As a startup, you probably keep your marketing efforts in-house. This means you’re also looking for SEO tools that are quite inexpensive, while also effective. This is a hard nut to crack, if the old saying: ‘you get what you pay for’ has anything to do with it. And we don’t want to sugar-coat anything – the majority of free SEO tools out there are either highly limited or questionably ineffective…
But we did a bit of research.
And we found 7 great tools that are both 100% free, and effective. Granted, some might require paid subscriptions, but they also offer free plans with some great takeaways and tips for improvement. We hope you find these useful!
We mentioned this in our last blog post about marketing tools, but we can’t stress enough how beneficial Screaming Frog is (particularly for startups). A simple scan of your website will return every technical SEO issue that the spider picks up. Their free edition analyses up to 500 URLS per crawl of the site, which should be more than enough to provide any startup with a good technical SEO report. And to reiterate from our last post, the Screaming Frog user guide includes an explanation of each SEO element that the system reports on – so if there’s any ambiguity around some of the terminology, this guide will explain it perfectly.
Very handy for: helping you to identify technical issues on your site that aren’t always easily spotted
If you’re just starting out with SEO and getting to grips with keyword analysis, then Keyword Eye is worth checking out. Unfortunately, Google Keyword Planner has changed its reporting for monthly search volumes and provides only a broad range of results. Keyword Eye on the other hand allows you to search for specific keywords or phrases, delivering results within a keyword cloud of suggestions: the keyword size represents the average monthly search volume, the colour indicates how competitive it is. By right-clicking a keyword, you can view the search engine results page that corresponds to the geographic location you’ve chosen, i.e. Google US, United States.
Very handy for: helping you decide on the right keywords and phrases for your website
Here’s another tool we talked about before, but again, it’s worth mentioning twice! If you have done your keyword research and started incorporating them into your site content, the Keyword Density Analyzer can help you identify the frequency of those keywords and where they appear, i.e. image alt text, main body content, meta titles/descriptions, and links. You can use also use this tool as a competitive measure. Find out what keywords your competitors are using on their website, and which ones have the highest density. Are they similar to yours?
Likewise, if you want to rank highly for certain keywords or phrases, paste in the URLs of the sites that are already appearing on page 1 on Google, and take note of the density of keywords you’re trying to rank for. It will give you a good indication of how prominent the keyword needs to be on the page in question, and where it should be featured.
Very handy for: tracking competitors’ keywords and measuring the keyword density of high ranking websites against your own
If you’re looking for quick SEO analysis of your website, then BrowSEO is your go-to tool. Like Screaming Frog, it checks the technical health of your site. It also analyses redirects, headings, word count, and links. It also shows how your meta title and description appear on Google, and how many HTML headings you’re using. This is a good way of identifying how effective your on-page SEO is for content and wording. An information tooltip on the side also provides some advice on how to improve any issues that are flagged by the system.
The homepage of your website is stripped down completely and broken up into sections, with all links and images highlighted. This is a good way for you to view your site without styling features and see it for what it actually is! This is also a great way to identify design flaws!
Very handy for: identifying technical issues with your site, while also offering tips on how to improve them
SEO Score Checker is a product of smallseotools.com, a great site that offers an array of free tools for companies. This one is an all-encompassing website test so to speak and provides you with a grade at the end (If you do well, they even give you a certificate to place on your website!) So if you ever wanted to know how well you’re doing from an SEO perspective, and you want to find out quickly, then SEO Score Checker is a must-have! It checks your titles, headings, broken links, IMG tags, keywords, sitemap, page/domain authority…just to name a few! And if you aren’t performing well in any category, it tells you why and offers a solution.
Very handy for: analysing the SEO performance of your website and identifying some quick-fix solutions
Link building is one of the foundations of SEO. And while we wouldn’t normally recommend a free backlink tool (as traditionally they don’t yield the best results compared to paid tools), Backlink Checker is another product of smallseotools.com, and a good starting point to identify what links are pointing to your site. This tool will not provide you with a huge number of results, but it’s free and it will give you some indication of the type of links you’re getting. From there, you can identify which links are good, and which aren’t so good. This can be a stepping stone towards a more in-depth tool such as SEMRush, Ahrefs, or Moz. For a startup, however, Backlink Checker does the job just fine!
Very handy for: starting off your link building efforts and identifying the good links from the bad
The Noindex Nofollow Meta Tag Checker is actually a Google chrome plugin, but it’s quite beneficial in identifying whether a website/webpage has been crawled or indexed correctly. We installed this on our toolbar and realised very quickly that a recently added page on our website had a Noindex Nofollow status. This is important to know because without fixing the error, it means that Google will not crawl or index the page, and therefore it will not be included in search results. If you install this plugin and notice that one of your pages has Noindex Nofollow status, there is a quick fix for this problem within the SEO settings of your web hosting provider.
Very handy for: identifying pages on your site that may not be correctly indexed
We hope that these tools come in handy for you as they did for us. Everyone has to start somewhere, and it’s tools like these that can really make a difference for businesses and help them to build a foundation for their marketing efforts. Having some understanding of SEO is particularly beneficial, as it can cause headaches for even the most seasoned marketers.
Ultimately, while it may be the desire of company owners to avail of the services of an agency or consultant to fix SEO problems, but in reality, that is not often possible in the startup world; that reality involves getting your hands dirty with a more ‘DIY-esque’ attitude!