Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Shocked by the cost of SEO? I don't blame you.
It is no secret that hiring an SEO expert can be expensive. After all, a lot of work goes into learning the ins and outs of SEO and Google is constantly shifting up its algorithm.
That said, if you are in the DIY stage of running your business, do not panic. Although in the long run, hiring an SEO expert can massively drive up your ROI, it is possible to work on your site's SEO without outsourcing.
If you want to increase organic traffic to your site, these are the best free DIY SEO tools you should be using. From keyword research to technical SEO, these free tools are a great way to kickstart your SEO efforts and start ranking on search engines ASAP.
Necessary DIY SEO TOOLS
If have made the decision to focus your attention on increasing your search engine traffic, there are few free tools you need to be familiar with before you even start thinking about SEO strategy. Take the time to get comfortable working with these tools as they are going to be your primary source for tracking your SEO efforts.
Google Analytics tracks all traffic that gets sent to your site. You can use Google Analytics to figure out where your traffic is coming from and monitor how much traffic each page gets. Are most people finding your site on search engines or is social media the primary source of your site traffic? Google Analytics will give you the answers you need so you can focus your marketing intentions accordingly.
Before you begin a new SEO strategy, make sure that your site is hooked up to Google Analytics. That way, you can monitor where your site traffic is coming from and assess down the line whether your strategy is having an effect. Google Analytics will only give you data from the day you got connected, so it's best to get hooked up before you start making changes if you want to monitor your progress.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is an excellent free tool that has several purposes. Most importantly, you can use Google Search Console to find out where your search traffic on search engines is coming from.
When you track your site's performance using the search console, you can find out which keywords are driving traffic to your site. In some ways, Google Search Console is the most valuable keyword research tool there is. By identifying what keywords are already gaining impressions, you can incorporate these keywords into your SEO strategy and turn them into more search traffic.
If you want to monitor whether your keyword strategy is working, getting your site hooked up to Google Search Console is essential.
You can also use the URL inspection tool to check whether a new page has been indexed on Google. When you request indexing, Google adds your page to a priority queue which can help get your site ranking even faster.
Google My Business
If you have a local business, getting hooked up to Google My Business is one of the best free DIY SEO tools you should be acquainted with. Google My Business helps your site become visible when people make local searches. Think back to the times you have Googled things like "hair salon near me". The sites that appear at the top of the search results page are the sites that are hooked up to Google My Business.
Ahrefs: Best Free DIY SEO Tool For Link Building
Link building is one of the most important factors in the SEO game. Link building increases your domain score and as you have probably guessed by now, Google favors sites with high domain scores. This is why sites like Wikipedia appear at the top of the search results page even if the keyword match is not exact.
Every time another website links your site, you gain a backlink. When sites with high domain scores link to your site, this has a positive impact on your domain score. Ahrefs offers a free backlink checker tool that enables you to keep track of your backlinks and in turn, check your domain score.
There is no download necessary and you can check the domain score of any website. This is useful if you want to check the domain authority of a company you may potentially work with. If you are planning on working on their SEO, you can assess how much work needs to be done.
Screaming Frog: Best Free DIY SEO Tool For Broken Links
If your site has broken links, it not only negatively affects user experience, it also harms your SEO score. If users accidentally land on an error page, they will return to the previous page. When a user clicks off your site in seconds, this increases your bounce rate.
Sites with high bounce rates rarely reach the top 10 search results on Google because Google factors in user experience to its algorithm. If visitors don't find what they are looking for on your site, Google will penalize your site.
Fortunately, there are plenty of free SEO tools that test your site for broken links. Screaming Frog is one of the most reputable and easy to use.
Surfer SEO: Best Free SEO Tool For Keyword Research
When it comes to keyword research, if you are serious about SEO, you should consider investing in paid software. Manual keyword research is time-consuming and can hold you back from finding long-tail keywords that could potentially drive traffic.
Google Adwords is the most popular free keyword planner. Although it can be a handy keyword research tool, to get the full benefits of Adwords, you need to have a high budget and lots of manpower.
Alternatively, I recommend installing the Surfer SEO search volume plugin. The Chrome extension works in conjunction with Google and every time you make a search, it will tell you how many people have made the search in the last month. Understanding keyword search volume can help you determine which keywords are valuable. You can then assess the top-ranking sites for that search result and use your knowledge to implement your own keyword planner and potentially outrank the top search results.
Don't forget to use Google Search Console to see which keywords are already getting impressions and driving traffic to your site. And remember, long-tail keywords are easier to rank for as they tend to have less competition.
Pingdom: Best Free DIY SEO Tool For Site Speed
Site speed is another factor that can have a negative impact on your bounce rate. If your site takes too long to load, the chances are that people will click off your site and return to the Google search page. Reportedly, more than 55% of mobile users will click off a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
You can use Pingdom to test your website speed and determine whether it could be bringing down your SEO score. Pingdom will actually tell you what factors are slowing down your site. More often than not, it's because there are too many components. If you have lots of animations, videos, and pictures on your home page, it could be harming your SEO.
APT Content: Get Free SEO Advice & Site Audits
One of the best SEO tools you can ever make use of is advice from an SEO expert. I understand that SEO can sometimes feel like climbing a mountain when you are trying to build your online presence. This is why I offer free SEO advice and free SEO audits to new and small businesses looking to start ranking on Google.
I also offer affordable SEO packages for businesses that are looking to implement a short or longterm SEO content strategy. My SEO blog posts contain all the necessary keywords to start outranking your competitors and start appearing on the first page of Google.