Search engine ranking used to be as simple as clumping product and service related keywords together while you sat back and watched your website climb the search engine charts. This is no longer the case as search engines now accumulate far more than 100 billion monthly searches while several million new websites go up each month. So how do you decide which SEO tools are best for your optimization efforts?
Outlined below are the best free and easy to use SEO tools that most online business owners don’t use or know about:
Bing Webmaster Tools – Although Google accounts for almost 70% of search volume, Bing receives several billion searches a month. Bing WMT produces large-scale data for your sites traffic. Bing also provides in-depth SEO reports, crawl error reports and extensive ad campaign assistance along with many other useful tools and reports.
Rival IQ Rival IQ is an excellent tool for competitor analysis. Compare your business against others to view high ranking keywords, social media analysis, backlink profiles and much more. Export the data to PNG or PDF files to create and monitor optimization efforts.
Site Explorers/Backlink Checkers – Site explorers and backlink checkers are extremely useful when generating content outreach, email outreach and competitor analysis. Tools like Ahrefs, Alexa, Majestic SEO and Open Site Explorer produce thorough data for your specific online market. These tools provide services to help you understand where your business stands against competitors.
Audit My PC If you’re not looking to wait around for Google or Bing WMT to index your website, Audit My PC sitemap generator can do all the work for you, for free. Audit My PC is extremely easy to use, can be tailored to your exact site map specifications and can be exported directly to an XML file ready for indexing.
SEO Plugins The Mozbar plugin gives you access to multiple SEO metrics such as domain authority, page authority, backlink profiles and full on-page SEO analysis. The PageRank plugin works with several SEO tools to provide you with current search ranking and traffic stats, site and page info, and provides SEO metrics for any individual webpage or domain. Use these plugins to create in-depth backlink profiles, get started on content outreach projects, and perform extensive home page and competitor analysis to get the most out of your SEO efforts.
Mozcast Ever been caught off guard when Google decides to change its ranking algorithms? Now you don’t have to with Mozcast’s Google weather forecaster. Mozcast brings you a day-to-day weather forecast on how Google’s algorithms ranking is changing. Find dramatic SE changes, discover top-view metrics, and see Google’s algorithm change history to know when you need to re-optimize your business according to Google.
Google+- This is the hidden gem of SEO. This is one of the most underused and quick ranking tools for the world’s largest search engine. Use Google+ to create a personal, business and authorship page to boost your online visibility. Receiving +ones, similar to a Facebook like, have a direct connection towards ranking higher in SERPs. It’s also a Google branded tool which means it’s directly incorporated in search results and has higher standing than other social media sites.
These tools are free and extremely useful for SEO, but it’s completely up to you to decide which ones work best. Sample them all, learn about what they can do and decide which tools are going to help your business rank. Once you’ve created a specific line-up of tools put yourself in your customer’s shoes and optimize your business enabling the best customer experience possible. As all SEOs will advise, create your site for people, not for robots, and search spiders will find and rank your site.
Reed Daw is an SEO Associate for Volusion, a leading ecommerce software company. He specializes in SEO, user experience and content marketing. Follow him on Twitter @Reed_Daw.