12 Free SEO Tools & Why You Need Them
by Matt Gough
My Dad would always say to me growing up, “A poor workman blames his tools, son”. Now whilst I agree with that sentiment, it’s always nice to have something at hand that makes our lives a little easier. If every spirit level on earth wasn’t accurate then every shelf in the world wouldn’t be practical. What I’m trying to say is – a good tool is a good tool, regardless of the worker. We are lucky in the world of SEO that it offers plenty and some of them are, delightfully, free to use.
First up is Google’s own ‘PageSpeed Insights’. It pretty much does what it says on the tin – checks the speed and usability of your site. Here is how PPC Training Pro fares –
Enter a URL, and this tool will test the loading time/ performance on a number of devices. It will then identify ways to improve the site. The mobile results also come with: a user experience score and grading areas like tap targets and font sizes. Check that out here.
A rather similar scenario to the above. Place the address of your site in the bar and Google will give back a delicious report about how your site is performing. One particularly good feature is the ‘customer loss’ metric they offer. It measures the percentage of users that will leave your page on a mobile device before it finishes loading.
It’s also important to note that it tests the load time through a 3g connection. If you want a detailed report then you will need to enter some personal details (I’m calling GDPR!) Check that out here.
Search Console (Webmaster Tools)
Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor and maintain your site’s presence in Google Search results. You don’t have to sign up to Search Console for your site to be included in Google’s search results. Doing so, however, can help you understand how Google views your site and in turn see an upturn in performance in search results. Check that out here.
You need to monitor results to understand if what you are doing is impacting your search results and bringing in quality traffic. Not just organic traffic though, all of your online efforts both paid and organic (including emails, Facebook campaigns, AdWords campaigns, bing, twitter, referrals, etc) can be analyzed. It goes without saying, that Google Analytics can help us understand how our search strategy (or lack of) is working. I’m sure you’ve come across this medium already but if you haven’t, read up on it here
W3C Markup Validation Service
As you’re all aware, the web relies on several computer languages talking to one another – such as HTML. These languages comprise of a specific set of rules we should follow. So, if a document using a natural language can include spelling or grammatical errors, then documents using markup languages may (for various reasons) also include errors in their own right. The process of identifying these errors is called a markup validation. This site here can check that in seconds. Here is how PPC Training looks below… oop there’s an error, get on that chaps!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide
If you’re starting out in the wonderful world of Google’s money-spinning machine – search engine optimization, then a grand starting point is this starter guide. Learn a bit more about how your business can be elevated higher by utilizing this medium. Check it out here
Granted, the name of this website is in itself a contradiction, but it just so happens to be a great tool. It outlines an overview of the site from classic SEO guidelines, the speed of a sites loading page, the technology, the social media outreach and even how it performs on a mobile (check out how good PPC is on a mobile below!) Get on it here
Whilst this SEO tool seems to enjoy dropping out a pronoun from its name, YSlow is another great tool to analyze web pages. These are all based on Yahoo’s ‘terms and conditions’… Basically, it’s Yahoo’s answer to “testmysitewithgoogle.com”
The Blue Button
This badger describes itself as a ‘web page x-ray’. You can download this as an extension on Google Chrome. You can easily access SEO related information such as the title tag content or meta description etc. This is useful info to know if you happen to be a content manager or a web designer. Check it out on google extensions.
Site Console – Audit (Inspect when on site)
Google Search Console is the main method of communication between Google and SEO Managers. With Google Search Console you can discover errors, get best practice guidance and notification of issues that can affect your website’s SEO. This makes Google Search Console one of the most important tools for SEO and easily earns its place on this list.
Moz: SEO Software
Moz is always up to date despite all the algorithm changes that happen over at Google HQ. It is without a doubt, a powerhouse of a website, in general, featuring some great tips and tricks in the online world. They are at the forefront of SEO. They have got a backlog of articles, guides and a massive forum where you can find an answer to pretty much any online marketing question.
One feature that stands out, in amongst several SEO tools in Moz, is its ‘page optimization feature’. It tells you exactly what steps you can make to improve the SEO of every single page on your website. It also has the options of a keyword and link explorer as you can see below. It is worth mentioning that this is a tool you can pay for and as such gain extra insights. It is a must-have tool, for any mid/large business with an internal SEO specialist. Check it out here
Alas, it’s Friday the 13th so we should celebrate that by throwing in one more to round it up to 13! GTMetrix is a great tool. Not only does it do pretty much everything the above tools do, it also allows you to build up a graph over time. As you can see below in ‘History’. So this way you can see how your site improves over its life span in optimization. Check it out here