Given that the rewards for a website being ranked highly in the search engines can be substantial, not least in financial terms, it is understandable that many business owners turn to SEO consultants and agencies. Although the fees charged may not exactly be loose change, the return on investment from effective SEO is worth it.
If you are not quite ready for a full-on SEO campaign and feel comfortable starting on your website’s SEO yourself, that is fine, but you will need a number of tools to help you. Even SEO experts and agencies use tools to help them plan, assess, and improve their clients’ SEO.
What you may not realise, is that you can get many of the tools you will need for free. Some of them are the exact same tools that the experts use, however, there is a caveat. In most cases, there will be a free version, and a paid version, and the free one will obviously not have all the functions that the paid versions have.
Nevertheless, they can be useful, and they can also help you better understand your SEO needs. This means when you do decide to employ an SEO agency, you can do so with greater knowledge and be able to communicate your needs to them more effectively.
The first tool is one of the most downloaded on the internet and that is Yoast SEO. This is a WordPress plugin that uses a traffic light system to tell you how well optimised your content is with regards to SEO. It also checks for readability which ties in well with Google’s user experience algorithm.
Google Analytics is something that every website should have because it is Google’s assessment of your website that will have the greatest impact on your rankings. It measures traffic to your site, session durations, and bounce rates, to name but three. Within your Google Analytics dashboard, you can also set up and run a multitude of reports to help you assess your SEO.
Mozbar is a free extension that is added to your browser, and it provides data relating to any website which you visit. The title, description, keywords, H tags are some of them, plus it will also give you information on backlinks to a website. What makes this especially useful is you can use it to spy on your competition’s SEO by visiting their websites and noting all their SEO data.
If you want to have a greater understanding of the backlinks to your website you can use Ahrefs Backlink Checker. This will show the anchor text, which page the link comes from, and the authority of that page, which will give you an indication of how much power the link has.
Better still, you can look at the backlinks of websites you compete with which are ranked higher than yours, and then simply replicate their backlink profile as best you can, in order to compete with them.
If you want to see how search engine spiders crawl your website, then you can use a free tool called Screaming Frog Spider. This will provide you with information such as what metadata it is finding, what, if any, broken links there are, and it will analyse the content on your website so you can see whether it is optimised for SEO not.