Unless you’re prepared to jump in the deep end and spend hundreds of pounds on SEO analysis tools from big companies like Moz and Majestic, when you start out you’re going to have to rely on some cheaper (though not always less thorough) tools.
Your first stop for a clear and concise graphical representation of your site’s SEO campaign should be the free report generator over at SEMRush. The tool delivers an insightful overview into how your site is performing through both organic and PPC traffic in location-based data.
With extra insights such as a keyword phrase report, Ad overview and backlink overview, SEMRush is an excellent free tool if you want to see how you compare against competition.
These tools are available for free but lack the detail offered in the paid-for plans which start at about £55.
With Majestic you’ll find that many of the standard features are off limits to you as a non-paying user. But there are still plenty of handy tools available to you that will give you a good insight to your site’s progress.
Majestic allows you to keep an eye on your backlinks and keywords, giving you a little insight into how your site is performing. Majestic isn’t quite as user friendly as SEMRush-and without paying, you are unable to directly compare your website to others.
A free account with SEOBook gives you access to (and they’ll tell you this a lot) over £300 worth of software. In reality, this is probably a good choice for those of you that are working your SEO campaign with the Firefox browser, as three of the tools that come with the free account are Firefox extensions.
The rest of the tools at your disposal are useful and laid out cleanly and are easy to use. From a Spider Test tool to a handy “Typo Generator”, there are a few handy web-based tools for you to use.
Some people don’t realise that duplicate content can hurt your site. And if someone steals your content to use on your site, Google’s spiders will flag this up.
Copyscape is the web-based tool that can help you avoid, locate and identify anyone that is copying your content. This can be fairly useful – and serve as a reminder to regularly update your web-content, but its practicality is limited.
This is the big daddy of free SEO analytics tools. Google’s keyword planner is the go-to tool for those seeking to progress their rankings in the search engines. After all, who knows their keyword algorithms better than Google themselves?
Of course, Google are famously interested in improving their algorithms to provide the searcher with well-written content, so we advise that you use the Google Keyword Planner with care.
These are just a handful of the numerous free tools out there available to the new SEOer, but they represent some of the most in depth (and user friendly) options available.
Starting out in SEO can be pretty tough to begin with, and the right tools will help you along the right path. But what is most crucial is a keen understanding of the statistics that the tools deliver and an intuition on how to use those stats to your advantage.
Developing an SEO brain doesn’t happen overnight. And if you need things to happen in your favour quickly, it is sometimes best to ask the experts for help. But don’t let that deter you from learning more about SEO in the long term – you never know, you could be the expert in the future.
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.freeimages.com/browse.phtml?f=download&id=1425528
Danielle Haley is Co-Director for one of the leading Search Engine Optimisation companies in Essex – FSE Online Ltd. Since starting within the SEO industry, Danielle has fully utilised these tools and believes that these can be an essential part of any SEO campaign.