As a digital marketer, you’re constantly on your toes trying to boost the ranking and traffic for your site. Whether you’re handling search engine optimization (SEO a.k.a. organic search) or search engine marketing (SEM a.k.a. paid search), you need tools to carry out data-driven marketing campaigns. The good news is, you don’t always need to invest in bank-breaking tools when free tools can do just the same by providing all the data you need.
Here are top SEO and SEM tools worth checking out:
Free Tools for SEO
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics’ treasure trove of data shows you everything about your website’s performance—from amount of traffic per source to the most popular keywords and insights about your audience. This free tool lets you keep track of these metrics, so you’ll know where to focus your resources and efforts as you try to optimize each of your web pages.
You can find this SEO tool as a plug-in on the SEMRush browser. As a browser extension, SEOQuake’s main use is to help you check the stats of any webpage, whether it’s your own or that of your competitors’. You can then export the results in a CSV file.
You can either use the toolbar found on the webpage you’re viewing or the alternate SEO dashboard to get information about that particular site’s Google index, Bing index, SEMRush ranking, Facebook likes, and backlinks, among others.
Ahrefs is the tool to use when you want to check backlinks from third-party sites to yours. You can also get an analysis report about your competitor’s backlink data, so you can determine if you’re missing out on backlink opportunities from other high domain authority (DA) sites.
Apart from its backlink analysis capability, Ahrefs is also helpful in monitoring your website’s organic traffic, what keywords your competitors are using, and top-performing content on the web, giving you the comprehensive data you need for effective SEO strategies.
MozBar is another free tool (it can be downloaded and installed on your Chrome browser) that lets you analyze your site’s keyword opportunities, check on competitors, or get a website’s SEO data. When you use MozBar to search for top performing pages or domains, you’ll see metrics pertaining to page or domain authority. It also lets you analyze a website’s on-page elements, such as page title, description, and load time, to mention a few.
5. SEO PowerSuite
A must-have for SEO beginners and experts alike, SEO PowerSuite is a free-to-download software that offers a complete range of tools to support your goals, such as improved SERP rankings, site audits, and better link building campaigns.
Free Tools for SEM
1. Keyword Tool IO
Keyword Tool IO builds on Google Autocomplete—a feature that predicts your search query as you type keywords in the search box. Keyword Tool gives you as many as 750 long-tail keyword suggestions by analyzing what keyword ideas Google Autocomplete would normally serve you and then draws out related terms that are hidden in Google’s Keyword Planner. In effect, you get more insight as to what queries are relevant to your target audience and which ones can be helpful in boosting your paid search campaigns.
2. Google Data Studio
Among various marketing activities, data reporting can be particularly challenging since you have to cull the necessary information from several data points. Tools like Google Data Studio provide a way for you to import your data, filter them for the metrics you’re trying to measure, and consolidate the results in visually engaging reports that help you add more impact to your reporting strategies.
If you’re looking for more keyword ideas other than what the Google Keyword Planner offers, you can leverage Ubersuggest’s ability to pick up all the search query suggestions for the keyword you’re trying to rank for.
There are a couple of ways that Ubersuggest is able to do this: First, Ubersuggest scours the web (including images, news, and more) for search suggestions based on the keywords you specified. In addition, Ubersuggest looks for all the possible search query combinations by adding more keywords to your original search query.
4. Google Ads
When it comes to keyword research, Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) is your ideal starting point since the Google Ads platform allows you to set up, manage, and optimize your SEM campaigns. By setting up an account with Google Ads, the Keyword Planner tool can show you search volume data as well as relevant keywords that can help you decide what keywords to include in your campaigns.
Moreover, you can use its Preview Tool to see how your ad looks on the search results page without adding up to your ads’ impressions. This is crucial since every time you look for your own ad on Google without clicking on it, Google interprets it as a sign that it should stop showing you that ad, lowering the click-through rates (CTRs) for your advertisement and preventing your ad from appearing as often as it should.
Using TitleCap helps you with the nitty-gritty of writing your ads’ copy without you having to worry if you’re following capitalization rules correctly. TitleCap makes your ads look neater, bolder, and more captivating to help you gain the clicks you’re aiming for.
Optimize Your SEO and SEM Campaigns
Your day-to-day tasks as SEO or SEM specialist require that you have access to key metrics and data about your brand’s online performance as well as what information, products, or services your target market is looking for. This will equip you with the technical and creative skills to launch highly effective SEO and SEM campaigns. You can leverage these free tools by using them individually or in unison with other tools, so make sure you know and understand their features and capabilities for optimum results.