When a small business owner tells me their website isn’t producing leads and they feel as though their SEO (or lack of) may be the culprit, I put on my investigation hat and get to work – well, I more or less pour myself a cuppa, put on my glasses and get my nerd on. Find out what SEO tools a website designer like me uses on a client’s website to get more leads and rank in Google searches!
What is SEO, I hear some of you asking?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization”. In simple terms, it means the process of improving and adjusting your website to increase its visibility when people search for products/services related to your business in search engines, such as Google. The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you are to attract prospective and existing customers to your website.
As a good rule of thumb, SEO comes down to ensuring you have quality content, from using short and long-tail keywords that can generate qualified traffic to your website, to making your site friendly to search engines, to building links and marketing the unique value of your site. In layman terms, this means writing plenty of compelling copy that is informative and answers the searcher’s queries.
The down-low on the best free SEO tools to improve your website
Regardless of whether you think your SEO is working for your business or not, it’s always a good idea to run your website through some SEO tools regularly. There are so many free SEO tools out there that will provide you with insights and actions you can take to improve your SEO and improve how your small business ranks in Google searches.
Here are some free SEO tools that I use regularly for my client’s websites.
SEMrush is an all-in-one digital marketing program that has an abundance of tools for your small business. The SEO tools offered in their free membership definitely pack a punch! A couple of the features include identifying industry trends within your niche and an on-page SEO site audits which allows you to understand optimize your page for better lead generation.
Semrush also has a robust keyword research tool, which compares your competitor’s keywords and provides related phrases to help your small business website rank higher than your competitors.
Google Chrome Developer Tools
If your internet browser is Google Chrome, you can right-click anywhere on your website and click ‘Inspect’, which brings up Google Chrome Developer Tools.
Once you have ‘Inspect’ open, find your way to the ‘Application’ tab, go to the ‘Frames’ section and then open the ‘Images’ folder. This will show you all the images on the website page, including the name of the file and size.
Big images can really damage your SEO, so if there are any large images, be sure to crop them to the correct size and compress them as much as possible. Along with naming the files and adding meta data, you’re on your way to better SEO for your website.
Google PageSpeed Insights
It’s no big secret that Google is not a fan of slow websites, and I can hands down say that humans are not a fan either. Waiting for a webpage to load is not fun, and if it takes any more than a few seconds to load, I’m generally outta there!
In my experience Google PageSpeed Insights is a great tool to give you an indication on your website’s performance. This gauges your pages performance and core web vitals stats, which provides an overall performance score and a list of suggested actions for improvement. This free tool will provide you with a list of issues that are negatively impacting your business’ website speed, so you know where the issues lie and can fix them asap.
Broken link checker
Another SEO website tool used frequently by a website designer like me is a broken link checker. When a user visits a URL that can’t be found on a server, their browser shows them error a code 404 (file not found). Broken links are a sign of a poorly managed website (oh dear!) and need to be fixed quick-stick.
Fix any identified issues either by updating the target URL, removing the link or using 301 redirects. I use a handy broken link checker that is aptly named Dead Link Checker. It is a great tool to run over your site and pick up any broken links so you can get to work fixing them.
Mobile friendly testing tool
If you are not serving a mobile-friendly experience with responsive design and dynamic serving, you will find that your organic visibility suffers because of this. You can test your site’s mobile-friendliness with Google’s free Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
More and more, customers are using their mobile phones, rather than a desktop computer, to access the web. Your website design needs to be mobile friendly to ensure that your pages perform well across all devices – we need your small business running at its optimum!
Need a bit more of an SEO boost on your website?
I hope this list of SEO website tools used by a website designer have provided a much-needed kick to your small business website. For those looking for a more comprehensive guide, I have created an SEO eGuide checklist that is broken down into key areas to ensure you are ticking the box when it comes to SEO. It includes:
– An introduction to SEO and why it is important for your business.
– A holistic strategy that is explained in detail, that you can work through at your own pace.
– Interactive check boxes to tick off your SEO tasks as you complete them.
– Lots of links to free, helpful resources.
– A high resolution pdf that you can read on your device or print out.