SEO tools are essential for optimizing website content and improving organic traffic and are especially important to the success of enterprise SEO.
Throughout my experience, I’ve observed that many companies need more scalable tools that align with the needs of larger organizations.
Enterprise SEO involves complex collaboration between multiple teams and managing intricate websites.
Consequently, I’ve reevaluated various tools to develop a tailored plan that suits the requirements of the team and organization.
This article categorizes popular SEO tools based on their strengths and weaknesses in content optimization, technical SEO, reporting and analytics, and additional features.
It also includes feedback from both my personal opinion and the opinions shared by the team.
The non-enterprise tools the team had been using:
- Semrush: Audits of current performance.
- Ahrefs: Keyword research, link building.
- ClearScope: Content optimization, grading.
- ScreamingFrog: Technical audits, website analysis.
The enterprise tools that were evaluated:
- Botify: Technical audits, weblog data, website analysis, and reporting.
- BrightEdge: Detailed recommendations, keyword translation.
- seoClarity: Optimization recommendations, collaboration.
The tools were compared based on the following criteria:
- Content optimization
- Technical SEO
- Reporting and analytics
- Other factors to consider
- Plans, features and costs
Content is crucial in ecommerce and B2B companies, particularly emphasizing the latter. SEOs in a B2B environment ensure that content is effectively presented to users throughout their purchasing journey.
Based on our evaluation, Semrush is a versatile tool that aligns search volume results with Google’s data and provides search intent insights.
Ahrefs specializes in keyword research and supports link building, while ClearScope offers content optimization and grading but needs more Grammarly integration.
ScreamingFrog aids in technical audits, Botify integrates with Semrush for content improvement, and seoClarity offers optimization recommendations and collaboration features.
Semrush is a versatile tool that offers features for optimizing content. They claim to provide search intent data in keywords (though we did not use that feature) to help improve audience targeting and engagement.
Semrush’s search volume results in their Keyword Magic Tool are helpful when performing a keyword analysis.
However, there have been comments about Semrush having inaccurate data, including this tweet from Carlos Avendaño and this conversation from Mark Preston and Rich Missey (a former colleague of mine).
Ahrefs specializes in keyword research and offers keyword difficulty scores, estimating the number of backlinks needed to rank. It provides search volume and click data, giving insights into user behavior and potential traffic generation.
Ahrefs supports link building strategies, helping users identify link building opportunities. However, just as there have been reports of inaccurate data in Semrush, there have been similar comments regarding Ahrefs data.
ClearScope is a comprehensive tool for content optimization. It offers an extensive list of related terms and their importance, aiding in keyword targeting.
ClearScope grades content based on its ranking potential and supports content creation in multiple languages. However, it needs more integration with Grammarly and has limitations in editing reports.
Botify is a versatile tool that allows users to filter word count and integrates with Semrush for keyword data. It supports content optimization and helps identify opportunities for content improvement.
BrightEdge is an AI-powered tool that provides detailed content recommendations for better execution and scalability.
It helps discover competitor strategies and aids in keyword research. However, it lacks keyword intent information and limits the number of tracked keywords.
seoClarity offers optimization recommendations based on top-ranking pages and provides relevant terms for content optimization.
It supports team collaboration and instant content optimization checks. It also provides a sizeable competitive dataset for effective keyword research.
Time estimates for content optimization tasks
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Technical SEO is crucial for improving a website's visibility and performance in search engine rankings.
It encompasses various elements like site structure, XML sitemaps, and mobile-friendliness to ensure effective crawling and indexing by search engines.
Coming from a background as an engineer/developer, I find many issues arise during the development process, especially with enterprise websites (100,000 to upwards of 60-70 million URLs) that are dynamic and complex.
Often, I present minor issues to engineering teams that get blown off.
Still, when you have a little problem that affects 80% of the URLs on the site or a group of 5-15 issues that negatively affect 95% of the URLs, then they can negatively affect those URLs’ rankings, especially if you're up against a competing site that doesn't have as many issues.
Semrush offers a site audit report. However, it needs more detail to the level an enterprise site requires. Ahrefs and ClearScope have no significant technical SEO support.
ScreamingFrog is suitable for smaller websites but time-consuming for larger ones, while Botify excels in crawling capabilities and offers customizations and deep-level insights.
Semrush's on-page SEO checker offers actionable improvement tips, prioritized by page, and can be used with Google Search Console to ensure thorough optimization efforts.
However, the limitation of Semrush is that the crawl source for site audits can only be selected from a dropdown list rather than allowing for multiple sources to be chosen for more comprehensive crawling.
Ahrefs has no technical pros or cons mentioned, indicating that it has no significant drawbacks in terms of technical functionality.
ClearScope has no technical pros or cons mentioned, suggesting that it has no significant technical limitations.
ScreamingFrog is more suited for SEOs focusing on smaller to medium-sized websites since it runs from the user's machine. However, they provide suggestions on how to scale up using Google's Compute Engine, albeit at an additional cost.
The crawling process for larger websites can also be time-consuming, depending on the system you choose to run the software on.
The ScreamingFrog SEO Crawler does offer comprehensive website analysis, identifying broken links, duplicate content, and missing meta tags.
It also provides insights into technical SEO problems, including server errors and incorrect URL structures, helping improve website visibility and performance.
Moreover, the crawler enables small website owners to uncover optimization opportunities by analyzing page titles, meta descriptions, and heading tags.
It assists in data-driven optimizations for better search engine rankings.
Additionally, the tool helps improve website navigation by identifying broken links and navigation-related problems, enhancing user experience.
Overall, the ScreamingFrog SEO Crawler saves time and effort by automating the analysis process. It quickly scans the entire website and generates comprehensive reports, highlighting areas that require attention.
If you’re working on a smaller site, this tool can be a time-saving SEO tool that is particularly advantageous for small website owners with limited resources.
Botify stands out with its robust crawling capabilities, offering a high page-per-second crawl rate.
It provides a comprehensive site audit report and customizable reports and integrates with various tools for a holistic view of site performance.
Botify's ActionBoard offers valuable insights and recommendations to prioritize SEO actions.
Fortunately, no technical cons were mentioned for Botify, indicating its overall solid technical performance.
I am particularly fond of Botify since it has been the core of my ability to function in my SEO roles throughout the years.
I have found website issues and provided reports and charts on the fly to justify the effort it would take to fix them for the engineering team.
I have used the tool to communicate with engineering teams at some of the most prominent organizations in the tech industry.
At GitHub, I provided direct access for the Engineers to Botify, and they were utilizing the Action Board and building reports to gain insights into their work.
We identified a 404 issue that an outside agency had created with an entire subdomain redesign before it went live using Botify.
You can say I’m biased, given that I am seen on the company's homepage with a direct quote from me, and I would be happy to talk about it more with anyone willing to listen.
It also gives data filters to refine the analysis process. However, the capabilities do not replace that of ScreamingFrog or Botify.
It also provides flexible data filters for customization. Though, just like BrightEdge, the capabilities do not replace that of ScreamingFrog or Botify.
Time estimates for technical SEO tasks
Reporting and analytics
Reporting and analytics play a vital role in SEO by providing insights into performance, KPIs, and user behavior.
Reporting is essential to the success of any SEO as we need reports to not only show our accomplishments but to understand the level of effort it might take for some SEO tasks and the impact of that work.
Not all tools provide reporting at the level the team requires.
Botify is the most robust in its reporting features as it integrates seamlessly with Adobe and Google Search Console.
BrightEdge provides extensive historical data capabilities, while seoClarity allows complete competitor monitoring but may require a fee for historical reports.
Semrush's domain analysis includes a notable feature called the "competitive positioning map," providing a comprehensive overview of a site's performance compared to key competitors.
However, the limitation of being able to analyze only up to five competitor sites may restrict the scope of analysis in competitor research.
Ahrefs excels in rank tracking, offering accurate data that closely matches actual rankings in Google search results. Its historical data is valuable for analyzing past rankings and conducting comparisons.
However, similar to Semrush, the competitor analysis feature in Ahrefs is limited to analyzing up to 10 competitor sites, which may impose limitations on comprehensive competitor research.
Although yet to be utilized, Clearscope's content inventory feature offers the benefit of listing optimized pages and tracking their current grade. It integrates with Google Search Console to monitor page performance.
However, the content inventory feature has limitations, as it can only monitor up to 50 pages and track up to three keywords for each page, which may need to be improved for larger websites with extensive content.
ScreamingFrog primarily focuses on technical SEO aspects, such as crawling and site analysis, rather than analytics and reporting.
Botify offers several notable features, including integrating Adobe Analytics, Tableau data, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and possibly other analytics for customized reports and insights.
It also provides features like keyword-to-traffic analysis, conversion data tracking on individual pages, and a keyword tracking tool for monitoring SERP rankings.
No specific cons were mentioned for Botify in terms of analytics and reporting, indicating a strong performance in this area.
BrightEdge stands out with its historical data capabilities, allowing users to track data as far back as 2014.
It offers unlimited viewing and exporting of data and insights on mobile vs. desktop rankings and optimization.
Like Botify, BrightEdge integrates with Adobe Analytics, Google Analytics, and Google Search Console (among others) for enhanced performance tracking and forecasting.
Like Botify, no specific cons were mentioned for BrightEdge regarding analytics and reporting making it a great addition to reporting needs.
seoClarity's competitor research feature enables the monitoring of multiple competitors simultaneously without limitations. It also integrates with other analytics tools like BrightEdge and Botify, providing customized reports and insights.
Additionally, seoClarity offers historical data analysis with a default time range of 13 months for web analytics and 16 months for Google Analytics.
However, running historical reports may require a one-time fee, depending on the processed historical data.
Time estimates for reporting and analytics tasks
Optimizing for multiple languages in SEO is crucial for expanding reach and improving the user experience for companies tapping into a global market.
We assessed each tool's support for international SEO and multiple language optimization, user administration, customer support, and user access.
Semrush offers comprehensive international market support, while Ahrefs operates on a credit-based system with limited API access.
Furthermore, both BrightEdge and seoClarity excel in keyword translation and customizable user administration. The team used in this review could only have a couple of logins shared among 10 SEOs.
They were, unfortunately, utilizing multiple tools and limiting who could use each tool at any given time to try to navigate through their tasks which caused them to take more time to get their work done.
User administration was a key factor during our review. BrightEdge, Botify, and seoClarity excelled with their unlimited user count per their contracts, providing robust support, and helping identify growth opportunities, reducing the need for additional SEO agency support.
Semrush offers comprehensive support for international markets, including site audits, keyword research, and competitor analysis in countries like the UK, France, Australia, and Germany.
However, there have yet to be any specific advantages regarding user administration features with Semrush, indicating that it may need to provide more extensive capabilities in this area.
Ahrefs operates on a credit-based system where users consume credits for accessing data in their tools, excluding Site Audit and Rank Tracker.
Credits are not transferable between users, and additional costs may be incurred for exceeding the credit limit or adding users.
Unfortunately, Ahrefs changed their pricing and plans in March 2022, and the team needed help to retain the legacy account after renewal.
Furthermore, although the plan included API access, they hadn’t fully utilized it due to its complexity.
ClearScope is not specifically tailored for international SEO, as it primarily focuses on technical SEO through crawling and analysis rather than catering to global optimization.
While there may be better tools for international markets, ClearScope does offer the advantage of allowing up to 10 separate accounts, which can be helpful for teams or individuals with diverse needs and objectives.
The team’s experience with ClearScope has been exceptionally positive, as the platform is user-friendly and efficient.
They have only needed to contact customer support during renewal periods, indicating that ClearScope is intuitive and reliable in meeting their requirements.
The only issue they have faced is that the team used the tool to focus on one page’s content at a time and not many additional features.
ScreamingFrog primarily focuses on technical SEO aspects, such as crawling and analysis, rather than providing specific support for international markets.
It's important to note that the performance of the local application depends on the machine's specifications, including factors like RAM, storage, processor, and others.
Additionally, occasional crawl errors may occur for specific URLs due to restrictions in the crawling process.
The SEO Spider tool may encounter connection errors, such as timeouts, connection refusal, no response, and HTTP status errors like 403, 404, 429, and 500.
Each error requires specific checks and troubleshooting steps to resolve and ensure successful web page crawling and analysis.
Botify provides the advantage of unlimited user accounts and the option to establish teams with customized capability management, allowing for flexibility and scalability in user administration within the tool.
Additionally, Botify offers a Professional Services package as part of their contract, delivering comprehensive customer support to help identify opportunities for growth and address any issues or concerns that may arise, ensuring a seamless experience with their services.
BrightEdge, for international purposes, provides valuable keyword translation capabilities and assistance from their international team, enabling users to optimize keywords in different languages and target markets with the right intent.
There are no limitations on the number of users that can be added, and access permissions and restrictions empower team members to grant controlled access to external individuals.
BrightEdge's dedicated Customer Success team provides comprehensive support and helps identify growth opportunities to address inquiries or challenges, enhancing the user experience.
seoClarity is a convenient tool for international SEO due to its unrestricted language support in the rank tracking feature, enabling comprehensive tracking across different regions.
Additionally, its Content Fusion feature covers 12 languages, catering to a wide range of main target markets and bolstering international SEO efforts.
With seoClarity, there are no limitations on user accounts, allowing for unlimited users to access the platform.
It also offers access permissions and restrictions, enabling the creation of restricted accounts for external individuals and granting them access to specific features while maintaining control over their access levels.
Moreover, seoClarity provides exceptional support through its Client Success Team, ensuring prompt assistance and comprehensive support for any inquiries or difficulties.
Time estimates for miscellaneous SEO tasks related to keyword research and link building
Plans, features and costs
We used the Business Plan with limited user accounts that caused issues and delays as the team needed the tool and kicked each other off occasionally.
Semrush's plans start as low as $119.95 per month for 5 projects, 500 tracked keywords, and 10,000 results per report, with the ability to add additional administrative users at $45 per month and adding more features like local optimization for up to $40 per month.
Add another $200 per month per user for its Trends add-on. An AI tool called ImpactHero can also be added for an additional $200 per month, breaking down content by buyer journey stages and providing tips.
We used the Enterprise annual plan for Ahrefs. Plans start at $99 monthly and go up to $999 for the Enterprise level.
The only add-ons that Ahrefs has are the addition of credits or more users, which we took advantage of when we needed them.
ClearScope plans start as low as $170 per month, and custom pricing for the more extensive plans. You'll need to contact a sales representative to get a quote for those more comprehensive plans.
ScreamingFrog is free for anyone to download and run a crawl from their machine (or set up on a virtual machine which could cost a bit more).
You must purchase a license to access advanced features to crawl over 500 URLs on a single domain.
A license is $259 per year for one license and an additional $259 per year per license. If you need more than four licenses, then the cost per license goes down.
Botify’s pricing and packages page doesn’t include pricing information, but you can understand their different packages. You need to contact a sales representative for a demo and a quote.
BrightEdge’s pricing page on the website doesn’t include any pricing information, but you can contact a sales representative for a demo and a quote.
The seoClarity Core plan starts at $3,000 monthly for small to medium-sized teams that track under 5,000 keywords for one domain.
The Professional package is perfect for enterprise teams who want to track more than 5,000 keywords and multiple domains. The Professional plan starts at $4,500 per month.
It's best to contact a sales representative from their plans and pricing page to schedule a demo and get a custom quote.
Content optimization is vital to my SEO team's success, and numerous tools are available with valuable features for this purpose.
The team leaned toward seoClarity because of its topic ideation feature, content grading, and real-time search result evaluation.
My personal preference was Botify.I value Botify's speedy website crawling, extensive analysis features, integration with web log data, and seamless integration of Google Search Console and Google Analytics (or other analytics tools) data.
While the tools mentioned earlier provide valuable insights, it's essential to explore a comprehensive list of tools, including Moz, Conductor, SpyFu, SparkToro, and others, to assess their pros and cons in technical SEO, reporting and analytics.
Want toexplore additional enterprise SEO tools? Download Enterprise SEO Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide (13th edition). The 76-page report reviews the growing market for SEO platforms, plus the latest trends, opportunities and challenges. It also hasprofiles of 19 leadingenterpriseSEO platforms, capabilities informationand recommended steps for evaluating and purchasing.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.