Perhaps the most endearing quality of the Internet is that it’s “the great leverager”. In other words: whether your business is teeny-tiny or gargantuan, you have the same search engine access. You don’t necessarily have to “pay to play” as you do in so many other advertising channels. With all the free Search Engine Optimization tools out there, you just need to keep an ear to the ground to know what they are and invest a little time into getting to know them. Here are eight tools and processes that have been real game-changers for our clients.
8 (Mostly Free) SEO Tools To Improve Your Website Performance
Übersuggest is a terrific tool for developing better long-tail phrases. As you know, the Google Keyword Tool can help you find ideas, but it’s not 100% accurate and it’s far from complete. Keep in mind that 0 searches doesn’t mean 0 potential. Some of the most profitable keywords I’ve found have been the low-hanging, long-tail fruit.
So here’s how to improve your keyword research using these tools. We usually mine Übersuggest for keywords we may not have previously considered. Then we take the list of keywords we get from Übersuggest and run them through the Google Keyword Tool to get a feel for search volume. Another option is to install the KeywordEverywhere extension for Chrome/Firefox and you’ll get search volume and CPC for free.
A few years ago, Google’s Matt Cutts explained that keyword-stuffing was at the top of his team’s agenda.
“We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO – versus those making great content and a great site,” he said. “We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now.”
Remove Em’s Anchor Text Over-Optimization Tool lets you check keyword density and make sure you’re not over-optimizing. If you find you are over-optimized for specific keywords or phrases, you can then easily modify them or remove some of the backlinks. You’ll still have to do the clean-up manually (unless you want to pay for the service), but the data is very helpful for knowing where to focus your efforts. We also recommend using Google Synonyms for ideas on creative ways to rephrase some of your most-used keywords.
URI Valet used to the tool everyone used, but they’ve retired… and then un-retired… but we’ve yet to see the relaunch. So, in the meantime, we’ve been using WebsiteOptimization.com to get a sense of a website’s loading time. Simply enter the URL of the page you’d like to check for a detailed listing of page size, composition, and download time. The size is listed for each element and component.
What better SEO tool than the one offered by the search engine you’re looking to rank for, right? Yet, even within Google, there is a massive architecture to accommodate SEO masters from bare bones beginners to busybody pros. If you really want to get on top of everything Google Analytics has to offer, you want to take courses through the Analytics Academy, particularly the Tag Manager class. Upon completion, you’ll know how to simplify the tag implementation and management process, which will save you loads of time and hassle.
Screaming Frog is one of our most-used SEO tools. We use it to crawl, analyze and audit client websites for:
– Broken links (404s), redirects, and server errors
– Page titles and meta descriptions that are too long, too short or missing
– Duplicate URLs, titles, descriptions or headings and low content pages
– URLs blocked by robots with noindex or nofollow tags
– Files that are too large or slow-loading
You can also use the tool to create XML sitemaps. The free version lets you check up to 500 URLs.
6. Check the amount of backlinks you are gaining and losing with AHREFs.
Simply go to the website, enter the URL, and get a report about how many backlinks you are getting and losing each day. There is also a paid version if you want to conduct more in-depth competitor analysis and run more URLs. Checking your backlinks is a great way to identify top-performing content to help you create future content. If you discover some backlinks that are negatively impacting your site (which does happen from time to time), there are several steps you can take.
7. Up your game with Moz, the most comprehensive SEO tool on the market.
While the full version of Moz Pro isn’t free, you can do a little bit of local auditing for free and download a toolbar that will give you fantastic insights.
We use Moz Pro to:
– Research content and link-building opportunities
– Find and prioritize keywords
– Audit local search listings
We highly recommend using the MozBar, which lets you examine the search, social and page metrics of any page you visit. It’s great not only for your own sites, but for competitor analysis, too.
Another similar tool we use all the time for in-depth SEO analysis (also, alas, not free) is SEM Rush, which is worth checking out if you’re ready to grow your business by delving into next-level optimization.
This is just a small smattering the tools we use. The easiest, quickest way to get your website performing better in search is to contact a digital agency for a free website audit. From there, you may choose to work with the digital agency’s consultants and SEO experts or you may perform the recommended changes on your own. Either way, it’s a great way to get a pulse on what you’re doing right and what you can improve.