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Check and improve your SEO for free

Attracting more traffic to your website isn't magic; it just looks that way. When you choose - and use - the right monitoring and analysis tools, you can learn how people are using your website, and get the information you need to start attracting more visitors.

Search engine optimization - or SEO - is a complex art, and lots of self-described experts offer all kinds of advice. But not all of it is useful, or even accurate. If you're looking to improve traffic to your website, you'll want to learn from the best. Even if you decide you'd like to hire an SEO consultant, you'll be better equipped to choose one if you've already spent some time getting to know how search engines work, and what they see when they look at your website.

This list isn't complete, but it's a great place to start. We've chosen some of the best free SEO tools out there to help you answer the most important questions about almost any type of website.

Free SEO Tools

  • Google Insights for Search (visit) Google has all kinds of tools for learning about the web and how people use it. Insights for Search lets you find out what people are searching for, compare search volume for different terms, and see search data by region and season. This information can help each website owner choose the right terms to emphasize on his or her site.
  • SEOmoz Tools (visit) SEOmoz is one of the world's outstanding authorities on search engine optimization and social media. The company's blog is the daily go-to site for many marketers, and its tools, both free and not, are well designed. Use SEOmoz's free tools to figure out how well you've targeted a page for a specific keyword, how well you've targeted a web page to country-specific search engines and more. Paid tools allow you to dig deeper.
  • {{{2}}} (visit) The Home Page Analysis offers a quick, easy-to-understand snapshot of how search engines "see" a specific website's home page. The Home Page Analysis sections covers basics such as the website's title tag, H1 headings, alt text and meta description, offering tips on improving these to make a site more visible to search engines. The Web Presence section provides key metrics such as how many pages on the website have been indexed by the major search engines and how many backlinks the site has. Find the Website Visibility Report on every AboutUs.org website profile - for example, www.aboutus.org/AnyWebsite.com.
  • {{{2}}} (visit) Find out how your business is listed on the web, and where to get more listings that can help you boost your site's position in search results. GetListed offers a free tool for checking your listings, and guides you to the sites where you should be listed. Especially important for businesses that rely on local traffic, but good for any business.
  • {{{2}}} (visit) Learn what keywords your competitors are buying for their paid search campaigns. Discover who's getting the best search results for specific keywords. SpyFu offers articles, demos and tutorials for free. The paid tools give you more details and analysis and let you look back over a longer time period.
  • Google Keywords Tool (visit) Want to know how many searches were done on a specific keyword last month? Want to know whether similar or related terms are searched more often? The Google Keywords Tool lets you search on specific terms and compare their popularity with other terms. It's also useful for showing alternative terms you could consider using on your site.
  • Google Webmaster Tools (visit) The ultimate authority on how Google sees your site is -- Google. Learn what the world's most popular search engine sees when it visits your website. Discover who's linking to your site, which search queries are bringing people to it, and more.
  • Google Analytics (visit) Discover the characteristics of people visiting your website, how they got there, what they look at once they arrive and where they are when they leave the site. Measure the results of your advertising efforts, and get the data you need to improve. For a tutorial on using Google Analytics, see Crash Course in Google Analytics.
  • Quirk SearchStatus (visit) Download the free, unobtrusive SearchStatus tool for the Firefox or SeaMonkey web browser, and you can get information about any web page you're visiting: its Google PageRank, keyword density, rankings at Alexa and Compete.com, SEOmoz rank and more. Try it out for every page on your website, and on your competitors' sites.
  • {{{2}}} (visit) An extension for Firefox, SEOQuake allows you view lots of information about a website, including how many pages different search engines have indexed, how it's rated at Delicious and Technorati and more. Want to discover something about websites that SEOQuake hasn't defined for you? Go ahead, set your own custom parameters.

Community-Added SEO Tools Sites

Know a good SEO tools website? Email me.

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