Top 5 Free SEO Tools

If you’re a beginner to the world of website building, then you’re probably wondering how to get more people to visit your website. One of the first steps for you is to learn the basics of search engine optimization (SEO). But if you’re already more experienced than that, you’re likely looking for practical SEO tools and tips. So whether you’re thinking about building your first website or you’ve already built a few, I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 free SEO tools that you should consider using.


1. Google Analytics

Experienced online marketers know that analytics are an important tool in measuring website success. Learning to track search queries, traffic sources, referrals, and conversions will make you a veritable analytics ninja, so that you can make regular improvements to your site. As of February 2014, Google Analytics is set up with five unique reporting categories: Real-Time, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions.

Google Analytics SidebarReal-Time

The “Real-Time” report includes six tabs that all focus on real-time analytics data. I’m a firm believer that historical data is more useful than real-time data, as it allows you to see what’s working over time. But real-time reports are certainly interesting, especially after you’ve just launched a new website or you want a quick snapshot of what’s happening during a new release.

Audience

The “Audience” report includes a slew of data dimensions that mainly focus on user demographics. You can review metrics such as age, gender, language, location, and browser type. There’s also a visitors flow chart to see where your users enter and which pages they visit next.

Acquisition

The “Acquisition” report provides deeper insight into your traffic sources, such as direct traffic, organic traffic, referral traffic, social traffic, and keyword traffic. The two most important are direct traffic and organic traffic. Direct traffic is from visitors that type your URL into a browser or that enter via a bookmark. Organic traffic is all visits that come via a search engine.

Behavior

The “Behavior” report allows you to drill down even further into your individual website pages. For instance, if you wanted to find your top 5 most visited pages, you would go here. Google also offers “In-Page Analytics,” which displays visual click-through rates on any page of your website. This can be a great help for those of you looking to improve user experience.

Conversions

Lastly, the “Conversions” report focuses on your goals (e.g. newsletter signups, form submissions, and sales) and how many have been completed, as well as conversion rates for each one. If you are running any sort ecommerce website, then you’ll be especially interested in this report.

If you’re looking to become a real Google Analytics expert, they offer a free training and certification course. And if you’re looking for how to install your Google Analytics tracking code on a Jimdo website, check out this quick Google Analytics installation tutorial.

2. Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is another great free tool that gives website owners detailed reports into their website’s visibility within Google’s search engine. These are the most important areas to review:

Webmaster Tools SidebarSearch Appearance > HTML Improvements

This is where you can find website issues related to duplicate title tags, missing title tags, duplicate meta-descriptions, and missing meta-descriptions.

Search Traffic > Links to Your Site

This shows you who links to your website the most, as well as your most linked content.

Google Index > Index Status

In this report, you’ll be able to make sure that your website is being indexed.

Crawl > Crawl Errors

Here you’ll be able to see any Google crawl errors on your website. Google also provides additional information on how to fix any errors that may arise.

Sitemaps

Once your website is set up, you’ll want to test and submit a sitemap to Google. Sitemaps help you easily inform Google and other search engines that you have pages ready to be crawled.

Security Issues

If you have any issues with malware on your website, Google will notify you here.

Other Resources

You’re able to test structured data in this section, such as whether you correctly set up Google+ authorship. Google+ authorship helps make your content more personal by showing your actual Google+ photo next to your content in Google search results.

If you’d like to learn even more detailed information about Google Webmaster Tools, then definitely check out the Webmaster Tools Help Center.


3. Google Adwords Keyword Planner

At its core, the Google Adwords Keyword Planner is meant for paid search advertising campaigns. However, it’s arguably the best free tool available for organic keyword research. If you’re interested in what keywords have the most competition or monthly searches within your vertical, then you’ll want to start using this right away.

Keyword Planner Homepage

Within the tool, you are able to search for new keywords based off similar keyword ideas. For instance, if you entered the keyword “seo tools,” the Keyword Planner would give you additional ideas, such as “best seo tools” or “seo software tools.” You’re also able to see search volume averages for whole lists of keywords. As with the other two great Google tools, they have excellent tutorials for the Keyword Planner.


4. MozBar

The MozBar, also known as the SEO Toolbar by Moz, is a plugin extension available for Chrome and Firefox. There is a paid version of the toolbar that gives you access to advanced metrics and features, but the free version is still very useful.

The MozBar provides easy to read on-page elements (e.g. title tags and meta descriptions) and link data, such as how many websites link to that web page, for any website that you visit. If you’re curious about a competitor’s on-page SEO strategy, this is a quick and easy way to get some of that information. You’ll be able to sneak a peak into your competitor’s online mindset by seeing their Domain Authority, which shows how relevant a website is in relation to the entire web, as well as their title tags and meta descriptions for key landing pages. The MozBar also offers a SERP (search engine results page) Overlay extension. This shows you Page Authority and Domain Authority for each search result in Google. Similar to Domain Authority, Page Authority measures that page’s importance as compared to other pages on the internet. Check out the screenshot below.

MozBar in Google Search

NOTE: The Firefox version allows you to export Page Analysis and SERP data to .csv files. Otherwise, the two extensions are essentially the same.


5. Open Site Explorer

Open Site Explorer (OSE) is yet another great tool from the people at Moz. It allows you to check on any given website’s backlinks, and it displays them in an extremely clean format. Backlinks, otherwise known as inbound links, are links that come from other websites, and they are extremely important to improving your Domain Authority. With the free version of OSE, you are somewhat limited in terms of the information you’re provided. However, it’s a fantastic tool for finding out more information on your competitors. If you’re interested in comparing your Domain Authority, Page Authority, or Total Links with those of your competitors, then check out this example below.

Open Site Explorer Example

NOTE: With the free version, you are limited to running three reports per day. And you will only be able to see the following information for five of your backlinks: Domain Authority, Page Authority and Link Anchor Text.

Those are what I consider to be the top 5 free SEO tools in 2014. It’s never easy to make a short list like this, and while there are a few other tools that almost snuck in, these were the clear cut winners for me. I plan on writing more in-depth articles on each individual tool listed above over time, but let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. Are there other free SEO tools that you find essential to your online success?

 

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Jesse Modoono

Inbound Marketing at Jimdo
Jesse joined Jimdo USA in December 2013. He focuses on spreading the word about Jimdo with his inbound marketing skills. In his free time, Jesse enjoys trying new restaurants, planning his next international vacation, and reading Russian literature. He also loves everything Pittsburgh.
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29 Comments

  1. Jimdo thank you for these great tips on seo. every time you surprise us. I am very happy with you and I think that will continue to use.

    Reply
    • Hey Carlos. No problem at all! And thanks for the kind words. We want to help website owners across the world be more knowledgeable and successful both online and offline. Be sure to check back frequently or sign up for our newsletter, if you think you might miss a post.

      Reply
    • Hi Charles. Thanks for the comment. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply
  2. great post.article very interesting and informative

    Reply
    • Awesome. Super happy you liked it. :)

      Reply
  3. Thx, interesting tips!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Hans!

      Reply
  4. Thanks for those tools! I know them well because I have to admit that I’m tool junkie :( I love testing new! Recently I was testing https://colibri.io and I have to say it’s soo pretty :) And it’s inresting also, because I have never seen before integration of Social Media with SEO made that simply. And it has an easy integration with GA, so you can be sure your results are valid!

    Reply
    • Hey Lauren. Thanks for the comment! I’ll be sure to check out the tool you mentioned.

      Reply
  5. Great list Jesse. Keep the research on, bootrapping a startup can be fun too and that exact how you have helped with your list.

    Reply
    • Hey Divine! Thanks so much. I’m glad you enjoyed it. :)

      Reply
    • Hi Muhammad. We’re glad to hear you like Jimdo! Let us know if you have any questions.

      Reply
  6. Wow. This is wonderful and I learned a lot. Thanks

    Reply
    • That’s great! I’m really glad to hear it, Kevin. Be sure to check back regularly or sign up for our bi-monthly newsletter.

      Reply
  7. I am always using these 5 tools to observe my website. But recently i got an amazing tool to check any site’s result of Google SERP by serplab.co.uk. It is totally free to use. I can show me also what i have to do for my site also.

    Reply
    • Hi Edwin. Thanks for the tip! I’ll be sure to check out SERPlab.

      Reply
      • I’ve been using serplab.co.uk too, its great!

        I was using whatsmyserp.com but their rankings seem to be pretty inaccurate and I have to log in every time I want to check my SERPS.

        Reply
  8. Thanks for the article. One suggestion, it would be great to list some alternatives to the major tools. Also +1 for serplab, best serp reporting we’ve used.

    Reply
    • Now that sounds like a great idea for a future post. Thanks!

      Reply
  9. Thanks Jesse! I’m new on seo, and its a big help for a newbie in internet marketing. Hope for other informative posts.

    Reply
    • Hey JohnCarlos. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. More to come, so keep checking back. :)

      Reply
  10. This is very essential blog. it helped me a lot that you have provided about these very important 5 SEO tools. Thanks for sharing this such a useful blog.

    Reply
    • Hey John. Thanks. Glad it was helpful!

      Reply
  11. Thanks a lot.

    Reply
    • No problem! I hope this article was useful. :)

      Reply
  12. I’m having trouble getting into my website. I renewed my domain name late. Is there something I’m missing? Do I need to reset something here to get my website back in action.. Hope to get it back and running again I have a lot of up dates.
    thank you..
    doubleanchorranch.ca

    Reply
    • Hi Nancy. I’m sorry to hear that you’re having trouble logging into your website. Please contact our Support Team here: http://support.jimdo.com/contact. They’ll be able to get this resolved for you. Thanks! :)

      Reply

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