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6 Free Tools For Grassroots SEO

SEO Today Includes Mobile Optimization

In the modern era, simply creating a visually stunning website is not enough. With modifications to the Google search algorithm like Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird, attention to detail has become crucial. For business owners that want to forego hiring an SEO professional for over $100 per hour, there are few options outside of learning it themselves. Fortunately, recent changes have put pressure on the market to come up with easy-to-understand software solutions, which can make doing and learning SEO possible at the same time. Below are six free SEO tools you should be using to do your on-site optimization will be enumerated and described for your convenience.

Free SEO Tools For Mobile SEO

google-mobile-testAs mobile SEO continues to grow, the importance of knowing how your website appears to your mobile audience is a priority for success. Adopting a mobile first mentality is key to long term business growth and one recently upgraded mobile SEO tool is from Google. The Google Mobile testing tool  offers an excellent overview of three key areas that impact mobile performance, mobile friendliness, mobile speed and desktop speed. This free SEO tool also makes recommendations for improvements.

Structured data testing tool
In tandem with the mobile testing tool above, Google’s structured data testing tool highlights structured data on your website that can help promote both your mobile and desktop grassroots SEO efforts. Check out this free SEO structured data testing tool here:

Screaming Frog SEO Tool
Screaming Frog is a tool that is basically free to grassroots marketers as well as professsionals in the SEO game. The software is only “basically” free because it allows for 500 scans before you have to begin subscribing. For a person only handling optimization on a single business website, this is equivalent to free software. The program itself scans your website and allows you to see things you are missing or elements you have duplicates of. Areas of analysis include such elements as:

  • Titles
  • H1/H2 Headings
  • Meta Descriptions
  • Meta Keywords
  • Images/Alt Text
  • Internal/External Links

Google Webmaster Tools

Webmaster tools are another free SEO tool offering from some of the major search engines. There is no separation between pro and amateur, though, so using them really is free. Because their algorithm changes have had the most drastic effect on SEO in recent years, most people tend to focus on Google specifically. However, Bing has a webmaster tool that is far more exhaustive and informative and even includes file size, load time, and compression analysis that Google lacks. This is not to say that one is better than the other, just that both should be used for their unique strengths.

Google Analytics

free-seo-toolsGoogle provides analytical tools meant to provide tracking data for visitors to your website. While proprietary tracking systems are available, Google is the industry leader and provides their service for free. The data provided allows you to take an in depth look at just what people are doing when they reach your website. Using Google Analytics can allow you to pinpoint weaknesses and exploit strengths with little more than the addition of a single line of tracking code to your website’s HTML. Analytics allow you to track:

  • Demographics
  • Behavior
  • Browsing Platform
  • Conversions
  • Mobile

On Page Content Analysis
The days of targeting misspelled keywords to gain an edge are gone. Obvious spelling and grammar errors are ranking metrics, and remarks by Google’s Matt Cutts as well as Bing’s Duane Forrester confirm it. You should be making an effort to spell and grammar check every piece of web copy you place on your site with your word processor’s built in tool. There is also a plethora of websites out there that provide textual analysis for word repetition, and SEOQuake is an add on available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera that shows the highest frequency words for pages you already have published. Checking for repetition can help you weed out accidental keywords and highlight overuse of keywords you really are targeting.

Use Free SEO Tools To Help You Optimize Efficiently

Getting SEO right on your website is no easy feat, even once you have been doing it awhile. However, using a few free SEO tools that are at everyone’s disposal can yield much more insight into what you need to do than you might expect. There are tools out there that charge large sums per month for use, but until you can internalize and use the tools listed here there is not much reason to switch. Most of the advanced tools tend to employ more complicated ways of looking at the same data and are often designed for SEO professionals. Get your grassroots SEO marketing started with the free SEO tools listed above.

Long Tail Search And ROI

Impact of Google Changes on Long Tail Search and Website R.O.I.

Search results page have changed dramatically since 2007, and this past year 2011 saw many big changes continue. 2012 is off to a ridiculously fast start of algorithm changes and enhancements. If you struggle to keep on top of the many changes in play, or if you chase the SEO tactic of the month, you will be in trouble in no time.

In May 2007, Google launched universal search, which added new searchable content such as news results, images, videos, local business listings with maps and a variety of other content types beyond the traditional 10 blue links on a page. In 2010, Google added Instant Search, a feature that changed the search results page while users typed in the search box.
Both of those, along with countless other feature enhancements, have changed the way in which Internet users interact with search results.

These three major changes really change the landscape for search marketing strategies;

  • Google Instant
  • Google Panda
  • Google Encrypted

Change number #1 – Google instant

What is Google instant? Google Instant is a new search enhancement added in September of 2010 that displays search results while you type. The intent of Google instant is to display better search results, faster. The impact of Google Instant means that a user can scan search results page while still typing in their keyword query.

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The primary visual difference is that users dive right into content much faster than before basically because a full search phrase is not required to display results. While this improvement has been pitched as a user benefit, remember that Google is a business and they see an enormous benefit to their data centers processing time.

What does Google Instant mean for long tail search?
Simply stated, it means that search engine optimization methodology must change to accommodate Instant results. Usually, internet users tend to skim Meta descriptions to verify the relevancy of the search results to their intended search query. A common SEO tactic was to place strong calls to action in the Meta description to grab searchers’ attention and stand out from the other results and get the user to click on the website. With the advent of Google Instant, more emphasis is now placed on the Title Tag because it is something the users can review quickly for relevance to their intended search. However, with results changing so quickly, we see calls to action potentially moving into the Title tag as users spend less time examining the results and will rely more on those parts of the result they can examine quickly.
Root keywords in the Title Tags
Since Google Instant presents results before the search user even finishes typing them in, root keywords of long tail terms becomes more even more important.
Take for example a keyword like lawyer and its derivates where the root is the first word of the phrase (ex. lawyer for business, lawyer in Los Angeles). Using Google Instant, the organic results for the keyword “lawyer” will be displayed when users start typing any derivative. What’s the impact? The exact match volume for “lawyer” is 353,000,000. Google Instant increases that exact match volume to (353,000,000 + Exact volumes of all keywords that start with the word “lawyer”).
Long tail traffic:
Long tail keywords that contain a root word at or towards the beginning of the phrase will see a decline in traffic. If you optimized your site for “lawyers” this is a positive for your SEO program. If you optimized your site for long tail legal terms on the other hand, this would hurt your strategy significantly.
Click through rates:
All results including top paid positions and organic listings are pushed further down the page with the inclusion of Local. Instead of 4-5 listings being displayed above the fold you’re looking at 1-2, depending on your resolution. This change in CTR will impact how much effort SEOs are willing to put towards ranking for a particular keyword. Just like with paid search where you weight the CPC of the position against the business impact, SEOs have to weight how much additional effort it would take to increase a keyword one position versus the business impact.

Change #2 – Google Panda

What is Google Panda aka “Farmer”?
Panda refers to the 2011 changes to the search algorithm used by Google to improve search engine results pages (SERP’s). This change was made to reduce the rank of “low quality sites” in the search results and return higher content quality sites to Google’s users. While most SEO’s believe that Panda is a content quality element within the search algorithm, it also appears to score link quality as well.
How Panda Works
Google Panda was constructed using an algorithm update that includes artificial intelligence in a more advanced and scalable method than was previously possible. Google’s machine learning algorithm searches for similarities between Users found websites of high quality and low quality. Numerous fresh ranking factors are brought into the Google algorithm, severely diminishing the value and importance of older ranking factors such as PageRank.

Content quality becomes even more important in a post-Panda world. The meaning of quality content changes quite a lot. Content written strictly for SEO purposes with correct spelling, good grammar, and appropriate keyword density is the cost of entry but this content does not really make a dent in the Panda metrics that indicates great unique on page content. The bar is raised to content that makes everyone who reads it say “Wow, I want to engage with this and to share it with others”.  High quality content triggers user engagement signals onsite and via web 2.0 properties like Facebook or Twitter. These user metrics are totally different social signals to optimize, instead of optimizing simply for keywords.

Key user metrics and relevant engagement signals.

Comparing how a website functions relative to other sites in the same niche produces a different set of important metrics for post Panda performance. These newer key metrics include;

  • Click Through Rate. If your CTR in the search results is low, the site is likely to suffer in traffic and rankings. Is the domain name relevant to the search query? Does it inspire user confidence or does it appear “spammy” with multiple hyphens and stuffed keywords?
  • Bounce Rate. Are they bouncing or are the browsing?
  • Time On Site. Do users visit and spend some time on your site, or do they go away immediately?
  • Browse Rate. If users are reading more than one page, the content might actually be engaging, but if no one clicks on a second page the site is in serious trouble.
  • Linking Root Domain Diversity. Are you getting visitor traffic from a number of different sources and distinct areas locally, regionally or nationally? Link diversity and quality of the links is more important than simple link quantity.

All of these data point as well as others are captured in the Panda intelligent learning machine protocol and the results are added into the algorithm for updating. This helps to explain the frequency of the Panda updates and is why you do not see daily or weekly updates.

What does Panda Mean for content?

Change #3 – Google Encrypted

What is Google Encrypted or “SSL Search”?
Google Search Encryption is a procedure that facilitates secure connections for Internet services such as web browsing, e-mail, instant messaging, and other online data exchanges. When a user logs into their Google account before doing online queries, their searches are completed via SSL.  That logged-in users search queries and search traffic are then encrypted so third parties that might have easy access to that information can no longer easily see the encrypted queries.

They way this process works under most circumstances is, a logged in user now sees when performing search queries. These search terms become encrypted and are excluded from the referrer headers that are sent to the sites you visit on the results page. The header data is not passed and the visited websites can see that a visitor came from Google, but they can no longer see which keyword term was used in the search query that produced that particular results page.

How does Google Encrypted impact search marketing?

Not all keyword data will be blocked from third party reporting tools. Search engine advertisers (Google Adwords accounts) in other words people who pay Google, will still have access to all of their individual keyword referral data. Google makes an exception to how they handle secured search for people who pay for the data via advertising. While the official explanation is that SSL search is all about “privacy” it is simply Google monetizing all of that data they capture from free Google analytics. The impact has been downplayed with Google indicating expected single digit percentages of “not provided”, but initial results tend to be much higher depending upon the industry vertical. Many websites see 12% to 18% of their keyword data as (not provided).

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Keyword (not provided)

What does this mean for keyword focused search?
While striving to increase visibility for the “long tail”, it will not be wise to encourage organic keyword targeting as a performance metric.  With an ever increasing volume of “not provided” terms it becomes even more challenging to prove or disprove what keyword phrases actually account for specific organic search traffic.

So just why are these changes important to understand?
With all of the feature changes to the SERP’s including Local results displayed, user behavior has changed and is continuing to transform. Click through rates are dropping on Page 1 results, as the query results evolve.
One recent study by Slingshot SEO shows compelling data suggesting only 52% of internet users on Google even click on page one results. This falls even further on Bing, only 26% of users click on a page one Bing results page. (from Slingshot SEO study on click through rates)
CTR study on 1st page behavior 


As more and more Rich Snippet data is pulled from websites and then displayed on the results page, it becomes increasing important to incorporate micro-data schema into the coding of web properties to maintain relevance in the search results.

The Bottom Line

The pace of search engine changes is increasing, so successful digital marketing strategies must be nimble and quick to response to market dynamics. However, with a strong base of optimization building a site from the ground up with basic search engine optimization blocking and tackling done correctly, strong online performance can be generated. Chasing after the “SEO tactics of the week” is a time waste. A great SEO strategy with proven optimization tactics will never go out of style and will always deliver rewarding results.

Connect with me – Circle Scott on Google+[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

SERP Tracker SEO Tool

SEO Tools For Everyday Use

There are many SEO tools available and most do a good job deciphering web analytics data so that you help can make an informed business decision or plan your next SEO tactic. One of my current favorites is Raven Tools one today’s best SEO tools online. Raven Tools continues to surprise with new discoveries found after each and every use. Raven tools is becoming one of the best SEO tools in my tool box. While the SEO tool itself is quite intuitive, as with anything, the more you use it the better results you will get.

Raven Tools SERP Tracker

Right now, the weekly updated SERP tracker is proving itself very informative. Start out by changing the display options in the SERP tracker to include the websites GA visitor traffic, the representative broad search traffic volume from Adwords and the corresponding ranking position for Google, Bing Or Yahoo. The results then appear as:

Raven Tools SERP Tracker

I’ve used this SEO tool with effectively with clients when discussing their vanity search terms. They will often rank very well for their particular “hot button” vanity phrase, but then see little to no visitor traffic from these terms. With this SERP tracker the client can visually see the estimated traffic associated with each term and how many visitors results from that search.

Best SEO Tools For Other Insights

What’s even more insightful is the ability to target a keyword phrase that shows a greater potential for the clients business (based on search volume) and helps to demonstrate that a ranking out of the top spot can still deliver quality traffic to the website. This SEO tool  clearly defines opportunity phrases that may play nicely into the overall marketing strategy. Just including the SERP tracker into your marketing analysis will help guide your marketing tactics.

Why spend money on any SEO tools when so many free SEO tools are available?  The reason is simple, using multiple tools provides a more holistic picture of the overall health of your SEO strategy campaign.  Having an arsenal of SEO programs will add to your toolkit to help you out in the long run!

WebCEO SEO tool

SEO Tools

WebCEO SEO software

If you are active in search engine marketing, own a website, or are webmaster for many web properties, you will start looking for a way to make your daily tasks easier.  One of the first SEO tools to grab is some sort of SEO software. Sometimes you can do the job with free SEO software, but if you consider yourself a professional, at some point your will need to purchase quality SEO tools and software.  A top SEO tool to consider is WebCEO. They have been around for quite some time, offer great technical support, and are constantly improving their SEO software to keep it up to date with all the changes online.

For experienced SEO professionals that want to dig deep, WebCEO is a comprehensive SEO software package with 12 programs that help you achieve tangible results in search engine marketing and search engine optimization. There SEO tools perform intelligent analysis of your web traffic and effectively manages your online web properties.

Best SEO tool

WebCEO SEO software

Here are some of the cool things you can do with this top SEO tool:

Find a niche and build highly targeted traffic to your site

  • Do keyword research & analysis to find the keywords that will bring most targeted visitors to your website
  • Run SEO page analysis & optimize your pages for top positions & better visibility in major search engines worldwide
  • Easily edit your pages in Visual & HTML views

Promote your website in search engines

  • Submit your site for search engines to increase traffic
  • Use link building tool to perform deep link research & then finding & contacting the best of potential link partners.
  • Manage pay-per-click campaigns from a single unified workspace

WebCEO SEO tool

Analyze your SEO results with the SEO software

  • Monitor search engine rankings to confirm effectiveness of your website promotions
  • Find out who links to your site and track the anchor link text

SEO tools keep your website easy to maintain

Audit your website. Pinpoint all errors with the detailed breakdown of problems by page. Use the site quality overview as a SEO action plan

Get the SEO tools to provide professional white label SEO services

  • Here’s a real time saver – schedule repetitive tasks that to run off hours when you’re away from your computer
  • Use the CEO Dashboard for a quick snapshot of overall  site performance
  • Keep a time tracking record of your work to your clients based on Web CEO Journal report

WebCEO has two versions now to offer even more attractive pricing options, a desktop version SEO tool and an online SEO software monthly subscription service. One of the best SEO tools is now even better!