The world of SEO tools is BUSY. My goodness. There are soooo many available now, it's hard to know where to start. Many promising the best keywords, ranking insight and link insight you could possibly hope for.
There are also tonnes of premium subscriptions out there. Enticing you in, with free trials, exclusive guides and automated reports. I have a good handful of these SEO subscriptions myself and it's true, many do not disappoint. There are even a couple I would go as far as to say I probably couldn't deliver for my clients without.
That said, there are also a lot of SEO tasks where a free tool does do the trick.
So if you're a small business looking to learn and invest a bit of time in SEO. Or perhaps you're a freelancer like me, hoping to save some pennies on the monthly subscription costs. Here's my guide to the 25 best and totally free SEO tools you should be using.
I've included an overview of their best bits and how I use them too. As always let me know what you think or if I've missed any of your favourites in the comments below. Good luck!
1. Keyword Hero
Isn't it annoying when all of your keywords in Google Analytics are hidden behind (not provided)? Fear not, Keyword Hero works to solve this, with genius advanced math and machine learning. It's not perfect, but if you're struggling to match keywords with conversions, this data can be an invaluable starter for 10. Pricing is free up to 2000 sessions/month
Check it out - Keyword Hero
2. Search Console
Probably the most useful free tool on the list and difficult to imagine working on SEO without it. Google's Search Console is the most reliable source for keywords and information on how Google crawls and ranks your website. So not to be overlooked.
Check it out - Google Search Console
3. Google Analytics AND Bing Webmaster Tools
Okay, I cheated a bit here, by including two tools, but a lot of people forget about Bing Webmaster tools. Relying solely instead on the big cheese Google Analytics (GA). Whilst GA is not to be ignored and works wonderfully with other Google products such as Search Console, Data Studio and Optimize. Bing Webmaster Tools offers a full suite too and is particularly useful for keyword research, keyword reports and crawling data. So don't forget Bing...!
4. Screaming Frog
If you need a free desktop-based web crawler, then I'd definitely recommend checking out Screaming Frog. Many people don't realise that they have a free version that allows for up to 500 URLs per crawl. Whilst it's not got as many functions as the paid version, it's great for small projects and smaller site audits. They have an ace Twitter feed too.
Check it out - Screaming Frog
5. Redirect Path
Check it out - Redirect Path
6. Answer The Public
I LOVE this tool. There's nothing not to like, especially if you also have penchant for language and appreciate a bald, yet hairy, angry creative-looking-man telling you to hurry up! Open up your keyword research and generate an insane list of questions from any keyword set with this beauty. It will also give you an awesome visualisation of all the options too. Enjoy.
Check it out - Answer The Public
7. Keywords Everywhere
This little beauty is another great browser extension for either Firefox or Chrome, which sprouts keyword suggestions with an indication of volume as you wander the internet. It works in Google Search Console as well. Really helpful and an easy keyword win.
Check it out - Keywords Everywhere
8. Link Miner
This is another free Chrome extension developed by Jon Cooper, one of the masters of link building. It quickly identifies any broken links on each page, as well as basic link metrics as you search Google. Simple, easy, and extremely useful.
Check it out - Link Miner
Detailed focuses on what's driving links to some of the most popular niches on the web, without the extra fluff that can make reverse engineering success a sometimes time-consuming process. Detailed is a unique type of free link research engine, developed by the marketing guru Glen Allsopp.
Check it out - Detailed
10. Ahrefs Backlink Checker
I'm a fan of Ahrefs. There I said it. Some don't know that Ahrefs offer a free backlink checker. This is great for quick link checks or if you're working to a budget and can't afford the whole shebang. You're limited to 100 links, and you can't search by prefix or folder, but it's pretty good otherwise and worth a try if you don't have the subscription or considering it.
Check it out - Backlink Checker
11. Google My Business
Google's number 1 tool for local SEO. The best free tool for local businesses... hiding in plain sight guys! It still amazes me, how many unclaimed accounts there are. If you're a local business, spending money on marketing... there is no excuse now. Google My Business allows you to claim your business and a nice big knowledge graph of search appearance space to go with it. You can manage listing information, respond to reviews, upload news and photos — and much much more. Do it!
Check it out - Google My Business
12. Google Review Link Generator
The Google Review Link Generator by Whitespark solves a simple problem - how do you give your customers a URL to leave a Google review for your business? Reviews drive rankings and increase trust in your brand. Google Review Link Generator makes this easier for you and your customers with a shareable URL. Brilliant.
Check it out - Google Review Link Generator
13. Mobile First Index Checker
In case you hadn't noticed, Google has switched to mobile-first indexing, so it's important that major elements (links, structured data, etc.) match on both versions. A number of tools will check this for you, but Zeo's is probably the most complete.
Check it out - Mobile First Index Checker
14. Mobile Friendly-Test
Find out quickly if your website meets Google's mobile friendly standards. Put in your URL, run the test and if there is anything your site is falling down on, it will tell you how to fix it. Fab.
Check it out - Mobile First Index Checker
15. Chrome DevTools
Check it out - Chrome DevTools
I can't deny it, I'm a massive SEMRush fan. I like having everything in one place, simple reports and contained client projects - but that's just me, and full disclaimer, I do pay for it. However, they DO offer a free account option, which gives you access to one "project" and includes basic site auditing, as well as limited keyword and domain reporting. Oh it'll be a tease.
Check it out - SEMRush
17. SEO Minion
Not to be confused with our babbling yellow friends. SEO Minion is another popular Google Chrome extension, offering a number of quick function tools including on-page SEO analysis, broken links checks, Hreflang checks, a SERP preview tool, and a nifty Google search location simulator. Definitely worth a try and another one I have 'on' most of the time.
Check it out - SEO Minion
Probably one my favourite SEO toolbars. SEOquake offers reaaaaams of valuable data for every URL you visit. You can also perform basic on-page audits, compare domains, and export your data. Great. You can configure it to your SEO needs too, which is extremely powerful if like me you're working with a range of clients at different stages and with different objectives. All in all, a very useful tool.
Check it out - SEOquake
19. Structured Data Testing Tool
Bookmark this page. Google's Structured Data Testing tool is essential for not only troubleshooting your own structured data, but performing competitive analysis on your competitor's structured data as well. You can also edit the code within the tool too, which is great for fine-tuning code to the valid format. If you're new to all of this, it's only going to get bigger, so possibly time to get with the programme.
Check it out - Structured Data Testing Tool
I have used this for years now(!), and basically it's just a really great content research tool. It now has a Chrome extension too, and is one of the few tools available that deliver reliable social share count estimates for any piece of content. You don't get as much data with a free account, but you still get access to top content and trending data. Buzz boom!
Check it out - BuzzSumo
SimilarWeb is basically competitor analysis on steroids. You can research your competitor's traffic, top pages, engagement, referral sources, keywords, marketing channels, and website 'stickiness', among other features. Get really stalker-y on them. The free offering is limited to five results per metric, but it's often enough to grab a quick data point.
Check it out - SimilarWeb
It's amazing that this is free. Cloudflare offer a free CDN to speed up your site, it also allows for easy DNS management, and 100 percent free DDoS protection. The free plan is perfect for individuals or blogs looking to protect and speed up their website. Thank you Cloudflare.
Check it out - Cloudflare
Lighthouse is Google's open-source speed performance tool. It's also the most up-to-date, especially in terms of analysing the performance of mobile pages and PWAs. Google not only recommends using Lighthouse to evaluate your page performance, but there is also speculation they use very similar evaluations in their ranking algorithms. I use this and their Page Speed Insights test too. Takes seconds (hopefully).
Check it out - Lighthouse
23. Yoast SEO
If you have a WordPress site, you need the Yoast SEO plugin. End of. It is as simple as that. With over 30-million websites using Yoast, they make WordPress SEO accessible to the masses, user-friendly and human. They've also created some amazing advances in the delivery of structured data.
Check it out - Yoast SEO
24. Keyword Sh***r
Yup. Does what it says on the tin. Type in a keyword and Keyword Sh***r will poop out thousands of additional keyword options for you to sift and filter through. Crude, yet extremely effective!
Check it out - Keyword Sh***r
25. Keyword Planner
Google's Keyword Planner was primarily built for folks who buy Google ads, however, it still delivers a ton of information useful for SEO keyword planning. It not only uses Google's own data (oooooooo), but is also has useful functions, like country filtering and keyword suggestions. Just be careful with metrics like competition (this is meant for paid placements) and volume — which is known to be confusing.
Check it out - Keyword Planner
*Phew* There we go. My list of the 25 best free SEO tools in (as of 2019).
There are hundreds more out there, but I hope this has been helpful and narrowed it down a bit.
Feel free to get in touch with questions. Let me know if I've missed any of your favourite SEO tools, or why not just say hi in the comments below.
Thanks for reading.