There are so many free tools out there to help you optimize your website, but I don’t want you to drown in the technological SEO ocean! Here’s my list of recommended free tools to help you harness the power of search engine optimization and start boosting your rankings.
While many of these tools have premium paid-for features, the free versions give you ample info for beginner-level SEO for your blog and business. Some apps will require you to sign up for a free account, such as getting a Google Gmail account to use all their business features.
Essential & free SEO tools for business owners
1 | SEO blog posts
I have a whole category of SEO posts on my blog to help you learn all the ins and outs of optimizing your site.
Get to grips with the basics of SEO in just six days – serious! I created an action-oriented challenge to help creative entrepreneurs optimize their websites. With short, achievable assignments, you’ll discover the real goal of your SEO and how to drive more traffic (and more ideal clients) to your website.
Indispensable keyword research
Google – your quick & easy go-to for keyword research
This resides within AdWords, but you don’t need to run Google Ads to use it for free. You just need a free Google (Gmail) account. Check out this 5-minute video on YouTube to help you get started.
4 | Google Trends
See what’s trending in search engines and compare up to 5 search terms by popularity, region and related queries – good for short keywords, popular terms and trending news.
5 | Google
Simply using Google to type in search terms and seeing what is auto-suggested + the results that come up on the page, including “People also ask” if your search term is a question, &/or “Searches related to” at the foot of the results page. Good for long-tail keywords.
Keyword research with digital marketing legends
6 | Moz Explorer
Founded in 2004, Moz is one of the online destinations for SEO professionals. Filled with detailed expert-level posts, they’ve created a range of great free tools even beginners can use. Moz Explorer is one of those tools and it gives you up to 20 free searches per month on the “largest, most accurate search keyword database”. You’ll get keyword suggestions, SERPs (search engine results pages) analysis and search volume.
7 | Ubersuggest
Neil Patel, another industry legend and founder Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, Quicksprout and KISSmetrics, he launched his new agency, Neil Patel Digital, in 2017. And it is there that he’s offering a couple of free tools, including Ubersuggest, which gives you keyword ideas, search volume and competition.
It’s worth checking out both Moz Explorer and Ubersuggest, as their suggestion lists can be different from each other from the one search term.
For more keyword inspiration, also delve into…
This tool auto-generates questions and topics related to your keyword – great for brainstorming blog content and those long-tail keywords which bring you highly qualified traffic.
9 | Don’t forget Bing!
While Google seems to dominate the interwebs, other search engines can easily be forgotten – but they do exist!
Free tools for local SEO
10 | Google My Business
Get found on Google Maps & in search results when people are looking for local products and services. Essential for businesses with a permanent physical location/s &/or with a mobile or temporary location, for example, photographers, food trucks, fashion boutiques, wellness centers, etc. Get the lowdown on optimizing for local SEO and how to get featured in Google’s Local Pack.
11 | Moz Local
Can you tell I love Google & Moz yet, haha?! While Moz Pro starts at $99 per month, they have a couple of helpful free tools (as mentioned earlier), including to help you with your local SEO:
- Sorting out your Google My Business page/s? Check the list of business listing categories available, all in one place on Moz.
- Review how your business listing appears on multiple search engines.
12 | Free review checkers
WordPress SEO Plugins
Not everyone uses WordPress – in fact I just switched to Squarespace! But I used and loved WordPress for many years and there are some great plugins to aid your SEO, especially…
13 | Yoast
Yoast makes a bold claim to be the #1 WordPress SEO plugin, but I think it’s well deserved! They’ve created a really easy to use plugin, where every page and post has sections where you can edit your meta data (title tags and meta descriptions), as well as analyzing your text for your chosen keyword, suggestions to improve your content and a traffic light system to let you know how well the text on each page & post is performing in terms of SEO. Find out more on Yoast’s website.
14 | Tinypng
Optimizing images is vital for boosting your SEO and one of the ways you can do this is to reduce the file size of your images – this will speed up how fast your site loads. For image compression, I recommend TinyPNG. You can use their website app, or download their plugin for your self-hosted WordPress site.
If you’re on Squarespace, their SEO is built right in – watch this space, as I’ll be sharing more on Squarespace SEO soon.
Core SEO analytics & site auditing
15 | Google Analytics
Don’t be put off by the techie-looking Google Analytics – you can get it set up in about 15 minutes or so. It’ll enable you to monitor your web traffic in detail, from discovering your most popular pages and blog posts, to finding out where your audience comes from – where they live, their demographics and interests and much more!
16 | Gtmetrix
Gtmetrix is one of the most popular free apps to audit your code and measure the elements which impact how fast a particular page takes to load. The speed of your site is an important factor for people browsing online and search engines take it into account when ranking your website too. While there are some elements you should definitely not mess with unless you’re adept at coding, there are often simple things you can do to optimize and boost your search rankings.
17 | Google Mobile Check
In 2015, Google stated that the mobile-friendliness of websites would have a “significant impact in our search results”. This was due to the huge and continual increase of web searching happening on mobile phones and devices like tablets. If you haven’t already, it’s time to do your due diligence and check whether your site is easy to use on mobile, or not.
Luckily, these days, most WordPress and Squarespace themes are mobile-friendly as standard, but not everyone uses 4G mobile internet, so there it’s likely there’ll be some actions you can take to improve your page speeds.