Top 5 SEO tools for ranking performance

While building, I've learned a lot more about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) than even about coding.  Sure, HTML5 and CSS3 have been fun subjects for brushing up my skills, and JavaScript is just as frustrating for me as it was 20 years ago, but my perception of SEO has transformed most dramatically.  This article will cover my five favorite tools (the first Top 5 outside of the podcast!) for improving Multinewmedia's search performance and ranking.

  1. Website Grader by HubSpot
  2. HubSpot is one of my favorite cloud companies. They really practice what they preach (inbound content marketing, in case you're curious). I use their templates and education resources—ahem, their content—with my University students more frequently than any other non-academic resource. Imagine my surprise when I learned that HubSpot is the company behind the simple and easy to use Website Grader at  This tool scans and analyzes websites for SEO performance in a few key categories: load performance, mobile responsiveness, SEO-specific tags, and security (encryption).  While this tool alone probably isn't enough to get your a great ranking, it will help you ensure that you're heading in the right direction with your SEO strategy.
  3. SEOptimer
  4. SEOptimer is an excellent freemium tool for web developers and SEO experts to analyze the alignment of site code with search engines.  Before doubting the value of this tool due to its admittedly dubious claim to be "free" (as in beer), I should clarify and state that SEOptimer makes much of their money from agencies looking for additional reports and the ability to while-label such reports. The flagship service from SEOptimer, also called SEOptimer, rates websites on: SEO merits (code), usability, performance, social integration, and security.  Personally, I've found that the SEOptimer report is particularly useful for its keyword consistency checker, which went well beyond its intended purpose for me and demonstrated that my keywords were completely misaligned from what I thought they were based on my previous keyword efforts.  
  5. BuiltWith
  6. BuiltWith may not belong with all of the other entrants on this list, but it's an invaluable tool while building a website and subsequently working on an SEO strategy for the site.  BuiltWith, available as a browser plugin for Chrome, Edge, and FireFox details the infrastructure, frameworks, and libraries that are responsible for powering a website.  If you find yourself asking, "How'd they do that?" then BuiltWith is the fastest and easiest tool to find out.  From the server that returns the HTTP request to the social plug-ins that power sharing, BuiltWith lists everything.
  7. Web Developer Checklist
  8. This tool does exactly what it implies it will do by providing a checklist for your website to ensure that it is coded properly with the most common modern conventions.  Web Developer Checklist is available at or as a browser extension for Chrome, Edge, and FireFox.  This entrant on my list is particularly useful and is one of my absolute favorites as of the time of writing this post.  The checklist operates not only directly as advertised, as an SEO and web development checklist, but it also provides useful links for each category and metric.  This is useful when you see something like "Twitter cards" as an important metric, but aren't sure how to implement them, or even what they are.  The Web Developer Checklist is one of the more fully featured and exhaustive web development and SEO checklists (with resources!) that I've encountered in some time.
  9. SEOCentro
  10. I honestly didn't expect SEOCentro to make my list despite the fact that I use it in the classroom and recommend it to people when coming up with suggestions off the top of my head. One thing that really sold me on its inclusion in this list was its complete brutality in rating Multinewmedia's SEO.  We earned the lowest score on SEOCentro of any tool we tested, but that meant that we had the most to learn from this tool.  SEOCentro has free tools for both SEO experts and web developers, but my experience is that the use of these tools is limited to just a handful of searches before being IP blocked and asked to upgrade.  However, in my research for this article, I was able to run enough queries to make me confident with a good cross-section of SEO performance information that I could walk away with actionable items before being given the hard up-sell.  The design of SEOCentro isn't very pretty, and the distinct reports are generally merged from other suppliers in one single (and therefore more useful) report, but there is still a lot of value to running your site through the various reports on the site.

No matter what tools you adopt, I hope that your SEO strategy is successful.  Whether you're trying to drive traffic to inform your audiences or trying to generate sells and revenue, the SEO tools presented within this article should help provide you with actionable insights towards developing a more robust SEO strategy including mobile responsiveness, social integrations, site design and performance, and other factors that can influence your search engine performance and ranking.

Listen to more Top 5 Lists from the podcast:

Now it's your turn!
Let us know in the comments section below what SEO tools you rely on for your search engine workflow.  



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