12 Tools to Improve Your Search Engine Ranking
Organic search traffic is highly desirable. You know, when someone types in the phrase about what you do, and you show up at the top of Google, that’s worth a great deal to your business. So your search engine ranking matters. Even if you’re not a web developer or someone managing the day-to-day progress of your website, you may be wise to learn a few of the key website management tools available. That way, you won’t be bamboozled by SEO “Snake Oil Salesmen” (SOSs), or perhaps your own IT person/department. Understanding these tools will help you make informed decisions for your business, from where to invest resources to who your customers really are. Here are 12+ tools to help improve your search engine ranking.
1. Google Analytics
How can you determine if your digital marketing strategy and tactics are working? You need Google Analytics (or Clicky, listed below) to track traffic volume, sources and audience. It’s free and fairly easy to implement.
Not a Google fan? Here’s your best option for traffic analysis: Clicky. Same idea – you add a little code snippet to your website and monitor via a dashboard.
3. Google Webmaster Tools
One of the must-have elements to improve your search engine ranking is Google Webmaster Tools, which gives insights about how Google sees your site and provides a way to identify trouble spots on your site.
4. Bing Webmaster Tools
Don’t forget about the “second place” search engine from Microsoft, especially if you’re selling business-to-business (B2B). Bing is used in many corporate environments and by many Microsoft 365 (Office & Hotmail) users.
Want a Jedi view of your competitors’ SEO and PPC programs? Check out SpyFu and you’ll know almost everything! SpyFu shows organic and paid keywords for sites you specify, so you can see what is working for your industry.
SEMRush is a paid service similar to SpyFu. If you want a birds’ eye view of how you and your rivals are doing, SEMRush illuminates traffic patterns, audience and marketing direction. Note, SEMRush works best for sites with decent traffic. You can steal some keyword ideas or find places to market you hadn’t considered (fish where the fish are…).
7. Google Keyword Planner
If you have (or want) a Google AdWords account, Google’s Keyword Planner is free to use. Keyword Planner helps you research how much traffic keywords get (we use this as an informal way to research and verify ideas for blog posts). It’s certainly not accurate, but it can help locate potential traffic sources.
Moz, a paid search engine optimization service, is a fountain of information that helps ‘reverse engineer’ Google’s search algorithm. Using any number of tools within Moz, you can pinpoint what you should be doing to maximize your site traffic. Using the add-on Moz Toolbar, for example, you can find out how competitive target keywords are, and even more important, why the sites rank.
10. Broken Link Checker
You may choose from many different tools to do so, but DEFINITELY check for broken links with something like Broken Link Checker. You can find plugins in WordPress, simple sites like Broken Link Check for quick results, or more comprehensive site management tools like AHREFS to detect issues.
11. Google Page Speed Insights
If your site takes an eternity to load, you’ll have a higher bounce rate. Not sure? Try checking performance with a page speed analysis tool such as Page Speed Insights – have your developer optimize images, add caching, restructure pages, or anything else you need to make your site load faster and deliver a better user experience. Another alternative to Google is GTMetrix.
12. Google Optimize
Although it won’t increase overall traffic, to improve results from your website, you should consider running split tests. Google Optimize allows you to run website experiments to test variations of web pages to see how they perform. Optimize tracks the results of your experiments to help you determine which variant is best. Many paid alternatives are available, including Optimizely and VRO.
Time to Improve Your Search Engine Ranking
Consider that there are over 400 million active websites. Using these mostly-free tools, you have a good chance of improving your search engine ranking (hey we’re in the top 100 million now!). Those organic visitors mean more people can learn about you. More visitors create more opportunities. And that traffic to your website can have a tremendous impact on your business. Start with an audit of your site metrics and work on the easiest fixes first. As you grow, do more. Before you know it, you’ll be cracking the top million or top hundred thousand or top hundred…