In the ever changing and evolving realm of search engine optimization there are constantly new methodologies being created to try and master the art of increasing search engine rankings. With Google performing regular and unannounced updates to its ranking algorithm, what was once considered a safe SEO technique one day could become obsolete the next. This is very much the case with SEO tools too, and depending on the tools purpose and functions, what was once recognized as a great tool last year can be rendered defunct the following year. This is why we are keeping you in the loop with the dynamic enigma that is SEO and the best free SEO tools for 2017.
Here is my list of my personal favourite Free SEO Tools, and why I think they will be useful throughout 2017.
Google Keyword Planner
An age old staple among all of the keyword research tools, Google Keyword Planner enables you to view certain metrics for your chosen keyword. You can filter your results by country, search volume, and CPC if you wish and also include or exclude keywords. This tool underwent a massive overhaul in September 2016 and the update removed the detailed monthly search volume feature for people who do not have an AdWords account with a large budget. It still displays a broad search volume which isn’t as good, but it can still be used to perform keyword research and you can then use other tools for a more in-depth analysis.
KwFinder is a small browser based tool that packs a punch. Simply enter in your chosen keyword and filter your results by country and language to perform your search. You will then be able to see some important metrics such as monthly search volume, CPC, competition difficulty score, and its trend pattern. While the free version does have some limited functionality as opposed to the paid version, it still offers enough features for the budget SEO to get some value out of.
SERPS Rank Checker
This rank checking tool allows you to search one keyword at a time based on a specific location. You can just search for a keyword and then see a list of the top websites ranking for it or you can search for a keyword and type in a domain name to see what if it is ranking for that keyword. This is quite a good tool for checking individual keywords and domains at a time but is unfortunately limited to that.
MicroSite Masters is a fantastic web based free SEO tool which lets you monitor the rankings of ten different URL’s and keywords. This is great if you have ten select keywords for one website that you want to keep a close eye on and make adjustments to your website accordingly. You can view your rankings by location and it will also display the monthly search volume in addition to your keywords visible positioning in Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Your list gets updated daily and you may end up becoming obsessed with your rankings when you use this tool.
Speed is imperative for user experience and it also has an influence over your search engine rankings too. You can check your websites speed using GT Metrix which is a free tool that scans your website and gives you an analysis on what improvements you can make. It will display your pages loading time, size, and http requests being made while showing you a long list on how your website scores in various areas. It’s almost impossible to get 100% on this test, so don’t fret if you fix everything and there is one minor detail stopping you from getting a perfect score. Analyze your website first and take a screenshot so that you can make comparisons after you make the necessary changes.
Google Webmaster Tools/Google Search Console
Using Google Webmaster Tools (now called Google Search Console) lets you submit your websites sitemap to Google for faster indexing and you can also submit individual URL’s too. You can also view information on different search queries related to your website, click through rates, impressions, and average keyword positons. All this information is logged by Google chronologically so you can analyze different patterns and trends that your website is experiencing.
This is the holy grail for analysing your websites visitors and their behaviour. Once you connect Google Analytics with your website, you can log into your GA account and view some detailed statistics about your website such as the amount of visitors you are receiving each day, what country they are from, how long a person will spend on your website on average, and so much more. This tool is best used for better understanding your audiences behaviour and allow you to see if you can make any improvements.
Type in a website and you will be able to view statics such as traffic, bounce rate, and pages per visit. It is a bit similar to Google Analytics except SimilarWeb shows different information in regards to traffic, search engine presence, Social Media, advertising networks, and similar websites to the one you searched for.
Install the Moz Toolbar for Chrome and you can then view a websites DA and PA in the SERPS in addition to the amount of links it has. This is a very powerful tool for manually checking the competition for a keyword and it can allow you to quickly gauge if it’s something worth pursuing or not.
If you have a local business or your client does then Moz Local can help you find out what you might be missing out on. Type your website into this tool and you will be presented with statistics showing what areas you need to improve on in regards to local listings. It will also point out inconsistencies you have in current listings and if any are incomplete or duplicate. This can allow you to alter your listings so that they are correct and you may even discover some sources that you didn’t know about.
This is regarded as the go-to tool for checking if your website has duplicate content, or worse, if someone has stolen your content. The free version allows you to type in your URL and Copyscape will then crawl the web to see if your content appears anywhere else.
Created by Small SEO Tools, this is a great resource to utilize for checking bodies of content up to 1000-words long. Simply copy and paste your content into the box and enter the Captcha and this tool will scan the Internet to see if the content you pasted in appears anywhere else.
Create your own sitemap with ease using this free SEO tool. Simply enter your websites URL into the box and fire it up. You will then be redirected to a page where there is a link to your sitemap that you will be able to download. This tool will index up to 500 pages of your website and you can upload the sitemap to your website after you download it.
Moz Open Site Explorer
Spy on your competitors and look at their backlinks with OSE. You will be able to see some limited results with the free version, but sometimes that is enough and you can make a list of your competitions backlinks that you can create yourself to make your link profile better than theirs.
Schema Structured Data
Schema is a very detailed language of microdata that gets added to your HTML and can influence your web pages search engine appearance. It helps create more informative results and can greatly increase your search engine traffic and click through rate. You can create your own schema with this tool and paste the script onto your website.
Create your own robots.txt file if you know what you are doing and take control of who crawls your website and what they will see. You can block unwanted crawlers and prevent spam bots from discovering your website and potentially launching a malicious attack.
Ever wanted to crawl your own website to see obvious gaps in your data and address on page issues? Screaming Frog will do that, and its free forever as long as your website is under 500 pages.