Pros and Cons of 7 Popular SEO Services

Search engine optimization (SEO) is key to the success of any e-commerce company, but it is easy to become overwhelmed by the process of gathering data about keywords, competitors and search rankings.

Thankfully, there's a wealth of SEO tools available for any company, ranging from small Shopify stores to larger enterprises. The problem now is less about understanding how SEO works, and more about choosing which service can streamline your SEO analysis and maximize your search rankings.

We've done the legwork for you — here's a useful list of SEO tools for you to consider. This list is split into two sections: the more costly, all-in-one services like Semrush and Moz, and the tools for more niche needs — which tend to be cheaper options.

All-in-One SEO Services

These tools are here to give you all your SEO analytics integrated into one service, usually for a monthly or annual fee.

1. The Exception: Google Analytics & Google Search Console

Source

We previously said that all-in-one tools tend to be pricey. Well, Google Analytics and Google Search Console are the one, truly free options in this entire article!

These two tools come hand in hand — they're a must-have solution for beginners who are just beginning to dip their toes in SEO analytics. This free service gets the job done, but their services are limited and less friendly.

Features:
  • Google Analytics
  • Realtime reports of your website's health and opportunities
  • Audience analytics e.g. demographics, interests, geolocation, behavior, lifetime value and cohort analysis
  • Acquisition: how new users arrive at your website (integrated with Search Console)
  • Behavior: what users do on your website e.g. site speed, site search, site content
  • Conversions: set goals for customer journeys, particularly for e-commerce
  • Google Search Console Performance: Total clicks, impressions, click-through-rate and position on search results pages
  • Lists of search queries leading users to your landing pages, their geolocations, devices and search appearances
Pros:
  • Easy to start and use: Just create an account and copy-paste a tag into the HTML of your website, and you're good to go! No 7-day free trials and the threat of automatic fee charges if you forget to opt-out.
  • Easy to link Google Analytics and Google Search Console: You can do this from within Google Analytics
  • Easy to link to Google Ads: Allows you to track the efficiency of the ads you buy, from within the same console as the rest of your organic data
  • Provides automatically-generated insights: A great general overview of your data in Google Analytics Home, as well as through an FAQ structure in Analytics Intelligence
Cons:
  • Keyword discovery or research: Only provides keywords that your site already ranks for
  • Competitor analysis: No way to look to your competitors' sites to see their rankings and data to adjust your own strategy
  • Limited backlinks function

2. SEO Company: Moz

Moz SEO data

Moving on to the paid options, Moz is the least costly of the all-in-one SEO tools, with pricing packages starting at about $99 a month. It has all the basic features of Google Analytics and Search Console, but with greater depth of research, such as being able to save and track lists of target keywords and backlinks, scheduled PDF reports, quick reporting on audits of page health, and so on. At the time of writing, Moz has 43.1 trillion links indexed by its Link Explorer, and 500 million keyword suggestions in Keyword Explorer.

Pros:
  • Creating a free account gives you 10 searches for free every month
  • MozBar: An SEO toolbar as a Chrome extension makes getting data even easier
  • Moz Local: A localized SEO and reputation management tool
  • Keyword priority score: Helps you calculate which keywords are worth your effort, using traffic generated, the difficulty of ranking and organic CTR
  • Link data set: Has the largest link data set out of this list. When compared to three other SEO tools, Moz reported the most links per domain 72% of the time, according to a 2021 study by Perficient.
Cons:
  • Limited data from search engines: Only sources data from Google, and so will not have results from other engines like Bing, Yahoo or Youtube
  • Backlink features: Backlink database is limited in comparison to Semrush
  • Interface not very intuitive: Hard to achieve an "at-a-glance" level of oversight

3. SEO Company: Ahrefs

ahrefs seo tool

Ahref serves marketers from the world's biggest brands, including Facebook, Uber, LinkedIn and Netflix. Its all-in-one toolset includes capabilities like Site Audit for your website, Site Explorer to analyze that of your competitors, Keyword Explorer to discover useful keywords for ranking, and more.

Pros:
  • Accessibility: Most intuitive interface out of those listed here, such that its accessible to anyone from a junior marketer to an SEO veteran
  • Keyword difficulty score: Returns a percentage of difficulty of ranking for that keyword. More importantly, it gives you an estimate of the number of backlinks — links to your content pages — that you'll need to rank for this keyword
  • Keyword research: Data from 10 search engines, e.g. Google, Youtube, Yahoo and Amazon
  • Link intersect tool: Compare a URL from your domain against 10 similar ones from a competitor. Returns a list of websites that backlink to your competitors but not to your site
Cons:
  • Backlink features: Limited backlink auditing features that identify toxic links that penalize your site
  • On-page SEO checker: Suggestions provided are technical and not very accessible. Difficult to turn into constructive action

4. SEO Company: Semrush

semrush seo tool

At the time of writing, Semrush supports about 20 billion keywords, 142 geodatabases and 808 domain profiles, and can return up to 20 million ideas for a single keyword. This is the most pricey of the tools listed here, but quite obviously from the pros and cons below, it makes that expenditure pretty worth it:

Pros:
  • Competitive positioning map: No equivalent in other tools. Allows you to see how a site is performing in comparison to key competitors, based on keyword rankings and traffic estimates
  • Keyword difficulty score: Returns a percentage of difficulty of ranking for that keyword. More importantly, it gives you an estimate of the number of backlinks — links to your content pages — that you'll need to rank for this keyword
  • Backlink reports: Gives more granular information that others may not provide, such as backlinks by country and industry and referring IPs, as well as reports on toxic links that can penalize you in search results
  • Backlink building: Takes a more CRM approach towards proposing related websites that might be worth approaching for a backlink opportunity. Provides email addresses that are associated with such websites, saving some of your time, and allows you to send emails directly from the Semrush interface
  • On-page SEO checker: Gives you actionable advice on how to improve each page on your site e.g keywords to add, steps to get a page to appear as a featured snippet on Google. Allows you to export these tasks into Trello, a popular project management tool
  • Core Web Vitals: Evaluates the speed, responsiveness and stability of a website. Google has announced that starting from mid-June 2021, this set of metrics will be used to prioritize websites in search results pages
Cons:
  • Limited data from search engines: Only sources data from Google, and so will not have results from other engines like Bing, Yahoo or Youtube
  • Price: This is the most expensive out of the all-in-one options. Likely better for companies set on using this tool fully and for the long haul

Niche SEO Services

We've covered the all-in-one tools that aim to give you all you need for SEO in one suite. But your need might be a little more specific than that. In that case, here are three different tools serving a niche need!

5. SEO Company: AnswerThePublic

AnswerThePublic niche SEO

This free resource taps on the autocomplete data from search engines like Google, and returns useful phrases and questions that people are searching for. AnswerThePublic returns unique and useful data about what the world is asking. It provides:

  • Questions, divided by words like "why", "when" and "how" e.g. "What chocolate bars are gluten-free?"
  • Propositions, divided by words like "can", "with" and "for" e.g. "chocolate for kids"
  • Comparisons, divided by words like "vs", "like" and "or" e.g. "chocolate vs cooking chocolate"

6. SEO Company: SpyFu

Spyfu SEO competitor tool

This one is for those of you that specifically want to edge out the competition. SpyFu touts itself as exposing the strategies of its clients' competitors, via pay-per-click competitor research and SEO competitor research. Some of its key features:

  • Google Ads Competitor Keyword Spy Tool: Download your competitors' PPC keywords
  • Competitor Google Ads Campaign: Browse your competitors' Google Ads campaign history
  • Check competitor backlinks by keyword: Find out which backlinks your competitors have, but that you don't

7. SEO Company: KWFinder

KWfinder tool keywords seo

KWFinder is specifically for clients that want to find long-tail keywords with low SEO difficulty. It has a total of 2.5 billion keywords in its database and supports about 52,000 locations in different cities, districts and countries. It's also accessible to SEO beginners looking for something intuitive and easy to use right off the bat. Some features:

  • Keywords analysis tool: Find keywords you can rank for, based on difficulty
  • Exact search volumes and search trends: Identify seasonal keywords and long-term trends to boost organic traffic
  • Local SEO: Find localised long-tail keywords, with 52,000 locations

TDLR:

If you're just starting out with SEO, it might seem like there's a long road ahead. But no worries! These tools can make it journey a little bit easier. Here are a few considerations:

  • Set yourself up with Google Analytics and Google Search Console, even if you're planning on getting a paid service. These two are the fundamentals
  • Consider what you need: An all-in-one tool or a niche one? This might depend on the needs and capabilities of your company
  • Choosing between the three paid all-in-one tools mentioned above might seem hard. But from what we know, Semrush is superior in terms of backlink analysis and data, while Ahrefs is better for keyword research. Moz is a great option if you're not looking to foot a huge bill for SEO.

Need help with your SEO? Use an AI Copywriter for e-commerce

Even with all the SEO analysis tools above, content remains key to moving your search ranking needle, and you'll still need to grind through the hard work of writing unique content.

If you're looking to use AI to accelerate this process, you can try out Hypotenuse AI. It generates unique and compelling copywriting, which is especially useful if you're running an e-commerce website.