Tools, Tools, Glorious Tools!
SEO’s simply love to get their hands on the latest bit of kit to help speed up processes, scale time consuming tasks or simply to unlock additional data. I have to admit I am a bit of a productivity tool junkie and have been known to build my own tools using Google Docs, macros or bookmarklets. So a few weeks ago I engaged with a group of my fellow online marketers at inbound.org with the premise to build a curated list of Free SEO tools. A lot of my fellow industry colleagues contributed with their personal favourites to the discussion so here are the results.
This is a curated list of Free SEO tools so if there is something you use regularly or if a tool is no longer available please drop me a comment below or send me a message and I’ll update this page.
SEER SEO Toolbox – Chris Le created the SEER SEO Toolbox as an Open Source set of tools utilising a number of API’s including Google Analytics, SEO Moz and Majestic SEO. It’s a brilliant building block for link building and client reporting.
Site Audit Tools
Get My Site Info - This is a free tool that provides a basic report on a number of SEO factors. It’s far from the most comprehensive SEO reporting tool but it does offer some good quick checks such as checking your sites have a sitemap, robots.txt and if there are any W3C HTML errors.
SenSEO Firefox Plugin - SenSEO is an extension checking the most important on-page-SEO-criteria and calculating a grade of how good your site fulfills these criteria.
Pingdom Tools – This is my go to tool when performing page speed audits. It offers a very nice visual representation to help you understand which page elements are taking up the most resources. Another tool I know many people like to use for checking page speed is http://gtmetrix.com/
Xenu Link Sleuth - is a very similar tool to Screaming Frog, yet lacks some of the functionality but it is entirely free. Xenu is simply a link check that crawls a website looking for broken links. SEO’s have pushed the limits of this basic tool and if you are a technical SEO who loves digging through the data in Excel I do recommend you invest in the paid version of Screaming Frog.
Google WMT - If you are a webmaster then this free resoruce from Google is an absolute must. GWMT have a number of really useful data sets such as crawl errors, inbound links and indexing. If you want to learn how to get it setup for your site then check my article.
Bing WMT - Bing’s version of Google’s Webmaster Tools allows you to check any errors found by the bing bot and discover who is linking in to you.
Keyword Analysis Tools
Google Adwords Keyword Tool - the free tool from Google shows you the search volumes and PPC advertising costs for a particular keyword. It’s probably the tool that most SEO’s use when they start out and there are lots of articles out there on both the positive and negatives of using the Google keyword tool. You can read my guide to using the Google Keyword Tool.
SEO Gadget API Extension Tool - this free tool from the team at SEO Gadget allows you to auto-magically pull keyword data from the Google Adwords API straight into Excel.
UberSuggest - I simply love Uber Suggest, it utilises Google and other suggestion services to create hundreds of keyword variations. If you are having a day struggling with writers block or you are having a content strategy brainstorming session, don’t forget about this free tool.
Yahoo Clues - this is a great tool from Yahoo for getting demographic data at a keyword level. Here is a video that explains more:
Google Trends - is a great tool to have in your SEO tool box as it allows you to see what’s hot and what’s not. If you are performing keyword research you want to understand if there are any rising trends you can latch on to. For example the Euro 2012 football tournament is round the corner so a piece of content involving football may be more popular in the next few weeks. Google Trends returns a colour-coded line graph that shows the frequency for which your specified search terms were used in a query for the past three years. Google Trends also allows you to compare at a glance the volume of news stories related to the keywords you’re comparing and provides a bar chart that breaks down the results by selected cities, selected countries and by different languages. You can also run similar reports with Google Insights, which offers you more in depth data.
Outreach & Link Building Tools
Open Site Explorer - the SEOmoz backlink data tool is probably the most well known SEO backlink tool on the market. Their index is built by crawling the web and building up their own set of metrics such as Domain Authority and mozrank based on the number and “quality” of the links pointing to a web page. They have a free version which allows you to check the number of backlinks to up to 5 web pages everyday. Follow this link for a free 30day trial of the SEOmoz tools.
MajesticSEO - sign up for a free MajesticSEO and get limited access to their link analysis tools and database.
ahrefs - is the newest arrival to the backlink data party. They have some really nice tools and offer users free access to some of their features. If you are undecided as to which link analysis provider to pay for a subscription for then this review of ahrefs, MajesticSEO and OSE may help.
SEOQuake - allows you to find link metrics for a set of search results. It’s a great tool to add to your SEO tool kit when prospecting. Read this great guide from Jason Acidre on Prospecting Links with the SEO Quake plugin.
SEO Tools for Excel - This great tool kit from Neils Bosma allows you to perform a number of quick and easy data lookups using a number of APIs. You can read this review by Richard Baxter to learn more.
Free Broken Link Checker - The Find Broken Links, Redirects & Google Sitemap Generator Free Tool allows webmasters and SEO’s to check the status of both external and internal links on an entire website. The resulting link report will give you an insight to the link structure of a website, identify any link redirects and errors, all of which help in planning a link optimisation strategy.
Socialmention - Is a search engine that allows you to search blogs and social networks for people talking about your niche. A great way to find influencers.
Followerwonk - one of the most important tools you can ever use when performing blogger outreach. Followerwonk lets you search twitter bios, analyse and track followers and find thought leaders / key influencers within any niche. With this tool I have been able to easily discover and reach out to some influential bloggers, webmasters and editors to obtain links for my clients.
Mentionmapp - if you are researching thought leaders in your niche then you really need this tool! It gives a nice graphical representation of who’s talking with who on Twitter.
BuzzStream - is a well known paid outreach tool used by PR firms and SEO’s alike but did you know they have a number of Free Link Building Tools too? My favourites are the Email tool which performs a number of searches to locate an email address for a potential link prospect and the blogroll list building tool which scrapes blogrolls to help you find more bloggers within your niche.
Link Detective - is a free tool designed by Eppie Vojt, using an Open Site Explorer link export you can learn more about your or your competitors link profile. You can easily learn where links are placed on a site, what percentage of anchor text is used and whether or not the link is still live.
Sharemetric – a free Google Chrome add-on which allows you to quickly and easily find how many social shares a web page has received. It’s a great tool for competitor content analysis.
Check my Links – if you are using Broken Link Building as part of your lnik strategy then this tool is great. Simply locate a list of resources (a bit like this page) and then run check my links to flag which links are returning a status 404 on the page
Circlecount - quite simply find out who’s popular on Google+, how many circles they are in and what topics they are influential about.
Topsy – their tagline is Real-time search for the social web. Simply insert your keywords and find out who is blogging, tweeting and sharing news about your products, your company or your competitors.
HARO - Help A Reporter Out allows you to find journalists who are looking for people or businesses to interview for news stories. Sign up and get the PR machine rolling.
Advanced Google Search Queries - this article from Himanshu is probably the most comprehensive guide to Google search queries for link building.
subredditfinder.com - does exactly what it says on the tin! Discover which subreddits are on the rise, popular or related to your content so you can tap into this online community.
moreofit.com - is another useful tool I like to use to help me find relevant websites. Simply add in a url and it shows you several similar sites you can reach out to.
linkstant.com – are you tired of not knowing when your site is linked to then use this free tool designed by Rob Ouseby & Tom Critchlow from Distilled. Linkstant will notify you instantly by email or SMS when someone links to your site. Simples!
Google Alerts - setup a Google Alert for your keywords to monitor when new blogs or news articles are published in your niche. Hopefully you have some great content to share with the blogger/journalist that they may want to add to their site.
ifttt – this is probably my number one productivity tool for automating parts of my online world. It’s very simple to setup and you create recipes that allow you to connect your social media accounts, RSS feeds and emails together with ease. I recently wrote about my love of ifttt.
Rankerizer - this is another excellent tool for monitoring rankings and is free simply sign up and download your copy.
Rank Checker – this a free rank checker provided by the team at SEO Book, simply sign up for a free account and you can get access to this along with a number of other free SEO tools.
Google Analytics - is a free service offered by Google that generates detailed information and reports about the visitors to your website. If you run an e-commerce site you can setup your GA account to measure sales conversions, so you can understand which pages and keywords are or are not performing well.
Piwik - this is an open source analytics system that means Google don’t have access to your stats. Download this PHP/MySQL software program and install it on your own web server.
I hope this list has been useful to you and that I’ve helped you to discover some new SEO tools you can use to help you be more productive in your online marketing endeavours.