Seven of the best free SEO tools for small businesses
Love to rank higher on search engine results pages, without spending a fortune? Here are seven of the best free tools for small businesses.
Doing SEO right takes time and, as you scale, money. These tools are very often worth the price of subscription, but there are plenty of options out there for small businesses on a budget, just wading into SEO. Below is a list of some of the best free tools on the web and how they can help improve your website and drive traffic.
1) Google Analytics
Google Analytics should be part of the bedrock of your SEO foundation, and if you are not already leveraging its power, you should start immediately. There really is no other source of in-depth analysis and data as powerful as Google Analytics. Since this is more or less Google’s world we live in, this is how you have to play the game.
In fact, most of the alternative data tool offerings on the market make use of Google’s tool using API. Google Analytics gives you invaluable information about your site visitors, where your traffic is coming from, page speed metrics and a wide range of other information critical to optimizing your SEO and growing your business.
Keep in mind that a quick search of something like SEO Brisbane will put you in touch with SEO companies that can expertly handle all of this analysis and implementation for you.
2) Google Search Console
This is the premier tool online for search and optimization. The best part is that you often don’t need to delve that deeply into the tool to get great insights–some of the best information tends to be gleaned from a simple glance at the dashboard.
If you are serious about marketing and SEO, then you need to spend time monitoring the search console every day. Your search console gives you some of the same data that you would get from Google Analytics but is presented in an easier to digest format. The tradeoff is that there is less room to play with the numbers, but you get more straightforward access to them.
The primary new content strategies for most marketers involve researching and publishing new content, building links and so on. ClickFlow’s content decay tool, however, keeps you informed on which older pages on your site are not doing as well anymore, making them good options for new, updated content.
This tool connects to your Google Search Console and then imports your data. It then produces a report that shows you which pages on your site have suffered the biggest drops in search traffic over the previous year. Things you can do to update your content include expanding upon what you already have there, adding more or more relevant examples, and eliminating any references that are out of date (especially with respect to exact dates).
4) Pagespeed Insights
Your page speed is one of, if not the most important element of on-page SEO and something that Google factors heavily into its user experience metrics. Poor page loading speed wastes people’s time, and modern internet users have very little patience for slow pages when there are so many alternatives out there. This is especially true for Google’s mobile index–important to consider given the huge amount of mobile traffic.
Page speed Insights lets you know which aspects of a page you need to change in order for it to load faster on any device. A simple to use, free tool that gives you crucial analytics to help you rank better, improve customer experience and convert more people.
5) Answer the Public
Answer the public is another must-have free SEO tool for small businesses because it allows you to build easy and free brand recognition. This tool makes use of Google Suggest and provides you with an extensive list of all of the various questions people might be asking using a particular keyword or surrounding a niche or industry.
Simply type in the keyword you are interested in searching for, and you will have a list to work off of. You can either answer these questions directly on the places and platforms where they are being asked, or you can use these questions to gauge interest in the topics you are looking to cover and come up with novel content ideas.
This tool is highly similar to Google Suggest, but it covers only a handful of the biggest sites, including YouTube, Play Store and Amazon. If you are also doing SEO on other sites besides Google, KeywordTool.io can be very helpful.
There are plenty of free SEO tools for Google, but KeywordTool.io helps you conduct SEO on some of the other large platforms out there. A good tool to have in your SEO toolkit that costs you nothing and can potentially produce big results.
7) Google’s SERP preview tool
If you have ever made a note of the fact that some listings in Google are cut short because the title exceeds the title tag character limit, you might be surprised to learn that Google actually counts pixels when reading H1s, not characters. This is a great free tool because it lets you know how many pixels your article titles are and whether Google will truncate them. It also, quite helpfully, gives you a nice preview of what your pages will look like on Google.
This tool could end up generating a lot of traffic for your site and business due to the fact that the preview people see on Google influences their decision to click on your site. This tool puts you in the eyes of your potential visitors and allows you to preempt any lost traffic because of silly title tag errors. The bottom line is that title tags are of the utmost importance, and getting them right could mean significant traffic.
Find (and invest in) the right SEO tools to help your business
SEO tools, especially paid and freemium ones, can quickly add up to high costs for small and growing businesses. There are plenty of tools that are worth paying for and that are capable of producing great ROI if used consistently and correctly, but there are also many free ones you can use to great effect. Whether you are looking for free analytics tools, content idea tools, or ones to help you optimize your on-page SEO, the above list is a short but helpful primer that will help you build a solid SEO arsenal.
Bio: Lisa Samper is a freelance writer and journalist based out of New York City who writes about small business and digital marketing for a wide range of publications. When she is not reading and writing, she can usually be found walking and hiking with her two dogs.
Photo by Douglas Fehr