Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a great way to help attract new customers to your online business. But to get SEO right, you need to use the right tools. In this guide, I’ll walk you through six of the most useful SEO tools around and how you can use them to help your site rise up the Google rankings. As always, if you’ve got any questions, leave them as a comment below and I’ll get back to you.
The number one and my favourite is Google Analytics. I would hope that you know by now what Google Analytics is but if you don’t, it’s a free tool from Google that let you know how people found your site, what they’re looking at on your site, how long they stay and then, if you’re selling stuff online, what they’re buying from you.
So it’s a great SEO tool because it can tell you how much traffic you’re getting from Google search. It won’t give you which actual keywords people are using to arrive on your site. Google got rid of keywords a couple of years ago with an update but it will tell you how many visitors in total you’re getting and then which pages on your website they’re landing on. By knowing which pages they land on, you can usually have a good guess about the kind of keywords they are using.
The good thing is that it will give you an absolute rating of whether or not your SEO is improving or not, as judged by the number of visitors you’re getting – are they going up or are they going down, and what the trend is.
The second great SEO tool is Copyscape. It’s a really underutilised tool. Duplicate copy is a real issue when it comes to the Internet. There are lots and lots of websites and website owners that are out there copying content from sites and publishing it on their own because they want to be thought of as the expert, they want that well-written, well-crafted content. They can’t be bothered to produce it themselves.
If you take a look at Copyscape and put a page from your website in, it will tell you if the words on that page exist anywhere else on the Internet. In other words, if anyone has copied your content. If you know that they copied you, you can contact them and ask them to take it down. You can take action with that. It’s a really good and essential tool if you’re out there, putting effort into your website and you don’t want it to be copied.
The third great SEO tool is another one from Google called Google Trends. You may not have heard of this one but it’s a really powerful tool. It shows you how the number of searches for particular keywords changes over time, whether something is becoming more or less popular. The data goes quite far back, all the way back to 2004 and you can look at any keyword and any topic.
It might be something like “exhaust parts” or it might be something like “holidays to Tenerife”. You can put that keyword in and it will tell you whether how the number of searches has changed over the last 11 years. You can also change the time period that you look at. You can look at the last 12 months or the last 30 days. What’s really good is that it gives you the overall sense of if that keyword is being used more or less over time. If something is being used more and more, you know it’s becoming more popular in the UK, and it’s related to a product or a service that you sell or that you’re thinking about selling, then that’s a really good thing.
The second thing it’s good for is benchmarking. So if you’re trying to work out whether to sell exhaust parts or tires, and you want to know where there is more demand, Google Trends will tell you whether there are more people searching for exhaust parts or more people searching for tires. You can use that information to decide how to prioritise your website, how to prioritise the content on your website and which products that you might want to sell.
The third really useful thing with Google Trends is seeing how the volume of searches changes as we go through the year or as we go through each week. There isn’t the same number of searches for products every day. If you look for Father’s Day gifts, surprise-surprise, that has a real peak in about a week before Father’s Day. If you look for searches for vodka, you’ll find that there’s a huge peak as we go towards New Year’s. And if you search for hangover cure, you’ll find there’s a huge peak that goes just beyond New Year’s. I’m pretty sure those two aren’t related. That’s the third great tool – Google Trends.
The fourth one, and this one is really not used and well known at all is Google’s Safe Browsing Tool. What this does is it lets you know, if you’re a website owner, if your website has been hacked or if it’s been infected with any malware. If that’s happened to your site, the chances are that Google might well not be ranking your site in its results anymore. If you find out that your site has been hacked or it has been infected, it allows you to deal with it in the right way and prevent it from harming your reputation. It allows you to take action and to resolve the problem in order to get your site clean again.
So all you do is you go to the tool, you put your URL in and it shows you if Google thinks there’s anything suspicious about your site and if it’s been infected with malware in the last 90 days.
The fifth great SEO tool that I recommend is one called Browseo.net. What this tool does is it lets you view any web page on your site as search engines see it. It’s really important to understand how search engines see your site because if you know how search engines see it, you’ll know if they can actually see your content, if they’ve got a chance of understanding it, and they’re therefor going to rank it for searches that are relevant for what you do.
So try Browseo.net, put any page from your site in there and see what Google sees when it looks at your site.
The sixth great or I would say the essential SEO tool, and I have to recommend it here because I think it’s a really strong one, is our 123-reg Search Engine Optimiser. This is a tool that brings in lots of this other stuff, all in under one tool. It allows you to do your keyword research, it can give you ideas for keywords and how many searches there are for a particular keyword. It allows you to check your backlinks to make sure there are no problems there. Or you can look at your competitor backlinks and understand where they’re getting links from in order to help you try to get links from the same places or go after similar sites because it might be that those sites helping your competitors rank, you want to find ones that can do it for you.
It can check the meta data on each page on your site, make sure that it’s unique, make sure it’s well crafted, that is fits in with Google’s guidelines, that it’s going to look good when it appears there, on the search engine results page. It can also check the quality of your content as well, to work out if you’re writing enough about something on any particular page in order for Google to really understand what you’re talking about.
One of the best things is that you can get a free report from it that can give you an instant snapshot on how well your site is set up for SEO and the kind of things that you might want to address.
That was the Swift 6 – Six essential SEO tools and what they can do. I’ll see you next time.