10 SEO Monitoring Tools for Staying Ahead
When it comes to SEO, there’s one thing that’s always true:
You’re never done optimizing.
You’re competing with websites all over the world, and Google is constantly updating its algorithm in ways that can rob you of your progress. Change happens all the time, and if you don’t know what’s changing, you can’t react.
You need to know what’s happening with your SEO on a regular basis and keep tabs on changes.
The solution? SEO monitoring tools.
In this guide, you’re going to learn more about the best tools available, and how they can help you stay informed. After the list, you’ll find some of our tips for choosing the right signals and interpreting your results correctly.
Let’s begin by looking at what it means to monitor SEO.
What is SEO Monitoring?
SEO monitoring refers to all the ways that you track SEO signals. Important signals include the SERPs position of your pages, the keywords they are ranking for, and the links they’ve attracted.
Why does it matter?
Monitoring SEO signals is important for many reasons. First, it helps you establish where you stand relative to the competition. Over time, it will help you understand where and how your optimization efforts are having an effect.
Many signals (such as broken links or elements) are difficult to detect if you don’t have a monitoring tool that can scan thousands of pages in a few minutes. Without monitoring, you’re in the dark when it comes to what’s happening on your site, and what your competitors are doing.
Now that you understand the importance of these tools, it’s time to look into the options that are available.
SEO Monitoring Tools
In the coming sections, you’re going to learn more about the following tools.
- Little Warden
- Content King
- Google Analytics Custom Alerts
- ScreamingFrog SEO Spider
- Morning Score
- SEO Audit Tool by Report Garden
- SEO Site for Checkup
For each one, we’ll provide you with an introduction, the features that are offered, and what kind of pricing options are available.
1. Little Warden
Little Warden is a robust monitoring tool that puts a constant eye on some of the most important health signs for your (or your client’s) hosting, websites, and assets.
Among other signals, it watches for domain name expirations, changes to meta information, and the presence of new malware. These features are all important to SEO because changes to any one of them can tank a website’s metrics very quickly.
Little Warden sets itself apart by tracking a large number of signals, delivering automated reports, and allowing for an impressive level of customization. All of the following can be scanned on a regular basis.
- Expiration checks: to determine domains or SSL certs are about to expire
- Status checks: to alert you to redirects and 404 errors
- Change monitoring: to alert you to changes to nameservers, robot.txt, and IP addresses
- Content checking: to alert you to broken elements
- Malware monitoring: to spot unplanned installations
In order to alert you to problems as quickly as possible, the tool packs its scans into a daily report that can be delivered across a range of platforms. These reports can be customized for either expert use or simplified to deliver directly to clients.
2. Content King
Content King is an app that focuses on tracking and powering your onsite content. However, it also tracks many of the typical SEO signals that are covered by other tools. One of its claims to fame is that it is constantly running fresh checks, 24 hours a day.
The results of all of the scans are accessible from a dashboard and can be delivered in other ways. When you log in to your account, you can see updates from the most recent checks, which may have been performed as recently as minutes before.
- SEO auditing: to provide you with actionable meta, canonical links, and image tasks
- SEO change tracking: to alert you to sudden changes, such as missing pages or redirections
- Insights and reporting: to provide you with recent audit info in one dashboard
- APIs and integrations: to allow you to access the information in apps like Slack
SEOmonitor is a client-management focused monitoring tool that is designed to ease your interactions with clients who may not understand SEO. Appropriately, many of the features are geared toward helping you effectively communicate your value to clients.
The focus on standard agency goals—acquiring, managing, and retaining clients—is a guiding force behind the new features that are regularly added.
In keeping with that goal, the tool focuses on creating reports that are easy to read, organize, and deliver. It also generates information that could show off your savviness to clients, such as projections and forecasts for different niches.
- Forecasting: to help you plan and predict changes in SEO signals
- Proposal builders: to help you easily develop proposals based on the information that the tool creates
- Tracking tools: to keep you ahead of some of the most important signals
- Keyword tracking
- Search reputation tracking
- Featured snippet tracking
- Google data studio integration: to help you lock your data down to one spot
This tool uses an only-pay-for-what-you-use plan based on the number of keywords you want to track. Below, you can see some examples of prices at different levels.
4. Google Analytics Custom Alerts
Google Analytics Custom Alerts is not a tool on its own, but instead a feature of any standard (free) Google Analytics account. As the name suggests, the purpose of this feature is to provide you with alerts.
You can control what signals are tracked by the tool and how you’ll be informed when something changes. You can set up emails to be sent to you in response to one or multiple different signals.
That can help you stay ahead of major changes in your website traffic, interactions, and conversions.
- Email alerts: to inform you nearly instantly of any changes to your
5. ScreamingFrog SEO Spider*
ScreamingFrog is a popular and powerful SEO monitoring tool. Unlike some tools that are accessed only online, ScreamingFrog is a full application that can be launched from the desktop. As a result, it has some powerful features.
The focus of this tool is crawling. Like the Google crawlers that assess your site, ScreamingFrog rolls through entire websites and delivers massive amounts of data based on what it finds.
It can pull all sorts of information, including the status of the page (responsive or unresponsive),
- Richly-featured crawls to analyze:
- Broken links, errors & redirects
- Page titles & metadata
- Meta robots & directives
- Duplicate pages
- Generate XML sitemaps
- AMP crawling & validation
The premium version of ScreamingFrog also allows you to schedule automated crawls. This can be a helpful feature to stay up to date with your site.
The basic ScreamingFrog application is free to download and use. A premium version with more features is available for £149.00 per year.
6. Morning Score
Morning Score is an SEO monitoring tool that is designed for beginners and non-SEOs who want to manage their business on their own without the assistance of any agency. The tool places emphasis on a simple design and a one-page overview.
Despite the challenges that come with keeping things as simple as possible, this tool has a rich number of features. It’s capable of communicating most of the information that a standard user would need to know.
The one-page overview gives you data on:
- Keywords: to track ranks for various keywords
- Health: to spot problems that could lead to SEO problems
- Links: for checking your own and competitor’s backlink profile
- Traffic: for checking your own and competitor’s traffic
- Missions: for actionable ideas on how to improve SEO
Ahrefs is one of the most well-known tools out there with SEO monitoring capabilities. It has developed a lot of fans, especially among agencies, for its many powerful features.
Those features cover most metrics that can be measured and acted upon. There are tools for tracking keywords, ranks, and backlink profiles.
Ahrefs places a lot of emphasis on providing you with information about your competitors. You can use different features to see—with a lot of detail—what they are doing with their keywords, content, and links.
- Site explorer: to see the backlink profile of any website
- Keywords explorer: to track, analyze and discover keywords
- Site audit: to assess SEO performance problems
- Rank tracker: monitor your rankings and compare to competitors (scheduled reports available)
- Content explorer: to analyze top content in a given niche
- SEO toolbar: to see fast SEO metrics
SEMRush is a comprehensive tool with many features that you can use to monitor SEO more effectively. While there will always be debates, SEMRush is considered by many to have the most effective keyword capabilities, including insightful monitoring features.
SEMRush’s development, since release, has focused on improving its insights—the advice that it provides to you based on what the scans discover. It not only allows you to track various metrics, but it also gives you specific ideas for what to do with them.
- Analytics reports: to see various metrics including the changing positions of domains
- Traffic analytics: to monitor your competitors’ activities and strategies
- My Reports: to organize all of your information into a single report, on a schedule that you can set
9. SEO Audit Tool by Report Garden
The tool provides SEO audit reports that include readings from social media and other sources that aren’t captured by every tool. Most of the reports that are generated by this SEO monitoring tool can also be automated on a schedule.
The information is hosted on a dashboard that keeps track of past audits and the changes that have happened.
- Keyword analysis: to track keywords either at will or on a schedule. The tool also provides analysis and new ideas for keywords
- Backlink analysis: to audit all backlinks and to provide insights into the quality of the links, anchor text, and provide you with recommendations
- Website analysis: to spot the errors that lead to SEO problems. The tool provides additional analysis based on the data it collects
10. SEO Site Checkup
SEO Site Checkup is another tool that places emphasis on ease-of-use. That comes across in the way they’ve developed their dashboard to show most information with a quick glance.
Though the information is easy to navigate, they provide you with an impressive amount of it. The monitoring features track 30 different signals. Users can search for changes to each signal individually, or run all 30 scans to spot changes across an entire website.
- 30-point monitoring: to assess 30 different signals that can all help determine your SEO success
- Side-by-side competitor comparisons: to make it easier for you to compare multiple competitors at a glance
What should you be monitoring?
Which tool is right for you?
The answer comes down to the features that matter the most. If you want to make a good decision, focus on the kind of challenges that you’re facing with your current website or collection of websites.
If you’re optimizing a website for the first time, you’re going to want to make sure that all of the technical errors are removed. If you’re the first SEO to optimize a site, no one may have tracked those.
On the other hand, if you have an aged site that you want to improve, it’s likely that there are no technical problems (hopefully). However, it’s very likely that there’s room to grow with better links.
If you don’t know what’s wrong yet, monitoring is one of the best ways to get a handle on the problems. SEO monitoring is important because it helps you make informed decisions.
It’s important to track all of the following:
- Bounce rate
- Page speed
- Organic search
Sidenote: How do I know if SEO is working?
If you’re attempting to optimize a website, there are several signals that you can watch that point to good work. All of the following signals (which can be tracked with most tools), mean that you are making some improvements:
- Website traffic: This is the number of visitors to your site. It’s nearly always a good thing when it goes up. It may go up because Google has judged your site more relevant in search, or because you’ve successfully built a funnel from social media.
- Time on page: This is a measurement of how well your website captivates visitors. The longer they stay, the more sure you can be that your design and content are engaging.
- Bounce rate: The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave immediately after arriving. A high bounce rate suggests that you are not serving the audience well.
- Conversion rate: The conversion rate is a measure of how many visitors take action on your site, such as signing up for a newsletter or purchasing a product. A high conversion rate is the primary goal of almost all optimization.
- Google algorithm changes: You know you’re producing an effect when it causes Google to change the rules. Algorithm updates happen regularly, and you should be tracking them to find out what they mean for your site.
- Competition: Whether they’re way ahead of you or catching up, you need to know what your competitors are doing. You know your SEO is working when your monitoring tools show you that you’re being mimicked.
You’re ready to dive into the world of SEO monitoring tools. Now that you know what the top 10 are, and what sets them apart, you can make a better decision about the right subscription for your business.