No matter what specific industry you may be in, most likely you’re going to have a website. Websites are crucial in having a professional online presence. However, just because most professionals realize that a website is important, many lack the background in search engine optimization (SEO) to make it easier to find by search engines and target audiences alike.
Below are some great SEO tools that can make the learning process a lot easier by automating part of the process to give insight on what needs to be done next.
SimilarWeb has a free top-level insight report to gather highlights of data about your own website or customers. It also has a robust platform that allows you to compare yourself to competitors to see how you’re doing online. Similarly, if you don’t have any direct competitors, you can research your industry or the industry of your target audience to find some patterns in search behavior.
This type of insight can help you determine content, online branding strategy, or even product development. Additionally, by seeing the breakdown of your traffic sources in an easy to read graph, something that Google Analytics occasionally lacks, it makes decision making less confusing.
Screaming Frog is a legendary free SEO spider tool with a paid yearly license option that allows you to “spider” (crawl) website links, images, code and apps. This data can help you analyze what needs to be fixed, such as meta tags and image errors, as well as allowing you to crawl competitors’ sites to see the type of SEO they may already have in place.
Another important feature of the software that many SEOs use is the inbound and outbound link reports, which allow you to see who is linking to you and vice versa. This can not only help in SEO research, but also in PR and social media campaigns. It allows you to see who is “talking” about you from an SEO perspective.
Content Suggestion Generators
While great content on its own isn’t solely about SEO, fresh content does increase the likelihood that your website will get crawled by search engines more often, which can increase your overall traffic.
These free content suggestion tools can help you and your team think of better blog topic ideas. Because many start-ups are bootstrapped or prefer to do their content writing in-house, having ideas to start with can help make writing blog posts an easier task.
- Portent’s Content Idea Generator: This tool allows you to input a word or key phrase, and it generates a catchy title that you can use directly or utilize to think of something that works perfectly with your blog.
- RYP Marketing’s Content Topic Ideas Generator & Brainstorm Tool: This tool is like discussion search on steroids. Input a topic you want to write about, and it scans sites like Quora, JustAnswer, and Twitter for discussions surrounding that topic.
- Webpage FX’s Blog Post Idea Generator: This tool works similarly to Portent’s, and also allows you to google their result so you can see if other similar articles have already been written.
- HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator: This tool’s goal is to give you a week’s worth of blog ideas after you input three nouns that you’d like to write about. While it’s not always perfect, the five results make writing blog posts on a regular basis much less intimidating.
You can also use tools like UberSuggest to generate keyword suggestions based on a core word or phrase, which can hopefully spur a blog topic or more research inspiration.
Yoast’s WordPress SEO Plugin
If your startup is on a WordPress website, it’s crucial that you install and activate Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin. This solution is almost a one-stop shop when it comes to automated basic best practice SEO for your website, like verifying Google and Bing Webmaster Tools, installing Google Analytics, optimizing meta tags, and creating an XML sitemap.
Yoast also has an extensive tutorial library, which can help get you set up in no time, and a premium support option that is renewed yearly.
Crazy Egg stands out in the SEO world because it offers easy-to-understand heatmaps for SEOs and web developers. Their monthly plans start at $9 per month and they offer a free heatmap preview and 30-day trial before signing up for a paid plan. Heatmaps track and estimate user eye patterns by seeing what they look at and click on first, which is calculated using a script you add to your website. This can help you see what parts of your website users are focusing on.
This can help you determine the layout, graphics and content of your website. For instance, if you notice that most people look at the sidebar of your site first, consider putting your most important graphic or links there instead of a useless image that doesn’t link to anything.
Crazy Egg also includes insight on scrolling behavior, click history and multiple report options.
Like SimilarWeb, CognitiveSEO is another SEO platform that allows you to view multiple data points about your SEO and website as a whole. Besides providing keyword ranking reports over time, which is considered an outdated practice to some but still useful to others, you can also run audits of your site and others. You can determine any potentially harmful unnatural links, which may be a result of spam or a previous SEO agency using black hat techniques for your site. Reports of ranking trends, SEO visibility in Google, and other aspects are also available.
CognitiveSEO is another “one-stop shop” option if you want to view your search and social media trends and traffic patterns all in one place. They have plans that start at $99 per month.
Moz Local is one of the leading local SEO tools. It makes creating, managing, and editing your local SEO listings as easy as possible. If your startup only services a specific area, local SEO is one of the most important aspects of a search strategy due to its ranking factors. But local can also be helpful if your business services customers nationwide, as it simply is giving your business more potential to be shown in search results and on local search engines, like Localeze and Foursquare, as well as Google and Bing Maps.
Moz Local allows you to search for your business first to find existing listings which you can then edit. Or it allows you to create listings for multiple places, all by inputting your information once.
Moz Local costs $84 per year, paid annually.
While they aren’t exactly the same, Moz Pro is another option outside of SimilarWeb and Cognitive SEO. Unfortunately, this set of tools doesn’t come bundled with Moz Local. But it offers several great services that can help you identify linkbuilding opportunities, segment Twitter followers, run site audits or crawl tests, and more.
All of these features allow you to not only get the best possible picture of your startup’s current SEO efforts, but they also provide you with suggestions on how to improve, which is key when you have limited resources.
One of Moz Pro’s most popular tools, Open Site Explorer ,allows you to run a set number of searches for free. But the set of tools as a suite costs $99 per month.
While these are only a small sampling of the available free and paid SEO tools available today, they represent a solid offering of options that can help you not only learn and implement SEO, but also provide a great picture of your competitors and others in your industry.
This provides motivation and insight you’ll need for your startup to be successful online.