Top Free & Paid SEO Tools in 2021: Which are Best?


Forging the best SEO strategy means having the right tools to measure success. With so many options for SaaS SEO solutions, the question we get asked the most is: Which SEO tools are the best?

This question is going to be asked a lot, and quite frankly, we hear it all the time from clients and SEO’s of all experience levels. As Frasca Digital is one of the best SEO firms in Baltimore City, Maryland, we figured an obligatory list of the best free and paid SEO Tools would be a great piece of content for our readers who are interested in extending and elevating their SEO practices.

Here’s literally all you need to know about SEO tools

There are probably 1,000+ tools for SEO you can use, and yet, most of them are completely optional. Many of them are created by SEO experts on reddit, or even website developers who want to dip their toes further into the endless depths of the SEO ocean (come on in – the water is fine!).

Generally, the essential and free SEO tools we recommend getting started with are:

  1. An SEO Suite (Paid). Basically SEMrush or Ahrefs. Both of these tools offer an insane number of features, including: backlink analysis, keyword rankings & research, competitor gap analyses, website health audits, and a ton of other stuff. Yes, $99 USD a month is expensive for a tool if you’re just starting out and aren’t monetizing SEO in any way. But then again, if you value your time $20/hour, and this tool saves you 6 hours, it’s obviously worth it, right? We think so 🙂
  2. On-Page SEO Tool (Free). RankMath or Yoast. Basically a tool that’s going to help you optimize web pages or blog posts as per SEO best practices. From our experience, we prefer Yoast for WordPress because it does more than RankMath. RankMath does have a number of exclusive features that make updating page titles and meta descriptions in bulk on WordPress a bit easier. Try both and see which one works best for you!
  3. Technical SEO Tool (Freemium). You can use ScreamingFrog to crawl your entire website and find technical SEO problems. There are probably other tools that also do this, but ScreamingFrog is the most popular option. The freemium version of the tool only crawls a limited # of pages (500 URLs, to be exact), so if your website is relatively big, you’ll need to pay for the tool.
  4. Analytics (Free). Obviously, you’ll need Google Analytics (to track website traffic) and Google Search Console (to track organic traffic, specifically) set up on your website. Optionally, you can also use Google Tag Manager to better track how your website visitors interact with the site and attribute valuable conversions.
  5. MozBar (Free). Chrome toolbar that lets you simply track # of backlinks on Google Search Queries, Domain Authority, Keyword Ranking Lists and a bunch of other nice-to-have SEO tool features that are free.
  6. Website Speed Analysis (Free). You can use Google Page Speed Insights to track how fast your website loads, as well as how mobile-friendly it is. The better your users’ experience on your website, the more likely they are to purchase from you. Google also rewards websites who offer a seamless UX for new and returning customers.
  7. Outreach Tool (Paid). Tool for reaching out to prospects for link-building, guest posting, and other common backlink building methods. There are about a dozen good options for this. In our experience with SEO tools, we like to use Snov for this.
  8. Optimized GMB Profile (Free). Not a tool per se, but if you’re a local business, you need to have a well-optimized Google My Business profile. Keep in mind this helps dramatically with ranking for local SEO keywords.
  9. Google Keyword Planner (Free). This gives you the most reliable search volume data of all the tools. So, when doing keyword research, grab the search volume from here.
  10. Tool for Storing Keyword Research (Free). You can use Google Sheets or AirTable to store your keyword research and, at the same time, use it as a content calendar.
  11. Hemingway App (Free). Helps keep your SEO content easy to read. Spots passive voice, complicated words, etc.
  12. Email Finder (Freemium). You can use a tool like Hunter to find email addresses of basically anyone on the internet (for link-building or guest posting purposes).

And then the rest is optional.

Sure, you could use a 3rd party tool like UberSuggest or KWFinder, but SEMrush/Ahrefs can basically to the same thing. And since you’re paying for SEM or Ahrefs, might as well just stick to it.

List of Top Free SEO Tools

  1. Google Trends
  2. Keyword Generator
  3. Keyword Sheeter
  4. Answer the Public
  5. Keyword Surfer (Chrome Extension)
  6. Keyworddit
  7. Google Search Console
  8. Questiondb
  9. Bulk Keyword Generator
  10. Google Suggestions

List of Top Paid SEO Tools

  1. SEMRush
  2. Moz
  3. ahrefs
  4. ContentKing

Free & Paid SEO Tools
Frequently asked questions:

As a beginner, Which SEO Tools should I start with?

Start with the free SEO tools outlined above first, and implement your essentials! Before you start with any of these paid SEO technologies, make sure all three Google properties are set up (Analytics, Search Console, Tag Manager). Trust is – this goes a long way in measuring your website’s short and long-term SEO efforts!

I really like “X” SEO Tool, but why is it not in this post?

Probably because not SEO tool is a must-have or provide all the functionality that a knowledgable SEO professional needs. Dozens of new SEO tools and platforms are being developed and launched monthly, but we have found the most popular tools (SEMRush + ahrefs) are typically the best!

Can I use one of those AI content writing tools to write gazillions of words in days?

We do not recommend using AI content generators such as GPT-3 to product content for your website. We have found people spend more time trying to revise these spun pieces than if they would have just paid to have it done properly the right time.

Can you add my tool to this list?

Absolutely! Reach out to us and let us know which tool you would want us to feature. We are updating this list on a routine basis, so be sure to engage and come back often!

Are you Looking to Start Using the Most Popular SEO Tools?

Great – we love speaking with and educating all our stakeholders on SEO! There is a lot to learn about SEO, but overall the rules are simple (albeit there are over 300-SEO variables to consider). But ultimately we it hear the same thing over and over again from small business owners starting with SEO – “I DON’T HAVE THE TIME TO LEARN AND IMPLEMENT SEO FOR MY COMPANY!”

It is indisputable that SEO is an essential component of any company’s website’s growth and success, which is also why we’re here to help.SEO is very time-consuming and not every business owner has time for it. That’s where Frasca Digital steps in!

Contact us today and let us provide you with a FREE SEO audit of your website and help clear the fog around SEO.

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