A website needs search engine optimization to compete. Without SEO, a site gets lost to the billions of Web pages and millions more created every day.
There’s a conundrum: SEO tools are a big investment for a small business. You’ll find SEO tools costing hundreds of dollars in monthly subscriptions. Don’t want to pay a monthly premium? You could spend hundreds either way from the one-time purchase. You understand the tool’s benefits but it’s hard justifying the costs. After all, you’re a small operation and every dollar counts. How about we take you through the best free SEO tools. That’s what we’re doing in this guide — letting you explore SEO benefits without huge costs. So keep reading and you’ll have exactly what you need by this post’s end.
The Best Free SEO Tools for 2019: Our Picks
A great SEO tool requires these features to make the cut:
- Free (that’s a given!)
- Easy-to-use or at least well-documented
- Trusted by Web and SEO professionals
- Delivers actionable results or data
The best SEO tools are the ones you’ll not just use but apply to efforts. Free tools are often clunky or have a higher learning curve. But, at least you’re not paying for yet another item a “guru” recommended you’ll never use! That said — here are the tools that make our list:
Best General SEO Tool: Google Keyword Planner
Is choosing Google’s own keyword planner a cop out? No way! Free SEO tools pull their data from Google AdWords and its keyword tool. So, why not go to the source of this information? With the tool, you’ll discover what’s needed to make informed decisions about keywords.
What will you find?
- Keywords (exact, phrase, and related)
- Keyword volume estimates
- Ad bid estimates
- Competition score
The tool syncs with AdWords letting you explore SEM advertising. Google’s keyword planner won’t do SEO for you… but it does give you the data needed to build a better, high-ranking presence.
Best Local SEO Tool: Google Alerts
We were tempted to choose local citation tools for this category. But, you can’t go wrong with Google Alerts as you track brand mentions. Plus, you can target competitors and local discussion to capitalize on trends. Using Google Alerts is simple:
- Input the keyword, brand, or topic you want to track
- Select the frequency of the reporting
- Check your reports and react accordingly
Using Google Alerts aids with reputation management, too. You’ll get alerts when people leave reviews or when mentioned on social. This lets you respond — either quelling an issue or building a wonderful rapport.
Best Browser-based SEO Tool: Moz SEO Toolbar
Sign-up, install the plugin, and you’ll have Moz’s SEO tool features right in your browser. The info should provide great ideas and insights as to how you can improve your SEO campaigns. Other features of the Moz toolbar include:
- Location-based, custom search results
- Page inspection and link metrics
- On-page optimization suggestions
Exporting SEO data from the tool is, perhaps, its best feature. Use the data export to compare results with other SEO tools. This provides a well-informed decision on how best to make site improvements.
Best Content SEO Tool: BuzzSumo
The free version of BuzzSumo does more than enough for providing content ideas. This tool is great for competitive analysis and content inspiration. How would you use Buzzsumo?
- Enter a keyword, URL, or general topic
- Get a list of popular content shared on social
- Record and use results as inspiration
BuzzSumo takes the guesswork out of content creation. The results guide your content marketing as you build off proven, popular topics. You could use the results for influencer outreach, too!
Best Plug-in SEO Tool: Yoast
Yoast is the perfect “set it and forget it” SEO tool. It’s a WordPress plugin that’ll realize your on-page SEO efforts without technical prowess. Notable features of Yoast include:
- On-page meta editor with focus keywords
- Add and use XML sitemaps with ease
- Schema markup for social media shares
- Content analysis to create better, structured content
The plugin is free with a premium option with upgrades. Yet, its free version offers more than enough to optimize pages for on-page SEO best practices.
Best Technical SEO Tool: Xenu Link Sleuth
Xenu Link Sleuth isn’t an SEO tool per se but a site scraper. The tool pings a website, delivering every instance of internal and outbound links. The results show page titles, descriptions, and report 404 errors. Use this tool for:
- Broken page and link building
- Competitive analysis and trending
- Find and fix orphan files (pages)
The tool is ugly but is a great addition as your site grows. Xenu crawls deep, revealing technical issues that may negatively affect your SEO efforts.
Honorable Mentions: Great SEO Tools Just Shy of Perfection
Do a search for SEO tools and the results become overwhelming. You’ll find tools for niche needs to comprehensive campaigns. Hidden in the list are tools worth mentioning if you’ve fully explored the best of the best. Here are our runner-ups and honorable mentions:
- AnswerThePublic: Plug in a keyword and get results showing questions asked across several platforms. Use these results to explore LSI keywords and topic trends
- Keywords Everywhere: A handy browser plugin that’ll display keywords alongside search results and web pages. You’ll see the important metrics like keyword, volume, CPC, and competition
- Ubersuggest: Search for a keyword and get a combination of metrics and competitors. The tool pools Google’s autosuggest and rankings. You’ll find this quite handy for quick results if you can’t access the main tools.
A savvy site owner will cross-compare results between the tools. See how our honorable mentions can support what’s found with our tool picks.
A Tool is a Tool, Best Practices Make Perfect
Even the best free SEO tools won’t help your rankings if your site is lacking. Why’s that? Because applying SEO to a lackluster site — with thin content and uninspired offers — is a bandage. The site likely has flaws. It lacks substance and value, where the full benefits of SEO get lost in the bad code. It’s time for an overhaul. It’s time to modernize your site and SEO tactics. Get in touch and we’ll provide a comprehensive plan to help your site grow. Let’s make your website visible!