Free SEO Tools For Small Business Owners
If you’re a small business owner or are in the stages of launching a start-up, keeping costs down is imperative unless you have very deep pockets! SEO, however, should not be overlooked when launching your small business website, more so if you want it to offer any return on your investment. Working with the right website design team can help with this from the outset, but what about beyond the design phase? Thankfully, you can use some free SEO tools to help with this until such time that you can afford to invest more in an SEO strategy or hire an SEO consultant. This blog will give you a few of them here and outline how they can help your business.
Google Analytics is probably one of the most potent free SEO tools available. When combined with Google Search Console (which we will go into below), they form the cornerstone of all your SEO efforts, and the sooner you create your account and install it on your website, the more data you will have available to work with.
Google Analytics offers insights into your websites visitor numbers, where they are coming from and vital information on visitor behaviour. One cavitates to this is that unless you are used to using the tool, it can be hard to interpret the data being given, and some of it is limited in its use for anyone who is not used to using or trained to use it. However, this should not deter you from using it. Even its most basic data is helpful for business owners, and if you are at any point in the future looking to take your online presence up a notch – the sooner you start collecting data, the better.
Google Search Console
Like Google Analytics, Google Search Console forms the baseplate for your online activities and SEO strategy. Even if you are NOT investing in SEO, you need to have both of these tools in use! Search console is where you submit your sitemap (basically a list of pages on your site that you want Google to show), and it provides data on how many times your site is being found or showing up in the search results.
We probably should mention that other search engines such as Bing and Yandex etc., have their versions of Google Search Console, but as Google is the biggest search engine used on the planet, it is often the search engine of choice for SEOs to optimise for.
No one likes a slow website – fact! There are two main tools for testing website speed in the SEO world, and the one that offers the most insight is GTMetrix. You can use it as a standalone tool, or if you sign up for a free account, there are some additional settings to use and a premium version. We advise using this tool regularly or when new items are uploaded to your website to test its effects. However, it can be impacted by varying factors, so run several tests at regular intervals to get a good idea of how your site performs under different conditions.
If you are using WordPress, a GTMetrix plugin can be synced with your account that can automatically run tests for you up to a set free limit.
Page Speed Insights
The other most popular free website speed checker is from Google and Page Speed Insights. Although it is popular and offers some good insights, it is not the most accurate. Without getting into too much detail, it uses outdated technology to measure the metrics. Due to this, it can differ hugely from real-time data provided in Google Search Console. It can also be manipulated by adding code to your website, which is a trick used by black hat SEOs to fool you into buying their services or making their efforts look better than they are.
Yoast SEO is probably one of the most downloaded WordPress plugins of all time and one of the best free SEO tools if you use Shopify or WordPress to host your website. It analyses your site and page data and offers hints and tips on how to improve it. It also performs some handy tasks for you, such as creating your XML sitemap to submit to Google, Bing, etc.
A word of caution on green fever… Yoast uses a traffic light system of red, amber and green:
- Red – needs improvement
- Amber – Getting there but still needs work
- Green – Good to go!
We speak to many clients who get “green fever” and assume that because everything is green, it’s good. Yoast themselves even advise against getting too hooked up on making all the list of items green – it is just a checklist that is all – not SEO set in stone.
Google My Business
If you are looking to attract local customers, be it digitally or to a traditional brick and mortar store – Google My Business listings should be the number one task on your list. Simple to set up and get verified, it is a potent tool in local SEO. It offers a platform to add your address and contact details to images, videos, logos, opening times and even customer reviews. If you don’t have one – you need to get one as soon as possible!
Ahrefs is a paid tool for 99% of its functions, but they offer a free side to it in the form of Web Masters. It provides some basic information on your site such as:
- Keywords ranking for
- Domain scores
- Site Audit
As mentioned, Ahrefs is a paid tool with the paid side starting at around £90 per month, and a lot of the data will need someone who understands it to interpret it for you. However, it can offer you some insight into aspects of your site that might need improvement at a basic level to help with your SEO.
Looking for content ideas and how to find questions people are asking in Google? Also Asked is an excellent tool for finding the most popular questions asked on a subject. If you sign up, you get a limited number of free searches per month, but more than enough to help the vast majority of small business owners grab some data that can help you write potent SEO blogs for your business!
Free SEO Tools Summary
SEO is more than just using free SEO tools or even just using tools at all, nor is it following an arbitrary list of instructions, and to do it well, you need insight, knowledge and just a dash of luck! However, you can give your website a fighting chance of ranking well if you work hard and have the right tools at hand. The free tools above will provide you with a fundamental insight into just a tiny slice of what is needed to perform well in the search engines and help you get on the right path to having a successful website.
Here at E2E, we are experts in small businesses and how they operate and here to take the strain from your shoulders when it comes to getting an online presence that works for you. We are a team of dedicated small business specialists who know precisely what it takes and have the tools, the skills and the passion for helping your business succeed online.