I often hear people say, It’s not my duty to learn how to use those tools; I never use those publishing tools.

Well, if you are a publisher and want to give your business a competitive advantage, then you’ll have to get over your technology pet peeves and embrace the tools of the industry.

While some of the tools are free, you must also be prepared to spend a bit of cash on others – spending money to make money. That is especially true about building audiences and then monetising the traffic.

If you must err, then do so on the side of paid tools than the bare minimum offered by the freebies, albeit good freebies.

Piecemeal strategies and winging it won’t cut it either. It needs to be a holistic strategy covering all aspects of the publishing business and how the various components feed off each other. Remember a chain is as strong as its weakest link.

Can’t go wrong

I’m obsessed with watching TikTok videos of SEO specialists and other creative professionals within the industry talking about how best to build audiences utilising some of the best tools around.

Below are some of the SEO tools we use at Planet Sport to help build our sports audience and business. If you’re a publisher and not using these tools then you’re falling behind the competition.

  • Google Search (GSC): This is a free tool from Google and a must-have in any publisher’s toolkit. It’s useful for tracking a website’s search performance and diagnosing issues with the website.
  • Google Analytics (GA): I can’t stress enough the importance of this tool. And it’s free for journalists and editors. GA is easy to use and essential for tracking website traffic, user behaviour, and conversion rates.

    It provides valuable insights into how users interact with the website and what content is performing well.
  • SEMrush: Unfortunately, to get the full value from this platform you need to opt for the paid version that provides keyword research, backlink analysis, and site audit capabilities.

    The SEMrush platform is also useful for tracking website ranking performance and for identifying new opportunities for improving search engine visibility. The free version allows publishers to look at their own and competitors’ stats.
  • Yoast SEO: Perfect match for WordPress. You may have seen from my profile that I’ve completed most of the Yoast technical courses.

    There is a free plugin for WordPress that provides on-page SEO recommendations and analysis. It provides a traffic-light system so that your editorial team can ensure that aspects of the SEO have been met.

    However, I would recommend upgrading to the paid version as it’s a simple way to manage domain loops, forward urls and SEO guidance on articles.
  • Google Tag Manager. This tool allows you to manage and deploy marketing and analytics tags on your website without needing to edit the code.

    The tool is more useful for marketing as it allows teams to have easy access to the website to add code for tracking commercial opportunities and surveys.

    Due to Google’s latest policies around speed we have started to restrict the use of additional tags.
  • Google Keyword Planner: This is another free tool from Google that provides keyword search and analysis. It helps publishers to identify new keywords to target and improve their website’s search engine visibility.
Google Keyword Planning
Google Keyword Planning
  • Google Optimisation: This website optimisation tool allows you to run A/B tests and experiments to improve user experience and conversions.

    It is a critical tool for Mobile and managing Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

Subscription tools

Below are other useful value-for-money tools. For these you have to pay a monthly subscription fee. I would suggest having dedicated resources assigned for these. The value is worth it.

  • Moz: This is an underrated tool, but for me it provides a full suite of SEO tools that include keyword research, link analysis, and site audit capabilities.

    It’s a pity that they have had to go down the paid route, but you can still extract useful information like Domain Authority, Page Rank, Spam and Linking Domains – https://moz.com/domain-analysis

    It’s a useful tool for tracking a website’s search engine visibility. Publishers also use it to identify opportunities for improving websites’ SEO.
MOZ home page
MOZ home page
  • Majestic: This is a link intelligence tool that provides data on backlinks, anchor text, and link history.

    It’s perfect for trust flow, citation flow, toxic referring domains, and link profiles.
Majestic Home Page
Majestic Home Page
  • Ahrefs: This paid tool provides detailed analysis of backlinks, organic search traffic, and keyword research. Publishers use it to identify new keywords to target and to monitor their website’s backlink profile.
  • Serpstat: This tool provides keyword research, backlink analysis, and site audit capabilities. It is useful for tracking website ranking performance. Publishers also use it to identify new opportunities to improve their search engine visibility.
Serpstat Home
Serpstat Home
  • BuzzSumo: The tool is used for content analysis and social media monitoring. Publishers will find it handy for tracking their websites’ social media performance and for identifying new opportunities to create content that resonates with their audience.
Buzz Sumo Home Page-4
Buzz Sumo Home Page-4
  • Screaming Frog: This is a desktop tool that crawls a website and provides detailed analysis of its structure, URLs, and internal links. Publishers use it to identify technical issues on their websites and to improve SEO performance.
Screamingfrog - Home Page
Screamingfrog – Home Page

As I say, I really can’t stress how important some of these tools are and if you’re not using them, then it’s time to learn.

My Digital Toolbox

Creating a successful sports digital business
When asked, how do I create a website?
Must Have Tools for Publishers 
What the hell are cookies?
Why Publishers should embrace Chat GPT


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

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