Top 5 tools and tips for nailing your own SEO

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When you’re doing your own SEO, you want to make your life as easy as possible. You need some good tools in your toolbelt so you can go it alone, without feeling like you’re completely by yourself. 

Here are 5 of our must have tools and tips that help take the guesswork out of your SEO efforts. 

1. A good keyword research tool

To get started with SEO, you’re gonna need to use a keyword research tool. Something that lets you know if the keywords you’re looking at are actually going to bring you any traffic or not. No point optimising for a keyword that isn’t going to bring you any traffic. 

There are loads of different keywords research tools out there, some free, others with a monthly/yearly subscription. Best place to start if you are just getting the grips of keyword research is with Google’s Keyword Planner. The main reason to start here is that it’s free, and it can help you get to grips with how keyword research tools can help you. It’s a pretty basic tool and it definitely has its limitations but it is a good place to get started. 

Once you’ve got your head around using Keyword Planner, you can start to venture out into other, paid tools that have a wider range of useful features, depending on what your specific needs are. 

To get the best results, we use a few different tools, this way you can get a combination of all of their strengths and avoid any of their weak points. We currently use SEOptimer, Answer the Public, Google Keyword Planner and a few other tools to plan the keyword strategies that we use

For more on getting the most out of your keywords, read our knowledge base article – How to find the juiciest keywords for your SEO efforts

2. A website audit tool

Another vital tool in an SEO’s toolbelt is having a reliable site audit tool. The ability to scan an entire website for broken links, missing meta data, 404 errors and a variety of other SEO issues is a huge timesaver. 

Similarly to the keyword research tool, it’s usually best to start with the free versions of these tools to get to grips with how they work etc etc. before moving onto a paid tool that has features that are more suited to what you need it to do. 

A good place to start is the Screaming Frog tool, this will allow you to run a basic audit for SEO issues. The free version allows you to audit 500 URLs, so if your website is larger than that you would need to get the paid version or find an alternative. 

It’s worth a mention that if you sign up for SEOyourself, our handy SEO newsletter that we send out each month, you get access to our very own website audit tool! 

For our clients, similar to our keyword research, we use a combination of different audit tools to get the most reliable data possible. If one particular audit tool happens to miss an issue, it should be picked up on one of the other ones. We use our own website audit tool, Screaming Frog and a few other tools to make sure our audits don’t miss a thing!

3. A way to measure your progress

SEO can be a bit frustrating at times, it can be hard to see if the changes that you’ve made are going to have any positive impact. Or even a negative impact. 

Sometimes changes that you make for the benefit of SEO can need some time to take effect, you need a way to track the impact that these changes are happening. Of course for some websites, it’s easy. If you see an increase in bookings/sales then that’s probably an indication that things are going well. But what if things aren’t going so well? Or what if you are the type of website that doesn’t rely on such an obvious conversion factor? 

Enter Google Search Console and Google Analytics. By using these tools together you can get a pretty good idea of how your users (and Google) are viewing and interacting with your website. 

How many users do you bring in each week? Which pages are bringing in the most traffic? Why did you have a huge spike in visitors last month? These are the questions that Search Console and Analytics can help you answer. 

Maybe you have seen a big spike in website traffic but this hasn’t resulted in the extra sales that you expected? Could it be that you are targeting the wrong keywords and bringing in the wrong audience? These tools will give you an idea of exactly how your users are finding your website and how they are using it, which can help you to make those much needed improvements. It’s much easier when you know exactly what is working (and what isn’t!)

To put it more simply, how are you going to know if all the SEO changes that you made are having the intended effect, if you aren’t measuring the important data from your website? 

Yes, it can be boring at times but it’s important to keep an eye on these things. It’s all of a sudden not quite as boring when you can see the spike in the number of users on your website thanks to your SEO efforts.

4. A good source to keep up with search changes

The way we search is constantly changing. As technology improves, so does the way we interact with it. There are an ever growing number of search engines that can be accessed on desktop, mobile and via voice search. 

It can be tricky to keep up with them all and get your head around all of the regular changes and updates that they make to their algorithms and the way that people search the internet. 

Enough bad news, we need some good news. The good news is you’re not the first person to have this struggle and there are plenty of ways to keep yourself up to date with how to stay on top of the search beasts. 

There are newsletters, podcasts, articles, youtube tutorials, etc. that all focus around SEO, from a basic to advanced level. You just need to find the right fit for you and get involved! 

Personally, I always start by looking to the source of the changes, Google themselves. They are usually pretty transparent about the updates that they are putting out (if you can read between the lines a little!) – who better to let you know about changes to search than the people behind the changes? 

If you are looking for a regular reminder to keep on top of your own SEO, whilst letting you know about important changes to search engines – you need SEOyourself, our monthly SEO newsletter.

5. A good content strategy

Once you have all of your main pages in order and optimised to your liking, posting regular content is the best way to improve and maintain your website’s SEO. This sounds more complicated than it is, and it is definitely something that people like to overcomplicate.

Having a good content strategy allows you to maintain consistency with your posts and takes some of the pressure off your SEO efforts. Even just having a short term plan for your content is a great place to get started. 

To get started, make a plan of the next month’s worth of content that you are going to post on your blog. Maybe you want to do one post a week? Or maybe one post every two weeks? Plan out the content ideas that you want to write and pencil in some time to work on bringing your content ideas to life.

Posting well-written, regular content is a huge green flag in Google’s eyes and a great way to improve your overall SEO and boost your pages up the rankings! Even better if it has been written by a human, instead of AI. 

For more on AI and blogging, read our article How to get your website content to stand out in a sea of AI-generated crap

Keep reading about how to boost your SEO

Hopefully this read has helped you pick up a few tools that will be useful on your SEO journey. If you’re in the mood to keep reading about how to improve your SEO here are a couple of our best knowledge base articles to get you started! 

First is the Beginners Guide to SEO that breaks down some of the basic parts of SEO and explains them in a simple and easy to understand post. Aaaaand the second article is getting your website voice search ready, with everything that you need to know about preparing your content to be searchable on voice search. 

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