The (Mostly) Free SEO Tools I Use

Jul 16, 2014 | Apps, SEO

Word collage about SEO with pen and keyboard

 
One of the most important parts of SEO is tracking goal progress. Without data tracking, it is impossible to know whether our efforts are producing positive (if any) results. With all we have to accomplish as SEOs, we certainly want to ensure we are using our time as wisely and efficiently as possible.

With that in mind, here are the tools I regularly use to track SEO data and statistics:

Google Analytics

Description

Google Analytics is a free website traffic tracking program that includes goal-setting, conversion, and event tracking capabilities. It provides all of the basic audience and traffic data you would expect out of an analytics program, but it is also highly customizable and flexible to meet specific business data needs. Multiple users can access an analytics profile, and you can exclude certain user information from the analytics data.

Why I Use It

One of the main reasons I use Google Analytics is because it is a Google-affiliated product. Tracking your data using Google Analytics explicitly shows Google where your website is. However, I also love how easy it is and the almost endless opportunities for data manipulation and customization. I am doing some experimentation right now with its automated reports, and I am already really pleased with this feature. Overall, it is a great tool, especially for website analytics beginners.

Learn More

https://www.google.com/intl/en_ALL/analytics/learn/index.html

Google Webmaster Tools

Description

This is a must for all SEOs. Google Webmaster Tools is a free collection of resources that track the status of your site with Google. It allows you to verify your site with Google, submit a sitemap, edit how your site appears in the Google index, and view your link profile. It is the place to look for crawl errors or important messages (such as manual penalties) from the Google team. It is also one of the few places where you can still find keyword data.

Why I Use It

I use Google Webmaster Tools for the reason I stated above—it is a must for all SEOs. When setting up your site with SEO, it provides a place for site map submission and shows you if Google has any issues indexing your site. It is like a one-stop shop for all webmaster-related tasks and responsibilities, and it is a key way Google communicates with you as a webmaster. And if you do happen to get hit with a manual penalty, it is the place to go to see it, determine the problems, and submit your site for reconsideration once the problems are fixed.

Learn More

https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6001102?hl=en
http://www.earlybirdstrategy.com/google-webmaster-tools-bloggers/

Bing Webmaster Tools

Description

This is another must for all SEOs. Bing Webmaster Tools is Bing’s equivalent of Google Webmaster Tools. It is an assortment of free resources that allow you to communicate with Bing about your website and perform webmaster-related tasks for your Bing website listing (including site map submission, viewing your link profile, etc.). Bing can also communicate with you about site issues through this platform.

Why I Use It

My reasons are the same as for Google Webmaster Tools. From setting your site up with SEO to maintaining your SEO program, Bing Webmaster Tools has the tools and resources you need to ensure your website is showing up as best as it can in Bing’s search engine results lists.

Learn More

http://techtage.com/bing-seo-guide/

WordPress SEO Plugin

Description

For those with a WordPress website, I would highly recommend downloading and using the free WordPress SEO plugin. Created by Yoast, this plugin builds into your site the structure you need to use the best SEO strategies (like social meta data). It automatically generates a site map and makes it easy for you to connect to and verify your site with Webmaster Tools programs. On each WordPress page and post, it grades your on-page SEO and provides tips for improvements, and it allows you to set custom meta information (both general and social).

Why I Use It

Not only is this plugin built by one of the greatest SEO minds of our time, it provides all the features an SEO needs to set their WordPress site up for success. As a bonus, it does not require a lot of resources to run properly, so it does not slow down your site speed or tax your server unnecessarily. It is the best WordPress plugin for SEO that I have found so far, and I use it on all of my WordPress websites.

Learn More

https://yoast.com/articles/wordpress-seo/

Premium Tool: Positionly

Description

Positionly is a paid tool that tracks your website’s ranking for keywords as well as the back links pointing to your website. You select which keywords you would like to track, and it tracks your rankings across Google, Bing, and Yahoo! (either globally or for specific countries). It also provides a graph showing the history of the keywords’ ranks and allows you to compare your rankings for keywords to those of your competitors. Positionly’s back link tracker evaluates the quality of the link, tells you when you acquired it, and indicates whether or not that link has been lost. It also tells you which page of your website the link goes to, what the anchor text for the link is, and whether the link is a do-follow or no-follow link. The price for this tool depends on which level of features you need.

Why I Use It

I use Positionly because it is a great tool for tracking keyword rankings across multiple search engines. As I set keyword goals for my SEO clients, it helps me identify where the keyword is ranking now and how it has changed over time. From this I can deduce which SEO strategy was successful or unsuccessful in accomplishing my goal. It is also helpful to have another source for a back link list, and Positionly’s includes information about links that a lot of other programs do not.

Learn More

https://positionly.com/features

Do you use any SEO tools to track data and goal progress? Share about your favorites in the comments below!

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