Having a strong presence in today’s top 3 search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) can lead to a significant increase in leads and online sales for a small business. Although it would be wise to outsource the more advanced SEO tasks to professionals, virtually any webmaster or business owner can independently create the foundation for a campaign, and continually monitor the progress of their efforts, with the help of the following 5 free SEO tools every small business should use:
1- Google Keyword Research Tool
Targeting the right keywords is a fundamental aspect of any search engine marketing campaign. The Google Keyword Research Tool lets you input a broad keyword (i.e. – a popular topic in your niche) and then returns recommendations for more specific related keywords, phrases, and variations, along with the competition level (Low, Medium, or High), and the number of global and local monthly searches each term receives.
This data can prove to be invaluable when formulating new content development ideas.
2- Google Analytics
This powerful traffic analysis tool gives you tremendous insight into a variety of statistics pertaining to how many visitors you’re site is receiving, traffic origin, and visitor behaviour/attributes.
Installing this application on your website will allow you to easily access and review important data through graphs, reports, annotations, and advanced analytical intelligence. Although the full feature list of Google Analytics is too long to summarize succinctly, it is definitely something every small business should use.
For those that find Google Analytics too complex or not user-friendly enough, there are many free alternatives to Analytics online.
3- Open Site Explorer
Open Site Explorer is a versatile link data analysis tool that simplifies and expedites the process of examining the integrity and location of all links that point to a site.
This handy application is great for finding/fixing erroneous backlinks, and determining the number of incoming links each page on your site has. It can also be used to research the backlinks of other sites, providing useful competitive analysis that lets you analyse and replicate the success of competitors.
4- Strongest Subpages Tool
This compact, yet useful tool does one thing, and does it well – it returns an organized list of a site’s most commonly linked to pages, displaying the number incoming links each page has. In essence, it lets you type in a site URL, and instantly discover which pages have been receiving the most attention online.
You can then visit the pages that host the incoming links to determine whether the link was genuinely user-generated through interest, or is the result of a forced marketing effort. If a page has a large number of authentic incoming links, you may be able to attract the same type of attention towards pages on your site using similar content topics.
5- GeoTargeting Detection Tool
GeoTargeting Detection is a must-have for any local small business that is trying to target leads geographically through location-specific keywords and online directories like Google Places and Yellow Pages.
This application, which is part of SEOmoz’s toolset, is designed to make it easy see where your visitors are located (the general region), and can therefore be useful in determining what percentage of online leads are potential customers in your area.