A lot of people want to know what tools we use for managing AdWords accounts, and also for doing SEO work.  If you want a full list of all the tools we use, you can see this marketing toolbox that we update regularly, but if you just want to see the tools we truly rely on, you can see the list below.  You won’t see certain obvious tools like Google Analytics or Google Webmaster Tools listed below, because those tools are obviously important for all accounts.  Instead, you’ll see the tools that we rely on, but that are technically optional, or subjective.

And as a bonus, after we show you the most important tools we rely on, we’ll share five tools that we do NOT use, and why we don’t use them.

With that said, below are the tools we use most commonly for AdWords and SEO.

  1. Google Keyword Planner: this is the most extensive, valuable tool for understanding keyword phrases, how competitive they are, and how much search volume they have on a monthly basis historically.
  2. SEMRush: this tool is a great tool for gathering competitive intelligence, and specifically used for finding all the display ads that competitors have or are currently running.
  3. SpyFu: this is another competitive intelligence tool, and it let’s us pull in the monthly budgets that competitors are spending, what keywords they are targeting, and what text ads and landing pages they are running .
  4. Screaming Frog: this pulls in all the raw SEO data from any website you want to crawl.  It tells you about broken pages, 301-redirects, page title tags, meta description tags, image alt tags, and lots and lots of other essential SEO data.
  5. Google AdWords Editor: this let’s us manage huge AdWords accounts at scale. It also let’s us make tons of offline changes without going live with them, until they are all ready.

So, those are the five tools we use constantly for clients.  But there is an important group of tools that we do NOT use: bid management tools.

Specifically, we do NOT use:

  1. Kenshoo,
  2. Marin,
  3. IgnitionOne,
  4. Acquisio, and
  5. Adobe AdLens (which has changed its name a number of times).

These are all world-class bid management tools, and we aren’t casting judgment on you if you decide that you want to use one of them.  But WE don’t use them, because we don’t like sacrificing the control that they require you to give up, and we choose to instead focus on building and optimizing custom campaigns that are aligned with our clients objectives.

Will Marlow is a search engine marketing consultant who loves helping high growth companies optimize and improve their PPC results: and he holds seven certifications: Google AdWords Search, Display, Mobile, Shopping, and Video Certification, Google Analytics Certification, as well as certification as a Bing Ads Accredited Professional.

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