If your business is wanting to embark on a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) digital marketing strategy and needs to keep consulting costs down, you could start some of the keyword research yourselves using Google’s helpful and free search tools. Google and other search businesses offers digital marketers, small and large businesses and SEO specialists a variety of free online/ search tools to conduct their SEO keyword research. These SEO tools help those who use them to understand what type of search terms people are typing into search engines, what volumes of traffic can be generated by those search terms or keywords and how Google perceives your website (or your competitors website) in relation to search engine visibility.
Google Insights for search has just gotten an overhaul and is now a tool that is combined with Google Trends. You can see from the graph below, that the growth in search volume worldwide for SEO keywords has been huge. The keywords I wanted to see the trends for were “seo, search engine optimisation, organic search, natural search and seo tools”. As you can see, the very generic and abbreviated term SEO is by far the most popular search term so it makes it difficult to see the real volume of traffic for the other keywords that are related to search engine optimisation.
If I remove the search keyword “SEO” from the analysis, we get a better view how important related search terms to “SEO” are. As you can now see, as the awareness of SEO as a digital marketing strategy and acquisition tool has grown since 2004, the prevalence of they keyword “SEO Tools” has grown sharply while the generic terms have dropped. This shows the business need for online tools that assist businesses to optimise their websites better for search engines.
Google Webmaster Tools is a free subscription service that Google offers to help webmasters and website coordinators to track the health of their website and clearly see how visible they are to search engines. Google Webmaster Tools helps businesses to see how many of their webpages have been indexed by Google’s search engine, it shows which websites are linking to your website (this is called inbound links and is very important for improving your search engine optimisation). Google Webmaster Tools highlights any connectivity issues your website might have, if Google’s search engine spiders (robots that search your website to add your pages to Google’s index) are able to access your website and it also shows the search term keywords that are bringing people to your website from Google’s search engine.
There are also many “cheat” search term commands that you can type into Google’s search box during your SEO keyword research that can give you information about how Google’s search engine sees your website. One is the “Site:” command. The site command [site:] tells you how many of your webpages are indexed by Google’s search engine and how they display when shown in search results. This video explains it beautifully.
Another command you can use in Google’s search box when doing your SEO keyword research and competitive analysis is the “allintitle:” command. The AllinTitle command shows you every website that uses a specific keyword in its page meta title and are specifically targeting that keyword in their SEO strategy. Again, this website describes it very simply.
And finally, Bruce Clay’s SEO Toolset free tools allow businesses to learn many things about your website for SEO but one of the most helpful if your website’s domain page rank in Google (a score from 0 to 10 that Google uses to decide how well optimised your website is for search engines). The SEO Toolset free tools also allow you to analyse which websites are ranking well in Google for any given keyword, the SEO Toolset can show you which websites are linking to your business online and most importantly identify any significant technical or on page SEO errors that your website may be experiencing. If you’re having trouble ranking on page 1 of Google’s search results for your desired keyword, the SEO Toolset can help you find alternative keyword suggestions that perhaps you could optimise for that are similar but less competitive.
SEO is not a simple digital marketing strategy. There are over 200 variables in Google’s search engine algorithm that delivers search results and websites have to try to tick as many of those 200 boxes as possible if they want to fair well in the extremely cluttered organic search space. But as this post has illustrated, there are many free tools at your disposal to help you become successful in SEO so I highly recommend you start using them today.