27th June 2019
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can be a very daunting topic for a lot of marketers.
Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned professional, mastering SEO is not an easy feat.
This is not because SEO is impossible to learn, but because a successful SEO strategy is made up of so many small moving parts. Not to mention, Google’s ever-changing algorithm.
“Each year, Google makes hundreds of changes to search. While most of these changes are minor, Google occasionally rolls out a “major” algorithmic update (such as Google Panda and Google Penguin) that affects search results in significant ways.” – Moz
The good news is that there are many online tools to help you analyse and implement your SEO strategy. Therefore, we have put together a list of SEO tools that will help make your life easier.
SEO specialists use these tools daily and so can you:
1. The Search Result Pages
This may sound a little obvious, but the search result pages are one of the best SEO tools you have at your disposal.
By using the search results you can check to see which pages on your website are indexed by simply typing in site:yoursite.com (replacing yoursite.com with your URL). This is also a great way to see how your website appears on the search result pages – if it’s looking a bit shabby, then you definitely need to read our 2nd SEO tool below.
Using the search result pages, you can do competitor research, research keywords, content ideas and more. A regularly missed opportunity is looking at the Google autocomplete, people ask section and searches related to box down the bottom of the page for content inspiration.
2. Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress & SEOmofo
If you own/look after a WordPress website, then it’s a no brainer to install the Yoast SEO plugin. This plugin doesn’t implement SEO for you, but it’s a great ally to have. It’s definitely worth taking the time to go through each section of the plugin and get to know how you can get the most from the Yoast SEO plugin.
One section which is particularly useful is the Snippet Preview which will show at the bottom of your pages and posts when in the backend. It is this small, but importance section which allows you to write the meta title and meta description which will show on the Google Search Result Pages.
The meta title is a Google ranking factor, so it’s important to have your most important keyword at the front of the tag. The meta description isn’t a ranking factor but it can really help improve click-through-rates. Each meta title and description on your website should be unique, just like every page on your website.
If you don’t have a WordPress website, then using the SEOmofo SERP Snippet Optimization Tool is a great way to make sure your metadata is the right length and see what it will look like on the search result pages.
There are various SEO management platform tools available around the web from the likes of Moz, Ahrefs and more. SEMrush is a popular choice as they have a free version, alongside paid subscriptions.
Through SEMrush you can do keyword research, competitor analysis and track your website as a ‘project’. Through your project, you can track keywords, run a site audit and get content ideas. The good thing about SEMrush is that they give you lots of information into why your website may have issues and how to go about fixing them.
4. Image Optimisers
Did you catch our recent blog post on Image SEO – Optimising Images for Search Engines? If you didn’t, then you need to know that the images on your website can assist or hinder your SEO efforts.
The need for speed is massive when it comes to websites in 2019 and beyond. Google believes a ‘slow’ webpage is any page which takes more than 2.5 seconds to load, according to their Test My Mobile Site Tool.
One of the biggest bloats on a website is typically large image files. Therefore, before uploading any images to a website, in order to not hinder your website’s performance, it’s best to resize your images to the max dimensions they’ll show alongside compressing the file as much as possible.
You can reduce an image file size through tools like Photoshop, alongside free online tools like these:
5. Chrome Web Store
If you’re not using the Chrome browser yet, then get onto it stat. One of the reasons SEO professionals love Chrome so much is for the extensions you can add through the Chrome Web Store.
There are many SEO Chrome extensions which will help you do SEO tasks a lot easier and quicker. Some of our favourites are:
- Check My Links – to help you spot broken or redirected links on a page
- Google Tag Assistant – to check what tracking tags are on a website and troubleshoot any issues
- Meta SEO Inspector – to check on your metadata, heading tags, image alt text and more
6. Google Analytics
Is a list of SEO tools complete without mentioning Google Analytics? Of course not! Every website should have Google Analytics set up. Without it, you can’t track the success of any of the work you’re putting into your SEO.
Like SEO, Google Analytics can be a bit daunting as it holds so much data and information about your website. Our advice is to take it one step at a time. The more you start to look and learn about your data, the more you’ll be able to hone your SEO strategy.
We’d recommend starting with the Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels report which will show you where your website traffic is coming from. Once you understand this report, then you can delve into the Conversions, Behaviour and Audience reports.
The Google Analytics Academy is a great place to learn more about this essential marketing tool. Plus you can also complete the Google Analytics exam to become certified. Which looks great on your LinkedIn profile!
We’d like to end with this quote:
“For big SEO results, start small” – Sean O’Keefe, Website Optimization at Google.
SEO doesn’t need to be overwhelming, just take it one step at a time. The above SEO tools should help you further understand, analyse and implement your SEO strategy.
If you’re keen to learn more about SEO, make sure to sign up for our next Google & SEO Essentials Webinar.