At first glance, the idea of search engine optimization on your website can seem quite intimidating for most people. However, there are a lot of advanced SEO tools out there that can make the job a lot easier. And the best part is that many of them are completely free to use for anyone.
If you’re interested in creating your own SEO strategy, here are 10 free SEO tools that you should be using.
Analytics and Maintenance
Keeping track of analytics and performing ongoing maintenance is essential for any SEO strategy. After all, looking at analytics is the only way measure your ROI to determine if your SEO efforts are providing value to your business.
Here are two reliable tools directly from Google that will help track your website’s performance.
1. Google Analytics
Though it’s not technically an “SEO tool,” Google Analytics is essential for any SEO strategy. It accurately tracks all of the users who land on your site.
Unlike most SEO tools that only provide estimates, Google Analytics requires actual tracking code that is installed on your site, so it’s much more accurate.
The biggest advantage that Google Analytics has over other tools is that also provides valuable insights on how the users are actually interacting with your site.
You can see where people are coming from, how well each individual page is performing, where people are exiting your site, and track conversions.
You can then use this information to help make educated decisions to improve your site’s SEO.
2. Google Search Console
Google Search Console, formerly Google Webmaster Tools, is another awesome tool that goes hand in hand with Google Analytics.
You can use Google Search Console to view all of the exact search queries that people are typing in to find your website.
It also shows you important metrics such as clicks, impressions, click-through rate, and average position in Google for each query.
You can use this information to determine what keywords are driving traffic to your site, and optimize your site accordingly.
Google Search Console can also be used to fix any technical errors on your sites, such as crawl issues, manual penalties, XML sitemap submissions, and issues with your backlink profile.
The goal of SEO is to drive targeted traffic back to your website from search engines. Therefore, keyword research is essential and can make or break an entire SEO strategy. Targeting the right keywords will help ensure that your website attracts the right audience when they’re actively seeking your services.
Here are a few of my favorite free keyword research tools that will help you identify relevant search terms that your target audience is actually typing into Google.
3. Google Adwords Keyword Planner
Google Adwords Keyword Planner is Google’s official keyword research tool. Even though it’s intended for their paid advertising platform, it serves as a great tool for organic search as well.
To use it, simply type in any keyword as a starting point. The keyword planner will then provide thousands of other relevant keywords based on what users are typing into Google.
It also gives you an idea of how many people are typing in that keyword per month and how competitive that keyword is.
You can use this information to determine which keywords are worth targeting in your content strategy and which ones you should skip.
Ubersuggest is similar to the Google Keyword Planner with a few advantages.
Similar to Google’s tool, simply type in a keyword and it will display a list of relevant keywords.
However, rather than giving a large range for search volume, it gives you an exact search volume number, which you can only get in the Adwords Planner if you are actively spending money on paid advertising on Google.
Ubersuggest pulls data directly from Google Adwords Keyword Planner and Google auto-suggest, so in terms of accuracy, it’s completely identical.
The other advantage that Ubersuggest has is that its interface is very simple and user-friendly.
If you’re not an SEO expert, I’d definitely recommend using Ubersuggest because it doesn’t over complicate things, and only shows you the information that you need to see. Nothing more.
5. Keywords Everywhere
If you don’t have any experience with SEO, then the idea of using advanced keyword research tools may seem daunting.
That’s where Keywords Everywhere comes into play.
Keywords Everywhere is a useful browser extension that displays keyword data right in your normal Google Search.
Simply type a keyword into Google as you normally would and it shows the search volume, CPC, and competition right in the browser. It also suggests a ton of relevant keywords that people are also typing in that you might to target as well
“Keywords Everywhere” has quickly become one of my favorite keyword tools because of how easy it is to use.
It’s completely free, so there’s really no reason not to use it. It’s available for both Google Chrome and Firefox, so be sure to check it out.
At the root of SEO, content is king. If you want to rank at the top of Google search results, you’re going to need an effective ongoing content strategy in addition to your keyword research.
Here are a couple tools that will help you effectively generate content ideas that will resonate with your audience.
6. Answer the Public
One of the best ways to drive targeted traffic to your website is by answering common questions that your audience is asking.
Answer the Public is a great online tool that helps identify questions that people are typing into search engines related to your niche.
Simply type in your keyword in the search bar and it’ll generate hundreds of different relevant questions that users are searching for.
You can then create content in the form of blog posts, infographics, and social images to answer these questions.
Another great way to generate content ideas is to look at topics that are already performing well for other websites in terms of search and engagement. You can then create your own content based on similar topics.
BuzzSumo is a great tool for identifying relevant content topics that are receiving a lot of social shares and engagement.
Though there is a paid version with access to more features, the free version is perfectly acceptable for topic research.
Simply type in your topic and it will generate a list of the top performing content from other sites.
Once you’ve done your keyword research and developed a content strategy, you’re going to need to start thinking about the on-page SEO optimization.
This is crucial because it will allow the search engines to easily find your content and understand what it’s about.
If you fail to optimize your content properly, then it’s highly unlikely that your content will be able to rank in the search engines for your target keywords.
8. Yoast SEO
Yoast is an awesome WordPress plugin that makes optimizing your content as easy as possible.
It provides a checklist of the essential on-page optimizations you should be looking for, such as keywords, content length, readability, and more.
However, the most important feature is that it allows you to easily input your meta page title and meta descriptions. This is important because it influences how your headlines appear in the search engines results page. Writing a good headline and description for your content is essential because it will determine whether or not someone wants to click on your result.
If you’re using WordPress, then Yoast SEO is a no-brainer.
Site Speed is a huge SEO ranking factor in 2018. If your website doesn’t load quickly, it will result in higher bounce rates and lower rankings.
Here are a couple of tools that will help identify site speed issues and offer suggestions for fixes.
9. Google Pagespeed Insights
Google Pagespeed Insights is Google’s own tool that helps diagnose website speed issues on desktop and mobile.
It’s an excellent tool because of how simple it is to use.
Just type in your website’s URL into the tool and it will give your site a score rating out of 100 for both desktop and mobile versions of your site.
It also provides a checklist of all the different factors that could be affecting the speed and performance of your site, as well as suggestions on how to optimize for them. This could include image compression, website hosting, and code on your website itself.
GTMetrix is another great tool for diagnosing your website’s page speed performance.
It’s similar to Google Pagespeed Insights in many ways in terms of functionality and usability.
The main advantage that GTMetrix has over Google’s tool is that it takes real world performance into consideration as well by actually tracking how long it takes for the web page to load to the end user. And at the end of the day, that’s what really matters.