It can be hard and time-consuming to improve organic search ranking yourself! Especially if you aren’t an SEO expert. Many small business owners have quickly increased their chances of showing up first in Google results, but it takes dedication and investment.
To help you understand and benefit from Google’s current algorithm, we put together a list of the eight SEO tools that we most often use when improving organic search ranking for our clients.
1. Google’s Mobile-friendly Test
One of the biggest SEO hurdles our clients have been experiencing in the past year is updating their website design template so their site is responsive and mobile-friendly. When a customer visits your website on their smartphone, are they still getting the best user experience? Do text, images, forms, and buttons scale to fit their screen? If not, you may need to update your website to satisfy Google’s algorithm. Statistics show that 40% of users will go to your competitor after a bad mobile experience! Use Google’s Mobile-friendly Test to make sure your site is performing well and get in touch with us ASAP if you need help making your site more responsive.
2. Google PageSpeed Insights
Does your site load slowly or is it fast enough to capture new customers who find your business through a Google search? One surefire way to improve organic search ranking is to optimize your site load speed! If you’re not sure how fast your load speed is, check it with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. Plug in your URL and this handy tool will rank your site speed from 1 to 100. For most small businesses, we recommend aiming for a site speed of 50 or above.
3. Google Analytics and Ads
Google Analytics is one of the foundational tools you should employ to improve your organic search rankings. It helps you keep tabs on your site’s overall performance, which keyword-rich content is performing best, and how you can tweak existing content to make it more successful. You can also use Google Analytics to check the health of your backlink profile and find out which websites are sending the most referral traffic to your site. Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) can be used to mine long and short-tail keywords for use in optimizing your copy and blog posts. You’ll have to set up an account linked to your credit card, but you won’t actually be charged to use Google Ads free features!
FATRANK is a free tool that’s a gold mine for keyword research! After you install the extension, you’ll be able to visit a website (like your competitor), click the extension icon, and type in any keyword you wish. FATRANK will tell you where that website ranks in Google for the keyword you selected and which pages on the domain rank. You can also use this tool to assess your own SEO, measuring progress and setting goals. The only catch? If the domain you are researching doesn’t rank within the top 100 positions for a keyword, the extension will display ‘not found’.
Blog posts, white papers, videos, and other SEO-optimized content wins big points with Google’s algorithm. The more strategic you are about what content you’re producing and which keywords it might rank for, the better. To get a glimpse of your competition’s strategy and how your content stacks up, try BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo allows you to analyze which online content is performing best for any topic. Once you find the best content that exists for your topic or idea, you can build upon existing content to make a better option. Sometimes that’s as simple as taking a blog post and making it more in-depth. You can also add better visual aids or convert it into a video format to outrank the competition.
An important measure of SEO is domain authority. Domain authority is “graded” from 1 to 100, and it’s basically a ranking of how trustworthy, valuable, and authoritative Google and other search engine’s deem your website. Mozbar is a free browser extension that calculates the domain authority of any website you visit. It’s great for competitor research, but also for analyzing the performance of your own site. You can learn which pages rank best. You can also use the tool to highlight follow and no-follow links present on any page. It has plenty of awesome free and pro features that will help you improve organic search ranking faster.
7. Ahrefs Backlink Checker
Speaking of links…you need them! To boost your SEO, you’ll want a combination of strategic internal and inbound links. If you’re curious what links you’ve earned, you can get a baseline by running a backlink check for your URL. Our favorite is Ahrefs Backlink Checker. Just paste your URL in the search bar and click the “Check Backlinks” button. The tool will return a list of your current backlinks, the referring domains that have linked to your site, and their domain authority. The higher the domain authority if the sites linking to you, the better the links will be for your SEO. You can also use this tool to see which of your blogs posts are performing best and plenty of other valuable insights.
8. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is an add-on for WordPress and other popular Content Management Systems. It is, by far, our favorite tool to improve organic search ranking. It helps you tackle technical, back end SEO elements like title tags and meta descriptions. It also allows you to select focus keywords for your blog posts and core page content, helping you reach keyword density goals. Readability, or how easy your page content is to read, matters more than you know when Google decides to send search traffic your way. Yoast SEO will help you format and compose your content so it’s more scannable.
If you want to improve organic search ranking, you’re in for a long, hard ride. But it’s completely worth it in the end–bringing more traffic to your site and more conversions for your bottom line. To tackle some simple SEO tasks yourself, use these eight awesome tools. If you’re still confused (no shame in that game, because this stuff is complex!) and need some expert guidance, reach out to Witty Kitty! We offer affordable SEO audits and technical implementation that will give you a baseline for improving your SEO.