Some people may say that “nothing’s for free”, but never underestimate the power of the Internet. Thanks to Google and many other digital companies, we now have a packed toolkit at our disposal in the form of free online marketing tools. It’s now easier than ever to get started with implementing SEO effectively for your own business or startup emptying your pockets.
Luckily we’ve done the hard work for you, so here are five of our favourite free tools that you should take advantage of!
Let’s start with one of the most impressive pieces of free online software available today: Google Analytics.
Originally based on the old Urchin platform, this web analytics tool is now proving to be an invaluable work tool for thousands of businesses. Google Analytics not only includes more data about your website and its users than you could ever dream of, but it also fully integrates with your Google Adwords account and a wide range of social tools. And if this was not enough, since 2012 you can even use it to conduct content experiments on your website.
With great functionality available as standard plus many options for customised reports, filters and bespoke tracking, it is a must for anybody working in digital marketing.
Check out Google Analytics.
Google Webmaster Tools
This is the ideal companion to Google Analytics and a great technical dashboard for your website. Just link it to your Google Analytics account and you’re ready to start monitoring how Google indexes and crawls your website.
Use it to upload a sitemap of your website to help search engine robots understand your site structure, monitor links to your site, organic queries and even identify crawling errors and broken links. It may be more intimidating than Google Analytics at first, but it really is a oustanding tool for anybody launching a new website or willing to push their SEO efforts a little bit further.
Check out Google Webmaster Tools.
So you’ve got a great website, nice products, but for some reason your SEO performance is not as good as you’d like it to be. Could it be that you’re optimising for the wrong keywords?
With Google Trends you can check keywords against others in order to view easy to understand search trend graphs for specific markets and timeframes. As the name suggests, you do not get exact numbers with this tool but trends. Use them to identify what your potential customers are looking for and give some direction to your optimisation.
Check out Google Trends.
Google Adwords Keyword tool
Google Adwords is Google’s paid search advertising platform, a marketing channel where using the right keywords is key.
The keyword tool offered with Adwords is another essential tool for keyword research and SEO strategy, as it allows you to enter your targeted keywords and Google will return expected search levels for these terms as well as suggestions around the same theme. It will also give you the level of competition for these keywords for paid activities, so useful for SEO and Pay Per Click.
Check out Google Adwords Keyword tool.
For a bit of variety, here’s a free non-Google tool. Majestic SEO is an advanced link building tool that allows users to identify the structure of their links, the referring sites and domains as well as the anchor text used for links.
A free account gives you a wide range of tools including graphs for trends, competition research, link velocity and popularity and more. With link building being such an integral part of SEO nowadays, this is another great resource for anybody working on a link building strategy and willing to take it further.
Check out Majestic SEO.
We do realise that this list may seem very Google-centric, however it is undeniable that the big G offers some of the best free tools available today.
It goes without saying that the tools above do not represent an exhaustive list of what is on offer out there, but they should really give you a great insight into SEO and search marketing for no money. And in these times of budget cuts, we all like something free. For help with using these tools or your more complex SEO queries, always seek the advice of specialist agencies, such as Mahon Digital, as bad SEO can lead to severe penalties from the search engines.
Saija Mahon is the founder and CEO of Mahon Digital Marketing Ltd, an online marketing agency who are located in the UK and in Scandinavia, serving global client base. Mahon Digital specialises in PPC (pay per click), SEO (search engine optimisation) and SMO (social media optimisation) marketing activities.