Suppose you’re starting your journey with SEO or search engine optimisation. You may be getting overwhelmed with all the tools available. Add in the growth in artificial intelligence, and more and more tools come onto the market every day, making the choice of which to use more difficult.
There are definitely some kings in the kingdom of SEO tools that will benefit any business if they can afford to use them. But with that huge benefit often comes very high price tags. You may hesitate to invest that much if you’re a smaller business or just starting your SEO. This is where my three favourite SEO tools come in handy. The biggest benefit is… they’re completely free!
Three FREE SEO tools that will boost your business
Get your business going with SEO with these three free tools, plus a little bonus one I love.
The most crucial part of any SEO work is monitoring your results. You want to know that those changes to your website copy or those new blogs you got written are generating traffic. Introducing Google Analytics!
Google Analytics is where you see not only how many visitors you have to your website but also where they’re coming from, how long they’re visiting for and where they’re going. You’ll need to add a Google tag to your website so that Google can collect this data. But the plus side is that Google has lots of how-tos to set that up so all the data is accurate.
You can track conversions and sales along with traffic and user journeys. You can see which pages turn the traffic into conversions so that you can then test things to see what exactly you’re doing on that page that works.
Google Search Console
The first part of setting up your website for SEO is to ensure it’s actually getting crawled by search engines, particularly the world’s biggest, Google. Then once it’s getting crawled, you want to know your SEO work is working. This is all done through Google Search Console.
It will show you the average rank you get for particular keywords, which pages rank for which queries and the traffic they get from that. Google Search Console can also alert you to any issues on your website which may be hindering your SEO.
You can check many aspects of your SEO performance through Google Search Console. You may find a particular page is getting a lot of traffic in Google Analytics. Jump into Google Search Console to see what queries the page appears for. Plus, Google Search Console connects to Google Analytics and uses the same tracking tag making the setup easy.
Google Keyword Planner – inside Google Ads
SEO should always start with keyword research. You want to know what your potential customers are searching for to help you understand how to answer those queries. Many tools offer keyword research, but why buy a tool when you can access the core data for free with Google Keyword Planner?
To get access to Google Keyword Planner, you will need to set up a Google Ads account which may mean running a short ad for a period. But if you can drop $10 for a Google Ad, you can then access the Planner for free once you stop the ad.
There are two main ways to source keyword ideas through Google Keyword Planner:
- A small batch of keywords – If you already have a few ideas written down somewhere, you can input them into the Keyword Planner and get a long list of related keywords you can use.
- Your website – As long as it’s not 100% brand new and is currently crawled by Google, you can input your website or specific page, and Google will throw a whole host of keyword ideas out for you.
The data around keywords you find on other keyword tools all come from the Google Keyword Planner. The essential data you’d look at are search volume, keyword difficulty and cost per click. Some other keyword tools may have extra data points unique to them. Still, the reality is the crucial information is search volume and density.
BONUS TOOL – GOOGLE!
As a little bonus, I wanted to share what is the most underutilised free SEO tool by many businesses: Google itself. Simply searching your products or services will give you a mountain of information. You can then use this to help build out keywords, content strategy and an SEO plan of attack.
From the autocomplete search queries, Google suggests when you start typing in the search bar to the “people also ask” questions or the related searches at the bottom of the first page. Each offers a range of great keyword suggestions to help you build your content.
You can also look at what’s already ranking for all the keywords you may want to target. See what type of content is it, blogs? Landing pages? Stores? Products? Then look at how each website has things laid out and what information they include on these pages. How can you replicate this, or even better, how can you improve on it to outrank them?
The cheapest and simplest way to begin your journey with SEO is to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and go Google!
You may have noticed that all the tools I’ve mentioned are Google-owned, and why is that? Because after 20+ years of existence, Google has cemented (or monopolised) itself as the world’s number one search engine. SEO still is at its core search engine optimisation, it may be relevant across many platforms now, but it’s still about those search engine results. So when you’re looking for the tools or the data, why wouldn’t you go to the company that has it all, and that’s Google?