First we build the tools, then they build us” – Marshall McLuhan
As a business owner, you’re no stranger to the importance of using good tools to help improve your business. I know personally that the right tool can make a big difference to just about anything in life. But hey, this is a digital marketing post. So, how can you use tools to work smarter with SEO. And better yet free tools. Well today, I am revealing a list of the free SEO tools that I couldn’t live without! Please put these tools to good use.
1 – Google Page Insights
At a glance, Google Page Insights gives you a summary of your speed and usability of your site on desktop and mobile. Simply, drop the URL of the website you want to check into the tool and it will run the test in seconds. It will give your website a score out of 100, any score above 80 for mobile and 85 for desktop is decent. It will also present opportunities for you to improve your score this is extremely valuable and you should check up on this tool regularly.
2 – Screaming Frog SEO spider
This is by far my favorite free tool. Once downloaded, drop your URL into the tool and it will crawl your website for broken links. Additionally, it will give you information on each pages meta description, heading tags and other useful bits of information. Use this information to identify where you are missing meta descriptions or page titles. And any links that come back 404, which means they no longer exist, investigate why and fix the problem.
3 – Google Search Console
This tool gives you the ability to constantly analyze your website and identify crawling issues. This is very important information from Google directly. This tool is quite technical, so it’s best to get your IT team to deal with errors. My favorite feature is “search analytics” which gives you data on the keywords that you are ranking for or better yet nearly ranking for. Use Google search Console to identify keywords that if you put more effort into can rank higher for.
4 – Google Keyword Planner
Another amazing tool courtesy of Google! Type in your website url or keyword ideas and it will give you monthly search volumes for those keywords. It will also suggest other keyword ideas broadly related to the one you put in. This is a great way to discover new keywords. Additionally, Google keyword planner will also give you seasonality trends so you can understand what time of the year keywords get the most searches and plan ahead for that.
5 – Yoast SEO
Now this tool is only available as a WordPress plugin but it is the ultimate tool for business owners with little SEO understanding. It allows you to determine your meta description, page title and url slug. It uses the traffic light system to tell you if your web page is well optimized or not. Advanced features that are really handy is its ability to generate XML sitemaps for you. These help Google crawl and index your website helping with your rankings.
6 – Portent Serp Preview
I continuously work out of excel to write title tags, meta descriptions and url structure for a lot of my business clients. And I love using this tool to visualize what they will actually look like in search engines. Portent SERP preview does exactly that, give you a preview of exactly what your copy will look like in the search engine result page (SERPs).
7 – Notepad ++
This is a great little desktop app that let’s you edit or write HTML and txt files. That sounds technical. It is a little but it’s really handy to quickly edit a page and then paste it directly back into WordPress. This is a tool for the more ambitious business owners who want to learn a little more about SEO.
8 – Copyscape
Google has openly said it penalise you for duplicate content on the web or in other words plagiarism. Copyscape is a great way to check if a blog post or webpage exists somewhere else on the web.
You might want to use this to check your own pages or if anyone is copying your website page or blog.
9 – Google Analytics
By far the best free analytics solution on the market. It give you complete insight to everything happening on your website. In addition to tracking everything on your website, analytics will also tell you which keywords are performing best for your business. This requires a little setup but once you set up some goals you’ll understand the revenue impact your SEO work is having on your business. Some key metrics to look at in Google Analytics are bounce rate, page views and time on site. These give you a pretty good indication of how relevant your content is to the keywords bringing traffic to your website.
10 – Pingdom
Pindom offers a free speed testing tool, much like Google Page Insights. To use an analogy, I like to use Pingdom as getting a second opinion after a doctors visit. But it will grade your website based on several important factors and give some insights for improvement. There you have it my favourite free SEO tools out there for businesses. There are hundreds of tools out there so go exploring for more!
Please let me know in the comments which were you favorite? Or if there are any I missed which you think are great!
This guest post is courtesy of Tom Donohoe. He is the Co-founder at Capstone Digital, a digital marketing agency for small businesses & startups. Evangelist of all things digital, coffee aficionado and frequent contributor to many blogging websites. Connect with me on Linkedin.