Looking for a list of free, useful SEO tools? Then look no further.
You don’t need every free SEO tool under the sun. You just need enough of them to cover your use cases.
Before you hire an interior designer to beautify your house, the foundation of your house needs to be rock-solid. The same goes for your website. Before you go about optimizing your website, you need to make sure its technical health is strong.
Run a comprehensive crawl of your website with Ahrefs Webmaster Tools (AWT) to check for over 100 common SEO issues.
You’ll also be able to see who’s linking to your website and learn what keywords you’re currently ranking for.
This tool doesn’t just tell you what problems your site has. It’ll also tell you why a particular thing is a problem and how you can fix it.
See the top 100 keyword ideas for any seed keyword, as well as related search data
Our free keyword research tool shows you the top 100 keyword ideas for any keyword or phrase, plus the top 50 related questions. It also shows you important keyword data, such as search volume and keyword difficulty.
Google’s keyword research tool
Designed for keyword research for Google Ads, Google Keyword Planner (GKP) is an invaluable tool in an SEO’s toolbox. This is mainly because the tool is from Google itself, and many SEOs believe its data is the most accurate.
But in our experiment, we found that GKP almost always overestimates “true” search volume and is only roughly accurate 45.22% of the time.
Another limitation is that GKP doesn’t show absolute search volumes—only a range (as you can see in the screenshot above). Nevertheless, it’s still a useful tool if you want to cover all your bases when it comes to keyword research.
Most keyword research tools show you ideas based on the seed keyword you entered. For example, if you search for “coffee,” you’ll get ideas like “coffee bean,” “coffee near me,” “coffee shops,” “keurig coffee maker,” etc.
GKP, on the other hand, can show you relevant keywords based on semantics. For example, you can see that GKP suggests keywords like “cappuccino,” “espresso,” “barista,” and “french press” even though they don’t contain the word “coffee.”
Recommended reading: How to Use Google Keyword Planner (Actionable Guide)
Find People Also Ask questions
For almost every query you search for on Google, you’ll see a SERP feature known as People Also Ask (PAA).
AlsoAsked scrapes them and shows you the PAA questions related to the topic you’ve entered. Use these to find subtopics and questions that may be worth answering in your article.
For example, if you are writing an article about “how to clean a coffee maker using vinegar,” you may want to answer these questions:
When you click on a PAA question in Google, more PAA questions pop up:
AlsoAsked allows you to go deeper into this research (but you’ll have to sign up for a paid plan):
Recommended reading: How to Rank in ‘People Also Ask’ Boxes and If You Should
Do keyword research on Reddit
Keyword research is about finding the topics your audience is looking for. So what better way than to find the topics people are discussing on one of the internet’s largest “forums,” aka Reddit?
Enter the name of a subreddit your audience is participating in. Keyworddit will then extract keywords from that community.
For example, here’s a list of keywords it grabbed from the r/bodyweightfitness subreddit:
Keyworddit also shows you the context where the keyword appeared:
See search trends from all around the world
Google Trends shows the popularity of a topic over time.
Use it to catch and capitalize on trending topics, as well as avoid creating content about those with waning interest.
Google Trends also shows you related topics and queries that are rising in popularity:
Cover these topics before other sites do.
Recommended reading: How to Use Google Trends for Keyword Research: 7 Effective Ways
WordPress SEO plugin for on-page and technical SEO
But if you’re using WordPress, you don’t have to do that. RankMath helps you add all of those easily:
Besides that, RankMath also helps with:
RankMath has a comprehensive schema markup library that you can add to your posts:
See how your page will look like on the SERPs
Enter your proposed title, meta description, and URL. This tool will then show you what your webpage will potentially look like in the search results.
You can already do this if you’re using a WordPress plugin like RankMath. But it’s useful if you’re not using WordPress.
Check the Rich Snippet and Date radio buttons to see what they look like on the SERPs:
Create structured data markup in the JSON-LD format
Schema markup helps search engines better understand your content. It also powers rich snippets, which often have higher click-through rates than “regular” search results.
Merkle’s Schema Markup Generator helps you create the right schema code. Select the type of schema markup you want to generate, e.g., local business, FAQ, product, etc., fill in the form, then copy and paste the generated markup onto your site.
You can do this if you’re already using a WordPress plugin like RankMath. But if you aren’t, this is a good tool to use.
This is not a specific feature of the tool. But once you’ve generated your schema markup, you can check its validity using Schema.org’s Markup Validator.
Recommended reading: What Is Structured Data? And Why Should You Implement It?
Multi-feature browser extension that provides SEO data about the pages and websites you visit
With Ahrefs’ SEO Toolbar, you can see the valuable SEO data of any webpage you visit. These include the following:
- Page’s title
- Meta description
- Dates when page was published and modified
- Word count
- Hreflang tags
- OG tags
Besides that, the tool also:
- Checks for broken links.
- Traces redirect chains (full path).
- Highlights nofollow links.
And much more.
If you have an Ahrefs subscription, you can see our metrics within the SERPs themselves:
See the top 100 backlinks to any website or webpage
One of the most common activities in link building is to pursue your competitors’ links. By that, we mean looking at your competitors’ links and figuring out how they’ve been acquiring theirs. Then you can potentially mirror their tactics.
To do that, you’ll need to see who’s linking to them in the first place. What you can do is enter the URL of the page you’re competing with into our free backlink checker.
You’ll see the top 100 backlinks pointing to that page:
This tool also shows you the five most linked pages, most common anchor texts, the total number of backlinks and referring domains, and our proprietary Domain Rating (DR) and URL Rating (UR) scores.
These are all important information that can help you formulate your link building strategy.
Recommended reading: 7 Actionable Ways to Loot Your Competitors’ Backlinks
Find email addresses
Most link building tactics involve reaching out and persuading someone to link to your page. For that to happen, you’ll need their email address.
Hunter.io allows you to find anyone’s professional email address. Just enter the domain of the email address you’re looking for, and the tool will show you the list of email addresses it’s found:
If you’re doing link building at scale, you can use Hunter.io’s bulk email finder to find and verify email addresses in one shot.
Learn how to do this in this video:
Recommended reading: 6 Ways To Find Anyone’s Email Address (Tried & Tested)
Free service that connects news sources with journalists looking for expertise
Here’s how this works:
- Journalists have questions and need experts to answer them.
- HARO sends emails with those questions to their subscribers.
- Anyone can respond and potentially become a source for the journalists’ publications.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re starting out or have an established site; this is a great way to build authoritative links.
This is not a HARO feature. But signing up for HARO means you’ll begin receiving many emails from HARO a day. You’ll want to narrow down all the emails you receive from HARO to only those that are relevant to your work.
To do this, you’ll need to create a Gmail filter. Here’s how:
- Hit the caret on the right side of the search bar
- Paste [email protected] (or another feed) into the “from” field
- Add your keywords (using the OR separator) to the “Includes the words” field and use quotation marks to consider multiple words as one keyword
Recommended reading: 9 Great Public Relations Tactics With Campaign Examples
Free tool from Google that helps you monitor and troubleshoot your website’s appearance on the SERPs
The URL Inspection tool provides information about Google’s indexed version of a specific page. Enter any URL and see if there are issues with it:
If you’re advanced enough, you can even use the URL Inspection API to bulk-check your data.
Recommended reading: How to Use Google Search Console to Improve SEO (Beginner’s Guide)
Free global CDN
A content delivery network (CDN) is a globally distributed server network that makes it quicker for users to access your website. It caches static content across its servers so that it can get content to load faster by serving it from a location near the visitor.
Use Cloudflare to speed up your website and protect it from malicious attacks.
Analyze the loading speed of your webpages
Use GTmetrix to check your page speed and see how the page is performing:
GTmetrix also shows you the top issues affecting your site, plus recommendations on how to improve them:
Recommended reading: How to Improve Page Speed From Start to Finish (Advanced Guide)
Optimize your images
Large images (in terms of file sizes) can take a longer time to load and, therefore, impact your page speed. Google even has extensive documentation on how to optimize your images for the web:
For best results, experiment with various quality settings for your images, and don’t be afraid to dial down the quality—the visual results are often very good and the filesize savings can be quite large.
You can use ShortPixel to compress, optimize, and resize your images.
ShortPixel automatically optimizes your media library:
Recommended reading: Image SEO: 12 Actionable Tips (For More Organic Traffic)
Create a properly formatted robots.txt file
A robots.txt file tells search engines where they can and can’t go on your site. Primarily, it lists all the content you want to lock away from search engines like Google.
If you don’t yet have a robots.txt file on your website, use this tool to quickly create one.
If you’re an advanced user, choose “Customize” to create individual rules for various bots, subdirectories, etc.:
Recommended reading: Robots.txt and SEO: Everything You Need to Know
Generate hreflang tags to specify the language and geographical targeting of a webpage
Hreflang is an HTML attribute used to specify the language and geographical targeting of a webpage.
If you have multiple versions of the same page in different languages, you can use the hreflang tag to tell search engines like Google about these variations. This helps them to serve the correct version to their users.
Use this tool to generate the correct hreflang tags for your website. Just add your desired URLs, select your target country and language, then click “Generate.”
You can bulk-upload URLs (max: 50) onto the tool. Just click “Choose file” and upload your CSV file.
Recommended reading: Hreflang: The Easy Guide for Beginners
See how the browser renders a page
View Rendered Source shows the differences between the raw version of your code and what is rendered.
See the top 10 ranking pages for any keyword
Google personalizes search results based on factors such as your location, language, and search history. As such, search results may differ widely, depending on the location you search from.
Use our free SERP checker to see real-time search results so that you can get the most accurate SERPs in the location you want to rank for.
For the first three search results, you’ll also see important SEO metrics like the number of referring domains, number of backlinks, estimated search traffic, etc.
This is helpful for assessing the top-ranking pages and understanding why these pages are ranking where they are.
See search results from any location
If you’re doing local SEO, you’ll want to see even more granular search results—right down to the city, town, or even ZIP level. You can use BrightLocal’s Local SERP Checker for that.
Depending on the country, you can even specify the language:
Google’s analytics tool
Google Analytics is quite likely the most used analytics tool out there. It’s no wonder—not only is it free, but it’s also powerful. It gives you a whole range of data for your website, which you can parse and dissect to improve almost every aspect of your marketing.
So rather than pinpoint a particular feature I like (which seems almost impossible), read the article recommended below to see how you can use Google Analytics to improve your SEO performance.
Recommended reading: How to Use Google Analytics to Improve SEO Performance
Create interactive dashboards and reports
Whether you’re an in-house SEO or an SEO agency, you’re probably creating SEO reports for your clients, managers, and bosses. Google Data Studio helps make such reporting easier.
Since it integrates with Google’s suite of tools, it is relatively easy to merge data from places like Google Search Console, Google Analytics, etc.
You can even add data from SEO tools like Ahrefs.
Recommended reading: Steal Our SEO Report Template (Inspired by SEO Experts)
Run a content audit of your website
Not every piece of content you publish will be successful. That’s OK. You can always revisit it, figure out what went wrong, and take action to improve its performance.
But to do that, you’ll need to find the underperforming pages. That’s when you do a content audit.
Our SEO WordPress plugin automates the content audit process and kicks back recommendations to you.
Click the suggestions, and we’ll give you a recommendation on what to do next:
Recommended reading: How to Do a Content Audit in 2022
Manage how your local business appears on Google Search and Maps
According to BrightLocal’s survey, 36% of SEOs think a Google Business Profile is the most important ranking factor for the map pack. And 6% believe that it’s important for the “regular” organic results.
So if you’re running a local business, make sure you have your Google Business Profile set up.
BrightLocal’s 2021 study shows that 17% of SEOs deem reviews the most important ranking factor for “map pack” rankings.
Use your Google Business Profile to create and share review links so that you can get more reviews for your local business.
Recommended reading: How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing in 30 Minutes
See how pages looked like in the past
The Wayback Machine takes historical screenshots of pages and stores them in its database. You can then enter any URL to see those webpages’ previous versions (even currently broken ones).
This is useful for a variety of tasks. For example, if you’re doing broken link building, it is helpful to see what was originally on the dead page so that you can replicate it.
If your competitors are constantly making changes or updating their pages (and, in the process, outranking you), you can also enter their URL into the Wayback Machine to see what sections or subtopics they’ve added.
Recommended reading: 5 Ways to Use the Wayback Machine for SEO
Monitor mentions of your name or business online
Use this tool to set up mentions of your name or business. Depending on the frequency you choose, Google Alerts will then send you an email with all the pages that have mentioned the term you’re tracking.
You can also use it to monitor your competitors.
Use Google Alerts to monitor unlinked mentions. Unlinked mentions are mentions of your brand, products, or services that don’t link to you. Those are wasted opportunities.
Set up multiple Google Alerts for all your brand-related terms. For example, we can track:
You can consider setting up Google Alerts for common misspellings too! One of our examples is “aherfs.”
When you receive the email from Google Alerts, check out the pages, view the source code (right-click > view page source), and search for yourdomain.com using CTRL/CMD+F. If there are no results, that means there are no links back to you.
Consider reaching out to the writer or webmaster and see if they can add a link back to your site.
Recommended reading: How to Set Up Google Alerts (And Use It to Grow Your Business)
World’s most used search engine
Even with so many free SEO tools available, you can’t forget about Google—arguably the most powerful SEO tool.
You can use Google to do a variety of SEO tasks. For example, you can use Google to figure out what the search intent is so that you can align your page with it.
Let’s say you want to rank for the keyword “best french press.” If we search for the term on Google, we’ll see that searchers want to learn, not buy. Specifically, they want to see comparisons of all the best and most up-to-date French presses:
If you run a coffee blog and want to rank for this keyword, it’s likely you’ll have to follow suit.
You can use Google search operators to find guest post opportunities, internal linking opportunities, link prospects, and more.
Learn about some powerful ways to use Google for SEO in our extensive guide to Google search operators.
Still looking for more SEO tools? Check out some of these articles:
10 Reasons You Need A Long-Term Content Strategy
It’s no secret that content is time-consuming.
However, some marketers are so focused on whittling down that time, on cutting corners just to “get something out,” that they ultimately end up losing out.
What do they lose?
The power inherent in high-quality content helps you:
Rushing content, meanwhile, gets you the opposite.
Marketers who view content marketing as a sprint rather than a marathon think they can write 20 short, low-quality blog posts, slap them online, and call it done.
Unfortunately, this is a recipe for major content failure.
For content to succeed – truly succeed, with the rankings, engaged readers, and conversions to prove it – you need to play the long game with your content marketing.
You need to come to terms with the realization that it may take anywhere from six months to a year (or even longer, according to one study) to get your content ranking well.
You need to understand that your target audience is comprised of humans who need to be nurtured and respected continually over time if you want their trust and, ultimately, their buy-in.
You need to fully own that good content cannot be created in a rush. Great content takes even longer, but great content gets results.
Let’s get deeper into why you should be playing the long game with content.
Why Focusing On A Content Marathon, Not A Sprint, Is A Good Thing For Your Marketing
Think about a footrace for a moment: It’s pretty brutal, right?
To win a footrace, you don’t necessarily need technique or style; you just need speed (at least until you become a professional track athlete, at which point style and form are critically important).
Because of this, the winner of a footrace isn’t necessarily the best runner in the group. Put that same winner into a 10 km and he’d likely burn out at the beginning, right? I bet you see where I’m going with this.
The same thing applies to content.
While anyone can sprint in a general direction towards the finish line with crappy content and poorly thought-out content strategies, not every marketer can devise an effective, long-term strategy for actually consistently ranking well with content.
This is the main reason that the long-term content strategy is so much better than a short-term content strategy.
In addition to being more sustainable, the long-term approach is also wiser and more fully thought out.
In the words of Tim Ferriss, “There will always be a need for high-quality, and there will always be a need for long-form.”
While short-term content strategies seek to produce instant and short-lived results, long-term content strategies allow marketers to bond with their audiences, build their voice, provide real value, and rank in an authentic and sustainable way.
Because of this, marketers who create long-term content strategies often publish more effective content, build bigger audiences, and garner more shares across the board.
10 Reasons Long-Term Content Strategy Is Better
1. It’s A Better Use Of Your Money And Resources
Imagine going on a diet to lose weight. For two weeks, you eat only whole, clean foods and you exercise for two hours a day.
You feel great and – hey! — you lose weight. At the end of that two weeks, however, you stop exercising and go right back to your old diet habits.
Of course, you gain all of the weight back, and your guise of physical fitness takes a nosedive.
Not surprisingly, the same thing happens with content. Regardless of what you’re doing, content marketing takes money and resources.
If you’re paying someone to flood your accounts with content for two weeks and then laying off your strategy entirely, you can bet not only will your strategy be ineffective, but it will also be a waste of your money and resources.
Instead, you’re much better off allocating your resources to a long-term content strategy that will build readers over time and help you maintain steady levels of traffic and clicks over months or years.
Instead of wasting your resources, this funnels them right back into your company and ensures that you’re building value while also establishing a solid foundation of lasting, relevant content.
2. Long-Term Content Engages Readers
To keep readers interested and engaged for an extended period, you need to offer them comprehensive, in-depth content that helps them address their concerns and solve problems.
And that means long content, in terms of word count per article.
Don’t think just because we live in an age where attention spans are short that long-form content won’t do well. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
An Orbit Media survey found that bloggers who write longer posts (anything over 1,500 words) get better results.
Why does long-form content perform so well as part of a long-term content strategy?
In addition to providing outstanding value for readers, long-form content also allows your company to build authority and establish dominance by showcasing your knowledge on relevant topics in your industry.
3. Content Changes All The Time
As search engines and readers progress, the demand for quality, informed, relevant content increases all the time. Because of this, a long-term content strategy is the best possible weapon.
Designed to insulate marketers against change and help them maintain their traffic and readership despite changing SEO, content, and marketing requirements, long-term content marketing allows space for the strategy to absorb and adapt to changing trends. This ensures more effective content and a more adaptive strategy that doesn’t have to scramble to keep up.
4. Long-Term Content Is Synonymous With Cornerstone Content
Every good house needs a solid foundation, and every good marketing strategy needs cornerstone content to provide long-lasting value and relevance to readers.
Cornerstone content is long-term content that might not draw a huge number of clicks right off the bat but remains valuable for months or years after the publishing date.
Think of it as a down payment toward your own business.
In fact, if you look at the aforementioned Tim Ferriss’s blog, you’ll notice most of his most popular blog posts were written up to two years ago. How’s that for an effective long-term strategy?
In contrast, short-term content strategies are largely aimed at ranking well for a specific keyword or phrase, so they all but neglect cornerstone content entirely.
Unfortunately, this leads to a less valuable and less relevant website for users of all types.
For attracting long-term clicks and ensuring that a website’s readers are engaged, entertained, and consuming value at all times, cornerstone content becomes more of an essential than a luxury.
5. Long-Term Content Doesn’t Turn Off With A Hard Sell
In today’s marketing environment, there is virtually nothing customers hate more than being hard-sold.
Nobody wants to know why they can’t live without your product or why it’s critical for them to “buy now!”
More often than not, these approaches simply alienate customers and make it harder for your company to sell products naturally.
Unfortunately, the hard-sell is often a tone taken by short-term content.
Because short-term content is insistent by nature, it’s tough to engineer it so it doesn’t push on your customers.
As a result, short-term content strategies run a high risk of alienating customers and making it more difficult to sell your products.
Long-term content strategies, on the other hand, do no such thing. Because they’re not designed to elicit an immediate response from readers, they seek to provide value and relevance rather than insistence and immediacy.
In other words, they succeed in explaining a problem, helping the audience handle the problem, and then inviting them to engage in a discussion about the problem.
This, in turn, is a fantastic way to nurture long-term customer relationships and ensure that your company continues to meet the needs of your clients.
6. Long-Term Content Strategy Is An Effective Way To Approach Current Events
Do you think writing about trending news and industry events makes you a short-term content strategist? Think again.
Trending content-focused blogs are extremely important, and it’s a mistake to think of this as only a short-term strategy.
In fact, trending news can be critical to your long-term strategy, and can help you establish your website as the source for up-to-date and relevant industry news.
When you focus on using trending, to-the-minute news pieces as a way to enhance and strengthen your long-term content strategy, it’s easy to see how you can improve your brand presence and boost your business overall.
7. Long-Term Content Promotes Itself
Failing to promote your content is one of the most dangerous mistakes in the entire content marketing industry and, unfortunately, it’s one many marketers make.
While short-term content needs aggressive promotion to succeed, long-term content essentially promotes itself.
When you create high-quality, in-depth, well-researched, long-term content and push it out to your followers, it’s easy to rank well for your chosen keyword.
Because long-term content is meant to garner clicks and shares over time, it’s a great way to build steady, long-term rankings that can boost your SERP placement and improve your standing over time.
8. Long-Term Content Is Good Content
One of the differences between long-term content and short-term content comes down to priority and intention.
As a general rule, people who commit to the pursuit and development of content for the long term are much more in love with content.
While all types of content are important, creating good long-term content requires a different mindset and series of priorities than creating short-term content.
Because of this, long-term content strategies often boast better content that caters more effectively to readers.
9. Long-Term Content Effectively Builds An Audience
When it comes to building an audience, you don’t want to aim for the largest audience possible. This will result in a massive but unengaged group of followers.
Instead, you want to build an audience of people who are genuinely interested in your concept and your content and will engage with it actively when it comes out.
This is one of the areas in which long-term content strategy is so powerful.
Fewer people have the attention span for long-term (or long-form) content today, and by making it a large part of your content strategy, you can build a better audience and earn more qualified leads.
10. Long-Term Content Is Best For SEO
In addition to optimizing content correctly, companies that want to use good SEO also need to ensure their content is high-quality, relevant, and useful to their readers.
While this can be difficult with a short-term content strategy, a long-term content strategy suits the goal quite nicely.
In addition to the fact that long-term content is written with the reader in mind, it’s easier to target a group of keywords with a long-term content strategy than it is a short-term content strategy.
Finally, every piece of content written in a long-term content strategy goes to boost and improve SEO, contributing to more online visibility and more clicks to your website.
The Case For Long-Form Content Strategy
Treating content as a sprint rather than a marathon may seem easier at the outset, but it’s really just a quick way to stall out with content that doesn’t move the needle.
Good, results-driving content takes thought, time, and effort. It takes commitment to a long-term strategy because, by nature, content doesn’t work in the short term.
Ultimately, the time and commitment you invest in your long-term goals and strategy will pay off with higher dividends and a higher ROI. And that adds up to time well spent.
Featured Image: alphaspirit.it/Shutterstock
10 Reasons You Need A Long-Term Content Strategy
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