When I started learning SEO, there was a confusion about if there’s a need to understand how to code. These days, when I tell people that I design websites or provide an SEO service, people still look at me wide eyed and ask me: so, you must know how to code right?
That’s not true. I don’t know how to code. I know basic HTML, and that’s it.
SEO can come off as a complicated process that involves complicated third party tools such as Screamin Frog, Moz’s Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs, Buzz Sumo, Majestic SEO and etc. For the starting freelance web designer, blogger, content writer, it can be quite intimidating.
In my humble opinion, there are complex software programs to calculate keyword density, latent semantic indexing keywords and etc. that’s hugely unnecessary for majority of people looking to implement SEO in their sites.
If you take a look at Matt Cutt’s blog, one of the authority figures in SEO who worked for Google, he doesn’t really bother using these extraneous tools that are used to optimize and (supposedly) squeeze SEO juice out of every single post and page. He has mentioned that by using the WordPress platform, it automatically fixes 90% of the SEO issues webmasters use.
These complicated software and SEO tools only account for 1% of SEO success.
I personally don’t enjoy complicated processes. I like keeping SEO simple. I keep the SEO tools I use lean and simple. It should be simple enough so that everyone can ‘DIY’ it to an extent, and it’s not something that’s only left to the experts.
This guide is written for the SEO or webmasters that don’t want to go too deeply into SEO. There are more advanced SEO tools and they often go deep into technical SEO, backlink analysis and keyword research.
These tools often come with a monthly subscription basis and I believe that the average webmaster or blogger out there don’t need to be spending huge amounts of money, time and effort on SEO tools and analysis.
Keep your SEO tools light, keep it low cost, and focus on content creation and outreach
So, here are the SEO tools, that I use. They don’t require any technical coding knowledge.
I mainly use Google Keyword Planner for my keyword research for data in Singapore, that’s because Singapore has a small audience using the GKP is enough.
I use this from time to time, to counter check my data from GKP.
Google recently changed their keyword planner to show un-exact data for the search volume. Keywords Everywhere is a Chrome extension that can help you figure out the search volume. However, this only works with your country’s qualifier in the keyword.
On Page SEO
Yoast has a function that calculates keyword density, H2 tags and etc. This can be useful when creating your content. It also reminds me of content presentability, title tag length, keyword density etc.
The next state of the art on page SEO tool used by millons of webmasters around the world.
- User Sitemap by David Gyer
Installing a user sitemap is helpful for users to navigate around your website. User site maps can be kept simple with this plugin.
Broken Links checker checks for broken links. It’s no brainer. Simple plug and play. It’s free.
Siteliner points out duplicated content, broken links and churns out a full SEO report on your website.
If you’re outsourcing your content, design or fixing technical issues, Upwork is a great place to go to. I use it for all my outsourcing efforts.
Copyscape can be used to check for plagiarism and duplicate content if you outsource your content. It’s not entirely free, but it’s extremely low cost.
High quality and researched content can’t be written by robots. If you’re going to outsource your content, it’s important to check against plagiarism (duplicate content is a big no no in Google’s eyes) or you can use tools such as Siteliner to analyse your current site’s content.
I use Grammarly to check my grammar mistakes. There is also some research saying that better grammar leads to better SEO. Better grammar = better user experience = better rankings.
I use this to research content that has gone viral, to help me craft future content.
SEO Tools For Link Research
MOZ’s SEO open site explorer tracks the backlinks of your competitor’s website and particular page. I use MOZ’s free version of Open Site Explorer for researching back linking opportunities. It’s only free for a few tries per day. I use it once and download the data.
However, for the more serious SEO’s, Majestic and Ahrefs are going to do it for you.
This is a shortcut to find out the competitiveness of a keyword. Simple plug and play.
Having MOZ bar installed can help you determine the page authority and domain authority on your SERP results. It’s useful for a quick glance to determine keywords competitiveness.
It’s also free for a limited number of tries.
The free version of SEM rush can give you some useful (limited) analytics and data on your competitors, their backlink profile.
I use this to get email addresses. It’s simple to use. Simply plug a website and get the contact information almost immediately. Useful for content, guest blogging, PR outreach.
Technical SEO and Data Analytics
This is basically the bread and butter tool for traffic analytics. Google analytics can give you data on rankings, search queries, user acquisition and etc. This is important if for measuring key performance indicators for SEO.
Linking your site using Google search console can help track how’s your site indexed, errors and Google penalties. It’s also useful to track and optimize click through rates.
Website Development Themes
I’m using the Foxy Theme of Elegant theme for Pink Elephant Consultancy. These themes are mobile friendly (SEO ranking factor) from the get go.
I once used the Genesis theme from Studiopress. It’s simple to use and mobile friendly.
Free SEO Plugins For Optimization and Speed
Hence, I’m always looking for plugins to avoid manual solutions such as dealing with FTP, CSS, Php, writing of code, and all of that. Nonetheless, these aren’t perfect solutions. Manual actions, on the average, fix technical problems better.
Optimizing your images on your website is one way to increase your website speed. WP Smush compresses all my images that are hosted on the website. This plugin compresses images, automatically and it’s quite user-friendly.
This plugin is one cache plugins with more options to play around with. It specifically has options to leverage browser caching. One of the options I was looking for.
Photos, Design Tools
Canva is awesome for text-based images and etc. for the new designer. Our site’s logo is created using this web app. It’s a surprising user friendly tool.
I use Flickr because their images are awesome. Much better than the run of the mill Google search and steal.
SEO Guides and Gurus I Follow
Right from the horse’s mouth. Can’t go wrong right?
SEO MOZ is the state of the art SEO guide on the internet to go to learn about basic to advanced SEO. The founder, Rand Fishkin is one of the most highly respected SEOs in the world.
Brian Dean’s one of the leading SEOs in the world and has ranked for a super competitive term such as ‘backlinks’.
His focus is on link building and content creation. He’s written quite a bit on content marketing, researching linking opportunities, and compiled useful resources on keyword research ranging from normal SEO to Youtube SEO.
There’s list of business directories with domain authority and page authority all measured for you compiled by this SEO blogger in Singapore. He’s probably the only one SEO in Singapore that writes good content on SEO. Check out his blog, I highly recommend it.
Hosting and Domains
In 2000 to 2001, Matt Cutts from Google confirms that Google looks at where is your server located as an SEO ranking factor. Having a local host for your website can help boost your rankings.
I purchased my domain, hosting and Https certificate from Vodien for simplicity’s sake.Vodien has twenty-four seven live chat functions and their email response rate is quite fast. I can vouch for their excellent customer service and quick response time.
Free Https Certificate
Google released on Wednesday, August 2014 that sites with Https certificate will be given priority in rankings.
You can get FREE Https at LetsEncrypt Project.
Keyword Ranking Tracking Tools
You can use this third party tool that I use. It’s completely free, and you can add sites on a project basis. It tracks your keywords every 24 hours.
- Google Analytics
Google analytics gives you an ‘average’ keyword position ranking.
You can do this by checking Google analytics data under user acquisition: landing pages and search queries.
Page Speed and Mobile Friendly Testing
MOZ, an authority on SEO wrote at length that page loading speeds do affect search engine rankings. You can check out their article here. Page Speed Insights is a tool developed by Google to test your website’s speed performance.
It’s a simply plug and play where you just enter the URL of the website into Google page insights and Google will run a diagnostic for you.
You can then get a professional and preferably a technical web developer to fix the errors for you.
Have a mobile friendly website is an official SEO ranking factor. The Google mobile friendly test tool is developed by Google to test if your website’s theme is mobile friendly or not.
Can SEO Tools Guarantee Results?
Lastly, I stress the importance of being an independent thinker when it comes to SEO. If something is too good to be true, then it probably is.
You got to be careful of tools and software that claims to guarantee SEO results. This includes SEO tools that are automated etc. These tools have the potential to hurt your search engine rankings rather than help them.