Website owners are always looking for new and effective ways to attract organic traffic. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) provides a means of doing so which is effective and long-lasting. More than that, however, SEO can aid you in other ways such as giving you an advantage over your competition, building trust and credibility, providing a better user experience, and building a stronger relationship with your audience.
SEO is an investment in your business. If you have the extra time to learn the ins and outs of SEO and want to take the reins yourself, these are the best free SEO tools for 2021:
It should come as no surprise that some of the best SEO tools come from Google. After all, much of your effort in optimizing your site is to appeal to Google’s search engine. Using their own tools and the information they provide is a logical first step. If you are not currently using Google Analytics, the best time to start is now.
Google Analytics can provide you with just about anything you need to know, as it tracks virtually everything relating to your site’s traffic, though it no longer provides you with the keywords that are generating your traffic. For that, you will need to make use of another tool, such as Keyword Hero.
Google Search Console
Another tool from Google, this one allows you to monitor and fix various technical issues on your site. You can also monitor important SEO data such as clicks, impressions, and average ranking position. One of the more useful parts of Search Console is the Index Coverage Report, which tells you the pages on your site that are not getting indexed.
Answer The Public
Struggling with keywords? Answer the Public allows you to enter a keyword and receive an extensive list of long-tail keyword opportunities, as well as commonly asked questions. With many keyword tools out there, you might be wondering what makes this one different. Answer the Public searches forums, blogs, and social media to find questions that people are asking. It then turns those questions into keyword suggestions that you can use to respond.
An all-in-one SEO tool, Ubersuggest does more than just suggest keywords, though it does that, too. Enter your keyword and you will receive a list of related keyword suggestions, along with their average number of searches on Google, the average cost per click for a Google Ad with the keyword, the word’s estimated paid competition, and the estimated organic competition.
Keywords are often a large part of your focus when working on your SEO, hence the number of tools dedicated to finding or suggesting them. Exploding Topics works a little differently than other keyword tools, which suggest popular keywords that are actively being used, offering instead keywords that are just starting to trend. Why is this a good thing? Because it provides the opportunity to make use of these keywords as they become popular, but before there is intense competition in their use.
SEO efforts often focus on the creation of new content to catch attention. While that is obviously important, you can also consider refreshing older content. ClickFlow helps you do just that by showing you the pages on your site that have stopped performing well. Updating these posts by adding some new content and deleting information that is no longer relevant can win back some traffic.
SEO is more than just finding the right keywords. If your site is suffering from technical issues, finding and fixing them is important, but it can also be challenging. Enter Screaming Frog.
Have a competitor who’s killing it? Sometimes the best way to improve is to learn from those who are already doing well. Detailed.com can provide you with a list of the most popular sites in your industry. Checking them out allows you to see what they are doing right so that you can learn from it and incorporate it into your own site. It also includes a handy feature that reveals who has linked to or tweeted about these competitors.
Ahrefs’ Backlink Checker
On the topic of taking a page from your competitor’s book, Ahrefs’ Backlink Checker lets you see the top 100 backlinks to any website or URL, as well as the total number of backlinks and referring domain, Domain Rating, and URL rating (where applicable). This can be useful in checking out your competitor’s website for link-building opportunities.
Google SERP Preview Tool
You may have noticed that some listings on Google are cut off because their titles are too long. Although many believe that Google’s meta tags use character counts, they actually use pixel counts. The Google SERP Tool will tell you how many pixels your meta tag contains so that you can determine if they will be cut off by Google.
Should You Handle Your Own SEO?
Small business owners often like to do as much as possible themselves, either to save money or because they prefer to be involved in every aspect of their business. Sometimes both. This might leave them wanting to do their own SEO. With so many sources of information about SEO widely available, it might seem like an easy enough undertaking, particularly with tools like the above available for free.
One of the challenges of being a business owner is that you can stretch yourself thin, offering your services, marketing your products or services, doing your accounting and bookkeeping, researching new areas of business potential, training and leading your employees, maintaining your business location, planning the future of your business, and more. Taking care of your website is just one more thing on your list.
While many of these tools are quite useful, if you are serious about your SEO (and your business), you will eventually want to use a paid service with professionals who know how to maximize your efforts and get you the results you are seeking.
Christian is a British-born entrepreneur and founder of Marwick. For over 19 years, Christian has successfully helped businesses excel in digital marketing. Founded in 2012, Marwick has grown from a start-up to the 11th Fastest Growing Company in Canada in 2020 and expanded into the UK in 2019.