How SEO Tools Work & How To Use Them

How to use SEO tools

SEO tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs and MOZ are powerful.

But some SEO newbies struggle to maximize these resources.

In fact, by following a few fundamental principles, you’ll be able to harness the power of SEO on these platforms by applying our systematic approach to using SEO tools.

This means we’ll show you how to use features within almost every SEO tool to your advantage.

Armed with the tips from this article, you’ll get the most out of your SEO investment.

Let’s get started!

What are SEO tools?

Paid SEO tools like SEMrush, MOZ and Ahrefs are all-in-one software packages designed to help you to improve your website's online visibility.

Powered by elegant marketing algorithms, these tools offer insights into your SEO marketing strategy's vital signs, including:

  • Competitor performance

  • Keyword performance

  • Link building

  • On-page and technical SEO and;

  • Rank tracking

Most tools have an audit function that helps you cut right to the chase and correct what is holding you back.

SEMrush, for example, not only tells you what's wrong but gives you detailed advice on correcting the error limiting your site's performance.

Free tools like Google search console allow you to monitor your website's organic performance and identify and resolve SEO errors related to server performance, site load speed, and security issues like hacking and malware.

In short, free and paid SEO tools are designed to help people and businesses get higher Google rankings.

However, to use them effectively, you must know how to maximize their basic functions.

How to use SEO tools:

Ho to use SEO tools infographic

Popular SEO tools make it very easy to move from one step of SEO research and strategy development to the next.

First, you'll use competitor research features to find out how your top competitors perform on the SERP.

This will tell you what areas of SEO you should focus on in order to outrank them.

Next, you can move on to keyword research features.

These areas of SEO tools will give you important metrics like how many times a keyword is searched per month and the level of competition for the keyword on the SERP.

They will also auto-generate extra keyword ideas for you to target on your website.

Once you know what keywords you want to target, you need to consider your website's backlink profile.

SEO technology enables you to research how many backlinks you currently have and how many you need to build based on your target keywords.

On-page and technical features should be your next stop.

These areas of your SEO platform help identify where your website is currently falling short from an SEO best practice perspective and how to fix it.

Once your SEO tool has provided you with a clear plan of action, it also provides functionality to help you track performance.

SEO tools enable you to see where you currently rank for keywords and how your performance improves (or declines) over time.

Let's get into the details of these features and how you can maximize them:

Competitor Research:

The first step in any SEO process is competitive research.

You must first identify your top competitors and get data on what keywords bring them organic traffic.

Next, you want to look for their SEO strengths so you can copy them and their weaknesses so you can avoid making the same mistakes.

SEO tools do this much quicker than a human can by giving you reports that assess your competitors:

  • Domain Overview

  • Traffic Analytics

  • Organic Research

  • Keyword Gap

  • Backlink Gap

These reports take away painstakingly manual research and make it easy to identify SEO and keyword gaps between you and your competitors.

Keyword Research:

Once the competitive research is done, SEO tools help you look deeper into the world of keyword research.

In short, they take the effort out of finding the best keyword opportunities.

Keyword research is used to identify the most effective search terms to target to increase organic traffic and win leads and sales online.

This is because all Google searches begin with a keyword, otherwise known as a query entered into a search bar.

SEO tools help you find keywords that are not too competitive yet still popular enough to drive traffic to your website, which is a crucial point in SEO.

Any good SEO strategy should target a small amount of core or long-tail keywords specific to your site's content.

As you can see, doing this alone would take time and expertise. SEO tools do all the hard work for you.

Simply enter some basic words or phrases that best describe your products and services.

You'll get all the data you need and some ideas for new keywords to target.