3 Free SEO Tools

SEO tools can be damned expensive. If you're a very small business of just yourself and/or a few people, the cost of using some of the SEO software that's out there can bust your bank easily in the first month.

seo toolsThis isn't to say that paid tools are all bad. They aren't, they just can be rather expensive. If you're really, really, really serious about SEO for your site, eventually you'll need to invest some bucks into tools, but if you're just starting out, go with these for awhile.

Keyword Research

If you have Google Analytics and Search Console set up and operating, these two services from the search engine are great places to do some keyword research. Both dashboards will show you the keywords and phrases your site's pages showed up for in search results when someone typed that word or phrase in.

You can also set up a free Google Adwords account and use the keyword planner tool to find phrases to use in your web pages and blog posts.

Finally, again from Google, there's the Google Trends tool. It shows you phrases and topics that are popular by location, time ranges and other criteria. You can also see what's trending high in search results. If local SEO is critical for your site, then this is a tool you'll use a lot, as you can drill down into metropolitan regions and states to see demand and popularity for keyword phrases relative to your products and services.

HTML Improvements

You can use the Google Search Console to see if you have:

  • Duplicate page/post titles and descriptions
  • Missing page/post titles and descriptions
  • Page/post titles and descriptions that are too long/short

What's really nice is Google shows you the exact pages and posts where your HTML issues are, so all's you need to do is apply the fixes for each, upload the new meta data and re-publish.

Inbound Back Link Analysis

Links from other sites pointing to yours can either get you penalized or boosted higher in rankings. You only want links from sites that are complimentary to what you offer. If you are not a pornographic content provider, you absolutely do not want links from those kinds of sites sending you traffic!

Google Search Console compiles most of the links out there that point back to you. Download all of them into a spreadsheet, and start looking at two things:

  • The domain linking to you - does it look like a good linking partner? You'll have to click on the link for domains that may not make sense to you, and analyze each one individually.
  • The link (anchor) text on the site pointing back to you - the Google Penguin penalty really targets links that are heavy in keywords and phrases. You want anchor text that is mainly branded, not keyword rich. Contact sites to change up the anchor text if you decide the link is worth keeping.

If you need to get rid of bad, poisonous, toxic links, you can either contact the site - good luck with that, as the web owner probably will ignore you - or you can use the Google Disavow Tool. Be careful how you use it. Read this tutorial before attempting to upload a disavow file, so you completely understand the consequences.

So here you go...some no-cost resources to help you pinpoint and fix SEO issues on your website.

Again, I am strongly in favor of paid SEO tools where you get very specific data, but if you're just starting out, go with these.

Would you like to know more about how to use SEO software tools, along with on-page and off-page SEO knowledge and skills? Let's get together in an SEO class of one, two or three days, so you can get started doing your own search engine optimization.

If you're not local to the DC area, take our online SEO training class.

Until we meet again, keep it safely between the ditches!

All the very best to you,

Nancy McDonald
Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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