Jul 12, 2017 - 11:02 AM
When you make changes or updates to your website for SEO purposes, measuring your results is the most important. How do you know if things are working if you're not measuring?
You won't see any traffic to your website until you're on page 1 for a keywords, so you should be measuring rankings to make sure that you're making progress in the right direction.
You can track 20 keywords for free: https://proranktracker.com/plans
Once you're tracking around 1000 keywords, I noticed that pro rank tracker gets really slow, so for a faster solution I prefer accuranker (paid).
2) Keyword Research: FREE: Google search engine (Google.com), PAID: Ahrefs.com
Keyword research is important for setting objectives and being strategic about which pages you intend to rank for which keywords.
When you go to google and you start typing something you'll see suggestions listing out other keywords that are related to what you're typing.
For example I'll type 'seo tool' into Google.com and I already see some great ideas:
- seo tools
- seo tools free
- seo tools google
- seo tools for excel
- seo tools wordpress
- seo tools 2017
The key here is that by being on this list, I know they have non zero search volume. Therefore if I optimize a page for any of these, there's a good chance at least a few people every month might see my page.
My favorite paid tool for keyword research is Ahrefs.com, they give you the best search volume data that I've seen, along with tools to easily compare many of keywords.
After typing the same 'seo tool' example into ahrefs keyword explorer I see some more good ideas, along with specific search volume:
- seo tools 11,000 searches
- seo checker 6,200
- free keyword tool 4,400
- seo analyzer 2,900
- google seo tools 2,300
3) Linkbuilding Research: FREE: Moz Open Site Explorer, PAID: Ahrefs.com
Link building research is important because a big part of SEO is matching your competitors backlink profile. Your web pages should 'fit right into the neighborhood' of all the websites on the first page for your keywords.
Moz is the best Free tool for backlink research. I tried it out for this website, and Moz only found 8 backlinks and from 3 different domains for CapitalAndGrowth.com. This is a fine tool if you're using the Free version. See: https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/
If you're more serious and you're looking for more depth, I suggest using Ahrefs instead. Their database is much deeper, and for backlink data that's the biggest factor. For example, Ahrefs found 82 backlinks and 27 different referring domains for CapitalAndGrowth.com
I hope that's been helpful, let me know if you have any questions
Jul 11, 2017 - 01:24 PM
Next would be to look at the source code of a page (view source in browser). Look for unnecessary code, hidden pieces or calls to external files, etc.
Google analytics is going to be your friend, but mostly the organic search landing page report. Google search console is also a must.
As you move onto deeper SEO, you will want to study backlinks for your site using Google, Majestic, Open Site Explorer, and Ahrefs & your competitors (all the same except Google). You'll also want to start using redirect checking tools like httpstatus.io and crawling tools like Screaming Frog. If you are on a wordpress site, all-in-one SEO and Yoast are decent plugins.
I find that most tool that try to provide the optimization for you are lacking and often wrong. SEO is complicated, so read, read, read.
Jan 15, 2019 - 10:40 AM
A fresh 2019 comment since a lot happened since this post was asked ;)
Best tools for beginners:
- https://hikeseo.co/ (strong on teaching SEO, I really like their simple approach and visuals)
- http://ubersuggest.com/ (since it's free and fairly easy to use I would play around with that tool)
- https://morningscore.io/ (Biased here, since i am a co-founder, but people tell us it's way easier to use than most tools out there).
Jan 28, 2019 - 12:45 AM
try Ahrefs, it is really useful
May 12, 2021 - 08:34 AM
- Wayback Machine
- Web Vitals
- Page Speed Compare
- Rocket Reach
- Google Trends
- Keyword Surfer
This is a really useful list of 50 free SEO tools for startups and beginners.