Three Free SEO Tools for Site Analysis
One of the most frequent questions we get asked from new members of the search engine optimization community is, “what are the best free SEO tools for site analysis?” As with everything in the SEO world, our answers are subjective and may even surprise some people. However, we decided to put together our top three free tools. These, when used correctly, should give you a good start when it comes to evaluating any website in SEO terms.
As with all tools, they are only as good as their operator so it’s important to fully understand every nuance and oddity of the software so that you can fully utilize it to your advantage. SEO never stands still and is in constant motion, so all of the tools especially the free ones often become outdated with time.
Keep up with emerging SEO practices, and continue to test and tweak as that is the best way to evolve and improve. As we write this article in October 2016, these are our current top three pieces of free software.
Everyone knows that broken links can destroy your rankings, as well as the user experience. But as sites evolve and grow, links break, pages change, and it can become harder to keep track of those broken links. Link Miner is a fantastic free Chrome plugin and is one of the best broken link checkers out there. It’s one of our scheduled tasks to check for broken links and to deal with them immediately. Link Miner makes this tedious and time-consuming task quick and easy.
A Brief Overview of How Link Miner Works
The process is twofold; First, the software highlights all the links on any given page, and color codes the state of that link (red or green) along with the code number. The color coding means it’s a quick and easy process to find links needing attention. It even tells you what the exact issue is with those links. The second part of the process gives you the option to extract those links to a .csv file so that you can address them later. For many people, this can be advantageous. As this software is only a chrome plugin, it is light and easy on your computer and doesn’t take up a lot of CPU power.
I have spoken to a few people who are under the impression that adding Google Analytics to your website is a mistake. I honestly don’t know where this came from or what the theory is behind it. But the simple fact is that installing Analytics on your site is critical.
It’s like installing satellite navigation in your car; it gives you guidance and information that helps pinpoint the direction of travel you need to be going in. It will provide you with the major data points upon which you can build your business. Perhaps the best example of this is that it can tell you exactly what people are searching for on your site.
Imagine that you ran a brick and mortar business that only sold Coca-Cola. If 100 people a day came in asking specifically for Pepsi, then it would make sense to start stocking Pepsi in your store. Once you know what people are searching for on your site, you can provide that information. That is just one of the many things Google Analytics can do for you.
If you haven’t already, install Google Analytics on your website today. You can start learning how to properly set it up and analyze the data right away. This video is an excellent place to start educating yourself on how to set up GA for your maximum benefit.
Google Search Console
Another excellent tool from Google. As the most popular search engine and the one that sets the rules, making use of their SEO tools is common sense. This one will allow you to analyse the exact data Google has about you. This is not only great, but will also let you work out a strategy to improve your rankings.
For instance, did you know that if you go to Search Traffic and then Search Analytics, you can see exactly which words you are ranking for? The key here is perhaps not to worry so much about the terms you are ranking for. You´d rather worry about those words you are ranking number 10 to 30 for. With a little bit of work and SEO effort, you might be able to drastically increase your ranking for those phrases. This means that you are actually using the information from Google to show you where to target your efforts. In turn, you can be sure you will get the biggest bang for your buck.
There are so many things that search console can assist you with but one other essential section is the mobile usability section.
Every piece of content you have on your site needs to look great on every screen. Luckily the mobile usability section of the Google search console will score you on this. Make sure you are keeping a constant eye here as screen specs change regularly. Remember that user experience should always be at the forefront of everything you do on your website.
The desktop PC is a dying breed, and even laptops are challenged by tablets and mobile phone. Your website has to be perfectly readable and easy to navigate on smaller touchscreens. Google itself has stated that eventually web sites that provide a poor mobile experience will be penalized.
Google is a business, and its users are the customers. They want to provide the best experience to their customers regardless of the device used. Consequently, you need to make this an essential component of your design strategy. If you are always focused on the end user, and providing a great experience, you will be helping Google which in turn will benefit your website.
The above SEO tools are all free and provide invaluable information when it comes to analyzing the sites you are tackling. All three of them are worth installing, and although there is a learning curve involved it will reap the rewards in the long term.
Just remember that the only constant in SEO is the ever changing landscape. As long as you keep learning, testing and investigating, you are on the right track. Additionally, Over the Top SEO will always strive to keep you up to date with the latest findings. So, keep checking back on a regular basis.