Paid SEO tools are great. But they’re not for everyone. If you’re a startup that’s launching an online marketing campaign for the first time, then there’s a good chance that your working capital is tied up elsewhere.
This shouldn’t stop you though.
There are a bunch of free tools out there that just about everyone can have access to. And they’re not that hard to find either.
In this post, we’re going over some of the best free SEO tools that marketers can use regardless of their skill levels.
Hopefully, by the end of this article, you can find the right tools for your SEO campaign.
- 1. Google Analytics
- 2. Google Search Console
- 3. Bing Webmaster Tools
- 4. Answer the Public
- 5. Screaming Frog
- 6. Moz Free Domain SEO Analysis Tool
- 7. Google My Business (GMB)
- 8. Google Keyword Planner
- 9. Google Data Studio
- 10. Google Mobile-Friendly Test
- 11. Ryte Robots.txt Generator
- 12. Ahrefs SERP Checker
- 13. Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
- 14. Ahrefs Broken Link Checker
- 15. Ahrefs Keyword Generator
- 16. Google Rich Results Test
- 17. Keyword Surfer
- 18. Hunter.io
- 19. SEMrush
- 20. Google Tag Manager
Every site owner knows (or at least has heard of) Google Analytics (GA). Once you’ve configured and embedded GA onto your site, it can keep track of user activity.
That means you’ll know how many people go to your site, what pages they visit, where they come from, and other important details that a site owner needs to know about.
Why You Need Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the backbone of almost every SEO tool out there — paid or otherwise. So needless to say, you’ll need to have access to GA regardless of what tool you end up using.
In simpler terms:
Having a Google Analytics account is not optional. It’s mandatory.
That’s not to say that you need to have GA to use most of the SEO tools in this list. But there are some that would work better if you integrate Google Analytics into your account.
Google Analytics Features
Honestly, if we were to list down all of GA’s features, we’d be here for days. It’s that powerful.
Here’s an oversimplified explanation of what GA can do for you.
- Tracking — As mentioned earlier, GA tracks user activity. With it installed, you can quickly find out how many people visit your pages and how they get there.
- Conversion — In GA, conversion can refer to revenue (in e-commerce sites) or any desired action that a user takes. For example: If a user subscribes to your newsletter, that could be a conversion. GA can track all of these conversions.
- Goals — When you create a goal, you’re letting GA know what your target conversions are. And you can be very specific about it too. You can even make visit duration a goal, for example.
- Campaigns — A campaign is different from a goal. You can use Campaigns to track the activity of a URL to see if it’s working as expected or not. For example, you can use Campaigns to track a URL that you inserted in a guest post.
And when you connect GA to other Google services, then you get even more functionality out of it.
This is yet another one of those free SEO tools that you can’t live without. If Google Analytics is for tracking your progress, Google Search Console (GSC) tells you if there are aspects of your site that affect its ability to rank better in Google search.
GSC is a good replacement for a paid, advanced technical SEO tool.
Why You Need Google Search Console
Tools like Google Search Console behave more like an SEO tool compared to GA.
While you can access GA numbers using GSC, its main purpose is to provide you information as to your site’s appearance on Google search, crawl data, domain technical status, and similar data.
Google Search Console Features
When you have access to this tool, you gain access to a bunch of SEO tools and features.
These include (but are not limited to):
- Crawlability Checks — See if Google can even crawl your pages to begin with. If Google can’t crawl your pages, there’s a good chance that pages on your site won’t show up in Google search results.
- Indexing — If Google fails to index your pages, you can submit a request and have your pages re-indexed.
- Alerts — Google lets you know if it detects any critical error (or errors) throughout your website.
Some SEO tools will advise you to integrate GSC with your account for more accurate results.
Bing Webmaster Tools is Microsoft’s answer to GSC. Fundamentally, these webmaster tools are the same. Bing also has reporting and diagnostic tools that help website owners troubleshoot issues.
Why You Need Bing Webmaster Tools
Look: We’re not even going to pretend that Google isn’t the king of search engines. But there are people who do prefer Bing over other search engines.
And so, you need a free SEO tool to account for that.
You’d be a fool to dismiss Bing Webmaster Tools. It has a bunch of features that can improve your SEO performance at no cost to you. What’s not to love?
Bing Webmaster Tools Features
Bing and Google have similar webmaster tools. Like Google, Bing gives you an overview of your website performance. But its features go beyond that.
- Backlink Reporting — You can see which domains link back to your website.
- Keyword Research — Find keyword opportunities using Bing’s own keyword research tool.
- Indexing — You can submit your website so Bing can immediately index its content.
- Sitemap — There’s also an option for webmasters to submit their sitemaps to Bing.
- Block URL — This feature lets you block web pages from Bing in just a few hours.
There are even more features available within Bing Webmaster Tools. So we do suggest that you check it out for yourself.
Answer the Public is one of the best tools for keyword research, especially if you’re concentrating on LSI keywords.
And the best part about it is that it’s totally free for everyone to use. Should you like the product, you can upgrade to the Pro plan. This will give you full access to its many features.
Why You Need Answer the Public
This free tool lets you know what Google users search for. It uses Google Autocomplete to come up with keyword suggestions you can insert in your posts.
And like other keyword research tools, you can Answer the Public in your content marketing campaigns.
Use its keyword suggestions to create new entries in your blog. Since these keywords are ones that users actively search for, you know they’ll make great topics. It can drive users to your website.
Answer the Public Features
As far as features go, this tool is as simple as it gets. Go to the website and enter a seed term. After that, you’ll have a list of keywords that relate to your topic.
The tool categorizes the results. They can come in the form of:
- Questions — Here all the keywords are in the form of questions.
- Preposition — These are keywords that include prepositions.
- Comparisons — These are terms that compare your topic to similar/related items.
- Alphabetical — It shows the same keywords but in alphabetical form.
If you’re unfamiliar with the context behind a keyword, use this tool to know what questions you need to address for your web page to appear in the SERPs.
SEO veterans are no stranger to Screaming Frog. If you can’t afford paid SEO services, this free tool is a fantastic alternative.
It’s not as user friendly as some of the other tools in this post. But when it comes to technical SEO, it always delivers.
Why You Need Screaming Frog
You’d want to use this tool to find technical issues within your website. If you think you’re missing metadata information or if you want to check your domain for broken links, this tool can crawl your site and find out.
This is not a web-based program but a tool that you have to install on your local PC. So all you need to do is download the free version of the software. Once installed, you’re good to go.
Screaming Frog Features
Enter a URL in the search bar and hit Crawl. Once it’s done with the crawl, you can start reviewing your domain for issues.
- Broken Links — Use this tool to scan your pages for broken internal or external links.
- Status Code — See the status code of a page (error code).
- Meta Titles — Find out what titles your pages have (or don’t have) along with their length.
- Meta Descriptions — Works just like meta titles only this time, it scans your meta descriptions.
- H1, H2, Content — Scan your pages for missing headings. Also looks at your content word count.
You don’t need to have SEO knowledge to use this tool. However, some familiarity with SEO will help as this tool won’t walk you through the process.
Ask anyone from the Moz community and most of them will stand by the company’s products. But some online marketers will avoid them thinking that all Moz offers are paid tools.
But that’s not the case at all.
While it only grants limited access, Moz does have SEO tools on its website that are absolutely free. One of them is the Free Domain SEO Analysis Tool.
Why You Need Moz Free Domain SEO Analysis Tool
This is a free version of Moz Pro. So it’s a good way of seeing what Moz has to offer. Even better, you can use it to check your website’s SEO health or on your competitor’s pages.
Do note that you’re limited to three searches a day so you’d want to carefully select what domain to check.
Moz Free Domain SEO Analysis Tool Features
Moz provides a ton of information about the website you entered. For starters, you get Domain Authority, Linking Root Domains, Ranking Keywords, and Spam Score data.
You also get a link analysis tool of sorts that specifies your top pages by links as well as your top linking domains. Though you shouldn’t expect a detailed breakdown since this is free.
There’s a section that shows your discovered and lost link activity over the last 60 days.
You’ll find some keyword information as well.
If you scroll down the results, you’ll see your top search competitors. So you can use this to gain competitor insights.
As an added bonus, anyone looking for a free SEO toolbar can install MozBar as a Chrome extension and view SEO data with a simple click.
There’s also Moz Link Explorer. But unlike the Free Domain SEO Analysis Tool, you’d have to sign up for a Moz account to use Link Explorer for free. Still, it’s not a terrible compromise.
7. Google My Business (GMB)
Google has so many free SEO tools. But did you know that there’s one in particular that focuses on local SEO?
GMB is responsible for all the local listings that appear on Google search. And the best part about it is that you don’t need SEO training to update your business information.
If you own a brick-and-mortar business, you’d want to take advantage of GMB and improve your local SEO.
Why You Need Google My Business
You can use GMB to make your online listing stand out to potential customers. When users enter transactional or product-specific keywords on Google, they often end up with search results that include business listings.
Google can pull business information off of websites or online directories. But if you want accurate information, you’d want to edit the information yourself.
That’s where GMB steps in.
Now you can provide the correct address, phone number, and other data that your customers might find useful.
Google My Business Features
You can do a lot to make online searches for your business a pleasant experience for your community.
Here are a few tweaks you can make to make your GMB listings more optimized.
- Basic Information — This includes your store name, business address, phone number, directions, and other relevant details.
- Store Status — You can display which hours you’re open. Or if there’s no one at the store at the moment, you can specify that you’re temporarily closed.
- Industry Type — Enter your industry so that Google can match you better with its users.
- Maps — When you claim and register your business, you can have your business appear on Google Maps.
- Reviews — Using GMB, users can leave reviews of your business.
- Insights — You get access to SEO metrics such as views, search queries, engagement, audience, and more. Use this data to come up with strategies for your local SEO campaign.
GMB is constantly updated. So you can expect more features to roll in every now and then.
There are plenty of keyword research tools out there. Still, Google’s Keyword Planner is possibly the most reliable out of all of them.
And like the other Google products we’ve featured in this list, this one is free to use. All you need is a Google account.
Why You Need Google Keyword Planner
It’s one of the best tools in Google’s line of services. It lets you improve your rankings in the search results.
It’s a keyword research tool that provides seed keywords you can explore along with their search volume. If you’re planning on launching Google Ads, you can also use this tool to get bid estimates.
Keyword Planner Features
The Keyword Planner Tool is quite easy to use. To start, all you need to do is enter a topic or niche that’s related to your target markets.
After that, the tool will spring into action and deliver search queries related to the keywords you entered.
Just scroll through the keyword suggestions and continue reading until you find words and phrases with the highest potential.
The tool lets you select the region you want to target as well as the language. You can broaden your search by adding new search terms or refine the list using the filter options.
Alternatively, you can enter a site instead of a topic. This will show you keywords that relate to the website you entered. If you don’t know which keywords to target but know who your competitors are, this option might prove useful.
Data Studio, in the strictest sense, isn’t an SEO tool. But it does have features that can help you with reporting.
This free tool can import data from Google services like Analytics and Ads. Then it converts that information into slides, graphs, or other types of visual data that can help you collaborate with clients and/or other members of your marketing team.
Why You Need Google Data Studio
Some of the premium SEO tools out there charge more because of their reporting features. But now, you have a free alternative.
Freelancers and agencies will like the fact that Google Data Studio can work with other Google services to generate reports with ease.
Anyone can work with Data Studio. And with it, you’ll have a better understanding of your search traffic.
Google Data Studio Features
There’s not much to say about Data Studio since it’s as simple as they come.
First, you have Data Sources. You use this to connect your accounts that you want to draw data from. Once done, you can head on over to the Reports section where you can choose a template.
Make a couple of tweaks to the template to personalize it. It will populate the template with data from the sources that you selected. And you’re done!
The Google Mobile-Friendly Test has a simple premise. It checks a web page to see if it can load as intended on mobile devices.
And while this tool seems basic, it does its job superbly.
Why You Need Google Mobile-Friendly Test
More and more users use their mobile devices not only for reading articles and blogs but also for shopping online. That’s why search engines want the best mobile experience for their users.
You need to make sure that your site visitors won’t have trouble reading what’s on your web pages regardless of what device these people use.
Google Mobile-Friendly Features
This tool has one feature. And that’s checking your website for mobile-friendliness. That’s it.
So simply enter your web page URL and hit the Test button. The tool will then analyze the page and tell you if the website is mobile-friendly or not.
It will also show you what the web page looks like on a mobile device.
A robots txt file helps search engines figure out what pages on your site it’s supposed to crawl. And if you don’t have the tool to create a robots txt file, you’d have a hard time ranking your website in the search results.
Fortunately, there are free robots txt generators online. One such example is Ryte Robots TXT Generator.
Why You Need Robots TXT Generator
A robots txt file is what instructs search engine robots how to view pages on your site. So you need something like a robots.txt generator to convey that message to search engines.
Using this tool, you can specify what pages you want search engines to crawl (or not to crawl).
A robots.txt file needs to have the right syntax. The file itself is case-sensitive. So that’s another reason why you’d want to use a robots.txt generator — it saves you from committing errors.
Ryte Robots TXT Generator Features
Ryte walks you through the whole process. But what you have to do is to enter web pages that you want Google to crawl (allowed) and not crawl (disallowed).
You can also choose to enter your root directory instead.
Once you’re finished, just click Create and the file will download to your computer when it’s done. You can then upload the file to your site.
Ahrefs and SEMrush are two of the biggest SEO tools available today. But they’re not cheap. But lucky for you, both of them have free SEO tools that you can use to optimize your site.
Let’s start with Ahrefs.
The Ahrefs SERP Checker can analyze the top 10 ranking pages for any keyword you provide.
Why You Need Ahrefs SERP Checker
Understanding the SERPs not only tells you where you stand in the search results, but it also lets you know who your competitors are and how they stand.
You get access to a number of useful page metrics such as Domain Rating, URL Rating, Backlinks Count, and Domains Count.
Also, you get to see how much traffic these pages get and the total number of keywords the web pages rank for.
Ahrefs SERP Check Features
If you have a list of keyword ideas, just enter them into the search bar, select a country you want the results to come from, then click Check SERP.
It’s that easy.
Now you should have the results along with the metrics that’ll guide you toward creating a viable SEO strategy.
The free offering is great but it is limited though. For the full experience, you’d want to sign up for a paid Ahrefs account.
The best backlinks are those that come from a reliable, high-authority site. That means you need backlinks from a news website.
But that’s easier said than done.
That’s why you’d want to try using a tool like Help a Reporter Out or HARO.
Why You Need HARO
HARO isn’t an SEO tool but a site that connects journalists with sources. If reporters need a quote for a news story, case studies, or articles, they’ll go to HARO.
If you go to HARO, you can find requests from reporters. And if you’re qualified, you can choose to reply and work with the reporter. In exchange, they’ll add a backlink to your site.
That’s huge. Especially if you don’t have a lot of high-authority links pointing your way.
When you sign up for an account, you’ll receive notifications whenever there’s a reporter who needs contributions. You can weed out the ones that aren’t related to your industry by choosing appropriate topics.
When you find a match, you can message the reporter and wait until you hear back from them.
Do note that not all reporters would message you back. As you can imagine, competition can be fierce and there are only so many quotes that a reporter can use in an article.
So while HARO is amazing, you shouldn’t rely on it too much.
Ahrefs offers more than one free tool. The Ahrefs Broken Link Checker is a tool that tells you if you have broken links in your site — inbound and outbound.
You might not realize it now, but this is one tool that you want in your SEO toolset.
Why You Need Ahrefs Broken Link Checker
The Broken Link Checker does a couple of things. First, it lets you know if there are sites that link to dead pages on your website. This is important because these are backlinks that have stopped passing on link equity.
You can redirect these dead pages to ones that still have value.
And yes, you can do the same for internal links that are no longer live.
The Broken Link Checker can also work on a competitor site. By scanning their link history, you can see which sites link to them the most. Use this information for your link building campaigns.
Ahrefs Broken Link Checker Features
Using the Broken Link Checker is easy. There isn’t a menu icon that you need to mess with. All you need to do is to enter the URL of the site that you want to check and click Check Broken Links.
You can either enter the homepage and scan all subdomains or check the links for that specific page alone.
After that, you should get all the SEO metrics for the referring page including the anchor text and backlink itself. You’ll also see the status of the link. For example, Ahrefs will tell you if the backlink is not found (404 error).
Just remember that since you’re using the free version, you won’t get to see all of the results.
If you’re running out of keyword ideas, why not try using the Ahrefs Keyword Generator?
This is a good option for those who like Ahrefs’ keyword research feature but couldn’t afford the monthly subscription.
Why You Need Ahrefs Keyword Generator
You need keyword SEO tools like this one because it makes sure that you’ll always target the right keywords. Marketers know that a strong content marketing strategy needs the right keywords. Otherwise, it won’t do much for your search engine rankings.
Ahrefs has a database of over eight billion queries. It’s one of the main reasons why users subscribe to its tools.
And now, you can have a taste of this tool for free.
Ahrefs Keyword Generator Features
The free version of Ahrefs’ Keyword Generator won’t reveal much information. However, there’s still enough data there to give you an idea of which keywords have potential.
You’d still have access to metrics like Keyword Difficulty and Search Volume. And Ahrefs does categorize the results as phrases or questions.
You can find keyword suggestions for Google but you can specify if you want keyword results (and their search volume) for Bing, YouTube, or Amazon as well.
If you want search results that go beyond a link to your page, you’d want to look into rich results.
By giving Google more context about your website, it can display search results that include more data.
It’s really a great way of attracting more clicks for your site. It’s one of those free SEO tools that marketers often forget to use but definitely should.
Why You Need Google Rich Results Test
Rich Results—sometimes referred to as structured data—provide Google with more information about your site. If your site showcases the best recipes, for example, then Google will be able to display part of your content in the search results.
This will give users an idea of what to expect when they click on your link. It also gives them confidence that you have exactly the kind of content they’re after.
The Rich Tools Test analyzes your website to see if your structured data is in order. And if it’s not, it will tell you if your structured data is eligible for rich results.
It can really do wonders for your page SEO.
Google Rich Results Test Features
Google’s free SEO tools are all simple and easy to use. The Google Rich Results is no exemption.
Just go to the site and enter your webpage. Then click Test URL.
The Rich Results Test will commence. And afterward, Google will tell you if the page’s structured data is eligible for Rich Results.
You can then use a free Schema Markup tool to boost your page SEO.
If you like using a Chrome extension for your SEO, then here’s another one. Keyword Surfer comes from Surfer SEO. It’s a plugin that you can add to your Chrome browser for free.
Why You Need Keyword Surfer
In a word: convenience.
Now you can go to Google and see valuable keyword information along with their search volume and CPC.
Keyword Surfer Features
After installing the Chrome extension, you can go to Google and type a seed term. You’ll notice that once you do, you’ll find the CPC and search volume for that keyword pop up within the search bar.
On the sidebar, you’re presented with several suggestions that relate to your seed keyword.
It’s so convenient to discover a keyword’s search volume without having to leave the search engine.
Link building isn’t as easy as some would like it to be. In particular, you’d probably have trouble finding the contact information of webmasters. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to message them about adding backlinks to your website.
But that can change if you have Hunter.io.
Why You Need Hunter.io
Hunter.io is a paid subscription but you can sign up for the free version which lets you submit up to 50 requests per month. For some folks, that’ll be more than enough.
Hunter will give you the email addresses of anyone who’s connected to the website you submit.
Marketers would use this feature to find leads for their businesses. But you can also use it to send link building inquiries.
Just go to the Hunter.io website. There you could sign up for a free account. This will give you access to all the email addresses, search filters, and more.
In a way, Hunter can serve as your data management solution for your link building leads.
But since you can only do 50 free searches per month, you’d have to be really mindful of the searches you make.
Earlier, we mentioned that SEMrush has a free tool. To be more precise, SEMrush offers a free version of its product.
But it’s not immediately clear to new users how they can subscribe to a free account.
You have to sign up for a free trial. And at the end of the trial, you have to downgrade your account to a free version. This means you’ll still have access to your account though you can only do 10 searches per day.
Why You Need SEMrush
Quite simply, SEMrush is one of the best free SEO tools out there. And while SEMrush’s free version only gives you a glimpse of its full potential, there are marketers who’d be more than happy with that.
You’re still able to see website analytics that can prove useful especially if your pages are not as optimized as they should.
If you want to see why SEMrush is viewed by many as the best SEO products today, then signing up for a free SEMrush subscription is not a bad option.
As mentioned, you’re not getting the full SEMrush experience. So there will be limitations as to what you can do with your free account.
However, SEMrush still gives you plenty of data including Backlink Reports, Advertising Research Reports, and Keyword Reports.
Even better, if you upgrade to a paid SEMrush plan down the line, you won’t lose any of the data you store.
Not everyone is aware of Google Tag Manager, let alone what it’s supposed to do. But it’s actually quite powerful.
And if used right, it can cause your site to pop up more often on a search engine.
But how, exactly?
Let’s talk about the perks of having Google Tag Manager implemented on your site.
Why You Need Google Tag Manager
Google likes it when pages load faster. The problem is, if a site has too many tags, it can interfere with page load speeds.
Your Google Analytics tag in your site code is an example of a tag. But there are other versions, usually from third-party sources.
So where does Google Tag Manager come into play?
The Google Tag Manager combines all of your tags into one. So when your site loads, it only has to load one tag regardless of how many you actually have.
Even better, you can update the tags as often as you need and you won’t have to edit your site source code. That means you won’t have to rely on developers to implement changes.
If the code is already on the site and works as intended, you can add or remove tags using Google Tag Manager without the need to touch a single line of code.
Google Tag Manager Features
Google Tag Manager is easy to use but you do need to be familiar with some terms.
Once you understand how each one works, you can add tags to your Tag Manager. This will speed up your site load times.
If you’re not confident with setting up Google Tag Manager, we suggest that you ask help from someone who is. If you place a broken URL or incorrect marketing tags, you may end up introducing issues to your site.
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