As a small SEO company, we’re no different than other small companies in that we don’t have a lot of money to spend on tools. So when we absolutely need a tool, we want to get the best bang for our buck.
Sure there are tools that are free. I use a lot of them. But many of these only do one thing and some are more robust than others.
A good, free tool for checking your site’s backlinks is OpenLinkProfiler. It shows you the total number of backlinks you have, and gives you a “Link Influence Score” which calculates the value of each backlink. http://www.openlinkprofiler.org/
For some reasonably-priced, paid tools, a like Wincher and Whitespark. Wincher is a keyword ranking tracker. That costs under $6/month for a single domain and only $2/month for additional domains. It gives you the basics–keyword tracking, change in rank, and best and worst movers. http://www.Wincher.com/
Whitespark.ca offers a suite of seo services including a citation finder, reputation builder, and local rank tracker. They also offer to do these services for you for an extra cost. I use the citation finder. It runs $20/month, but allows me to find new and existing citations and keep track of them along with notes with what I’ve done with that citation. As you may know, citations are typically directories such as yellow pages, the better business bureau, facebook, google+ and thousands of others where a company can list their name, address, and phone (NAP.) With Google still valuing NAP highly, it’s important that this information is correctly conveyed across all listings on the web. http//www.whitespark.ca.
While these tools make it easier to mange your SEO, you still have to do the work. Or should I say, I do.