Search engine optimization (SEO) is a small business's best friend. From driving traffic by ranking higher on search engine results to maximizing advertising campaigns, SEO can help a business build its brand, expand its reach and, ultimately, increase revenue. SEO doesn't just happen on its own, however. If you don't know the first thing about SEO, don't worry. Here are 12 SEO tools to help you understand and improve SEO for your small business.
What better way to improve your SEO than by going straight to the source? As the leader in search, Google offers several SEO tools for small businesses, namely:
- Google AdWords — Find the right keywords to use based on search volume.
- Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) — Get access to detailed reports, website data and a library of resources to improve your website in Google Search results.
- Google Analytics — Track if and how keywords are driving traffic to your website.
- Google Trends — Discover what's currently trending on Google Search and explore trend histories.
SEO can be a pain if you have an online store or a big website. RankSense aims to help by taking the leg work out of SEO. It lets companies do their own SEO with 24/7 monitoring, automatic detection of issues and real-time recommendations to fix and improve your site’s SEO, such as suggested meta descriptions and call to actions to drive sales. The service can optimize thousands of pages per day, which can save you tons of time and money compared to manually optimizing your entire website. It also lets you monitor progress by tracking changes that are made to each page. To see if RankSense is right for you, the company offers a free site scan and trial. A free demo is also available, which runs live on your current website.
3. Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool
Sometimes, the best place to start SEO is by fixing what's broken. Screaming Frog's SEO Spider Tool is a website crawler that can quickly audit all of your webpages for SEO-friendliness. It aims to identify what's working against your website's SEO, such as broken links, server errors, duplicate content and URLs that are blocked by robots. The tool can also analyze page titles and meta descriptions for to see if any are too long or too short, and if any of your content are missing these necessary elements. It also integrates with Google Analytics for additional data, as well as generate error reports and sitemaps for easy reference. The Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool is free with a crawl limit of 500 URLs. A paid license is also available for unlimited crawls and additional features. [See Related Story: Best Online Reputation Management Services]
4. Quick Sprout
Hiring an SEO consultant is expensive. Quick Sprout offers a DIY solution to help improve your company's SEO across different properties online. All you have to do is enter your website's URL and Quick Sprout will perform an in-depth analysis to get your SEO up to speed. This analysis considers a wide range of factors that affect your SEO, such as keywords, backlinks, site speed and more. You'll also receive an SEO score, so you'll have a nice benchmark to help you set goals and measure progress. In addition to website SEO, Quick Sprout also offers a social media analysis tool that helps uncover your top content based on shares on various social media platforms. A competitor analysis tool is also available to help you see how your website stacks up against that of your competitors.
If you need help with SEO-friendly keywords, you can get thousands of keyword ideas instantly with a keyword suggestion tool such as Ubersuggest. Start with a single search term and use this free service to automatically find related keywords and keyword phrases to strengthen your SEO. Ubersuggest works by taking your base keyword and expanding it by adding letters or numbers based on real-life search queries. For instance, if your base keyword is "T-shirt," your keyword suggestions will include: "T-shirt art" and "T-shirt and jeans" (T-shirt + a), "T-shirt business" and "T-shirt brands" (T-shirt + b), "T-shirt company" and "T-shirt custom" (T-shirt + c), and so on.
Editor’s Note: Looking for a reputation management service for your business? If you’re looking for information to help you choose the one that’s right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from vendors for free:
Is content marketing part of your business plan and branding strategy? Scoop.it is a content curation platform that lets you find keyword-based, SEO-rich content that you can publish to your own website, blog, newsletter and social accounts. This service is for businesses that don't have the time or resources to create their own content, but wish to generate leads and build their brand awareness around content marketing. SEO and Brand Awareness plans for small businesses start at $79.99 per month, which supports up to five team members.
7. Moz Pro
SEO covers everything from your website to social media accounts and everything in between, but this doesn't mean you need to log in to multiple services to measure performance. Moz Pro, an inbound marketing software, lets you track SEO, social efforts, links, brand awareness and content marketing using a single platform. It includes more than a dozen research and reporting tools to improve SEO, such as Moz Analytics. This feature presents all of your search, social, mentions, inbound links, content and other data in a single place, as well as compares how your website is performing over time and against that of your competitors. The Moz Pro software starts at $99 a month.
How SEO-friendly is your website? Find its strengths and weaknesses for free with WooRank. This website review and SEO tool offers in-depth analysis of your website (or individual Web pages of your site) using metrics like SEO, social media, mobile optimization, usability and more. It also lets you automatically monitor analytics, backlinks, search engine rankings and other key factors to improve website performance. You can check a single website for free, but paid plans with advanced, unlimited reviews are also available, starting at $49.99 a month.
SEO can mean the difference between a website that converts and one that simply collects visitors. Optimizely is a website A/B testing tool that can help you make better decisions on the best ways to use SEO for your website to increase sales and revenue. A/B testing basically tests two versions of your website or landing pages — for instance, a current version versus another with SEO changes — then uses live traffic and visitor data to determine which version is likely to convert. Optimizely plans start at $17 a month, which includes unlimited testing for up to 2,000 monthly visitors.
10. HubSpot SEO
Save time by automating SEO. Inbound marketing software HubSpot offers an all-in-one SEO platform that does everything from SEO analytics to SEO recommendations. One of its standout features is as-you-type SEO, which offers real-time SEO advice as you create content to improve optimization and rank higher on search results. This tool also offers advanced keyword targeting to determine the right keywords, research tools to improve keyword ranking over time, Google+ integration to expand social media reach, and mobile optimization capabilities. HubSpot pricing varies.
SEO doesn't just apply to websites — social media plays a significant role as well. Use a social media management dashboard like HootSuite to track mentions of your brand, monitor social media traffic and discover relevant, trending keywords across multiple social media networks. Then, use this information to create highly optimized content, posts and status updates to drive further traffic to your website and social media accounts. HootSuite is free for up to three users. Paid plans for additional users and advanced features start at $8.99 per month.
Link building is an essential element of SEO, and highly shareable infographics can help. But you don't need any coding or design skills to make an eye-catching infographic — DIY infographic creators like PiktoChart let you create professional- looking infographics by simply choosing a template, and then modifying its contents using a drag-and-drop platform. Make sure to craft a visually stunning infographic with high quality content, post it on your website or blog and share it on social media to start gaining traction and build links back to your website.