Top 16 SEO Tools for Keyword Research, Content & Backlinks

4 min read

As an SEO agency owner and entrepreneur, I rely on a proven toolkit of software and apps to deliver fast results for clients and my own sites.

After testing countless options over the years, I've narrowed my stack down to 16 essential tools across research, content creation, analytics, and more.

In this post, I'll share my exact list of must-have tools for SEO, along with specific ways I use each one to boost rankings and traffic:

  • πŸ—οΈ Keyword research with SEMrush and Keywords Everywhere
  • πŸ€– AI content writing with ChatGPT and Claude
  • πŸ”— Backlink analysis via Ahrefs
  • πŸ“Š Rank tracking with RankTracker
  • πŸ“ˆ Website analytics from Plausible
  • πŸ“± Social media optimization with Typefully
  • πŸ‘₯ Client management in SPP
  • πŸŽ₯ Video creation using Screen Studio

I'll also explain the key strengths of each tool and why they make my list of go-to's for successful SEO in 2023.

Whether you run an agency, work in-house, or handle SEO for your own sites, you're bound to discover new solutions to step up your game this year.

SEO Research

  • Keywords Everywhere: Keyword research tool as a Chrome Extension that provides search volume and CPC data right in Google. It's a free alternative to SEMRush and Ahrefs, or only 12 USD per year!

  • SEMRush: All-in-one platform for keyword research, competitive analysis, rank tracking and site audits. Provides detailed keyword data and position tracking.

  • Ahrefs: Used for in-depth backlink analysis to evaluate competitors. Identify link building opportunities. I use the free version of Ahrefs only, as I find SEMRush more useful and more affordable without the credit system.

  • RankTracker: A comprehensive SEO platform that offers tools for keyword research, SERP analysis, and a Website Audit 2.0 tool. It's trusted by marketers from leading companies and provides actionable insights and detailed reports to improve your SEO strategy.

Content Creation

  • ChatGPT: I use ChatGPT for everything from generating ideas, drafting outlines, adding keywords, to writing full blog posts. Anything that has to do with text, ChatGPT can help. With the latest versions, it can also create images with DALL-E and browse the internet and visit links you send it.

  • Claude 2: A better writer than ChatGPT, it can write longer articles and the output is a lot better than ChatGPT by miles. It's really worth it to use both. I'm looking forward to newer versions.

  • WrittenLabs: An AI writing tool that can create articles in bulk based on keywords you provide. I also use it to simply host a public article that I'll reach out to for backlinks since it has a good export to markdown, HTML and more.

  • SlickGPT: My own tool, it's a better UI for ChatGPT. It creates Slack-like threads and you can invite team members to share you OpenAI API key.

  • MagicBuddy: My ChatGPT in Telegram bot. For when I'm on the go and need to write something quickly. I can send voice messages and it will transcribe it to text and send it to ChatGPT.

  • RankIQ: Helps me write better SEO content by providing keyword suggestions and content briefs based on the top 10 ranking pages on Google.

Analytics & Monitoring

  • Plausible Analytics: Lightweight web analytics to track traffic sources, page views, bounce rate and more. Privacy-friendly and open source.

  • PostHog: Open source product analytics to track user behavior and improve conversion. You can set up A/B testing, funnels, and more. Goes 10x deeper than Google Analytics or Plausible. It does a lot for me.

Social Media

  • Typefully: A Twitter tool that helps me write high-quality threads and tweets. Good for Twitter marketing. Has a great AI rewriter for creating threads, hooks and more.

  • StoryChief: Streamlines planning, writing, optimizing and distributing content to multiple sources. Built-in SEO recommendations. It replaces some SEO tools as a all-in-one solution.

Client Management

  • SPP: Simplifies client management, proposals, invoices and project workflows. I use it to manage my SEO agency and create SEO offers with Stripe, PayPal, etc.

Video Production

  • Screen Studio: Quickly record professional, engaging explainer videos. It's like Loom but 100x better and cheaper.


These are the tools I use every day to run my SEO agency and create content for my portfolio of websites. I hope you find them useful too!

Ilias Ism

Ilias is a SEO entrepreneur and marketing agency owner at MagicSpace SEO, helping small businesses grow with SEO. With a decade of experience as a CTO and marketer, he offers SEO consulting and SEO services to clients worldwide.