11 Free SEO Tools To Improve Your Digital Marketing

By Miriam Kung | 23 May 2019

As a marketer, you're probably spread across many efforts: SEO, online advertising, and content marketing, just to name a few. All of which have the same end goal: winning more customers 👯‍♀️.

The root of all good content marketing comes down to providing customers value. But to create marketing content that's valuable, you have to understand what customers need. And to ensure your content is discoverable in search and leading to lasting results, you'll want to optimize for SEO.

SEO is ultimately a long-term game that benefits you over time, which is why it's so important to have the right tools and foundation in place.

In the words of marketing leader Neil Patel: “SEO is a race, not a sprint.” 🏃 Click to Tweet

At PixelMe, we typically see 80% of signups come from non-paid channels, which means content marketing and SEO are some of our biggest growth drivers. In fact, a lot of our highest traffic comes from blog posts we published over a year ago. So we continually test different content types and topics based on feedback from our customer base as well as what's getting the most traffic to our site from SEO.

To help your business be better optimized for SEO, we've compiled a shortlist of the 11 most useful free SEO tools for marketing. All of the tools below:

  • Are super easy to setup
  • Highlight some underused services we love
  • Cover a variety of marketing use cases

1. Ahrefs Backlink Checker

Ahrefs offers a free backlinks tool that lets you see your top 100 backlinks, including the referring page, number of referring domains, estimated traffic, Ahref's own Domain Rating & URL Rating, and more.

This is a great tool to have in your back pocket as backlinks (a link your website gets from another website) are super valuable for SEO ranking. On top of that, they also increase your brand recognition and give you a steady stream of referral traffic from other reputable sites.

Ahrefs Backlink Checker

💎 Why it's useful:

  • Monitor your own backlinks to see how to optimize your site for more organic pickups or find new ways to partner with industry experts.
  • Review backlinks of your competitors or industry businesses you admire to understand their approach, and build any learnings into your own strategies.

💲Pricing: Free (limited to 100 backlinks); paid plans (starting at $99/month; 7-day trial for $7)

2. Answer The Public

Answer The Public is a keyword data visualization tool that's distinct from Google Keyword Planner, and is another solid resource for your content marketing and SEO.

When you enter in a keyword or phrase, it aggregates auto-suggest results from Google and Bing and maps them into visual charts: top questions asked, layering your keyword with a preposition to show common searches, comparisons between your keywords and other search terms, and more.

Answer The Public

💎 Why it's useful:

  • Get plenty of new ideas for content marketing topics.
  • Review themes from keywords (e.g. B2B marketing) across common questions asked (e.g. what is B2B marketing, How B2B marketing is changing) and comparisons people search for (e.g. B2B marketing vs. B2C marketing), to optimize your content and keywords across topics your target audience would be interested in.

💲Pricing: Free

3. Bing WebMaster Tools

Bing Webmaster Tools is the equivalent of Google Search Console, with a few of its own features for helping you rank highly on Bing. Don't be put off by its older looking UI - it's still a great resource for optimizing your site for Bing!

Note: Although Bing is in second place with 2.6% market share compared to Google with 92.4%, this still translates to 12B monthly global search volume on Bing. Which means you can take advantage of less competition on its platform and optimize your site for Bing search as well.

Bing Webmaster Tools

💎 Why it's useful:

  • Easily submit new webpages you'd like Bing to index and crawl, and get alerts if their Bingbot runs into many issues when crawling your site.
  • Use their SEO Analyzer to review specific pages and how well they're SEO optimized.
  • View search volumes for keywords ands related keywords specific to Bing, to be better informed about the types of content and keywords that will rank well.
  • View how people find your site and specific search terms used.

💲Pricing: Free

4. Browseo

Browseo is a unique tool that gifts you with search engine goggles, meaning you can browse any webpage like a search engine would. Best of all - no installation or download needed. Just enter a URL to see the HTML skeleton of your own (or competitor) webpages.

Google and Bing both crawl and look at elements on a page level vs. site or domain level, so this is a simple and effective way to review new content and pages you create.

Browseo

💎 Why it's useful:

  • Gauge key webpages for relevance across key search terms and SEO ranking. Some elements shown include:
    • Total number of words on the page
    • Headings (H1-H6). Pro-tip: Use H1 and H2 header tags when possible, as these ensure your content is easier to read and contributes to higher Google search ranking.
    • Number of internal and external links on a page
    • Meta info e.g. title tag and meta description
  • Get an SERP (Search Engine Results Page) preview, and easily pinpoint any optimizations needed.

💲Pricing: Free

5. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is another valuable SEO & content research tool. Just enter in keywords, phrases, topics, or domains, and you'll quickly find out which content gets the most shares across social platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit).

Buzzsumo

💎 Why it's useful:

  • Get a breakdown of the most engaging content via keyword or topic search. Based on the most engaging content pieces, you can then write your own versions with a unique lens or including more updated and detailed info to rank more highly than others.
  • Analyze top content, backlinks, and who's sharing content for industry experts and your competitors.
  • Paid Pro version: Get insights on your own website mentions and backlinks, see top trending news by topics and categories, and more.

💲Pricing: Free (limited to Content Research and limited Most Shared, Trending, and Influencer bio search tools); paid plans starting at $99/month.

6. Google Ads Keyword Planner

Google Ads Keyword Planner is a widely used tool for doing keyword research when setting up paid search campaigns as well as improving SEO.

Just enter in any number of keywords, select your target locations and time range, then see relevant keyword ideas. Each keyword idea includes data such as: estimated volume, average CPC, average monthly searches, competition (how competitive people are bidding on the keyword, ranked from low to high), average bid amount.

Google Ads Keyword Planner

💎 Why it's useful:

  • Find interesting topics and keywords to include in new content you develop. This is particularly helpful for local content, as you can search by location.
  • Use it to guide the types of keywords you sprinkle throughout your marketing content, and boost your ranking as the authority in your niche.
  • Research keywords and get traffic forecasts to guide when you should launch key content throughout the year.

7. Google.com Incognito

This is the simplest hack that we use at PixelMe: search any keywords, phrases, and topics from a Google Chrome browser tab incognito. This removes any bias from your search results, and will show you search results from an outsider view or similar to someone brand new to your site.

Here's an incognito search for "retarget people who clicked facebook" where our PixelMe link retargeting guide ranks in first position:

Google.com Incognito

💎 How it's useful:

  • Directly see how your content ranks for different search terms.
  • Get autofill suggestions for different search phrases.
  • Understand which sites and content are ranking highly for keywords in your niche, and find new ways to differentiate and create even more useful content than what exists on the web.

💲Pricing: Free

8. Google PageSpeed Insights

Google PageSpeed Insights is a super simple tool for monitoring your page speed across mobile and desktop, and giving you a score out of 100. More importantly, it provides actionable insights in 2 ways:

  • Opportunities: optimizations that can speed up your page load.
  • Diagnostics: info on the performance of your website, which your developers can use.

Page loading speed is another crucial factor in your SEO ranking across both desktop and mobile. Google started using mobile page speed as a mobile ranking factor in July 2018 in their "Speed Update."

Here's an example of the mobile diagnostics for the Facebook for Business site (marketing site targeted to SMBs).

Google PageSpeed Insights

💎 Why it's useful:

  • Get tips for ensuring your page speed is optimized for mobile. Especially with over 57% of traffic coming from users on mobile devices and tablets.
  • Get detailed data on how long it takes for loading various elements of your site, such as First Contentful Paint (the time at which the first text or image is painted).

💲Pricing: Free

9. Google Search Console

Google Search Console is another one of Google's many free tools, and it might be their most valuable but underused tools. Simply enter in any URL, and it'll give you a ton of data to diagnose ways you could be improving your site on Google.

Google Search Console

💎 Why it's useful:

  • Links analysis: get a view of your top internal and external links, as well as top linking sites to see where your referral traffic is coming from.
  • Performance data: drill into specific keyword data by search type (web, image, video) and data range, to get average search volume plus clicks and impressions data, segmented by search query, pages visited, countries, and devices.
  • Index and crawl pages: submit any XML sitemaps to Google so they can crawl certain webpages and provide data on pages that need to be optimized e.g. 404 pages.
  • Mobile usability: their mobile diagnositics are a great way to see how mobile-friendly your website is and get actionable details on problematic pages. E.g. content wider than screen, text too small to read, clickable elements too close together.

💲Pricing: Free

10. Keywords Everywhere

We love Keywords Everywhere and previously included it in our list of best Chrome extensions for marketers. We're including it again here, as their Chrome extension integrates so easily into your everyday search efforts.

From any SERP (Search Engine Results Page), you'll get a ton of rich data on monthly search volume, average CPC, competitor bids on the same keyword, and more importantly, a list of related keywords as well as keywords people also search for.

Keywords Everywhere

💎 Why it's useful:

  • Use their list of related keywords and related keyword searches to understand how to optimize for more keywords and get more ideas on new content topics to write about.
  • Monitor search volume for higher ranking keywords so your site and content can be found more easily.

💲Pricing: Free

11. SEMRush

SEMRush is an SEO tools goldmine and is one of the leaders in SEO for good reason. It has some of the best Keyword Research tools compared to any other tool we've seen, deep analytics on competitors, your own organic and paid rankings, backlinking opportunities, and templates for improving your SEO.

SEMRush

💎 Why it's useful

  • Keyword optimization: get various reports on which keywords to optimize your content around e.g. use their Topic Research tab to get a list of potential subtopics based around your search terms.
  • Competitor analysis: see a breakdown of your top organic and top paid competitors, and build that into your content marketing strategies.
  • Content position ranking: view which position your domain ranks in out of 100, based on keywords from Google's top 100 organic search results.
  • SEO templates: enter in keywords to get tactical recommendations on content that boosts your SEO.

💲Pricing: Free (up to 10 keyword searches & more features); paid plans start at $100/month

So with that, hopefully you have some new ideas on free tools you can add to your SEO marketing toolbox! 🧰

As you probably saw from this list, like with all good things in life, there's few amazing tools that are completely free. Many of these SEO tools have free versions with limited features, and offer paid plans with much richer functionality.

For deeper SEO analysis and optimization, it's likely worth your while to test the free versions and then invest in paid versions for tools that meet your specific SEO needs.

As a final tip 💡, once you've launched new content, it's a good idea to always monitor and measure which content and marketing channels result in the highest conversions, so you can make the most of your investments in SEO and marketing.

Want to try out Smart Attribution to track ROI across your marketing channels? Just click on the blue chat icon below👇 to sign up for a free 7-day PixelMe trial or email our team at team@pixelme.me 💌