When you hear stack, you probably think development. However, experienced SEO’s have stacks that they use to perform day to day duties as well. The following is my own personal stack that I have developed over the years:
Ahrefs- THE BEST backlink analysis tool there is. No other backlink tool holds a candle to the capabilities of Ahrefs. Not OpenSite Explorer. Not Majestic. No one. Objectively, they have the largest index of backlinks and crawl at a faster rate than any other tool on the market. They even seem to pick up links faster than Google does. I love this tool and if you want to take your SEO to the next level, you need to have a subscription to this.
SEMrush– This is an extremely useful keyword research tool. They have one of the best and easiest to use interfaces. This tool gives you a great view of the competitive landscape and the keyword universe that exists for your niche. Although great, this tool is not perfect. Ranking data isn’t super reliable, you are limited to 30K keyword exports and it’s pretty expensive.
Jsfiddle– This is the simplest and most user friendly code sandbox that I have found. Jsfiddle allows you to play around with JS, HTML and CSS all in one very easy to use interface. It also offers a code cleanup feature that is handy if you want to keep your code base lean.
URL Profiler– URL Profiler is one of the best kept secrets in SEO. URL Profiler allows you to do data collection in bulk. Collect valuable information from URLs and domains in bulk, such as Whois email addresses, Moz metrics, Ahrefs metrics, SEMrush metrics and so much more. This tool does hours of work in a matter of minutes. Every SEO should have a URL Profiler license.
Screaming Frog– Screaming Frog is by far my favorite crawler. Screaming Frog does everything and can help you to accomplish a multitude of tasks within an easy to use interface. Screaming Frog can give you a good high level view of a sites architecture, it can help you to find optimization opportunities, it can help you to find link building opportunities and so much more. SEER has a pretty great Screaming Frog guide. I also like this guide that Brian Shumway created that goes into some more advanced functionality.
JIRA– The only project management tool worth using. Designed specifically to accommodate Agile Process Management and cross team collaboration. This is hand down my favorite tool. Atlassian is the king of project management, process development and documentation. JIRA will allow any business to scale and operate at maximum efficiency. I can’t say enough amazing things about JIRA.
Excel– If I knew I would be using Excel so much in my SEO career, I would have paid more attention in my college classes. I spend close to 80% of my work day in Excel. Excel is your best friend and makes data analysis, site architecture, meta data development, email outreach and so many more SEO tasks that much easier. Excel allows you to automate multiple tasks and processes. Features such as Find & Replace as well as VLOOKUP will be your saving grace. Master Excel and you can master SEO.
Wayback Machine– Definitely the coolest tool on the web. This free tool archives the web and basically allows you to look up how any site used to look like. It’s pretty fun sometimes to see how much certain sites have evolved. This tool is amazing for finding domain acquisition opportunities.
LastPass– Stop compromising your digital security by keeping your passwords in spreadsheets or documents and install LastPass now. LastPass is a free cloud based password management tool. You can use every single one of your passwords by only having to remember a single password. Install the browser extension and the tool will automatically log you into your most commonly used accounts. Be safer and more efficient by installing LastPass.
Google Analytics– One of the most critical SEO tools around. Google Analytics is a free analytics tool that allows you to track traffic coming into your sites. I have a love-hate relationship with Google Analytics, but it’s free, so I can’t complain. Use Google Analytics to see what channels are generating the most amount of traffic, see what landing pages are the most visited, check your site behavior metrics and so much more. Google Analytics is important because it allows you to make data driven decisions.
Search Console– Another critical, and free, Google tool. This tool allows you to track site health, indexation, backlinks and more. Marry up this data with Google Analytics data and you have a pretty complete picture of your sites performance and health.
Slack– The best IM and collaboration tool around. Is it also fun and distracting? 100%, but it has amazing integrations with JIRA, GitHub, Google Drive and many other tools that will turn you into a picture of perfect efficiency (minus the non-stop memes you will be sending to your coworkers/partners).
Some other useful miscellaneous Google tools that I use are found below:
Link Removal Tool– A great tool for online reputation management. This tool allows you to submit any URL to Google that has had it’s content removed or changed, They will then review it for removal from their index.
Disavow Tool– One of the most important SEO tools to have ever been created. This tool allows you to submit low quality and spammy backlinks from your domain for Google to discount when considering your sites ranking for queries. If you get hit with manual or algorithmic action related to your sites backlink profile, you will need to submit suspect backlinks to Google using this tool.
Google Alerts– Great tool to be alerted of brand mentions or general keyword mentions. Can be used to run an unlinked brand mentions link building campaign.
Google Trends– Cool tool for creating trendy, timely and relevant content that can be used to pitch to publications.
Google Search Operators– Master these operators and master the art of SEO. Google search operators are critical to know if you want to have a successful SEO strategy. Find ANYTHING on the web using these advanced search techniques.
Pagespeed Insights– Super important tool that tells you what improvements need to be made to speed up your site. Since page speed is a ranking factor, it is important to run all page types from your site through this tool.
Keyword Planner– Primarily designed for PPC campaigns, but also a great, free keyword research tool for SEO campaigns. If you can’t (or don’t want to ) fork out the cash for a monthly SEMrush subscription, this is a great alternative.
Mobile Friendly Tool– A pretty self explanatory tool that tells you if your site is mobile friendly or not.
Rich Snippet Tool– A handy tool to check your data markup for any errors or additional markup opportunities.
Chrome DevTools– An extremely valuable tool for any SEO. Chrome DevTools allows you to view an abundance of important SEO data, all from your Chrome browser. View information such as resource load times, mobile friendliness, header response codes, source code, CSS, site security and so much more. This single tool combines the work of multiple tools into one and it’s preloaded into your Chrome browser. Option + Command + i to access on Mac. F12 to access on PC.
WHOIS Lookup Tools
.COM, .ORG, .NET- https://whois.icann.org/en
Exceljet: Remove Domain from URL Formula– The most important Excel formula you will ever need as a SEO. Pulls the root domain from any URL. Can be modified to do some other cool stuff too.
Moz Title Tag Optimization Tool– My favorite title tag optimization tool.
Moz: Opensite Explorer– The place to get your DA metric from the source. You can view their update schedule here to see when they update their API (DA metrics). I wouldn’t recommend for in-depth backlink analysis, but it’s good to leverage this tools backlink data if you have to do backlink cleanup.
Response Code Checker– Nifty little tool for quick, one-off server response checks. Allows you to quickly select between different agents.
DNS Lookup Tool– Awesome tool that lets you take a peep into DNS information of any site. View TXT records, Nameservers, CNAME records, etc.
IP Lookup Tool– Quick and easy IP lookups.
Builtwith– Tool that allows you to lookup any website and see what tech they are using. Everything from the ad platforms to the framework is shown using this tool.
Link Klipper– Browser plugin for Chrome that allows you to easily export external links from a URL by using a click, drag and select functionality.
Streak– Don’t waste your time with over priced email marketing software. This Gmail extension is the holy grail of outreach. This extension includes feature such as email tracking, dynamic insertion and bulk outreach all for F-R-E-E.
URL Opener– Awesome little tool if you need to open up multiple URLs at once. Very handy for when you have to conduct manual evaluations or spot checks of sites, like when doing backlink cleanup. Only works in Firefox though.