Search engine optimization (SEO) is important for any business that wants to attract more traffic. SEO is an intimidating acronymn and, I'm not going to lie, can be very time consuming. Following SEO best practices will help search engines find your site and, with consistent effort, appear higher in search results. A handy list of reliable go-to tools can help you muddle through the process a little faster.
Here is a list of 20 free SEO tools that can help you strengthen your position with Google.
Use this to generate well-structured, meta description tags to improve your page visibility on the search engines result pages.
Use Backlinko's guide to understand the best strategies for building (proper) backlinks for your site. Backlinks are an important factor search engines use to determine the importance of a web page and it improves your page position in search result.
3. SEO Analyzer
This powerful scan from Neil Patel provides in-depth SEO ranking details of a few of your web pages. It analyzes the Meta tags, page speed, online authority, social media status, and many more. This also emails a checklist to you to guide you through the adjustments for optimal search results and performance.
This keyword "scrubbing" tool can delete duplicate keywords, clean up your keyword list, strip 'stop' words ("of", "an", etc.), remove unwanted numbers and poorly-targeted keywords.
Check the position of your keywords in the major search engines to see its rank and determine if changes are needed to increase your position.
ScreamingFrog has a free version of its SEO Spider tool that includes checking for duplicate content on your site. This includes: URLs, titles, headings etc., none of which please the Google gods.
Backlinks from reputable sites can increase your SEO karma. This tool from Moz lets you scan your site for free, plus offers additional link-building suggestions and flags potentially harmful existing links.
Even though Google's no longer publishes a page's rank, it's still important. Google has their own algorithm that determines the relevance (and, therefore, importance) of a webpage. Much of this has to do with quality backlinks on a page. However, because Google no longer publishes page rank, none of the "pagerank checkers" on the web are going to give you a true rank. But, if you're still just dying to know how you stack up to your competitors, you can check your Alexa page rank using the link above.
Want to build a long list of keywords but your creativity has run dry? Type a main keyword into this free keyword generator and it will churn out 200+ keyword phrases for you to filter, copy or export to your heart's content.
Want to make sure your site is using a specific keyword as often as it should? Enter your keyword on SERPs and include your domain for a list of your pages that appear in the top 250 search results. If local search is important to your business, add a specific city or zipcode to see how you rank in that location. You can even download your results.
Keyword density (the percentage of times the keyword appears on a page versus other text), is no longer a big factor with SEO (as far as Google is concerned). For a long time, many folks believed that you had to have a keyword appear X times in a post of XXX words, etc. Despite the many schools of thought, this is really no longer the case. Google instead relates the meaning of the page content, along with many other factors, and uses this to determine where the page should appear in search results. If you are curious, the tool listed above will tell you how optimized a page is for a particular keyword. However, save your time and focus on conveying clear intent of your article–keep it clear, meaningful and valuable to your audience and you should do fine.
All site owners, administrators, etc. should establish their free Google Search Console account (formerly Webmaster Tools). Search Console is different from Google Anaytics, but having a Google Analytics account certainly makes it easier to set up a Search Console account.
Much like childbirth, despite the potential pain involved with setting up this account (or anything Google for that matter), it's worth it. This set of tools helps you monitor your site presence. You don't have to have an account in order to appear in Google search results, but it will definitely help you better understand where things might be going wrong if you're not showing up.
For instance, if you have warnings or errors on your site, you can see those on this console. You can also make sure the right content on your site is being crawled by Google. There are a multitude of things you can do and it's worth spending the time to learn about all of them. Also check Bing's Webmaster Tools.
13. Website Grader
I love this free tool from Hubspot. Type in your web address and your email and out pops a beautiful dashboard of all the things you do well... and the things that aren't so good. Plus, each are clickable for more information about why, how...
14. Crawl Test
If Google can't crawl your site, you're not going to show up on any results. Moz offers a free, 30-day trial on their audit tool that lets you know of any issues that could impact a site's crawlability and indexing, also sometimes referred to as "web spidering."
If a site is deemed unworthy of Google love (it's been hacked, cloaked, clearly written for search engines instead of an audience...), Google can temporarily remove the site from its index and search results. If it's really bad (illegal), it will be banned and removed from Google indexing altogether. You'll typically know a site has been banned by typing the site name into your search bar; you'll see a scary red alert that basically tells you not to go any further.
If YOUR site is in trouble, you'll see this in your search console. Not to worry, you can fix the issue and submit it to Google for reconsideration once it's complete.
16. Indexed Pages
Use this tool to check for the total number of pages indexed for your site. If you want higher number of indexed pages, try blogging and adding more valuable information for your visitors. Just make sure your pages are being indexed. The link above is just to Google.com, but once you get there, do this:
type - site:yourdomain.com and press enter.
Don't think you need 90K + pages to be successful with SEO. This is Moz - THE SEO masters of the universe. You may only be at 8 today, and that's fine. Everyone started somewhere. Just keep at it and before you know it, you'll hit 100, then 1,000...
Yes, speed and performance have a lot to do with SEO. If your page is slow and riddled with issues, Google will slap you down to the bottom of the ranks. Make sure your site pages load quickly (ideally keep it under 3-second load times). Use GTMetrix for periodic checks to make sure you and your visitors are safe.
If you rely on local traffic for revenue and haven't 'claimed' your business on Google, then shame on you. Just kidding - many people believe it or not don't realize they need to do this. Make sure you keep this up to date to offer potential visitors the most accurate information and maintain the best results in search.
While we're on the Google My Business kick, you need to consider which category your business should claim. Go to this free Moz tool and type in a main keyword you would typically use to describe your business. Then select one of the narrowed-down options and out pops a list of categories you should use for different engines. It's a great, fast and clever tool to help get your ducks in a row.
It's important your sitemap is accurate and submitted to search engines, otherwise they aren't going to know you're there. If you're on WordPress, there are several reputable plugins that can help make this process easier. But, you can also generate an XML sitemap for your website with the tool listed above (which also has a plugin). Once you generate your sitemap, you can then go to your Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools to submit your sitemap.
With these free SEO tools, you have a much better chance at improving your visibility on major search engines (who are we kidding... when I say, "search engines," I'm talking about Google). For even more tips on proven marketing strategies, download this free guide below.