8 tips on how to keep track of your SEO for FREE
You can offer the best services or goods in your marketplace, but if those who are searching for what you sell find your competitor online instead of you, you will likely not earn their business. The research shows most consumers first look online when they are interested in making a purchase. The statistics are clear; over 80% of consumers will do their own search online well before they pull out their wallet to spend their money.
In order to know where you stand in regards to your competitors, it’s crucial you measure your SEO (search engine optimization) to establish your position, and to monitor it on an on-going basis. If you have the budget, SEO is one of the most dominant factors in your online marketing campaign and allocating the funds to have it professionally managed, will be some of the most valuable money you spend towards driving traffic to your site and bringing potential clients directly in touch with your brand. However, if you are not yet in a position to afford expert assistance with your SEO marketing, all is not lost. With some time and effort, you can use the following free tools to identify your ranking and monitor your position. For 6 free techniques you can put into practice today to power your SEO upwards, you can read our article 6 Simple SEO Habits to Increase Website Rankings & Traffic.
1. Google Analytics
You can sign up in minutes to begin taking advantage of this powerful, free tool. Google Analytics offers daily traffic statistics which you can sort and organize: per keywords, per visitor, per location, per referring website, per search engine, and by any time scale. Packed with useful features, it is a must have for anyone interested in measuring and tracking their website traffic and SEO progress.
2. Google Adwords' Keyword Tool
This powerful and free online resource allows you to see the number of searches that Google receives nationally, and internationally, for any specific keyword phrases. We recommend checking off the box that says "Exact" searches, not broad or matching, for the most accurate and relevant statistics. What this means to you is that now you can confidently know which keywords your target audience is searching for the most when they're looking for brands or businesses like yours online. We use this to help decide which keywords would be most profitable to target in our SEO campaigns for ourselves and our clients.
3. Understand the Power of Search Results Ranking.
On any Google search page in organic results: #1 gets 33% of clicks, #2 gets 22%, #3 gets 11%, #4 gets 7%, on down until #10 gets 1-3% share of link traffic. This shows how skewed the numbers are toward the top of the first page of Google. Because traffic is so heavily funneled to the first few listings, its easy to see how companies can become forgotten when they are not actively managing their SEO and staying on top of their ability to be found. Keep in mind that these numbers vary widely based on the industry you're in and how likely it is that people searching will be satisfied with the first search results versus continuing down the search results page looking for something the other results aren't providing.
This extremely valuable service provides Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rank reporting and tracking keywords in Google, Bing, and Yahoo, and their service is free for first 10 keywords. 10 keywords are more than sufficient to get started measuring the progress of your SEO efforts, and if you're not using a tool like this, you need to start now so you can begin understanding where you rank and how your rank changes over time.
5. HubSpot's Website Grader
In less than 30 seconds, HubSpot issues a report that analyzes all of your online marketing efforts, not just on your website, and gives you a Marketing Grade on a 1-100 scale. It doesn’t stop there; it recommends the next steps, in order of priority that you should take to improve your strategy. By assessing over 30 factors, HubSpot offers a comprehensive assessment and then provides a plan of action, complete with online resources to help put their recommendations into practice.
This website offers a free tool to track and analyze off-site backlink health of any website online, by total history or by recent growth. Use the power of MajesticSEO’s enormous link intelligence database to compare your backlink power to that of your competitors.
7. Google's "Site:" search
I use this tool everyday, even when just browsing because it's so powerful. Just try typing “site:examplesite.com" into the Google search bar, adding in a website use regularly, and then look at total search results for the number of pages indexed by Google. This normally tells you, with a fair amount of accuracy the total number of pages on any website, which can be used as a rough indicator of their on-site SEO credibility in Google. The total number of pages a website has can also roughly approximate how well established and trusted your website is according to Google search engine’s algorithm, this is because the longer a website has existed and the more valuable content they have online, the more it lends to the idea that they know what they're talking about, assuming that the content is relevant, unique, and that there's a decent amount of it on every page.
For even more fun, try adding search terms with a space just before where the "site:" appears, and you'll be amazed at how useful it is to be doing a Google search of pages ONLY on the website listed in the example. ("site:example.com")
8. Use "Page Source" / "View Source"This is a simple, fast way to determine which keywords your webpages, and your competitors' webpages, are targeting. This is the basic information you need to assess where your current SEO is focused and vital to your understanding of what type of traffic you are attracting—or failing to attract. "Page Source" or "View Source" is a browser tool option which you can access in most browsers by doing right-click on the webpage on PCs or Option-click on Macs; it also appears in the browser's menu. Select this option and you will see the HTML code for the page. In the code, near the top of most webpages you should be able to see or find using CTRL+F the following text meta tags; look for <title>, <meta description >, <meta keywords > tags.
Pay attention to the first words that appear in these meta tags. These keywords can be used to analyze your competition and see what keywords they are telling Google to target for each of their webpages. The most important is the title tag, but the description tag is also very important to Google, because this is the text that appears in Google search results. Conversely, be sure your meta tags are telling search engines the right story about who you are and what content or keywords each webpage is primarily relevant to.
Based in Nevada, our Las Vegas web design team would be happy to answer any questions you may have about SEO. For more resources and helpful tips sign up for our newsletter or send us a message telling us what topics you'd like to see covered here. For now, don’t hesitate to get started with these useful resources that you can access free of charge anytime. We recommend always getting professional feedback and direction at the start of any SEO campaign, no matter how small, to ensure that you're not making any mistakes that could be costing you valuable traffic. We offer free consultations and are happy to educate our customers on the value of a well designed SEO campaign.