So you want to turn your website into a lead generating machine?
Instead of counting on your marketing intuition, you should tap the intelligence offered by search engine optimisation (SEO) tools, experts say.
The web has a wealth of free, easily handled SEO tools that shed light on your site and your competitors'.
Setting aside the clunky industry standards – Google Keywords and Google Analytics – here are five alternative no-cost tools that can help you become an SEO seer as dollars move from offline to online in a shift that Search Engine Watch dubs “seismic”.
1. SEO Sorcerer
Head to the SEO Sorcerer home page, paste the address of the website you want to improve, hit “check” and presto! SEO Sorcerer assesses hundreds of your site's key metrics from keywords and links to spelling – free.
SEO Sorcerer is a doddle to use, if blunt. “High percentage of links to content – are you spam?” reads one pre-programmed SEO Sorcerer question. The optimisation app freely gives its opinion on every angle of your website's performance, with no hocus-pocus. Be prepared for a flood of constructive criticism.
The free plagiarism checker, Copyscape enables you to detect duplicate content, testing whether the texts you run on your site are original.
Copyscape may prove useful if you ever slack at paraphrasing pasted text.
If you run guest posts, it must be worth subjecting them to Copyscape scans because you never know if they are original until you check.
Copied content can harm your search ranking because Google prefers unique material, experts say.
Copyscape's hawk-eyed oversight could save you from a shameful drop in ranking.
The web information organisation Alexa ranks 30 million websites worldwide. The company's browser extension, Alexa Traffic Rank, is more versatile than it sounds - one of the handiest optimisation tools in the cloud.
Alexa installs as a browser plug-in represented by a branded blue bar that visually depicts the popularity of each site you visit, including yours.
Hover over the icon and you see the website's traffic rank. Click and you see data including the site under scrutiny's load speed and the number of other sites “linking in” to it.
Alexa offers sharp insight into your website and your competitors', showing how hot they really are. Illuminating.
Another widely used SEO analysis tool, Marketing Grader is attractively simple, even personable. “Yay! You have a blog!” reads one Marketing Grader observation that belies the tool's intelligence.
To tap it, you feed Marketing Grader your website's address. If you fancy having a stickybeak, you can also feed it the web addresses of two competitors.
Marketing Grader addresses a range of SEO areas, for example explaining whether a website has a mobile version, how often the owner blogs and whether the blog is easily found.
Marketing Grader even supplies its top three suggested “action items”.
It may, say, tell you to ensure your blog article titles are unique and under 75 characters. It may also advise you to add social sharing buttons to your blog or site and to tweet more often. As well, Marketing Grader rates each site it inspects on a scale of 0 to 100.
Quick and clear, SEO-Browser.com lets you view your website as a search engine does, minus any pretty pictures, putting you on a level with the likes of Bing and Google.
For a free peek at the plain truth, just click the SEO-Browser.com button marked “simple”. The big-picture app then exposes any glaring flaws you need to fix fast for credibility's sake.