SEO-optimisation-tools

Top 25 Free Tools For Mastering SEO in 2019

Competition for the top spot in search engines is becoming increasingly fierce, with new websites popping up all the time. To make matters worse? Competitors aren’t the only thing you’re…well, competing with. Thanks to Google’s ever-changing algorithms, you have the search engine itself to contend with, too!

Staying ahead of the field can be a full-time job, so when it comes to building a solid SEO strategy it pays to make the most of the tools available to you. From researching your site’s keywords and monitoring its traffic, through to finding relevant content ideas and building high-quality backlinks, here is our list of the top twenty-five (free) tools you should be using right now:

1. Google Keyword Planner

Keywords are an essential component of SEO. They tell the search engines what you, your website, and its content is about so that it’s found when people search for these terms. Google Keyword Planner shows how different keywords perform, their search volumes, and competitiveness, making it easy to choose the right keywords for your site.

2.Integrity Link Checker

Broken links lower the quality and usability of your website and, in turn, your SEO. Apps like Integrity help you identify, find, and repair these broken links so you can improve your site’s performance and ensure users aren’t left staring at a 404 Error Page.

3.Spider View Simulator

Have you ever wondered how Google views your website? Spider View Simulator allows you to see your website exactly as Google does by simulating a search engine spider. This allows you to see the source code of a page, your inbound and outbound links, main keywords, and phrases.

4.Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most well-known SEO tools, and rightly so. This allows you to track and report on conversion rates, search traffic, and pageviews from a variety of sources. To name just a few! It’s a super handy tool to have in your digital toolkit.

5.Ahrefs’ Backlink Checker

Backlinks are the hyperlinks that point back to your website from another webpage. High-quality backlinks build authority in the eyes of Google and improve your rankings.

Ahrefs’ Backlink Checker makes tracking these links easy. You can easily check the number of backlinks and referring domains to your site, as well as monitor important metrics like Domain Rating, URL Rating, and AHREFS rank.

6. Remove’em Over Optimised Backlinks

Over optimizing can be as detrimental as under optimizing. Over-optimizing the links back to your site is now seen as a spammy, black-hat practice by Google which is harmful to your SEO. Remove’em makes it easy to identify and then remove these over-optimized links that may be damaging your site’s rankings.

7.Google My Business

If you think local SEO isn’t important, you should think again! Google My Business is the holy grail for local SEO. You can claim your listing, share your location, respond to reviews, and connect with customers across the web.

8.Page Speed Insights

If your page load speed isn’t up to scratch, then your visitors are going to leave. So too will the search engines! Page Speed Insights from Google analyses the load speed of your webpages and generates suggestions that you can use to speed up the slow ones.

9.MobileMoxie SERP Test

Mobile phones serve as the largest platform for searching and browsing the internet, so it pays to make sure your website is performing at its best. MobileMoxie allows you to search for individual terms on different devices, see results for specific locations, and view page variations by location.

10.Google Mobile-Friendly Test

Looking for another option? If MobileMoxie isn’t what you’re after, you can also use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to put your site through its paces and test its usability across a range of mobile devices including tablets and phones.

11.Moz SEO Toolbar

Master the basics of SEO with MozBar, the industry’s leading SEO toolbar. MozBar provides you with SEO research on the go, so you can quickly and easily view page metrics, authority scores, and so much more while you’re browsing the web.

12.SEMrush

Do you need insights for SEO, paid campaigns, social media, content, and PR, or marketing research? SEMrush can help with it all. This versatile site runs the gamut, providing tools for everything from checking keywords and traffic through to analyzing competitors and their content.

13.Portents SERP Preview Tool

Want to visualize your webpage’s snippet in Google Search before it goes live? Portents SERP Preview Tool shows you your proposed meta title, description, URL, and bolded keywords in a preview SERP. It’s a great way to measure your ‘clickability’!

14.Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

Yoast is one of the most popular WordPress plugins around, and for good reason. It provides a sweeping range of tools that plug right into your WordPress website that makes managing your SEO, simple.

15.Google Search Console

Google Search Console allows you to check your site’s ranking as well as which of your web pages aren’t indexed so you can improve and track your SEO performance.

16.Smush Image Optimisation

Images are the top culprit for slow page load speed due to large file sizes. Smush is a great plugin for WordPress which helps compress, resize, and optimize images so you can speed up your site and improve performance.

17.Answer The Public

Do you want to create content that people are actually interested in? Answer The Public provides you with queries that people are searching for in search engines like Google, which can help you create content that users are actually interested in within your industry or niche.

18.BROWSEO

View your webpage in plain HTML as a search engine does without the distractions of styling and CSS with BROWSEO. It’s the perfect way to check your page’s structure, and ensure that it’s set up in such a way that makes it easy for search engines to see what you’re all about.

19.Keywordit

Keywordit searches and extracts keywords from the popular US discussion site, Reddit. This handy tool generates hundreds of popular keywords and monthly search volumes so you can quickly and easily identify your audience’s major interests.

20.SEO Web Page Analyser

SEO Web Page Analyser provides a snapshot of your website’s SEO, breaking down the structure of your website and analyzing usability, content, and built quality from a search engine’s point of view. It’s a great way to improve both on- and off-page SEO.

21.SERPROBOT

SerpRobot checks your ranking in Google’s search engine quickly and accurately to show you where you stand amongst competitors and how you can best optimize your website for search.

22.Screaming Frog

This industry-leading SEO web crawler allows you to analyze your onsite SEO, making it easy to manage broken links, page titles, metadata, redirects, duplicate content, and so much more.

23. Where Goes?

Check the path of your redirects and meta refreshes with Where Goes. It’s the easiest way to troubleshoot and diagnose any problems you might be having with links, as well as ensure redirects are up and working.

24.Keywords Everywhere

Reduce the amount of time you spend researching keywords with Keywords Everywhere. This add-on for Chrome shows you cost-per-click, monthly search volumes, and Adwords competition right there in your browser.

25.Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager is a free tool created by Google that allows you to manage HTML and Javascript tags, without the need for any coding. It integrates seamlessly with a range of Google products, including Google Ads for easy conversion tracking and remarketing, as well as a variety of third-party vendors.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are a lot of useful free tools out there that can help you master the fine art of SEO, whether you’re just starting out or an industry veteran. By adding one, two, or even all of these to your digital tool belt, you’ll be finding keywords, writing content, and promoting your site more effectively than ever before in next to no time!

LinkedIN new feature, company page linkedIN

2 new LinkedIn Tools – Saved search and Article title edits

Today I came across two new features in LinkedIn which will definitely help marketers and pro-active networkers. And one negative feature.

Throttle Control is ON

LinkedIn is clearly pushing for greater revenues – many of my favourite work-rounds for search and connecting are now getting blocked. Have you noticed this?

I got blocked from searching for 2nd / 3rd degree connections on 10th May. That was because I had apparently already used up my allocation for the month! It renews next month. So pretty irritating….. Having said that, there are some neat work arounds and some new apps which I’m trialing in beta which may help with some aspects of this.

In the meantime, pay up or go away. The choice is yours.

Saved Search Alerts

New LinkedIn Feature

I was doing some searches and spotted what I think may be a beta release feature in the right sidebar…. I was searching in “People” for a search string. And so I made a search alert to save that search. In fact I made a couple.

The saved search name i18n_rail was default applied by LinkedIn. Probably code for something….. suggestions?

It appears to be similar to Google Alerts but with less functionality. The options are only for weekly alerts and to be received by email which suggests this isn’t yet a fully featured roll-out. But a nice touch, especially if we are all going to have to pay to use LinkedIn Search in future.

Company page article title edits

While uploading an article to our company page I noticed another new feature – you can edit the title so that the URL link title is not the default option.

You have to be in the admin view to use this feature. And isn’t it nice that 140 characters is offered as the link text? Importantly this is only link text, not the URL or destination title. I think this will be great for improved keyword searching and SEO – plus those of us who like to write long headlines will have a field day!

Now go and try these – tell me if you can find them in your profile.

Three audiences, niche brand positioning

Business positioning – do this

Can a prospect tell “at a glance” whether you are the right business for their needs? Web visits last ever-shorter durations and so your positioning [the message about what you do and for whom] is critical.

I was asked by a client to provide examples of marketing agencies who have good positioning on their websites.

Do you agree with my picks?

Good brand positioning copywriting

https://www.disruptiveunicorns.com/ We specialise in inbound marketing and lead generation on the HubSpot platform. Using design thinking, we help businesses scale in a sustainable growth manner.

One way to find out if you don’t want to work with them, is to re-write their offer in the negative. So if I don’t want inbound and lead generation – don’t go here. If I’m not using Hubspot I probably won’t get well-served either.

https://www.digitalmarketer.com/ Tools and Trainings for Digital Marketers

If I’m not a digital marketer needing tools or training – go away.

Below that they have 3 audiences identified – Teams, Marketers and Agencies so they offer further refinement of tools and training offers.

Digital marketer three audiences and offerings aligned to different brand needs,
Digital Marketer agency audiences

https://spur.co.nz/ Creating live experiences that build brand love. We are a full service live-marketing agency. Our areas of expertise include sponsorship, experiential marketing, corporate events and promotional staffing.
We connect brands to people to 
create brand love.

So if I don’t want a live experience – go elsewhere. Using the bold words allows speed reading to focus in on key services and skills. The “Brand Love” message is lovely and slightly fluffy – who doesn’t want this for their brand?

And just for the contrast here’s one which is too broad in its positioning and non-specific in its offer https://www.interactivesponsor.com/

Which niche suits your brand?

Finding your audience and positioning your business to align is not something to do once and leave. The business world changes frequently and so fine-tuning your language, offering and audience is a useful exercise.

Remember – excluding prospects who don’t fit your ideal customer persona is important too.

semantic keywords, SEO, keyword indexing, natural search

Keyword tool tip for 2019

Happy new year everyone.  I’m loving being on summer break – but it doesn’t stop me researching and finding top new tools and ideas for digital marketing success.

Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords

Found this great site which can help you identify LSI keywords for your website SEO.

What are LSI keywords?

LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are words that are commonly found together within a single topic and are semantically related to each other.

So they help you understand the connections and correlations between groups of words and phrases – so you can select good ones to use on your natural website SEO.

Testing LSI Keywords

I did a quick test for a client and found a list of over 10,000 [seriously, who needs that many?] to download.  The site asks you to list up to 10 “seed” words before it runs the analysis.

semantic keywords, SEO, keyword indexing, natural search

Latent Semantic Keywords

And then I reviewed the listings and found a lot of non-relevant words – so I refined the seed words to improve the outcome, downloaded and got my list.

Next step – back to the Google Analytics query to assess the current search results and revise / review and improve.

The Creative Store, recruitment, creative jobs, NZ creative industry, Creative store logo

What’s new in Search Engine Marketing 2018

What is new in SEM for business? Rebecca Caroe discusses the Wild West of agency service providers and how to avoid getting ripped off by a marketing firm.

Louise runs the Creative Store – a recruitment and placement agency specialising in the creative industries. This is her interview with Rebecca published in August 2018.  When starting our companies, Louise and Rebecca shared offices in the BizDojo and shared jokes about English sweets and beer!

Q. How do you define search engine marketing?

A. Anything you do for your business that gets it showing up in search results.  So this  can cover keyword SEO on your website, having a strong LinkedIn profile, guest articles, Slideshare presentations and advertising.The Creative Store, recruitment, creative jobs, NZ creative industry, Creative store logo

Q. Are many companies doing a terrible job of this?

A. It is my view that SEO service provision is a “wild west” there are a lot of cowboys.  This is not just a supply side problem, it’s also caused by clients who do not brief well, are not experienced buyers and have unrealistic expectations of what is possible.  We know that business owners come to our events because they want to learn.  Many tell anecdotes about past experiences which didn’t go well.  To challenge and counteract the wild west, I am part of a Facebook group called The Ethical Digital Marketing Community (EDMC) – you’re very welcome to join us, share and learn together.  I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers.

Q. How do you identify your clients?

A.  Our clients are businesses who sell to other businesses.  Many are new to marketing and do not have in-house staff with expertise.

Q. You can spot pretty quickly where they are going wrong

Normally, they aren’t going wrong – they are getting started.  For many, the part of their marketing which they notice is not performing is their website.  It’s not showing up in search, they aren’t getting inbound enquiries and competitors are more prominent.  We recommend they do a self-test using WooRank Checker or Hubspot Website Grader Tool and see what their website score out of 100 is.  That identifies many of the areas where they’re underperforming.

Q. If clients wish to engage you, is this on a retainer or do you do a sweep of their work for a charge?

A. We do both.  Unusually for an agency we are very happy to train and up-skill the client’s team and also work with existing agencies who they already have on retainer.  Our strategic leadership allows both to deliver better outcomes for the client – and that is always the end goal.  By having a clear strategy and goals we are able to brief agencies better, they work to a clear objective and the client trusts us both to get the results.  It’s a win-win-win scenario.

Q. You are hosting an exciting event with Blair Enns in October about this subject – how do you put a price on your work – what will we expect to see from this workshop?

A.  Blair is a world expert in how to win without pitching.  October is his first event on the topic of pricing creative work.  His thesis is that most creative firms under-price their skills and expertise.  And so he teaches “value pricing” where you learn how to price the client, not the job.  Watch Blair’s summary webinar and understand where you could improve http://pitchpack.co.nz/pricing-creativity-free-webinar/

Q. Who needs your services the most?

A.  Owner-managed businesses where the owners don’t know modern digital marketing and are too busy to do it themselves.

Q. Where is the future of SEM going?

A. Deeper and wider into ever more businesses.  Good SEM techniques are straightforward to apply to any business.  I summarise this into – State what you do, Answer questions clearly and Keep your focus on local or niche audiences.  Then repeat and improve. 

Q. Any helpful tips and hints to our clients on their SEM and simples fixes they could be applying?

A.  Sure – Three things.   1 do a website check and see what your score out of 100 is.  2 connect your Google Analytics and Search Console so you can see the queries driving your natural search traffic.  3 review where your last 10 new clients came from – was it referrals or web search or directories or public speaking or something else.  Then double down on what’s working and do more of it.

Q. Where to from here for Creative Agency Secrets

A. More collaborative relationships with other agencies and mutual clients.  I firmly believe that collaboration is an under-used business principle and it is working amazingly well for us.  Who doesn’t want to look good in front of the client?

3 Takeaway Tips: Building an SEO strategy for Living Goodness

Anyone should know that to establish a good online brand presence, you need a good Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy. Keywords are a main part of that strategy – they’re more than just using the right tags to find relevant blog posts – they help boost your business’ search results so your website gets more traffic.

Last year, we helped Living Goodness develop an SEO strategy that saw them appear on the front page! And to top off the cake, it was also the first time that Living Goodness ranked higher than a competitor.

living goodness rankings

Seventh place! Not too shabby.

In this blog article, I’ll show you three key skills that we utilised for their SEO strategy, and show you how you can put them to work on your own business.

1. Identify which keywords you need

The keywords that you choose for your SEO strategy should fall into three categories:

  • Keywords you’re currently ranking for
  • Keywords you wish to rank for
  • Other relevant keywords you should also consider

For example, Living Goodness were ranking for “fermented foods nz” (though they appeared on the second page of search results). They wanted to rank higher for this search term, and also wished to show up for “sauerkraut nz”.

ranking for sauerkraut nz

Which we achieved, by the way.

We went on to conduct our own research to find relevant keywords that would complement these. A handy tool that we turned to is called Answer the Public.

This allowed us to see what users were also searching for alongside the terms “fermented foods nz” and “sauerkraut nz”. We picked up key phrases and words such as “probiotics”, “raw”, “organic” and “kimchi” alongside many more. This also gave us a good starting point for blog article ideas.

2. Incorporate these keywords into existing content

Now that we had a lovely list of keywords, we needed to disperse them around different landing pages in a natural manner. For SEO purposes, there were key points that needed keyword boosting:

  • Landing page headings
  • Links
  • First paragraphs of content

These were just a few places where we implemented keywords into the existing content in a manner that was natural and flowed. Being a business that sells fermented foods, this wasn’t a problem. We also made sure we used a mix of these keywords because no one likes repetition (especially not Google!).

3. Help out your visitors with handy internal linking

Keywords aren’t the only way to boost SEO. There are many things that affect search engine rankings, and relevance is a big contender. If people aren’t spending long enough on your website and are bouncing away quickly (tip: check the bounce rate in Google Analytics), it may very well mean they’re not finding what they are looking for on your website.

Internal links are a great way to boost SEO and retain website traffic. If you aren’t linking to your products whenever you mention them, it’s a huge opportunity wasted. You also want to encourage a longer customer journey by suggesting other pages that are relevant.

For Living Goodness, we added links to their stockists page and social media handles on the recipes pages. This call-to-action prompted visitors to seek the closest stockist after reading a delicious recipe – “Are you running low on delicious sauerkraut or kimchi? Check out your local stockist here.” The social media links also encouraged visitors to share any of the recipes they’d followed. Being a foodie Instagram account, any photos using a Living Goodness product was free user-generated content, and of course, we were going to make the most of it!

Three simple tips that you can do yourself

As you can see, these tips are all very simple, easy and free to do. Hopefully, you’re able to apply them to your website straight away.

All these were tasks that we did as part of our SEO Starter Pack. It’s a comprehensive analysis of a website with actions to improve SEO and a recommended guide for next steps.

Search Console and broken website links

Has Google been sending you emails recently?  If you are the webmaster for your domain, you will be getting messages from Google Search Console as they find new errors on your website.

Search Console email text alert

The newly helpful Search Console Reports are good to get.  This is all part of a rollout of improved reporting.  Now you can take control of your own website SEO and won’t have to rely on bespoke or paid developer tools which you don’t want to buy.

What does Google’s email say?

Typically the standard email you receive is not written in plain English – this is tech-speak.  Let us help you decode it.

New Index coverage issue detected for site https://www.yourdomain.com

The Google is trying to be helpful.   So click through from the link supplied and see what the Search Console summary error page says.  There are quite a few possible variations – but here are some of the possible issues [Read the Google Support page]

  • Error
  • Warning
  • Excluded
  • Valid

Helpfully Google offers suggestions on how to research the issue you can test if the Robots.txt file is blocking, you can fetch the page as if you are Google [superb trick this], View the page as a search result and lastly, re-submit to the Google database.

Don’t worry – this isn’t terminal

If you have received this message you can research some how-to guides, blast through the Support guide or call us and we will help you fix it.  Remember Creative Agency Secrets will teach you how to do these fixes yourself, or we can do them for you.

I just checked the error from one client and found a lot of other broken links – use a broken link checker tool to find your priority pages.  It’s worth getting these sorted out – you know “nanny knows best.

The (b)leading edge of Accountancy marketing

Sage publishes an annual survey of accountants attitudes – what’s interesting is that it is global and the summary report details some good findings about the profession.  It’s called The Practice of Now 2018 

As a marketer who works with professional services businesses, my reading highlights some big numbers in the research about artificial intelligence, fear of competition, lack of optimism and increasingly demanding clients.  The implications for marketing, I will cover at the end of this article.

10 take-outs from the Practice of Now 2018 report

  1. Clients are changing faster than accountants. – 42% of clients expect accountants to provide business advice.  This shows how frontline accountancy is in the mind of the client and how banks and business mentors have failed to take up the slack here, which is an opportunity for growth.
  2. Revenues rise as cloud accounting allows firms to be more productive.  56% of firms saw a revenue rise.  If your firm didn’t see this fee income growth – start to review your working practices.
  3. Practice Management in the cloud is at 53% adoption – clearly we are into the mainstream majority now.
  4. But confidence is lower – 40% feel less confident about the prospects for their practice.  Clearly Xero’s goal of putting accountants out of business is realistic and beginning to come true.
  5. Competition within the industry is more visible – are you buying up a practice from a retiring competitor?  Clients will go to an accountant who serves their needs – even to another city or country.  This is both a threat and and opportunity for new business development.
  6. Artificial Intelligence is helping free up administrative tasks and it’s more than just automation. Moving from data entry, email and diary management to higher value services is a no-brainer… but how to set it up is the challenge as these skills aren’t in-house and they may not be in the IT services organisations who work with accountants either.
  7. Most accountants are doing some workflow automation – 49% want to do more of it.  So the benefits are noticed (see 2 above).
  8. The language of accountancy is changing – “Tell me how much money I have” and “How much am I owed?” is SO refreshing compared to “debtors, creditors and accruals”.  From a marketing point of view, these messages are very powerful and simple – but does your firm use this language?
  9. Advisory services are wanted by 42% of clients – but if you don’t market & position the firm to capture this revenue, clients will go elsewhere.
  10. The BIGGIE – 67% of accountants say that cloud technologies make client collaboration easier. Phew, glad that worked out because it jolly well ought to be this way.

Should I worry about artificial intelligence?

If you’re not sure what A.I. could do for your business, start asking questions now.  Because we all understand automation in things like bank feeds, this is a very small part of the working practice move towards higher functionality for humans and lower functions for machines (or software robots).

The easiest way to understand the potential for AI in accountancy is this extract from the report

Candidates for automation already include assigning incoming bank statement entries with the correct nominal codes—via training the machine becomes able to predict what codes should be used—but in the near future the power of AI to learn means it will become involved with operations like analytics and report creation. For example, software will be able to predict a client’s cash flow based on the company’s previous behaviour. Based on self-generated data, AI will be able to make predictions and decisions. This isn’t limited to client data. By examining things like seasonality data, AI can help with practice management. AI and automation aren’t just desirable because they make life easier. Research has suggested that the tedium of repetitive tasks can lead to a high staff turnover, introducing additional costs for a practice such as recruitment and training. Automating these processes makes complete business sense.”

It goes on to say

“AI can flag the anomalies, saving time and resources, making the accountant more productive.”

Your strategic marketing pathway

And as a marketer, if I am advising a modern accountancy practice this is what they should be doing for strategic marketing.

Firstly get your brand positioning updated to reflect modern working.  Think Nena and Kim Wilde – “Anyplace, anywhere, anytime” and you’ll be on the right track.

How that branding plays out into your collateral, positioning, services and online profile should be straightforward.  The key is to get the strategy right first and the rollout should be clear.  You will need new keywords for SEO, your client communications will become driven by client preference and choice and your language will simplify and align with clients’ choices of words. 

Other than that, it’s marketing business as (un)usual for a modern accountancy practice. 

How to Migrate to Digital Marketing

Migrating to digital marketing from traditional marketing is a question I get asked frequently.  Giving a talk to the Te Atatu Business Association, I was able to showcase both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) examples of ways to work out these things

  1. Where to start your digital marketing
  2. Which marketing methods will work best for your business
  3. What communications will work best for your clients and customers

The resources on the last slide are worthwhile saving / bookmarking.  They relate to directory listings and tips for local marketing.