If you are a search engine marketer, there are a lot of tools available to you. While there are definitely some quality paid SEM tools, there are also a lot of great search engine marketing tools that are absolutely free. Because it can be overwhelming for a search engine marketer who is just getting started to narrow down which of the free tools will best help them perform their job, I thought I would share with you the five free tools that I have found to be the most useful. I use each of these five free tools on a regular basis, and if you are not already using all of them, I highly recommend that you start today!
Google AdWords Keyword Tool: Because Google plays a huge role in any search engine marketers work (and they have a lot of data to offer), I find that free tools like the AdWords Keyword Tool are extremely useful. If you are working on a PPC campaign for AdWords, this tool can give you a quick glance at the type of competition you will face from other advertisers for specific keywords.
In addition to its uses for PPC marketing, I have found that this tool is very useful for working on an organic campaign. When you are working on optimizing a website for organic traffic, you may think you know the keywords that your target audience is searching with, but in many cases, using this tool will show you that they are actually using other keywords more commonly. By taking a look at the data this tool provides, you can adjust your organic optimization efforts accordingly.
There are two main ways to use this free tool. The first is to gather data for a set of SERPs. When you perform a search in Google or Yahoo, you can customize this tool to show everything from the Google cache date to the number of backlinks to the Compete ranking for each of the results that appears. If you want more information about a piece of data for a specific result, you can just click the link and it will take you there (for example, clicking the Compete link under a specific result will take you to that website’s Compete graph).
The second way to use this tool is for evaluating specific websites. If you are on a website and want to take a look at its SEO data, you can do so with two quick clicks. Just like with the other method, if you want to get a more detailed look at a specific piece of data, you can double-click it and you will be taken there.
Google Insights for Search: This is another free but extremely valuable tool that Google offers. With this tool, you can not only get search volume data on specific search terms, but you can use the tool’s filters to really narrow down your results. If you are doing any sort of local SEM or search engine marketing that is specific to a certain region, this tool can provide you with very valuable insights.
Another feature that I like about this tool is the Rising Searches data. There have been several occasions when I was doing research on a keyword, and thanks to the Rising Searches data I found, I was able to expand the audience of a blog or website by targeting new (but tightly related) search terms.
ROI Calculator: Whether you have done a lot of PPC marketing or are just getting involved in this area of search engine marketing, one of the most important metrics for measuring the success (or failure) of a PPC campaign is ROI (which stands for Return on Investment). While a term like ROI can seem intimidating at first, thanks to this very simple ROI Calculator, you can calculate your ROI in no time.
With this easy to use calculator, all you need to do is enter your total monthly clicks, estimated average CPC (Cost per Click), the conversion rate of your campaign and the average profit of each conversion that you make, and this calculator will produce your ROI. Whether you are getting into the world of affiliate marketing or are using PPC to sell your own product, working on improving your ROI can allow you to greatly increase the profitability of your PPC spending.
If you do a lot of PPC marketing, I highly recommend checking out the other tools (many of which are free) at the PPC Blog.
SEO Digger: This nice tool comes in quite handy when you are evaluating your competitors (it can also be used to evaluate your own website or to take a better look at a website you are thinking about buying). All you have to do is enter a domain into this tool, and it will provide you with a list of the keywords that the domain is ranking for, along with the website’s position in Google for each of those keywords.
While you can still use the tool without signing up (however, it limits you to 5 searches per hour), by signing up for a free SEO Digger account, you will have access to the following features:
-Check URLs and whole domains (with all internal pages)
-Quantity of checked pages – unlimited
-Restriction on domains. It is possible to up to 10 domains per hour (for the same reasons)
I’m sure there are other free SEM tools that you use which aren’t listed in this post, so feel free to tell us more about them in the comments area!