If you rely on your website to generate business, you really can’t afford to overlook online tools which will assist with its optimisation. Whether you’re familiar with SEO or not, unfortunately there’s no getting away from how important it is when it comes to the bottom line. Quite simply, if you want to keep your pages ranking well in Google, and converting web traffic into sales, you’ll need the right tools for the job – and as a lot of these tools are free of charge, there’s really no excuse not to use them. Here’s our pick of the top 12 freebies to get you started:
1. Google Analytics Google Analytics is really the daddy of all SEO tools. It measures every conceivable bit of traffic to every page of your site, which means you can break down the results into geographical location, time of day etc. It also measures the length of time users stay on your site, and gives a percentage bounce rate, so you can tell which pages you need to work on. Analytics provides a great way to monitor users’ experiences, and track their journeys across your site, and learning more about your potential customers can only be a good thing.
2. Google Webmaster Tools Webmaster Tools gives you a great insight into what Google thinks of your site. It allows you to check how your website is indexed and viewed by Google, as well as any bugs or penalties attached to it, which can give some really helpful pointers for optimisation. Webmaster Tools also allows you to see the keywords which users have been searching for, so you can tailor your content to your audience.
3. Google Trends Google Trends monitors just that – trends of particular search terms. It’s essentially the global charts for search engines, and a fantastic starting point when it comes to thinking up a new direction for your content and digital marketing strategy. Keeping up to date with what’s hot and what’s not in search behaviour is especially key for more volatile industries, such as fashion and technology.
4. Google Adwords Keyword Planner For those thinking about beginning a PPC campaign (or even just looking for content ideas), the Adwords Keyword Planner tool provides an excellent way to establish a set of key Adwords. Simply type in a word or a phrase and the tool will generate a list of associated keywords with additional traffic data, including monthly search volume and competition.
5. Google Page Speed Insights The length of time it takes your pages to load may not be top on your list of priorities, but believe it or not Google takes this into account when rating your website. The Google Page Speed Insights tool allows you to check the speed and usability of your site on computers as well as mobile devices. Pages which load faster lead to higher visitor engagement and, in turn, better optimisation, so it’s important to make sure that your website is up to speed.
6. Google Alerts Google Alerts can be set up to match your search terms of choice, and you will then receive an email letting you know when there is a new post online featuring this word or phrase. This may be your company name or a more detailed content description, but either way it’s a good way of keeping up to date with any online results which directly affect your business and your digital PR.
7. Screaming Frog SEO Spider Screaming Frog’s SEO spider is a small desktop program which allows you to crawl and analyse your website’s SEO performance, including links, images, CSS and script. This means you to run a quick technical audit of your site and collect important information to let you know what’s right and what’s not. The tool presents the data in tabs by type, so you can quickly look for common SEO issues, and it can also create a report for you in CSV format.
8. Similar Web This easy to use site allows you to retrieve quick stats on user engagement for any website or mobile app. The data includes overall monthly visits, traffic sources and geography, as well as information about the business sector that visitors are interested in, sourced from the categories of other websites that users also visited. This tool is perfect for checking your own statistics as well as those of competitors.
9. Ubersuggest Another handy keyword search tool, Ubersuggest allows you to search for terms relevant to your product or service, and then lists associated search terms and keywords alphabetically. It can also filter results according to general web searches, images, news, shopping etc. All results are based on real user queries so it’s an excellent way to find inspiration for blog content as well as PPC campaigns.
10. SEO Quake SEO Quake is a browser plugin which gives you access to lots of SEO data including traffic, links, social shares and on-page keyword optimisation on every webpage you visit. You can determine which parameters you want to display and also select to turn off data for certain websites. It’s a really helpful tool for determining the authority of pages when you’re link building.
11. MozCast MozCast is a great way of keeping abreast of the daily changes in the Google algorithm. Although the Penguin and Panda algorithms have been widely publicised, Google is, in fact, making changes to the way it functions all the time. Like a weather forecast, MozCast provides a daily report, showing any volatility. Quite simply, the hotter and stormier the weather, the more Google’s rankings have changed.
12. SEO Woorank The SEO WooRank tool is available as a free App or plugin for Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers. It generates an in-depth review of over 70 SEO statistics for any website you visit. Simply click the icon in your browser to receive a full report window which will open along the website and provide an overview of areas of the site which have errors or need improvement.
So that’s our top 12! We hope you find this list useful but it’s really just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re willing to subscribe to ‘pro’ versions of SEO tools, you will obviously get greater usability, but free versions are a fantastic source for those just beginning to dip their toe into the murky waters of SEO. You’ll find some tools more useful than others, but the important thing is that you have a play and find which ones work for you. If you have any questions about SEO tools and how they can help your business, please get in touch – we’d love to help!