By Nancy Wigal
Search Engine Academy Washington DC
It’s no secret that times are tight. The economy has clearly relapsed, and most of my friends, clients, and colleagues are nervous about their business finances. As a fellow business owner, I can relate.
Maybe you were thinking about devoting some resources to improving your website’s visibility in search-engine results—and you were negotiating with a local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) firm to assist—but now you’ve determined that money could be better spent on other things, or even just put aside as a cash reserve.
The good news is that there are several free tools you can use to push your website pages higher in search results.
How can you boost your website visibility?
1. Do some keyword research.
The best way to discover the words and phrases your target market is typing into the search bar is Google Insights for Search.
With this tool, you can find the keywords and phrases your target market is typing into the search engines to find your business solutions. Now you can create great content that will show up higher in search results, using these keyword phrases that you know your prospects are familiar with.
This tool also has the advantage of showing you popular terms for your specific city and state. If you are a business that has a physical location for your customers to visit, it’s critical that you know what words they use to find business resources in your area. Plus, you can also add keyword terms in this tool and compare results.
2. Measure Website Performance: Google Analytics
Another Google tool that shows you tremendous performance data for your website is Google Analytics.
Start by creating a free Google account to get a user name and login for Analytics. Then insert Google’s analytical code into your website, so that Google can begin collecting website data to display, including:
- How many visitors came to your site
- Which ones are repeat readers
- The keyword phrases they used to find your site
- How long they stayed on your site
- How many pages they viewed
- How they found your site—by search engine or via another site
- The mobile devices visitors used to see your website
- Which pages your visitors navigated to and from on your site
Plus, there’s so much more information in this powerful, free tool you can analyze to improve your website’s performance by individual page.
As the search engines change their formulas for pages showing up higher, you’ll be able to see over a period of time the changes in your data. Hopefully, these will be good changes for your site—you’ll either increase your visitor traffic or stay the same.
3. Link Checking: Xenu Link Sleuth
There’s a free SEO tool that will help you improve your links coming into and leaving your website. It’s called Xenu Link Sleuth.
Xenu is a free download, and it shows you if there any broken links coming into or leaving your website. It’s critical for both your visitors and the search engines for all the links to work.
If you have broken links, they will show in red. Google places great emphasis on both external and internal linking on your site. External links are those on a website that sends visitors to your Web pages. Internal links are navigation paths within your site to take visitors from one important page to another.
4. Spy on Your Online Competition: SEO Tool Bar
Last but not least, there’s an SEO tool bar you can install on your favorite Internet browser. Download the SEO Toolbar and follow the installation instructions.
You can see any website’s Google page rank, how many links they have, who is linking to them, as well as many other useful pieces of information. Of course, you can use this on your website as well!
SEObook also has more free SEO tools you can use to review your optimization efforts and see where you can improve them: http://tools.seobook.com/#freew.
Keep Your Chin Up
Even though times are tough, and the economy is improving more slowly than we all would like, these free tools give you generous amounts of data that can improve your website’s performance and help your pages show up higher in search results.
About Nancy E. Wigal
Nancy Wigal owns and operates Search Engine Academy Washington DC, an organization that trains and certifies anyone with a website on the search-engine optimization (SEO) techniques necessary to have their pages show up higher in Internet search results.
With two-, three-, and five-day SEO training and certification courses, as well as customized SEO-training packages ranging from four hours to two days, you and your team will learn the latest and most comprehensive ways to increase traffic to your website.
For more information, call 202.725.1422 to see what SEO training is right for your organization, and visit www.search-engine-academy-washington-dc.com online for course offerings and registration information.