Writing by Nick Stamoulis in SEO
The market is flooded with free SEO tools. Some tools are great and a worthwhile investment, others are just okay and some aren’t worth it even if they are free. I use a lot of SEO tools and software programs (paid and free) to help my clients with their SEO, content marketing and social media marketing campaigns. Here are some of my favorite free SEO tools:
Keyword lizard is great if you’re trying to localize your keyword list and ensure you don’t miss any variations. You can plug your national keywords into one column and your locality into the other and it will churn out a document that lists all the possible variations, including reverse combinations. This helps ensure you’re working from an incredibly diverse anchor text list and keeping your link building natural.
Pingdom lets you test the speed of your site, which has become an increasingly important ranking. A good speed to aim for is 5 seconds or less. If your site tests much slower than that, it’ll be worthwhile to take a look under the hood of your website and see if there is anything you can do to speed it up (remove extraneous code, switching hosting, etc).
WHOIS is great for link building because it lets you see where a particular website is registered. You want to stick with US-based websites as much as possible; it’s also worth checking how old a website is because older domains tend to carry more weight in the search engines. A brand new website might give you a link but how much is that link worth in the eyes of Google?
Google Keyword Research Tool
Although it’s technically for PPC campaigns, the Google Keyword Research Tool is great for conducting keyword research for your SEO campaign. Plug in any keyword and it will pull hundreds of variations and their search volume so you can optimize your website for search phrases that best fit your content and your users. Never assume that you know how your target audience is searching! The Google Keyword Research Tool will come up with a ton of great variations you’ve probably never even considered.
If you don’t have Google Analytics embedded in the code of your website already than do it right now. Google Analytics is going to provide you with the most accurate information possible about your website, visitors to your site and how those visitors interact on your site. What keywords are people using to find your site? What pages are getting the most traffic? Where is the bulk of your traffic coming from? The data you pull from your Google Analytics account will definitely shape and drive your SEO campaign.
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools lets you look at your site through Google’s eyes. Are all you pages properly indexed? Are there any crawl errors? What are some of the top linking domains to your website? What pages of your website have the most inbound links? Your Google Webmaster Tools account will also let you know if your website was whacked by a penalty, either manual or algorithmic.
HootSuite is more of a social media management tool, but since SEO and social media marketing go hand-in-hand I thought it was worth mentioning. The free version of HootSuite lets you synch up a few accounts in one dashboard so you can update them all at the same time. It also lets you schedule out posts in advance and tie your blog’s RSS feed into your social profiles so new content is automatically posted and starts generating social signals.