It's one thing to read a list of all the different features on-page optimization software has to offer, but it's entirely different to experience their actual function and benefits. While each and every software offers unique features and user experiences, on-page optimization is broadly based around three main types of tool sets. In this section, I'm going to try to give you a more practical sense of the main functions they encompass and what you can expect when employing them:
Keyword Research Tools
In layperson's terms, keyword research tools help you identify relevant keywords and phrases that people are actually searching for on Google (or other search engines) and narrow them down to a list of target keywords that you believe your site can rank competitively for.
Some common categories of keyword research tools include the following (though their names may vary from software to software):
- Keyword Ideas Tools - These types of tools help you generate lists of potential keywords your site could rank for.
- Keyword Analysis Tools - This category of tools takes a deep dive into one keyword at a time and tells you about its difficulty, volume, and other specific metrics.
- Competitive Keyword Analysis - These tools research the keywords your competitors are ranking for and provide insights into how you might out-rank them.
For more specifics, check out my recent review of the Best Keyword Research Tools.
Content Optimization Tools
Content optimization tools focus on taking the target keywords you've identified for your site and building high-quality, authoritative content around them. These types of tools will help you optimize your content based on the content of your highest ranking competitors.
Content optimization tools provide you with topic ideas and guidelines—such as how long your content pieces should be and sometimes even how many headings, paragraphs, and images they should include. Some may also provide recommendations for keyword optimization and readability while others may boast AI writing assistance and analysis.
The best content optimization tools provide you with timely content recommendations based on up-to-the-minute trends and data.
This category of tools assesses your website's performance based on HTML elements and site architecture. Some technical SEO factors also come into play.
On-page analysis tools commonly look at headers, title tags, meta descriptions, image optimization, structured data, internal links, URLs, mobile responsiveness, site speed, and more. Some on-page analysis tools can be automated (at least in part), while others require you to act on each individual finding yourself.
For clarity's sake, it's worth noting that some of the software products recommended in this article encompass all three categories of tools (keyword research, content optimization, and on-page analysis), while others are primarily centered around just one. Semrush, Ahrefs, Rank Math, and Moz are all-in-one tools while Surfer SEO and PageOptimizer Pro are heavily weighted toward the content optimization end of the spectrum. Link Whisper is a niche internal link building tool and Google Search Console is more focused on technical SEO.
When selecting an on-page SEO tool, be sure to understand its scope and make certain that it will meet your specific optimization needs.