There are some great tools available to help webmasters with their SEO. Unfortunately, many of them require subscriptions and paying for them all can very expensive. However, there are also quite a lot of free tools available and many of the subscription services do offer valuable free tools as well. In this post, we’ll look at 8 of the most helpful and free SEO tools available.
1. Google PageSpeed Insights
The speed of your website is an important SEO ranking factor. The faster your website, the better chance it has of ranking higher. Faster websites also retain users longer and have superior conversion rates.
You can easily check the loading speed of your site on desktop and mobile devices by using the free Google PageSpeed Insights Tool. Simply type in your URL and the tool will measure the loading time and performance of your site. The results give you a mark out of a hundred for each device, identify the things which slow your loading time and present you with a list of useful suggestions to make your site even faster.
When it comes to SEO, getting the right keywords is vital if you want your site to rank for the right searches. Keywordtool.io is a very useful little tool that provides you with up to 750 keyword ideas based on a single keyword.
All you have to do is enter a keyword, such as ‘men’s shoes’ in the example above, and the tool will provide you with a detailed list of keywords and long-tail keywords to help you rank higher.
What’s particularly useful about this tool is that it finds keywords for particular types of searches. So, if you are looking for keywords that will do well on Google, you can narrow that down to find the best keywords for Google.co.uk. You can also search for the best keywords to use on a range of other sites such as Bing, Amazon, YouTube and the iTunes app store (each of these can be filtered by country too).
3. Google Analytics
Google Analytics remains one of the most powerful free tools at the fingertips of any webmaster, giving you a complete oversight of the traffic you get to your site. There’s pretty much everything you need to help you understand how well your site is performing and where its weaknesses lie.
Find out where your traffic comes from (location, device used and source), where they land, how long they stay, how they move from page to page, and which pages they exit from. You can track movement and dropout rates from landing pages to checkout pages and even set up goals to measure conversions and other events. Using Google Analytics is a no-brainer – there’s nothing else which is free that has anywhere near the capabilities.
4. Google Search Console
In conjunction with Google Analytics, you should also use Google Search Console, the webmaster tools it provides gives you highly detailed website analysis as well as important alerts and error reports.
Google Search Console enables you to understand how well your site is indexed and whether there are any problems that prevent your pages being found; it gives you vital information about whether your site has been given a manual penalty, and provides a wide range of useful information including letting you know what search terms you rank for, what your rank is for each search term and your click through rates for those terms. Also useful for SEO, it shows you which other sites link to yours.
5. Google Trends
Another excellent free tool from Google is Google Trends. This tool lets you compare up to four search terms to analyse changes in their search volumes over time. You can analyse over different periods of time, by location and by a range of other factors, too.
Google trends can give you very powerful insights. If you were thinking of selling a new product and noticed that, year by year, the number of searches were getting smaller, then it would be a clear indication that the product’s popularity was on the decline. It can also throw up some surprising results. Looking at the image above, it’s obvious that far more men in the UK go shopping for shoes online than women. It also shows that they key term ‘kids shoes’ is searched for much more than ‘children’s shoes’ – all very helpful information to have for online businesses.
Sussing out the competition is an important SEO strategy for any online business. Some companies pay hundreds of pounds per month to use the powerful, in-depth competitor analysis tools that are available. If you are looking for a free tool, then SimilarWeb can be very useful.
Although you need the pro version to use all its features, the free tool let lets you compare two different websites at the same time, giving you detailed information about their ranking, traffic numbers and sources as well as various other insights into their analytics.
7. Find Broken Links
Having broken links on your website can affect your ranking because by sending users to error pages you are offering a poor user experience, which neither search engines or visitors like. Links to internal pages or external websites can be broken if content is removed or the URL is changed.
Manually, it would be difficult to keep track of external links and sometimes it’s not easy to remember all the internal links on your own website (links in images tend to be the main source of broken links). However, the Find Broken Links tool can find them for you automatically.
All you have to do is type in the name of your homepage and leave it to run. It will crawl your entire site and provide you with a detailed list of every broken link it finds. You’ll then need to remove the broken links or replace them with working URLs.
Search engines have a serious dislike for duplicate content, so if another website has identical content to you, it may affect how well you rank. This is particularly important for eCommerce companies and bloggers.
eCommerce companies who simply cut and paste the product descriptions supplied from manufacturers may find that there are thousands of other websites with the same, word for word, content on their pages.
For bloggers, the problem is that content can be stolen. Another website wanting content on a subject you have written about can just copy it from your website onto theirs. It happens all the time.
Copyscape is an excellent tool for checking content duplication. Enter a URL for your website or blog and Copyscape will show you if the same content is found elsewhere.
As you can see from reading this post, there are many useful, free to use SEO tools for webmasters. They can help with everything from website analytics, to keyword research to finding duplicate content. Hopefully, there will be tools here which will be of benefit to you.
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