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Online SEO tools: A simple (but helpful) guide
If you are doing any type of search engine optimization (SEO) on your website, then at some point you are going to need to make use of some different tools and programs along the way.
The great thing about SEO is that there are hundreds of different tools online available to use. Some are free tools, while others are paid tools, usually with a monthly subscription. The tools you need will depend on the type of SEO work that you are doing. In this article you’ll find information about some of the most popular and useful SEO tools and how best to use them for your optimization work.
Keyword Research Tools
One of the most important aspects of any SEO campaign is to identify and target the most important keywords and search phrases that are relevant to your website. You need to know what search terms people are using when they are searching for your business or service. Though you may have a general idea of what keywords to target, it is important to target phrases that people are actually searching for.
The best way to do this is by using keyword research tools. They help you find the terms that have the highest search term numbers as well as being relevant to your business. Some of the most popular tools for this are the Google Keyword Planner, which provides you with ideas for keywords based on a seed keyword you enter, or from a specific URL.
Another popular online tool Answer the Public, which looks at what people are searching for and gives you a whole range of alternative, but highly relevant terms that you can also target. There is also a useful keyword generator offered by Ahrefs, which has a free tool that gives you 100 keyword ideas based on the initial phrase or word you enter. If you want all of the keyword suggestions, then you are going to need to sign up for a subscription with them.
Technical SEO Tools
In addition to link building, there is a whole sector of SEO dedicated to technical aspects, such as how well your server is running and if your website is blocking any of the crawlers from Google and other search engines. Technical SEO is for the more technically minded (excuse the pun), but it is an extremely important aspect of SEO that is often overlooked.
One of the most popular online SEO tools is the Google Search Console. You might remember it under its former name of Google Webmasters Tools. It provides a detailed analysis of various technical checks on your website, letting you know if there are any problems with your sitemaps, schema or other such elements.
Another popular tool for technical SEO is the Screaming Frog program. This is actually a piece of desk-top software, and not an online tool, but it is extremely powerful and used by SEOs all over the world. There is a free version that you can download, though if you want to analyze huge sites with thousands of URLs, you are going to need to upgrade to the paid version.
An additional offering by Google worth mentioning is their Lighthouse extension. This free tool can be downloaded to your Chrome browser and can perform a huge range of checks on your website from SEO and performance to accessibility. It highlights all the problems that are found and offers suggestions on how to get them fixed.
Web Speed Tools
One very important factor in SEO and how your website ranks in Google and other search engines is the loading speed of your pages. A slow loading time is going to provide your visitors with a poor experience. You want to serve the pages to them as quickly as possible, and there are a number of online tools you can use that check your website for speed and loading time issues.
GTMetrix is one of the most popular and provides a great analysis of your website, and pinpoints various problems that have been found, along with tips on how to fix them. It’s a free tool, but worth signing up for a free account so that you can save previous tests and then compare them to see if you’ve managed to make any improvements.
Another useful tool for checking speed is Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Simply enter a URL and let it do it’s thing. It will show you various data about loading time including things such as first contentful paint (FCP) and First Input Delay (FID). These can help you pinpoint exactly where your loading times may have an issue.
If you do any type of SEO work then you’ll know the importance of checking the rankings of your website. There are a large number of different rank checkers available online where you can monitor all of the main keywords and phrases that your website ranks for.
There are a number of cheap rank checkers that you can sign up for, such as SerpRobot, which despite costing just $5, actually provides an excellent analysis of your rankings. If you are a power user then you’ll want something a little more advanced such as SerpWoo, which is a top end serp ranker that is used by a large number of SEOs around the globe.
Keeping track of your keywords is vital when performing SEO on your website, as you will want to know if the SEO work you’ve done is giving you a boost in the rankings, or if it’s actually led to your website dropping down a few places.
Other Useful Tools
You can find lots of other tools that can help you with your SEO. There are websites that can help you optimize your images so that the file size is greatly reduced. There are others such as a page title and meta description checker, which is a great way to check how your website will look in the serps.
Another popular website is the Wayback Machine, which you can find over at Archive.org. It’s a very useful tool that can show you snapshots of how a website used to look back during its history. Lots of people who deal with expired domains use this tool to check if the domain was used legitimately or for spamming purposes in the past.
Whatever type of SEO you are doing, there will always be an online tool that you can find which will help you. If you are on a budget, then there will be enough free tools that you can use that will help you get the job done. Though lots of people swear by paid tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush, there are usually some free or lower cost alternatives that you can use that are very effective.