There are many powerful SEO tools that can help save hours, days or even weeks of your time.

The following tools can help find link building opportunities, diagnose site issues, create easy-to-understand SEO reports, make Google crawl your site faster and much more. More often than not, the below tools will provide the information you need to achieve high rankings, and reveal link building opportunities so you can go out and get those high rankings.

Are there more SEO tools out there than in this list? Sure. SEO tools are a dime a dozen. The following is a selection of the tools I have found useful over the years and the tools mentioned in this guide for ease of reference. Some are free, some are paid, but most offer a free trial long enough to start optimizing your site. I have no affiliation with any of these sites, I’ve just listed tools that I find useful. So jump in and have fun.

Research tools

Google Adwords Keyword Planner – Free
http://www.google.com/intl/en/adwords/

The Google Adwords Keyword Planner has been mentioned several times throughout this guide and for good reason. It’s essential for every SEO project. With the Google Adwords Keyword Planner, you can see how many times a keyword has been searched in Google and narrow this down by Country and even device type, such as mobile phones and so on. This is an essential tool for every SEO project for knowing how many times your keyword is being searched in Google.

Google Trends -Free
http://www.google.com/trends/

Google Trends provides powerful stats of search trends over time. Great for seeing how your market performs overall, and how demand changes over time for your keywords.

Market Samurai – Free to start. $149 for pro users.
http://www.marketsamurai.com/

Market Samurai is one of those reliable tools that have been around in the SEO industry for many years.

The favorite keyword research tool of many SEO gurus, Market Samurai is powerful for generating ideas for keywords and analyzing keywords for competitiveness—so you can uncover keywords you can target for easy rankings.

Moz – Free and Paid.
http://moz.com/tools

No guide on SEO would ever be complete without a mention of Moz. Moz offers keyword analysis, brand monitoring, rankings tracking, on-page SEO suggestions, search engine crawl tests, and much more. An essential toolbox for every SEO practitioner, from beginner to advanced.

SEOBook Keyword Analyzer – Free
http://tools.seobook.com/general/keyword-density/

By simply entering the URL to any page on your site, you can see a chart of the most optimized keywords on the page. This is great for getting a visual indication of keywords search engines are likely to pick up on the page.

SEOQuake – Free
http://www.seoquake.com/

The SEOQuake toolbar gives you a powerful set of stats for any site you visit, right within your browser.

SEOQuake also has a great option that gives you the important stats for pages ranking in Google’s search results. A great tool for snooping on competitors and doing market research.

SEOQuake’s powerful toolbar works on Google Chrome, Safari & Firefox.

Ubersuggest – Free
http://ubersuggest.org/

Automatically download the auto-suggested keywords from Google’s search results for a nice, juicy collection of long-tail keywords.

Optimization tools

Google Page Speed Insights – Free
https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights

Google Page Speed Insights is a fantastic tool provided by Google to help speed up your site. Google Page Speed Insights will give you a score on how well your load time is performing, and provide a simple set of suggestions to forward to your developers and speed up your site.

Google Snippet Optimization Tool – Free
http://www.seomofo.com/snippet-optimizer.html

This handy little tool lets you type out title tags and meta tags and see a live preview of how your site will appear in the search engines.

Google Search Console – Free
https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home?hl=en

Google Search Console is another great tool, and if you haven’t got Google Search Console set up, drop what you are doing and set it up now!

Google Search Console will report urgent messages if there are any severe problems when Google comes along and crawls your site. You can also submit your sitemap directly to Google from within Google Search Console, meaning you know Google has been given a friendly nudge to come around and pick up all the content on your site. This is a must-have SEO tool for every site.

Redirect Checker – Free
http://www.seologic.com/webmaster-tools/url-redirect

If you have ever setup a URL redirect or asked your developer to, it’s always a good idea to check and ensure the redirect has been set up correctly.

Use the redirect checker to make sure your redirects are returning successful responses to the web browser, so you can feel confident Google is picking it up properly too.

Robots.txt Analyzer – Free
http://tools.seobook.com/robots-txt/analyzer/

Many robots.txt files can often have slight errors that are difficult to pick up, especially for larger sites. Run your robots.txt file through this tool for a free analysis to see if there are any errors.

Robots.txt Generator -Free
http://www.yellowpipe.com/yis/tools/robots.txt/

If you’re lazy like I am, you’ll love this free robots.txt generator. Works great for the most basic or advanced robots.txt users to create robots.txt files quickly and easily.

Schema Creator – Free
http://schema-creator.org/

Great and easy-to-use tool to automatically generate your schema.org markup.

SEO Browser – Free
http://seo-browser.com

Takes a web page or site, and shows you what it looks like to a search engine, without graphics and layout. This is a fantastic tool for getting a bird’s eye view of what Google is going to pick up on your site.

Tools Pingdom – Free
http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/

Pingdom search tools are great to monitor how quickly your site is loading, and find opportunities to make it load even faster.

With the Pingdom Speed test, you can see how fast your site loads, and how large the files are on your site. You can easily find the large files on your site that are chewing up resources and bloating your load time.

Pingdom also offers a really nifty service to monitor your site uptime, and send you a text message and email alert whenever your server experiences problems and goes down for whatever reason. You can find out before anybody else and jump on your web hosting provider and ask them to fix any problems before you lose too much traffic!

Traffic Travis – Free for beginners. $97 once off for Pro users.
http://www.traffictravis.com

Traffic Travis is a great and simple SEO overview tool. Unlike many of the other tools listed, Traffic Travis is a downloadable tool you must download to your desktop (PCs only!).

Traffic Travis provides SEO health checks, competitor analysis, ranking tracking, linkbuilding research, and much more.

Xenu’s Link Sleuth – Free
http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html

Don’t be put off by the old-school design on the page that offers this very powerful SEO-tool for free.

Xenu’s Link Sleuth is one of the most powerful SEO-tools available, that will crawl your entire site, or a list of links, and offer very powerful and juicy stats for each of your pages, such as stats on which pages have 404 errors, 301 redirects, server errors, title tags, meta desc tags, the list goes on! This tool has been around for years, and is a must-have tool for the more advanced SEO practitioner.

XML Sitemaps – Free to trial. $19.99 for large sites.
http://www.xml-sitemaps.com

XML Sitemaps is a fantastic tool for creating an XML sitemap to submit to Google. Useful for sites that do not have a built in XML sitemap functionality.

The tool automatically formats the sitemap so it is in the right format for Google and other search engines. With XML Sitemaps you can create a sitemap for your site within minutes.

Link building tools

Authority Labs – Free to start. $99 per month for pro users.
http://authoritylabs.com/tour/

Authority Labs is a great tool for tracking your rankings in search engines. You can also track competitors’ rankings, too. Monitoring your rankings is a must for every SEO project, so you can measure improvements or trends over time.

Buzzstream – Free trial. $19 per month for regular use.
http://www.buzzstream.com

Buzzstream helps you find broken link building opportunities and track your link building outreach efforts. Buzzstream will even find the contact details on the site for you. Can be used as an alternative to Ontolo.

Google Alerts – Free
http://www.google.com/alerts

Google Alerts is great for keeping an eye out for fresh new search results in Google.

You can put in any search term, add your email address, and Google Alerts will send you an email each time a new listing appears in Google’s search results.

Great for monitoring new links pointing to your site, mentions of your brand, new content indexed by Google, or even brand mentions of your competitors—so you can reach out and build links or add comments.

Majestic SEO Site Explorer – Free to start. £29.99 for pro plan.
https://majestic.com

Majestic SEO Site Explorer is a lesser known, but powerful link analysis tool.

Majestic’s Site Explorer allows you to download historical reports of links built to a site, so you can see the historic patterns behind a site’s link building.

Majestic SEO also has a very powerful tool called the Keyword Checker. The Keyword Checker allows you to analyze the competition for specific keywords, so you can know how difficult it will be to rank high enough for particular keywords.

Ontolo – $47 per month.
http://www.ontolo.com

Ontolo is a goldmine for broken link building, making it very easy to filter through many broken link opportunities, so you can reach out and start building links.

Open Site Explorer – Free for limited access. $99 per month for pro users.
https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/

Open Site Explorer is a must for understanding the links pointing to your site and competitors’ sites. Cheeky little tricks with Open Site Explorer include exporting your competitors’ backlinks and looking over these links for opportunities to build links to your site.