There’s no doubt that SEM tools are essential for a lot of PPC experts. It reduces their time on standard campaign management tasks, which means they can spend more time on other things that can improve the campaigns.

There are many, many SEM tools out there. Tools that can help you set up better keyword lists, automate your reporting, streamline your optimisation process and much more. We asked more than 40 experienced PPC specialists what their favourite SEM tools are that they would recommend to others.

Without further ado, here is the top 15 of the best SEM tools the experts recommend you to use.

Top 15 Best SEM Tools in 2019 :


First, almost half of the PPC experts voted for SEMRush. SEMRush goes beyond just Search Engine Marketing. They describe themselves as an “all-in-one marketing toolkit for digital marketing professionals”. Next to Paid Search, their products focus on SEO, social media, market research, content marketing and public relations.

The experts that filled in our survey were mainly impressed by the large amount of competitor data that is available in SEMRush. As part of that, the tool gives visibility into ad copy’s being used by advertisers. Also, you will be able to pull a list of competitors, the number of common keywords, estimations on paid traffic and their spending.

Google Keyword Planner

Second, the Google Keyword Planner is a free tool which is integrated in your Google Ads account. In your account, navigate to Tools & Settings > Planning > Keyword Planner.

The Keyword Planner can help you setting up your keyword list and find how what the search volume is for these keywords. Also, it shows you how competitive each keyword is and what the cost-per-click is that you can expect to pay to be able to compete.

Google Ads Editor

Third, the Google Ads Editor is a must for every SEM specialist. It’s the official downloadable application for Google Ads.

It makes it able to work offline and make bulk changes to your Google Ads campaigns. To sum it up, it’s a no-brainer to use this tool as it will make the campaign management a lot quicker and easier.

Google Data Studio

A lot of PPC experts love Google Data Studio, especially the ones that are working on the agency side. It’s Google’s free reporting solution for users that want to go beyond the data and dashboards in Google Analytics.

Data Studio has a seamless integration with Google Analytics and Google Ads. Also, it gives the opportunity to visualise the data in different ways which is impossible in the platforms directly. It’s a perfect tool for agencies that want to provide their clients with advanced, yet automated reporting.


Often used in combination with Google Sheets & Data Studio, Supermetrics is the perfect add-on for your reports. It will allow you to push through more data connections to your reports. For example, data from Bing Ads, Google Search Ads 360 or Facebook Ads.


Ahrefs has many tools available to help you manage your SEM campaigns. Mainly, it gives you information about your competitors that you can use to improve your campaigns.

Ahrefs describes it themselves as “learn why your competitors rank so high and what you need to do to outrank them”.

Microsoft Excel

Good old Excel made it to the list! It’s still one of the best tools to slice and dice your campaign data and come to new insights.

Excel doesn’t really need any further introduction.

Google Trends

Google Trends allows you to see how often specific keywords, subjects and phrases have been queried in Google over a certain period of time.

For SEM this tool can help you understanding the search volume of your most important keywords. In combination with the Keyword Planner, you can then understand what budget is roughly needed to advertise in your region.

Then, is an alternative to the Google Keyword Planner. So, you can use it to get keyword suggestions when you start building your campaigns.
In comparison with Google’s Keyword Planner, Keyword Tool pride themselves to be more reliable as it works 99.99% of the time. It’s completely free and you don’t even need to create an account with them.


Starting mainly as a tool to streamline A/B testing, Adalysis now offers multiple products to streamline your SEM management.

It can save you hours of manual analysis, and it can help you to work smarter and faster on bulk tasks. They have a free 14-day trial and there month-to-month packages are quite affordable. Especially, considering the time you save on management.


Optymyzr is a PPC expert’s complete toolkit. It offers search marketing tools, scripts and worklflows. It’s the winner of “Best PPC Software” at the 2018 US Search Awards.

Other than most other tools in this list, it’s not a free tool. With their packages starting at US$499 it’s actually quite an expensive tool for most advertisers.

Keywords Everywhere

Then, Keywords Everywhere is a browser add-on for both Chrome and Firefox. It shows the monthly search volume, cost per click and competition data of keywords on multiple websites.

It lets you find long-tail phrases that you can use when managing your campaigns. Therefore, it can save you a lot of time in your keyword research.

Google Ads Scripts

Google Ads scripts provide a way to programmatically control your Google Ads data. For example, you can pause keywords that are not getting conversions and had a certain amount of spend.

There’s not really a limit of the SEM tasks that you can automated using Scripts. However, you might need to have some developer knowledge to implement them.


SpyFu can unlock competitor data for you. You will be able to see every keyword your competitors advertised on in the last 13 years, see their ad copy’s etc.

Using competitor data can help you to manage your own campaigns as well.


Finally, only a few SEM specialist picked Wordstream. However, it’s probably one of the most well-known SEM tools in the market. On their website, they mention that roughly 1 million advertisers are currently using their platform.

Wordstream offers many tools to manage your SEM campaigns. Some of these are free. However, to unlock certain features you will have to sign up and pay either a monthly or annual fee.

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