Blog Series

iAnalyse Series: Free SEO Tools You SHOULD Be Using 

iAnalyse Series: Free SEO Tools You SHOULD Be Using (Updated)


In honour of our iAnalyse series, we have taken one of our most popular posts and updated it with the newest SEO tools and updates essential for complete SEO domination.
 

With so many SEO tools out there, finding the right ones to match your needs and/or budget can be somewhat tricky. For most advanced SEO tasks, paid tools are usually the way to go but for simple research, testing or analytics jobs, free SEO tools can be just the ticket. We’ve put together this updated list of free SEO tools (in no particular order) we use here at iProspect. Most of these get a workout every day, others are quite specific so only get broken out of the toolbox on an ad-hoc basis.

New: Google Tag Manager

google tag manager 

http://www.google.ie/tagmanager 

Google Tag Manager is Google’s free tag management tool which allows you to manage all the tags on your website under one roof. This includes both Google and non-Google tags. The benefits in terms of SEO mean you no longer have to rely on your web developer when adding tags to your site. Instead, think of it as an open box on your site that you can place any tags you may need into. It also has a positive impact on site speed, which is now a ranking factor. This is because your site now only has to load one the Google Tag manager script as opposed to a bunch of various different tags. It is worth noting that once you apply the tag manager code to your site you should remove your existing analytics code and manage it under your Tag Manager account. This will also allow you to easily upgrade from Google Analytics to Universal Analytics, which we explain in the next section.

 

Google Analytics

google analytics 

http://www.google.com/analytics 

Yep, it’s a blindingly obvious one to include in this list but if you’re not using Google Analytics (even as a backup to a paid alternative), you’re really missing out. It’s super easy to implement and learn, has a huge support community and offers a ton of features. Now, if they’d only give us our damn organic keywords back! Whether you’re already using it or are just getting set up, we’d recommend taking a look at our 5 Essential Google Analytics Filters video.

Update:

Google Analytics now has an updated version called Universal Analytics. Once you upgrade to the package the benefits you can enjoy include:
  • Being able to connect multiple devices, sessions, and engagement data with the User ID
  • New and more flexible data collection methods that let you track any digital device.
  • Simplified and more accessible configuration options
  • Ability to create custom dimensions & custom metrics to collect data that's unique to your business.
  • Implement Enhanced Ecommerce.

New: Google Tag Assistant

tag assistant small
 

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/tag-assistant-by-google 

Another freebie from Google (don't worry, we use more than just Google tools!) that is handy when working with the both Tag Manager and Analytics is Google’s Tag Assistant. Tag Assistant is a Chrome Extension. This tool is great for checking your Google tracking scripts have been implemented correctly on each page and your information is being tracked. Super convenient!

Google Webmaster Tools

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ 

Last but not least in the Google tool box is Google Webmaster Tools, which has come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of years. With the introduction of the link disavow tool, improved notifications and communication and more recently the announcement that search query numbers will no longer be rounded, it’s become an essential component of your SEO toolbox. It’s probably worth mentioning that Bing Webmaster Tools is, if anything, an even better tool and many of the improvements brought in by Google were as a direct response to Bing offering the same functionality months before. We wrote a post about Bing Webmaster Tools back in January 2013 which gives a run down of the main features.

Xenu’s Link Sleuth

http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html 

The SEO possibilities for using this tool are almost endless, but it’s particularly great for checking broken links on your (or a competitor’s) site, finding title tags and meta descriptions and creating XML sitemaps. A similar, slightly more advanced tool is Screaming Frog SEO Spider but getting the most out of it will set you back £99/year which is still definitely worth it.

MailTester.com

mailtester
 

http://www.mailtester.com/ 

Okay, so it looks like it's been dragged straight from 1995, but this is a great alternative to lots of paid tools out there. If you’re looking to contact lots of webmasters for link building (or link removal) purposes, you can intelligently guess or find the recipient’s email address, pop it in here and the tool will tell you whether the email address exists or not. As you’d expect, it doesn’t work on every domain in the world but it’s great for Gmail addresses, which is a pretty solid start!

 

Moz Toolbar

moz
 

http://moz.com/tools/seo-toolbar 

The free version of this toolbar probably won’t give you all the data you’re looking for but if you’re keeping it simple, it’s a really quick and easy way to find on-page elements and basic link data. They also have a pretty impressive blog, for you SEO nerds who want extra credit.

PageSpeed Insights Plugin

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights_extensions 

It’s common sense that having a fast loading website will help keep your visitors and Google happy. This plugin will run on any webpage and gives you prioritised suggestions on how to speed up your pages. A couple of similar tools which can be used in conjunction with the PageSpeed Insights Plugin are Pingdom ad GTMetrix.

Übersuggest

uber suggest
 

http://ubersuggest.org/ 

Now, I’m not just including this because it has a really cool looking umlaut in the title – it’s a really great, free tool for your keyword research. It makes suggestions based on Google suggest and can be used with Google’s own keyword planner as part of your keyword research process.

Wayback Machine

wayback machine
 

http://archive.org/web/ 

It’s not just for laughing at Apple’s crappy homepage in 1997 you know! We often use this as part of our link building process. If we find a page which is linking to a broken page on a competitor site, we can use this tool to find what was being linked to, recreate the content and get in touch with the linking site to link to us instead. Clever and super easy!

Domain Hunter Plus

domain hunter
 

http://netvantagemarketing.com/tools/dhp 

So, how do we find those broken links? Well, one free way is to use Domain Hunter Plus. Go to any webpage, hit the plugin button and this tool will scan every link on the page and identify any which are broken links. It also gives you the added benefit of telling you whether the linked to domain is available for purchase.

XML-Sitemaps.com

http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/

If you need to create an XML sitemap for a site with less than 500 pages, this is probably the easiest way. Just enter the URL of the homepage and the tool will crawl the site and spit out an XML sitemap for you.

Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

yoast
 
There’s a load of WordPress SEO plugins out there. Don’t bother looking, just get this one.


Rich Snippet Testing Tool

http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets 

Despite the recent huge drop in the number of search results showing authorship, rich snippets are still a great way to stand out in the SERPs. Once you’ve marked up your page, it’s a good idea to test that everything is likely to show as you’d expect. This tool is how you do just that.

How we Measure Everything

Basically, at any given time, we've got a dashboard, plug-in, or analytics tool that can give us a helping hand when we need to diagnose, boost, or enhance a site's SEO. That said, we still use the fluff between our ears to figure out just what those tools are telling us, and to make sure what's on our screens matches common sense. Over to you--have we missed any tools that you use? If so, leave a link in the comments!