How do you know how to optimize your website’s pages to rank higher in search engine results? You use tools! The internet is full of great tools that you can use to analyze your competition, track changes to the algorithms, and more, but some of them can cost money. Luckily, there are plenty of great free tools that can give you just as much information about your site, competitors, and keywords as their paid counterparts at a fraction of the price. With these eight SEO tools, it’s easy to build an effective SEO strategy from the ground up!
1) Google Search Console
Google Search Console is your one-stop shop for everything related to search engine optimization. You can track your ranking and watch traffic to your site from Google search results. More importantly, you can also use Search Console to find links causing duplicate content errors or no index issues—saving you a lot of time. The tool will even send you notifications when new links appear in search results, allowing you to monitor your backlinks more closely. If there’s an SEO issue with your website, Search Console is where you want to look first.
2) Open Site Explorer
Open Site Explorer is a free SEO tool that gives you in-depth information about your domain and its link profile. It shows you which other sites link to your site, which connects to them, and where those links are located. Plus, it offers actionable recommendations for increasing your traffic. Search engine optimization professionals use Open Site Explorer as one of their most essential tools for their job—so should you! You can also see your competitors’ backlinks with Open Site Explorer; enter any website into its search bar to get started.
This comprehensive and popular search engine optimization tool can show you which keywords bring in search traffic for your competition. Find new opportunities by using its Keyword Gap feature to compare your site’s keywords with your competitors. This will tell you which terms you should try to rank for—and how much it’ll take to get there. Use SEMrush’s keyword database, Keyword Magic Tool, to generate new ideas. (Free) This post is a bit more advanced, so please ask away if you need any help! I would love to help anyone who needs it!
4) Yoast SEO Plugin
Yoast, a premium WordPress plugin helps you optimize your content for search engines. It’s easy to use and is loved by most of its users. You can also download a free version that lacks some of its advanced features, which is ideal if you’re using a self-hosted WordPress site. Yoast has a great tutorial on setting up WordPress if you don’t have a website yet. The plugin is available in English, German, French, Spanish, and Dutch. The Yoast team also offers several other valuable plugins, including one for social media optimization (SMO).
6) Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog is a free tool to crawl a website and discover what pages are indexed, which keywords they are ranking for, what anchor text is being used, and even how many external links point to each page. It’s great for competitive analysis as well as analyzing overall on-page health. You can also run it against your site to see where there might be issues that need fixing. If you want more in-depth data, there are paid plans, but all of its core features are free.
Using SERPWoo, you can check your Google search rankings for keywords and phrases to see how many websites compete for that term. It also lets you monitor your competitors’ SERPs by letting you track up to 10 queries from an account. This free tool is super helpful when starting with keyword research and competitive analysis. You can create custom reports to share or save them as PDFs. You have three options—to view all of your data on one dashboard, add them individually or use their CSV export option so you can keep track of everything in Excel.
8) Authority Labs
This great tool crawls your website and tells you what words or phrases you rank for. It’s part of Moz, which is an excellent all-around SEO platform. It’s one of my favorites, but it might be overkill if you want to check how your site ranks for a few specific terms. Authority Labs also has an accessible mode where you can type in a URL and get results without signing up. I like Authority Labs because they tell me how many pages on my site are ranking in Google search results (and they give me links to those pages).