Search engine optimization helps your blog get found by engaged, high quality readers. These 10 tools for bloggers will help you increase your search engine rankings.
In the past, SEO was all about link building and technical stuff like site structure. Today, SEO is all about quality content and engagement. That’s great news for bloggers! If you create content that people want to read and share, and optimize it for search engines, you have everything you need to succeed! Here are the 10 free tools for bloggers that can help you:
Yoast is a WordPress SEO tool for bloggers that easily helps you optimize your blog content for search engines. After you install Yoast’s WordPress plugin, it opens a new section in your new post pages. Yoast’s SEO tool lets you research focus keywords and see how you are doing in terms of content.
For example, it shows you whether your keyword appears enough times in your titles, URL and content. This serves as helpful reminder to check that you did not forget adding your keywords to any section of the page.
Furthermore, Yoast is one of those tools for bloggers that lets you add SEO titles and Meta Description to your pages. This is the title and descriptions Google may pick up when your page is shown on the search engine results page. This text is crucially important as it is practically the advertisement to your content on Google’s results page. Another great feature is the Snippet Preview that lets you see how your page looks like on the results page.
Overall, Yoast is a free SEO tool for bloggers that you can’t’ do without, if you use WordPress as your blogging platform.
2. Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner was actually designed to help paid AdWords advertisers. However, it is also very useful tool for bloggers to understand the popularity of search terms and whether they convert. To access the tool, you’ll need to open an AdWords account and click on Keyword Planner at the top menu.
When you type a keyword in the search box, you get a wealth of information at your fingertips:
- Search term and related keyword. You can find your search term as well as related keyword that you may never have thought about, but would make great topics for a blog post in the future and will attract more relevant traffic.
- Average monthly searches. This is the number of estimated searches performed per month. You can narrow this number down by choosing specific geographies.
- Competition. This section can tell you whether your search term has a lot of advertising bidding for it on paid search. It may also suggest that when paid competition is high, organic search competition would also be high.
- Suggested bid. Again, this is the suggested bid for Paid Search. However, higher bids may suggest that this term attracts traffic that converts (as people are willing to pay more for it).
Google Keyword Planner is a great free SEO tool for bloggers. It can help you discover and prioritize keywords for blog posts in order to attract relevant traffic.
3. SEO Book Keyword Tool
SEO Book Keyword Tool is another great tool for bloggers for discovering and prioritizing blog keywords. It is similar to Google’s Keyword Planning tools, but also gives you traffic estimates from Bing and Yahoo! Here is how you can leverage this free blog SEO tool:
- Search box. Here is where you type your blog keyword to start your research.
- Keywords. This section contains a lot of suggestions for keywords ranked according to their overall traffic. Typically, the more specific or “long tail” the keyword is, the lower traffic it would have.
- Monthly searches. Here is the expected traffic per month.
- Daily searches. Expected daily traffic.
- CPC. This is the cost per click, if you use paid search. Again, higher bids may suggest higher quality traffic from this keyword.
Note that higher traffic is not always better. The more specific a keyword is, the lower the traffic it is expected to have. However, you are much more likely to be able to rank well for specific keywords.
4. Open Site Explorer
Open Site Explorer is a free SEO tool for bloggers that helps you research your blog against your competitors on SEO metrics such as links and authority. It builds on Google’s ranking system that rewards pages with links from other authoritative pages. Basically, to rank well, you need links from pages with lots of other pages linking to them.
Here is how you can use Open Site Explorer tool for bloggers to get insights on your blog and on your competitors:
- Search box. Use this to type the URL of your blog or of your competitors.
- Domain Authority. This is a measure of the number of links to your domain in general. The more links to your domain, the easier it would be for you to rank higher.
- Page Authority. This measures how likely your page is to rank well according to the number of links directing to this URL. The more links you get, the higher your likelihood to rank well.
- Just Discovered. Measures new links to your websites that are younger than 60 days.
- Established Links. Links to your page that are older than 60 days. You can see here both the number of root domains linking to your page and the total number of links.
- Title and URL of Linking Page. These contain the title and the URL of the page where the link to your site was found. This is important as it influences whether this link is relevant to your content.
Open Site Explorer is a valuable tool for bloggers and can help you optimize your linking strategy as well as research your competitors.
5. Quicksprout Website Analyzer Tool for Bloggers
Quicksprout offers a nifty little tool for bloggers to help you figure out whether your blog is SEO optimized. This tool covers:
- Structural elements such as title, meta and alt tags.
- Site speed tests as well as conversion and content optimization.
- Links and social shares.
This tool for bloggers gives you lots of useful information about your blog and your competitors and allows you to get a comprehensive analysis on how to improve rankings. To start using the tool, all you have to do is:
- URL search box. Type your URL or your competitors’ URL in the search box.
- View the analysis. Click on Website Analyzer to start reviewing your website analysis.
Quicksprout is a great free tool for bloggers. In addition to the tool for bloggers, the site founder Neil Patel has a very strong blog containing great SEO and blogging advice.
6. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is not an SEO tool for bloggers per se. However, Google is moving from the classic “page rank” model, based on your incoming links, to a model that also takes engagement into account. Google’s aim is to identify web spam – low quality content that only aims to attract traffic. Therefore, if you have good engagement for your content, you are safe there.
There are three main metrics that you should analyze in order to understand engagement:
- Pages / Session. This metrics tells you whether your content was interesting enough for users to click and move to another page on your website. The higher number of pages per session, the higher your engagement is.
- Ave. Session Duration. This is the amount of time that users spent on your website. Engaged users should spend more than 3 minutes per post on average.
- Bounce Rate. Bounce rate measures the share of users who visited a single page on your website and left. This is a critical number – high bounce rate means that people are either disappointed by your content or that they find it irrelevant.
There are plenty of other reports and tools for bloggers in Google Analytics that are helpful for bloggers. In-depth knowledge of Google Analytics metrics and reports is a great advantage for every blogger.
7. Majestic SEO
Majestic SEO is a tool for bloggers that gives you an in-depth look on the number of inbound links for your website. While similar to Open Site Explorer, Majestic SEO provides a few additional metrics to consider:
- Trust flow. This measures the traffic that your website generates from referring URLs. Basically, this is a measure of the strength of your referring traffic. The aim here is to check whether your links generate traffic to your website.
- Citation flow. The number of backlinks your web page gets from other websites.
- External backlinks. The total number of backlinks your webpage gets.
- Referring domains. This is the number of domains with backlinks. 100 links from the same website count less than 100 links from 100 different websites.
Majestic SEO is a great tool for bloggers for link research for your blog and for competitor blogs. You can use it as stand alone or to complement some of the metrics from Open Site Explorer.
8. Google Trends
A great blogging advice is to always write about topics that people want to read about. But how do you know what people are interested in? This is what Google Trends is all about. Google Trends is a great free tool for bloggers to research search trends over time.
There is a lot of useful information that you can get, including:
- Search trends over time. How search volume changes. Is it seasonal or steady? Apple, for example, experiences high search activity during the launch of new product, as you can see from the first chart.
- Location of search activity. Where are searchers coming from? This shows you trends by geographic location.
Use Google Trends to find great keywords to blog about, specifically those that are moving up on the popularity trend. Google Trends can help you get more in-depth insights about keywords and is a great tool for every blogger.
9. SEM Rush tool for bloggers
SEM Rush is another great tool for bloggers that provides loads of data on websites and blogs. You can use it in order to detect estimated traffic trends, paid search activity and organic search traffic to your website or to competitor websites. You can use SEM Rush to find new keywords that drive traffic to your competitors as well as those that were completely under your radar.
Here is what you can learn by using the SEM Rush tool:
- Estimated traffic figures. What is the rank and traffic of the website and what are the major traffic sources?
- Estimated traffic trends. So what is the traffic of your competitors? SEM Rush will help you find that out.
- Organic search by geographic location. Analyze where organic traffic is coming from.
- Paid search keywords. Discover what keywords your competitors are bidding on. In this example, BuzzFeed does not use any paid search.
- Organic vs. paid search. What portion of the traffic is coming from paid search as compared to the portion of the traffic that arrives from organic search.
- Top organic keywords. Find out the top organic keywords and the traffic that they drive. This is great competitive intelligence that helps you target the keywords that drive traffic to your competitors.
- Ads keywords. Find out the top paid keywords that are driving traffic to your competitor’s website.
Overall, SEM Rush has tons of useful information and stats that can help every blogger target more effective keywords. This free tool for bloggers also contains plenty of information that can help you get started.
10. Copyscape unique content tool
Google values original and unique content. However, sometimes people may copy your content, or you may have duplicate content on your website that may damage your rankings. Copyscape is a valuable tool for bloggers to helps you find duplicate content on the web.
Here is what you get in the free version:
- Type your webpage and search for duplicate content.
- Your results will show whether your content is unique or whether it was copied. Searches on Ari showed that the content is unique.
Copyscape is a great tool for bloggers to detect plagiarism. You invest money, time and effort in creating your content, so make sure that it does not get stolen.
SEO used to be about link building and tricking the Google algorithm. However, nowadays, SEO is all about unique quality content. This change rewards bloggers who can create useful and relevant content that caters to visitors’ needs and interests. The 10 awesome tools for bloggers outlined above will help make your great content easy to find on search engines.