20+ (Mostly) Free SEO Tools & Resources

February 19, 2010

We use a variety of tools to perform search engine optimization for our clients at DesignHammer. We discuss SEO topics like this at our monthly RTP SEO Meetup, so if you have questions and are in the Triangle, drop by! In the meantime, let's take a look at free and some paid tools for performing SEO.

Keyword Research

    Google Insights for Search
  • Similar to Google Trends in that it shows search patterns over time, but it provides more ways to slice the data.
  • Insights is useful for determining if the popularity of a keyword phrase is regional or global, rising or falling, specific to Google's Web search or its image search, and more.
    Google Search-Based Keyword Tool
  • SEOmoz's Term Extractor is good in that it will extract the keywords being used on your website, but the Google Search-Based Keyword Tool is better because it also displays monthly searches and approximate competition level for each keyword phrase.
  • The Search-Based Keyword Tool is useful for getting keyword ideas based on the content of your website.

Competitive Analysis

    Yahoo! Site Explorer
  • Google has a link: operator to find other sites linking to yours, but it's useless because it hardly displays any incoming links. Viewing incoming links at Google Webmaster Central is just as fruitless.
  • Site Explorer is useful for determining the number of incoming links to a domain or Web page as well as seeing crawl errors, top queries, and statistics.
    Google Toolbar
  • There are a plethora of tools on the Web to check PageRank, but some are buggy and others are slow.
  • The Google Toolbar is useful for quickly seeing the PageRank, one of the factors Google uses in its ranking algorithm, of a Web page.
    Caphyon Advanced Web Ranking [Free Trial]
  • You could use Link-Assistant's Rank Tracker [Free Trial] or SEOmoz's Rank Tracker [Free Trial], but using Link-Assistant's SEO SpyGlass by once generated an ominous Google error message for me, diminishing my trust in Link-Assistant, and SEOmoz requires a fairly hefty monthly fee. There's also SEO Book's Firefox Rank Checker, but with few options, it's a little utilitarian. Aaand last but not least, there's AuthorityLabs [Free Trial], but it's relatively expensive considering that it performs one major task.
  • While it has a busy user interface, Advanced Web Ranking is good for monitoring the ranking of your sites as well as your competitors' sites in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

Social Networking

    TweetMeme Retweet Button
  • Retweeting is republishing someone else's tweet from your Twitter account for your followers to see.
  • The Retweet Button is useful for getting content on your website seen and talked about.
    AddThis & ShareThis
  • While the TweetMeme Retweet and Facebook Share Buttons are good for Twitter and Facebook respectively, AddThis and ShareThis reach a broader audience.
  • AddThis and ShareThis are good for getting your website exposure on multiple social networking platforms.

Miscellaneous

    The Web Robots Pages
  • While including a robots.txt file in the root directory of your website won't boost your ranking, it's easy to create the file and doing so will eliminate one distraction from SEO analysis of your site. The distraction: SEO tools telling you that you don't have a robots.txt file.
  • The Web Robots Pages provide information about how to properly format robots.txt files.
    Mixxr
  • Know where you stand in the SERPs and who your competitors are across different search engines by entering keywords into one field and seeing the results of the major players.
  • Mixxr is useful for comparing multiple search engine results conveniently and instantly.

    Google FeedBurner
  • You don't have to use FeedBurner for managing RSS feeds; this entry is here to emphasize the use of RSS feeds in general to enable users to read the content of your website without having to visit it. More readers means more links which translates to a more popular website (and ideally more calls to action).
  • FeedBurner is useful for its custom RSS feeds, feed stats, and the option to advertise in feeds.
    Google Alerts
  • Manually vanity searching the Web on a regular basis can be time-consuming.
  • Google Alerts is useful for discovering how topics are talked about on the Web as the conversation happens.
    Google Webmaster Central
  • Similar to Yahoo! Site Explorer and like a watered down version of Google Analytics.
  • Google Webmaster Central is useful for getting a peek at how Google sees your websites and how people find your websites.
    Google Analytics
  • Tracking visitors to your website can be done in a variety of ways, but the best free solution is Google Analytics. EpikOne SiteScan will tell you if Analytics is installed correctly on up to 100 pages of your website. Analytics excludes traffic from visitors without JavaScript installed and enabled.
  • Google Analytics is a requirement for any Web designer or developer even mildly serious about SEO or marketing.
    Instant Domain Search
  • NameBoy and DomainsBot are good for brainstorming domain names that revolve around specific words.
  • Instant Domain Search provides an Ajax-y interface for quickly brainstorming domain names if you already have an idea about what domain name you want.
    GetListed
  • Showing up in the SERPs for local searches can increase the amount of relevant traffic to your site.
  • GetListed is useful for discovering and improving the online presence of a business for local search.
    SEO Book SEO for Firefox
  • SEO for Firefox clutters up populates the SERPs of Google and Yahoo! with useful SEO data such as PageRank, incoming links, page age, and more.
  • SEO for Firefox is useful for finding relevant SEO data directly from the SERPs with just one click.
    Yahoo! YSlow
  • Yahoo! YSlow is a Firefox add-on that looks at Web pages and determines the bandwidth bottlenecks.
  • YSlow is useful for speeding up your website.
    SEOmoz [Free Trial]
  • SEOmoz is similar in price and variety of options to Raven SEO Tools [Free Trial] but has been in the game longer and has a larger community of users.
  • SEOmoz is useful for performing a number of SEO research and analysis tasks.
    HubSpot Website Grader
  • The availability of tools can be overwhelming. Website Grader provides a good starting point.
  • HubSpot's Website Grader provides a good overview of SEO considerations to look for and improve.

Interested in having us perform SEO for you? Contact us!