As Google continues its relentless efforts to improve the relevance of information shared via the Internet, it has become mandatory for websites to ensure they conform to the prescribed norms and best practices to avoid being rendered obsolete by the ever-evolving search engine algorithms. It has, however, been observed that many penalised sites have found their way back into the SERP to occupy prominent positions by using the right tools and adopting suitable techniques.
Understandably, no universal technique or tool-set can address all SEO challenges, but white-hat approaches and organic rankings have proven to be tried and tested solutions that offer long-term results.
We are aware that SEO exercises are continuous, and typically comprise a standard set of tasks including but not limited to:
- SEO analysis
- Website ranking
- Keyword analysis
- Links research
- Optimised content build up
The complexity of these tasks tends to increase with time, making it challenging to handle them manually. Automating research with suitable SEO tools saves a lot of time and effort in scouring through loads of usage data, while drastically improving the accuracy level of analysis and enabling timely response.
That said, let’s take you through some SEO tools that are likely to prove quite valuable in staying ahead of competition this year for:
Tracking Website Rank on SERP
Getting to know the exact position or rank of a website on the search results page is often the pre-requisite for an SEO exercise. Tracking the position of the site for different keyword searches yields valuable insights on how effective SEO efforts have been and how best to improve them.
Tools such as SERPS, Monitorank, Moz and MyPoseo, etc. help keep a watchful eye on website position without expending much effort. Some of these tools offer free trials, while few others like SEO-Hero, Pro Rank Tracker, SERP Lab, Positeo, and the newer are free of cost, making them ideal for start-ups who may not be able invest in paid tools. SEO Hero uses data from multiple Google data centers to attain the ranking for specific queries.
SEO analysis helps identify potential areas of improvement that need attention to to ensure faster response times, interesting and relevant content to draw more visitors, and also sport the right markers or tags to be noticed by the search engines. It is a known fact that websites need to be suitably optimised to clear search engine scrutiny and rank high on the result page.
The SEO Analyzer proves a handy tool to check if all aspects of a website are fully optimised with respect to content, keywords, tags, URLs, links, images, and other elements critical to the SERP ranking. This tool not only helps detect anomalies but also offers suggestions to resolve them, making it a valuable addition to the SEO tools inventory.
The SEObserver paid tool, though a tad expensive, also helps with similar analysis.
Ascertaining the Effectiveness of Links
Links play a critical role in enhancing user-friendliness of a website, allowing for a neat organisation of concise content and a logical flow of information across the different pages. Outbound links to relevant authoritative sites and inbound links from equally reputed affiliate websites and listing sites are critical to drive traffic.
Analysing links help retain the most rewarding of them, fix broken ones, weed out those that originate or lead to blacklisted/scam sites to boost traffic, and keep a tab on any new inbound links.
Paid tools such as Majestic, Ahrefs, and LinkResearchTools are quite comprehensive and accurate. The OpenSiteExplorer from Moz also proves valuable. It is possible to try out these paid tools for free before signing up for a suitable subscription plan.
Optimizing content to fall in line with trending keywords is a continuous and cumbersome task that demands careful attention. Any edits to the loads of existing content can get painful, while generating new content at short notice is equally difficult.
Keyword research tools help webmasters analyse and find keywords that are extensively used to search for industry-specific information, thereby helping suitably optimise content so that the website shows up on SERPs.
Paid KW research tools such as Yooda Insight, KWFinder, SECockpit, SEMrush, or the free yet effective Keyword Tool help unearth several long-tail keywords that prove valuable finds and can be put to best use. Google Adword’s Keyword Generator also churns out relevant statistics on search queries, plus information on paid results and CPCs. UberSuggest, on the other hand, helps identify keywords similar to the domain or word.
Websites often find it challenging to keep readers engaged with fresh topics. While it is possible in today’s times to identify trending keywords, building relevant content around these keywords without being repetitive is a demanding task. There are a couple of tools that can take the pinch of identifying topics for content creation.
The free BuzzSumo tool comes in handy to analyse the popularity of content (images, videos, infographics, articles, etc.) over a given time frame and identify trending topics of interest. AnswerThePublic is yet another free tool for finding article topics and new keywords.
Duplicate content on the website most likely will erode its reputation, and SERP ranking as well. The paid SEO software KillDuplicate helps detect content duplication across the website as well as outside the site, making it possible for site owners to steer clear of accidental plagiarism and stick to original content.
Monitoring URL Changes
URL changes, though not recommended, happen for several reasons. Such changes must be consistent throughout the website, including robot.txt and other files, to ensure that all links are redirected to the revised URL. Oseox Monitoring is a useful software tool that not only monitors specified URLs for changes but also sends out email intimations when there are any changes to preset criteria. It is possible to track one URL using a free version of this software.
Search Engine Perspective
While it is imperative that websites focus on user-friendly and relevant content, occasionally slipping into Google’s shoes will help webmasters understand how the search engine looks at the site. Using the Google Search Console can help pro-actively detect and resolve possible errors, optimize the site in terms of structure, content and other SEO elements, and increase traffic.
Crawler software tools like Screaming Frog, Scrape Box, etc. are particularly useful to rake up additional bits of information about the website, making it possible to further analyse data in better detail.
It is important to note that free tools are likely to offer just essential features, and tend to have limitations on the number of keywords, sites, etc. There are a few exceptions though. The key here is to use a suitable combination of free tools as necessary to get a better understanding of the website’s status. Paid SEO tools are likely to prove expensive initially, but usually offer a range of features that enable accurate analysis.
The choice is indeed wide and it is important to settle for one or more of these SEO tools based on specific needs and budgets in order to ensure and sustain a prominent SERP ranking.