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I recently did an inventory of all the SEO tools I’ve used over years for my recent Kindle resource, 99 SEO Tools for 99 Cents. While it’s great to know that there are multiple tools available on the market to solve any SEO need, I wanted to bring the list down to the 10 essential SEO tools for small businesses with limited time and resources.
Here are the top 10 free SEO tools I’ve used over years to bootsstrap my online business and help my clients.
Google’s Keyword Planner tool will solve most of your basic keyword research needs for both SEO and SEM. Although Google designed it for the Adwords users, SEOs can find plenty of useful data as well. Keyword Planner is like a workshop for building new or expanding existing keyword lists. You can search for keyword ideas, get historical statistics, see how a list of keywords might perform, and even create a new keyword list by multiplying several lists of keywords together. I use it almost every day. For more advanced keyword research needs I use SEMRush.
I use Google Trends to find trending keywords and phrases on Google, along with it’s sophisticated geo data for better paid media targeting. Google Trends uses real-time search data to help you gauge consumer search behaviors over time. Use it in combination with keyword planner to enhance your marketing strategy. You should also track the performance of your branded terms over time, as well as use it for competitive comparison and benchmarking.
Open Site Explorer
I use Moz?s Open Site Explorer tool to view the domain authority of any web site on the Web, it’s a key SEO metric in my toolbox. You can do multiple competitor comparison as well. You can also find a lot of valuable backlink data to use in your link building strategies.
I also find the MozBar, a browser plug-in, very useful because it allows me to check the competitive SEO environment for ranking opportunity when I search Google.
Do you want to show up in Google Backlinks and meta tags will not help you if your website doesn’t load fast enough. Google pays a lot of attention to the site speed metrics these days so you better pay close attention to its feedback on your website performance. PageSpeed Insights allows you to plug in your website URL to get a site speed score from Google, available both on desktop and mobile devices, along with recommendations on how to reduce the load time of the content on your website. Priceless.
Install Yoast at the outset when you create your WordPress blog. It will help you install the key SEO metadata and optimizations without any technical or coding skills. This plugin is written from the ground up by Joost de Valk and his team at Yoast to improve your sites SEO on all needed aspects.
Although this WordPress SEO plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization, it first and foremost helps you write better content. WordPress SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere.
If you are not using Yoast for WordPress, you will need to access the HTML and insert certain pieces of code, which is just cumbersome and not a good use of your time.
Google Webmaster Tools provide detailed reports about your pages’ visibility on Google. You need to set up your website on the Webmaster Tools so that you can submit your sitemap and get access to detailed SEO keyword data, along with multiple other advanced webmaster features. If you run a website, submitting it to the Webmaster Tools (both for Google and Bing) is a must.
Google’s Ad Preview
Google’s Ad Preview is the best tool to check accurate, unbiased keyword rankings on Google. You can pick any language and geography to view how your website performs on Google. Note that Google personalizes its search results, so if you visit your own website often, Google will show it highly for you based on the user data it collects. However, your customers may not see your website as highly ranked as you do. Ad preview tool removes the personalization factor so that you can view more accurate, unbiased search result pages for any keyword.
SEOquake is a popular and handy analytic seo-tool for Firefox, Chrome and Opera browsers. SEOquake helps to obtain an information about any site for a wide range of parameters such as page rank, Google index, Alexa and many others. Keyword Density tool serves to demonstrate a number of times a keyword or phrase appears on a web page. SEOquake has a parameter that highlights noffolow links. SEOquake Toolbar shows values of the parameters under each search result in SERP of Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yandex, Baidu.
Soovle is a ?search engine for search engines. It’s a customizable search tool? and works by pulling together the suggestions from up to 15 search engines as you type your keywords into the search box, including Google, Yahoo, Bing, Amazon, Wikipedia, YouTube, Ask, ebay, Yell, and a load of others that I’d not even heard of (including some international engines).
What SEO tools do you use for your business?