This list doesn't surprise me much. GSC and Screaming Frog have always been industry favorites (and for good reason), and SEMRush and Ahrefs will always be at odds.
One tool that I didn't see listed that I'd like to shoutout is the TechnicalSEO.com Schema Generator tool. This tool is great for anyone that needs to write Schema quickly. I use it all the time to generate FAQ and HowTo Schema.
Google Search Console is a holy grail, best for monitoring and troubleshooting website issues. The percentage is also high because it's free and the data provided is trustable. The percentage of using SEMrush and Ahrefs is almost the same. Both have some great features and clean user interface along with some limitations in their plans.
The top 3 results are well-deserved IMO. They would be my desert island SEO tools.
But as a nice to have on top, I've started using SiteBulb a lot more recently and the fact that you can schedule regular crawls and get an overview comparison is a great time-saver and helps spot some uncommon issues sooner than you might notice them yourself.
It is great to see that technical SEOs do not take the power of Google Search Console and its insights for granted. Where the budget is limited for tools, GSC contains enough information to address many core issues.
I'm glad to see Search Console on top. It's free, it's comprehensive, and it gives an excellent overview of a website. But like every tool, it is limited, and it has to be used together with other tools to gain better insights.
Makes sense to see GSC on top, it's invaluable data for any SEO campaign. A nice array of tools being used otherwise!
I couldn’t imagine not having GSC and Screaming Frog for technical SEO, the others are nice to have but these two are essential IMO.
GSC dominates the list and rightfully so. I also agree with Screaming Frog SEO Spider as a second favourite for technical SEO work - great insights at a low price.
The top 3 tools are also the ones I use most often for technical SEO. I also like Sitebulb.
Google Search Console is a goldmine of information, and you can get very far with this tool alone. Couple that with Screaming Frog, an incredibly versatile tool, and you've got a winning combo!
Given how few SEOs test, I'm not surprised to see SearchPilot so low on the list…
If you could only choose ONE technical SEO tool, which one would you choose?
Next, we wanted to force the issue a little bit and from the same list, asked respondents to tell us the single technical SEO tool that they would use. Here, the top answer with 39% was Screaming Frog.
If you're hesitant to invest in paid SEO tools (which understandably get expensive), Google Search Console and Google Keyword Planner can actually get you quite far in the beginning. There are also many free SEO tools out there that you can mix and match to get different bits of information. Eventually a paid tool with everything in one place is more convenient, but it's not a must for beginners.
Interesting that Screaming Frog comes out top over GSC when asked to pick just one! But Screaming Frog really does have amazing functionality, and I would feel quite lost without it.
SEOs are incredibly loyal to their favourite tools - for good reason. The fact that there are a couple of tools here that I've never used, but other SEOs have chosen as their single technical SEO tool, is tempting me to go and check them out.
But thank goodness this is a hypothetical question.
I'm surprised by this. I would have bet on GSC. Still, I find Screaming Frog so helpful that its value cannot be neglected, especially the less apparent functionalities.
A no brainer ;) This tool is so versatile and the team continues to update it to meet growing user needs.
Screaming Frog is my favorite - they have never stopped improving their tool and is just dependable in all aspects of an SEO audit!
This is such a tricky question! Mostly because I use all of the top 3 here. But seeing the responses, I do feel Screaming Frog as the top choice does make most sense.
I personally can't do SEO without Screaming Frog. It's my favourite SEO tool too and all the new updates are making it better every time.
When crawling a website, which of the following tools do you use? Select all that apply:
Next, we went a little more specific and asked about SEO tools for crawling. The most popular tool that technical SEOs use for crawling, at 90%, is Screaming Frog. This was followed by SEMrush at 32% and closely behind was Ahrefs at 31%.
As I said, Screaming Frog is love. I always use it to crawl websites and find issues. Recently, I've also used Oncrawl and I'm impressed with the reports I get. They are quite thorough and create lots of sense with all the data sets.
It’s great to see screaming frog is a hands-down champion, they offer a free version with a 500 URL crawl limit making it an attractive tool for freelancers and businesses of all sizes.
Wow, some of these answers have really thrown me. Not naming any names, and I know it's down to personal preference. It's great to see such a diverse range though - the more crawling tools we have available to us, the better for us!
I also use the top 2 tools and compare results between them. I’ll use Sitebulb too, if time allows, just to check for any extra data or for another visual comparison.
Well, I agree with the responses but I wouldn't put Screaming Frog in the same category as SEMRush or Ahrefs; they are all equal good and valuable, but they have different purposes.
Screaming Frog is my go-to crawler. Once you understand the scale of what you can do with it, it cements itself as an indispensable tool. It is one of the very few paid tool subscriptions that I don't question the usefulness of.
If you could only choose ONE tool for crawling a website, which would you choose?
Forcing SEOs to choose just one tool for crawling, the clear winner was Screaming Frog with 71% of SEOs choosing it as their tool of choice for crawling.
I feel Screaming Frog has long held its esteemed reign as one of the most popular crawling tools for SEOs and for good reason. This would be my go-to for in-depth crawling.
This makes a lot of sense. Screaming Frog was the first crawling tool I had access to and I suspect the same is true for the majority if tech SEOs. I'd be interested to see how the answers would be different if we asked the same question but with 'If cost was of no concern' before it.
I'm surprised by SEMRush and Ahrefs choices, I thought there would be fewer who chose these over Screaming Frog.
I use SERanking because it's quick and easy to use.
Screaming Frog is great tool for Technical SEO Specialists at all levels and works perfectly with all websites large and small.
When assessing the search visibility of a website, which of the following third-party tools do you use? Select all that apply:
For tools that measure search visibility, SEMrush was the most popular tool, with 64% of SEOs using it. This was followed by Ahrefs at 56% and Sistrix at 19%.
Not a surprise. SEMRush is famous across the board and easily used by multiple teams and stakeholders. Also, the graphs are a plus when presenting data to non-data people.
As more established tools, I'm not surprised that Semrush & Ahrefs were the leaders. It is also great to see that SEOs love the SISTRIX Visibility Index. It is my go-to when auditing new websites or conducting visibility spot checks. Only a few tools strike the right balance of valuable data and beautiful, report-ready visualisations. SISTRIX hits the mark in this respect.
I tend to stick with SEMRush. In the past I’ve used Ahrefs but I prefer SEMRush overall.
Agreed. SEMRush and Ahrefs are valuable for tracking search visibility. It also makes sense why they both top the list - can’t talk about one without the other!
If you could only use ONE tool to assess the search visibility of a website, which one would you use?
When forced to choose just one tool, the majority of respondents (43%) chose SEMrush as their tool of choice for measuring search visibility.
It's interesting to see Splunk so low on this list as it's such an incredibly powerful tool. The breadth of their capabilities may be getting in their way with SEOs, though, as there's a lot more besides log file analysis that can be done with Splunk and it tends to feel a bit overwhelming.
If you could only choose ONE tool for carrying out log file analysis, which one would you use?
Answers were very similar when it came to choosing just one log file analysis tool, with Screaming Frog leading the way again with 71% of respondents choosing it as their one tool.
Screaming Frog Log File Analyser
When measuring organic search rankings, which of the following tools do you use? Select all that apply:
Our next question focused on tools to measure organic search rankings and respondents were asked to select all tools that they used for this purpose. The most popular answer with 78% was Google Search Console, followed by SEMrush (56%) and Ahrefs (49%).
Google search console provides information on site performance, search queries, top pages, mobile usability and more. In addition, Google Analytics provides information on the top marketing channels, acquisition, user behavior and landing pages. They should be used together to get a complete picture of organic search rankings.
Whichever of these tools you prefer, it's important to highlight to clients that they don't show the complete picture. Search results can change rapidly and can vary based on factors like the searcher's location. But overall, these tools are still valuable for monitoring performance over time.
Again, I wonder if there's a barrier to entry causing GetStat to be so low on this list. It's another incredibly powerful tool that can be a bit intimidating to use.
I'm so happy to read this! GSC can be so granular and insightful that it makes use of third party tools redundant for certain tasks.
Nice to see GSC at the top here, add in the API and you have a huge amount of data without a 1,000 row limit.
I like using a combination of GSC and a third party rank tracker to cross-reference for any patterns. SEMRush and Ahrefs have additional functionalities that make them great overall tools to make use of.
I’m also a fan of the top 2 tools here. However, I use SEMRush for rankings primarily because I sometimes find it gives me a more accurate picture for smaller clients or where I might not have as much search volume or history.
In my experience, using a combination of Google Search Console and third-party data is the winning combination.
Google Search Console is fantastic because you can see what queries people are actually using to land on your site. This real-life data is invaluable. You'll sometimes even see zero search volume queries generating significant traffic that other tools wouldn't pick up on.
That being said, in order to find untapped topics/ideas, you can't rely on Search Console, so that's where other tools like Ahrefs or Semrush can show you that data.
If you could only choose ONE tool to measure organic search rankings, which one would you choose?
When it comes to choosing just one ranking tool, Google Search Console was the winner again with 34% of respondents choosing this as their tool of choice.
This reply is interesting, despite being non-surprising and a bit concerning. Several studies over the past years have demonstrated the imperfection of search rankings data, communicated to end users by Google Search Console, with reasons such as user privacy being the main cause of this. Equally so, we have seen studies on the inaccuracy of ranking data, captured by third-party tools such as Ahrefs and Semrush. The main issue is that there is no tool at the moment that can accurately and completely communicate organic search rankings, which is concerning, considering so many organisations rely on this data when making strategic decisions.
Many third party tools, including SEMRush and Ahrefs, create some really useful graphs that track any ranking patterns - as long as everyone in the team is using the same tool consistently to report back on ranking performance
SEMRush tends to be my choice because I use it for auditing and it's a tool I use a lot, so I suppose I mostly use it out of habit. The responses here remind me though how much excitement I get from seeing Google Search Console rankings increase however - so this is something I’ll be returning to more and using for tracking rankings as well as using for other more technical data tracking.
I use SEMRush because it gives me a list of keywords a page is ranking for with a comprehensive breakdown of data like SERP features, ranking position, keyword intent, difficulty, CPC etc. This helps me assess the performance of content and make necessary judgments to improve the content further.
GSC is accurate, provides excellent information, can be accessed by everyone in an organization, and it's easy to read. Also, the learning curve is incredible and allows everyone to understand the meaning behind the data.
If you could choose just ONE non-eCommerce platform to work on, which one would you choose?
Next up, we wanted to ask technical SEOs which platforms they preferred to work on, starting with non-ecommerce ones. WordPress was by far the most popular answer with 71% of respondents choosing it as their platform of choice.
Extremely happy to see that Wordpress popularity is going down from last year's survey. It's so bloated and vulnerable - we can do better!
Popular platforms like WordPress make life a lot easier, because there's a high chance that the majority of marketing teams have at least some experience with using it before.
From first-hand experience, WordPress provides the most flexibility for technical SEO fixes. Compared to other non-ecommerce solutions, it offers a high level of customisation. Whilst other CMS' are increasing their SEO focus, they have quite a way to go to compete.
I did expect to see WordPress here, but I'm surprised how many people use Drupal! It would be great to understand the respondents' backgrounds to better understand this choice.
Wordpress continues to be a popular CMS to work on, and I totally agree! I know Wix has really made an effort to improve their SEO functionalities recently so it makes sense its grown a bit in popularity
This is expected. Wordpress has been always the easiest choice for content publishing!
I expected this. WordPress is quite popular and offers more flexibility than most CMS.
For the others, I’ve not worked with Drupal before but I know Wix has made some improvements in the past year to earn a spot in the top 3.
WordPress for me, because of its flexibility and the fact I’ve most experience with it. I’ve also seen a lot of problems with it in the past (sites set up by others, hacked sites, etc) but it is powerful and auto updates really help keep it secure.
WordPress is very versatile and is one of the easier CMS platforms to optimize for SEO. There are many plugins like Yoast that help to check the SEO optimization of a WordPress page and ensure that the content is optimized to rank well.
I've used Wordpress for 6+ years and I don't find any other platform to be as robust and versatile.
In your opinion, which non-ecommerce platform is the most problematic to work on?
We then asked the inverse of this question and asked respondents to tell us which non-ecommerce platform they didn’t like working on. Wix was the least popular platform to work on with 20% of respondents saying it was the most problematic for them. This was followed by Drupal at 12%.
I 100% agree with Drupal. It has so many limitations and the nodes make things so complicated that it's not worth the effort.
If you could choose your favourite eCommerce platform to work on as a technical SEO, which ONE would you choose?
We then asked respondents if they had experience working on ecommerce platforms. 69% said that they did and they were then asked which platform they preferred working on. The top three answers were relatively close here, with Shopify just about winning with 33.3% of the votes. Closely following were WooCommerce (32.7%) and Magento (14%).
Absolutely agree with this! Shopify has really done a great job at creating a good quality ecommerce platform and have taken feedback from the SEO industry seriously in my opinion. WooCommerce will always be a great choice too, with more flexibility but can be more technical to set up than Shopify
Shopify all the way for me. I like that it’s easy to use and does exactly what my clients need it to do.
With more ecom start-ups emerging, I expected that Shopify would be a front-runner. It removes a lot of time and resource challenges. In addition, Shopify Plus is continually evolving to better accommodate technical SEO optimisations.
In your opinion, which eCommerce platform is the most problematic to work on?
Again, we asked the inverse of this and 38% of respondents said that Magento was the most problematic platform to work on from a technical SEO point of view.
From my agency days, I agree that Magento caused me quite a few headaches - and I had to rely on developers more than for a platform like Shopify.
Magento is a great solution for businesses that have a large inventory. But, out of the box, it is not an SEO-first solution. Plugins and bespoke coding are often necessary to accommodate key technical SEO configurations. These additions and amendments can be costly for businesses.
I've definitely had my fair share of issues with Magento! But with the right people it has some incredibly useful functionality, and I definitely believe it is a great choice for very large ecommerce stores
If you could choose just ONE project management tool to use, which one would it be?
Finally in this section, we asked about project management tools that technical SEOs prefer to work with. The winner with 22% was Asana, closely followed by JIRA at 20%.
If you could choose just ONE project management tool to use, which one would it be?
Asana is easy to integrate multiple teams in the platform and is customizable to each team needs, that's why I think it's a top choice. For Jira - Development teams mostly use it for ticket handling and so it's understandable that a lot of technical SEOs use it as well.
I have worked in many project management systems. They can be a great help or they can be a terrible pain. It is as good as the will of the people using it accordingly.
In case you haven't been using a project management system and want to try it, I suggest the entire team is part of it 100% or else it is pretty unlikely it will work without causing issues and frustrations.
Enabling change takes different time to anyone but if you stick to it, eventually it will work. To your own surprise way better than before.
Martina Zrzavá Libřická
I'm surprised to see Asana at the top, and I wonder if it's because it's easier and more "playful" than Jira or because it's more suitable for certain types of projects. I still think Jira is more integrated and flexible, primarily when multiple stakeholders work together.