Want to ensure that your articles and pages show up when prospective buyers search for answers to problems they’re facing? These free SEO tools can help.
Imagine setting up your website, posting a series of blog posts, and then months go by before you learn that when people type your business name in Google, your site is not coming up!
That would totally suck, right?
Well, that’s exactly what happened to me, and I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’d been avoiding learning more about this “whole search engine optimization (SEO) thing” because I’d mentally thrown it into the “just too hard” basket.
I’ve since become wiser!
Now I’m not claiming that I’m an SEO expert (far from it), I just want to share what I’ve learned as I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I’ve made.
- 5 Reasons why you can no longer ignore SEO
- Save yourself some disappointment
- 5 Free SEO Tools and how they can benefit you
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5 Reasons why you can no longer ignore SEO
- Google is winning the search engine game by a long shot, and the fact that we use the word as a verb now tells how popular it’s become.
- It’s become second nature for humans to go “Google” something when we’re looking for an answer to a question. It’s such a common behavior now for us to jump on the browser on our smartphone or computer, fire up Google.com and type in our search query.
- If your site does not appear in Google when people are searching for you, you might as well not exist. You’re literally invisible.
- Creating and publishing blog content that is not optimized for SEO is a futile exercise, and it will not give you the results you want, i.e., generating shares (word of mouth), leads, and sales for your business.
- SEO is a mid to long-term game, so you need to allow a good few months of consistently publishing SEO-optimised content to reap the benefits. This means that you need to be planting the seeds, and getting your SEO act together, NOW so that you can see the benefits later.
Save yourself some disappointment
Having recently interviewed several business owners and marketing managers that have been able to generate high-quality leads and sales through their blog content for my upcoming book, it’s not uncommon to hear people report that it’s taken them anywhere from 6 months to a couple of years to rank well and have leads come their way after discovering their blog content in a Google search.
Now for the good news, whilst it may appear that SEO is a whole other world and can certainly be complex and technical, getting started just requires a few simple steps and tools.
5 Free SEO Tools and how they can benefit you
Tool #1: Entireweb – search engine submission
Don’t make the rookie mistake that I made and assume that just because you have a registered domain name, website hosting, installed WordPress, chosen a theme, and posted some content, your site will magically appear on Google search.
You actually need to take an extra step to submit your website to search engines like Google, Excite, MSN, and others.
Whilst it’s been reported that almost 70% of the search engine market has been acquired by Google, it’s still worthwhile to submit your sites to other search engines.
With this tool, you can easily submit your site to multiple search engines in one go, saving you time trying to do it one search engine at a time. The only search engine it doesn’t do is Bing, but that’s not a problem because I’ll show you how to submit your site to Bing with the next free tool.
Tool #2: Bing search engine submission
Bing is #2 in popular search engines and is the default search engine in Microsoft’s web browser on any Windows device. Use this tool to submit your site to Bing.
Tool #3: Moz Keyword Explorer
Now you’ll need a tool to help you research the keywords your target audience is searching for.
This is the first and necessary step to ensuring that you’re creating blog content that people are searching for and not wasting time on content people aren’t interested in or are unlikely to share.
Always remember to ask yourself – what’s in it for them (your reader)?
The nice thing about this tool, and why I recommend it in addition to using Google’s own free Keyword Planner Tool, is that it’s more user-friendly and doesn’t require you to sign up for anything (unlike Google forcing you to sign up for a free Adwords account to access the keyword tool).
Moz claims that their tool is “the most accurate search keyword database to discover and prioritize the best keywords for your site,” but I’ll leave it up to you to decide. I suggest comparing the results you get on this tool and Google’s tool (or any other keyword research tools) and identifying the patterns in your search results.
Another reason I like Moz is that they publish some great educational and fun video tutorials on their Youtube channel, such as Why We Can’t Do Keyword Research Like It’s 2010 and Know What Your Audience Wants Before Investing in Content Creation and Marketing.
Tool #4: Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress
If you’re using a self-hosted WordPress site, then you’ll want to install this SEO plugin by Yoast. It’s one of the most popular SEO plugins, if not the most, and that’s because it’s simple to install, simple to use, and works to help your content rank better on search engines.
To give you an idea of how easy it is to use the Yoast plugin to optimize your onsite SEO, here’s a video tutorial that you can follow along.
To learn how to install and set up the plugin, watch this tutorial.
Another cool benefit of using the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress is that it comes with inbuilt XML sitemap functionality.
But wait, what’s an XML sitemap?
Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. In its simplest form, a Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL… http://www.sitemaps.org
Simply put, a sitemap tells search engines that you’ve got pages on your site that you want to be found by others.
To turn it on in the Yoast SEO plugin, you simply need to hit the “enable” button in the XML sitemaps area.
Tool #5: Google Analytics Checker
What’s the point of doing all this SEO stuff if you cannot measure the results of all that work? Wouldn’t you want to know…
- How many people are visiting your site each month (commonly referred to as “traffic” in case you’re new to the term),
- Which blog posts are most popular,
- How long people are staying on your site, and
- Where the source of the majority of your traffic is coming from?
Well, to do that, you’ll need to make sure you’ve set up Google Analytics properly and that it’s actually installed on your website.
If your developer or someone on your team was meant to have done it for you, then you can use the Google Analytics Checker to see if, in fact, it’s been set up correctly.
We use this tool to check if our clients have got GA set up on their site or not, as it’s important that our clients can measure the performance of their blog content over time.
Recommended read: 5 Goals Every Blogger Should Set Up in Google Analytics
Now, if you’re looking to improve your understanding of SEO, you’re best to learn from a true expert, and I’ve heard from several credible sources in my circle that The Recipe for SEO Success eCourse is really good.
Are there any other free SEO tools that you like? Do share in the comments below.