The Best SEO Tools – Voted for by You!

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The votes have been counted, the decisions are in:
Over 1,200 votes were cast, they’ve been counted & checked…

I now have the pleasure to announce the results of probably the biggest SEO tool survey of 2015!

Back in 2014 I asked a question on twitter: “which are your top 3 favourite SEO tools?”.  Last year ScreamingFrog won a hard fought battle to be #1…

This year, we’ve gone one better though by asking you more details about your life in SEO, how you spend your time & money, and which tools are your favorites in 2015:

The results:

Value for Money

SEO tool manufacturers of the world rejoice – you can start putting those prices up (Please don’t though!).  In the value for money category a paltry 9% of users balked at the pricing.

This either means they are too cheap, or the people answering the survey weren’t paying the bill!

How Many Tools do you Use?

We all use lots of SEO tools on a weekly basis.  OK, thats not strictly accurate, 94% of us use more than one tool.  Still, surprisingly perhaps the most popular answer was more than 6, with a third of all votes cast.

Goes to show that we’ve become a more sophisticated group of marketers, but could also mean there’s high fragmentation in the market right now, with no clear “toolset collection” (like Moz, SearchMetrics, Linkdex etc.) winning the battle.

What do SEO’s actually do all day?

I’m guessing non-SEO marketers around the world ask themselves this, seeing FaceBook or Twitter on our screens roughly two thirds of the day… Perhaps I’m generalizing a bit, but its a fair question, so I posed it to you.

Unsurprisingly, around half of us do the basics all the time; on-site, off-site, analytics and so on, but surprisingly very few of the respondents commit to spending any time on workflow management, being the least likely task we perform.

Another surprise is that less than a quarter of us confess to “regularly creating content”, I’d have guessed this would be another column in the 50% category but it seems more of us than I’d guessed are pure technical SEO’s.

Enough Already, What about the Tools?

Great question, but before we get into the really good stuff, a quick word about the scoring and classification systems:

Scoring
I asked you each to answer which were your top 3 SEO tools, in order.  To keep things as fair as possible, I assigned scoring based on the position you scored each tool, with full, half & third points on offer depending on each tool’s position.

To add some complexity a lot of you answered all three, but many of you didn’t – instead answering one or two.

Classification
I used the following categories:

  • Tool Suite (where a single tool crosses multiple other categories)
  • On-Site
  • Analytics
  • Backlink Analysis
  • Rank Checking
  • Outreach (aka Linkbuilding)
  • Keyword Research
  • Local SEO
  • Miscellaneous

Now, its fair to say that not everyone will agree with where I classified each tool.  If you feel aggrieved by my decisions you should probably get out more, but you’re also welcome to shout out in the comments section below.

Distribution of Votes by Category

Compared to last year, there were far more entrants in the Tool Suite category (defined as tools which cross classification into multiple other categories).  This category also received easily the highest total score:

Best Backlink Analysis Tools 2015

Unsurprisingly, this category was crushed by the category killer: Majestic (formerly known as MajesticSEO).  They provide arguably the most robust backlink intelligence data available to us, and had an equally good showing this year.

Well done Majestic, winner: Best Backink Analysis Software 2015!

A point of note however, the core competition for Majestic (OpenSiteExplorer, part of Moz Tools & aHrefs) are more diverse products, therefore qualify to appear in the Tool Suite category.  This doesn’t take anything away from Majestic however, who clearly deserved to win the category, with a dataset that is second to none, and pricing that’s better than any others, why wouldn’t you use Majestic?

Would they have won had the others remained in the backlink analysis category?  Well, you can see for yourself what the result would have been in the full roundup at the end of the post.

Best On-Site Analysis Tools 2015

A heavy hitting category, that received the second most amount of votes.

Well done Screaming Frog, winner: Best On-Site Analysis Software 2015!

Screaming Frog won the voting outright back in 2014, and put in another incredibly strong showing in 2015 demonstrating not only the recognition the tool has across the industry, but also that they’ve managed to stay current by releasing new features.

Best SEO Tool Suite 2015

The biggest, most important category of the year was also the hardest fought.  The winners in this category are the undisputed “big ones” in SEO tools, and deservedly so.

Well done SEMrush, winner: Best SEO Tool Suite 2015!

For the second year running, SEMrush are the category winners, this time however they have stretched their lead considerably compared to 2014.  Interestingly as well, the category is much more diverse this year, and despite consolidating the scores on the Moz platform they somehow attracted a lower share of voice.

SEMrush are obviously offering the best blend of functionality, ease of use & competitive price point to gain maximum market share, & if you haven’t yet used the product you really need to ask yourself why you haven’t taken a look yet!

The Grand Prix: BEST SEO TOOL 2015

Enough with the category analysis – its time for the big list!

If you disagree with any of my classifications you can compare each tool’s overall score in this table:

Well done Screaming Frog, winner: Overall BEST SEO TOOL 2015!

Yes, for the second year in a row, the overall prize goes to none other than Screaming Frog!  Mixing incredible flexibility with a great price point, not to mention its “swiss army knife” level of utility, its perhaps not surprising that SF won the overall prize.

Some other tools made significant progress this year, the uber-handy URLprofiler for instance received a handful of votes last year, to go on to be a top 10 tool this year, congratulations to them for the fantastic breakout year.

Yoast’s SEO Plugin for WordPress was the most popular miscellaneous tool, further demonstrating both wordpress and Yoast becoming further engrained as household names in the world of SEO.

I was surprised at a few results being as low as they were, Niels Bosma’s SEO Tools for Excel is a great example of one of my favorite tools which I’d assumed would be higher ranked – I didnt vote personally, but it would have been a top 3 tool for me – if you don’t currently use it, then I suggest you take a look.

I’d love to hear from you either in the comments section below, or on twitter (heck, even in your own blog posts!) as to your take on the state of the SEO tool industry, and whether you’re surprised at any of the results!

Notes:

  • If I couldn’t find the tool you were talking about in Google, it didnt get included in the list, sorry.
  • If the tool was voted for once, in first place, and you look like you own the tool, it’s also not on the list.
  • There were another 20 or so voted for that I couldnt find, those have been removed.
  • If any tool had <1 point, for graphing purposes they got the full point.
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Martin MacDonald
Previously: Head of SEO, Omnicom. Inbound Marketing Director, Expedia. Head of Content & SEO, Orbitz. Currently: Marketing Consultant to Fortune 500's and High Growth Startups locally in Silicon Valley. Retired BlackHat & Current Tech SEO Geek.
Martin MacDonald

@searchmartin

Fortune 500's Digital Marketing Consultant. Former Head of Content & SEO for Expedia / Orbitz / Omnicom. English & Español
@McLarenF1 THANKS! Much appreciated, and can't wait 😉 🏎️🏎️🏎️ - 5 hours ago
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