You are running a business, and you wish to add SEO to your digital marketing strategy. For this you have the choice of a number of SEO tools which can sharpen your digital marketing efforts and bring you good returns. Most people have a wrong notion that if they need a robust SEO tool with lots of features, they would need to pay a lot of money.
While there are several paid tools you can use, it is also true that there are hundreds of free tools you can use. Some of these tools are free tools with just basic features, there are many high end SEO tools which have great features yet do not cost you money for basic features yet give you the option of paying for additional features, which are referred to as freemium tools.
Here is a list of 18 free SEO tools that can help your webpages get great rankings.
- Keyword Tool: If you have used Google’s Keyword Planner, you will find this free alternative very useful. This tool is also free for you if you are an account holder of Google Ad-words Account. You can use this tool to get the best keyword suggestions, and it provides you not only words as suggestions, but also suggests long-tail keywords which are more useful for the latest algorithms. You can specify which platform (website, social media page, search engine etc.) you want the keyword search results for, and also the country of use. This tool not only suggests useful keywords but also gives you some suggestions about which keywords not to use. Apart from these free features, you can upgrade for less than $100 a month and get the benefits of search volume results, CPC campaigns, and also competition details of Ad-words.
- txt Generator: Every search engine has search bots which crawl through websites to look through the content. This is done so that every webpage can be properly indexed. The robots.txt installed on your system can actually point the search bots where they should crawl, and which pages to index in which order. On the other hand, this tool can also tell the search engine which pages to avoid, by disallowing access to those pages, in case you think they are irrelevant for the set of keywords you are trying to highlight.
- Siteliner: When you are trying to upload new and fresh content on your website on a regular basis for an extended period of time, you might miss out on some similar content you had posted last week, and which got repeated again, creating duplicate content for your webpages. Just download this free tool and input the URL of your website. It will quickly show you all instances of duplicate content which you can then modify or delete. Also, over time, many of the links you had provided on your website might become broken because the content or the URL of the linked pages might have changed in the meantime. Siteliner allows you to identify and correct those broken links. The free version gives you one check of up to 250 webpages per month, and the premium version @ $0.01 per page allows unlimited checks with a page limit of 25000.
- Mozbar: This is an easy way to visit any website incognito and get the complete metrics of the website. The benefits of an incognito search are twofold. It allows you to browse your own website several times without affecting the autofill options which might disorient other visitors. Also, visiting competitor websites incognito with this tool would show you the metrics and also allow you to see what the best practices on those sites are.
- My Business Listing: You can use this tool to look at views of how your website would look when searched for under different search engines. It allows you to get the same view as a visitor would get, so that you can notice which the areas for improvement are. This tool would tell you how difficult or easy it is for your website to feature at the top of results of different engines.
- Mobile Friendly Test: With most people browsing the internet on their smartphones, it is not enough for you to set up a useful and relevant website. It must also be responsive so that it is legible and usable on a mobile phone as well, and not just a desktop. You can enter your website’s URL on this tool and run a test, which will give you all details of how mobile friendly your website is.
- Schema Creator: When you run a search on any search engine, you also get brief details about the company without having to go through the website completely. This is made possible by the use of schema codes. This free tool allows you to create appropriate schema codes for your own website. You can use it to highlight your address, working hours, special events, contests and user reviews. You also get a free plugin of this tool which you can use on WordPress.
- SEO SiteCheckup: This is a great tool which can give you an overall dipstick about your website. You can make as many as 5 checks in a single day using the free version, and you can check for things like responsiveness, page loading speed, security certifications. You can also check on multiple websites, but when you go beyond 3 websites and a total of 300 reports in a month, you have to upgrade to the paid plan.
- QuickSprout: You can use this tool for free if you are connected to Google Analytics. You can get a preview of the search results of your website by typing in the URL of your website. You will be see your Meta descriptions, page titles, and all your headings and subheads just as a visitor running a search would do. These details would be for your website, and you can additionally also seek details of individual pages of your website.
- Google Analytics: We threw in this just for the record, although anyone having his or her own website would surely be using this tool anyway. It is so important and commonly used because Google is the most commonly used search engine. If you wish to select just one out of the 18 tools we have listed here, you should be using this one. You can know all about the visitors to your website using this tool – who your visitors, where they are coming from, why they are coming, and of course what they are doing after coming to your website.
- Open Site Explorer: Just like #4 and #5 on this list, this also is an offering from Moz, and it is a robust tool for analyzing the links on a website. You can get details of all backlinks, inbound links, and established links. The complete analytics of your links are provided to you, which can help you know about domain authorities and page authorities. The free version is good to start off with, but for more detailed outputs, you would need to upgrade to the paid version.
- SEOQuake: You will love the SERP overlay and the handy toolbar that this tool provides you. You wouldn’t need to run tests separately, but this tool would give you real time results as you browse a particular website. When you are running this tool on your own website, you get a complete audit of the SEO quality of your pages, along with specific instructions on how the SEO gaps can be addressed. The results would include complete details about the ageing of your domain name, the volume of social media interaction, and all the indexed pages.
- Screaming Frog: Every onsite aspect of your website would be scrutinized and analyzed in detail by this tool. You can get useful information about broken links, blocked URLs, duplicate pages etc. Your titles and meta descriptions would also be analyzed for effectiveness and optimum length, providing useful suggestions for optimization. You can check up to 500 webpages using this tool.
- Google Incognito: This is not a software or tool you need to download separately, because it is already available with Google. By itself, it can help you check your page rank based on specific keywords. You can use this tool standalone or in combination with some of the other tools listed here.
- XML Sitemaps Generator: If you want your website to be correctly and completely indexed by Google or any other search engine, it is important to have a sitemap for your website. This is necessary for both XML and HTML variants. You can test for up to 500 pages for free using this tool. You can find out about broken links and other gaps in your website using the free version of this tool. For less than $20 a month, you can also update to the paid version which gives you unlimited tests.
- SERPSs Rank Checker: The ranks of each of the webpages of your website for specific keywords is something that can help you understand the efficacy of your SEO efforts. Google and Yahoo are the two search engines whose algorithms this tool works on to give you an idea of your ranks. You are also provided additional suggestions for more effective keywords when you use this tool. You can search for different locations too, in case your website expects visitors from several countries.
- Optimizely: Split Testing or A/B Testing is a very popular mode of testing, in which two versions of the same website are created, and both of them tested concurrently to see which one would be more likely to generate greater volume of traffic. The live traffic data on both the versions makes it a tool whose results can be relied upon rather than theorizing on the likely impact of a webpage. It also offers suggestions about both the versions of the website. If your marketing or web designing team works from multiple locations or has many members, this tool would be really useful.
- Google PageSpeed Insights: This tool is slightly different because instead of only providing you metrics about your website only, it also gives you insights about the user experience your website is providing to your visitors. The results are shared for both mobile as well as desktop usage. Apart from giving you a score on the UX parameters, this tool also provides suggestions about how you can improve.
When your business has begun generating returns and you are able to set aside a budget for purchase of SEO tools, you can get the advantage of many of the useful features of premium tools. But till the time you are ready to spend money, you can work with any of the above 18 free tools to measure and improve the efficacy of your SEO efforts.