Best SEO tools every freelancer must have

When you're starting as an SEO freelancer, having the right SEO tools can make all the difference between success and failure. Read our review of the best SEO tools every freelancer should have in their arsenal to improve their search engine optimisation skills and high-quality results to their own or their clients' websites. From keyword research to site analysis, these tools will help you save time, optimize your website and help you to get success in your freelance SEO career.

Screaming Frog

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What its for: Crawling and auditing websites

Cost: $259 a year

Free version: click here

Why we love it

Screaming Frog is probably my favourite SEO tool and is a must have for freelancer to perform any kind of technical SEO. Used to analyse websites and perform technical audits, with the click of a buttonyou can crawl entire websites to give in depth reports on everything from broken links to redirects to metadata.

However, this tool really comes alive when you learn how to use custom extractions or connect its various APIs. The APIs can connect to a range of tools such as Pagespeed Insights, Google analytics, Search Console and Ahrefs to get in depth information to audit your site. Custom extractions can be used to extract specific pieces of information from a list of pages, such as authors, product prices, internal links or even entire articles. For more information, readvour guide on how to do custom extractions.

 Pros Cons
  • Crawl and analyse whole websites with the click of a button
  • In depth reports
  • Highly customisable
  • Easy to connect to a range of APIs
  • Can require technical SEO skills to get the most out of it.
  • Can only pay annually.

(alternatives: Xenu link sleuth)


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What its for: Full SEO Suite

Cost: From $119.95 a month

Free trial: Click here

Why we love it

I was torn as to whether to include Semrush or Ahrefs in this list, both are excellent toolsets, but the range of tools available in Semrush wins for me. Some of the features include, but are not limited to:

  • Get backlink information for any website
  • Get keyword information for any website
  • Track target keywords
  • Keyword research
  • Keyword gap analysis
  • Content optimisation
  • Competitor analysis

Simply put, Semrush is essential for freelance SEOs to get the best results for their sites

 Pros Cons
  • Comprehensive SEO tool with a huge number of tools
  • Detailed reporting abilities
  • Great tool for beginners and advanced SEOs
  • Massive amount of data for all SEO purposes
  • Can be a bit pricey
  • It can take a while to get used to navigating around the interface
  • Can be information overload for less experienced SEOs

(alternatives: ahrefs)


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What its for: Content optimisation

Cost: From $49 a month

Why we love it

SurferSEO is a valuable tool for freelance SEO professionals. It is an all-in-one SEO platform that provides keyword research, on-page analysis, content optimization, and competitor analysis. The tool helps freelancers to identify the most relevant and profitable keywords, and to analyse the on-page optimization of top-ranking pages for those keywords. This information can be used to optimize a website's content and structure, ensuring that it meets the search engine ranking criteria.

In short, SurferSEO analyses the top ranking content for your keywords then uses AI to analyse your content to ensure that it is fully optimised with target keywords and content structure.

(alternatives: Frase, Robinize, Hemmingway, Grammarly)

 Pros Cons
  • A range of tools including content editor, keyword research, content briefs and on page auditing
  • User friendly interface
  • Real time analysis of your content
  • Affordable
  • Can become over-reliant. It is easy to get sucked into the metrics and forget about what's useful for the user
  • Keyword research and AI tools aren't as advanced as some other tools out there.

Google Sheets

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What its for: Reporting and analysis

Cost: Free

Why we love it

Spreadsheets and SEOs are almost synonymous with each other. They're essential for reporting and analysis, especially with larger websites. With Google Sheets, freelancers can easily create spreadsheets to track keyword rankings, website traffic, backlinks, and other important metrics.

I have chosen Google Sheets over Excel because:

  • Its free
  • Its easier to share documents
  • Can be accessed anywhere with greater ease
  • Exclusive equations and functions

There are various extensions (including Supermetrics, which we'll discuss later) to integrate with other tools to analyse performance easily. There are a number of equations which are exclusive to Google Sheets. Most important is importxml() which allows you to extract content from a webpage in real time without using any other tools.

Pros Cons
  • It's FREE!
  • Many 3rd party integrations which are easy to use
  • Contains formulas unique to Google Sheets
  • Can struggle with too much data
  • Can mess with formatting on Excel files
  • Collaboration features may be less secure than Microsoft tools

(alternatives: Excel, Open Office)


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What its for: Project Management

Cost: From $7 a month

Free version: Click here

Why we love it

It can be really overwhelming to look at everything you have to do as part of an SEO campaign and project management is essential to stay organised and manage your workload effectively.

My favourite project management tool is Monday. Its intuitive interface allows you to build dashboards exactly how you like them. Your list of tasks will be laid out in front of you, grouped by project. You can add columns for metrics like completion status, priority, allotted time, etc. Personally, I feel like its easier to use than most of its competitors and your tasks are displayed in a way which is really easy to organise.

The paid version adds a bunch of really useful features, such as Gantt charts, calendar views and time tracking. However, the free version is more than adequate for most projects.

Pros Cons
  • Free version for up to 2 user is suitable for most projects
  • Intuitive dashboard
  • Lots of customisable options
  • Ready to use templates can help you get started quickly
  • Notifications can be overwhelming for large numbers of users
  • Can take a while to learn all the features
  • Lack of 3rd party integrations

(alternatives: Trello, Basecamp)

Looker Studio

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What its for: Reporting automation

Cost: Free

Why we love it

Looker Studio (formerly known as Data Studio) helps you to create reporting dashboard from tools such as Google Analytics, Search Console, Semrush, Google Sheets and Google Ads. The two main ways I use Looker Studio is for client reports and data analysis.

Client reports in the past involved downloading various pieces of data from different tools, uploading them into spreadsheets and formatting them in a client friendly way. This is very time consuming. With Looker Studio, you can agree what KPIs to report on for your client, create a dashboard with necessary integrations to display those metrics and let it automate every time you need a report to run. Easy peasy.

For data analysis, it becomes a totally different beast. Using the normal dashboards of most tools might not always give you the flexibility to find the information you require. However, importing that data into customised Looker Studio dashboard can take that analysis to another level. For example, I can set up a Search Console dashboard which shows changes to keyword clicks over time so I can quickly spot where traffic drops are occurring.

Pros Cons
  • Free!
  • Automate regular reports
  • Highly customisable dashboards can provide powerful data analysis
  • Steep learning curve
  • Slow response time when building reports


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What its for: Reporting automation

Cost: From €99 a month

Free trial: Click here

Why we love it

Supermetrics is like a reporting tool on steroids. It allows you you to pull data from various sources into a spreadsheet or into Looker Studio. Once the data is in your spreadsheet, you can use a variety of formulas such as vlookup to manipulate it for a variety of reporting or analysis purposes. For example, see how we used Supermetrics to automate keyword research.

Once you've imported data from various sources, you can combine it to turn your reports up to 11. These include various analytics platforms, social ads, Search Console, Google Trends, MailChimp, Shopify and many many more.

Pros Cons
  • LOTS of integrations to various tools to get data.
  • Compatible with Google Sheets, Excel and Looker Studio
  • Improve your productivity
  • Can be pricey
  • Requires good analytical skills to get the best out of the platform

(alternatives: Keywords in Sheets)

Answer Socrates

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What its for: Keyword research

Cost: Free

Why we love it

This tool is a gold mine for content ideas. Similar to another tool, Answer The Public, it gets a huge list of autocomplete options for a keyword. Unlike the aforementioned, it's free and does not ask for your personal details, meaning that you can use it as much as you like. Simply enter your keyword and instantly get 100s of ideas for either article titles or for subheadings which are easily grouped for your topic clusters.

Pros Cons
  • FREE
  • No sign up required or usage limits
  • Compatible with many countries and languages
  • The interface could benefit from a redesign.

(alternatives: Answer The Public)

Keywords Everywhere

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What its for: Keyword research

Cost: From $10

Free version: Click here

Why we love it

Keywords Everywhere is a browser extension that provides keyword data for your Google search, including search volume, difficulty, trends and keyword ideas. As well as having it as a tool for performing keyword research tasks, you can leave it running so that every time you make relevant searches for your topic, you're constantly being fed ideas which you can put into your content strategy.

It is super simple to use and affordable. Plus, the free version is still pretty impressive. With its ability to provide valuable insights and improve keyword research, Keywords Everywhere is a must-have for freelancers to do keyword research.

Pros Cons
  • Cheap. The free version is pretty good as well.
  • Easy to use.
  • Compatible with multiple different search engines
  • Only pay for what you use
  • It can't easily be used to et keyword suggestions in bulk
  • Easy to forget its on, so can use up credits without realising.