Our 4 Favorite Free SEO Tools

We all create content with the goal of achieving total success. We want to reach all the people and have them show us that they love it with each click and scroll. However, success often is not the reality for many. There seems to be this gap between the strategy we create and how our audience actually responds. This gap can be especially frustrating knowing the amount of time you spend taking what started as an idea through the execution phase. But I have four SEO tools that help me problem-solve most underperforming content issues. If SEO is not part of your everyday routine and you need a refresher, check out our SEO Best Practices.

Before we start our tool review, it’s important that you have a content performance tracker. It’s a document that lists each piece of content and tracks pertinent information like keyword(s) and SERP performance, plus intended audience action like button clicks, scroll depth and time on page. Having this document will make it easier to quickly check in on content performance, make updates quickly and track improvements.

Screaming Frog + Google Search Console + Google Analytics

I start every content request with a Screaming Frog crawl—it’s just that amazing of a tool. This tool provides a strong foundation for me to understand what’s really happening with the site and all the content. It also includes so much information that it starts exposing possible reasons for underperformance.

To save time, I leverage the APIs for Google Search Console and Google Analytics. So this becomes like a three-in-one tool. Google Search Console and Google Analytics are both invaluable stand-alone tools as well. From a content performance point of view, layering in data from both platforms helps me really understand search engine results interaction (impressions and clicks) and actual content engagement (amount of sessions and average session duration).

Once the crawl is complete, I have one document with a lot of data points to help me dive into content performance. To help keep information overload or analysis paralysis at bay, I start by asking myself a few short questions that will help me achieve my end goal. I create tabs for each question and cut and paste the URLs in that new tab. Here are a few basic questions to get you started:

  • Which pages have 400- and 500-level response codes?
  • Which pages have the least amount of clicks?
  • Which pages have the least amount of sessions and average session duration?

The answers to the questions above help you understand which pages might have technical issues (response codes), which pages need a closer look at page titles and meta descriptions (clicks), and which pages your audience is engaging with the least (sessions). There is so much more you can do with the data, but this is a good starting point for correcting content underperformance.

Yoast SEO Real-Time Content Analysis

Yoast SEO is a plug-in that makes it easy to ensure your content has met the SEO requirements needed to succeed. Normally, you have to log in to WordPress and go to each article page to use the Yoast SEO tools. However, I found as a content writer, it is easier to use their Real-Time Content Analysis SEO tool. It is easier to access and provides the same amount of information, and you can make updates in real time. Best of all, it’s free. You just cut and paste your content, and the tool provides recommendations for how to fix it.

There are so many tools available, and it can be very challenging to find the right ones to achieve your goals. I find that having a few go-to tools helps me fully learn a tool to maximize use and value. The best perk of using the same tools is that it provides me with the opportunity to create processes that streamline my workload.  Give these SEO tools a try and see how they work for you and your content.

 

Keep reading in Design & Development