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5 FREE Tools to Help with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

by Dave Reeder , 20 January 2016

Dave Reeder
5 FREE Tools to Help with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Search Engine Optimisation is a time consuming task, where you need to compete against the efforts of your competition online. Many tools exist to take away some of the manual work to help speed up daily SEO tasks.

There are some amazing subscription SEO services out there, but if you're just plunging into the world of SEO what could be better than some FREE tools to help you get going?

Here are some of our favourites:

Google Analytics

Google Analytics

To start collecting data in Google Analytics you'll need a Google account (register a GMail address) and set up your site and add the tracking code to the tag of your website.

We set this up as standard on all our sites because Google Analytics is a crucial reporting service for all websites.
GA supplies a huge array of data for free including total visitors, proportion of mobile traffic, bounce rates, pages viewed, keywords and traffic sources. You can customise the Dashboard to show the analytics that are most important to you.

There is even a real time section so when you post to fast moving social media sites like Twitter you can instantly see the effect of a post driving traffic back to your site.

If you want to get even more advanced you can set up Goals to help track sales and conversions, add events to help monitor specific button clicks or form submissions on your website.

Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools)

Webmaster Tools

Another essential service from Google is their Webmaster Tools (WMT). WMT handles the technical side of your site and tells you how many pages have been crawled by Google, whether there are any major issues with your website, allows you to add sitemaps etc.

WMT also highlights possible improvements to your HTML and will alert you to security issues.

WMT is a great tool for helping to make sure your website works well for mobile viewers because it will tell you if links are too small or close together to be tapped effectively on mobile phones.

It also shows how Google sees your site so you can check and debug any issues you may be having with visibility in Google.

GTMetrix

GTMetrix

The speed of your website is now a very important ranking factor in Google and for user experience too. There are many factors that can affect the speed of your site so it's important to identify and fix any issues.

GT Metrix is a simple free tool that helps you do this. You enter the URL of your website and it runs a series of tests then tells you what is wrong and how to improve it.

Examples of issues it will alert you too are: Poorly optimised images with large file sizes, slow server response time, need to combine images into sprites to cut down http requests, inline small CSS to cut down http requests, defer javascript passing that is blocking the rendering of the page etc.

W3C Link Checker

W3C Link Checker

Having broken links is really bad for SEO and user experience, especially if it's to one of your most important pages!

A broken link may highlight a link that can be quickly fixed of redirected to another page to help with user experience or pass valuable link juice along to important services or products on your website.

This online link checker from W3C works fast to check all your links and works really well. It also highlights empty links and redirects so you can double check those. No excuse for having broken links now ;)

SEO Powersuite

SEO Powersuite

SEO Powersuite isn't technically an online tool. You actually download a few desktop applications that do different things like back link analysis, keyword analysis and an application to check the health of your website.

The SEO Powersuite download comes with the following applications: SEO Spyglass, Rank Tracker, Website Auditor and LinkAssistant.

What's the catch? Well you can't save any projects with the free version, so that does hold you back a bit, but it still offers a really great tool for free and you can always upgrade later.

Site Speed

Any was you can speed up your site is also great for SEO!  Google wants to see fast sites.  Check out these other articles on optimising Concrete5 sites and 21 ways to speed up Wordpress sites.

Summary

This is just a flavour of the free tools available to help analyse and work on the SEO of your website. If you are happy to spend money then there are other options such as Moz and Searchmetrics.

Hopefully you found this article helpful, have fun with your SEO!

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