The No-BS Review of 9 Small Business SEO Tools For 2023

My Top 3 Picks

SurferSEO provides a one-stop shop for SEOs, making highly optimized content that will rank. It also integrates with various software to provide deep insights into a website’s performance.

Ahrefs Logo

Many SEOs rely on Ahrefs for their link building and keyword research needs. The toolset is comprehensive, yet easy to use, making it a great choice for both beginners and experienced SEOs.

The Hoth

The HOTH makes it easy to scale your business and improve your SEO. Create a free account to get access to 22+ SEO & PPC tools, free training and a personalized SEO & PPC concierge!

Hey there, fellow small business owners! At some point or another, you start to realize that you need to be doing SEO on your website. Many years go I inevitably did, and fell down the SEO rabbit hole (it’s a deep one). If you’re reading this, you’re probably just as frustrated as I was when trying to find the best small business SEO tools that actually work. We’ve all been there… sifting through countless websites and online reviews, only to be left feeling more confused and overwhelmed than when we started. 

But I have good news. I’ve scoured the depths of the internet, tried and tested more platforms than I care to admit, and finally found the holy grail of SEO tools for small business.

So, grab a cold one and kick your feet up, because I’ve done the grunt work for you. In this no-BS review, I’ll be spilling the tea on the top-notch SEO keyword finders, content writers, website crawlers, and reporting tools out there. I’m talking about my personal experiences, what worked like a charm (and what was a complete waste of time), and which small business SEO software is actually worth opening up your wallet for.

And let’s get one thing straight: I’m not some slick-talking marketing agency trying to sell you snake oil. I’ve just been around the block a few times, tested countless tools, and dishing out my honest and raw opinions. 

So, buckle up and let’s get down to business. I’m about to unleash the best small business SEO tools of 2023.

1. Surfer SEO

Best For On-Page SEO

Surfer Info

Let’s talk about Surfer SEO. This bad boy has been making waves in the on-page optimization game, and for good reason. 

With Surfer SEO, you get real-time data-driven recommendations based on over 500 ranking factors, so you can be confident you’re making the right moves. And if that’s not enough, their SERP Analyzer feature helps you analyze your competition’s Google search results and find the gaps in their content, so you can swoop in and take their spot as the king of the search results. It’s like having a spy on the inside of Google’s algorithm, but without the shady tactics.


Now, you might be thinking, “But how much does this bad boy cost?” 

Well, it’s not cheap, but for what it does it’s not crazy expensive either. 

Surfer Pricing
  • Free: The Free trial is available for those who want to test out the tool or have a small website with minimal needs. However, it’s worth noting that the free version is only for 7 days and is quite limited in terms of functionality, so it won’t be sufficient for more in-depth optimization.
  • Basic: The Basic plan is the most popular option, starting at $49 per month. It includes access to most of the tool’s key features, including the Content Planner, Content Editor, and Audit tool. This plan may be suitable for small businesses or individuals with a moderate website size and optimization needs.
  • Pro: For those with more extensive optimization requirements, the Pro plan may be a better fit. Priced at $99 per month, this plan offers additional features such as SERP Analyzer, SERP Simulator, and more.
  • Business: Finally, the Business plan is the most comprehensive option, starting at $199 per month. It includes all of the features from the Pro plan, plus additional team management and reporting capabilities. This plan is ideal for larger organizations or agencies that need to manage multiple clients or projects simultaneously.



Quick Summary

Who’s it for? Small business owners and marketers who want to improve their on-page optimization and keyword strategy.

How much it costs: Free plan available. Paid plans start at $49/month.

Key features:

  • Content Planner for mapping out keyword strategy
  • SERP Analyzer for understanding what Google considers the best fit for a keyword
  • AI outline builder for creating optimized content
  • Content Editor for writing articles directly on the platform
  • Audit tool for technical SEO health check
  • Surfer Academy for learning more about SEO

2. Ahrefs

Best For In-Depth Keyword Research And Backlink Analysis

ahrefs info

Introducing Ahrefs, the small and big businesses’ favorite SEO tool that’s a real game-changer. It’s like having an x-ray vision for your website, with all the data you could ever want on your keywords, backlink data, and rankings.

Plus, the dashboard is user-friendly, the support is top-notch, and they’re always updating the features.

Ahrefs helps you dominate the competition and climb the ranks of Google faster than you can say…”Google”. Just watch out for the price tag, it can be steep for small businesses.

Although I find it to be very expensive, I seriously love Ahrefs and consider it a must-have for any serious digital marketer. It’s a game-changer, a real game-changer.


ahrefs pricing
  • The Lite Plan: The Lite plan will set you back $99 a month. It’s perfect for those of you just dipping your toes into the world of SEO.
  • The Standard Plan: The Standard plan comes in at $179 a month. This plan is like the Goldilocks of Ahrefs plans; not too big, not too small, but just right.
  • The Advanced Plan: If you’re looking for something with a little more oomph, Ahrefs offers the Advanced plan, which is a cool $399 a month. This plan is like the muscle car of Ahrefs plans, it’s got all the power you need to take your SEO to the next level.
  • The Agency Plan: For those of you who need ALL the bells and whistles, there’s the Agency plan. At $999 a month, it’s not cheap, but it’s worth it if you need to manage a large amount of sites and projects.



Quick Summary

Who’s it for? Marketers, SEO professionals, bloggers, and businesses of all sizes looking to improve their website’s search engine visibility.

How much it costs: No free plan available. Paid plans start at $99/month for the Lite plan.

Key features:

  • Site Explorer for analyzing backlinks and organic search traffic
  • Keyword Explorer for finding profitable keywords
  • Content Explorer for finding content ideas and analyzing competitors’ content
  • Rank Tracker for tracking your search engine rankings
  • Site Audit for identifying technical SEO issues on your site
  • Alerts for tracking mentions of your brand or competitors on the web
  • SEO Toolbar for Chrome and Firefox for quick access to SEO metrics while browsing the web

3. The HOTH

The Hoth

Best For Link-Building

The Hoth Info

Coming up we’ve got some serious SEO players in the house. These guys go by the name “Hit Em’ Over the Head” or HOTH for short. And let me tell you, their success is nothing to sneeze at. They’ve landed themselves on the Inc. 5000 not once, but twice, and raked in around $21M in revenue for 2021.

Their sales process is so sharp, they’re probably the highest-earning links provider in the entire SEO game. These guys know what they’re doing, and they’re not afraid to hit it hard.

Sure, their links aren’t always top-notch quality, but let’s be real, finding high-quality backlinks is like searching for a needle in a haystack. The HOTH offers a valuable service for small businesses looking to up their online presence. So, if you’re feeling daring and willing to take a risk against Google’s guidelines, give The HOTH a shot.


  • Link Building: For their link building services, they offer different packages based on the number of links you want to acquire, with prices starting at $60 per link.
  • Content Creation: They also offer content creation services, such as blog posts and product descriptions, with prices starting at $80 per piece.
  • Local SEO: In addition, they have a comprehensive local SEO package for small businesses that starts at $250 per month. This package includes citation building, on-page optimization, and Google My Business optimization, among other services.



Quick Summary

Who’s it for? Small businesses and agencies looking for SEO solutions, link building services, content creation, and PPC and social media advertising.

How much it costs: Starts at $60/month for their basic SEO package.

Key features:

  • Content writing
  • Link building (guest posting and niche edits)
  • Keyword research
  • Local SEO
  • Reputation management
  • PPC packages
  • Social ads

4. Semrush


Best For Keyword Research And Extensive Domain Analysis

Semrush Info

Picture this: you’re a small business owner looking to get ahead in the online game. You’ve heard of SEO, but you’re not exactly sure how it all works. That’s where Semrush comes in.
This SEO software has everything you need to optimize your website, from competitor analysis to keyword research, backlink insight, and even social media analytics.

But while I appreciate what Semrush brings to the table, there are a few things that grind my gears. The platform is clunky, unintuitive, and a complete nightmare to navigate.

Then, there’s the customer support team. It’s like they’re in hiding or something, because it’s very hard to get a hold of them when you need them.

Now, I’m not saying that Semrush is a complete waste of time. On the contrary, it does have some great features, like competitor analysis and keyword research. But when it comes down to it, I prefer Ahrefs.


  • The Pro Plan: The Pro plan is great for individuals and small businesses looking to improve their website’s SEO, with pricing starting at $119.95 per month. 
  • The Guru Plan: The Guru plan is perfect for small to medium-sized businesses, with a price point of $229.95 per month, and includes additional features such as content marketing tools and historical data access.
  • The Business Plan: The Business plan is the most comprehensive option, with features geared towards larger enterprises and agencies, and pricing starting at $449.95 per month.



Quick Summary

Who’s it for? Small to large businesses and marketers who want to improve their website’s search engine optimization and grow their online presence.

How much it costs: A 7-day free trial is available. Paid plans start at $119.95/month

Key features:

  • Comprehensive keyword research and competitor analysis
  • Site audit for technical SEO health check
  • Backlink audit,  tracking and analysis
  • Social media management and analytics
  • Advertising research for PPC and display campaigns

5. Frase


Best For Researching, Writing, And Optimizing Content

Let’s talk about Frase now, the content writing software that’s like your own personal content guru. With Frase, you can tap into the power of search results to identify and categorize content opportunities that’ll help you slay the SEO game. Plus, it has an AI writing tool that can whip up original content for you in a jiffy.

But let me be real with you, I’m not fully convinced that AI-generated content can replace the human touch just yet. It may be great for generating ideas and getting the ball rolling, but we still think there’s something to be said for a skilled writer’s touch.

And while Frase’s AI writing tool is impressive, I can’t help but feel like there are other content creation apps out there that are even more powerful.


  • The Solo Plan: At $14.99 per month, it’s ideal for small projects that require just 1 article per week and 1 user seat.
  • The Basic Plan: Priced at $44.99 per month, the Basic Plan provides access to the essential features needed for content creation and optimization. This includes automated content briefs, content scoring, content editor, custom templates, outline builder, 1 user seat, 30 document credits, and unlimited document sharing.
  • Team Plan: Priced at $114.99 per month, the Team Plan includes everything in the Basic Plan plus additional team collaboration features. It offers 3 user seats (with the option to add more for $25 each), unlimited document credits, and integration with Google Docs. This plan is ideal for teams working on content projects and requires seamless collaboration and sharing.



Quick Summary

Who’s it for? Freelance writers or small businesses that wish to improve their content creation and optimization process.

How much it costs: Plans start at $45 per month. 5-Day free trial for $1.

Key features:

  • AI writing tool for generating content
  • SEO optimization based on top search results
  • Content structure and research tools
  • Integrations with CMS platforms like WordPress and Hubspot
  • Multi-language support
  • Team collaboration features (depending on the plan)
  • Analytics and reporting (depending on the plan)

6. SE Ranking

Best For Keyword Rank Tracking

SE Ranking info

If you’re a digital marketing maverick or a small business looking for powerful SEO tools that pack a punch, SE Ranking should be at the top of your list. This platform is a great choice for anyone serious about tracking keywords, providing real-time updates and in-depth analytics that give you a leg up on the competition. And let’s be real, in the cutthroat world of SEO, every advantage counts.

But SE Ranking isn’t a one-trick pony. Their SEO reporting tools are some of the best around, offering website audits, backlink quality checks, and even competitor analysis. With all this data at your fingertips, you’ll be well-equipped to develop killer SEO strategies that get results.

To be fair, SE Ranking isn’t perfect. Some of the features can be a bit clunky, and the interface might take a little getting used to. But for the price and the sheer power of what it offers, this platform is definitely worth a serious look.


  • The Essential Plan: The Essential Plan is perfect for solopreneurs and small businesses just getting started with SEO. It offers tracking up to 250 keywords and lets you monitor 10 websites. And at just $39 per month, it won’t break the bank.
  • The Pro Plan: The Pro Plan is SE Ranking’s most popular option, and for good reason. It offers tracking up to 1,750 keywords, unlimited website monitoring, and three user seats. Plus, you get notifications for up to 100 changes to your web pages, and the option to expand your keyword research database with up to 10,000 keywords. It also offers a White Label feature for those who want to start their own SEO service.
  • The Business Plan: The Business Plan is designed for those who need serious power. It features tracking up to 20,000 keywords, website audits for up to 450,000 pages, and daily backlink checks for up to 300 pages.



Quick Summary

Who’s it for? Businesses and individuals who want to improve their SEO performance through detailed SERP tracking and analysis tools.

How much it costs: Starts at $39/month, an excellent value

Key features:

  • Easy to set up
  • All-in-one SEO tool
  • Great value for money
  • Robust resource library
  • Features white label
  • Affordable compared to alternatives
  • Rank check frequency discount on all plans

7. 1 Password


Best For Storing Passwords

Okay so this isn’t really an “SEO” tool, but it’s an extremely important one for privacy and data protection. If you’re a small business and do a lot of work online, you really need a password keeper. And this one is known as the best. 

1Password has all the features you could ever dream of. It works on every platform and device out there, which means you can access your precious passwords wherever and whenever you like.

It’s so simple to set up that even your grandma could do it. Not only that, but 1Password allows you to create multiple password vaults, separating your work and personal passwords with ease.

1Password also has autosave and autofill features, so you don’t have to waste any time typing out those long and complicated passwords.


1Password offers two main categories of pricing: Family and Business. The Family category includes two packages, one for individuals and one for families, while the Business category includes three packages: Team Starter Pack, Business, and Enterprise.

The Family Category 

  • Individual plan: This plan costs $2.99 per month and includes all the features of 1Password, including unlimited passwords, items, and 1 GB of secure document storage.
  • Family plan: The family plan costs $4.99 per month and includes all the features of the individual plan, but can be shared with up to five family members. It also includes 5 GB of secure document storage.

The Business Category

  • Team Starter Pack: This plan costs $19.95 per user per month and is designed for small teams. It includes all the features of 1Password, but is limited to a maximum of 10 users. It also includes 1 GB of secure document storage per user.
  • Business plan: The Business plan costs $7.99 per user per month and is suitable for larger teams. It includes all the features of the Team Starter Pack, with a 20 people user limit. It also includes 5 GB of secure document storage per user.
  • Enterprise plan: This plan is customized for larger organizations and includes additional features like advanced access controls, custom roles, and custom domains. The pricing for this plan is available upon request, as it depends on the specific needs of the organization.

It’s important to note that all 1Password plans come with a 14-day free trial, so you can try out the service before committing to a subscription. 



Quick Summary

Who’s it for? Anyone who wants to keep their online accounts and passwords secure, organized, and easily accessible.

How much it costs: Individual plans start at $2.99 per user per month.

Key features:

  • Secure password generation
  • Automatic form filling
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Encrypted vault for storing sensitive information
  • Cross-device syncing
  • Emergency access for designated family or team members

8. Spy Fu

Spy Fu

Best For Competitor Analysis

Spy Fu Info

Are you tired of being in the dark about your competitors’ digital marketing strategies? Do you want to be able to spy on them like James Bond on a mission? Then you need to try this ultimate web scraping tool for SEO intelligence.

With SpyFu, you can peek behind the curtain and see what keywords and search terms are driving traffic to your rivals’ sites. You’ll be able to stay one step ahead of the game and get the jump on the competition.

Not only does SpyFu offer top-notch competitor analysis, but it also provides powerful keyword research tools to help you optimize your own SEO strategy. 

And let’s not forget about the historic data that SpyFu offers. With years of intel at your fingertips, you can track the progress of your SEO and PPC campaigns and keep tabs on your competitors’ moves.


If you’re on the hunt for a powerful SEO tool that won’t burn a hole in your pocket, SpyFu’s got your back. Their pricing plans are wickedly affordable and start at just $39/month.

  • The Basic Plan: The basic plan is perfect for startups and small businesses. For $39/month, you get unlimited search results, data exports, and domain overview PDFs, along with 500 weekly tracked keyword rankings and up to 5 projects.
  • The Professional Plan: The professional plan costs $69/month and appeals to small agencies or companies that wish to take things up a notch. It offers 1500 weekly tracked keyword rankings, 15+ years of historical data, and custom branded reports. 
  • The Unlimited Plan: If you’re running a large business with an extensive web presence or an agency with multiple clients and team members, you need the unlimited plan. For $129/month, you get 20,000 weekly tracked keyword rankings, custom branded reports, 15+ years of historical data, and API access. Oh, and did I mention it comes with 5 user log-ins? Yeah, it’s a beast.



Quick Summary

Who’s it for? Anyone who wants to improve their website’s SEO and PPC strategies.

How much it costs: Plans start at $39 per month.

Key features:

  • Unlimited search results
  • Unlimited data exports
  • Unlimited domain overview PDFs
  • Tracked keyword rankings
  • Historical data analysis
  • Custom branded reports
  • Multiple user log-ins (depending on the plan)
  • API access (depending on the plan)

9. Dragon Metrics

Dragon Metrics

Best For Generating Reports

Dragon Metrics Info

If you’re like us, reporting can be a total snooze-fest. But with Dragon Metrics, everything becomes a breeze. This mighty beast is one of the best seo reporting tools out there. It’s like having your own personal dragon on your side, breathing fire into your reports and making them look stunning.

Need to report on your team’s work to management or a client? Piece of cake. The report layout is so clean and crisp, it’ll make your eyes dance with joy. Month-to-month reporting and analytics have never been so fun and easy.

There’s one more thing that makes Dragon Metrics awesome in our eyes. Most rank trackers out there only support the big three: Google, Bing, and Yahoo! But Dragon Metrics goes above and beyond by allowing you to check your rankings on Baidu. That’s right, Baidu, the predominant search engine in the Asia-Pacific region. If you’re targeting that market, this feature alone makes Dragon Metrics worth its weight in gold.


Dragon Metrics Pricing

Dragon Metrics offers a range of plans to fit different needs and budgets, starting with a free trial to get your feet wet. But let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the paid plans.

  • The Starter Plan: The Starter Plan is $99/month, and while it may not be the cheapest option out there, it’s definitely worth it for small businesses looking to take their SEO game to the next level.
  • The Basic Plan: The Basic Plan is $249/month and makes a great choice for small to medium-sized businesses that are serious about SEO and want to stay on top of their game.
  • The Standard Plan: The Standard Plan costs $499/month and is ideal for larger businesses or agencies with more complex SEO needs. With the Standard Plan, you get up to 1,500 tracked keywords, 10 user accounts, and the ability to track your rankings on Baidu, Yandex, and Naver in addition to Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. This plan also includes all of the features of the Basic Plan, plus advanced reporting options and integrations with Google Analytics and Search Console.
  • The Pro Plan at $749/month and The Enterprise Plan at $999/month offer more advanced features, such as increased keyword tracking and additional users, perfect for larger companies with more complex SEO needs.

Now, I know some of you might be thinking, “that’s a lot of money!” But let me ask you this, how much is your time worth? How much is it worth to have a tool that streamlines your reporting and saves you hours of work? I’d say it’s worth its weight in gold.

Plus, with the free trial, you can test out the features and see for yourself if it’s worth the investment. So don’t let the price tag scare you off, give Dragon Metrics a try and see how it can revolutionize your SEO and marketing game.



Quick Summary

Who’s it for? Small businesses and agencies looking for a powerful SEO tool to improve their search rankings and reporting.

How much it costs: Plans start at $99 per month.

Key features:

  • Powerful reporting and analytics
  • Search engine support, including Baidu for targeting the APAC market
  • Customizable dashboards and reports
  • Keyword research and tracking
  • Competitor analysis
  • Backlink analysis and tracking
  • On-page optimization suggestions
  • Free trial available

Final Thoughts

I want to leave you with one last piece of advice: although all these SEO tools are great and all, the total cost can easily climb up to $1000/month or more. On top of that, you need to know how to use them. 

If you don’t want to put in the time and effort, there’s no shame in outsourcing your SEO needs to a trusted agency like Sublime SEO. With their expertise and results-driven approach, they can help take your small business to the next level.

Just take a look at what they did for the largest tattoo manufacturer in the US. After 2 years of working with Sublime SEO, these guys are now ranking #1 for the highly sought after keyword “temporary tattoos” with nearly 100k search volume. Then there’s a car product review site with their 8800% increase in organic traffic in just 6 months, and reaching position #1 with 386 high volume keywords! Talk about impressive, right? I’ve worked with them myself, these guys are the real deal.

So there you have it ladies and gentlemen. My no-BS review of the best small business SEO tools for 2023. Whether you’re a solopreneur, business owner, or a growing agency, these tools will help you cut through the clutter and get the job done right. 

I’ve covered the best SEO reporting tools, keyword research and website analysis tools, content creation tools, AI tech, backlink analysis tools, rank tracking, and more. Everything you need to master your SEO game. Don’t waste another minute sifting through the endless sea of SEO tools out there. Try them out and see for yourself why they made the cut.

Leave a comment below of any post-read thoughts you may have, or if you know of any other small business SEO that you think should be on this list.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *