Last week, MarketingSherpa published a great “how-to” for all of those companies out there who are lacking in time or money and want to improve search results. They talked with an expert who revealed seven free SEO tools and one paid option to help save you time and money.
Will Reynolds, SEER Interactive Founder, gave the Sherpas a guide on how to sift through the numerous search tools out there to “distinguish the helpful and free ones from the useless and costly ones.” He shares the eight tools he uses on a daily basis, and only one costs money to use.
He warns to not rely solely on any one method and advises to use the tools like a team. Reynolds also tells people to know your business well enough to know when data from the search tools is flawed. He personally ignores up to 20% of the data returned by the free SEO tools.
Here are the seven free tools Reynolds depends on:
(Read the full MarketingSherpa How-To for complete information)
Google Advanced Search – Allows you to limit a search to: anywhere in the page, title of the page, text of the page, URL of the page, and links to the page. Reynolds thinks the most important one is “links to the page.” He uses the tool to target link campaigns and keep track of the competition.
Google Trends – Gives you a picture of keywords’ historic search volume on Google dating back years and illustrated with graphs. The tool is best used to decide on a keyword (ex. singular or plural?).
Microsoft adCenter Add-in for Excel 2007 – This tool is only free to adCenter account holders with Excel 2007 and is still a beta version. It can be used to measure MSN traffic directly from an Excel spreadsheet.
Rank Checker – A Firefox plug-in that takes keywords and reports your rankings on top search engines, including Google in other countries. The tool automates the process of manually going into each search engine and checking your rankings.
SeoQuake – Another Firefox plug-in best used for researching your competition. It can also help you determine why the competition is outranking you and give you reason to adjust your SEO strategy.
Today’s Hot Trends – A part of Google Trends that shows the top 100 fastest-rising search terms on Google. The tool can help you seize an opportunity or create a blogging strategy.
Yahoo! Search Assist – As you type in a term in the Yahoo! search box, Search Assist gives suggestion for related keywords, loosely based on word content and search volume.
And, one paid tool:
VoiceStar – For a cost of about $500 a month it can help you connect telephone conversations with online searches. The tool delivers traceable phone numbers in search ads. Reynolds uses this tool primarily for his business to business efforts, especially when large purchases are involved. Many people would rather pick up the phone and talk to someone when placing a $10,000 order.