Our Favourite Free SEO Tools

Organic Search 1st, Oct 2013

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Search engine optimization is a crucial part of any business’ online marketing campaign so it is easy to understand why so many people are concerned with the knowing the best practices and having the best tools. Luckily many of these tools are not only highly useful but also free of charge! While many Internet marketing related companies have premium services that can be subscribed to for a fee, they also offer more basic tools that can be used to help get your website’s SEO campaign on track.

Google Webmaster Tools

The most obvious place to go looking for SEO advice is from the one company that is making all the rules so it is no wonder that most webmasters take advantage of Google’s online offerings. This free online suite includes:

  • Data, tools, and diagnostics to help you build a healthy site;

  • The ability to check your website for any issues that may have been detected by Google’s spiders (web crawlers that index pages);

  • An introduction to understanding search traffic;

  • The ability to learn how users are finding your website;

  • And suggestions on how to optimize your site to allow Google to better understand your site and represent it to potential customers.

There is also a handy guide on Google’s Webmaster Tools Help page to help teach new users the ins and outs of the available tools. As these Webmaster Tools can be accessed for free with a Google account, they are certainly one of the most popular choices on the market as well as being one of the most accessible for the average user.

Open Site Explorer

This Moz creation allows users to see who is linking to their website and find any links that point to pages that are broken or no longer there. Webmasters using this tool are also able to research their competitors to see who is linking to them. While this is a limited free tool (advanced users can pay for additional premium access) it can be extremely helpful in catching bad or broken links. In order to make the best use of this tool it is recommended that users have a firm understanding of page authority and how it impacts rankings.

Spider View Simulator

Ever wanted to know how Google sees your website? Well that’s exactly what this simple online tool does: simply enter the full URL of your website and it will present you with 2 unique views of your page content as well as a variety of useful information. The information provided includes:

  • The title of your page;

  • The meta description;

  • Meta keywords;

  • The length of your content;

  • The number of inbound, outbound, and unbound links;

  • Main keywords; and

  • The text to HTML ratio.

By examining the basic HTML view of your website, you can get an idea of how well Google understands the content and formatting of your page.

WordPress SEO Plugin

As many webmasters these days use WordPress as their basic platform to build from, this plugin is a popular option and boasts a myriad of useful features including the most advanced XML Sitemaps functionality available. This plugin will automatically create XML sitemaps as well as notify Google and Bing of their existence. The sitemap will include any images contained in posts or pages so they are also found more easily.

Snippet Preview allows a user to see a rendering of how a page or post will appear in search results making it easy to optimize by checking to see if your title is too short or too long and whether or not your meta-descriptions make sense in context. This will improve both your rankings and your click-through rate from organic search results.

The Lindex Page Analysis checks for simple, easy-to-make mistakes due to oversight such as:

  • If there are images in your posts;

  • If your alt tag contains your focused keyword(s);

  • If the post is long enough;

  • If the meta description provided contains your focused keyword(s); and

  • If you have used subheadings.

The plugin can also be used to tell Google which pages should be displayed in search results and which ones shouldn’t be as well as providing powerful social media integration, RSS optimization, built in file editing, and Breadcrumbs functionality for improved navigation of your site. For more information on everything this robust plugin can do, visit the WordPress SEO page.

By: Tyson Huggins

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