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Free SEO Software: Shoe String Budget Search Engine Optimization

February 2004

The Cost of SEO

Even more costly than the time performing SEO is the time it takes to learn how to do it correctly. Many people want to sell you things for $10 or $20 which have no intrinsic value. Most of the best SEO tools do not even cost 1 cent.

Why People Give Away SEO Tools

People like me write articles like this. Sites which have excellent free SEO tools get a ton of inbound links, link popularity, and traffic. They can leverage this position for personal gain in any way they choose. There might be a few pieces of software which are slightly better, but for the most part, these free tools are better than most SEO software for sale.

Keyword Suggestion

Best in Breed: Digital Point Keyword Suggestion Tool

The Digital Point Keyword Suggestion tool combines the results of WordTracker and the Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool in a single simple interface.

Pluses:

  • Combines two of the top keyword suggestion tools in one interface.
  • Allows you to get a second opinion to verify accuracy of data.
  • Breaks down the search results by searches per day.
  • WordTracker separates plural and singular versions into their own words
  • 100% free.

Drawbacks:

  • The Overture tool does not separate out plurals and can only track terms which already have ads showing.
  • The WordTracker free trial data in this tool is limited to 15 search terms per search, and does not have all the advanced features of the paid subscription version of WordTracker

Other Recommended Free Keyword Suggestion Tools:

Keyword Density Tools

On page copy can only go so far toward your search engine optimization. As long as you title and structure a page properly, do extensive keyword research, build a linking campaign, and write for the user you should do decent.

Best in Breed: Google Toolbar

The Google Toolbar allows you to highlight what terms appear on a page. From there you can eyeball the keyword density.

Pluses:

  • Does not require going to another website or giving out your email address.
  • Is not so complex that it confuses you.
  • Prevents you from over analyzing a page and changing it back and fourth between arbitrary data set points which can change like the wind.
  • Helps keep you focused on writing for the user versus trying to write for machines.
  • 100% free.

Drawbacks:

  • Some people may not be able to eyeball the keyword density well.

Other Recommended Keyword Density Tools

Link Analysis Tools

As search engines become more advanced they will be able to better extract information about information. Incoming links from topic related authorities is only going to become more and more important.

Best In Breed: Google Backlinks (Example backlink search.)

Google Backlink Search on competitors and then add "&num=100" at end of address bar. It will make checking backlinks a snap.

Pluses:

  • Google still uses PageRank, so if you have the toolbar installed you will see the PageRank and Google perceived value of different inbound links.
  • Using &num=100 at the end of the address bar shows 100 results per page. This clusters results from the same sites and makes backlink checking a rather quick process.
  • Only lists a partial list of some of the more important backlinks, does not list many of the unimportant links.

Drawbacks:

  • Google has been known to miss some of the more important links as its backlink tool has not worked properly for quite some time now.
  • If you want to see more links then AllTheWeb has a great comprehensive advanced link checking options which allows you to filter out the source site in backlinks.

Other Recommended Link Analysis Tools

  • AllTheWeb Advanced Search Backlink Check (allows you to include and / or exclude any domain)
  • AltaVista Backlink Check (allows you to search for keyword in the link as well as where the links are coming from)
  • Linktree (Allows you to find topical hubs which are linking to your competitors. This tool really kicks but, but I feel few people have ever used it. More thorough review on my blog.)
  • SEO Guy PR Tool allows you to search backlinks of a site and filter to a set PR level.
  • Xenu Link Slueth finds broken links on your site.

Rank Checking Tools

Most time spent checking rankings would be better spent creating content or link building. If you are a compulsive rank checker this first tool is the perfect tool for you.

Best In Breed: Digital Point Keyword Ranking Tool

Digital Point Keyword Ranking Tool

Pluses:

  • Provides a graph of your rankings vs keywords over time.
  • Can automatically check all your rankings while you are performing other tasks.
  • Complies with the Google terms of service.
  • Is 100% free.

Drawbacks:

  • Tool only works on Google.
  • Requires the download of a Google API code (which is free and quick.)
  • Tool is slower than some of the automated software which is against Google's terms of service.

Other Recommended Rank Checking Tools

  • Your web server logs. It should tell you the referer and keywords of your traffic. If you are getting traffic, you must be ranking ok.
  • Marketleap keyword ranking tool (Only checks for top 30 positions for a specific keyword or key phrase.)

Customer Tracking Software

Best In Breed: Web Server Logs

Good web server logs and a lof file analyzer tell the whole story. They tell you where your traffic is coming from. Those terms which show up in your web server logs are the terms that you rank well for and are being searched for. If you have inadequate server logs you may want to consider trying one of the other tools listed below.

If you can not afford a lof file analyzer there still are a couple free options.

Web Server Logs

Pluses:

  • Many web hosting programs offer free server logs to keep track of your traffic.
  • Does not require any additional software for the website owner.
  • Is usually 100% free (comes with the hosting.)

Drawbacks:

  • Some server logs do not record enough data.
  • Some server logs create large sums of data that some people can not understand.

Other Recommended Free Tracking Software

- by Aaron Wall, owner of Search Marketing Info

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