Digital marketing is more important now than ever. And if your budget is running thin, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the best long-term investment you can make. We know that there are a ton of articles out there that list all the free SEO tools you can be using, but we also know what it’s like to be a beginner and it can be overwhelming. If SEO is not in your job description and you just want to get the basics to help your website, this short list breaks down the most essential SEO tools that you need. The fact that they are free to use is just a bonus. Once you get the basics, we recommend moving on to something like SEJ’s The Top 109 Free SEO Tools You Should Be Using.
Google Analytics is probably the most important indispensable resource you should be using if you want to get accurate data on how your website is performing. Aside from getting information on website traffic, Google Analytics also can help you identify traffic sources, demographics (age, gender, location), and track how many leads you are actually getting from your website (conversion).
With the detailed information you can get from Google Analytics, marketers can easily identify which strategies and content best works for their audience.
The Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a free desktop application you can install on your computer. It helps you analyze and crawl your website (pages, images, links, CSS, etc.) from an SEO perspective.
It also comes with different tools including the Log File Analyzer which allows users to upload log files, verify search bots and identify which URLs are crawled, and provides search bot data.
However, the free version only allows you to crawl up to 500 URLs per website. For websites with over 500 pages, like ecommerce sites, you are recommended to invest in the paid licensed version (£99.00/year or roughly $124/year).
Google Keyword Planner
Although Google Keyword Planner can only be accessed if you create an ad account, it is still basically free to use even if you have yet to launch a campaign. This tool provides you with valuable insights on how popular your target keywords are on Google search. It will give you historical trends, forecasts, keyword suggestions and more.
Answer the Public
Answer The Public is a keyword tool which visualizes search questions (what people ask online) and suggests autocomplete searches from search engines like Google. It’s a great tool to use especially for content marketers.
Answer the Public works like most keyword research tools – just input a keyword and it provides you with a list of related queries and a cool graphic of questions and phrases people actually use when searching on Google. Aside from WH (who, what, where, why) questions, it also provides keyword suggestions using prepositions such as “like”, “versus”, and “with”.
This allows content creators to have a better insight of what their potential customers’ pain points are and be able to write content that your audience is actually interested in and are likely to share.
This free tool by Google analyzes the popularity of top queries in search across countries and languages. Google Trends basically shows you how frequently a given search term is entered into Google search engine per region and time frame of your choice.
Google Search Console
Last but not the least, Google Search Console is one of the most powerful free tools available for marketers. Google’s search console allows you to understand how Google is indexing your site, and which URLs they aren’t, and how you can fix them.
It helps you get insights on Keyword and URL performance, indexation issues, sitemap status, mobile usability, backlinks acquired, top queries and click through rate, and so much more.
These are the most essential SEO tools you can use to understand how your website is performing and track results of your SEO efforts. The great thing about these particular tools is that they are powerful enough that they are in the toolbox of even the most seasoned SEOs, but easy enough to use for beginners and non-SEOs.