The Best Tools You Need to Be Successful in SEO and Digital Marketing

In the ever-evolving world of SEO and digital marketing, having the right tools at your disposal is not just an advantage; it’s a necessity. With an overwhelming array of options available, it can be challenging to discern which tools will truly serve your needs and drive success. My journey through the landscape of digital marketing tools has been extensive. I’ve experimented with many, learning through trial and error, and I’m here to share that knowledge with you.

 

Remember, the digital marketing tool landscape is constantly shifting – what works today might evolve tomorrow. So, take my recommendations as a starting point, and stay adaptable. Let’s dive into the tools that have proven their worth in my professional journey, categorized for your convenience.

Table of Contents

Hosting

wp-engine-logo

WP Engine

Hands down, it is the best hosting provider for WordPress websites EVER. It can be seen as more expensive than the other options but it pays off in the long run. Things will go south at one point, but they are there to mitigate the damage. I can’t tell you how many hours I have saved just by using them.

They are fast and intuitive and their support is excellent. It’s really easy to make a staging environment and then push it to production. They are also very fast on taking action on hacked websites – it doesn’t happen very often as it does on other hostings because they do have security in place, but even when it does, they’re there to support and you don’t need to pay extra – like other providers do. 

One thing to keep in mind is that they offer only WordPress hosting. That’s it. They don’t offer email, they don’t offer hosting for other platforms. They just focus on a single solution – and they do it well. If you are a business owner or a digital marketer and manage a WordPress website, this is the place where you will want your website to be hosted. Period. 

My most important websites are hosted on WP engine and it’s one of the conditions I ask when I accept to work on a project.

Cloudways logo

Cloudways

Cloudways stands out as a versatile and robust hosting platform, catering to a diverse range of websites beyond just WordPress. It's an ideal choice for hosting various applications including Drupal, Magento, and more. What sets Cloudways apart is its user-friendly interface combined with powerful features. It offers managed hosting solutions on top cloud infrastructure providers like DigitalOcean, AWS, and Google Cloud, ensuring high performance and reliability.

The Ultimate Managed Hosting Platform

The platform excels in scalability, allowing you to adjust resources according to your website’s demands seamlessly. Additionally, Cloudways is known for its enhanced security measures and efficient customer support, making it a reliable choice for businesses seeking a comprehensive hosting solution.

 

Their support is not as good as WP Engine and the platform can require a little bit more knowledge in order to customize it completely. That said, I host many websites on Cloudways – including mine. Similar to WP Engine, you can’t buy domains and they don’t offer email hosting.

Namecheap

This is where I buy most of my domains. They offer full 360 hosting services for any kind of website, in addition to offering email hosting - this is where I keep my emails hosted - if they are not on Google Workplace or Microsoft.

Their hosting is quite decent for the price – quite accessible. It does not have the same level of security as WP hosting but the support seems knowledgable. Their services have changed with time but it’s still reliable if you’re looking for a very cheap solution. I have never used their more expensive plans.

WordPress Websites

WordPress is the platform I prefer using. I have worked with websites built with Front Page Express, WIX, Joomla, Shopify, Agillity, GoDaddy, Geocities, Blogger, and some other custom CMSs. There’s a reason why I always go back to WordPress – you still have the freedom/liberty to do what you want without having to break your budget. There’s a plethora of information out there, and you will find someone to create a custom solution if you need it (but it’s unlikely that it doesn’t exist already). 

 

And they rank. You will see most websites that are ranking no.1 for their key terms are on WordPress.

Elementor

Elementor has revolutionized the way we build websites on WordPress. It’s a powerful, user-friendly page builder that offers a wide range of design possibilities. With its intuitive drag-and-drop interface, Elementor makes it easy for anyone, from beginners to seasoned developers, to create beautiful, responsive websites. It stands out for its versatility, offering a vast library of widgets, templates, and design options that cater to all kinds of aesthetic preferences and functional requirements. Whether you’re crafting a simple blog or a complex e-commerce site, Elementor streamlines the process, enabling you to design with efficiency and precision. Its real-time editing feature ensures that you can see your changes as you make them, enhancing the design experience.

 

This website of mine is built with Elementor.

SEO

Search engine optimization is my trade. I do lots of things, but what I enjoy the most is SEO. Many say I’m good at it as well. I hope so 🙂 Here are some of the tools I’m using. 

SEO PowerSuite

An extremely powerful suite of tools for SEO. It has a crawler, a rank tracker that you can use for keyword research, backlink monitoring and opportunities – the entire suite. The only “disadvantage” is that this is a local tool – meaning you need to download it on your computer. But considering it comes at a fraction of what the other SEO tools cost and the price of running a virtual machine nowadays, it’s something that’s not a concern for me anymore.

Rank Tracker

Probably the tool I use it the most. You can create UNLIMITED (you read that right, unlimited) projects where you can monitor an UNLIMITED number of keywords (I don’t know how much “unlimited” is – I can tell you I have several projects where I monitor 2000+ keywords – something that would cost me thousands of dollars with other tools). 

 

I can also create unlimited “local” search engines. What do I mean by that? I can track a keyword’s position locally – for example – Vancouver, Toronto, etc. – emulating the results from that specific location. Sweet. 

 

Another cool feature is the keyword research module. Using Keyworld Planner, it gives you the results you need to start your campaign – volume, competition, expected visits, etc. They have an intuitive tagging system so you can keep track of your keywords. 

 

On top of that, they have a module that clusters them together in folders based on their topic with different levels of similarity.

rank-tracker-semantic-similarity-keyword-grouping

The keyword research module doesn’t stop just at keyword research but also has the keyword combination and related questions modules, as well as a TF-IDF Explorer so it actually gives you everything you need in there. 

 

And yes, of course, there’s a keyword gap module where you can put it your URL and up to 7 competitors to see what keywords they rank for and you don’t or vice versa. And this is available at the URL level as well.

keyword-gap-rank-tracker

It also has a mapping module where you can… map your keywords to the landing pages of your site. This plays nice with their other tools – the Website Auditor (covered in the next subsection on this page). 

This tool is so versatile that it will probably need its own blog post. But for now, I want to mention one more element: the reporting tool, of course – where you can schedule automatic reports, send emails, and all the good stuff. 

And since December 2023, they have released an impressive domain analysis module that tells you traffic estimates, keywords that re ranking, backlinks – everything at a glance. 

Website Auditor

The second tool from the same suite – I often describe it as being similar to ScreamingFrog – but with a few more features than SF. The most important one – the page audit module which has its own subsets of modules. You can import the keywords you’ve chosen in Rank Tracker and optimize the pages from there. It has a content editor module that’s basically an optimizer similar to Surfer SEO and the like. This is an extremely powerful feature and you have no limit on how many pages you can optimize.

website-auditor-page-optimizer

It has a reporting module plus the website visualization tool –  I include a snapshot of this in all my audits and reports – clients like it and it really tells a story, especially when compared to competitors. 

website-auditor-graph-site-view

SEO SpyGlass

SEO SpyGlass is a comprehensive backlink analysis tool that offers a vast backlink database for auditing and researching backlinks. It’s designed to uncover a website’s authority by providing an overview of its link profile, including the quality of referring domains and backlinks, top linking countries, and distribution of backlinks by top-level domains. The tool also allows for granular analysis of backlinks, assessing factors like InLink Rank, HTTP status codes, and anchor texts. SEO SpyGlass is useful for various SEO tasks, such as organizing backlinks by linked pages, identifying high-penalty risk links, and analyzing anchor texts for keyword optimization. Additionally, it offers features for competitor analysis, bulk backlink analysis, and historical backlink data for strategic insights. The tool integrates with Google Analytics and Google Search Console, and allows importing backlinks from other sources, making it a versatile option for SEO professionals.

Link-Assistant

The tool that I’ve used the list in this suite, LinkAssistant is a comprehensive link-building software designed to automate SEO outreach. It offers over 10 methods to find link building opportunities, ensuring good quality and relevance to location and niche. The tool helps in finding email addresses for pitches, sending bulk automated emails, and tracking backlinks. It’s particularly useful for finding relevant link suggestions based on your content marketing strategy, whether it’s guest posting, business directories, or niche influencers. LinkAssistant also allows you to use competitor backlinks for your advantage and ensures the quality of potential links by providing various SEO quality factors. Additionally, it automates backlink outreach and verifies backlinks with one click, making the entire link-building process efficient and manageable. The software also features customizable link building reports, making it easier to keep clients updated on the progress of link outreach campaigns.

SEMRush

SEMRush is the best SEO tool out there. Period. It’s been around for a while and it will be. I feel like I won’t do them justice by writing just a short paragraph.

 

Keyword research +monitoring + competitor analysis + traffic estimations + view their search ads campaign + backlink analysis + website auditor + reporting + their local tool management + the amount of free content they made available throughout time, still available on YouTube + their learning academy do make SEMRush a powerful tool. 

 

In all the agencies I worked for, we had the SEMRush subscription.

Design

Graphic design is not required to be a successful digital marketer. But it’s good to know a tool or two since sometimes you need to come up with some stuff by yourself.

Canva

I am not a graphic designer – I don’t recommend myself as one. Yet I found myself doing so many designs and at one point even hosting a workshop on how to do nice designs without design knowledge. Canva is my secret. Period. And now it powers more than 50% of the graphics we see on social media, ads, and banners. It has a great stock photo library and audio sounds and soutracks, plus some excellent pre-made templates. It can handle video pretty well also. And now with the AI module, the sky is the limit.

Envato Elements

Envato was the first subscription I bought when starting (seriously) in digital marketing. It’s the go to market place for my stock materials – photos, video templates, audio/soundtrack and many other templates for videos, social media, website templates, Adobe Photoshop, Premier and After effects. Adn for the cost of an annual subscription, it’s a subscription any agency or freelance should have.

Email Marketing

Email is the single most important element you should collect from a prospect. The power is always in the list you have. Period. Now, you can’t use your regular inbox to send newsletter adn mass emails at scale. What to use then?

Constant Contact

Constant Contact stands out as a versatile email marketing tool, highly favored by various businesses. Its efficiency in managing contacts and ensuring successful email delivery has made it a staple in my professional toolkit across different workplaces. Remarkably, it has also served as an effective CRM solution. The platform excels in fundamental email marketing aspects, such as contact segmentation, A/B testing, and time zone-based delivery. Additionally, its website integration capabilities through forms enhance user engagement. Constant Contact’s comprehensive features make it an indispensable asset for any email marketing strategy, offering a reliable and user-friendly solution for reaching and engaging with your audience effectively.

Convert Kit

ConvertKit is a dynamic email marketing platform, tailor-made for creators and small businesses. It’s a tool I’ve found invaluable for its intuitive interface and powerful features. ConvertKit excels in simplifying complex email marketing tasks, such as automated sequences and targeted campaigns, making it ideal for personalized subscriber engagement. Its strengths lie in easy-to-use forms, landing pages, and segmentation capabilities, which are crucial for growing and understanding your audience. Additionally, ConvertKit’s robust analytics provide insightful data, helping to refine strategies and enhance overall marketing effectiveness. This platform is a go-to choice for anyone looking to elevate their email marketing with a user-friendly yet potent tool.

 

And I use Convert Kit to send out my newsletter 😉