When I first taught myself SEO, I started ranking pages on the first page of Google for competitive keywords using completely free tools. This was great for me. It is often underestimated how much can be done for free.
Which is why I have written this article to tell you a list of some of the best FREE SEO tools on the planet that you can use today to help you get ranked in search engines.
I decided to break this guide down into four sections:
– Keyword research and Planning
– Link building
Keyword Research and Planning
AnswerThePublic analyses forums, social media and blogs to find out what people are searching for. You simply type in a topic and it gives you keyword suggestions based on what people are genuinely interested in.
Use the funnel below to help you with identifying the intent of the user searching.
2. YouTube and Google
Did you know that YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google?
Your potential customers will be searching for their pain points both within the YouTube and Google search bar. First, start typing in keywords into Google and see what suggested terms come up at the bottom of search results. This can give you an idea of what people are searching for. Then type in other keywords into the YouTube search bar and watch what other words appear. This is good for finding long tail keywords.
List all of these other keywords that appear and include these in the body of your copy. This helps Google understand what your articles are really about. Using different variations of words also helps keyword stuffing.
Neil Patel is regularly adding features to UberSuggest and releasing them all completely free. You could compare it to premium software such as SEMrush.
This tool is useful to get; keyword suggestions, search volume and CPC estimate. As of early 2019, UberSuggest added traffic analytics to their arsenal. You can enter competitors URLs and analyse their top performing pages and see the estimated amount of traffic that page gets.
Once you know the estimated traffic of their top performing pages, write about those topics but improve the articles that you are writing. If they write an article on the top five ways to make money online, you should write an article that completely trumps that. Maybe write 10-15 points instead of five.
4. Keyword Density Checker
Keyword Density Checker allows you to enter a webpage’s URL and it will list all of the most comment words on the page. Simply copy and paste a competitor’s URL of a specific page on their website which you wish to rank for. You will see some of the most common keywords/phrases used on that page and you can look to build upon that as a place for keyword ideas.
You can type in your target keywords and it can give you suggestions to optimise around that keyword to help that page do better in search results.
As part of Yoast, there is a traffic lights system in which it displays different colours based on how well your content is optimised. There is NOTHING more satisfying about getting green dots across the board. You should aim for this each time.
6. aHref’s Backlink Checker
The feature of checking either your own backlinks or competitors backlinks is usually one of the most sought-after features in an SEO product. There are lots of free backlink checkers available, however, I would suggest using aHref’s Backlink Checker.
The premium version goes into lots of details about backlinks, so if you have a larger website with more competitors then it is wise to upgrade. However, if you have a small website- perhaps a local business then the free version will serve you good.
To use this backlink checker, first I would follow the strategy outlined in the UberSuggest section of this article. Once you have written about the topic that you have chosen, type in the URL of the website who originally wrote the blog that you improved and see who is linking to them. Then reach out to them and start to build links of your own (see Amplify section below for more info).
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a platform in which journalists and bloggers put out requests multiple times per day for people to contribute to their outlet. You can sign up to HARO completely free, you will receive updates at least three times per day.
HARO sends out emails in the following niches:
– Biotech and Health Care
– Business and Finance
– Entertainment and Media
– High Tech
– Lifestyle and Fitness
– Public Policy and Government
There is also a “General” category where you might find other niches. If your niche is outside of the categories above, it still may be worthwhile to read through each email that comes out as you may be able to still contribute but ONLY if it is relevant. Build quality links that are meaningful and don’t waste editors time.
8. Google Search Console
After you have created some good content and you have it optimised, head to Google Search Console.
Click: Performance -> Pages -> Select a webpage -> Queries
In this section, you will see keywords that you are ranking for on Google. You will probably see keywords that you didn’t even know about. This is good. You can capitalise on these keywords and sprinkle them around your webpage to help with your search results.
Furthermore, if you are getting lots of impressions but very few clicks, then you may need to optimise your title tag and meta description.
9. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is possibly the most accurate, data-driven tool that you could use. Often, the traffic is the only thing tracked and monitored, but it is important to dive deeper and look at more fine details so that all of the little changes can add up and boost your traffic and your bottom line.
Track metrics such as;
– Device bounce rate/conversion rate
– Browser bounce rate/conversion rate
– Behaviour flow
– Conversion rate increase/decrease
– Check out value increase/decrease
– Traffic source increase/decrease
Suggested Post: SEO in 2019: Should You Invest?
Ever wondered what it looks like when people are browsing on your website?
Ever wondered what buttons they press or what elements make them scroll?
Look no further, Hotjar is the perfect tool for testing the UI/UX of your website. You can clearly see the user’s actual journeys and get a feel for what it is like actually being sat next to them. I can’t praise Google Analytics enough but Hotjar turns the numbers and actually turns them into visual motions.
Hotjar is very simple to set up, all you need to do is sign up for an account and install a simple bit of code into your website’s header or footer.
11. PageSpeed Insights
I don’t need to stress the importance of a speedy, mobile optimised website. I will sound like a broken record.
According to Instapage, 53% of people said that they leave websites that take longer than three seconds to load.
Utilise Google PageSpeed Insights to find out your page speed score and see how you can improve your site to become the fastest it can be.
On WordPress, if you haven’t already installed these three plugins;
– Autoptimise – this will help optimise your website to load a lightweight version of your website by compressing the code
– Smush.it – if you use this plugin then you can compress images and speed up the load time dramatically. Smush.it is good because the image quality is never compromised.
– Google Webfont Optimizer – if you use Google Fonts on your website then this may be holding you back. Use this plugin to compress the fonts to speed up your site.
12. Link Checker
Internal links are a vital part of a successful website. Making sure that the internal links are still all working is made simple by using Link Checker. You can simply run scans and it will check if you have broken links and flag up which links need to be fixed.
This simple little tool is a nifty way of getting your content in front of more people with very little effort.
When you install and configure Subscribers, users will be prompted whether they wish to receive push notifications from you. Take full advantage of this and amplify out your content to anyone who subscribes to you each time you have a new blog, video or podcast etc.
(First of all welcome if you have made it to this page via LinkedIn articles, I see you in my Google Analytics 👀)
LinkedIn is a great source for high-quality traffic. Your LinkedIn network should be full of your potential customers/clients.
When you write a blog, copy and paste the first few paragraphs into a new article on LinkedIn. These first few paragraphs should hook in the users and grab their attention to continue to read.
At the end of these paragraphs, add the following – “[click here to continue reading]” and hyperlink this to your blog.
15. Email outreach
When writing your blog articles, you should be using external links to build a well referenced, credible article. When you link out to these websites, it isn’t usually too difficult to find the author’s social media links or email addresses.
If you can’t find their email address then use Hunter.io, it scans the website for email addresses that have been listed on the site. Hunter.io is good because even if they don’t pick up the email address of the person that you are looking for if there are other emails listed on the website, they can use an algorithm to predict email addresses if you type in the person’s name.
Once you have found an email address or social media links of the person who you have linked to, reach out to them.
Say something along the lines of:
I liked your recent blog post about XYZ, especially the part when you mentioned X.
I discovered your piece when researching writing these articles: www.yourblog.com/your-article
It would mean a lot if you could give it a read for me.
(p.s. it would make my week if you shared it on Twitter for me)”
Most people would be flattered receiving an email like this. To increase your chances of having your email opened, use a subject line such as:
– About Your Recent Article on “insert blog title”
– Thank You for Recently Sharing This!
– What A Great Piece!
Top tips for reaching out via email like this;
– Test your subject lines
– Don’t be disheartened when people don’t reply
– It’s a numbers game. Be patient.
If you reach out to people on social media for them to share your post, it opens to door for more and more people in your industry view your content and the chance of people linking to your content becomes higher.
Here is my round up of free SEO tools, I’d love to hear your thoughts on these tools and to find out whether I have missed any hidden gems!