Embedded Systems & Future
In today’s digital world, our life is surrounded by Embedded Systems. From brewing your morning coffee to microwaving your breakfast to driving your car (with its smart digital features), getting to the office where you take an elevator to get to your smart (auto adjustable) desk.
Systems, Embedded in Our Life
From the auto adjustable desk, you use your laptop for work until you tell Alexa to turn off your smart lamps and head to bed — all the while using your smartphones.
Welcome to the world of Embedded Systems.
The devices you use are getting smaller, faster, and smarter every day. It’s all happening due to their tiniest component, a semiconductor “Chip,” embedded inside the device. These microchips are smaller than our fingernails. Moreover, almost all the modern-day embedded devices use these Microchips. It’s hard even to imagine a world without them.
The “Brain” in the System
The components of embedded systems consist of Sensors to capture the input signals, a Processor (Microcontroller or “Logic”) to manage the sensors, a memory to store the data, and an actuator or the output device to trigger or capture the results seamlessly. It’s quite the same as our human body. We have sensors (like ears, nose, eyes, etc.), a “Brain” to Process and Memorize, and the rest of our bodies that react.
The semiconductor “Chip” (Microcontroller, Processor & Memory) is the “Brain” of the embedded systems. These semiconductor chips are classified as the “Logic” (also known as Processors) and the “Memory.”
The “Need for Speed”
The newer technologies (such as IoT, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and cloud computing) use complex algorithms and need a high-speed processor and faster memory.
The computation speed and memory requirements are increasing rapidly from supercomputers to smartphones. The first supercomputer, CDC (Control Data Corporation-6600), had a top speed of 40 MHz, which is painfully slow in today’s world.
The first version of a Raspberry Pi (the most straightforward microcontroller, costing less than $50) has a 700-MHz processor. MHz is the ‘clock’ speed of a processor. One million decisions made in a second is one MH. The latest supercomputer can compute 200,000 trillion calculations per second. The iPhone-13 uses an A15 Bionic processor chip having 15 billion transistors.
This also applies to personal computers and laptops. On October 27, 2021, Intel announced its 12th generation processor family, “Core i9-12900K,” the best gaming processor (5.2 GHz), having as many as 16 cores and 24 threads. The new desktop processors reach new heights of multi-threaded performance for enthusiast gamers and professional creators.
Evolution of the next-generation computing
The evolution of advanced semiconductor chips helps devices achieve high-end algorithms. These complex algorithms have been in existence for decades. However, they could not be implemented to their fullest extent in the real world due to the lack of specialized computational tools.
One of the most revolutionary signal processing concepts, the “Fourier Transform” (included in the Top 10 Algorithms of 20th Century by the IEEE) and one of the most critical algorithms used in image processing and telecommunication, has existed for a long time.
Fourier Transform was first discussed in 1805. It’s a mathematical function that transforms a signal from the time domain to the frequency domain. It is a very powerful transformation that gives you the ability to understand the frequencies inside a signal.
However, due to the lack of in-depth computational tools, scientists could not explore it further (until ~1970) or use it in any commercial systems. But now, it’s widely used in image processing and signal processing in many commercial and critical systems (including RADAR & SONAR).
It’s all Happening here, Moore’s law
Gordon Earle Moore is an American engineer and the co-founder and chairman emeritus of Intel Corporation. In 1965, he authored Moore’s law and, using existing data, extrapolated that the number of transistors in integrated circuits (IC) would double about every two years with the reducing costs.
Advancements in the semiconductor manufacturing process (especially the lithography machines) keep Moore’s law alive. In the last few decades, these chips are getting more condensed, efficient, and economical with an increasing number of transistors fabricated in a single monolithic Chip, and the trend continues.
The latest technologies evolve in parallel with the semiconductor “Chip” evolutions. As a result, the embedded systems world is getting advanced, smart, and more affordable.
The semiconductor technology revolution produces high-computational, high-speed processors and faster-access memory semiconductor chips. These revolutions are the reason behind the success of the latest technologies, including smartphones.
The success is because the need for critical and optimized signal processing algorithms evolved the concept of “System on Chip” (SoC), where the entire digital and analog signal processing algorithms are done inside the hardware (semiconductor chip) itself.
SoC has managed to make embedded systems more efficient. In addition, these SoC have helped tremendously in overcoming network incompatibility, integration, and reliability issues in IoT, especially in wireless connectivity and 5G capabilities.
These advancements in semiconductor chips have significantly impacted our human life. Their contribution to medical science, from the most straightforward contactless thermometer to the sophisticated life-saving devices, is vast. These advancements have made a tremendous impact in the medical world.
The Chip Shortage, A Current Problem
In recent years, the world has witnessed high-speed digitization and, further boosted by the pandemic, a massive surge in demand for laptops, smartphones, automobiles, and servers. Unfortunately, this has led to a significant problem: a shortage in the chips that control everything.
In addition, the evolving technologies are more demanding, creating the need for smaller, faster processors and more available memory. It’s almost a chicken and egg problem that works to meet production needs.
The current pandemic impacted semiconductor manufacturing in an unprecedented way. However, smart embedded devices have helped keep life going. Our kids continued their education remotely using chrome books, cameras, and headphones, and many workers continued to work remotely without hiccups.
The role of contactless temperature scanners, smart contact tracing using mobile data, and other technologies played an instrumental role in confining the spread of COVID-19. Without these smart embedded systems devices, our life could have been much worse in the past few years.
The Journey and Evolution of the Semiconductor Chip
The semiconductor chip journey started with the “vacuum tubes.” Ancient computers used vacuum tubes. A vacuum tube is a glass tube with electrodes for controlling electron flow, acting as a switch or an amplifier.
In 1947, the University of Pennsylvania made a computer using vacuum tubes almost the size of a building. In the following years, scientists William Shockley, John Bardeen, and Walter Brattain collaborated to invent transistors, to replace the vacuum tube, offering a more effective way for the computer to process information.
The invention of “Transistors” was a huge milestone and revolutionized semiconductor technology. In addition, it helped in making the integrated circuits smaller, faster, and more affordable. The great researchers “Shockley,” “Bardeen,” and “Brattain” made a considerable contribution to semiconductor research and the development of the transistor and were awarded Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956.
These transistors started getting used in the Integrated Circuits, which are also called “microelectronic circuits,” “microchips,” or “chips.”
The chips are an assembly of electronic components, fabricated as a single unit, in which miniaturized active devices (e.g., transistors and diodes) and passive devices (e.g., capacitors and resistors) along with their interconnections are built upon a thin substrate of semiconductor material (typically silicon).
The resulting circuit is thus a small monolithic “Chip” that we know today.
Chip Manufacturing, Impossible is Past
A chip is a set of electronic circuits where the transistors turn a current on or off. Microchips are made by building up layers of these interconnected patterns of transistors on a silicon wafer. The latest monolithic chips can support more than 100 layers containing a billion transistors each, each aligning at atomic (nanometer), which needs to align with nanometer precision (called ‘overlay’).
The manufacturing process of these semiconductor chips has several steps. Using various automation processes, it can take months from design to mass production in the cleanrooms of the chipmakers’ fabs (fabrication facilities). There are four unique phases in production.
Design Phase: Circuit Design
Development Phase: Printing circuit to a Silicon wafer
Pilot Phase: Critical Production criteria (based on the overlay, critical dimensions, etc.) matching
Mass production Phase: The primary focus is to maximize the yield and minimize the loss (failures) for commercial viability
The Game Changer, EUV Lithography
Lithography is when a light source is used to print tiny patterns of devices, including transistors on silicon. It is a fundamental step in a mass-producing microchip. Lithography machines where the hardware meets software provide a holistic approach to mass-producing patterns on silicon. This machine is one of the most complex machines globally, which has evolved tremendously in the past few decades.
ASML (ASML Holding NV) is the market leader in the DUV (Deep Ultraviolet) lithography machines and the only maker of the next generation EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet) lithography machines in the world.
These machines are so complex (almost the size of a bus), with over 100,000 components and around a mile’s length of cable, all assembled to make a giant lithography machine costing more than $150 million per machine.
The precision of these machines is in the nanometer range. For example, ASML uses DUV machines with a precision of around 200 nanometers wavelength. There are only a few DUV manufacturers (Nikon & Canon) other than ASML.
In addition, ASML has been playing an instrumental role in meeting the challenging demand for the latest technologies and keeping Moore’s law alive. For example, ASML’s EUV lithography machine is the next-generation high-resolution lithography machine that made a revolutionary change in achieving a 10-nanometer (almost X-ray range) precision wavelength, something unprecedented in most cases.
ASML invested more than 17 years and approximately 6 billion euros in research and development in making the EUV lithography machines. These EUV machines manufacture sophisticated microchips. The EUV machine is directly benefitting all human beings.
These microchips are used in all the latest smartphones, gaming consoles, smartwatches, and other high-end embedded devices.
The Future is here, EXE Lithography Machines
ASML is working on its next generation of EUV lithography (EXE) machine, which will open the door for a smarter digital world in future decades. Intel and ASML are working together to make it a reality as soon as 2025, and they’ve managed to offer EUV production with numbers that were not possible before.
Above all, the EXE EUV machine would reduce the costs and energy needed to manufacture this chip. This machine also offers to scale at an affordable pace, well into the oncoming decade. This machine has a higher resolution that will enable 1.7x smaller chip features and 2.9x increased chip density.
The number of process steps will reduce significantly with this platform, which is a solid motivation to adopt the technology. In addition, it will significantly reduce defects, costs, and cycle time.
The entire world of technology is evolving in a feedback loop. For example, the need for faster and more efficient hardware (logic & memory chips) used in the latest technology drives the “Chip” fabrication industry.
And the advancement in semiconductor chip manufacturing further pushes the latest technologies forward. For example, the latest (EXE) lithography machines use the most sophisticated semiconductor “chips,” fabricated using the earlier generation Lithography (DUV/EUV) Machines.
The semiconductor “Chip” (logic & memory) advancements are shaping future technologies. While most of this will depend on how efferently we continue to advance the chip manufacturing industry. These challenges could bring about future technology up to this point unprecedented.
We see a significant evolution happening faster than ever before, creating an “industrial revolution” in Embedded Systems.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed are the author’s own and not the views of his employer.
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The Future of Calendars: Predictions and Trends
We live in a world where online calendars are a part of our daily lives. No matter how diligently you use an online calendar, you’re still benefiting from it. For instance, you might be reminded to send a birthday card online, schedule events or business meetings, or block out your day.
It is important to realize that online calendars are still a relatively new productivity tool that is rapidly developing. As a matter of fact, your online calendar is becoming more of a personal assistant that will advise you on how to spend your time best. But, there is so much more than calendars are capable of in the future, such as the following predictions and trends.
Solving scheduling problems.
“So far, it looks like the reinvention of the calendar will happen in two phases,” notes David Pierce for Protocol. “First, users will get access to a new set of tools, integrated with Google and Outlook calendars but opening up lots of new features.”
After that, calendars will be turned into a standalone service if they prove successful. In the same way, Slack is to email, Zoom is to a desk phone, and Airtable is to Excel, all these companies hope to be to your Outlook calendar, he adds. “Time is money, all these calendar companies will argue to investors and customers, and we’ll save you both.”
“We’re only at the beginning of the first phase, though, and still attacking the first problem worth solving: scheduling. How about one solution? It’s as simple as speeding up the process.
Superhuman, for example, scans emails for dates like “next Friday” and lets users send invitations accordingly. Scheduling is, in essence, an email problem. As a result, it should be available as an email solution as well. In a similar vein, Vimcal, often referred to as “Superhuman for calendars,” is a new app that focuses on speed, and CEO John Li said most people want meeting creation to happen lightning fast.
Calendar is another option if you want to speed up the scheduling process. The Find a Time feature in Calendar allows you to schedule with others quickly. Using multiple calendar users, create events based on their availability and see when they are busy.
Chatbots will be able to organize your meetings.
Professional life has become quite complicated following the pandemic. For example, working remotely from home isn’t as straightforward as it seems. Many of us find it hard to keep up with the increasing demands on our time.
At the same time, the number of American employees working remotely is expected to increase to 36.2 million by 2025. So, we’re going to have to get used to these new working conditions. Thankfully, technology can save the day.
The majority of the time, work involves scheduling meetings and being on time. In order to make your life easier, you can use a chatbot to help you set up meetings. Chatbots can still be useful as an additional meeting planning tool, such as SharePoint calendars.
You can also schedule meetings using Messagely or TARS. It is also beneficial to manage teams remotely and track their time by using a time tracker. It is possible to balance work and life with the help of these chatbots.
Chatbots and software powered by artificial intelligence also show great promise for helping businesses become more productive and profitable. For example, a phone validator app checks the validity, type of line, network carrier, location, etc., of the line to improve productivity.
These chatbots can handle scheduling and organizing meetings while you focus on other important tasks.
Calendars will become even more intelligent.
Smart calendars or intelligent calendars collect every schedule or action to boost productivity and simplify management using intelligence or automation. Using an intelligent calendar will help you establish boundaries between your personal and professional life.
As well as blocking time, you can reduce the time spent on certain tasks manually. Your ideal workweek can be automatically scheduled and managed using a smart calendar. Besides scheduling tasks, you can use an intelligent calendar to increase efficiency and reduce human dependency.
It goes without saying that an intelligent calendar can enhance productivity and save you time. In an effort to streamline meetings, increase event aggregation, and reduce time wastage, intelligent calendars have become a necessity due to the following:
- Notes can be jotted down in the calendar to help keep track of important information and deadlines.
- Synchronize your personal and work calendars.
- It is possible to get information from smart notes that will help you determine what actions to take.
- Organizes all your meeting invitations
- From the app, you can get relevant information about the weather, traffic, and drive times.
With Motion, for example, you can always know what to do next. It creates a day-by-day schedule based on meetings, giving you a minute-by-minute overview. Trevor AI is another AI calendar app that helps you organize your day by keeping track of your lists of tasks to do; this AI calendar app puts one task at a time so that you work more efficiently.
Furthermore, Calendar can provide smart suggestions on when, where, and who to invite when scheduling meetings. It’s not magic. With artificial intelligence and machine learning, Calendar can create a unique scheduling experience for you.
Finally, intelligent calendars can help you become less distracted and more productive.
If you block out 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in your calendar for undisturbed work, quiet time is from 8:30 am to 11:30 am. Your calendar will automatically block out this time instead of creating a recurring event.
During this time, you may find your calendar automatically disables distractions like email and social media notifications. It’s possible that your calendar will determine when you’re most productive as well. As such, if you fade out every 50 minutes, you’ll be reminded to stretch and take a break.
And, that’s just scratching the surface. Considering that the size of the global artificial intelligence market was $136.55 billion in 2022 and is projected to increase by 37.3% from 2023 to 2030, calendars will continue to become more and more intelligent.
The AR calendar will bring your calendar to life.
It’s true that some companies have been using augmented reality (AR) to make plain old paper calendars more interactive for the past several years.
As an example, once you download an app, you just need to point your phone at a calendar image and tap the screen. Using AR, Tengo Interactive created an airport calendar that provided users with a behind-the-scenes view. Other companies have created wall calendars that utilize augmented reality to explain their entire product range.
By 2028, the AR market is expected to reach $97.76 billion. Due to this, augmented reality calendars and marketing opportunities will continue to expand rapidly.
By using this technology, you will be able to walk through a property in virtual reality. From there, you might be able to make an appointment with the realtor if you like what you see.
If you are planning a trip to the Grand Canyon, you could experience the destination before booking the trip. Or, you could view local restaurants, salons, or museums. You then have the option to make reservations or book tickets and have them automatically added to your calendar.
Use ChatGPT prompts to manage your time.
On November 30, 2022, ChatGPT was launched, which quickly sent the internet into a frenzy. Just one week after it was launched, OpenAI’s chatbot reached 1 million users. It also gained 57 million users in its first month and is supported by Microsoft’s $10 billion investment in Open AI.
Still not impressed? After two months of launch, ChatGPT reached 100 million monthly active users, making it the world’s fastest-growing consumer app. And some people have even dubbed it “the best AI chatbot ever released to the general public.”
As a result, it would be remiss of us not to mention ChatGPT. Furthermore, the app deserves its own section due to its popularity.
But, what link is there between ChatGPT and calendars?
In particular, Chat GPT can help you locate open times on your calendar for dental appointments or team meetings. In order to fix this problem, you might write a prompt telling it what your schedule looks like for the week and ask for a reorganization.
As well as scheduling meetings and appointments, ChatGPT can keep track of deadlines and deliverables for event managers. ChatGPT’s natural language processing feature enables event managers to input their requirements and view their schedules on a calendar.
Some of your chores will be taken care of by your calendar.
“Online calendars aren’t merely more useful than their paper peers,” writes Howie Jones in a previous Calendar post. “Today’s top calendar apps can recognize and prevent double-bookings.” Others can adjust meetings across time zones.
But, over the next decade or so, how much more will online calendars be capable of?
“While I wouldn’t hold out for magically tackling your chores for you, there are many more online calendars will be able to do by 2030,” Howie adds. You may see the following upgrades:
As your calendar continues to evolve, your reservations will be made for you. How? Several popular online calendar apps will integrate airlines and hotel services. From the same app, you can decide when and where you want to go.
Scan and plan.
Let’s say that you walk past a flyer or a billboard advertising a local event. Rather than scanning down the information, why not let your calendar app copy it down for you?
Suggest nearby events.
You can use your mobile device’s location tools to find out where you are. Your calendar app will then show you all events within a specified radius when you choose the day and hour. As long as it knows your preferences, it won’t suggest a roller coaster park if you hate them.
Tend to your home.
Google Home and Alexa will soon be able to connect with your online calendar, so you can schedule actions for each device connected to your smart home network.
Maintain your vehicle.
Changing your car’s oil and rotating its tires should be done every few thousand miles. Using your calendar app, you can keep track of your mechanic visits and schedule future appointments. With the help of an app like Google Maps, it will alert you when you have reached your mileage threshold. The app will suggest a highly-rated mechanic if your current mechanic is unsatisfactory.
Published First on Calendar. Read Here.
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Top 10 Software Development Companies In Chicago 2023
Finding top software development companies in Chicago is never an easy choice. Chicago is a significant technology hub, and there are thousands of companies that have offices in this region. This makes choosing your partner difficult. But not from now. If you stick through the end of this article, you’ll know the software development companies you should approach whenever you need any services.
List of top 10 Software Development Companies in Chicago For 2023
eSparkBiz is a software development company with multiple decades of experience in serving international and local clients. The company has multiple offices around the globe and offers hiring models that are suitable for customers of all sizes.
It offers services like digital transformation, software development, web app development, mobile app development, AI/ML, Data Science, In-depth Analytics, IoT, and Blockchain development. This company is a one-stop solution for all your software needs, and you’ll get the best solutions from their experienced staff.
eSparkBiz also provides end-to-end product development and maintenance for startups. So, if you’ve got a great idea, give them a ring and get it transformed into a business with their expertise.
2. Forte Group
Forte Group is a large software development company from Chicago with 22 years of industry experience. The company has more than 900 software professionals working on different projects and technologies for their global clients.
The company provides product management, QA, Ecommerce Strategy, and enterprise software engineering services. Forte provides end-to-end product development and maintenance for customers around the world from its ten global office locations.
Highland is another company on this list with multiple decades of experience. It assists organizations in developing, designing, scaling, and customizing digital goods, experiences, and companies that benefit others. It has an extensive portfolio of projects, and till now, it has helped its clients launch over 350+ ground-breaking products.
The company provides innovative business solutions and helps companies with digital transformation and innovation needs.
4. Launchpad Lab
Launchpad lab is a team of digital product specialists who collaborate with you to change your company by using the relevant services, talents, and technology. The company provides a wide variety of services like web app development, mobile app development, UI/UX design, product strategy, and salesforce development.
If you want to work with the best and most futuristic technologies, the team at Launchpad lab will surely help you. Moreover, the company has already built and maintained futuristic solutions since 2012 for companies around the globe.
5. Vault Innovation
Vault innovation is a custom software development company that provides end-to-end software engineering services. It has helped numerous business owners launch their exciting digital products and leave competitors in the dust.
The company provides various development services like Technical architecture, Backend Development, Frontend development, QA testing, and project management too.
Vault innovation also provides flexible hiring models that help you leverage the best while keeping costs in control. Whether you are looking to build an entirely new product or enhance an existing product, Vault innovation has the skilled developers to turn your requests into features.
Neologic was founded in 2008, and since then, it has provided multiple software development and engineering services to global clients. Its services include process consultation, product management, and software support and maintenance over and above the core development services.
It follows a three-step process for software development and helps clients globally. Neologic consultants start with deep research on your problems and understand the core needs. After that, they design the end-to-end solutions and chart out the plans, and begin developing software that helps your business.
Plego technologies is a software consulting company with multiple offices around the globe. It provides services like web development, eCommerce store development, AI/ML products, and many more things.
Plego has been in the software development business since 2002, and by now, it has worked with large corporations like Berkshire Hathaway, Apple, Samsung, Intel, etc.
The company offers multiple hiring models, so you can choose the one that provides maximum efficiency for your investments, and you can always change the hiring models as you advance.
8. Atomic Object
Atomic Object is a custom software development and consulting company for all your technical needs. It provides services like web development, mobile development, IoT software, Desktop applications, and Cloud migration too.
The company works with the latest technologies like Android, Swift, Azure, React, AWS, NodeJS, and many others as and when its clients require it.
9. Caxy Interactive
Caxy Interactive is one of the oldest and top software development companies in Chicago. It was established in 1999 and has been based in Chicago since then. The company provides services like web development, analytics, and design for global customers.
SimForm is a unique digital engineering and solutions provider. The company provides services in four main sections such as product engineering, cloud, and DevOps engineering, Data engineering, and Quality engineering.
If you want to build exceptional products with an extensive team, SimForm is the way to go. It provides project management, design, development, performance testing, and app management services. SimForm started in 2010, and by now, it has helped clients of various levels right including startups, public companies, Fortune 500 companies, WHO, and NGOs too.
Whether you are looking for an experienced and reliable solution provider or you are looking for an innovative and experimental software development company, you have all the best options in this list. So clear your requirements, and head to any of these software development companies in Chicago to build the best technological products for your needs.
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Best Moz Alternatives of 2023
Every entrepreneur and small business owner needs to get SEO right if they want to be competitive in both the online and local markets in which they operate.
Making sure your website gets seen by the right people—your prospects—at the right time—when they’re ready to buy—is just the first-level challenge. You also need to make sure your site is optimized for local search traffic and ranking well organically to prospects who are in an earlier stage of the buyer’s journey.
To solve those business website challenges, many owners and entrepreneurs turn to reputable online SEO tools. For many years, Moz has been considered to be at the top of that list.
Moz and What It Can Do for Entrepreneurs
Moz Pro is a suite of SEO tools that includes keyword research, site audit, rank tracking, link building, and much more. One of the first SEO tools to hit the market, Moz Pro remains quite popular with businesses of all sizes.
However, some find Moz Pro to be prohibitively expensive, and many find its value—that is, what it offers in exchange for those high prices—to be less compelling than some of its competitors. While it does offer a free plan, that level provides access to limited features. Additionally, many users find the UI/UX (user interface/user experience) non-intuitive, with a steep learning curve.
These are just a few reasons why entrepreneurs might want to seek a different alternative to resolve their SEO challenges. In addition to tools offered by search engines, such as Google Search Console (a free tool that Google offers to help monitor site performance, indexing issues, and more), consider some of the Moz alternatives we’ve listed below.
Semrush is a comprehensive suite of SEO tools that offers keyword research, competitor analysis, site audit, backlink analysis, and more. Like Moz, it will help you research and analyze keywords, including search volume, related keywords, and more.
Both sets of tools also help you choose keywords that are accessible and competitive, but SEMrush helps you assess how many links you’ll have to build in order to rank for that specific keyphrase. While Moz offers ranking data for results from Google, Bing, and Yahoo! Search engines, SEMrush only provides Google data.
SEMrush may also provide more help in the field of social media analysis with SM content optimization, management, and performance analysis tools. It offers a free trial, plus a free version with limited functionality as well as three paid plans.
Click here to try Semrush for free for 14 days.
A popular SEO tool, Ahrefs offers keyword research, site audit, competitor analysis, backlink analysis, and more. Ahrefs lets you audit your own site for top keywords and performance, backlinks and anchor text, overall domain performance, and competitive domains.
Many users find the Ahrefs interface to be more simply designed and intuitive to navigate and use. It also provides robust domain data, including estimated domain traffic with the ability to view changes to a site’s performance over time.
Ahrefs will also show you keyword research data for ten search engines, not just Google. Like SEMrush, it lets you know how many backlinks you’ll need to build in order to rank well for selected keywords. Websites can use a free Webmaster tool’s version, or you can sign up for one of four paid plans.
3. Raven Tools
Raven Tools is a suite of SEO tools that includes site audit, keyword research, backlink analysis, rank tracking, and more. Users rank it especially highly for its keyword analysis and SERP (search engine results pages) rank tracking. Unlike some other alternatives on our list, it doesn’t offer a free version, but it does provide a free full-feature trial for seven days.
As part of its suite of tools, Raven Tools gives you access to SEO audits, on-page SEO analysis, SERP analytics, and page speed data. In addition, you can find tools for keyword tracking, backlinks tracking, and paid ad tools. With five paid plan levels from $50 to $480 a month, you can find the package that suits your business site’s needs.
4. Majestic SEO
Majestic SEO provides a backlink analysis tool that yields information on backlinks, anchor text, and referring domains. That’s the primary difference between Majestic and Moz. Whereas the latter site aims to provide a fully featured suite of SEO tools, Majestic is aimed at a narrower slice of the market. It does backlink analysis very well, however, including analysis of top incoming backlinks, tools to help you build more incoming links, comparison tools for your competitors’ domains, and other relevant metrics such as anchor texts and referring domains.
There are no free versions (and no free trial offers either, for that matter). Majestic SEO does offer three paid plans, which doesn’t provide as much choice as other sites we’ve profiled here. However, if you’re looking for help with your backlinks, it’s definitely one to consider.
5. Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a site crawler that helps you identify technical SEO issues on your site. It manually analyzes each page on your site for broken links, duplicate content, missing title tags, and much more. You can also connect it with your Google Analytics account to get the most out of the data your GA account generates for you.
Unlike many of the other Moz alternatives here, which operate on an SaaS web-based model, Screaming Frog is a desktop program for both PCs and Macs. It offers a free version and a single paid version that costs about $260 for a license that must be renewed yearly.
BrightLocal provides a targeted set of tools that help you manage your local business listings, monitor customer reviews, and track your local search rankings. It’s a good choice if you’re looking primarily for local SEO and reputation management tools, with access to local SEO and Google business profile audit reports.
BrightLocal offers a two-week free trial with access to all features, as well as three paid levels to its all-in-one suite of tools. In addition, you can pay-as-you-go for access solely to its Citation Builder tools, starting at $2 per website, including submission to hundreds of sites, removing duplicate listings, and repairing errors in existing listings.
SpyFu is a competitive analysis tool that provides insights into your competitors’ SEO strategies, including their organic search rankings, paid search campaigns, and more. If you’re mostly in search of tools for competitor analysis, rank tracking, and domain comparison functionality, SpyFu is a good alternative to Moz Pro.
SpyFu offers both a free trial and a free version, as well as three paid versions that let you run customized monthly reports.
The Bottom Line
If you need a comprehensive set of SEO tools but Moz Pro is a little out of your price range, or more than what you need, there are lots of Moz alternatives you can choose from. Consider exactly what SEO needs your site is currently experiencing before you choose an alternative SEO tool to try. For example, if competitor analysis is more important to you, look at Ahrefs or SpyFu. If you’re more concerned about local SEO and SEM, consider BrightLocal.
Check for a trial period or a free plan in order to test out the interface and UX generally, since you’ll want to pick an option that feels intuitive to use and that you can navigate with relative ease. Make sure the plan you’re considering meets both your business needs and your budget. That’s the best way to make sure you’re using the right SEO tools for your business and website.
Published First on GRIT DAILY. Read Here.
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