also going to make it easier for you to stay on top of any time was that specific keywords, your website, or even when your competitors are mentioned anywhere online which is going to help you interact with people through these mentions and grow your brand in the long run.
If you’re planning on growing your blog or website into an authority and you’re hoping to dominate your niche then you really can’t go wrong with Buzzsumo.
Cost: This is another one of the pricier tools that you’ll have to invest in for the future of your blog with monthly pricing starting at $99.
Google Search Console
You better believe that Google has their own amazing digital marketing tool that you can use to get a better look at the overall search engine performance of your blog or website.
Of course you’re going to need to have a Google account if you want to take advantage of this tool and getting set up and be quite tricky for a beginner but once you have everything up and running you’ll be able to see how awesome Google Search Console really is.
Using Google Search Console you’re able to do things like:
- Submit the sitemap for your blog so that Google is able to stay on top of all of the content that you’re posting
- See the specific keywords that people are seeing your blog show up for
- See how many clicks you are getting for specific keywords from Google
- Get a better idea of the specific keywords that you’re ranking for
- Check to see if your blog posts are being indexed or if there are any warnings/penalties that you should be aware of
- Take a cursory glance at the back thinks that you’re blog or website has
There are plenty of neat and helpful features with Google Search Console and I would recommend getting it setup right away if you’re not already using it.
It’s free to use so just head over to the Google Search Console homepage and follow through with the setup prompts to start taking advantage of everything that it has to offer.
Google Analytics is another Google SEO tool that you should be using and it will provide you with tons of information about your website that you can’t find anywhere else.
It can be kind of tricky to set up, just like with the Search Console tool, but once you have it up and running there is a lot that you can check out just see how you can improve your site and to see how it’s already doing.
With Analytics you can really dive into where your traffic is coming from and learn a lot more about your current audience which is going to help you create better content and tailor it to be more helpful and effective for your readers.
You can also see which pages on your blog are performing the best and with this information you can optimize your other pages to perform better as well.
To get started you just need to head over to the Google Analytics homepage and follow through with the setup and verification prompts.
Once you have it installed on your blog give it a day or so for all of the data and analytics to catch up before you start going through everything.
Of course, you might want to check out some Google Analytics tutorials or watch some YouTube videos to get a better idea of what this tool is capable of providing you with.