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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!

Apple Podcast analytics beta

Apple has launched a beta service to analyse listenership of your podcast episodes on Apple devices and via Apple services.

I took a quick look – log in to iTunes Connect and select the drop-down next to the header. [Note the URL – since podcasts are being split off from iTunes, it’s now got its own URL podcastsconnect.apple.com]

The service obviously only works on Apple devices and so this will in all likelihood be a small segment of your audience. But the data has all the normal data points [#devices, #total time listened, time listened per device] defaulting to a past 60 days view.

The most interesting data point for me is the percentage “Average Consumption” measure defined as

The average percentage of the episode that was played across all devices. Playback duration is compared against the episode duration as reported in the podcast feed. If a device plays the duration time of an episode more than once, the consumption from that device will be greater than 100%

Apple podcast analytics beta

Trends, episodes and overview

Neatly summarising most of what you’ll want to see – the Apple Podcasts Analytics beta has a nice dashboard showing Total time listened, a country analysis and split of subscribers and ‘not subscribed’. This is neat as I’ve always wondered about the proportion of my listeners who are not subscribers but do listen.

Partial audience analysis

In the analytics help documentation I noted the following:

  • Podcast Analytics begins gathering data as soon as users play content in the Podcasts app (iOS 11 or later), in iTunes 12.7 or later (macOS and Windows), or on HomePod. [NOTE only recent app versions]
  • Apple only displays data from users who agreed to share their diagnostics and usage information with providers. [NOTE Reduces total audience size]
  • To collect data, the duration of a play event must be at least five seconds. [NOTE fair enough]
  • To display data, more than five unique devices must play the show or episode content. [NOTE fair enough]

Final thoughts

Get on to Apple and take a look at your stats. Compare it to other analytics services [I use Podtrac] and compare the data points and your absolute numbers.

My Apple numbers and Podtrac numbers are not directly comparable as one is included in the other. But for me the average consumption metric is pretty neat and will be something I add in my media pack for advertisers.

The images below show the respective analytics for 7 recent episodes.

Podtrac podcast analytics
Apple podcast analytics

7 Ways to Make Your Website Relevant

Is your website consistently driving results for your business? Is it adaptive to changes on the web? With rapid advances in website technology, design and function have evolved, bringing a new set of expectations to your visitors. With these expectations and advanced features ultimately affecting the success of the business online, being able to respond effectively is essential.

We’re not saying a complete rebuild of your website is necessary every 12 months, but minor tweaks, layout improvements and updated content are just a few ways to keep your website fresh! The needs of your website, or at least how people use it, will likely change throughout its life. Being able to respond to that change is essential for maintaining customer engagement.

It can be a daunting process. To make it easier, we have created a list of suggestions to ensure you unlock your website’s potential.

7 ways to keep your website relevant

 

1. Build your site on a Content Management System (CMS) – such as WordPress, Drupal, SquareSpace.

This is single-handedly the most important piece of advice for a business with limited web-dev resources. An advanced CMS platform offers huge freedom to customise content, compared to one that was hard-coded. You can easily swap bits in and out, and if you have a decent understanding of the system, make simple changes to the whole visual layout, without having to spend hundreds (or thousands) hiring a developer. Most CMS platforms offer an intuitive interface which removes the need to learn HTML too. This can be a real time saver, if maintaining the site is not your fulltime priority!

With an increasing number of web visits coming from mobile devices, ensuring your site is responsive to different screen sizes is absolutely essential too. Many CMS platforms offer mobile responsiveness. If yours isn’t, you’re already way behind the game!

2. Observe how your visitors use your website

Analytical tools such as Google Analytics + Search Console provide an incredible amount detail and invaluable insights as to how people are actually interacting with your site. Goal tracking, a powerful feature of Google Analytics analyses the effectiveness of particular product channels and sales conversions. Set up correctly, it makes it easy to pinpoint where customers are dropping off or what is triggering purchases. This helps to outline where you can improve your sales channels to maximise conversion success.

Analytical software allows you to observe a range of other insightful trends too: Are there large blocks of text that are being ignored? Are your visitors finding what they are looking for? How far down the page are they viewing before losing interest? Thanks to tools like Sumo and Crazy Egg, we can gain a much deeper understanding of how visitors are using our website. If nobody pays attention to that beautiful full width banner, is it worth having?

Making your site as easy as possible for visitors to use is essential for ensuring they become customers. The likes of Google Analytics are free to use, and most paid versions of software offer free or limited period trial versions. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be looking into them!

3. Interpret and respond to your analytics

If the majority of your traffic is ignoring your featured product, swap it for something else! If they are searching for an FAQ, make sure it is clearly visible from the homepage! Are visitors dropping off before they reach your call to action further down the page? What can you change to ensure they all see it? If they aren’t scrolling through, it is time you spent some time reworking your site’s layout.

4. Make sure your audience can find you

A lot of the work here comes back to your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Are you using the right keywords for your brand/offering? What words are people using to find your product/service? How do you rank in searches? One way to influence these variables is through regular, targeted content. Publishing blog articles or (even better) video material is an easy way to give visitors a reason to keep coming to your site. This in turn, boosts the value of your SEO. Don’t stress if you can’t maintain a schedule of posting each day either. If you have a big catalogue of material, drip feed it out over the course of the year. Maintaining a steady rhythm is far better than dumping 20 articles all at once. Consistency is the key here!

5. Do the words on your site clearly describe what you do?

It’s one thing to write for the Google bots that will crawl your site and determine where to show you on search, but at the end of the day, decisions are made by humans. If your visitors are browsing your website desperately wondering what it is exactly that you do, chances are they are going to move on pretty quickly. No amount of keywords will help if your message doesn’t make sense. If you don’t have the time or the confidence to write your own copy, it’s highly worth getting someone to do it for you.

6. Give your visitors a reason to trust you

Real life testimonials from customers who have actually purchased or worked with you can make or break the decision to buy from you. There are a number of places where these can come from – Social Media pages such as your Facebook page or your Google My Business page are just two, but there’s nothing stopping you from replicating them on your website (with their permission of course!). Displaying customer logos (if your work is B2B) is a great way to showcase your brand’s credibility.

7. Make it easy for your visitors to take action

Whether that action is in the form of purchasing something from your website or filling out a contact form, it’s absolutely vital that you make it as easy as possible. The less hoops prospective customers have to jump through to get what they want, the more inclined they will be to take action. If you have hyperlinked text as your call to action, consider substituting it for a big eye-catching button. The call to action is the main objective of your page, why hide it?

If you are not sure what is and isn’t working, or if you know your website needs a bit of a touch-up, talk to us – we are the experts!

Tell us what your goals are: traffic or sales

Google Analytics Logo

Google Analytics Keyword Workaround

Google Analytics Workaround Keyword MenuWith more people opting for anonymous website browsing it is becoming increasingly harder to see how users find your site – in particular, which keywords they searched with.

Inside your Google Analytics you can see which search terms prospects are using to find your website by going to Acquisition -> Keywords -> Organic in the left sidebar menu.

With the rise of anonymous browsing, Google Analytics can no longer provide useful and therefore accurate keyword search data. You’ll more than likely see the majority of your keyword searches is “(Not provided)”.

This situation is getting worse month by month as we track the analytics for our website.

By following these steps, we can show you a workaround which will remove the dreaded “Not Provided” data and give you greater insight into how visitors are finding your site. Best of all, this workaround will also show you what keyword searches you are appearing in but not getting traffic from.

Google Analytics Keyword List

The Workaround For Keyword Searches

Although not a perfect replacement, Creative Agency Secrets has found a work-around which can give you a good indication of what search words and phrases your website is showing up for and which are drawing visitors.

It involves Google Webmaster Tools – You have to set this up for your website if you haven’t already.

Set up and Verify yourself and your website in Webmaster Tools – generally the easiest way is to do this with your analytics account. If this fails, Google helpfully provide short how-to’s on the other methods of verification.

Remember your site must be using the asynchronous tracking code.

Google Webmaster Tools Verification

Select the Google Analytics radio button (which can be found under the “Alternate methods” tab) and click Verify.

Now navigate to Search Traffic in the sidebar menu and select Search Queries.

Scroll down below the graph you will see a list of Queries used and the Impressions.  The main benefit of this data is you can see the Average Position your site has in search listings for each one (far right column).

We are going to show you how to send this data to your Google Analytics account but it’s worth noting that there is more accuracy in this screen as Google Analytics rounds the numbers.

Google Webmaster Tools Keywords List

Link Google Analytics To Webmaster Tools

Now re-open Google Analytics and browse to your website dashboard.

In the side menu go to Acquisition -> Search Engine Optimization -> Queries.  You will get a message advising you to enable Webmaster Tools (see screenshot below).

Set Up Google Webmaster Tools

Click the button to Set up Webmaster Tools Data sharing at the top of the page.

Leave all the settings it displays as default although you can change the fields if some are incorrect e.g. Industry Category.  At the bottom of the page the sub-heading Webmaster Tools Settings click the Edit hyperlink.

Google Webmaster Tools Data Sharing Set Up

This will bring up a list of site(s) and associated Analytics web properties.  Choose your site on the left radio button and Save.

Click OK to Add association in the next window.

Select Site To Add Link Webmaster Tools

View The Data

You’ll be directed to the Admin screen. Click Reporting in the top menu to return to GA and again go to Acquisition -> Search Engine Optimization -> Queries.

You should now see a summary graph and below it the list of keyword queries , impressions, clicks and average position of your website.

For everyday use, we find the Google Analytics summary data is fine.  But for non-rounded data, go into the Google Webmaster Tools display to get the full picture.

Note that data is normally 2 days behind on these searches compared to other metrics in Google Analytics.