For any small business owner, getting started with SEO may be a tough subject to tackle. There is a bit of technical knowledge required, you need to understand customer segmentation, be able to develop the right kind of content and have relationships to establish links on other websites. While this may seem daunting to a new marketer, there are a handful of tools you can use to get started. And best of all, most of them are free!
1. Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a completely free application from Google that informs webmasters how their site is performing in the eyes of the world’s largest search engine. It provides information related to crawl data, ranking keywords, mobile friendliness and more.
To get started with Google Search Console (formerly known as Webmaster Tools), all you need to do is install a small snippet of tracking code. Easy, right?
2. Screaming Frog
The next tool to consider for your SEO tool belt is Screaming Frog. Screaming Frog is a crawling and analysis tool that mimics how Google might crawl a website. It provides information related to page titles, meta descriptions, image alt tags, crawling errors, http status codes like 404 errors and so much more. Screaming Frog simply requires a quick application install to your computer and you’ll be up and running with data about your website.
Once you understand the basics of your website and how it’s being crawled, the next step is to determine where the opportunity is. One of the best tools to use for this is SEMRush. SEMRush is a favorite among search engine optimization agencies and is available in both a free and paid version. The free version allows users to pull up to 10 reports a day and will give a variety of insightful information related to a website. You’ll be able to see rankings, content ideas, competitor data and more.
Honorable Mentions: WordPress SEO Tools
As any WordPress user knows, one of the best tools out there is Yoast. Yoast is a free plugin that optimizes page titles, descriptions and even gives readability data about content. It can point out overuse of keywords, titles that are too long, overuse of outbound links, etc.
Performance optimizations are a necessary part of any SEO campaign. Things like image optimization are a must have in today’s SEO world and a plugin called Smush accomplishes this masterfully. Smush will look at all of your images and compress them to work best on the web. While you may have big beautiful images on your website, you’ll want to make sure they are optimized for the browser.
And with any performance optimizations comes with increasing a site’s page speed. To accomplish this, you’ll want to check out a caching plugin like Autoptimize, Breeze or W3 Total Cache. These must-have tools will allow you to provide Google with minimized versions of your files, ensuring a fast website experience.
If you have any additional tips about SEO tools you recommend, please leave us a comment in the discussion below.