Here are a few free SEO tools that I’ve used to gather data, while I build my business up to afford the paid versions 🙂
Traffic Travis: http://www.traffictravis.com/ – I use the “SEO analysis” button on this program to enter a keyword and get a quick overview of the top 20 ranked competitors. The software reports Google Page Rank, Domain Age, # of Back links, and other helpful information. The software also returns a ranking measure of competitiveness using words ranging from “Very Easy”, “Relatively Easy”, “Medium Difficulty”, “Difficult”, and “Very Difficult”. The only drawback of the SEO analysis feature is it will not report your local SEO search rankings and in the free version, it does not give you more than 20 results. But I love it for ease of use and quickness. One of the easiest free SEO tools to use.
SEO Power Suite – There are 2 free SEO tools I use here. First, is SEO Spyglass, which is pretty much the industry standard for spying on your competitors and checking out what keywords they are trying to rank for and how they are doing it. I get more information from this tool than I even know how to apply! Once you download SEO Spyglass onto your PC, you enter in a ‘competitor URL’ and Spyglass goes to work, culling that web page’s back links. The finished report can take awhile, depending on the # of back links, but you will have a complete list of anchor text (which indicates what keyword your competition is doing SEO for), the URL’s where they got the backlink and it’s page rank. Drawbacks of the tool is that it does not report ALL backlinks, but it does give enough to get an idea what your competitor is doing. Also, it can be finicky about the syntax. For instance, if you type in www.artprintsamerica.com, you might not see any backlinks, until you type the URL as Google reports it: http://www.artprintsamerica.com/ (including the trailing slash).
I also use the Rank Tracker software included in the SEO Power Suite of free SEO tools which provides me with a Top 100 listing for the keywords I am trying to rank my sites for. The down side of Rank tracker is that it sometimes has a glitch and does not report accurately for all keywords. I do not trust it 100% of the time, but it’s a good guide. Like Traffic Travis, it does not report local SEO results, but it does allow you to select the country you want to track results in.
Spyfu – This internet-based program offers you the chance to see what keywords your competitors are buying and approximately how much they are spending in Google Adwords. I have no idea of knowing whether the data is 100% accurate, but again, it does give you a guide.
Google Analytics – Perhaps the best free tool of all is Google Analytics. Once you install the code on your website, Google Analytics begins gathering data on your site that you can use to learn how many people are visiting your site, how they are getting there, how long they are staying, what pages they are visiting, and much more. It was recently recommended to me to read Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik, so I can much more fully put Google analytics to work for my own website and those of my clients.
Other Free SEO Tools
For rank tracking, BrightLocal is the most accurate tool I have found. You can sign up with an email address and get a free 30 day trial. The nice thing about BrightLocal is that it gives you search results for Google Places and also shows you if you have several of your web pages ranking for a particular keyword. (Rank Tracker only shows your top ranking page). Additionally, BrightLocal gives you the option to see where your business is showing up on other web pages, too. This is a nice feature I have not seen other tracking software provide.
WordPress SEO – Hopefully, you’ve built your website on WordPress and you can take advantage of the free seo tools plug-in from Joost de Valk called WordPress SEO. Find it by searching in your plug-ins for “WordPress SEO” and install it. You will then be able to go in and customize each of your blog posts meta keyword, title, and description very easily. While technically not a free seo tool, this WordPress plug-in sure makes life easy when you want to do some on-page optimization for your website.
While this list of free SEO tools is nowhere near complete, it will give you a great place to start to begin to measure performance for yourself and your competition. If you would like to learn which free SEO Tools would be best for your small business, feel free to give me a call at 503-890-6663 or look me up on skype at mikemunter1.