An SSL certifcate is an absolute must. Even if you are not giving visitors a login, for them to access certain areas of your site - getting an SSL is essential now and does help in boosting your trust and help in ranking higher. For ecommerce sites and other sites that provide login areas - its an absolute must, or users of chrome will see a "red screen" while they access your site.
3. Ninja Outreach: Full disclosure this is my own tool, and it is actually an outreach tool, so you may be wondering how it plays into Keyword Research. The fact is there are quite a few data points that NinjaOutreach gets for me that I find useful in keyword research, such as the articles that are ranking for the keyword in Google, their domain authority, their page authority, the number of backlinks they have, and other social and contact data. It's pretty valuable stuff, especially if there is going to be an outreach campaign tied into the keyword research. I wrote a great article with Jake from LTP showing the combination of the two tools.

Checking if your site is indexed properly is essential. You can do this inside Search Console. You need to make sure that all your pages are crawled and indexed and that you don't have any 404 errors or other page indexing issues - which includes the AMP (Accelerated Mobile Page) indexing issues - should you already have submitted your AMP powered site for the mobile index.
Yes solid keyword data dramatically changes the game as far as rankings go. I have seen many tools that provide Cost per click stats and meaningless charts that confuse most users. the data Jaaxy provides helps drive “organic” traffic to your site on a consistent basis which will out perform PPC sites every time. I like how you say thinking like the end user, as I feel that way when I search. I dive into what people are looking for and it really helps drive content idea’s. I have seen great results from that.
For businesses where the value of a potential transaction is high, such as a B2B service company, it may be useful to target very specific phrases with very few searches. Even if very few people search for a phrase each month, those potential visitors may be very targeted and be thrilled to have found your page. Long, very specific search phrases, such as entire questions, are called“long tail” keyphrases.
I actually don't use any keyword tools aside from Google Trends, but only rarely do I even use that. I try to talk to many of our target audience members (entrepreneurs) as I can. I attend events, I have phone calls, I sit next to them while working. Generally speaking, I think it's a waste of time to START with keyword tools instead of actual customers. Yes, you can target people in broad swaths and get a high level sense for what's interesting and trending, but at least in the case of our business at NextView Ventures, it's way more powerful to talk to actual "customers" you serve. 

SEMrush is a very useful tool for both researching competitors when starting a site or for growing an established site. I really like to find weaker niche sites that still seem to be ranking for lots of keywords; SEMrush helps me see what they are ranking for and what I can potentially target. You can also see what keywords you’re on the cusp of ranking for with your established site - another very useful feature.

An SEO audit that just includes some marketer telling you what they think is wrong might be helpful, but it’s not a true audit. You should require professional tools involving research and algorithms to be used in addition to professional opinions. Why? Because those tools were created for a reason. Whether your SEO audit pulls from sites like SEMrush or Screaming Frog SEO Spider, they should have data backing them up.
Keyword research should come first in your digital marketing strategy. Increasing web traffic remains the most important criteria for measuring marketing success and all search begins with keywords. According to Hubspot, more than 60% of marketers identify increasing their organic search presence as their top digital marketing priority. Though SEO continues to evolve, keyword research and content strategy remain the cornerstones of digital marketing. 

1) SEMrush - I believe that among all the 3rd party software, SEMrush has the largest keyword database. Their search volume data is pretty accurate and aligns with the Google keyword planner. Also, based on the type of content that needs to be produced (i.e. informational, transactional, etc.), one can utilize different filtering options available in it.
Keyword research is a constant process. Trends change. Seasons change. Popular terms and catch-phrases change. SEO and marketing agencies are a great resource for ensuring that keyword research is done on a regular basis. You should refresh your research at least quarterly, ideally monthly, to stay ahead of your competitors. Partnering with a reputable SEO agency is a great way to ensure you’re always ahead of your competition.
Brian, thank you for all of these informative guides! I started out as a digital marketing intern and everything that I learned from your site has helped me land a job as a marketing specialist. I’m truly grateful and enjoy everything that you published so far. If you have a chance, I’ve started using this tool called SEOClarity, I was wondering what’s your take on it? Have you used it before or know anyone that has?
You can also indicate which pages don't need to be crawled or are not important. You call the Googlebot to crawl and index your site from inside the Google Search Console. However, do note that although Google "looks" at your sitemap - Google is more interested in doing a raw crawl of your site - jumping from one link to another to spider all the pages in its database. By doing that, it also forms a link map of your site into its own index - which tell it which pages on your site are the most important pages (they are the ones that have the most links - the most prominent links). 

Of all the tools listed in this article, Moz Link explorer is an old one & quite popular.  If you want to compare backlinks between two or more domains, Open Site Explorer is worth trying. This tool works best when you have a paid account of SEOMOZ though a free version of this tool is good enough to get you started checking the backlinks of your site and the sites of your competitors.
×