Best Free Analytic Tools to Power Your SEO Strategy
For anyone working to improve their rankings in the search engines, there are a wealth of SEO tools available to help you with the process. For those with small budgets, you’ll be pleased to learn that many of the most useful SEO tools available are entirely free.
10 Free SEO Tools Worth Checking Out
Even if you don’t have a lot of money to spend, you can accomplish a lot with the free SEO tools on the market.
1. Google Analytics
Everyone with a website should be using Google Analytics. It’s an extremely useful free tool that allows you to track how many people visit your website, and how they found it.
You can also use Google Analytics to see which keywords you’re currently ranking for (in Acquisitions>Search Console>Queries). And you can set up tracking for your desired conversions, such as email signups or purchases, in order to track how well SEO is helping you achieve your main business goals.
General Benefits of Google Analytics
The first and most obvious reason to use Google Analytics is that it is completely free. You don’t need to purchase, subscribe, or provide credit card information. All you need is a Gmail account and the ability to install a tracking code on your website, and you’re ready to go.
Data is only useful if you can make sense of it. Therefore, the data visualization offered by Google Analytics is the second reason to use it. This platform presents the metrics in various forms: lists, charts, graphs, pie charts, spreadsheets, and more—allowing you to see how your website is performing. With enough knowledge, you can create dashboards to display the metrics that are most important to your business’s goals.
While data visualization allows you to make sense of data, reporting allows you to draw conclusions from it. By comparing metrics within the data, you can gather further insights and identify causes and correlations—another reason why Google Analytics can benefit your business.
With the platform’s reporting capabilities, you can collect, present, and compare any data set or combination of data sets. Report on content relevancy, traffic sources, traffic volume, date ranges, campaign conversions, and more. Use Google Analytics to make data-driven decisions and share supporting information with other decision makers.
The fourth reason why Google Analytics is useful is that the data it collects is ongoing and in real time. This means that you can create reports, compare metrics, and check performance on whatever basis you want—hourly, daily, monthly, yearly, year over year, quarter over quarter. You can associate traffic changes with specific campaigns, take note of trends across certain time frames, and cater reports to your company’s reporting periods. You can also take note of peak times for your target audience, such as whether certain pages, SEM campaigns, or blog posts gather more interest at certain points of the week, month, or year.
2. SEO Web Page Analyzer
Plug a URL into the SEO Web Page Analyzer and it will provide a score for how well optimized it is, along with details for what you’re doing well now and things you could be doing better. The tool looks at your meta title and description, your heading structure, your internal links, and the keywords used on the page.
It’s a quick and easy way to spot opportunities to improve your on-site optimization.
For WordPress users, Yoast is a free plugin that makes filling in the SEO metadata for each page on your website more intuitive. You don’t have to mess with the HTML, you simply fill in the form Yoast provides for each page within WordPress.
It will also analyze the page for you and provide a score on how well optimized it is, along with recommendations for things you can do to make it stronger.
4. PageSpeed Insights
If the score is lower than you’d like, it also offers details on what’s slowing it down and recommendations for how to speed it up.
It’s worth noting that the PageSpeed Insights rating can be pretty harsh, so don’t worry too much if you’re not at that 90-100 range.
5. Google’s Keyword Planner
Keyword research is the cornerstone of any good SEO strategy. Many of the tools on this list are therefore focused on helping you identify the best keywords to target in your efforts.
Google’s Keyword Planner is a good one to start with. It will both provide average monthly search estimates for the keywords you enter, and recommendations for additional related keywords to consider.
While the tool is technically designed for people using Google Ads and some of the information relates more to Google’s pay-per-click service than search, the details are still useful for identifying SEO keywords.
6. Keywords Everywhere
Keywords Everywhere is a free browser plugin that adds keyword data and suggestions right onto the search engine results page (SERP) for every Google search you do. The data includes average search volume, cost-per-click, and level of competition for a list of related keywords, along with the keywords that show up in the “People Also Search For” section at the bottom of the SERP.
It makes doing keyword research a convenient part of your research process for every piece of content you work on.
7. Answer the Public
Answer the Public is another keyword research tool that will help you generate content topic ideas to target in your strategy. You enter a keyword relevant to your brand and it provides a list of related questions and comments divided into categories based on the type of question it is, prepositions, and comparisons.
8. Moz Link Explorer
While many of Moz’s tools require a subscription, Moz Link Explorer is free for up to ten link queries a month. The tool will provide you the link profile of any URL you enter.
Since backlinks are one of the most important (and hardest) parts of SEO, it’s valuable to identify both the links your website has already, and those your competitors have as well. Seeing what links websites similar to yours have can reveal opportunities to target in your link-building efforts.
9. Ahrefs Backlink Checker
Like Moz, Ahrefs is a company with a suite of paid SEO tools that also provides a free backlink tool you can use.
The Ahrefs Backlink Checker provides similar functionality—you can plug in any URL and get a score for the website’s domain authority, the number of backlinks it has now, the anchor text most commonly used, and a list of the top backlinks.
Unlike the Moz tool, you can use Ahrefs’ backlink checker without setting up an account, and there’s no limit on the number of searches you can do (but you do get access to more information if you upgrade).
10. Schema Markup Generator
Schema markup gives Google information about your web pages that increases your chances of showing up with rich results in the rankings.
For example, if you use schema markup to tell Google a page has a recipe on it and fill in the appropriate fields with details about calories, the time it takes to make the recipe, and a photo of what it looks like when complete, you can get a result that looks something like this:
Adding schema markup to your web pages can seem complicated at first, but Google’s Schema Markup Generator makes it easy. When you click on a section of your page in the tool, it gives you the chance to identify what that part of the page is, and enter any information required for markup. Then it automatically generates the HTML you need to add schema markup to your site.
Why is SEO so Important
SEO can help you improve your rankings in search engine results.
This has the potential to make a huge impact on your company’s most important goals, like increasing your leads and sales.
But if you’re not convinced, keep reading to learn five of the biggest benefits of optimizing your site for search.
1. SEO targets quality traffic
One of the biggest advantages of SEO is that it’s an inbound marketing strategy.
Unlike traditional “outbound” advertising channels, which involve reaching out to consumers whether they want to hear from you or not, inbound methods center on making it easy for your audience to find you when they want information.
These traditional methods, like cold calling, spam emails, and interruptive ads, are done solely with the advertiser’s goals in mind.
And many consumers find them downright annoying.
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is much more customer-centric. Instead of interrupting consumers as they’re watching TV or listening to the radio, it involves creating helpful resources and making helpful information more easily accessible.
Then, when users are ready to spend some time researching your industry or learning more about their options for a specific type of product, they can find you on their own.
This is not only much more convenient for consumers but also results in more qualified leads for your business.
In fact, in HubSpot’s most recent State of Inbound report, 59% of marketers said that inbound practices provided the highest quality leads for their sales teams.
After all, who do you think is going to be more receptive to your marketing efforts: Someone who sees your ad on a billboard during their commute, or someone who comes across a list of tips you published while searching for help online?
When you focus on attracting users who are actively looking for information related to your industry, products, and services, you’ll be much more effective in reaching your target audience.
Plus, this gives you the opportunity to reach your audience while they’re already considering making a purchase or contracting a service — increasing the chances that your marketing messages will translate into sales and leads.
2. You don’t need to pay for ads in SEO
Google’s organic rankings are based entirely on what its algorithm determines to be the best results for any given query.
This means that once you’ve created a page that the search engine deems worthy of directing their users to, it can continue to attract traffic to your site for months (or even years) after you publish it.
Of course, researching and writing high-quality content requires an investment. That investment will either be in the form of time, if you choose to create it yourself, or money, if you choose to hire a digital marketing agency to create it for you.
But once you’ve made that initial investment, there’s no ongoing cost to keep attracting traffic to your content.
You might need to update the page every few months, depending on the nature of the topic. You also might need to add to and improve it if your competitors decide to target the same keyword.
But when it comes down to it, your valuable spot in search results is free of charge.
This is a major difference from PPC ads, which involve a cost every time a user clicks and visits a page.
With SEO, you have the potential to avoid paying this amount and earn traffic to your site with no ongoing costs at all.
3. SEO gets more clicks than PPC
Although PPC ads appear above organic rankings, 71.33% of searches result in a click on an organic result on the first page.
It’s difficult to say why this is, though the most logical conclusion is that users trust Google’s algorithm. They know which spots advertisers are paying for, and they choose to instead visit the pages the search engine has determined to be the best.
Of course, this is just conjecture.
But regardless of the reasoning behind it, the fact is that the majority of the clicks for any given search go to an organic result.
4. SEO helps PR
Although SEO and PR may seem like entirely separate marketing strategies, you can use them together to maximize the results you see from each.
The biggest connection between the two lies in link building.
Earning links from reputable websites is a main component of any SEO strategy. This means that one of the biggest parts of an SEO professional’s job is to identify opportunities for placement or coverage on industry blogs, news publications, and other relevant sites.
And considering that a PR strategy revolves around getting prominent publications and influencers to talk about your company, this presents a huge opportunity.
When you use link building research to find new ways to get your brand in front of consumers, you’ll be much more effective in distributing content to potential customers and clients.
5. You can move ahead of the competition
Today, SEO is widely considered a staple of any marketing strategy.
In fact, 61% of marketers say that improving their SEO and improving their online presence is a top priority.
This means that your competitors are likely already taking steps to establish high rankings in search results.
And with an SEO strategy of your own, you can keep up with — and ideally, move ahead of — them to stay competitive within your industry.
Build a Better SEO Strategy with Free SEO Tools
SEO tools will help you match your efforts to the work that’s most likely to get you the results you want.
But even though they’re free, these tools still require a resource small business owners have in limited supply: time. Any approach to SEO, no matter what tools you use, is time consuming and difficult to get right.
If you want better rankings for your website, but you don’t know how to fit the work into your already overwhelming schedule, hire skilled SEO experts to do it for you. Todhost’s SEO consultants have extensive experience in helping businesses gain rankings for relevant keywords. Set up a free consultation to learn how we can help your business.