Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a vital component of any digital marketing strategy. If you have a firm grasp on SEO concepts and techniques, you may be able to successfully conduct your own SEO for your website or social media campaign. If you need a refresher course on SEO basics, here’s a guide we posted last year.
How to Choose the Right SEO tools
There is always a tool out there to help you with your SEO efforts. Whether it’s for publishing, scheduling, analytics or social media management, you’ll be able to find the right tools that you feel comfortable using and will help you work more efficiently.
Before we dive into the list of popular SEO tools that you can use for free, here are a few tips that you should take into consideration when shopping for programs and platforms:
- Cost. There are plenty of free SEO tools out there but for some, they find the features and functionalities a bit lacking. Some of these free tools have premium versions with more features, but if you have a limited budget and would rather spend money on something else, take the time to look at your free options and see which tools are the right fit for your SEO and marketing objectives.
- Features. Since you’ll be using these tools quite often,you want to look at the tools that have multiple features and functionalities to cut down on the number of programs that you need to rely on.
- Accessibility. You want tools that you can access from multiple devices and from anywhere and at any time. Most tools have corresponding apps that you can install on your mobile device or tablet and you’ll be able to easily sync with your accounts.
- Ease-of-use. It goes without saying that you also have to test out the tool to get an idea of whether the interface or CMS (aka Content Management System, more CMS portal here) is something that you can work with comfortably without feeling confused or overwhelmed. If you’re shopping around for premium tools, they usually offer live demos for free and it’s something you should take advantage of.
Free SEO Tools You Can Use
Without further ado, here are some of our favorite tools that you can use for your SEO strategy, categorised by function.
SEO isn’t always about content generation. Sometimes, it is completely acceptable to share interesting and relevant content published elsewhere. It’s a perfectly safe way to build your content, think of it as a teacher using a course book that is written by someone else. This is called content curation and is one of the most popular digital marketing solutions about. If you don’t have the time (or patience) to scour the web for interesting articles, or if your browser’s bookmarking tool isn’t enough, these tools can help.
- Scoop.it: Is an incredibly handy tool for anyone looking to build a strong catelogue of content. The purpose of Scoop.it is to help you discover and collect content from all over the internet, so that you can feed your followers the best articles. The free version allows you to choose one topic of interest and you’ll receive the most relevant articles and content on your feed, saving you from the tedious task of visiting websites one by one. With the free version, you’ll also be allowed to link two social media accounts for easy sharing. With features such as their suggestion engine, bookmarker and a community of curators the content is easy to find and distribute. The beauty of these types of SEO tools is in the simplicity, which is something scoop.it has in abundance.
- Pocket: Pocket can be installed on your browser and with a click of a button, you’ll be able to save an article to your Pocket account. You can then organise and tag your collected articles for easier viewing and sharing. Their mobile app can also link to other apps like Twitter and Evernote so you’ll be able to access content from more mediums and organise them using tools you’re already familiar with.
- Storify: Storify focuses on content that you can find on social media. The beauty of this is that you can follow stories from several platforms in one cohesive place. If you’re looking to stay up-to-date with the latest news, current events or updates from your favorite brands, personalities or even live events (think SXSW or product launches), Storify is a valuable asset.
When generating written content, keyword research is at the heart of SEO. You’ll need the right keyword research tools to find the most relevant keywords that you can base your content on. Here’s are some recommendations:
- Keywordtool.io. When you enter potential keywords, this tool produces relevant keywords based on the auto-complete function of the top search engines plus YouTube and the Apple App Store. This tool is also great for long-tail keywords that usually don’t show up in Google’s keyword tool because of low volume.
- WordStream. You’ll be impressed with Wordstream’s large database, powerful filtering features, the ability to group keywords and better find niche keywords.
- Keyword Eye. If you want a simple, eye-catching way to research keywords Keyword Eye is your guy. You can also use this tool to get an idea of what keywords your competitors are using and be able to analyse on-site keyword trends.
Social Media Management
If you have multiple social media accounts that you need to manage, you definitely need a tool to help you consolidate content publishing and general account maintenance.
- Hootsuite. Possibly one of the most popular social media management tool. You’ll be able to manage your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or other social media platforms from one dashboard (though you can only link 3 accounts with the free version). You can also schedule posts in advance and use their powerful analytics to track your performance.
- Buffer. Like Hootsuite, you can also link several social media platforms and access them from one dashboard. You can also schedule bulk posts in advance and allows you to link two profiles and schedule 10 posts in a queue with their free version.
- Bitly. Though Bitly is more commonly known as a URL shortening tool, it actually delivers powerful analytics and deep linking functionalities that are extremely useful for SEO.
There’s never been a better time to do SEO than now. With so many tools to make your life easier, you’ll be able to divert your focus to other aspects of your digital marketing strategy. A good SEO strategy is a key step in achieving your marketing objectives and these tools can greatly help in increasing your efficiency and productivity.