10 Free SEO Resources (2019) - SEO Tools That Improve Your Site's Ranking
Search engine optimisation, or 'SEO', is absolutely key to the success of any business operating online (and, in 2019, if your business isn't operating online, it probably should be!).
So, in this post I'm going to share 10 free SEO resources that will help improve your understanding of search engine optimisation, along with some tools that can help you improve the visibility of your site.
1. Google's SEO starter guide
Bing, Yahoo Search and Duck Duck Go are all very well, but we all know that if your site isn't coming up tops in Google search, you are going to be missing out on traffic, leads and sales.
So it's important to listen to what Google say about how to ensure good search rankings - and thankfully, they have a lot to say in very own free search engine optimisation starter guide.
Ahrefs is arguably the industry leading SEO backlink checker and competitor research tool - you whack in a domain name and get a huge number of insights about it, including a list of backlinks pointing to it, anchor text and more (all vital pieces of information for informing a strong SEO strategy).
There is a free version of Ahrefs available, and although it's quite limited in terms of functionality, it nonetheless lets you see at a glance how authoritative a particular domain or page is - and this helps you determine whether it's a site worth approaching for backlinks or pitching guest posts to. You can also use the free version to get a (small) list of pages that are particularly authoritative when it comes to your focus keywords.
The full version is insanely useful - but comes at a price (a minimum of $99 per month).
If you're a Wordpress user, you really should be using Yoast, a free plugin which evaluates your page content from an SEO perspective. A traffic light system will tell you immediately if the content you've created is search-engine friendly, and if it isn't, you'll get a list of practical suggestions as to how you can improve it.
If you're not a Wordpress user, you can still make use of Yoast by visiting the catchily-named (!) Real-time Content Analysis section of their website. This allows you to enter the HTML for one of your web pages - along with a focus keyword - and it will check how good your on-page SEO is.
4. Moz's Beginner's Guide to SEO
Moz is one of the leading websites about search engine optimisation and provides a range of free and paid-for SEO tools as well as resources about the topic.
One such resource is their Beginner's Guide to SEO - a comprehensive, 10-chapter guide on how to optimise your site for search. Well worth a read, particularly for those who are new to the whole area of SEO.
5. Google Search Console
If you've got a website, and you want it to perform well in search, then you've simply got to register it with Google Search Console. This is a free suite of tools which allows you - amongst other things - to submit your site to Google, check it for any crawl errors and view backlinks to it.
As soon as you register your website, Google Search Console will helpfully send you an email with a series of steps you should take to maximise its visibility in search.
(You should also register your site with Bing's Webmaster Tools - although Google is still the dominant player where search engines are concerned, Bing is generating increasing numbers of searches, particularly in the US and the UK - so it make sense to ensure that it knows as much about your website as possible.)
WHILE YOU'RE HERE:
If you're interested in getting a fuller understanding of search engine optimisation, you might like to download our full guide to SEO, "Super Simple SEO". This easy-to-understand e-book outlines the techniques that we used to grow Style Factory from being a site that nobody visited to a popular business blog that attracts over 45,000 visitors a month.
Google and other search engines place an increasing amount of emphasis on page speed; sites that load content quickly are given preferential treatment in search results.
Pingdom have a really helpful (and free!) Website Speed Test to help you analyze your website load speed.
The test is designed to help you make your site faster by identifying what about a webpage is fast, slow, too big, and so on.
You simply enter a URL to the tool, and it will produce a report which highlights areas for improvement.
7. Screaming Frog
The Screaming Frog SEO Spider crawls your website's URLs and analyses your onsite SEO. You can download it for free, or purchase a licence for additional advanced features.
A few things you can do with the free version of Screaming Frog are as follows:
Find broken links, errors and redirects
Analyse page titles and meta data
Review meta robots and directives
Audit hreflang attributes
Discover duplicate pages
Generate XML sitemaps
Not a bad feature set for a free tool.
8. Hubspot's Website Grader
I've found Hubspot's Website Grader tool pretty handy over the years as an SEO ‘sense-checking’ tool.
You basically enter a URL (yours or that of a competitor or client) and it will tell you 1) how well your site is functioning from an SEO and inbound marketing point of view and 2) the steps you need to take to rectify any problems.
It only analyses your home page, however, so for more detailed analysis of how a piece of content is doing, I’d use a combination of some of the other SEO tools on this page (notably Pingdom and Ahrefs).
9. Search Engine Land
Search Engine Land is a site that is packed full of SEO tips and news - and in particular, it's a good site to stay posted to if you want to keep on top of the latest Google algorithm changes and additions. If you want to know your Panda algorithm from your Penguin, and when the latest version has been rolled out, it's the place for you.
10. Google Webmasters YouTube Channel
The Google Webmasters YouTube Channel is, as you might expect, full of useful advice regarding SEO. For a good visual introduction to search engine optimisation, it's definitely worth subscribing to.
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Other SEO resources and tools
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