If you own a small business, you probably have a million things to worry about. Finding the perfect balance between managing the day-to-day operations and executing an effective SEO effort is hard, and we can definitely relate. But if you’re determined to manage the SEO campaign on your own, you need to use the right tools, to make your job as streamlined as possible.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not that sort of thing that can be just set up and forgotten. It requires careful planning, consistent work, and adjustments in order to achieve the kind of visibility that you’re looking for. We’re aware that most of you are not willing to invest money in an expensive software that might or might not prove to be useful. With this in mind, we only featured free-to-use search engine optimization tools that will definitely help you with your SEO campaign.
It wouldn’t be right to start this list without mentioning what’s arguably the best web analytics tool out there. Google Analytics has a whole plethora of different functionalities – probably much more than you’ll ever end up using.
But be warned – Google Analytics has a steep learning curve. It’ll probably confuse the heck out of you at first, but it’s an absolute gem once you get the hang of it. You’ll be able to gain valuable insight into your visitors – how they get to your website, which pages they spend the most time on, which categories they prefer, and so on. Keep in mind that you can speed up the learning process considerably by reading or watching tutorials (there are plenty) – you’ll save yourself a lot of initial frustration.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use tool that will provide insight on your backlinks, you can’t do better than Moz’s Open Site Explorer – at least not without spending any money. The free version has a daily query limit, but you’ll then have the option of opting for a trial, which will get you 30 days of unlimited backlink investigations.
This tool can really help you understand your particular inbound link profile, which is crucial if you’re trying to boost your domain authority. Keep in mind that no such tool is 100% accurate, but it will give you a general idea of your backlinks or those of your competitors.
This Google tool was formerly known as Webmaster Tools. Search Console is invaluable if you want to get a rough estimate of how Google looks at your website from a backend perspective.
Once you create and set up an account, you will be informed whenever Google identifies errors on your website. Even more, you can easily study important statistics like the number of clicks per second, click through rate, keywords rankings, and a whole lot more. But keep in mind that you might need to wire it up with Google Analytics in order to get the full picture.
Keyword Planner is yet another Google-provided tool – but what can you do? It’s hard to beat the tech giant at its own game. You can use this tool to search for ad group and keyword ideas, as well as see a rough estimate of how they might perform if used.
Unlike some of the other tools featured here, Keyword Planner is extremely easy to use – you type in a keyword and see how many people have searched for it on a yearly or monthly basis. You can also view estimations on the keyword competition, ad impression share, page bid and a few more. Learning how to interpret traffic statistics and historical search data can go a long way in helping you surpass your competition.
If you fancy finding unique keywords capable of helping you crush the competition, you definitely need to check out UberSuggest. If it seems similar to Keyword Planner, you are right. But you should never rely solely on a single tool when searching for keywords. When compared to Google’s solution, UberSuggest is better at identifying those keywords that fit your target niche. It fetches suggestions from Google Suggest and a few other similar keyword services (some of them are supposedly paid). And it’s FREE!
UberSuggest is extremely easy to use – you enter the keyword, choose the query field and press the Look Up button. The software will then begin generating similar keyword ideas that you can then begin to study. You can decide on which keywords will be most helpful by looking at the metrics for search volume, CPC stats, and competition.
The main advantage of this tool is the easiness with which it can be installed onto any browser. Once you install the add-in/extension, you’ll get instant, up-to-date information about every website that you visit. To use it, simply click the Alexa Toolbar icon and read through the highlights.
Aside from the SEO tips, this toolbar is an immense help for small businesses. Your Alexa ranking might increase whenever a user that is using the toolbar lands on your website. This is very important since other webmasters might look at your Alexa rank as the deciding factor when considering if they should network with you or not.
Now that you’ve got your basic SEO toolkit at the ready, it’s time to put it to good use. Let us know in the comment section below if you’re using any other free tools that we have failed to mention.