SEO for Beginners: Free Marketing Tools and Resources You Can Use to Enhance Your Website’s Health and Performance
By Dan Price
The digital marketing world is vast, multifaceted, and can be flat-out confusing to newcomers. In the SEO industry alone there are countless marketing tools, resources, and talking heads. Knowing where to start or what you are looking for can be challenging and hinder you from taking the actions needed now to help with the direction of your online presence.
If you are new to SEO, or “search engine optimization,” it’s the method of optimizing your site to become more visible on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. This is the most effective way to drive users to your website. Having a solid SEO strategy is crucial!
I’m going to share some handy FREE marketing tools and resources you can use to monitor your site’s performance and help drive strategy moving forward. Many of these are staples used by webmasters everywhere. Let’s get started!
Understanding your search presence starts with analyzing the organic traffic coming to your website. Google Analytics is a web analytics tool that tracks and reports your website traffic. If you do not have Google Analytics already here’s a simple process to set up your account.
Once you’re in, access your organic traffic by navigating the left control panel to “Acquisition” -> “Channels” -> “Organic Search.” Then set the date range at the top right-hand corner to the timeframe you want to track. Now you will be able to see your overall organic search data and look at specific dimensions including keyword, source, and landing page.
If you want to get the most out of this diverse and complex tool, Google has a great analytics academy to help get you up to speed!
Google Search Console
Search Console is another amazing tool by Google used to check your site’s health in a few different ways. Here are a few to look at:
- Performance: This will give you more traffic data for your website. This includes keyword queries, pages that are ranking for those queries, and more!
- Index: This section focuses on the health of your site by checking pages that are indexed by Google for coverage issues, as well as sitemap issues. Seeing any errors is an opportunity to improve your site to drive better results.
- Enhancements: These reports will diagnose user experience (UX) and mobile usability issues with your site. Another important enhancement you can look at is your site’s load speed with Google Page Speed Insights.
While Google is #1 and gets all the praise, Bing Webmaster Tools is also utilized by many for its great features. It is also worth checking out!
Google Keyword Planner
Okay, one last tool by Google. The Google Keyword Planner is a tool within Google Ads that help you find new keyword ideas and analyze metrics of keywords you are interested in targeting. This is a great starting point when you are doing keyword research for your SEO strategy.
While this tool is great, here’s a little insider information… Google doesn’t show you all the keywords you could potentially be targeting. When you are doing keyword research it is important to diversify your sources and do your due diligence to track down every valuable keyword within your niche.
Knowing that, here are ten more free keyword research tools that aren’t Google to help you with your research!
Keyword Ranking Tools
Keyword rankings are another important metric you will use to monitor the results of your SEO campaign. The keyword rankings is the tool you want to use will be based on whether you want to check local or national keyword rankings.
The first keyword rank checker is by ahrefs. This tool will show how your site ranks for a keyword nationally. If you are a local business looking to track regional keyword rankings there is not a reliable, easy-to-use free tool available right now. I would recommend getting a free 14-day trial to BrightLocal and utilize their rankings tool if you do not want to pay for this service.
Moz is the best when it comes to reporting on the latest industry best practices and helping webmasters achieve success. They have a ton of valuable, easy-to-digest information and free marketing tools available for you to take advantage of.
My Favorite Free Marketing Tools
- Mozcast: This is a nifty tool that parodies Google’s algorithm volatility in the form of weather reports. This is important to keep track of and bookmark-worthy. Another great version of this is the SEMrush Sensor.
- Mozbar: If you use Google Chrome this is a convenient plugin you can install to show your on-page metrics in real-time. This also shows metadata and other information useful for quick on-site checks.
- Domain Analysis: This tool enables you to plug in your web URL, click submit and instantly see all the top competitive data about your website including domain authority, ranking keywords, and more.
- Moz Learning Center: A library of free training material to help you learn to be a better SEO in every aspect of the game.
- Moz Algorithm Update History: Knowing Google’s algorithm history is important to be familiar with because it directly reflects current industry best practices and what not to do when optimizing your site.
- Beginners Guide to SEO: This is nine chapters of educational content explaining what SEO is and how to be successful within this scope of work.
- Moz Blog: This is a great blog to follow and use. With thousands of articles and a diverse range of categories, they will likely have everything you are looking for.
Other honorable mentions for the latest SEO and digital marketing news are Google’s webmaster central blog, search engine journal, search engine land, and search engine watch.
I hope this was everything you needed to get started on your journey into the SEO world! Whether you are a new webmaster getting their feet wet or a business owner trying to figure out how to get the most out of their website everything I shared here should steer you in the right direction.
If you are looking at this and saying this is not for me, this is just too time-consuming, or I don’t have the resources and capabilities to do this my last and most valuable suggestion would be to have someone who is experienced and well versed in this industry help. Hiring an agency means you are hiring a team of professional webmasters who collaborate every day to deliver the best results for you.
At ChoiceLocal, our goal is to provide a return on investment that not only reflects dollars earned but the time saved and convenience to your business. If you are interested in hiring a digital marketing agency our team at ChoiceLocal can be your best asset and resource. Contact our team today to see how we can help with your online presence!