11 Best DIY SEO Tools for Beginners Ranked & Compared [2024]

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You spend hours researching and writing a blog post because that’s what you read you were supposed to do to get visitors to your site. But months later you’re still not ranking in the top 3 or even on the first page of Google.

The problem is that many beginner SEOs approach the process completely wrong, which can lead to a lot of these frustrating scenarios.

Let me know if this is you:

  • Your keyword research process consists of using a tool like Ahrefs to find a keyword’s “difficulty score.”
  • You’re focused on pushing out content but haven’t spent much time on digital PR or building links to your site.
  • You’re not paying much attention to what your competitors are doing.
  • You mainly just write what you want to write about without worrying about upcoming trends.

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if this is you, your approach to SEO is most definitely costing you traffic and revenue.

The good news is that there are tons of SEO tools that can help you correct these issues AND automate processes so you’re spending less time pulling your hair out trying to figure out which keywords to write about or who to pitch for backlinks.

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best and most useful SEO tools for beginners, what they’re used for, and what users are saying about them. These tools cover everything from keyword research, competitor analysis, link building, to on-page SEO, and pretty much anything else you could need as a beginner.

Let’s jump in!

 

Best Use Case Biggest Downside Pricing G2 Rating
JustReachOut Finding and pitching journalists for PR Limited international search results $147 – $497 per month 4.6 stars
SearchEye Earning links to rank better on Google Expensive to build a lot of links Free – $999 per month N/A
SE Ranking Local SEO and SERP analysis Issues with data $65 – $259 per month 4.8 stars
Exploding Topics Uncovering trending topics to write about High price point for beginners $79 – $499 per month N/A
Screaming Frog Improving on-page SEO Can be slow/resource-intensive Free – $259 per year 4.7 stars
Keywords Everywhere Finding keyword opportunities for multiple platforms Only available as browser extension $1.25 – $80 per month N/A
Ahrefs SEO Toolbar Quickly obtaining SEO metrics for visited websites Its best features require a paid subscription Free – $499 per month 4.5 stars
MozBar Quickly accessing metrics on SERPs Keyword difficulty only available with premium plan Free – $599 per month 4.3 stars
SEO Minion Daily SEO tasks Only available with Keywords Everywhere subscription $5 – $80 per month N/A
LinkAssistant Sourcing quality link building opportunities Software errors/load times Free 4.6 stars
TopicRanker Finding easy to rank keywords based on SERP weaknesses Relatively new company $19 – $129 per month N/A

JustReachOut

Pricing: $147 – $497 per month

What It’s For: Finding and pitching relevant journalists to land PR mentions

G2 Rating: 4.6/5 (8 reviews)

 

Businesses Like JustReachOut For Businesses Dislike JustReachOut For
  • Large database: JustReachOut has a large database of journalists which you can search by keyword to return a list of relevant prospects.
  • Standardized templates: If you’re new to pitching journalists, JustReachOut provides some basic templates to help you get started.
  • Limited international leads: International searches may only yield a handful of results.

 

JustReachOut is an AI-powered outreach tool for landing press mentions for your business. Its database has more than 700k journalists in a variety of industries with verified contact information.

All you have to do is enter a keyword related to your industry and JustReachOut will return a list of relevant journalists.

JustReachOut also has a feature that surfaces broken links on sites within your industry.  If you have a piece of content or can create a piece that fits into the link’s context, you can pitch it to be added to the article in the broken link’s place. This is a relatively simple link building strategy to boost your SEO and rankings.

 

What customers are saying:

“JustReachOut is the perfect platform for the DIY PR person who needs additional guidance. Dmitry and his team have a wealth of experience and do an excellent job of imparting their PR wisdom. I’m continually amazed at how the platform continues to evolve. This is way more than just a database of contacts.”

-Stephen J.

“Dmitry and his team are top-notch! They’ve gone above and beyond to help clarify how to best approach media outlets for our software company. We’ve been featured in Business.com, Forbes, Entrepreneur, and other media outlets. Plus, their software makes the job of finding our best sources super simple.”

-Chris B.

 

SearchEye

Pricing: Free – $999 per month

What It’s For: Earning links to rank better on Google

G2 Rating: N/A

SearchEye is another platform for PR outreach and link building. It’s designed to foster collaboration between publishers and brands.

SearchEye will show you a list of recommended publications based on your niche, which you can filter by domain rating, organic traffic, link price, and more.

What’s great about it is that the entire process is done for you. SearchEye creates the content for the link you’re trying to build and all you have to do is approve it.

It’s a great SEO tool for bloggers who don’t have much experience with link building as it automates your outreach while reducing the time/effort/resources you’d need to spend to acquire links on your own.

 

SE Ranking

Pricing: $65 – $259 per month

What It’s For: Local SEO, competitor analysis, and backlink building

G2 Rating: 4.8/5 (1308 reviews)

 

Businesses Like SE Ranking For Businesses Dislike SE Ranking For
  • Local SEO: SE Ranking can be particularly useful for evaluating and optimizing websites for local businesses.
  • Report sharing: SE Ranking comes with an intuitive report builder that allows you to easily share your SEO metrics with clients/team members.
  • Data issues: The data SE Ranking provides isn’t as comprehensive as more robust tools like Semrush or Ahrefs.
  • Steep learning curve: For some beginners, SE Ranking may be a bit confusing and take time to get used to.

 

SE Ranking is a good all-around SEO tool with a number of use cases. It can be used for keyword research, competitor analysis, site audits, and more.

If you’re a beginner to keyword research, you can use SE Ranking to get keyword suggestions based on topics you’ve already written about and topics your competitors are covering that you may not have considered.

It also comes with a keyword rank tracker that analyzes the top 100 search results for any keyword and gives you information about the ranking domains.

Another useful feature is the backlink checker and backlink monitor. The backlink checker lets you look at competitors’ backlink profiles and figure out where they got those links. The backlink monitor helps you keep a good birdseye view of your backlink profile over time and manage new/lost backlinks.

 

What customers are saying:

“As a digital marketing agency owner, I needed a single source for website audits, keyword research projects, and weekly rankings for my clients. After trying several other sources, I found all that and SO much more with SE Ranking. Things I like: The customer service is faultless. The number of tools available in most SEO tools services is mind-boggling and all of them have a steep learning curve, but again, customer service is great when I’ve lost my way.”

– Kathy E.

“Tracking of client projects is very easy. We work with 25+ clients for who we track over 2.000 keywords. SE Ranking’s monitoring works great. The reports are easy to set up, so clients get a comprehensive overview of key stats every month.”

– Patrick R.

 

Exploding Topics

Pricing: $79 – $499 per month

What It’s For: Uncovering emerging trends to write content about

G2 Rating: N/A

 

Exploding Topics is an online tool that helps you figure out popular trends and topics before they take off so you can get ahead of the initial curve. It’s similar to Google Trends, but it serves information to you in a much more digestible way.

Exploding Topics is especially useful as a beginner when you don’t have much content on your site. If you can get ahead of emerging topics, products, and services, you have a chance at beating your competitors to the punch. If your content is one of the first pieces published on a given topic, you have a better shot of ranking.

To use it, just select a category that relates to your site’s niche, then Exploding Topics will give you a list of topics in that category that are emerging/trending.

 

Screaming Frog

Pricing: Free – $259/year

What It’s For: Identifying common SEO issues to improve on-page SEO

G2 Rating: 4.7/5 (93 reviews)

 

Businesses Like Screaming Frog For Businesses Dislike Screaming Frog For
  • Problem solving: Screaming Frog crawls your site and identifies broken links, crawl errors, and other technical issues.
  • User-friendly: Users state the interface is easy to navigate and use.
  • Resource-intensive: Users report that the tool can take a while to extract information on very large websites.
  • Limitations on free plan: Screaming Frog’s free plan has a cap of 500 URLs per website that you can crawl per day.

 

Screaming Frog is an SEO spider/website crawling tool that helps you identify SEO issues on your website. Think issues like broken links, duplicate content, redirect chains, and unoptimized page titles/meta descriptions.

Many SEO beginners might not be able to easily spot technical SEO errors and issues on their sites, so having a tool like Screaming Frog to point them out can be extremely useful.

You can download and crawl up to 500 URLs per website per day for free. This should be enough for most beginners, but if it isn’t, Screaming Frog’s paid plans are pretty budget friendly.

 

What customers are saying:

“Screaming Frog Services offers insights with lots of granularity and great suggestions to improve overall site health. They assess every URL in the crawl in great detail. They have also started evaluating some additional site elements, like structured data.”

– Verified G2 Reviewer

“The data it provides is thorough and accurate, making it a valuable asset to any SEO strategy. The ability to crawl large websites and quickly identify technical issues has saved me countless hours of manual work.”

– Phyllis M.

 

Keywords Everywhere

Pricing: $1.25 – $80 per month

What It’s For: Finding keyword opportunities for multiple platforms

G2 Rating: N/A

Keywords Everywhere is a browser extension that uses auto suggest to find keywords you can target on your website. The cool thing is that it doesn’t just suggest SEO target keywords for Google — it also works for finding keyword opportunities on Bing, YouTube, Amazon, and more.

This makes it particularly useful if your business relies on other platforms outside of Google search or if you’re running an e-commerce business, for example.

Another useful feature Keywords Everywhere offers is competitor analysis. You can use it to search up your competitors and figure out the top 5000 keywords they’re ranking for on their site. This can often lead to golden opportunities if you target those keywords on your own website.

 

Ahrefs SEO Toolbar

Pricing: Free – $449 per month

What It’s For: Quickly obtaining SEO and keyword metrics for website you visit

G2 Rating: 4.5/5 (530 reviews)

 

Businesses Like Ahrefs For Businesses Dislike Ahrefs For
  • Keyword research: Ahrefs provides high quality keyword research tools. It also has free features for generating keywords and finding related keywords to specific SERP queries. 
  • Site audits: Users noted that Ahrefs provides a free weekly site audit which helps you spot SEO errors and things to improve.
  • Pricing: Many users complain about Ahrefs’ expensive and confusing plans, as well as frequent changes to the pricing model. However, the SEO Toolbar that we’re discussing in this post is free.

 

Ahrefs SEO Toolbar is a browser extension by Ahrefs. It comes with a decent amount of free features, including an on-page SEO report, outgoing links report with broken link checker, SERP positions, and more.

You can use it to find keyword ideas by simply searching for a topic in Google. It’ll then populate keywords related to that topic/SERP page. The on-page SEO reports it provides are relatively concise, with information about the content’s title and description, word count, subheader hierarchy, alt texts, sitemaps, and more.

While the toolbar itself is free, if you subscribe to a paid Ahrefs plan, the toolbar becomes even more useful with SEO and keyword metrics for every SERP and website you visit.

 

What customers are saying:

“Ahrefs is also very easy to use when compared to competitors like Semrush, Moz, and Similar Web. Plus they have a lot of tutorials on YouTube which are usually very easy to understand. I will recommend Ahrefs to SEO beginners and professionals who want to find quality backlinks to their websites.”

– Opeyemi O.

“I would strongly suggest Ahrefs for bloggers. It’s easy to find the relevant primary keywords along with the secondary and LSI keywords. Apart from that, it also comes with content gap features, which can help bloggers find informational gaps or missing subheadings in their blog.”

– Verified G2 Reviewer

 

MozBar

Pricing: Free – $599 per month

What It’s For: Quickly accessing metrics while viewing any SERP

G2 Rating: 4.3/5 (497 reviews)

 

Businesses Like Moz For Businesses Dislike Moz For
  • User-friendly: Users mention that compared to other industry competitors, Moz is easier to use.
  • SERP analysis: Moz makes it easy to conduct SERP analysis and then export that data.
  • Steep pricing: While MozBar is a free Chrome extension, MozBar Premium plans can be pretty expensive.

 

MozBar is an all-in-one SEO Chrome extension by Moz. It gives you instant metrics when viewing any page or SERP — metrics like page authority, domain authority, and site/page spam score.

It’s a simple SERP analysis tool that’s overall pretty similar to Ahrefs SEO Toolbar. The free version provides basic information about different pages/SERPs, but to access more advanced features (like the keyword difficulty bar when searching for a keyword), you’ll have to be a paid Moz subscriber — and the plans can get pretty pricey.

 

What customers are saying:

“Moz Pro helps me the most with SEO research for my client’s competitors. It provides me with great reports to send my clients that are better than other platforms I’ve seen. Keyword tracking is beneficial to help me rank client websites.”

– Kara H.

“It’s a terrific combination of features that I find both more affordable and easier to use than competitors such as SemRush. This is especially the case when it comes to setting up keywords across different locations, and if you want to expand certain quotes (such as number of keywords or number of campaigns) without upgrading to the next major tier, they make it very easy for you to do that.”

– Logan J.

 

SEO Minion

Pricing: $5 – $80 per month

What It’s For: Daily SEO tasks

G2 Rating: N/A

 

SEO Minion is a tool by Keywords Everywhere that’s meant to help you with your daily SEO tasks.

It’s an all-in-one SEO browser extension available on Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browsers. It covers a bunch of SEO tasks, including: analyzing on-page SEO, checking URL redirects and broken links, scraping PAA results from Google, and more.

Its SERP Preview Tool lets you preview your website in Google search results for any given keyword so you can see what potential readers see. You can then make improvements to improve your clickthrough rate.

It’s important to mention that you can’t purchase a subscription for SEO Minion outright. Since it’s a part of Keywords Everywhere, you’ll need to have a Keywords Everywhere subscription to use it. It’s available with the Silver, Gold, and Platinum plans (but not the Bronze plan).

 

LinkAssistant

Pricing: Free

What It’s For: Sourcing quality link building opportunities

G2 Rating: 4.6/5 (536 reviews)

 

Businesses Like SEO PowerSuite For Businesses Dislike SEO PowerSuite For
  • Cost-effectiveness: SEO PowerSuite lets you run an unlimited number of projects/queries for a fixed price. Some tools, like LinkAssistant, are even free.
  • Tool issues: Users note slow load times, annoying pop-up “tooltips,” and CAPTCHA issues when using SEO PowerSuite.

 

LinkAssistant is a part of SEO PowerSuite. It’s a free, downloadable link-building software that aims to help you automate your SEO outreach.

It used 10+ methods for finding relevant, quality link building opportunities for your site. You can also use it to actually find the right people and email addresses to pitch to, send personalized email campaigns in bulk, and track the backlinks you earn.

 

What customers are saying:

“As a marketing consultant and web developer, I was blown away by how Link Assistant boosted search engine ranking for my clients. It held my hand every step of the way, guiding me through quality backlink creation and page optimization. I’d recommend this tool to anyone who wants tangible SEO results.”

– Sacha B.

“This is an extremely powerful and complete set of SEO tools. And the blog is excellent: it helps get the most out of these tools with step by step methodology depending on your objectives. It connects with my other analytics tools. The price is very good compared to similar tools.”

– Agnes L.

 

TopicRanker

Pricing: $19 – $129 per month

What It’s For: Finding easy to rank keywords based on weak points in search results

 

TopicRanker uses AI-powered SERP analysis to suggest easy to rank keywords in your niche based on specific problems identified in competitors’ content in the SERPs.

Many SEO beginners make the same mistake — they target keywords based on arbitrary “difficulty scores.” They overlook the MOST IMPORTANT factor: whether there are any issues or weaknesses in the search results you can correct.

TopicRanker looks for weaknesses in the top 10 results such as:

  • Low authority websites ranking
  • Title mismatch — the keyword does not match the title
  • Old, outdated content
  • Thin content less than 800 words in length
  • Slow mobile load score — takes more than 3 seconds to load
  • Poor readability
  • High domain spam score

TopicRanker only suggests keywords where one of these problems exist in the SERP. If you create a piece of content that improves upon these issues, you will have a decent shot at ranking in the top spots even if your site is new — using this method, we were able to rank the TopicRanker blog when it was brand new in just a week’s time.

As an added bonus, TopicRanker plans also come with a suite of AI-assisted writing tools to further simplify your content creation process, including:

  • Title generator
  • Content brief generator
  • Article writer
  • Meta description suggest tool

These tools can do a lot of the legwork if you work with writers. You can easily generate article briefs or rough drafts which you can then hand off to them to execute and refine.

 

What customers are saying:

“I am a private practice physical therapist, TopicRanker has been a game changer. In just one week I found two SERPs with weak spots, published two landing pages targeting these keywords and I am already ranking high on Google in just days and moving up!”

-Marissa St Germain, Dover Physical Therapist @ MagnifyPT

“TopicRanker is a helpful tool to help site owners focus on what’s important. It’s ideal for in-house marketers who don’t want the hassle of an expensive or complicated SEO analysis tool.”

–Joe Manna, Head of SEO & Content @ Nextiva

“Love TopicRanker! I’d recommend this for anyone creating SEO-optimized content. We rank #1 for a number of major keywords for us solely thanks to TopicRanker.  I love that It focuses on the missteps other content creators make and  points out the problems that other content has on their pages, so you can leverage those missed opportunities.”

– Kat Von Rohr, Head of Content @ SalesMessage

 

Final Thoughts

A successful SEO strategy has many moving parts, and it can be difficult to keep track of everything — especially as a beginner.

That’s why you shouldn’t hesitate to invest in SEO tools that can help you automate different aspects, from keyword research to technical auditing.

Here’s a quick recap of our favorite SEO tools for beginners:

  • JustReachOut
  • SearchEye
  • SE Ranking
  • Exploding Topics
  • Screaming Frog
  • Keywords Everywhere
  • Ahrefs SEO Toolbar
  • MozBar
  • SEO Minion
  • LinkAssistant
  • TopicRanker

The first step of a successful SEO strategy is nailing your keyword research. We truly believe TopicRanker is the best keyword research tool that beginners can invest in.

Keyword tools like Ahrefs and KeywordTool.io focus primarily on search volume and keyword difficulty score. But if there aren’t any real issues in the SERP you can correct, the “difficulty metric” they provide is pretty much irrelevant if you want to rank.

Because TopicRanker analyzes the SERPs for weaknesses in competitor’s content, you don’t have to worry about misjudging whether or not you’ll be able to rank for a keyword.

Here’s a quick video showing how it works more in-depth:

TopicRanker Walkthrough

Find and rank for easy-to-rank keywords personalized for your domain.