SEO tools we’re using to increase our client website rankings
Following on from the success of our “apps we use to increase productivity and save time” article, this week we wanted to share some of the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tools that we use on a daily basis.
These are ideal if you’re just starting out with your SEO efforts or simply want some inspiration for different programmes to aid your strategies. Remember, these are based purely on what we use, so make sure you let us know if you’d like to see anything else included.
This paid software tool (although a free ‘limited’ version is available) gives you a detailed audit for your chosen website, which helps you identify and explain what errors a site may have. In short, it gives you a list of everything that’s wrong with a website, so you can set about fixing it.
These errors can include:
- Broken URL links (both internal and external)
- Heavy pages where content may need to be changed
- In contrast, thin pages where content may need expanding
- Duplicate content (definitely bad for SEO)
- Poor mobile experience/responsive issues
- Issues with Meta Descriptions and Titles
For every error that’s found within the Website Auditor, you’ll receive an in-depth report and guide on what steps you can take to fix the problem. This tool also focuses on the more technical side of SEO, so don’t get overwhelmed if you see phrases such as “redirect chains”, “W3C validation” and “scripts” included.
The main reason we use Website Auditor (apart from all the technical aspects) is that the tool is incredibly easy to use. The interface has been designed well, which means we’re able to access the key information within seconds.
If you’re a complete newbie in the world of SEO, there’s no need to worry. SEO Powersuite provides a lot of great support on their website, as well as a training section, which hosts live webinars and an “A to Z SEO Workflow” guide.
Created by the same company as SEO Auditor and part of their suite of tools, Rank Tracker gives us the ability to track the position of keywords that our clients are ranking for across all of the major search engines.
Fully customisable, Rank Tracker gives us the ability to track keywords on a global and local scale, which is especially important if a company only want to operate in their local area. At the same time, reports can be generated to your needs, whether this is twice a day or once a week. You’ve got the option to control this, so it really depends on how often you’d like to receive the information.
Not only do we use this information to assess whether the content of the website needs to be amended, but it also gives our clients the information they need to re-evaluate some of their other digital marketing efforts.
For example, using the data we provide in the Rank Tracker reports, they could incorporate the keywords into their social media updates, Google AdWord campaigns or even in their responses to Google Reviews.
We’re really treating you now, yet another free tool! Yes, it’s completely free to analyse your website and see a snapshot of everything that you’re doing well, and everything that you might need to spend some time fixing.
Once you’ve input your website URL, the tool ranks everything it finds in three sections; Issues, Warnings and Successes.
Now we all love to see the huge number of successes, but if there are issues or warnings it’s a great indication of what aspect of a website needs to be reviewed.
We also use this tool because we are able to get real-time information on our client websites and make any changes that are needed to help them improve their technical SEO. This doesn’t just relate to the keywords, it also takes into account:
- Domain canonicalisation
- XML sitemaps
- External links and their impact on a website
- On-page link analyses
- Loading time
- Image Alt Tag analyses
Another tool that we have in our SEO arsenal is GT Metrix, a great free tool that measures how long it takes for your website to load. All you have to do is input your website URL into the main search bar and click analyse. Once the tool has done its thing, the website will be given an overall grade and score.
It will also give you reasons why your site might not be loading as fast as it could be, which you can then use to make changes to your website.
But why is this tool important? Well, back in 2010, Google said that page speed was a ranking factor, but this only took into account desktop searches (i.e. those you make on your normal computer).
However, that’s now evolved to take into account mobile browsing. In July 2018, Google rolled out the Speed Update algorithm, which impacts pages that deliver the slowest experience to users. Basically, if your website doesn’t load quickly on mobile, then it’s not going to perform as well as it could in search results.
Their support area is also filled with great resources to help you learn how to fix some of the page speed issues you may be having. Their ‘WordPress Optimisation Guide‘ is a good one to get started with if your site is based on the WordPress platform.
As we’ve already mentioned, making sure your website is optimised for mobile browsing is very important, especially if you want to jump ahead of the competition in the search results.
That’s why we use the Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool. This software has been developed by Google, and gives you insights into how user-friendly your website is on mobile devices. It also gives you information on where any problems are, and how you can fix them.
Similar to GT Metrix, all you have to do is put in your website URL and all the information will be displayed onscreen. It really is as simple as that. Any problems are flagged, and it even gives you a handy preview of what your website looks on a mobile device.
This tool comes in two forms, the free download and the Pro version that you can pay for, which comes with additional features and no limit on the number of website pages you can crawl (free version is limited to 500 pages per site). We use the Pro Version, just because it gives us more flexibility and options for analysing our client websites.
Once you’ve input your website URL, the tool shows you all the onsite elements on your site, including H1 tags, meta titles, meta descriptions, image alt tags, URL response codes (404,301 etc.), and the general crawlability of the site. To give you a brief overview, we’ve listed out some of the key features below.
The free tool also helps you the evaluate your:
- Broken links, errors and web page redirects
- Page titles and meta descriptions
- Meta Robots and Directives
- Site visualisations
- Duplicate pages and content
- Crawl a maximum of 500 web pages
On top of those, the Pro Version gives you the ability to:
- Integrate with Google Analytics
- Custom Source Code Search
- Integrate with Google Search Console
- Speak to their team with free technical support
- Crawl unlimited web pages
- Much, much more
A list of SEO tools that we use wouldn’t be complete without the glorious MOZ. They’ve been one of the leading SEO resources on the Internet for news, tools and pretty much anything relating to SEO for a fair few years now, and they’re an important resource in our SEO efforts.
We regularly use their tools to perform link audits, check domain authorities, keyword research and so much more. To top it all off, they do regular video blogs, named Whiteboard Fridays, where they discuss tips & tricks, various areas of technical SEO and the implications any recent algorithm changes may have for your business.
Now this one isn’t necessarily an SEO specific tool, but it’s something that we always use when we’re creating websites. We all understand that having images on your site can bring your products or services to life, but high-quality images are substantially large, which can slow your website down (not a good thing, but you already know that, right?).
ImageOptim is a great tool for reducing the size of images, without compromising on quality. Unfortunately, it is only available for MAC users, but there are some alternatives for those of you who use PCs. These include Image Compressor and Tiny PNG.
If you want to learn more about the tools, websites and steps you can take to make your time online as simple and stress-free as possible, take a look at some of these blogs posts:
- Apps we use to increase productivity and save time
- What’s the Google Medic update and why should you care?
- Your complete A to Z guide to SEO terminology
So there we have it, a round-up of the SEO tools that we regularly use within our agency to help impact keyword rankings and improve their Technical SEO. We know there’s a lot to take in, so if you need any advice on your own SEO efforts, we’d love to hear from you.
Simply give the studio a call on 01489 232 312 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re more of a social butterfly, you can reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Look forward to speaking to you soon!