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 swatcash.com, Treasure Trooper.com, and cashcrate.com
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...