My 15 Favorite Free SEO Tools

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June 8, 2015

blog-free-seo-tools

I never get tired of saying it – I love me a good free tool.

This article is dedicated to the best – those free SEO tools that I use frequently and give me that warm, fuzzy feeling. It’s nice to have a huge arsenal, but it can be more powerful to wield a few powerful weapons expertly, so I’ve included some links and tips on how to make these tools work harder for you.

At the end of this article, you’ll find the 2014 version of this list with notes on changes. There’s also a bonus list of links to more free SEO tools.

Without further ado, here are my current fifteen favorite freebies.

15. GTmetrix

Having a tool to examine page speed and diagnose opportunities for improvement  is now an essential part of the SEO toolkit. Anything that impacts user-experience impacts SEO, and site speed is a big deal for UX, especially for mobile. Many page-speed tools exist; I’ve found GTmetrix reliable and a good balance between thorough and user-friendly. Other page speed tools that are good include  Pingdom, WebPagetest (great visual waterfall), and Google PageSpeed Insights. That last one is especially good. 

GTMetrix

14. Web Developer Toolbar

web developer toolbar

The Web Developer Toolbar has become much relied-upon during the technical phase of our SEO audits. To learn how to use it for SEO, read Glenn Gabe’s SEO Audits & the Web Developer Plugin: 12 Helpful Features for the Technical SEO.

13. SEO Quake Toolbar

SEO Quake

SEO Quake shows data on traffic, links, social shares, on-page keyword optimization and more. The SEO Quake website has lots of helpful tips on what to do with all this data.

12.Hootsuite

In 2015, social media is typically vital to SEO success. Hootsuite is one of many platforms for managing social media. I’m not saying Hootsuite is the best social platform, but it is what I’m most familiar with and is plenty helpful for promoting new content and staying on top of opportunities to engage with key influencers.

hootsuite

11. Wayback Machine

The Wayback Machine is the Internet’s most complete historical archive and lets you see what a website used to look like back in the day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this free tool for detective work  to crack client cases of missing traffic. For that reason, the Wayback Machine holds a special place in my heart. If the numbers for a site have changed and something about that site has changed but you don’t have a site back-up available to figure out what – the Wayback Machine has your back.

wayback

Plus, it’s just fun to see how much better your site looks since the Geocities days.

10. Chrome Developer Tools

“F12″ is now the SEO button, because it is the shortcut to major awesomeness built right into Chrome. Some SEO tasks you can do with Chrome DevTools include: examining mobile UX and SEO with the amazing mobile emulator, diagnosing page speed, picking apart source code, examining HTTP status codes, and mocking-up live edits to a webpage (including the title tags and Meta descriptions in the SERPs). Resources below.

9. Google Trends

Google Trends

Marketers who know where the puck is heading tend to win more. Google Trends shows changes in search query volume for specific queries (and topics and entities).

For marketers, especially in volatile industries like technology and fashion, it’s critical to at least keep up with the market. And, if you can master online trends analysis and get a step ahead of the competition, the results can be quite profitable indeed. For search marketers, it’s plain good sense to analyze changes in search query behavior. Even everyday writers can improve their results by understanding which topics are trending. 

Bottom line: while often overlooked, Trends is an extremely powerful tool in the right hands. Below are some helpful articles:

8. Keywordtool.io

keyword tool

Enter a query in this freemium tool and it will quickly spit out a ton of great keywords based on the autocomplete feature of Google, Bing, YouTube, or App Store Search.

Keywordtool.io is great for generating a ton of keyword ideas containing your seed term, especially long-tail keywords that won’t show up in the AdWords keyword tool due to having  very low volumes. I usually use Keywordtool.io when I am building a list of potential keywords, especially when I need long-tail keywords.

Keywordtool.ie is new to this year’s list (thanks to a reader who shared the tool with me in a comment on last year’s list). Shout out to Ubersuggest, the original tool of this kind.

7. Bing Webmaster Tools

BWT

Bing Webmaster Tools (aka BWT) remains extremely overlooked. It’s great for keeping an eye on how Bing (which powers Yahoo) is treating your site and also enables you to have some control in the matter. It also shows you clicks to your site from Bing by search query, and it has a feature for looking up Bing search query volume. It also offers benefits beyond Bing by providing insights into crawling, indexation, on-page keyword optimization, and other elements that can impact your performance in Google.

A while back, I wrote an article on some ways to use BWT. BWT also has a great help section.

6. Google (and Bing)

This is one is so obvious that I forgot to include it last year: the Google and Bing search engines themselves are very useful SEO tools. Mastery of search engine functionality is part of mastering SEO. With some Google-fu (and Bing-fu), you can examine indexation and duplicate content, find content scrapers, check keyword rankings, analyze SERP listings, and scout for outreach and link prospects.

Below are useful official help guides, followed by SEO-specific searching tips. Read those and you’ll be on your way to your black belt.

5. Screaming Frog


Screaming Frog is a website crawler designed specifically for SEO. Within mere minutes, you’ll get critical data on every URL. Best to just download it and take it for a spin. Once you see all that data, you’ll have questions, but there’s resources to help you:

4. Google Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner

Google’s Keyword Planner, the tool formerly known as Adwords Keyword Tool, lets you pull monthly Google search query volume estimates for dozens of keywords in seconds. I can never understate the importance of knowing what people search for.

3. Moz

moz

SERP_Overlay Moz is a suite of user-friendly inbound marketing tools. Below are my favorite free Moz tools:

  • Open Site Explorer is a backlink analysis tool with helpful metrics approximating link equity.
  • Followerwonk shows data on Twitter.
  • Moz Local (formerly Get Listed) lets you see the state of a company’s local citations and is the first place you should go when you first start local SEO on a site.
  • Mozbar is a browser toolbar that lets you quickly get at Moz’s key features for the page you’re on.
  • The SERP Overlay (seen on the right) is part of the Mozbar and shows OSE metrics on individual search results.

2. Google Search Console

GWT_screenshot

Analogous to BWT (yet much richer), Google Search Console – formerly “Google Webmaster Tools” – provides data and configuration control for your site in Google. That’s a pretty big deal. For more, check out our extensive guide.

1. Google Analytics

ga-logoIf you’re reading this blog, chances are you’ve used Google Analytics. I think we may have written about it once or twice.

The most valuable SEO data is that which helps you understand your visitors  and how they interact with your site.  No tool I’ve used delivers that data like  Google Analytics, and none of the tools I mentioned does a better job providing data that helps you understand the number that matters most – the bottom line.

Thus, GA is the tool I depend on the most.

2014’s List of Favorites

I first published my list of favorite free SEO tools in February of 2014. In just 1 year, SEO tools and priorities changed enough that I now have a very different list of tools that are essential to my job as an SEO. Certainly, we operate in a dynamic industry where it is important to update one’s toolkit.

Below is the original list. I linked to tools that didn’t make the cut this time, and I included notes on major changes.

15. GTmetrix

14. SEO-browser – SEO-Browser does one simple thing: it takes a web-page and shows you what it looks like to a search engine. Understanding what a search engine can see is essential to SEO.  Browseo is just like SEO-Browser, but it includes your images and a bit of additional SEO info. I dropped SEO-Browser from the list after learning that it and Browseo were not completely up-to-date with Google’s crawling capabilities. To really know what Google can see, use Google Search Console’s Fetch as Google feature. That said, I still use both SEO-Browser and Browseo very frequently for getting the “feel” of what the content looks like to the search engines.

13. Wayback Machine

12. Xenu Link Sleuth – Don’t be fooled by the unassuming website. Xenu is the OG web crawler, and is still powerful enough to crawls all the links on your site and report on URL metrics like HTTP status code, content type, page size, and more. And it’s really good at finding broken links. I dropped it from the list because the free version of Screaming Frog recently became more awesome, rendering Xenu far less important.

11. Web Developer Toolbar

10. Majestic SEO is the best tool for backlink analysis, boasting the largest and most up-to-date database of link data available to the public . However, I dropped it from the list because there’s been a major reduction in the capabilities of what the free version can do. That said, the free version is still worth playing with from time to time, especially to look at historical growth in link metrics.

9. SEO Book SEO Toolbar – I stopped using this toolbar, which is similar to the SEO Quake toolbar, because it was only available on FireFox – a browser which I, like the majority of consumers, rarely use any more.

8. SEO Quake Toolbar

7. Google Trends

6. Screaming Frog just keeps getting better, and the free version is far more powerful than ever.

5. Google Keyword Planner

4. Bing Webmaster Tools is still essential for seeing Bing data, though there doesn’t seem to have been any improvements in over a year.

3. Moz

2. Google Webmaster Tools

1. Google Analytics

 

Other Honorable Mentions

moar

Looks like I can’t count; here are a few more free tools I love using for SEO:

  • BuiltWith is a lightweight, user-friendly Chrome plugin that will tell what technology a site uses (like cms, server, hosting, analytics, and more).
  • CopyScape let’s you enter a URL and learn if there is duplicate content elsewhere on the web.
  • Feedthebot has some tools worth checking out.
  • Firebug is a Firefox extension for web dev and technical SEO to help you inspect elements of code, code mockups live into the browser, and more.
  • Google Alerts and Talkwalker help you monitor the web for new mentions of your brand or highly desired keywords.
  • SEMrush shows data on paid and organic traffic and keywords. It is accessible through the SEObook and SEOQuake Toolbars.
  • sg.SerpStat.com is a keyword generator similar to Uber Suggest and keywordtool.io. It is not as thorough as those but is wicked fast and does a nifty job segmenting keywords into groups.
  • SpyFu, like SEMrush, shows some data on paid and organic keywords and traffic.

These aren’t “SEO” tools per say, but I love them so:

  • Jing is my go-to screen capture tool and is what I used for the screenshots in this post and every post.
  • Notepad++ is a lightweight text editor on steroids and two-time winner of the SourceForge Community Choice Award for Best Developer Tool.
  • Boomerang for Gmail helps me with e-mail management, reminders, client follow-ups, and scheduling outreach emails.
  • Dropbox helps store and backup all the gigabytes I make and makes them easy to share.
  • Google Drive (including Docs and Sheets) have been a boon to productivity.
  • Excel is every search marketers friend. Wicked Excel skills are a search marketing superpower.

 

More??

MoArRRRrrrr!!!!!!!!!!

No Mas. I’m tapping out. However, below you’ll find links to crazy amounts of more free tools:

Got a free SEO tool to share?

If you have a *FREE* SEO tool that does something different or better than what I’ve listed, please let us know in a comment! Cool tools will get replies; awesome tools make make the cut the next time I update the list.

Reid Bandremer is a Senior Search Project Manager. His background before joining LunaMetrics in 2011 includes eCommerce marketing and a pair of business degrees. He is a rabid fan of data, music, questions, and holistic ROI-driven search marketing strategy. Strengths include SEO metrics, migrations, keyword and search behavior analysis, content architecture, and burning the midnight oil.

  • http://www.prediseo.com/rank/en/ Emile MILOT

    great article !what about prediseo rank?

  • sunny brown

    awesome post

  • Stan Chris

    Nice update. I believe more updates will come in soon. Have you seen the new serpstat.com

  • Niraj Ranjan Rout

    Useful list, Reid. A free tool that gets sh*# done is always great. Thanks for this resource. Cheers, Niraj (Founder at grexit.com)

  • http://solidseotools.com/ jessica biel

    Great information. we can search a lot of best seo tools list and here is the best collection from them.

  • http://www.solidseotools.com Mark

    Fantastic post indeed. You have shared many useful tools here and i have already used some of them and the rest i must try ahead. But i also like to recommend one free tools “Solid SEO Tools” . I have got superb service from it .Basically it’s a multipurpose based free online tools website. I have found it useful for plagiarism checking, article rewriting, word counting, link analyzing, keyword position checking and many more.

  • Daniel Maul

    Thanks for the great stuff and a lot of it! :-)

    We just made a free online tool that keeps you updated about your pagespeed and it notifies you if it changes.

    So you can have your own PageSpeedAlarm – and soon with history of your pagespeed and suggestion on how to optimize your website.

    Take a look at http://www.PageSpeedAlarm.com – and tell us what you think :-)

  • http://www.maverickinfosoft.com/ Richa Nautiyal

    screaming frog is my favourite SEO tool. But these all tools are really great.

  • http://risingworldtechnologies.com/ Rising World Technologies

    This is a great list of SEO tools. In particular, I’m a big fan of Google Analytics and Moz.

    I actually just compiled a really thorough guide of SEO Tools of my own. I think you might find some of the ones not mentioned here useful. Take a look if you get a chance: http://bit.ly/1dcYghi

  • http://theaecassociates.com/ The AEC Associates

    Awesome list of SEO Tools.

    Personally I am using most of the above SEO tools for my website http://www.examstation.in

    Thanks for sharing this great list of SEO Tools Reid.

    Keep Sharing !!!

  • https://joelsavage1.wordpress.com/ Joel Savage

    Thanks Reid, I’ve painstaking followed your article to do many things for my blog, and already seen the improvement.

  • sliced07

    Hi, great list. Can I also add sitexplora.com to this list.

    • http://takeonepicture.blogspot.com/ Permai Lindal

      Thanks.

  • http://takeonepicture.blogspot.com/ Permai Lindal

    Great list, thanks for sharing.

  • John Patrick

    These tools helps in analysis of website based on seo aspects. Here is the one of the tool for keyword ranking, Elite Site Optimizer

  • Tom

    Thank you for this very nice collection. You should also consider Seobility for onsite crawling. It has a free account to crawl websites with up to 1000 pages.

  • Jermaine Divers

    Great list! You should also consider http://www.webtexttool.com. It works great in combination with tools as Google Analytics and Moz to create the best seo content

  • http://www.b-school.com b-school

    That’s an excellent list of tools you got there. I’m overloaded with information 😉

    I’ll evaluate each and then get back to you on which one’s I went with and how they are working out for me.

    T,
    SEO Manager,
    http://www.blogging.co.in

  • http://www.sharkweb.com.sg/ Shark Web

    Google webmaster has still got to be the best. Ahrefs is a great SEO tool as well. http://www.sharkweb.com.sg/

  • Richard

    Thanks for this info. FREE WEB-based Seo tools. http://www.seoanalyze.net/ Enjoy

  • http://bizwatchsearchanalytics.com Laura Thieme

    You can pull a keyword ranking report & Wordtracker data with this free SEO tool at this URL:

    http://bit.ly/freebizwatchseoreport

    Pulls up to 10 keywords on U.S. search engines Google & Bing. Also available, is a free AdWords Audit, shows you which campaigns are in the red for the last two calendar months. Must have admin access to link account.
    Appreciate any feedback from my colleagues here as well. The 10-Minute PPC & SEO audit is free to utilize. You pay when you want to run additional reports after the initial audit.

  • Sunipa Dey

    Great updated version. As a SEO consultant I am wishing it’s awsome list of SEO tools,which helped to others.Thanking for sharing it.

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