While SEO as a concept is simple (optimizing webpages to perform better in search engines), it can be a surprisingly complex operation. The SEO veterans have many different tools in their belt that they use almost every day during their normal routine.
There are a lot of SEO tools which are useful and provide a great value. In this answer, I’m providing you a list of 7 free SEO tools and how to use them.
Technical SEO/Crawler Tools
Technical SEO refers to laying a strong foundation for your content to rank for relevant keywords and phrases. Being a technical SEO specialist, I’ll start off this list with my favorite free technical SEO tools. Let’s dig into it!
Screaming Frog is my #1 favorite SEO tool. It’s an SEO Spider that will crawl your website, your competitor’s website, or simply a list of URLs, and return all the pertinent information (Metadata, load speed, response codes, inlinks and outlinks, all that good stuff).
This thing has it all. When it comes to side audits,or even competitive research, it’s the tool to be used.
While it’s got a paid version (at 150GBP/yr.), it’s got a very useful free version that allows crawling up to 500 URLs.
Page Performance Tools
Now we move on to something that is very much “in vogue”, i.e. page speed tests and optimization. Not only has Google stated that page speed can be a ranking factor, but the prevalence of mobile devices and impatient users have made speed crucial for an optimal user experience as well as conversion rate optimization (CRO).
The good news is that several tools have popped up to help diagnose page speed issues, including some from Google itself.
Google PageSpeed insights is the gold standard when it comes to Page Speed analysis.
As you can see from the screenshot above, Google defaults to Mobile and not desktop. This is indicative of the larger “Mobile-first” mentality that Google is pushing forward.
The tool will give you a score (for both Desktop and Mobile), from 0 to 100. It then provides optimization tips for you to improve your score. If you are handy as a web developer, you can implement those tips yourself, but if not, be sure to contract someone qualified to implement them.
Keyword Research Tools
Keyword research tools become increasingly important ever since Google decided to limit its keyword planner data to people with active AdWords spend.
Thankfully, we can still get lots of research done using free tools. Let’s take a look!
This is hands down the most useful chrome plugin I’ve ever used. Here’s how it works:
Using the Google AdWords API, it pulls in keyword and CPC data automatically whenever you do a Google search, and shows it right on the SERP!
Also, it pulls in keyword volumes for all the related keywords.
You can “star” any keyword that interests you, and the plugin will store those for you which you can then export later to do your analysis.
In addition to integrating with Google Search results, it will also integrate with Amazon, and even other Keyword research tools like Ubersuggest.
This might seem like a silly section for anyone familiar with Internet Marketing since there is really only one free analytics provider that anyone cares about.
The industry standard for analytics packages happens to also be completely free. Google Analytics is easy to set up: simply sign up for an account and follow the instructions. Once you have included a tracking code on your site (all pages you want to track), you’ll be able to start seeing live activity tracking for all the visitors of your site.
The full use of GA goes well beyond the scope of this article, but if you want to learn how to use it to its full potential, consider taking theCourse.
Rank Tracking Tools
Rank tracking is a crucial aspect of any tactical SEO initiative. If you don’t know how your activities are affecting ranking, how do you know if you are being successful, or perhaps even doing harm?
Unfortunately for the frugal SEO, there aren’t many free ranking tracking tools in place. This is because large-scale rank tracking needs to use lots of proxies (to scrape Google) and cloud hosting to store the data, and companies generally don’t want to give it away for free.
Brought to you by the same people that started iWriter, they are experienced Internet Marketers and know what SEOs need.
Like any desktop based application, you risk burning your IP if you check too many rankings too fast. So use proxies if you are going to be hitting this hard.
Conversion Rate Optimization Tools
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the most important process in large scale web publishing endeavors because it helps you go beyondand take full advantage of all inbound channels (paid, referral, social, etc.).
It is legitimately a free multivariate testing tool that integrates fully with Google Analytics. It allows for a visual editor where you can point and click to make changes to your design and does all the statistical calculations for you.
Truly a gift that such a powerful software is available for free.
Structured Data Tools
Schema is a rage nowadays. But it can be very annoying to draft it, get it right, check it and implement it.
Thankfully there are plenty of free tools that allow you to both copy/paste your preferred schema, and check whether it’s valid.
Google has provided a wonderful testing tool to check whether your structure data is error free.
You can enter either a URL (like below) or copy/paste code directly into the tool. Here’s whatlooks like when entered into the tool:
This tool is not optional if you are using Schema markup. Don’t expect anyone or any tool to produce error-free code, make sure to run everything through this tool before going live.