SEO on a (non-existent) Budget.

SEO Tools?
Free SEO Tools ?!?

Yes they exist, and some of them are actually useful.

I am a recent entrant into the world of niche blogging and SEO practises. I guess it would be safe to say that I'm really only about six months into my education of this whole 'blogging thing'. I think it's a little bit funny, but I would have to also admit that I became aware of the idea of blogging for money at the same time as I became aware of just how big blogging on the web really was. Before this I was aware of the terms 'blog' and 'blogging', but didn't really have a clue as to what it was really all about.

Now don't worry, this isn't going to be another 'how to make gobs of money' regurgitation rant: I know that there are enough people out there still wet behind their blogging ears but still thinking that they know enough to tell the rest of us how we should be making our money online that you don't need another newbie like myself contributing to this mess.

I have spent the last few weeks trying out a number of different 'SEO tools' , and because I am a newbie blogger on a pretty much non-existant budget these tools and sites all had to have one thing in common to be 'worth' my time:

they all had to be free.

A guy who knows so much more about all of this SEO stuff than I ever will once told me that if you are not willing to put your own money into this kind of endeavour right from the start then "you are doomed to fail from jump street". Maybe, but I just don't feel quite ready to put my own money into this just yet. Maybe sometime soon I will see some positive enough results from all of my efforts and I will feel differently enough about this that I'll decide to go out and make the investment in buying my own new or used domains ( I currently use Blogger), and purchase software such as Bookmarking Demon, SEO Elite and Keyword Elite, but for now I am choosing to make do without them.

So without further ado, allow me to share with you some of the neat-o tools and sites I have found to be worth my time so far. I like to consider this list my personal 'Top Ten' list of SEO freebies - but in no particular order...

1. STATCOUNTER.COM - this website is a freebie godsend! In a nutshell, this site allows you to put some HTML code on your site and then begin tracking your traffic to see which keywords or links are actually bringing you your visitors.. You can view your results by keywords used to find your site and by a 'came from' option that lets you know how much of your traffic is organic. It also tells you the IP addresses of your visitors.

2. DIRECTORY SUBMITTER - the maker of this calls it an auto-submitter, but I prefer to think of it as a semi-auto submitter. This downloadable tool supplies you with a sortable list of website directories to which you can submit your sites for free, but it doesn't do the submitting for you; you have to click on each site manualy and submit the site yourself. The submitter does save you time though in two ways:

first, it saves you time by compiling a list of 350 directories for you to submit to (each with its PR ranking listed), and

second, it automatically fills out the submission forms for you to the best of its free tool ability.

3. ARTICLE SUBMITTER - brought to you by the same guy who gave you Directory Submitter; This is just as it sounds, a tool that makes it easier for you to find Article submission sites and efficiently submit your articles to them with a submitter tool.

4. GOOGLE ADWORDS TRAFFIC ESTIMATOR TOOL - this is one of those tools that probably not everyone knows exists or at least how to find it. this tool is meant to let an adwords customer see how much it would cost to list their keyword at the top of the serps. Not an Adsense tool, per se, it still can be used to give you an idea of how much a potential keyword target could be worth.

5. Get Paid To (GPT) SITE SHOPPING SECTION - many of the GPT sites now include a shopping section that offers its members cash-back on purchasese made using the site's links. So, just how is this considered SEO relevant? Well, if you are considering a niche blog or two (or ten), then it doesn't hurt to have a list to look at just filled with potential consumer niches; I consider such lists a fountain of ideas, somewhere to start a search for a new niche if nothing else is coming to me. Some of the more extensive sites with such a section include, Treasure, and

6. GTRENDS TOOL FROM WORDTRACKER - I like to consider this 'Wordtracker plus' . Not only does this keyword tool offer you the traditional keyword popularity results,
it also tells you roughly how much competition ther is for that keyword on the Google serps.

7. SEO FOR FIREFOX - this firefox extension claims to have much SEO and serp functionality; including instant PR rating info, the different types of links found on a page and also the option of having any and all 'no-follow' links highlighted in red on the page (this should save you from wasting your time on sites where the backlinks would be of little value).

8. BLOGGING ZOOM - I have included this newer and rapidly growing site because I have seen how well it can work; More than once I have seen my Blogging Zoom listing for one of my Blogger posts index higher than the actual Blog from which the post originated, even when both have made page one of Google. In addition, those times when it seems as if I have been dropped into the 'Google sandbox', BZ has still kept me in the serps to the point where it almost seems like I'm not sandboxed at all ( this blog, for instance, has been sandboxed for a few months now but I am confident that it might show up in the serps under the Blogging Zoom banner )! Also, it seems as if by adding more keyword tabs to my BZ posting, I have seen multiple BZ results for the same post on Google. Just speculation at this point though.

9. FREE MONITOR FOR GOOGLE - this tool has so much potential but its flaws are ultimately what stop me from using it more often. This download lets you see where your websites rank for any given keyword of your choosing. Sure this is a great SEO tool but there is one very infuriating drawback - and even the developers acknoledge this - that you can only use the search a couple of times in one sitting before Google potentially labels your IP address as a possible source of spam or spyware and temporarily blocks you from accessing the Google search engine with this software unless you enter a randomly displayed code on the actual Google site. The developers deal with this snafu by claiming that nobody should really be checking their own serp rankings too often anyway because it can piss off the big G by skewing their data on what the general public (ie organic traffic) is looking for. Yeah, whatever. I'm sorry, but that isn't enough of a justification of a program's shortcomings considering other software out there doesn't seem to have a reputation for having these kinds of issues or side effects for the user. Still, if you do use it sparingly it really can give you some useful serp info.

10. ONTOLOGY RELATED KEYWORD FINDER TOOL - last but not least, is this tool which helps you find synonyms for words in any given subject or field you might be wanting to target with keywords.

So there you go, there actually are some free SEO tools out there that can make adifference for you.

Well, I hope that this list is of some help to other niche bloggers out there that are currently working without any real budget. Who knows? Maybe soon I will be one of those using paid for software to target valuable keywords and to tweak the SEO on my self-owned niche blogs.

Really, anything is possible. It could happen, someday...


I have decided to offer this SWATCASH review after trying out the site for the last four and a half months. I have only made around $150 at this point, but that is in part due to the fact that I have been conservative in completing the higher paying offers, and in large part because I am not living in the United States. The importance of this I will explain shortly.

Swatcash is a GPT (get paid to) site and like all such sites it has its advantages and disadvantages. Swatcash is the only GPT site that I spend any time on at this point, mainly for two reasons:

1 It is one of the highest paying GPT sites that I have come across ( especially the offers requiring a credit card ) and,

2 It is hands down the GPT site that I have had the most fun spending my time on.

When I say high paying, I mean that I registered at a number of sites and compared the payouts for the same offers at each site: for almost EVERY SINGLE OFFER swatcash offered a higher payout! One example I can offer you is this: I joined an online DVD rental service and received $18 cash back from swatcash - the highest payout I could find. The other sites offered from $12 to $15 for the exact same offer. this kind of difference can really add up after a while.

I have to admit that there is definitely an art to learning how to make sure you complete your offers correctly, and I am just lucky that I cut my teeth on some of the other sites ( such as Treasure Trooper and Cash Crate, for example ) and made my mistakes there before going for the offers at Swatcash where I completed the offers successfully and benefitted from getting credited for more $ than other sites would have given me.

Swatcash has the usual types of offerings that you will find on most GPT sites, such as:

free and credit card required offer completion,
cash back shopping,
paid surveys

Something else to keep in mind is the referral bonus that swatcash offers its members: members of swatcash receive a 20% cash bonus of any money that members they referred to the site earn. That level of referral payout can really add up over time.

However, in addition to these, Swatcash also has a recently started game, called "the World Map", which is a turn-based military strategy game which gives members the chance to attack other members and win items that have some practical value. Successful play on the map results in members being rewarded with

battle points, and
"swatcash" ( the currency of the site that is used to purchase things such as 'weapon' upgrades, 'real' referrals for your down line - ie. unreferred members whose earnings you will receive 20% of , and even tangible rewards such as gift cards, $100 paypal deposits or even a video game system such as a Wii or Xbox )

To be honest, you could even play this game regularly and earn enough to buy some referrals without ever completing a single offer.

Other sites (such as Treasure Trooper) also offer incentive games but they don't seem to have the easily attainable payoff of the swatcash world map game.

Another thing I like about the swatcash site is the prompt reply I have received from the site Administrators on the few times I had to contact them for whatever reason.

Swatcash = scam?

Simply put, no.

I have received two payments as of this time and received both via paypal when I was supposed to.

Swatcash also boasts a very active forum which is home to a very supportive community of swatcash members from around the world who are always willing to offer some timely advice to newer members. You should never undervalue the importance of an active and happy forums for a site such as this: the happier the members the more likely that they are getting their due rewards on a regular basis!

Of course like all GPT sites, Swatcash has its own disadvantages; most offers are for US members only so that can be a point of frustration for us non-US members.
As well, until recently the two daily free surveys (each worth $1 once a day) were open to us non-US members, but not anymore. Sadly, this has cost me more than a few bucks a month in potential site earnings.

See? Nobody's perfect.

So there you have it. If you do want to dip your foot in the GPT waters for some extra income potential you couldn't do much better than Swatcash.

So what are you waiting for?

To go to the Swatcash site now and see for yourself how rewarding it could be just click here.

Need Referrals for your GPT or PTC DOWN LINES? Get Ref!

We have all been there.

You have just joined this really neat web site's program and are hoping to make a real go of it. Your efforts seem to be paying off, but you know that if you could just get a few people to join under you as your referrals and see your own down line start to develop, things could really take off! Maybe you tried promoting the program on your own but haven't really gotten anywhere with your efforts? Now you are feeling just a little bit frustrated and wondering 'what next?'

Well your next step should be to head on over to and start promoting the heck out of your program and start building your down line!

If you need quality referrals, you need GetRef.

So why this Getref review?

I stumbled upon GetRef a few months ago and I haven't looked back. Getref is free to join and I would advise you to start out by signing up and giving the site a good look over. One of the first things you will notice is that the homepage menu gives you a number of choices to click on; I recommend clicking on the "earn" button to get right to the heart of this site. From here, you can choose between checking out (A) the list of programs which you can join under someone else for Getref site 'credits', (B) checking out the list of referral links being promoted by fellow getref members that you can click on for credits, or (C) checking out how you can earn credits by referring others to the getref web site.

You will soon see that A LOT of different programs are included in this site's listings.
The sheer number of programs available could have been somewhat overwhelming, however this has been avoided by some basic - yet effective categorization.

Members also have the option of greatly improving their site credit earnings by purchasing a premium or 'gold' membership. Unlike many other sites, here you are given the option (should you so choose) of paying for only a one month membership with no future obligation to maintain it. Of course you can also purchase upto a year's membership as well. Members also have the option of buying site credits which they can use to promote their preferred programs and gain new referrals.

It has a members forum that is a good place to go to find answers to many questions new members might have about the site and to also get some good advice about how to go about maximizing your referring efforts while on the site.

Of course no website is perfect, and this includes Getref. A common complaint that I've noticed in the forums is the fact that some people seem to be trying to claim credits from other members for claiming to have signed up under them in their programs without actually properly completing the sign-up. However this issue can be largely avoided by just making sure that you offer a reasonable amount of credits for completing an offer in the first place. There are some checks in place that make it easier to block these would be scammers
once you earn a higher ranking for promoting your programs through the site, such as having the ability to screen potential new referrals based on their earnings ranking.

So, there you have it. It might sometimes seem like it's a dog eat dog world in the on-line domain of finding new referrals, but now GetRef is there to throw you a bone.

Good doggy...

To visit the GetRef website and start seeing for yourself what it's all about, just click HERE.

BTW, if you do decide to sign-up through my link and would like some helpful tips or advice on how to navigate your way around the GETREF site, please feel free to message me through the onsite messaging service they have there (remember it is located to the upper right of the member's homepage)!