Did you know that Google considers over 200 factors to decide how websites rank in search results? Getting to the top isn’t just luck; it takes strategy and the right tools. That’s where SEO comes into play, along with a toolkit of essential software.
I’m Caitlin Christensen owner of Creative SEO Coach. I focus on boosting the online presence of creative service businesses. Here, I’ve listed the best SEO tools for small business owners. These are tools I either use in my own SEO business or have tested and highly recommend, including both free and paid options to suit every need.
Navigating the world of SEO doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Here are some invaluable, free tools that are perfect for beginners:
PageSpeed Insights is a website speed analysis tool that guides how to make your site load faster.
Google PageSpeed Insights helps you analyze your web page’s speed and provides recommendations to improve performance. Google PageSpeed Insights breaks down your site’s speed for both desktop and mobile versions and gives you specific advice on how to improve each page. While getting everything perfect on desktop might be easier, with scores showing up in green, mobile can be a bit trickier. For mobile, aim to get your performance score into the yellow zone and everything else into green. This balance is key for a mobile-friendly site that keeps both your visitors and Google happy.
Google PageSpeed Insights is like having a personal coach for speeding up your website. It’s a tool that not only tells you how fast (or slow) your site loads but also gives you a checklist on how to make it faster.
I recommend making it a regular task to check the speed of each page on your site with Google PageSpeed Insights. This way, you can make sure every page is as polished and fast as possible, giving your small business website the best chance to climb up in those search rankings.
Google Search Console (GSC) is an analytics platform that focuses on how your website performs in organic search results on Google.
GSC is an essential gear in your SEO toolkit.
Once you launch a new website, one of the first steps should be to introduce your site to Google Search Console by submitting your sitemap. This isn’t just a formality; it’s a crucial move that helps Google understand and index your site more effectively. Plus, GSC is totally free and offers a wealth of information on how your site is doing in search results, from how individual pages are performing to which keywords are bringing in traffic.
For those new to Google Search Console or needing a refresher on how to get your sitemap submitted, I’ve got you covered. Check out my detailed guide at https://creativeseocoach.com/showit-sitemap/. This article will walk you through setting up GSC and submitting your sitemap, ensuring you’re well-equipped to start your SEO journey on the right foot.
When British mathematician Clive Humby declared in 2006 that “data is the new oil” he wasn’t wrong.
Understanding your audience is key to your website’s success. In fact 73% of the top 10,000 most popular websites use Google Analytics, it’s the leading tool for website analytics.
For WordPress or Showit users, the SiteKit plugin integrates all your Google Analytics tools in one place.
Although not strictly an SEO tool, Google Tag Manager is a favorite of mine particularly for Showit websites. It simplifies the process of adding code snippets, like the Facebook Pixel, to your website, making digital marketing efforts more manageable.
I love ChatGPT, or as I affectionately call him, Roger. This AI has become an indispensable part of my toolkit, and while I’ve opted for the paid version for that extra oomph, the free version is also incredibly useful. However, I only recommend treating ChatGPT like an ever-ready, unlimited unpaid intern—just remember to double-check everything it produces and use it as a guide.
For SEO specifically, ChatGPT (or Roger) is a powerhouse in several key areas:
Thanks to its training on a vast dataset, ChatGPT can dive into a wide array of questions, making it perfect for research. Whether you’re looking into niche topics or need quick facts, it’s like having a research assistant at your fingertips.
Stuck on what your next marketing move should be? ChatGPT is fantastic for brainstorming. It can help you come up with fresh marketing strategies and creative ideas that you might not have thought of on your own.
ChatGPT’s ability to generate human-like text is a game-changer. Use it to draft blog posts, craft engaging social media updates, or even populate web pages. It’s like having a ghostwriter who’s always ready to churn out content.
Not only can ChatGPT help you write, but it’s also great for polishing your content. From proofreading to adjusting the tone to better match your brand’s voice, it’s an editing assistant that ensures your SEO content is sharp and on-point.
So, while ChatGPT is a versatile tool in your SEO arsenal, it’s crucial to remember it’s an assistant, not a replacement for human insight. Always review its suggestions with a critical eye, ensuring they align with your brand and SEO goals.
When we think of search engines we think of Google but as of July 2023, Bing accounted for 9.19 percent of the global desktop search market which equates to approximately 459.5 million people worldwide. That’s a whole lot of people.
Utilise Bing Webmaster Tools. Created by Microsoft, this platform offers organic search analytics similar to Google Search Console but focuses on Bing’s search engine. It’s a valuable resource for diversifying your SEO strategy.
Images are a critical part of your website, but they can also slow it down if not properly optimized. TinyPNG is a fantastic tool for compressing your images without sacrificing quality. By reducing file sizes, your website can load faster, improving user experience and SEO performance. Aim to use this tool for all your images to keep your site speedy and efficient.
For photographers or businesses with image-heavy sites, managing and uploading galleries can be daunting. The Bulk Image Rename Tool at imgtools.co simplifies this process by allowing you to rename images in bulk. This practice is not only a time-saver but also crucial for SEO, as descriptive, keyword-rich file names can improve your images’ visibility in search results. It’s an ideal solution for photographers who want to optimize their galleries for both speed and search engines.
For on-the-go SEO analytics, the Ahrefs SEO Toolbar Chrome extension is a must-have. This tool provides quick access to key SEO metrics for any page you visit, including backlink data, organic search traffic, and domain rating. It’s an invaluable resource for competitive analysis and for getting a snapshot of how well a page is optimized for search. Plus, it can help you identify SEO issues on your own site, making it easier to make informed decisions about your optimization strategies. The best part? It’s free to use, making it accessible for small business owners and SEO beginners who want to leverage professional-grade insights without the investment.
For those ready to invest a bit in their SEO efforts, here’s a tool that offers great value:
Ubersuggest is a fantastic option for small business owners and solopreneurs. It offers comprehensive features for managing your website’s SEO and conducting keyword research at an affordable price.
Ubersuggest covers all your SEO bases, from site audits that identify weaknesses in your website’s SEO to backlink analysis that helps you understand who’s linking to you. It’s like having an SEO consultant on call, guiding you on what to fix to improve your site’s ranking.
Finding the right keywords is crucial for SEO success, and Ubersuggest excels in this area. It not only suggests keywords related to your business but also provides data on search volume, competition, and even seasonal trends. This means you can target keywords that are not just popular but also right for your specific audience and goals.
One of Ubersuggest’s biggest selling points is its ease of use. The platform is designed to be intuitive, making it accessible even for those who are new to SEO. You can easily navigate through different features and get clear, actionable insights without getting lost in technical jargon.
While Ubersuggest offers a free version with limited capabilities, its paid plans are surprisingly affordable. This makes it an attractive option for small businesses and solopreneurs who need more advanced features without a hefty price tag. Investing in Ubersuggest can significantly enhance your SEO efforts without draining your marketing budget.
Ubersuggest is continuously evolving, with regular updates that introduce new features and improvements. This commitment to growth means users always have access to the latest SEO strategies and tools, ensuring your SEO efforts remain effective.
When you’re ready to take your SEO to the next level, consider investing in more advanced tools:
SEMRush is a professional-grade SEO tool that offers an extensive suite of features for keyword research, competitor analysis, and more. It’s an investment that can significantly enhance your SEO strategy, especially for those looking to dominate in competitive niches. This is the tool that I personally use and many SEO professionals like to use.
SEMrush’s keyword research tool is renowned for its depth and accuracy. It not only suggests keywords but also gives detailed insights into their difficulty, search volume, and the competitive landscape. This enables you to identify both high-volume keywords and niche opportunities tailored to your strategy.
One of SEMrush’s most powerful features is its competitor analysis capability. You can peek into your competitors’ SEO strategies, see which keywords they rank for, and uncover their backlink profiles. This information is invaluable for benchmarking your performance against theirs and identifying strategic opportunities.
SEMrush offers a comprehensive site audit tool that scans your website for SEO issues, such as broken links, slow-loading pages, and on-page SEO problems. This tool provides actionable feedback to help you optimize every aspect of your site, from its structure to its content.
Recognizing the critical role of content in SEO, SEMrush includes a suite of content marketing tools. These tools help you develop content that resonates with your audience, perform content audits to understand what’s working, and track the performance of your content across various channels.
Beyond SEO, SEMrush also helps you manage your social media presence. It offers tools for scheduling posts, analyzing your social media performance, and engaging with your audience. This holistic approach ensures that your SEO efforts are complemented by strong social media strategies.
For businesses that incorporate paid search into their marketing mix, SEMrush provides tools for PPC keyword research, ad optimization, and competitive analysis. This allows you to fine-tune your paid campaigns for maximum ROI alongside your organic SEO efforts.
SEMrush is committed to the success of its users, offering extensive learning resources, including webinars, e-books, and a vibrant community of marketers. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced marketer, SEMrush provides the support and information you need to succeed.
Choosing the best SEO tools for small businesses can dramatically improve your online visibility and drive more traffic to your site. Whether you’re starting with the basics or ready to invest in advanced software, these recommendations will help you navigate the complex landscape of SEO with confidence. Remember, the best SEO software for small business is the one that fits your specific needs and goals. Happy optimizing!
Caitlin Christensen is an expert in digital marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). Owner of Creative SEO Coach. She specializes in optimizing websites built on popular web building platforms Showit and WordPress. With over 8 years of experience in the industry, Caitlin has helped countless small businesses and organizations improve their organic visibility on search engines.
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