My 15 favourite free SEO Resources
As a search engine marketer, it often feels like you’re running just to stand still. There are new tools, resources and ideas being released every day to help you overcome the small challenges you face in optimising your website. Many of these require monthly subscriptions, which can add up to make the whole SEO business rather expensive (particularly if you are not running an SEO agency, where the cost can be spread across many clients). However, there are also a number of free tools, or free versions of paid tools, that can make your job as a search engine marketer that much easier. Here are my favourite free SEO tools and resources.
1. Xenu Link Sleuth: This website maintenance tool enables you, among many other things, to check your website for broken links (404 errors). We know that Google hates a broken link, so to make sure you don’t inadvertently annoy your favourite search engine, run a monthly search to get a list of dead links from your site (i.e. links to pages that no longer exist) and eliminate or update them.
2. Tag Assistant: Have you got Google Analytics, Adwords or Adwords remarketing tracking code installed on your website? Google Chrome's tag assistant is a free extension that will inform you if any are broken and will alert you to the source of the error.
3. Majestic SEO Backlink Checker: This tool checks backlink and referring domain counts. From free up to £250 per month depending on the level of functionality required. Run your competitors’ sites through the tool to get some good link building ideas.
4. Webpagetest.org: This tool tests the loading speed of your web pages and resources before offering optimisation checks and suggestions for improvements. While Google isn’t too fussed about how quickly your pages load, your visitors will be, and if they have to hang around waiting for your image to load, they might tell Google they’re not happy by clicking the ‘back’ button. Use this tool to identify some of the worst offenders (in terms of pages) and address any issues.
5. Screaming Frog SEO Tool: This desktop programme for PC and Mac that collects data on a website's links, CSS, script, images and apps from an SEO perspective. SEO issues are then presented in an exportable report within the program's interface. This is a great time saving tool for medium to large websites.
6. Rank Checker for Firefox: This free add-on for the Mozilla Firefox search engine presents the page rank of websites. It’s as simple as labelling the search results, 1 to 10 (on page one, and then 11 to infinity on the following pages) so you don’t have to count them yourself.
7. Google Adwords Keyword Tool: This free keyword research tool is invaluable in helping you choose which keywords to optimise your website for. Enter some keyword ideas and the tool will tell you how many searches that keyword gets a month (locally and globally). It will also provide suggestions as to other keywords that might work for you.
8. Open Site Explorer: This online tool, powered by SEOMoz, offers useful link data on your website and your competitors’ websites. It’s great resource to assist in fixing broken links and researching more links through competitor link analysis. This tool also offers insightful data on the authority of your individual web pages and domain, which can be used to form future link building strategies. It’s free for a limited number of daily reports. Pro membership is $99 per month and offers unlimited access.
9. Twitter #journorequest: Follow this hash tag. Journalists often include it in their tweets to find case studies and contributors. When you have something relevant to offer, you can ask for a link in return.
10. google.com/addurl/: Use this URL submission tool to add a websites to Google's search index. Google doesn't guarantee that all URLs will be added to their index, but if you’ve created a new page and want Google to notice it quickly, submit it here.
11. Google Webmaster Tools: A must-have for any webmaster, this tool provides insightful data and reports relating to your website's visibility on Google. Webmaster Tools also provides diagnostic reports that can be used to optimise and maintain a healthy website, shows you where you’re ranking for keywords and alerts you to issues on the site.
12. Search Engine Land: A valuable news and information website on everything related to search engines and search engine optimisation. Follow it to keep up to date on changes in the industry.
13. Google Analytics: Google’s web analytics tool helps website owners and marketers understand how visitors engage with their website. Google Analytics also lets you measure online advertising ROI in addition to tracking activity resulting from your flash, video and social media sites and applications.
14. Get Listed: Run your website through this tool to check where your business is listed, in terms of directories. This is so useful if you are moving and need to update your company’s address across the entire web.
15. Google Trends: understand how search behaviour has changed over time for your keywords, and how it might change in future (as Google predicts this).
Are you going to invest in an SEO campaign in 2013? If so then read our free SEO ebook to increase your understanding of what it is and how it can increase your bottom line, or read up on our SEO services.
Did you find this useful? Tell me on Google Plus.