- Online Marketing
- by Pam Mitchell
Search engine optimization can seem like a daunting task. There are many components of SEO that factor into your ranking on search engines. The challenge is to figure out how to find your website SEO and ranking information. Thankfully there are many free tools available that provide analytics, reports, charts, and information about your website. There are many free tools available, but these are our personal picks to help you better understand your SEO and track your rankings.
Google Analytics is a great tool to provide you with valuable information about your website. From the homepage of Google Analytics, you will be able to monitor the number of users on your site, your website’s bounce rate and the average session duration on your site. Under the Audience tab, Google Analytics shows a more in-depth view of who is viewing your site. Here you will see what pages of your website your viewers are looking at. You can also find what devices your viewers are using to access your website (desktop, tablet, or mobile). If you have a high bounce rate and many of your viewers are attempting to access your website via mobile devices, it could mean that your website is not mobile-friendly, and it is difficult for mobile users to navigate your site. Google Analytics also shows the location of all your viewers, so you will be able to see where all of your potential customers are. This is valuable information for a local and expanding businesses to ensure that they their target audience is responding to any marketing efforts. In the Acquisitions tab of Google Analytics, you will be able to find information about where your website traffic is coming from. Website traffic comes from one of four sources: direct (from URL), organic (from search engines), referral (from external link), or social (from social media). With Google Analytics you can see how your viewers are finding your website.
Google Trends is another free Google tool that helps you choose the best keywords to use on your website. Google Trends allows you to compare up to five different terms to see which terms are the most popular. For example, if your business sells t-shirts you could use Google Trends to compare the terms “t-shirt”, “tshirt”, “shirt”. You will find that the term “shirts” receives many more searches than “tshirt” or “t-shirt”. This is helpful when selecting which keywords to use on your website to attract more traffic.
Search Console is yet another free tool from Google. This tool will provide you with more information about your website traffic. This tool will provide you with the total clicks and total impressions that your website has had over a given time. The Queries tab on Search Console shows what searchers have typed into search engines to find your business, how many times your business has appeared in the results and how many times your link has been clicked. Search Console also shows this data by country, by device, by date, and for individual pages on your website.
SEM Rush offers a free site audit that can be used to determine the health of your website. The site audit will provide you with errors, warnings and notices about your site. These reports will show you any errors on your page and help you to fix them. For each error, SEM Rush provides a “why and how to fix” button. This will explain why the error is occurring and what you should do to solve the problem.
Screaming Frog is a website spider that crawls websites and pulls information such as title tags, header tags, meta descriptions, and much more. The free version of Screaming Frog allows you to crawl up to 500 pages on a website. This tool works well when used along with the SEM Rush site audit. You will be able to find errors on your page from the SEM Rush site audit and verify these errors with Screaming Frog to better understand the issues. Screaming Frog also gives the option to display a search engine snippet. This is what your link will look like when it appears on a Google search. It is useful to see how much of your title and description will be visible on Google. If your description is too long and your important information does not appear until the end of your description, a viewer may not be able to see it when they search for your business.
Moz is a useful tool that provides information on your website’s SEO ranking. With a free account, Moz provides your domain authority and page authority. Domain authority ranked on a 0-100 scale with 100 being the best. The higher your domain authority, the higher your website ranks on search engines. Page authority works the same way, except it is for a specific page on your website. Keep in mind, however, that your domain authority on Moz could differ from your actual Google score. Moz domain authority only considers 40 different factors when calculating your websites domain authority, but Google factors in much more. Moz also displays your top-ranking keywords. These are the keywords that are attracting the most traffic to your site.
SEO needs to be monitored consistently to be effective. Keyword rankings and SEO requirements change frequently based on various factors such as trends, your competitor’s SEO initiatives, and search engine algorithm changes. While these free tools will provide valuable insight and information, some are still limited in the information they provide. Some businesses may decide to work with an outside company to provide SEO consultation and services due to the lack of resources or personnel. SEO companies have the resources and knowledge to assist you in reviewing your current SEO and can assist you in developing a plan to achieve your SEO goals for better rankings on search engines. Many businesses find working with an SEO company is worth the investment as better rankings provide more business and more customers.