Whenever I dream up a home improvement project for my place, I end up working smartest and fastest when I have the right tools at my disposal. It’s amazing the difference a good tool can make – and the extra time it takes to get work done without a helpful tool.
Fast-forward to online marketing. How can you work smarter and faster with SEO?
It starts with having the right tools.
I’ve collected a big sampling of the best free SEO tools on the market—tools with a wide variety of uses and covering a number of common needs. These tools are fast, free, and easy to use. I hope you find one or two (or twenty) you can put to good use, today.
Enter a URL and this tool will test the loading time and performance for that URL on desktop and mobile. It then grades your site’s performance on a score from 0 – 100. It tells you exactly how fast it takes to load the site according to different metrics, and also suggests areas for improvements.
Alternatives:Pingdom, WebPageTest, and GTMetrix
Limitations: 5,000 crawl credits per project per month
Sign up for Ahrefs Webmaster Tools, verify your website and you’ll be able to audit your website for over 100+ technical SEO issues. The tool also gives suggestions on how to fix them.
After running an audit, it also suggests areas where you can improve your internal linking, which is helpful in boosting your rankings in search engines.
This tool also allows you to see your site’s organic keyword rankings as well as who’s linking to you.
Limitations: Two free searches per day
Enter any relevant keyword, and Answer the Public will provide a huge list of long-tail keyword opportunities, plus common questions asked.
Limitations: No limitations for its usage, but queries that are sending you organic traffic are hidden
Quite possibly the most powerful free analytics tool available, Google Analytics tracks pretty much every bit of traffic you can imagine on your website—where it comes from, which page is receiving it and so on.
While it’s not purely for SEO, it’s still a helpful tool to track if you’re getting traffic from organic search.
However, Google Analytics has since stopped showing which keywords are sending you those traffic. You’ll have to pair it with a tool like Keyword Hero to uncover what’s behind “(not provided).”
Limitations: Only shows a handful of technical SEO issues, the top 1,000 backlinks and top 1,000 organic keywords
Google Search Console gives you a taste of what the most used search engine thinks of your website. You can use it to check and fix technical issues on your website, see important SEO data like clicks, impressions and average ranking position, submit sitemaps and more.
If ranking in search engines like Bing and Yandex are important to you, then take note that they have their own “search console” too.
Limitations: Free for the top 100 backlinks
The free version of Ahrefs’ Backlink Checker shows the top 100 backlinks to any website or URL, along with the total number of backlinks and referring domains (links from unique sites), Domain Rating (DR), and URL Rating (UR) where applicable.
A great way to use this tool is to paste your competitor’s website and find potential link-building opportunities.
Alternatives: Moz Link Explorer
Limitations: You’ll need to run an ad campaign to see exact search volumes
Enter a keyword or group of keywords into the tool, and Google Keyword Planner will return all sorts of helpful stats to guide your keyword strategy: monthly search volume, competition, and even suggested terms you might not have considered.
Alternatives:Bing Keyword Planner
If your site targets different countries or different languages, you’ll need to set up your hreflang tags properly. Unfortunately, it’s quite easy to mess up, which can cause issues for your site.
Enter your site’s URL, the language and country of the URL and the tool will generate the necessary hreflang annotations for you.
SEOs often target topics with high search volume, but that means targeting topics that are already popular. What if you could find and target topics right before they hit the mainstream?
Use this tool to do that.
Limitations: Technical and on-page SEO features are free, but you’ll need an Ahrefs account to see SEO metrics within the SERPs
The Ahrefs SEO toolbar is a free Chrome and Firefox extension that allows you to check for broken links, trace redirect chains and highlight nofollow links for any webpage. It also generates an on-page SEO report that includes the web page’s:
- Meta description
- Word count
- Hreflang tags
- OG tags
This makes analyzing any page much easier and faster.
If you have access to a paid Ahrefs account, you’ll also be able to see important keyword metrics like search volume, CPC and keyword difficulty within the SERPs.
Putting together a list of free SEO tools can be a daunting task. There are hundreds out there! I aimed to grab the ones that we’ve found valuable here at Buffer and the ones you can use via the web within minutes to get some amazing insights.