As a business owner, investing in the right search engine optimization (SEO) strategies can be the difference between a well-known, successful business and one that's floundering.
SEO is a vital skill in the modern business landscape. Hiring SEO managers, or bringing in digital marketing consultants, can be expensive. Luckily there are some great tools out there to help you get started with SEO.
If you have no knowledge on the subject, it may be worth it to outsource and find an SEO expert to help your business. If you have some background and are eager to learn more, below we've highlighted a few online resources that can help you gain a better understanding of how to use SEO to impact your business for the better. [Read related story: 5 Ways to Increase Your SEO Ranking]
Google is the most used search engine on the internet – it is the dominant search service among consumers. It has a major impact on SEO strategy when its algorithm changes. Google also provides a bunch of helpful services so you can collect and analyze data about your website and its performance. All these tools are free.
- Trends – This tool allows you to compare keywords and analyze how users are searching Google. Google Trends can be very helpful when comparing your business to competitors, or by finding the right search terms for your business.
- Analytics – Google Analytics is a valuable tool that provides in-depth data on how your website is doing. Analyze things like page views, unique page views, how users are reaching your site and information on your audience.
- Search Console – Google Search Console helps your business get discovered on Google. Google will also do a test drive of your site's map and determine if there are any errors that you can fix. By using Search Console, you can ensure your site is reachable on Google and use data to find out which products are the most successful on your site.
- PageSpeed Insights – With PageSpeed Insights, Google analyzes how fast your webpage is and will provide suggestions you can implement to improve the speed with which it loads on both desktops and mobile devices. Your website's page speed can impact SEO, so it's important to monitor its performance to ensure your relevancy on search engines like Google.
Moz provides a lot of helpful resources to learn more about SEO, improving your strategies and analyzing trends within the industry. Moz Pro is the company's SEO management tool. With Moz Pro, you can find keywords with targeted keyword suggestions, track your rankings and crawl your sites for mistakes or problems. Moz Pro also helps you analyze potential URLs and will manage your keywords for you. It is available for $99 per month.
Ahrefs has grown in popularity among digital markers and SEO managers. A main feature of Ahrefs is insights on your competitors. By analyzing your competitor's activity, you can make better-informed decisions about SEO strategy. Ahrefs also provides tools for finding content and keywords, checking backlinks, and crawling your website. Ahrefs offers advanced analytics so you can track your website. A seven-day trial costs $7 while pricing plans start at $99 per month.
Optimizely is an A/B testing tool that businesses can use to better their websites. A/B testing is a method used by digital marketers and web designers to analyze two types of a webpages, landing pages or websites and determine which one is better received using live analytics. Even if it's a subtle change, like adjusted colors or differing design elements, A/B testing can provide worthwhile insights. Optimizely plans start at $17 per month.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
This tool is a free crawler that will examine your site and determine if there are any broken links or problems. As a free SEO tool, the Screaming Frog SEO Spider is an excellent addition to your SEO arsenal. It can be used to analyze page titles and metadata so you can find out if any pages are missing or are duplicated across your site. This tool integrates with Google Analytics, so you can build your data into your overall analytics profile. Screaming Frog offers both a free and paid version with varying features.
Answer the Public
Answer the Public is a free tool for finding out what people are searching for. This website helps you find keywords, brainstorm content ideas or understand your overall field. Answer the Public is a good place to get started and pairs well with something like Google Trends, which will be able to tell you how popular a term or search is compared to another.
SEMRush provides analytics tools, social media reporting and SEO information about your website. It builds in competitor analytics as well, and can be used for keyword research and analyzing backlinks. SEMRush is a good tool for small business owners who have some experience in SEO already. It also provides data on things like Google Shopping ads and other product displays. SEMRush plans start at $99.95 per month.
UberSuggest is a free online keyword generator. Much like Answer the Public, UberSuggest can be used to brainstorm new keywords and analyze old ones. It provides results in both a list and cloud form. You can filter results and view built-in Google Trends data to understand when the keyword is being searched the most. Keywords can be easily copy and pasted or downloaded into a CSV file for further reference.
Majestic is a link database with indexed URLs from all over the internet. Majestic updates its database daily so you're constantly looking at the most up-to-date data. It also prioritizes backlinked sites so you can get information on your own site as well as that of your competitors. It provides info on where your links are coming from, how powerful each link is, a detailed anchor text profile of each link and which content on your site is getting links.
The tool is intuitive and visual, so you can rely on charts and other digital profiles to digest and analyze data. Majestic has a free version, but full features cost $99 per month.
HubSpot is a marketing website with a lot of resources on SEO and digital marketing. Like Moz, HubSpot's extensive network of information is a great starting place for business owners looking to learn more about digital marketing and SEO strategy. HubSpot SEO offers metrics on web traffic, competitor information and resources for modifying SEO strategy. It offers both paid and free versions with varying features.