Search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing go together like cake and ice cream. Seemingly for as long as I can remember, in the SEO community the rally cry has been, "Content Is King!" As a result, key content marketing tools end up on most every SEO professional's holiday wish list. But which tools are the best? There's an abundance of options out there, and nobody has time to test them all out to find the premium options.

Luckily, the leg work has been taken care of for you. Check out these top five content marketing tools, how they work, what they'll do for you, and why you need them in your arsenal:

1. Trendspottr

Here's the deal about trends on social media platforms: If you're engaged in "social listening," by the time you notice that a certain term has gone from emerging trend to buzzword (and ultimately a hot SEO keyword/phrase/theme), it's already played out. Trendspottr uses real-time data to pinpoint what's trending across the biggest social media platforms long before they become mainstream. The service lets you keep an eye on emerging trends so you can jump on top SEO keywords before the competition--giving you the edge you need to climb up those rankings.

Is it going to ensure a top spot for a certain keyword? Of course not. However, you can optimize your content for engagement, sort content based on performance/predicted engagement, and avoid stale content that's not serving your SEO goals.

2. Searchmetrics

With Searchmetrics' software suite, you can plan your content strategy based on buyer personas, key words, events, themes, buyer cycle stages and custom tags/metadata. The service can help you better execute your strategy by letting you assign metadata to certain items of content, all the while filtering your production and planning. Content creators can use strategy profiles to follow updated instructions while editors can access content in real-time to check for accuracy before approval.

3. Raven Tools

This popular analytics tool lets you report on content marketing campaigns as they relate to SEO, social media, and PPC (what some people call the trifecta). "Reports don't have to be a time suck," promises the creators, and they're definitely well known for giving users the analytics quickly and in a manner that's easy to comprehend. The suite breaks down tedious tasks, takes care of them, and supplies you with SEO analytics that can be translated into actionable moves on your part. The content marketing aspect of Raven promises a CRM that's easy to use and update, as well as a research section to help you with new ideas for blogs and articles.

4. Disqus

It's one thing to create an awesome blog or post, and quite another to get people actively engaged in the comments. Disqus helps foster an active comment community by providing what most people feel is an attractive, easy-to-use approach. You may not realize it, but Disqus is now the go-to comment tool for over 2.5 million sites. A lot of site owners like it because it's free to add, and it tends to attract commenters with avatars, pops of color, and star rating systems. Remember that comments can play a key role in SEO rankings. (Especially if you have moderators with an SEO background.)

5. Skyword

There's a huge difference between a professional writer and a professional SEO writer who has a background in your particular industry. For the most part, businesses don't need (and can't afford) a permanent, full-time SEO writer. Skyword lets you outsource your SEO-rich content creation projects (from ongoing articles to one-time blogs) to a wide pool of qualified applicants. The freelancers and small business owners on Skyword are skilled niche writers with strong SEO backgrounds.

In this day and age, you don't have to settle for anything else than flawless content creation that leads to improved SEO. With the right tools, you can blow past the competition and leave them wondering what your secret is.