Most small businesses have limited resources, budget and expertise to incorporate SEO into their strategy, so this is where the help of a few free tools comes into play. By using them, you’ll better understand your competition, your SEO strengths and weaknesses, and your market opportunities.
Google Speed Test (https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed)
Quickly understand where your website’s speed stands against similar sites and receive a list of optimizations to help make improvements. Some of these can be highly technical – but at least you’ll have a to-do list to hand to a developer/designer, who can apply the changes. One thing to keep in mind, the slower your website – the less Google (and other search engines) will promote it, and there’s a better chance it will slide down the search engine results page – due to the slow, poor experience you are delivering your website visitors.
Google Webmaster Tools (https://www.google.com/webmasters/)
Extract useful information about your website, traffic and technical errors that may impact your SEO potential. Again, some of these tasks can be very simple to address – such as creating links from other websites, and making sure you have specific pages on your website – but if you run across something that you don’t understand – reach out and talk to a professional. Most times, they will be able to teach you important steps about the situation, but please realize that they still need to make money to survive – so try to offer something if your needs become extensive.
Review competitor analysis data around both organic and paid marketing. This tool works well to see how you are competing online – against your direct/online competitors, but also brings some other features to your attention, including social networking, overall (global) site rank – and many other metrics that can help you gain ground online.
Uncover what your audience is typing into search engines and find the best keywords for your content. Having trouble understand what is being ‘searched’ online more often than other keywords? Use this tool to help uncover diamonds in the rough.
Google Trends (https://googletrends.com)
If you are just starting out – or are branching out to find new keyword opportunities, this tool is a great way to measure average monthly search volume of individual keywords, but also allows for multiple keywords to be entered – showing a relative chart, most searched vs. least searched. As with any part of marketing, you want to make sure you are ‘making what you can sell’ and not just ‘selling what you make’. If you target the high-volume keywords, you’re helping your chances of being discovered by your potential customers.
Export your site’s “raw” files and easily review your meta tags (title, description and keywords) along with your content structure. This tool works incredibly well for taking ‘snapshots’ of your website at any given time – showing all the vital pieces of information that is used to rank your website in Google (or other search engines). If the information doesn’t show on this report – chances are, it isn’t being seen by the search engines (or at least it’s not a factor in ranking your website).
With a few good tools, you can keep your website in tip-top shape to play nicely with search engines and make sure that customers can find you.