There’s no denying the power of SEO or search engine optimization. Unfamiliar? It’s the marketing discipline which helps visitors easily find your site in popular search engines like Google. The sites which just always seem to be at the top of page one aren’t there by accident. There’s an extensive science behind it. SEO leverages creative elements and technical elements which help your rankings, spread awareness about your product or brand and ultimately drive traffic to your site. It encompasses everything from the language that you use on your main site to the way other sites in your industry link back to you. Basically you want to design your site in a way that the Web at large can easily understand it and share it with your target audience. Today we’re teaming up with Yarra Web who are not only going to walk us through the most powerful SEO tools, but spoiler alert – the most powerful FREE SEO tools. Too good to be true, right? Read on and find out.
Let’s first sway the naysayers. You know the major search engines. They include Bing, Yahoo! and the almighty Google. These are the primary route of navigation for your prospective customers. It doesn’t matter what your product or brand is, every consumer is visiting a search engine to determine the options that are out there for them. This is where you have to remember that it’s not about you and your brand, it’s about your target consumer. A couple of key terms that we’ll be using moving forwards:
AdWords – The pay-per-click advertisement program that Google uses. This is the most popular and common way of advertising your Website.
Affiliate – Sites that your brand partners with to promote and sell your company’s products and services.
Algorithm – the program the search engines use to determine what pages show up for any given search query.
Analytics – Programs that gather data from your Website including usage and share insights to help you best market yourself. A great example is Google Analytics.
Search queries – what users type into the search box.
B2B – Business to business.
B2C – Business to consumer.
Bot – Programs which perform tasks autonomously, without human involvement or oversight. These are frequently used by spammers who plagiarize content.
Bounce rate – The rate at which visitors navigate away from your site after viewing only one page.
CMS – CMS stands for Content Management System. CMS systems allow you to manipulate the content of your site, even if you’re not a coding expert. Examples include WordPress or Squarespace.
Conversion Rate – The achievement of a quantifiable goal on your Website. These don’t just have to be purchases. Other examples include subscribers and sign-up’s.
Key Word – The words and terms that visitors type into search engines. Key Words are imperative for programs like AdWords.
META Tags – These are statements that are found in the head section of any HTML site that share information about the page that you’re visiting.
PPC – PPC stands for Pay Per Click and is an advertising principle where advertisers pay sites like Google whenever users click on their ads.
SERP – Search Engine Results Page
Feel properly educated? On to the good stuff. Let’s dive in to some of the best (and free) SEO tools around:
Struggling to determine what keywords to use in tools like AdWords? Never fear, keywordtool.io is here. This tool allows you to type in just one potential keyword and gives you a full list, organized alphabetically, of other recommendations for you to take advantage of.
Google PageSpeed Insights
All you need to do is enter the URL of your site. Google PageSpeed Insights will look at both the loading time and overall performance of your site on desktop and on mobile. It also looks at where there are opportunities for your site to improve, as well as what you’re currently doing right. You walk away with an aggregated user experience score that looks at everything from font sizes and styles to tap targets.
We mentioned Google Analytics before, but this is an imperative tool for any successful Website and brand. Since it partners with the largest search engine around, it’s able to successfully track all of your traffic – where it’s coming from, when it’s at its peak, and what are the keywords that are actually benefiting you.
Google Webmaster Tools + Bing Webmaster Tools
We can’t forget about the other search engines like Bing. Both Google and Bing offer rich Webmaster tools that show you just a teaser of what these search engines thin of your site. You need to install them, unless you’re working with a WordPress template. In that case, you can add the code automatically. Just look for plugins like Yoast and Jetpack. These Webmaster tools are especially helpful if you’re looking to identify both alerts and bugs.
Google Keyword Planner
You’re probably noticing a plethora of Google tools, and that’s no accident. Luckily many of them are free and easy to navigate, no matter what your Webmaster skillset is like. The Keyword Planner is paramount to determine what your target market is searching for. Metrics that Google will return when you type in your keywords include competition, suggested terms that you may not have thought about and monthly search volume. With this tool, you’ll be able to set up a successful keyword strategy.
Open Site Explorer
Looking for comprehensive link analysis? Look no further. There is a paid version of Open Site Explorer, but the free version still allows you a range of analyses when it comes to links on your site. Not only does this help with showing your most linked-to pages, it also allows you insight into the links that direct traffic TO your site.
Moz Local Listing Score
This tool aggregates data from almost 20 different sources. These include everything from Facebook and Foursquare to Google. They then score your site and give you a comprehensive list of action items and fixes if you have anything like an inconsistent listing.
Take advantage of these tools and you’ll be well on your way to successfully driving traffic to your site. Questions? Let us know. And be sure to check out the Yarra Web Website for more helpful information about elevating the online presence of your brand.