Every business out there needs to do SEO to improve ranks on Google Search. SEO can be quite confusing at times; it is best for your business to learn the basics from free SEO tools to gain ranks, and when you notice growth, to upgrade to a paid or premium tool.
I am sharing a list of the best free SEO tools for your business with pros and cons of each to gain better ranks on Google. These tools are free and intended to provide you learning and familiarity before you decide to buy one. Any tool that forces you to pay, or that limits or restricts access levels for free subscription is not covered here.
SEMrush provides a free version with basic features to try before you decide to purchase it. Fortunately, it can add a lot of value if you are a startup or a new business as up to 10 searches and 10 results per search are free each day. You can restart fresh on the very next day and so on.
To initiate a free subscription, just type in a query in the search bar and you will automatically be asked to register for your free account.
• Ability to create one project for free; each Project basically serves as a dashboard for all other individual modules within SEMrush
• Track up to 10 keywords with free version.
• Since this tool follows Google’s algorithm and updates, the results will vary at times
• Insights from data are not as good as what you get from Google Search Console
• The paid search/advertising research data always shows the past campaigns and not really a live campaign in the market.
• A bit pricey as compared to other similar tools in the market.
Whilst there are hundreds of factors that determine rank for a web page on Google Search, being mobile-friendly is one of them and is thus critical for a website to have.
This tool by Google confirms if your website is mobile-friendly by just typing in your URL, and it shows website rendering on Google as shown below. This typically takes less than a minute or so to run.
Learn More: Mobile-Friendly Test Tool
• Quick identification of mobile usability issues on entire site.
• Mobile-focussed tool; You will have to refer to Google Search Console for detailed analysis and fix errors if any.
Google Search Console is the most important tool when it comes to analyzing every aspect of your website’s presence in Google Search.
It is the closest you can get with Google to the digital presence of your website. Most importantly, it is completely free to use.
Learn More about:
• Analyze impressions, clicks, and positions of your website on Google Search results
• Easily submit sitemaps and individual URLs for indexing
• Receive free email alerts when Google identifies any issues on your site.
• Easy optimization tips to enhance your website.
• Some issues that have already been fixed may crop up again. You will have to fix them and re-index your pages, unless Google shows it to be fixed and error free.
PageSpeed Insights (PSI) analyzes the performance of a web page on mobile and desktop devices and scores it on a 1 to 100 scale in different score ranges based on Lighthouse Scoring.
The color-coding maps to these Performance score ranges as follow:
• 0 to 49 (slow): Red
• 50 to 89 (average): Orange
• 90 to 100 (fast): Green
It also provides recommendations around improving the web page’s performance.
This is a developer’s tool and requires certain technical (intermediate to advanced) skills. If you wish to know more, click on the links below.
Keywords Everywhere provides search volume and CPC & competition data on 16 websites as shown by the screenshot below. It is available as an extension on Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox web browsers.
It works with little small hacks, like fetching the data between keyword tool and Google Keyword Planner (through API), which comes in handy for today’s marketers.
• Allows access to keyword metrics for a list of keywords and lets you download the list in Excel, CSV or PDF file formats.
• Easy explanation for UI and visuals on each of the 16 supported websites, Just click of any of the above websites to get an example of what will happen if you install this extension on your browser, simple, yet effective!
Not many; There used to be a bulk upload feature which seems to be missing.
SEOptimer is a website analyzer and SEO checker tool that provides a comprehensive website audit with actionable recommendations to improve your website’s performance.
Just type-in your URL and get started without having to sign up.
• Easy-to-digest summary with comprehensive results breakdown to jump across the results as shown below
• The website and SEO audit also consider security aspects and include critical software updates to your website, which is good to know. A lot of other tools in the market do not address this functionality otherwise.
• The recommendation section is further classified into high, medium and low priority items, which comes in handy when you must address them one after another.
Since it is all about SEO and website auditing, keywords strategy or paid search insights are missing. It is more about what this tool does best and not really a con.
Google keyword planner helps to analyze data for average search volume and forecasts over the last 12 months or it suggests new keywords based on related search results over last 12 months. Google made a lot of improvements over previous versions as below.
• Firsthand data by Google Search itself.
• Ability to analyze search volumes and related keywords from the past 12 months.
• View or easily download keywords.
• Save ideas to existing campaigns in Google Ads.
• Granular competition ranking across keyword ideas.
• PPC or paid search-focused tool, No information on backlinks or organic search strategy.
• No data about your website which is important to know for your business.
Simple tool to analyze search terms or topics and their usage across different locations at a given time period.
• Compare up to 5 search terms or topics in a given time range for a specific country.
• Plot charts as shown above to analyze growth or decline in search terms or topics.
• Related queries, easy selection by “Rising” or “Top”.
• Limited to comparing 5 terms.
• No data for low search volume keywords; You will have challenges looking at company-related/branded search terms if you are a new business or start-up.
9. Keyword Tool
Keyword Tool is a good alternative to Google Keyword Planner, and it is based upon Google Auto Complete suggestions to provide keyword ideas.
• Free version generates up to 750+ long-tail keyword suggestions for every search term
• Works without creating an account
• Keyword ideas are the same as Google’s Autocomplete – it extracts suggestions and presents in an easy-to-understand interface.
• You will need to buy pro-version for search volume data.
SpyFu is a competitor’s Keyword Research Tool for PPC & SEO. You can start analyzing right from a competitor’s domain level, as shown below.
It provides a comprehensive view of top keywords, PPC and inbound links, including organic ranking history of top 10 keywords for free.
• Free view of most valuable keywords (top 5) with rank change and historical trend.
• Comprehensive SEO overview with top organic competitors.
• List of links to your domain.
• Limited results for local keyword research.
• Limited accuracy of backlinks as compared to Google’s data.
Ubersuggest provides domain, traffic and SEO level overview. You can run queries by keyword or domain to get started and sort data by selecting country of choice.
It basically scrapes data from Google Autocomplete, like many other tools in the market.
Content ideas, Site Audit, and Backlinks are new features that show limited results.
• Online and free-to-use without creating a login.
• Easy to understand information on domain level overview, top SEO pages, and Keyword ideas.
• Data presented is very different than what is reported by Google Search Console.
• Data, sometimes, takes forever to load, as shown below.
Unlike all other tools mentioned here, Screaming Frog SEO Spider is an installable file (not web-based) supported by Windows, MacOS, and Ubuntu operating systems.
Basically, it is a site crawler that analyzes results and take actions in real-time.
• Free-to-use version allows crawling a website of up to 500 URLs.
• Very effective in doing real-time SEO audits and used by leading brands.
• Easily find broken links, errors & redirects, discover duplicate pages, and review meta robots and directives.
• Detailed FAQ section on website solves most of your day-to-day problems.
• More than 500 URLs require a paid version of this software, including integration with Google properties which are much needed to get the best results.
SEOquake by SEMrush is a free-to-use SEO tool and browser extension available for Chrome, Mozilla, Opera, and Safari web browsers.
This comes in handy if you have a lot of web pages or if you work on a lot of campaigns for different clients.
• Merely click on the browser icon to fetch all SEO-related data for any web page in real-time, Work flawlessly when you want to compare yours vs. competition web pages in a new tab.
• Detailed analysis of SERPs and exports the results in CSV format.
• Full report for internal/external links.
• Lacks paid research or data and you will have to rely on the parent tool – SEMrush
Do you prefer using any other free SEO tools, or want to highlight anything I didn’t cover? Let me know your thoughts.