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The 5 Best SEO Tools for Small Businesses in 2023

Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for driving traffic to your small business’s website. However, with so many SEO tools on the market, it can be overwhelming to determine which one is the best fit for your needs and budget.

This article compares 5 top-rated SEO tools for small businesses based on features, pricing, and ease of use. We’ll help you determine which one is the right choice to boost your website’s search engine rankings.

SEO Tools Comparison Table

ToolPriceProsConsBest For
Ahrefs$99/mo - $999/moExtremely accurate backlink data, useful content gap tool, full SEO audit capabilityExpensive, complex interfaceSEO agencies and power users
Moz Pro$99/mo - $599/moGood for beginners, excellent site crawler, strong community supportLimited backlink data unless upgrading to premium planBeginner SEOs and small sites
Semrush$99.95/mo - $399.95/moRobust keyword research features, strong site auditing capability, useful site analyticsCan be complex for beginners, additional fees for extra featuresFreelancers and small agencies
Serpstat$15/mo - $99/moAffordable pricing, easy to use, good supportLimited capabilities for larger sites, no all-in-one solutionBeginners and very small sites
UbersuggestFree - $29/moTotally free plan available, easy to use interface, excellent for keyword researchLimited reporting capabilities, focused exclusively on keyword researchSEO beginners

Ahrefs - Best Premium Option

Ahrefs is industry-renowned for its comprehensive and accurate backlink data. It is one of the pricier SEO tools, with plans starting at $99 per month, but you get what you pay for in terms of actionable SEO data and reporting.

Some key features that make Ahrefs a robust SEO tool include:

  • Site Explorer - Discover which sites are linking back to your competitors to find link building opportunities. The index includes over 13 trillion indexed webpages and 5.2 billion live links.

  • Content Explorer - Identify “content gaps” where your own site is missing content that ranks highly for your target keywords. This helps you uncover high potential topics to cover.

  • Site Audit - Get an in-depth analysis of your site’s key SEO metrics like performance over time, organic keywords ranking for, and opportunities for improvement. Customizable depending on your needs.

For most small businesses, the Lite plan should provide sufficient capability to analyze your site’s SEO and that of your competitors for $99/month. Overall Ahrefs is ideal for growing agencies and power users but may provide more complexity than a novice SEO needs.

Moz Pro - Great for Beginners

Moz Pro strikes an excellent balance between comprehensiveness and ease-of-use. With flexible pricing starting at $99/month, it remains accessible for small business budgets while still packing a robust feature set ideal for entry-level SEO.

Some useful Moz Pro tools:

  • Keyword Explorer - Run-down of volume, competitiveness and optimization difficulty for any keyword so you can gauge traffic potential. Helps identify low-hanging-fruit keywords.

  • Site Crawl - Submit your site to analyze page optimization elements like titles, meta data, headings, links and more. Crawl up to 500k pages with the Pro plan.

  • Link Explorer - Analyze the most impactful links pointing to a target site. Useful for determining link building and outreach prospects.

In addition to its straightforward toolset, Moz also has an engaged community forum for advice and support. Moz Pro is great for dipping your toes into SEO without getting overwhelmed. Their blog also offers a ton of free SEO resources worth checking out.

Semrush - Excellent for Agencies

Semrush bridges the capabilities gap between entry-level starter tools and hardcore, high-end solutions. With the robust feature set and competitive intelligence of premium SEO tools without the excessive complexity. Plans range from $99.95 to $399.95 per month.

Standout Semrush features for small business users:

  • Keyword Magic Tool - Get keyword suggestions and analysis tailored to your niche and location using AI and big data processing. More actionable insights than a raw keyword planner can provide.

  • Competitive Research - Deep analysis of the organic and paid search strategies your top competitors are leveraging and how you measure up. Helps expose new opportunities.

  • Backlink Audit - Shows where your competitors are getting their best backlinks from so you can focus your outreach and skyrocket your own rankings.

For small agencies and consultants managing several clients’ SEO, Semrush provides enterprise-level capability without the enterprise-level price tag. They also offer excellent onboarding support to get you up and running quickly.

Serpstat - Most Budget Friendly

If budget is your primary concern but you still want SEO capabilities beyond manual Google searches, Serpstat fits the bill. Plans start at an affordable $15/month for the Starter pack going up to the $99/month Pro Suite.

Why Serpstat is ideal for bootstrapped small businesses:

  • Rank Tracker - See how your site ranks for core keywords over time, where you’ve improved or lost ground against the competition.

  • Keyword Research - Generate geo-targeted suggestions using both Google’s data and Serpstat’s own keyword analysis algorithms. Useful for blog post ideation.

  • Backlink Analysis - Shows where your backlinks are coming from and actionable opportunities for getting more high quality links going forward.

Serpstat doesn’t offer as many total features as Moz, Semrush and Ahrefs which caps its usefulness for growing companies. But for early-stage small businesses, it packs tremendous value at a hard-to-beat price point. Their focus on excellent customer support also helps smooth the SEO learning curve.

Ubersuggest - Best Free Option

Ubersuggest is a free tool for basic SEO functions like keyword research, site audit checklists, and web page optimization guides that make it our top pick for small business owners on an ultra tight budget.

Ubersuggest enables you to:

  • Lookup Keyword Volume - See search volume and cpc data for keyword ideas you input. Helps assess whether they have enough search interest to be worth targeting.

  • Generate Related Keywords - Takes a seed keyword and automatically generates hundreds of additional long tail keyword ideas within that topic. Making content planning much easier.

  • Analyze Competitor Sites - Input any URL to see statistics like top ranking pages, organic traffic estimates, link profiles and more for that site.

Ubersuggest likely won’t meet every advanced need down the line but it empowers early-stage small businesses to make data-driven decisions about their website even with the free plan.

Which SEO Tool Should I Choose for My Small Business?

All 5 of the SEO tools compared above can provide immense value but have differences that make them a better fit depending on your business’s specific situation. Here are key questions to ask when selecting your small business SEO tool:

  • What’s your monthly SEO budget? Free solutions like Ubersuggest work great if you have no budget room at all. At the other end, Ahrefs packs premium features for premium subscription pricing.

  • How much do you already know about SEO? Moz and Semrush do a better job catering to first-time users compared to complex tools like Ahrefs assuming the same level of expertise. Match your platform to your skill level.

  • How large is your website? Large enterprise sites need more powerful crawlers and auditing capabilities compared to smaller sites. Make sure to pick a tool robust enough for your website’s size.

  • How much support do you need? More affordable starter tools tend to invest more in customer support to smooth the learning curve compared to hands-off premium platforms. Factor the amount of help you’ll likely lean on.

No SEO tool provides a magic button to catapult your website up the SERP rankings. But choosing the platform best aligned to your business’s current growth stage will ensure you get plenty of insights and action items to work with even on a shoestring budget. Pair that with smart SEO strategy execution and you’ll see the compound impact over time.

Hopefully this overview gives you clarity on which solution makes the most sense for your small business goals in 2023!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use multiple SEO tools together?

A: Yes, absolutely! Many SEO experts use 2-3 platforms in tandem to take advantage of the unique strengths each tool offers. Just be mindful of budget when subscribing to multiple paid tools.

Q: How much do I really need to budget for SEO as a small business?

A: Even very affordable starter tools like Serpstat for $15/month can provide ample capability for early on. $100/month can get you into mid-tier solutions like Moz Pro and Semrush with even more robust features. Budgetdictates capabilities but SEO success ultimately comes down to execution.

Q: Is SEO something I can learn to do myself or do I need an agency?

A: With the right educational resources, small business owners can absolutely handle SEO in-house! Using beginner-friendly tools like Moz or Ubersuggest makes ramping up your own skills much more accessible. But bringing on an SEO agency is advisable if you prefer to fully outsource it.

Q: How long does it take to see results from using an SEO tool?

A: While software can help expose areas needing optimization, actually implementing those recommendations takes manpower. Typically it takes 3-6 months to start seeing measurable improvements and 6-12 months for noticeable rankings lift. So have patience and keep iterating using the insights these tools provide.

Q: What about SEO tools specifically for local businesses?

A: Moz Local and BrightLocal are two popular options providing features tailored to optimizing Google Business Profiles, local citations and maps listings. So if brick-and-mortar SEO is a priority, they warrant consideration.

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