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27 Simple and Free SEO Tools to Instantly Improve Your Marketing [Updated for 2021]

Kevan Lee
Kevan Lee VP of Marketing @ Buffer
27 Simple and Free SEO Tools to Instantly Improve Your Marketing [Updated for 2021]
Summary

10 min read
You will learn

Summary

Check out our list of the best free SEO tools that can boost your organic rankings on Google & Bing and can lead to immediate gains in your marketing today.

You will learn

  • The best free tools to upgrade your SEO
  • Tools to help you uncover new keyword opportunities
  • Tools that will check your backlinks

Whenever I dream up a home improvement project for my place, I end up working smartest and fastest when I have the right tools at my disposal. It’s amazing the difference a good tool can make – and the extra time it takes to get work done without a helpful tool.

Fast-forward to online marketing. How can you work smarter and faster with SEO?

It starts with having the right tools.

I’ve collected a big sampling of the best free SEO tools on the market—tools with a wide variety of uses and covering a number of common needs. These tools are fast, free, and easy-to-use. I hope you find one or two (or twenty) you can put to good use, today.

1. Google PageSpeed Insights

Check the speed and usability of your site on multiple devices

Limitations: None

Enter a URL and this tool will test the loading time and performance for that URL on desktop and mobile. It then grades your site’s performance on a score from 0 - 100. It tells you exactly how fast it takes to load the site according to different metrics, and also suggests areas for improvements.

Alternatives:Pingdom, WebPageTest, and GTMetrix

2. Ahrefs Webmaster Tools

Run a technical audit of your site

Limitations: 5,000 crawl credits per project per month

Sign up for Ahrefs Webmaster Tools, verify your website and you’ll be able to audit your website for over 100+ technical SEO issues. The tool also gives suggestions on how to fix them.

After running an audit, it also suggests areas where you can improve your internal linking, which is helpful in boosting your rankings in search engines.

This tool also allows you to see your site’s organic keyword rankings as well as who’s linking to you.

Alternatives:Screaming Frog (audit), Beam Us Up (audit)

3. Answer the Public

Hundreds of keyword ideas based on a single keyword

Limitations: Two free searches per day

Enter any relevant keyword, and Answer the Public will provide a huge list of long-tail keyword opportunities, plus common questions asked.

Alternatives: KeywordTool.io, UberSuggest, Keyword Sheeter, Keyword Generator

4. Google Analytics

Complete web stats and search insights

Limitations: No limitations for its usage, but queries that are sending you organic traffic are hidden

Quite possibly the most powerful free analytics tool available, Google Analytics tracks pretty much every bit of traffic you can imagine on your website—where it comes from, which page is receiving it and so on.

While it’s not purely for SEO, it’s still a helpful tool to track if you’re getting traffic from organic search.

However, Google Analytics has since stopped showing which keywords are sending you those traffic. You’ll have to pair it with a tool like Keyword Hero to uncover what’s behind “(not provided).”

Alternatives:Matomo, Open Web Analytics, and Clicky

5. Google Search Console

Constant website analysis, alerts, and error reports

Limitations: Only shows a handful of technical SEO issues, the top 1,000 backlinks and top 1,000 organic keywords

Google Search Console gives you a taste of what the most used search engine thinks of your website. You can use it to check and fix technical issues on your website, see important SEO data like clicks, impressions and average ranking position, submit sitemaps and more.

If ranking in search engines like Bing and Yandex are important to you, then take note that they have their own “search console” too.

Alternatives:Bing Webmaster Tools, Yandex Webmaster Tools

Comprehensive link analysis

Limitations: Free for the top 100 backlinks

The free version of Ahrefs’ Backlink Checker shows the top 100 backlinks to any website or URL, along with the total number of backlinks and referring domains (links from unique sites), Domain Rating (DR), and URL Rating (UR) where applicable.

A great way to use this tool is to paste your competitor’s website and find potential link building opportunities.

Alternatives: Moz Link Explorer

7. Google Ads Keyword Planner

Know what people search for

Limitations: You’ll need to run an ad campaign to see exact search volumes

Enter a keyword or group of keywords into the tool, and Google Keyword Planner will return all sorts of helpful stats to guide your keyword strategy: monthly search volume, competition, and even suggested terms you might not have considered.

Alternatives:Bing Keyword Planner

8. SERPSim

Preview how your web pages will look in Google’s search results

Limitations: None

See how your meta title and description will appear in the search results before you even publish your web page. Works for desktop and mobile.

Check for truncation issues and fix them instantly.

Alternatives: Portent's SERP Preview Tool

See the relative search popularity of topics

Limitations: None

Google Trends shows the popular search terms over time, which is useful for uncovering seasonal variations in search popularity amongst other things. Compare multiple terms to see the relative popularity.

10. Ahrefs’ SEO toolbar

Check the broken links, redirect chains, nofollow links and on-page elements for any webpage

Limitations: Technical and on-page SEO features are free, but you’ll need an Ahrefs account to see SEO metrics within the SERPs

The Ahrefs SEO toolbar is a free Chrome and Firefox extension that allows you to check for broken links, trace redirect chains and highlight nofollow links for any webpage. It also generates an on-page SEO report that includes the webpage’s:

  • Title
  • Meta description
  • Word count
  • Headers
  • Hreflang tags
  • Canonicals
  • OG tags

This makes analyzing any page much easier and faster.

If you have access to a paid Ahrefs account, you’ll also be able to see important keyword metrics like search volume, CPC and keyword difficulty within the SERPs.

Alternatives:Detailed SEO Extension, SEO Minion, LinkMiner (broken links), Ayima Redirect Path (redirect tracing)

11. Moz Local Listing Score

See how your local business looks online

Limitations: Data is only available for three countries: US, Canada & UK

Moz crunches data from more than 10 different sources—including Google, Yelp, and Facebook—to score your brick-and-mortar business on how it looks online. Results come complete with actionable fixes for inconsistent or incomplete listings.

12. Yoast SEO

Optimize your blog posts for search engines

Limitations: Some data limitations, which you can unlock via a premium account

Enter the main keyword for your blog post and Yoast SEO will suggest how to tweak your blog post to optimize it for search engines.

Alternatives: Rank Math, All in One SEO Pack, The SEO Framework

13. JSON-LD Schema Generator For SEO

Customize how your web pages appear in the search results

Limitations: None

Create custom code so that your reviews, events, organizations, and people are displayed the way you want in Google’s search results. Once you’ve created your schema code, copy and paste into your website.

Then, use the next tool to check if the implementation has been done correctly.

Alternatives:Merkle’s Schema Markup Generator

14. Classy Schema Structured Data Viewer

Check if your structured data was implemented correctly

Limitations: None

Always double check to make sure you’re implementing the technical aspects of SEO right. Use this tool to see if your structured data/schema markup was done correctly.

Alternatives: Google Structured Data Testing Tool (deprecating soon), Google’s Rich Results Test (currently does not test for all possible schema markups)

15. SimilarWeb

View site stats for any domain

Limitations: You’ll need a paid account to see every data point, but the free version is good enough to get a snapshot of your competitor’s activity

Use this tool to estimate how much traffic a website gets. See a breakdown of traffic sources, locations, and more. A helpful tool for competitor research.

16. SERP Robot

See your ranking position for up to five keywords

Limitations: None

Enter any website or web page and up to five keywords to see where you rank for each of them. Check your competitors’ rankings too.

17. XML Sitemaps

Create a sitemap

Limitations: Free up to 500 pages

Simply enter your site’s URL and some optional parameters, and XML Sitemaps will create a sitemap that you can upload to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.

18. Robots.txt Generator

Generate a robots.txt for your site

Limitations: None

Robots.txt files let the web robots know what to do with a website’s pages. When a page is disallowed in robots.txt, that’s instructions telling the robots to completely skip over those web pages.

Alternatives: YellowPipe’s Robots.txt Generator

19. Copyscape

Check for duplicate content

Limitations: Only the top 10 results are shown

Enter a URL for a blog post or website, and Copyscape can tell you where else that content exists online. You might find results that you’ll need to follow-up with to help get your SEO in order.

20. Google Alerts

Get alerted of any online mentions of your brand, product or company

Limitations: None

Enter your brand, company or product name and Google will send you an email if it finds any webpage mentioning those terms.

21. Screaming Frog SEO Log File Analyser

Upload and analyze your log files

Limitations: Up to 1,000 lines

If you’re interested to find out what Googlebot is doing on your site, you can look into your website’s log files. Screaming Frog’s Log File Analyser allows you to do that for free.

Alternatives: SEOlyzer

22. Exploding Topics

Discover the hottest trends

Limitations: None

SEOs often target topics with high search volume, but that means targeting topics that are already popular. What if you could find and target topics right before they hit the mainstream?

Use this tool to do that.

Alternatives: Glimpse, Treendly

23. The Hreflang Tags Generator Tool

Generate hreflang tags for your multi-language/multi-country site

Limitations: None

If your site targets different countries or different languages, you’ll need to set up your hreflang tags properly. Unfortunately, it’s quite easy to mess up, which can cause issues for your site.

Enter your site’s URL, the language and country of the URL and the tool will generate the necessary hreflang annotations for you.

24. Keyword Surfer

See search volumes and CPC data within the SERPs

Limitations: None

Install this free Chrome extension and you’ll be able to see search volumes and CPC data for any keyword you enter into Google. You’ll also see suggested keyword ideas that are related to your query.

Alternatives: WMS Everywhere

25. Google Mobile-Friendly Test

Check your site’s mobile-friendliness

Limitations: None

Enter any URL and this tool will tell you if it’s mobile-friendly. It also tells you what went wrong and what you need to fix.

26. Website Authority Checker

Check your website’s Domain Rating

Limitations: None

Enter your URL and see the Domain Rating (DR) of your website. Generally speaking, the higher the number, the more authoritative your website.

A high DR has been shown to correlate positively with higher Google rankings.

Alternatives: Moz’s Domain SEO Analysis Tool

Create a link for customers to review your business on Google

Customer reviews are important for local SEO purposes. This tool allows you to create a shareable link for customers to review your business on Google.

Further resources

Putting together a list of free SEO tools can be a daunting task. There are hundreds out there! I aimed to grab the ones that we’ve found valuable here at Buffer and the ones you can use via the web within minutes to get some amazing insights.

If you’re interested in even more tools—here are a few places to start:

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to SEO — an overview of what you might be able to do with these tools

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