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If you’re running a small business or are in the early stages of launching a start-up, then keeping a lid on outgoings is a priority. Sometimes though, it can pay to make a small investment to gain a bigger return. One of the most powerful ways to promote your business, develop your brand and grow your customer base is through an intelligent Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy.

Luckily, there are a range of free and affordable SEO tools that can help make the task easier.

Our specialist digital marketing team at Aqueous has picked their favourite go-to Top 20 SEO tools.

 

Our Top 20 recommendations

 

Recommended FREE tools:

 

1. Data Studio

As you grow your online presence, it becomes harder to tell what is affecting the traffic on your website. Data Studio makes all pieces of data clear – think of it as a dashboard that takes into account Search Console and Google Analytics. It can help you merge data from different sources without any complicated routines or coding skills needed.

Google Data Studio is free, easy to use, and creates real-time graphs that are clear. It’s perfect for people who want their data visualized, but don’t have the time or resources to build dashboards themselves on Google Sheets – it can be shared immediately with anyone on any device. For example, you could create an automatically updating analytics dashboard of your website visitors without having to pull up reports all the time or update anything manually.

 

Google Data Studio

 

2. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most popular web analytics packages. It holds your hand with demos to get you set up quickly, but it also gives you deep insights into how your website is performing. Get in-depth information about visitor behaviour on your site.

Google Analytics is absolutely vital when it comes to monitoring the effectiveness of your SEO strategy. It can show you how much traffic is reaching your website via organic search results. Using this data it can tell if your strategy is working or if you need to make any changes to make it more effective. The data it provides is limited, but it can give you an idea about the search terms you’re ranking for. As a free tool, it’s one that everyone can make use of, and probably should.

With Google Analytics you get visibility into what’s working on each of your pages, which allows you to make decisions that will help you grow traffic over time.

 

Google Analytics

 

3. Search Console

Google Search Console provides a comprehensive set of tools and reports to help you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence with Google. In addition to confirming that Google can find and crawl your site, this free product offers tools for fixing indexing problems as well as requesting re-indexing or new updates on your content. You may also view data about how often your site appears inside the search engine. Search Console is a powerful tool for marketers everywhere seeking actionable insights into their digital efforts.

 

Google Search Console

 

4. Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a fast and advanced SEO site audit tool. It can be used to crawl both small and very large websites, where manually checking every page would be extremely labour intensive.

It’s the perfect tool for uncovering issues that are otherwise hidden to the naked eye. The automated crawler with its intuitive interface, can crawl websites in minutes or less with minimal setup time thanks to its intelligent proxy server. With its powerful suite of report filters, you can drill down quickly and easily on your results to identify specific issues plaguing even sites that span millions of pages.

The free version offers up to 500 URLs per crawl, so there’s no need to switch versions if your website isn’t too large for this limit – it still has all of the features needed for competitor ranking analysis, on-page optimisation checks, duplicate content and more.

 

Screaming Frog SEO Spider

 

5. Keyword Explorer

Moz Keyword Explorer is a time-saving keyword research tool that helps you find profitable keywords and organize your keywords into lists. Start by thinking about what your potential customers might search for. If you enter these seed terms into Keyword Explorer it gives you more suggestions and enables you to filter by metrics, and build lists.

Keyword Explorer gives you access to over 500 million keyword suggestions. This includes data on volume ranges and CTR information with each keyword suggestion. You get unlimited free queries per month.

 

Moz Keyword Explorer

 

6. Disavow Tool

The Disavow Tool is part of a range of tools in Google’s Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) that helps websites see how they are doing online, and can help troubleshoot many problems by giving insight into crawling stats, indexing status and site speed checker to identify optimisation opportunities.

The disavow tool helps you get bad links removed from Google’s index. These links can be the result of competitors trying to cut into your rankings, or users linking to unsavoury sites by accident. Whatever their source, these backlinks are harmful and need to be eliminated. The disavow tool is allows you to remove any black mark that could damage your online reputation.

 

Google Disavow Tool

 

7. Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager is a tool that allows you to administer all of the tags on your site in one place. You can seamlessly add or remove tags without touching messy codes, and it easily integrates with Google Analytics so your data is pulled from within one system. It also helps you handle structured content by allowing you to automate tasks.

Tag Manager allows you to inject tags into your HTML at the touch of a button leaving your website looking cleaner and more professional.

 

Google Tag Manager
Best SEO Tools image

8. Lighthouse

Lighthouse is an automated auditing tool for improving the quality of web pages. Through audits, it analyses how well your page performs across defined usability categories such as accessibility, best practices, progressive web app attributes, and more. Fixing problems will not only ensure your website functions correctly, you’ll be more easily able to optimise for mobile and enhance overall customer experiences.

 

Google Lighthouse

 

9. GTMetrix

GTMetrix is a backend tool that focuses on assessing the performance of your site. It gives you detailed reports about page speed and offers recommendations to fix errors. With GTMetrix, it’s easy to get accurate analytics from the WordPress dashboard or schedule reports daily, weekly or monthly with just a few clicks of your mouse. Plus, GTMetrix sends alerts straight to your inbo,x if any issues arise with site status – so there are no excuses not to be monitoring!

 

GTMetrix

 

10. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is a WordPress plugin that helps your site perform better in search engines. It fixes technical challenges and comes with many features to improve the technical SEO of your site, as well as an impressive structured data implementation. With Yoast SEO you will also receive analyses that help you improve the readability and friendliness of content on your website. This includes analytics for keyword optimisation and social media integration (automatic Facebook Open Graph tags), as well as support for loads of social media platforms. Yoast can help improve site experience for customers as well as making it easier for search engines to crawl.

 

Yoast SEO

 

11. Page Speed Insights

Your website’s loading time influences your search engine rankings. With Google Page Speed Insights, you can measure and analyse how quickly your site loads as well as identifying any areas that need work to improve user experience.

Page Speed Insights will tell you the page loading time Googlebot saw on your site compared to an ideal robot visitor. You’ll be able to see what user experience metrics Chrome collects when it crawls your site. This useful, as not every page is crawled by ChromeBot.

It’s the quickest and most effective way for you to get fast, accurate insights into how your site performs inline with Google’s best practices. This app will help you identify and address any critical performance issues that may be slowing down your web application.

 

Page Speed Insights

 

 

12. Structured Data Testing Tool

Google’s Structured Data Testing tool is a handy instrument that operates by testing the SEO message in real time for any desired webpage.  It will provide a list of parameters and labels. It also allows you to follow competitors and change code to make improvements.

If you have any errors in your data, the Structured Data Testing Tool will tell you exactly what’s changed. It’s a time saver app that helps you debug and correct any errors. Just enter the URL of the webpage to analyse it for semantic code violations, or use Google’s bookmarklet tool to identify and fix problems with a site’s markup.

 

Google Structured Data Testing Tool

 

13. Mobile Friendly Test

Surprisingly, despite the abundance of mobile device users and content consumption on the go, many sites seem to fall short of meeting Google’s requirements for a site that is considered be mobile-friendly.

The Mobile Friendly Test from MWT Solutions will check your page against Google’s guidelines to ensure extensiveness and depth of coverage for today’s modern web requirements.

You may think your site is fully mobile friendly, but if it’s not you can guarantee this useful tool will identify improvements.

 

Mobile Friendly Test 

 

14. SEO Quake

 

SEO Quake is your go-to SEO toolkit. This powerful toolbar comes with a tonne of features, and enables you to monitor various aspects of both specific pages as well as handy page insights at the click of a button.

SEO Quake gives you invaluable data such as: – pageviews, world rank, social shares, links, title focus keywords and top PR sites that link to the domain

It also allows quick on-page audits – so if search engine optimisation is an issue for your website or blog, then save yourself some time by simply pointing the cursor to “inspect” any given sentence.

Whether you’re a beginner or an SEO pro, the insight and data provided by this tool is worth diving into.

SEO Quake

 

15. Google My Business

Google My Business is changing how businesses are being found online. No longer can you rely on just having a website up and running in order to rank on search engines. The ranking of websites currently relies heavily on the type of customers who are looking for them; these customers will often use keywords when searching for their products or service.

If you want to take control of your online presence, then Google My Business is the tool for you. Claiming and managing your business profile, will strengthen optimisation efforts and increase customer visibility. With everything under one umbrella, it’s a powerful platform built specifically with small businesses in mind.

Improve the impact of your Local SEO with Google My Business.

 

Google My Business
Best Affordable Search Tools image

Recommended affordable tools

 

If you have the budget and want to get more serious about SEO, then there are a couple of highly-regarded subscription services that give you a greater range of tools and more detailed insight.

 

Here are our recommended best paid-for SEO tools:

 

 

16. Hunter

Hunter tackles the issue of sender authentication. It can easily spot phishes, spoofed addresses, masked renewals, credentials theft attempts, and more. Hunter makes it easier to find that corporate email address for your boss, or keep you secure with authenticity at all times.

Looking for an email address? You can use Hunter to search through thousands of companies and individuals quickly. The free version gives you 50 searches per month but if you need more, then the paid version is well worth considering.

 

Hunter

 

 

17. SEM Rush

This is an all-in-one tool combining SEO auditing services with your content strategy, social media and PPC. The SEO tools include a site audit which shows you how your site is performing, as well as any issues you may have.

The keyword suggestion shows you new keywords that are relevant to existing ones in your content. A competitor analysis tool allows you to see the volume of traffic other websites are receiving for specific searches, as well as their position in the search rankings.

SEMRush offers a complete set of SEO tools, but it does require a subscription which may be beyond the budget of some smaller businesses.

 

SEM Rush

 

18. Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO tool that performs a range of helpful actions in one package. Linking profile analysis, backlinks monitoring, keywords research, links analysis for organic traffic – all these functions are combined to make your digital marketing team more efficient. Ahrefs Site explorer allows you to analyse the competition with ease. You can monitor keywords positions of other websites in Google results pages while also checking their DR or URL Rating indicators expressed on a point scale.

 

Ahrefs will review a domain’s performance and provide valuable insight on where you came up short with your backlink strategy or missed out with a keyword.

 

Ahrefs

 

19. Majestic

 

SEO analysis has been a headache for marketers ever since the proliferation of search engines in the early 2000s. Manually trawling through many platforms for keyword research can be rigorous and time consuming, while also not being 100% accurate due to unintentional typos or inconsistencies on many reliable sites.

Majestic is indispensable when it comes to understanding what words are trending, before launching new SEO content on your site. Very few other paid tools boast such an extensive backlink index, with so much history of data available to analyse. Use Majestic to take advantage of everything your competitors might have missed!

 

Majestic

 

20. Answer the Public

Answer The Public is a great tool that provides good questions on any topic. It’s a powerful directory of data, collecting phrases people are searching for online. Plug in your keyword,  and it will come up with everything from what people are talking about to the weirdest conversations on Twitter you never knew existed. It’s a great tool for answering blog post topics.

The software builds keywords using phrases that are used in online searches to help writers find the topic they are looking for. They have collected over 100 million search queries, with 1,200 new queries added every second.

The free version includes all the data, while more advanced paid versions are available that for example, allow you to save your search history and use specific groups of words.

 

Answer the public

 

 

Get the maximum return for your budget with Aqueous Digital

 

Aqueous Digital is an award-winning, family-run digital marketing agency based in Cheshire.

We specialise in organic and paid internet searchwebsite content strategy and reputation management for high and ultra-high-net-worth individuals.

Trust, loyalty and collaboration are at the heart of everything we do — these are values we strongly stand by and never compromise.

At Aqueous, we create comprehensive SEO strategies for our customers based on creativity and ethically sound industry best practice.

 

Call us on 0800 285 1424 or email us at hello@aqueous-digital.co.uk for a free audit of  your website and to have a chat about how we can support the success of your business with our award-winning search engine optimisation.

 

Find out more about the SEO services we offer.

 

Further reading on SEO

Aqueous Digital’s Guide to the Top 501 SEO and Digital Marketing Terms

Aqueous Digital’s Ultimate Guide to the cost of SEO in the UK

How long does SEO take to work?

What is Technical SEO?

What is Local SEO?

SEO vs PPC

Link building and outreach

What are the most important SEO ranking factors?

This article was written by
27th September 2021

If you found this article helpful and would like support with your digital marketing, get in touch with one of our experienced team.