Start your SEO project with a good SEO reporting tool. With some of these tools you can monitor your progress. But most importantly, you want to be able to benchmark your search rank so you can be sure you are making progress.
Are you monitoring an SEO project as a manager or are you doing the actual SEO implementations? There are big differences in functionality and licensing between SEO tools because not all people are in the same role or need a particular tool for the same purpose.
Free vs. Paid SEO Tools
Yes, some SEO tools are free. But free often means you have not got a full-feature set or it is not maintained. SEO tools MUST be updated to interface with search engines. These change format often. With Free SEO Tools you cannot tell if your results are effected by an out-of-date tool. Free is fine to test whether the tool has features you need or want, and more importantly, makes your work easier. Ultimately if you are a professional SEO, you’ll need to pay for accuracy in your SEO reporting.
SEO is a bit too esoteric and time consuming for the average business owner. However, monitoring SEO progress and understanding the reporting is a must for business owners today. For these owners/managers who need an independent source of reporting, there are a few SEO tools that provide easy-to-use solutions. And a hidden bonus to hands-on SEO monitoring, which means not just looking at a reports your SEO consultant hands you, is that you will learn how to implement better SEO methods (keywords, PPC ads, landing page design, etc.), and that will certainly reap better results when delegating your SEO and search reporting to SEOs and marketing agencies.
The bottom line with SEO tools is accurate reporting, not pretty reports. Test your results! Unfortunately SEO is a marketing business, and marketing people tend to put far too much weight in pretty reports rather than accuracy. You may use an SEO tool because the reports are easy to read – which means “they are pretty”. Only much later do you find that the reporting is not accurate at all. You may only discover this short-comings of your favorite SEO reporting tool after another competing firm has enlightened your client with their more accurate reporting.