Updated for 2018
You might be a one man band, a lean start up or an SEO working within a marketing team. Either way you understand the importance of a solid strategy and the right tools to do the heavy lifting. It just makes it even easier if that tool is free! Below are 105 SEO tools that are either free or have free trials to pro versions to check out before you buy. We found most free SEO resources online were generally outdated, contained broken links or recommended sources that have since been hit with Google penalties. We hope this toolkit serves you well in your 2016 SEO efforts. To get the most out of a free trial there are a few things you should think about:
- Plan beforehand what you want to use the tool for and have your information prepared. Want to check on your competitors? Get a list of URLs together first. Most of the tools have export functions so make sure you extract all the data that you can before the end of your trial so that you can spend time analyzing it after.
- Some of the tools which have free trials require payment information. Make sure that you set a reminder to consider whether you want to continue the subscription after the free trial has ended to avoid paying for a service you do not intend to carry on using.
So much resource is used on driving traffic to a website through SEO and other methods but Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is just as important. Are you enhancing the customer journey after they have clicked through to your site from Google? Here are some of the best tools for A/B testing out there.
This tool allows you to see what users are doing on your site through heat maps. Crazy Egg is very limited in scope for testing but it does have a simplistic interface that produces very easy to digest visual data. 30 day trials are available for all their price plans.
Sign up as a community member (reciprocal testing) and you can gain free tests on this site. The Five Second Test will help you tune your landing pages and calls to action by having testers view your site for five seconds and answer the questions you’ve set. Keywords from the feedback are collated in a graphed report too.
Once you have learned the basics of Google Analytics you can use its extensive data pool to conduct A/B testing. Google Analytics allows you to split test different pages by using the ‘content experiments’ function. This is a 100% free option that is integrated nicely with other analytics features but it does have the drawback of having a steep learning curve.
This has a highly intuitive interface and easy for new users to get to grips with it. Optimizely has a 30 day free trial but it has entry level plans are extremely affordable. For someone starting out with A/B tests this might be your best bet and as your needs grow you can access Optimizely’s more advanced features at its higher tiers.
Unbounce is arguably the king of landing page optimisation. They offer a host of pre-made landing page templates that can be easily customized by dragging and dropping page elements. Technical knowledge needed for this is minimal and you can also A/B test these pages. Although Unbounce is limited to purely landing pages it does this one job very well. There is a 30 day trial available for Unbounce.
VWO offers a 30 day free trial to its full suite of testing tools. It may have a higher monthly cost than Optimizely ($49 per month) but it does offer more at that price point which includes multivariate testing, targeting, usability tests and heat maps. It also includes an idea generation tool.
Analysing your data regularly ensures that you can keep track of what your site visitors are doing, how they are engaging with you and what possible pain points there might be.
Wordsmith for Marketing is an app that produces fully automated, customized reports based on Google Analytics data. The reports include narratives and helpful charts showing how their websites perform against their goals, with sections detailing paid, owned, and earned efforts, and much more. You can sign up for a free report.
Chartbeat is a very visual appealing real time statistical website analytics tool. You can get a 30 day free trial and check out your page-by-page level stats as well as a social view tool which shows real time Twitter and Facebook interactions. This tool is more for users who want real time stats rather than historical data.
Followerwonk is a great Moz app that provides Twitter Analytics so that you can track your followers. This is really useful for outreach and general social media engagement.
Google Analytics is the industry standard when it comes to web analytics from analysing visitor demographics and tracing traffic sources to flow visualisation and event tracking.
This great tool gives you a graphical and interactive way to see which influences are talking with each other on Twitter.
Open Web Analytics is another open source web analytics software that is free if hosted on your own server. It has features that Google Analytics does not have such as click heatmaps and mouse movement recording. Possible downsides to Open Web Analytics is that it can take time to install.
Piwik is a web analytics solution that is open source and must be hosted on your own server for it to be free. You can track multiple websites, customize your dashboard and also access your reports using both Android and iOS apps. Hosting on your own server is free but the Cloud version has a 30 day free trial. Piwik is very similar to Google Analytics.
This pleasant free website analyser gives a great overview of everything from SEO optimization to displaying your most socially shared content.
StatCounter is 100% free and very easy to setup and use. It is basic, lightweight and a nice alternative for someone who doesn’t want something too technical.
Just enter your domain and chosen database e.g. Google.com and the tool will use SEMrush organic traffic data to display a handy graph with each Google Panda and Penguin update to see which one your website may have been hit by. It is completely free to use and does not require access to your own analytics software or website.
Woopra offers a 30 day free trial to its website analytics software which offers real time reporting, detailed customer profiles and funnel reports to check for conversion issues. Woopra may be a bit overwhelming for beginners but it has extensive documentation.
This free analytics tool is a must for any YouTube publisher as it offers video specific data for YouTube videos.
Get an insight into your competitors with these free tools. Do they have software you don’t? What are their traffic sources? Use these tools to find out!
BuiltWith is a free tool that allows you to lift the curtain on a competitor’s website and see what technology is being used. The free technology profile will allow you to see information like what hosting provider, content management system, frameworks and what widgets are being used just to name a few.
Use the Ghostery browser extension (available for Firefox, Chrome, IE, Opera and Safari) allows you to see over 1900 ad networks that could be in play on a web page. This is completely free and it can be used to work out what ad campaign strategies as competitor is using.
A substantial amount of information is provided by SimilarWeb (for free) on the site and as a downloadable PDF. Stick in a competitor URL and receive information such as engagement, traffic sources, geography search traffic and referring sites. Going pro unlocks more information but the free version provides a wealth of knowledge.
Take a peek at what tech some of the best software companies in the world are using. See which tools they are implementing and how they are using them.
Who really runs that review website? Find out the registration details and contact information for any domain by using this Whois Lookup tool.
Whether you are producing content for your own website or as part of an outreach strategy, these free tools will help greatly with content conception, creation and strategy.
This is a very clever free tool created by Built Visible and can help generate a content ideas. The tool is in the form of a Google doc. Make sure you are logged in and make a copy of the tool. Enter your keyword in the cell indicated and a list of related content from around the web is generated.
Copyscape is a free plagiarism and duplicate content checker. You no longer have to worry if your content is original.
If you need data for reports, research or infographics, Google Public Data pulls information from a vast array of public sources.
Raven offers a 30 day trail to its suite of tools which include SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing tools as well as automated custom branded reports.
This free web based tool is a quick way to clean text and remove formatting when copying and pasting between applications. This also works on tablet and mobile devices.
Word to clean html is a free converter tool for documents produced by Word and similar software and strips out things like empty paragraphs and proprietary tags for easy copy and pasting for use in web pages.
Need some visual word inspiration? Paste in words or a blog post URL and create a word cloud visualization.
Make a habit of running diagnostic tools on your website. Problems can go unnoticed for a long time without adequate investigation.
Google Webmaster Tools
If you want to check that you have a healthy Google-friendly website, Webmaster Tools is the place for you. The interface has all the data and diagnostics to check your websites status. Best of all this web service is completely free.
The free version of the Screaming Frog SEO Spider desktop tool will allow you to crawl and collect data on 500 URLs. It will uncover a whole host of errors from duplicate pages and missing page titles to server errors and URI issues.
Generate a free technical SEO audit report for any domain.
Email is important in any outreach and link building campaign. Check out these free tools to help the process. We use Sidekick in the FE International office.
Boomerang is an e-mail tracker and scheduler that can be used in conjunction with Gmail and Google Apps email. You can get a 30 day free trial of Boomerang Professional or the Basic version is free and allows 10 message credits per month.
Save time by finding the e-mail address formats of thousands of popular businesses from around the world by using Email Format for free.
To ensure your outreach email won’t end up in spam, use this free content checker from Lyris which will give your email a spam score.
If you want to check that an e-mail address is valid before you send it, this simple yet effective free tool will verify an email address for you.
Sidekick by Hubspot
This tool is perfect for outreach and link building as it can be used for email tracking in Gmail, Outlook and Apple Mail. As a free user you get unlimited views of email profiles and you can check 200 email opens and click notifications per month. Email scheduling is a feature that is coming soon.
Your subject line is a huge factor in whether someone opens your e-mail. This free subject line checker will show you a preview of what your email will look like in Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and Blackberry.
You should also check out NinjaOutreach – blogger outreach software for digital marketers and small businesses interested in growing their presence online. It is a complete CRM, allowing for prospecting, relationship management, and analytics. With a simple keyword search, you can find online influencers in your niche, see valuable data about them, connect with them through email and social media, and partner with them to promote your brand to their audience.
Conveying a mass amount of data through words is often impractical and unnecessary but so is the time you could spend crafting an infographic masterpiece in Photoshop that you hope will generate links and shares. Not to worry, here are some free infographic tools to achieve the same result with minimal effort.
This free tool is fantastic for creating high quality infographics. If you can use PowerPoint this will be extremely easy. There is a good selection of templates to choose from, and you get access to a range of objects to play with. You can also upload your own images.
The free version of this tool offers 30 different chart types and customising the data to create the infographics is done in a spreadsheet for easy editing. A great free Infographics resource that allows you to easily create graphics and data visualizations.
The free version of Piktochart comes with limited templates and a watermark but this tool is great for creating graphical elements to present data in an engaging way. The pro package costs $29 a month.
Visual.ly is a community platform where you can create infographics and get them shared too. Furthermore, it is also a place to hire top notch talent and commission custom infographics.
This one may have limited application but this infographic resume generator can create a visual representation of your professional accomplishments that could land you more work, clients or serve as an intriguing about page.
Whether you are coming up with your next blog post idea or researching new areas for your PPC campaign to expand, keyword research is crucial. Try these free tools out.
Keyword Planner is the free Google AdWords tool that allows you to search by keyword or a group of keywords and provides stats such as monthly search volume and competition level.
Through Google Trends you can see the rise and fall of search volume for key terms and anticipate SEO opportunities.
Keyword research just became a little easier on the eye. Keyword eye allows 20 keyword searches per day for free and displays keywords in varying sizes depending on search volume or competition.
This is a paid service that we use here at FE International but there are 14 day free trial coupons available with a quick Google search (SEOBOOK is a good source for these). We like SEMrush for its competitor analysis, organic traffic history and range of data provided.
Soovle allows you to research keywords on multiple search engines at the same time and also looks at sites such as YouTube, Wikipedia and Amazon. It auto-generates alternatives as you type.
This free tool uses Google suggest and other suggest services to generate keyword ideas from user queries. Use this tool to generate keyword lists for campaigns or even fuel for blog post ideas.
WordStream have a selection of free tools including the free keyword tool, the keyword niche finder and the keyword grouper which can be used for PPC or SEO campaigns.
A powerful keyword research suite used by many top marketers, Wordtracker offers a generous free trial option.
Exceptional content like this to your inbox every week…
Link Research and Link Building
A mixture of free and free trial tools for link research and link building. We use Ahrefs in the FE International office but feel free to give them all a try.
A directory of directories. Find free and paid directories here along with stats and ratings.
Just add a little snippet to your site and Linkstant will send you an alert whenever someone links to your site instantly. Great tool for outreach and managing incoming links.
Use this tool to see what backlinks a website has developed over time. Majestic really lasers down on link building and has an easy interface, downloadable data, summary data for link building strategies but lacks rank checking tools. Signup for a free account to get limited access to their tools.
Open Site Explorer will show you an array of metrics from inbound links and their page authority to a websites top pages and the anchor texts used in their backlink profile. The free version of Open Site Explorer allows you to do a limited amount of searches and access some of the data. You can get a 30 day free trial of Moz Pro.
A great tool for backlink removal should your website get hit. It is free for basic members which includes 250 URLs.
Speed up your work by opening a whole list of URLs in one go. Paste in your URLs and open all. Simple.
URL Profiler can conduct numerous different checks on a list of URLs. Why is this handy? You could reverse engineer a competitor’s link building campaign or conduct a penalty audit. You can import data from a whole host of SEO tools such as Moz, Ahrefs, Google Webmaster and SEMRush. A free 14 day trial for this tool is available.
It might be called the World Wide Web but SEO is becoming increasingly important for local businesses. Use these free tools below to ensure your business is getting the attention it deserves online.
This free tool allows you to search for keywords you should target within a radius of a US zip code. This is great for finding new keyword variations for PPC campaigns or they could form the backbone of blog post content.
If you want to make sure your website is listed in the correct category on Google My Business (formerly Google Places), this free tool by Mike Blumenthal is really quick to offer suggestions on best-match pre-set categories from Google.
Ensure that your business is accurately located on Google maps by contributing to Google Map Maker.
Moz Local (Formley GetListed)
The free listing score search shows you where your business listings exist and where you are missing out. The Moz Local service is $84 a year but the initial search is free.
Another free tool from Whitespark that allows you to keep track of your customers offline. You create a customizable form within this tool and use it to record “how did you hear about us” information. The data is stored in a database and can then be linked and stored in Google Analytics as well.
If you want to encourage customers to leave a Google review of your business this free tool by Whitespark allows you to create customized printable instructions, for both desktop and mobile, on how to leave reviews. Customers are happy to leave a review if you make it easy for them and following these printable PDFs does that.
Not specifically tools but excellent free resources to brush up on some skills and learn a few new techniques.
A great free resource for anyone starting out in SEO.
You will need to track your SERPs over time to see if your SEO activites are bearing fruit. One of these free tools can help you with that.
Gserp is currently free while it is in beta. You can track up to 2000 keywords and the rankings are updated daily. You also get custom reports and ranking warnings too. Gserp allows you to track up to 1000 domains.
MozCast gives you a ‘weather forecast’ of the last 5 days or 30 days of how turbulent SERPs have been.
You can use Search Latte for free checks of international SERPs. A must use tool for international SEOs.
SERPmetrics 30 day flux charts cover US search results for Google, Yahoo! And Bing. There is a trial available which provides a small SERP allowance.
It has been a long held belief that a website’s page speed is directly correlated with search engine rankings and user engagement. Speeding up a website should be relatively easy and have a positive impact SEO. The tools below will help you do that.
CloudFlare promise to supercharge your site by being a CDN which means it distributes your content around the world so it is closer to your website visitors. It also doubles up as security tool protecting you from online threats. CloudFlare offer a free plan and also have an upsell to pro, business and enterprise.
PageSpeed Insights by Google is a free tool that conducts speed tests on both mobile and desktop versions of a website. It also provides feedback and suggested fixes for problem areas of your site.
GTmetrix is very similar to Google’s PageSpeed Insights by providing a Page Speed Grade and also recommending areas of improvement and their priority.
Pingdom is a free speed tool that analyses page load speed, connectivity and DNS issues by displaying a waterfall graph so you can easily see where there might be bottleneck.
Another simple to use speed tool which is a little slower than the others mentioned if they have a queue of speed tests. They do however automatically conduct a retest so you can compare results.
Ensure that you are giving your SEO activities the best platform to launch from by using some of these technical SEO tools on your website.
Use this free robotx.txt analyser from SEOBOOK to check search engines are correctly crawling your website.
Anchor Text Over Optimization Report by Remove’em
This free tool will display your anchor text diversity and highlight areas in which you are at risk of over optimizing your anchor texts in your backlink portfolio.
This similar page checker will check two URLs and give a percentage of how closely matched they are. This free tool is great for resolving duplicate content issues.
An official Google tool that verifies the validity of any structured data that is used on your website such as schema.org.
Another robots.txt checker that will discover hidden errors and may cause crawling issues for your website.
A useful tool that generates valid Schema data from your information. They also developed a great Schema WordPress plugin.
Check any web page to see if cloaking is being used. This might be intentional or a malware might be active.
A great selection of free server-side site map generators. These tools will help to provide very extensive and in depth sitemaps for submission to search engines.
Quickly generates basic sitemaps for submission to search engines. If you want something that updates as you add new pages check out Sitemap Generators above.
Toolbars and extensions
On the go information whilst you are browsing greatly speeds up your SEO activities. Try out these free toolbars and extensions for a variety of browsers.
The MozBar provides at a glance metrics for websites as you surf. Along with providing key SEO data you can also see keyword difficulty and social metrics for Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
This free Firefox Rank Checker extension allows you to check your website rankings in Google, Bing and Yahoo Search. You can check your rankings quickly and the tool is hosted on your computer for privacy. The advanced features of the tool, which are also free, allow you to check international versions of Google and also schedule tasks like looking up your keyword lists daily.
SEOQuake is an SEO analytical tool for Firefox and Chrome. It is also in beta for Opera and Safari. The toolbar has over two million downloads to date and provide data such as Google index and Alexa ranks as well possessing keyword density tool.
This Firefox compatible toolbar is free of charge and has an array of information once it is turned on such as Google PageRank, Links to domain, Directory Links, Site age and more. It can also highlight nofollow links on a page.
With over 60 million websites using WordPress plugins that help with SEO are incredibly useful.
This is the most famous SEO plugin out there with over 14 million downloads. All In One SEO Pack is a free plugin with a professional version offering advanced features and premium support.
Stay on top of your broken links on your WordPress site with this broken link checker plugin. The handy email reports stop them from building up too much and you can check in the dashboard whether it was a temporary error or actually broken.
A simple and easy plugin with powerful implications. This plugin by bestwebsoft allows you to create and submit your sitemaps to Google Webmaster and also generate a .gzip file. This plugin is a step above the rest as it also supports custom styles such as video and galleries and includes them in your site map.
This is one of the most popular SEO plugins on WordPress with over 4 million downloads. The plugin includes everything from snippet previews and a SEO meta box to content analysis and XML sitemaps.
What is the best free SEO tool that you use?
We use a bunch of free and paid tools in the FE International office. A lot of the free SEO resources out there are outdated so we hope that this updated list is helpful to you for your 2016 SEO efforts. Were there any that we missed? Comment below and let us know!