Neil Patel

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Seven Free SEO Tools You Should Be Using

Free is awesome. Especially when that “free” whatever is giving you extra traffic, money, rank, reputation, riches, etc. Thankfully, there are a ton of free tools in the SEO world. The downside is that some of these free tools are junk.

I want to give you a go-to collection of the top free SEO tools. These are intuitive, slick, effective, powerful, and — best of all — they’re absolutely free.

1. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is to the online marketer like air is to the human being. You can’t live without it.

If you’re not yet using Google Analytics, I recommend that you begin doing so as soon as possible. There is no other data source that provides high quality and detailed information like Google Analytics. In a Google-dominated era, it’s what we have to work with. Most of the other data tools simply piggyback on Google’s data using the API.

Assessment

You can’t ignore Google Analytics. Virtually all the actionable and important data about site visitors, traffic, etc., comes from this critical source.

More Information

2. Google Search Console

If Google Analytics is the air that an online marketer breathes, then Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) is the food that the online marketer eats.

The word “webmaster” in the former name is a bit of a misnomer. The tool is for more than webmasters. It’s for SEOs. The very focus of the tool has to do with “search” and “optimization.”

Some of GSC’s best insights come from just glancing at the dashboard. SEOs and marketers need to keep up with the dashboard on a regular basis.

webmaster tools

Google Search Console provides some of the same data as Analytics, but in a simpler and more straightforward way. There’s less tweaking you can do with the numbers, but easier access to them.

search queries

One of the most important datasets is the link data. (Search Traffic → Links to Your Site → More). Staying up to date with toxic backlinks is one of the most important defensive actions you can take.

download latest links

If you ever have to deal with the dreaded manual penalty, or are routinely disavowing stubborn spam links, you will become very familiar with Google Search Console.

webmaster tools site messages

Assessment

Clearly, Google Search Console is indispensable. You need the data, you need the tools, and you need the power. I wish that more SEOs saw the value of the tool and used it more.

More Information

Check out a tutorial on using Google Webmaster Tools.

3. Ubersuggest

Ubersugest is an all-in-one SEO tool designed to help you win the game of SEO. A big part of SEO success is knowing what you’re doing, what your competitors are doing, and how to adjust your strategy to take advantage of holes in the market.

Getting started with Ubersugest is as simple as typing a domain or keyword into the search bar.

From here, you gain instant access to a report for your chosen domain or keyword.

For the sake of this post, I want to focus on the keyword search capabilities of Ubersuggest. It’s a great alternative to the Google Keyword Planner tool, which has lost some of its luster over the years.

After running a search for your primary keyword, here’s how you can use Ubersuggest to uncover related keywords to include in your content.

Step #1: Click “Keyword Ideas”

Located in the left sidebar, click “Keyword Ideas” to be taken to a comprehensive report.

Step #2: Review the Results

This is where the fun begins. You’re provided a long list of keywords related to your seed keyword.

There are four columns with corresponding data for each keyword:

  • Volume – Average number of monthly searches the keyword has on Google.
  • CPC – Average cost per click for a Google Ad for the keyword.
  • PD – Estimated competition in paid search (the higher the number, the more competitive).
  • SD – Estimated competition in organic search (the higher the number, the more competitive).

While this data alone is helpful, I want you to drill down deeper. Let’s keep going.

Step #3: Click on a Keyword

For example, if you want to rank for the keyword phrase “content marketing agency,” click on it to access the following.

Now, there’s no question as to what you need to do to reach the first page of Google. This data allows you to address points such as:

  • How much traffic you can reasonably expect to receive for each position on page one
  • The number of backlinks for your page one competitors
  • The number of social shares for each URL

Use this data to create content that’s 10x better than your competitors.

Step #4: Filter Your Search

After you gain a clear overview of related keywords that align with your company and its goals, turn on the filter feature to narrow your search. Here’s an example.

You can set additional parameters, but this is where I like to start when searching for long-tail keywords. You want to uncover keywords with enough search volume to move the needle, without focusing on anything that has an extremely high SEO Difficulty score.

Even though it cuts out more than 400 keywords, you’re left with 12 that match your exact criteria. “Content marketing examples” is one of the best keywords on the list, despite an average monthly search volume of only 1,000. It has the ability to drive highly targeted traffic to your website, and with an SD of 17, you have a good chance of ranking.

Assessment

You can do a lot more than keyword research with Ubersuggest, but it’ll definitely help in this department. With this, you have what you need to select keywords that allow you to create killer content that’s destined to rank.

More Information

You can learn more by reading The Guide To Keyword Research.

4. MozBar

Knowledge is the name of the game with the MozBar. When you think about it, SEO has a lot to do with knowing the right stuff. The MozBar helps you discover the right stuff at a glance.

The MozBar button sits right up in your browser toolbar — the place where all the action is going on. Click on the MozBar, and you generate an instant report on the website you’re visiting.

page analysis

You can position the MozBar at the top, side, or bottom of your browsing window at all times.

mozbar

The toolbar has three main categories of data — Page Elements, Page Attributes, and Link Data.

Page Elements displays the nuts-and-bolts of on-page SEO. There’s a lot of information accessible at a glance. You can see the various tags — title, description, H1s, etc.

Page attributes shows some below-the-surface onsite optimization features, such as robots, rel=”canonical” and load time. Additionally, you can find out on-page link data.

The Link Data tab has ranking factors and more information on a site’s links. Complete information is available only with a paid subscription.

The MozBar’s true power is available to those who subscribe, and it’s a service worth the money. If you’re still in startup-cash-strapped phase, though, the folks at Moz are kind enough to provide this robust version of their tool at no cost.

More info:

5. SEOWorkers Analysis Tool

The Analysis Tool allows you to plug in a website URL — any website, even if it’s not yours — and generate a report.

online seo tools

SEOWorkers doesn’t provide anything new, but it does help to save a lot of time in analysis. Also, it provides background information on the data.

The report is quick and detailed.

analyzed page

Some of the data, like the HTTP Headers Check is under-the-hood stuff that you wouldn’t normally think to check for.

http headers check

Other analyzed features provide helpful icons to show you if you’re doing well, or if you need to pay attention to something:

head elements

Here is SEOWorker’s unique feature. They teach you about SEO in addition to showing you the SEO data that matters. Within each analyzed category, the report provides a detailed discussion, and often a video (ft. Matt Cutts).

google webmaster help video

The keyword analysis is comprehensive. It displays head terms (single keywords), and two-, three-, and four word keyphrases (longtail keywords).

single keywords two words

Assessment

SEOWorkers provides a lot of information, and some of it is different from other SEO and reporting tools. However, it can be information overload. For the experienced SEO, the discussion in each section is superfluous. For new SEOs who are still learning the tricks of the trade, it could be useful.

More Information

http://www.seoworkers.com/tools/report.html

6. WooRank

At first glance, WooRank appears to be just another freemium website analyzer. Upon closer, inspection, however, it gives handy insights into some not-so-obvious stuff.

You can analyze any website, and generate a report in seconds.

20 score qs

WooRank first displays a “Top priorities section. Unfortunately, here’s one of the downsides of the tool. Somehow, it thinks that I have a 404 error, lack a favicon, and don’t have a robots.txt file. All of these are inaccurate.

top priorities for Quicksprout

For example, when I click on “Blog,” in the SEO report section, I receive this message.

We have not found a blog on this site

I’m nonplussed, since content marketing is kind of my middle name, and my website definitely has an active blog.

On to more positive things…

The geodata is insightful, although Analytics provides similar information.

visitors for QuickSprout

Social shareability is another helpful section. Few free analysis tools are able to aggregate this much social network data in a single place.

Social characteristics of QuickSprout

The most outstanding feature of WooRank that I want to point out is the mobile section. Few free SEO analysis tools provide this level of data and perspective.

Mobile QuickSprout

Assessment

For its ease, interface, and amount of data, WooRank gets high marks. Unfortunately, not all the data seems to be accurate.

WooRank redeems itself with the mobile optimization overview, which I think is a critical feature for today’s marketers.

More information

http://www.woorank.com/

7. Neil Patel SEO Analyzer

I’m assuming you’re already aware of my free website analyzer. I think it’s worth mentioning, however, as a final free tool at your disposal.

The visual layout is clean and intuitive, providing plenty of crucial information:

nike vs. reebok

One feature that I’ve worked hard at is the competitive analysis. Part of the success of online marketing is knowing how your competitors are doing. Information about their websites is free for the looking:

competitive analysis table

Assessment

Personal bias aside, I think that my website analyzer provides a very helpful perspective both on your own site, and especially on a side-by-side comparison of your competitors.

Bonus: ClickFlow

When it comes to growing your traffic, most marketers default to creating new content, building new backlinks, and so on.

The ClickFlow Content Decay Tool is different—it shows you old pages on your site that are no longer performing well. These outdated posts are great candidates for a content refresh.

First, you’ll want to connect the Content Decay Tool to your Google Search Console.

Once ClickFlow imports your data, you’ll see a report that shows you the pages on your site that have lost the most search traffic over the past 12 months.

clickflow

From there, you can update these posts to win back lost traffic. Simply expand upon your content, add examples to make it more thorough, and cut any outdated references.

If you choose to upgrade to a paid ClickFlow account, you can even measure your content refreshes.

ClickFlow will show you the impact that updates have on your traffic and rankings, on a page-by-page basis.

Conclusion

If you’re serious about SEO, you’ll need to pony up the cash to get the right tools. You won’t be able to do thorough SEO work without a paid subscription to something.

Here are the things that are typically not available for free:

  • Heat maps. If you’re interested in usability, conversions, and SEO, a heat mapping tool like Crazy Egg is crucial.
  • Rank Reports. Knowing where your site ranks in the SERPs for certain keywords is an important part of good SEO. Rank trackers allow you to see what page and position you’re on, and track your rank over time.
  • Backlink analysis. Crunching all the data behind backlinks — anchor text, DA level, site quality, webmaster contact info, velocity — is necessary when you’re doing any sort of backlink audit. The tools that provide such analysis are sophisticated, but usually not free.

What are some other SEO tools that you’ve found useful?

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