Having free SEO tools can be a great part of your website marketing campaign. These tools will help you configure your website or websites for search engine optimization, often within many different search engines.
We’ll take a look at which SEO tools out there are an absolute must-have for anyone with a website.
1. Open Site Explorer
Open Site Explorer is a bit of an older tool, but it is still just as effective as any other. One big benefit to Open Site Explorer is that it is simple to use. Once you go to the homepage for Open Site Explorer, all you have to do is pop up the URL of the domain that you want to view the data of. As a guest, you can get 3 reports a day, up to 200 links, and will receive the top 5 link metrics.
Once the URL is entered, you will be able to view the “link data” for that page. You will see that there are four measurements for each domain:
- Page Authority
- Domain Authority
- Linking Root Domains
- Total links
What most users will want to really keep an eye on here are the page authority and the domain authority. These two numbers are scored out of 100, and the closer they are to 100, the better.
Below the section mentioned above, there are also five tab views on the page which will display backlink data, such as:
- Linking pages
- Top Pages
- Linking domains
- Anchor text distribution
- Full list of link metrics
TIP: The “guest” use of this tool is free, but to really gain full use of this tool, you may want to consider upgrading your account to “Registered” (Unlimited daily reports, up to 1000 links and top 20 link metrics) or boost it right up to “Pro” (Unlimited daily reports, up to 10 000 links and access to all link metrics.
2. Google Webmasters Tool
If you own a site, then Google Webmaster Tool is a definitely must-have. This tool is designed to tell you exactly how the Google bot is interacting with your website, which is important since it does have a very different search algorithm than most other search engines. With this tool, you’ll get:
- Popular keywords
- Detailed information on broken links
- How often Google is looking up your website
To use the Google Webmasters tool, all you will need is an account to get started (if you already have Gmail, AdWords, iGoogle, or another service, chances are that you already have an account with Google). After you sign up for the Webmaster Tools service, you can click on the “Google Webmaster Central” and click on “Improve traffic with Google Webmaster Tools.”
Once you’re in, you can add your sites to the Dashboard provided. There is no restriction to the number of sites that you add, and each site will have to be verified prior to Google providing any insightful information on it. Verification is as easy as you uploading a text file to the root of the website, or adding a meta tag to the index page.
When you have successfully added your website or websites to Google Webmasters Tool, the amount of information that you will receive will be phenomenal. If you haven’t used any SEO tools in the past, then it may be a bit overwhelming at first. Take time to explore it and get to understand it. It may take a while to understand all of the features being offered, but once you do, you will be able to significantly improve your website. Some of the different pages that you are offered include:
- An Overview page which will show you when your homepage was last crawled, how many errors Google sees, pages it cannot find, restricted files and unreachable URLS
- A Diagnostics page for each of the web crawl errors provided. You will be told each page that Google can’t find, each error that it is seeing, and you can then report those for reporting or send them off to be fixed
- A Statistics page where it will tell you exactly how Google sees your site, how others see your site, subscriber and index stats, and top search queries
- A Links page where you can see who is inking to you, which pages have the most number of links and what your internal linking structure looks like
- A Sitemaps page where you can upload any XML sitemap to Google
- A Tools page where you can run tests to sure that the robots.txt file isn’t blocking any good content. You can also use the “Remove URL from Google” area if Google is adding a page it shouldn’t have to their search results.
3. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is another fantastic tool that will allow you to track your website traffic. It’s free, and it has set the industry standard for analytics software. It’s reliable and it has every feature that you would expect to get with an analytics tool. Some of the features you can expect to get include:
- Tracking page views
- Viewing visitor information
- Checking into your conversation rates
You can also set some goals that help interpret the data that you receive from Google Analytics by comparing a number of different factors all at once. For example, it isn’t hard to calculate the conversions that were generated by males age 25-32, if that is a stat that you are looking for. You can also set up the goals to help you monitor the revenue that you are making from your pay-per-click campaign.
There are a few complaints. One thing that users dislike is that it does not provide real-time updates (there is about an hour lapse between when a user takes action and you receive an update). The other issue that a lot of users have with the tool is that you cannot see information about a specific user. But as far as free software goes, it is definitely worth signing up for.