The 10 best SEO tools and hacks

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By Gareth Henry   |   Last Updated 1 February 2022

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) has become very complex in recent times.

The algorithm changes are constant, but luckily there’s always an endless amount of software to help you with your SEO needs.

Some people claim they can get higher rankings in search engines like Google without using many tools, but only by working hard hours instead and following solid SEO practices do they have a hope of ranking a fraction of their content into a competitive rank. It will be a bit here, a bit there.

I would argue you can no longer neglect the benefits you’ll receive from using great SEO tools and expertise, in fact you will be overtaken if you don’t stay on top of the game. SEO is always highly competitive.

If you’re a beginner just starting your SEO journey or still trying to figure out what it takes to get higher rankings in Google, these ten powerful SEO tools and hacks will equip you to find SEO success.

#10 WordPress CMS

Starting off our ten favourite tools & hacks at number 10 is WordPress. WordPress is what you build websites with if you want your content to catch on. The reason it’s number 10 is there are other platforms whereby you can rank your website, by all means. But the closer it works to WordPress, the better your site will rank.

From our experience, Google evaluates WordPress as 10/10 for ranking in all areas. So if your theme and everything are professional, you will rank with WordPress. There are no exceptions I’m aware of where WordPress ranks worse than a competitor platform.

Surely WordPress can’t be that much better than its competitors? Let’s take a look at two examples.

First case, with Shopify (an excellent e-commerce platform), you may rank highly on commercial research terms, but your informational content outside of products will lag compared to WordPress. 

After all, do people write highly informative posts on the Shopify platform? Generally, not. So, the Google algorithm recognises this, and you will get stealth penalised when presenting a Shopify ‘blog’ or deep informational content when compared to WordPress.

Second case, the average WordPress sites typically see 100 times more traffic than the average WIX website. That means trying to rank on Google with a WIX site will be an uphill battle as the algorithm will give your site the traffic it deserves, from Google’s data on WIX websites.

#9 Yoast

About 90% of all websites running on WordPress use the Yoast SEO plugin. Why? It weirdly works.

The plugin allows you to edit meta titles and descriptions easily, create XML sitemaps, manage pagination and ultimate control over every article without going into the code itself. It also helps you write content according to Google standards for meta fields like title tag, description tag etc.

I’ve looked at ALOT of websites, and always it seems Yoast is in the background encoding your SEO and SERP (Search Engine Results Page) headings in just the way Google likes. Also, I feel the keyword suggestion is simplistic but gives another data point to come back to when your article isn’t hitting the top of the SERP.

I’ve tried both Rank Math and All in One SEO (AIOSEO), and I like these as well. In addition, All in One SEOs WooCommerce feature list is very impressive. But if it were my website, Yoast SEO is the safe bet.

#8 Ahrefs

If you haven’t already, there are two reasons to jump on the Ahrefs bandwagon. 

1. Backlink Checker

Using Ahrefs’ free Backlink Checker, it’s super easy to spy on your competitor’s backlinks.

I usually do this to discover all the spammy backlink providers people have used and get excited because that means they’re fair game!

SEO is a game of trust. I will back my ten legitimate backlink sites over 10k+ obviously manufactured backlinks. Something born out of experience, but I DO BELIEVE spammy backlinks lowers Google’s trust for your website unless you take action to disavow low trust domains that link to your site.

The trust is evident when you do SEO and see backlinks work like magic on sites with low backlinks and like rubbish on high backlinked sites.

After all, how can Google reward your actual good backlink at 100% its worth if the 10k other ones are all bad? It can’t it is all about scale. You have to bring 1,000 good backlinks to make a dent at this point.

2. Rank tracker

Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker is unparalleled in the breadth of keywords it discovers you rank for and its accuracy.

You can monitor your rankings over time, chart your performance against your competitors, and get scheduled reports to your email inbox.

Other than this, Ahrefs does sell itself as a comprehensive SEO service. 

Although I have found its tools fine before, I couldn’t justify having the expensive paid service and a small agency, and we prefer another high-cost toolset instead (see down the list). Ahrefs have made their brand on backlink and keyword tracking, and you can feel confident you have the number one product if that’s all you need.

#7 Grammarly

Did you know that typos are a bug? Neither did I, but I’ve come to agree ever since hearing that from a mentor. Having correct grammar, readability, and no spelling mistakes is a clear sign you have a professional business or information that is credible. 

We’ve all read countless spam in our lives. So what do they all have in common? Typos and bad grammar. Unless you want to go into the spam folder of people’s minds, run your writing through Grammarly.

I’ve found the professional service is worth every scent … see, Grammarly picked up that… and is cheap enough ($12/month if you choose annual billing). It conveniently plugs into your browser, so you don’t have to alt-tab or switch between windows for every social media post as well. The professional service looks at the tone and is constantly improving its suggestions as it crunches on everyone’s data, so you know what you are writing is understandable by your audience.

However, besides this incredible editorial power, it gets on the list because of its unparalleled duplication/plagiarism detector.

There is nothing like this, and I rely on it when writing articles considering its unlimited use. Duplication is a clear signal to Google that your content is plagiarised/copied and Google will then punish your ranking in many oblique and depressing ways.

#6 Google SERP

If you want to rank on Google, the search engine the world uses, you’d better master the Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page). We are going to delve into three Google SERP hacks. Do you know these hacks as well as you think?

1.    Related searches

When you search for something in Google, you’ll see some additional searches at the bottom of the results page. These are called “related searches”.

Google gives you hints on what it believes your intent is and offers suggestions. So, if you compile a list of related searches in your SEO article, all of a sudden, you’ve given Google what it wants.

We can go into a lot more depth on how this can help you direct your SEO more strategically than this if you sign up at the bottom of the page. But for a beginner, related searches are your bread and butter.

2.    Skyscraper Method

The Skyscraper Method is the method of looking at the top ten articles for your keyword and rewriting them (because we know this works for user intent).

At AppSalon, we’ve found this CAN work, but you have to bring something new to the table because, in 2022, Google’s advanced algorithms are pretty good at spotting rewritten content. 

Besides, why should Google care about your article, which provides the same content as the articles currently on the SERP? Do your research and delve into the details more than is presently on the SERP. Tick all the boxes and be related to the user intent of your keyword searches and you will rank first page.

3.    Become Lord of the SERP

Analyse how you appear on the SERP and ask yourself the following questions:

· What is the title?

· How relevant do I look?

· How can I appear more clickable?

· Is there a possible synergy with Google Ads?

· Am I on the map?

· Do I have a chance at ranking on video?

When you start to capitalise on what you already have, that is when you move from being an SEO novice to Lord of the SERP.

Ready to discover the top 5 SEO tools & hacks? Easy! Unlock the rest of the list by signing up to our free SEO Secrets Newsletter. We acknowledge it’s a pain to give away your email, but this article is much more advanced, non-affiliate, and non-bias than you will find elsewhere and will help your SEO quite a bit.

We are an agency that specialises in SEO. I’m nervous about giving away some of this information as I can promise you this: You will not have to pay a cent to us, and still your SEO will take off if you properly utilise these tools.

Once you see this, you may consider our affordable service and expertise in these tools a boon to your website.

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Gareth Henry is the founder and Managing Director of AppSalon, a digital marketing agency in Sydney, Australia.

Gareth saw an important mission that needed doing in Australia - AppSalon's mission has been to provide world class, user centric design and SEO for websites, that assures small business success with client acquisition.

Gareth's marketing background is of an SEO specialist the last decade, with countless top 3 ranks for major commercial terms, such as skip bin hire, fish for sale, crystals for sale, and many more.

However, he realises not everything is SEO, and seeks mastery with website design, conversion optimisation, and content production, so a businesses brand and website can deliver beyond simply creating traffic.

This year has been a tremendous learning curve with AI and building web apps, and so now gen AI capabaility is part of the toolset Gareth delivers.

Gareth is considered an authority on creating websites and web apps that people adore, and is happy to provide insights to both established business owners and brand new hobbyists.


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