The world has changed…SEO is now crucial to online business … your competition is well established on the web…how do you stick out from the crowd?

Google Keyword Tool
Ease of Use: Medium Difficulty
This is a free tool and some would argue the best. In recent years google has made this a little trickier, you need to register for an adwords account, give google some information about a potential ad campaign (you don’t have to run the campaign – just set a basic one up) and give google a credit card.
This is a pain in the butt, but a good pain! Because it will then give you access to a very sophisticated keyword tool,
Tools -> Keyword Planner…
You can search for keywords and phrases, Google Keyword Planner also features sophisticated filters you can use with the search such as Location and negative keywords.
SEO Book – Keyword Density tool
Ease of Use: Easy
This is invaluable! Run your website through here. The real value is that you will see what keywords google is seeing.
This is not obvious when looking at a website as many keywords are hidden in the code of your site. If you are a fashion designer in London and keywords such as ‘fashion’ and ‘London’ are way down the pecking order you will know you have a problem. Also I personally believe any keyword scoring over 4% might be a little high. You may need to pull it back a little.
For example, if the keyword ‘fashion’ has a 14% score, you run the risk google will see this as an intentional attempt to influence it’s SERP, you will need to remove some of the occurrences of ‘fashion’ on that page.
Moz
Ease of Use: Medium Difficulty
There are many backlink checkers such as Moz Open Site Explorer, Majestic SEO https://majestic.com/ or Back Link Watch http://www.backlinkwatch.com/
Open Site Explorer has a free version. It will give you an idea of who is linking to your site.
I have found that Meta tags, keywords, keyword density, speed and structure have a more direct impact on a websites SERP results. In fact I have placed sites with no backlinks on the front page of google for certain keywords and phrases.
However to rank successfully for search terms that are heavily subscribed for example ‘dresses’ ‘shoes’, ‘news’ ‘wedding venues’ etc. you will need to go that extra m to differentiate yourself from the competition. You need to build backlinks.
How do you do this?
Well Google sees every relevant backlink to your site as a vote. If you have 1000 legitimate backlinks, it means someone out there recommends you. If those backlinks are coming from incredible websites and brands in your niche business or interest or for instance from the national or international press, google will give those backlinks a lot of weight. The better your backlinks profile, is the more google will respect your brand and you will feature higher in the search results.
Screaming Frog SEO
Ease of Use: Medium Difficulty
A  Super Tool for SEO (free for Mac and Windows)
I use the Mac version, it is not the prettiest piece of software, but it is an incredible and simple application to use.
Now, you need to know about SEO to use it, but that can be said for all the tools listed here. There are many people who buy a big bag of tools for their home, but never use them, why?
Wakeup and do some research! Fixing small problems is easy with a little knowledge.
Screaming frog is simple, download it, there is a video tutorial online, run the application by simply entering your web address. It will scan your website, then magic! It will point out all the SEO problems you have on site. And there will be plenty.
Multiple H1 tags, photography with no alt tags, image files that are too big, missing alt tags, duplicate meta descriptions… the list is long. You fix these (r ask your web developer) and you will see long lasting, effective improvements in your SEO .
Ease of Use : Easy
Ok… I am not being lazy here by stating the obvious SEO tool… google.
We use google here in the office everyday for SEP information and research, this is the tool that informs and confirms your success or failure in the SEO stakes.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. If your name is Joe Blogs and you are a House Painter, ask yourself how your customers find you on the web?
If you have set up your website correctly you will rank relatively well for your name e.g. Joe Blogs
However, if they are online searching for a house painter, they won’t be using the search term Joe Blogs.
Why? Well that would be unlikely because that would mean they already know Joe Blogs. They are most likely to search “House Painters in Croydon” or “Best House Painters” or “House Painting Companies in Croydon” etc.
You get my drift. You need to figure out what terms people will most likely use when searching for your goods or service.
Then look on google… are you appearing in the directory for those terms? You need to find the top five terms and work towards those, don’t try to score for every term, as that will dilute your keywords and phrases on your site and confuse the search engines. If you are a house painter in Croydon…
putting the term ‘Painters in Croydon’ in the title of your website will get you off to a very good start.