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With a variety of options for measuring the success of your search engine optimization, and what tools are available to you, we’ve put together a list of our top five sites that provide free online resources to help you track the performance your website.
- 1. Google Analytics is a popular tool for website owners. It is easy to install and provides basic reliable trending information on visitor traffic. The program works well if measuring total visitor traffic, behavior patterns, geographic clustering, where visitors come from (external links), where they’re going on your site and how long they stay. The service also provides technical data including the type of browser, connection speeds and language visitors to your site are using.
In some cases, such as websites that rely heavily on buttons, or tracking multiple website URLs in different languages or through various microsites, a more sophisticated measurement package is probably required.
If you have a single, content rich site and primarily want trending data then Google Analytics will most likely do the trick.
2. The Market Leap website provides online tools and a “university” section to help with search engine marketing tactics. The site has three main tools: search engine saturation, keyword verification and link popularity.
The link popularity tool allows users to view the popularity of a URL, which means the number of links to your website found by means of search engines, as well as compare it to three websites of their choice. Users can also select an industry to get a benchmark comparison. The results are broken down by website with Google, AOL and HotBot appearing in one column and Yahoo!, FAST and AltaVista appearing in the other. Data about MSN is not available because the search engine recently disabled the function. The site also added a trend/history report that gives a long term view of your website’s popularity instead of just a snapshot.
Search engine saturation and keyword verification tools are also easy to use. These tools provide information to help interpret what the results mean and give links to articles about the topic. There is nothing to download, no need to register and it takes a few seconds to generate the results. The university section of the website has a collection of articles about search engine optimization and key topics in search engine marketing.
3. SEO Book has an extensive collection of search engine marketing information. The site has a compilation of tools from around the web for measuring search analytics, keyword research, competitive research, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, link analysis, and search engine ranking checkers. SEO book also has a variety of articles and recommended reading, and a blog about important search marketing issues. For SEO beginners the site has a helpful glossary of online terminology. The content on the site is free, but there is a fee for some of the tools which link to outside sites.
4. SEO Chat has more than 40 analytic tools to evaluate your site. The site offers tools for evaluating specific search engines including Google, and also other tools that are more general. The site contains articles and white papers about search engines, selecting keywords, search engine news and more. It’s a simple site to use and the tools provide quick, snapshot results. In addition, this site gives you an easy-to-read report for each of the tools.
5. Vertical Leap provides visitors broken links reports, site relevance tests and geographical location of web sites (geolocation). This site delivers very basic results but can be helpful if users just need a quick report. The broken links function emails users the results and thus requires a valid email address.
The site notes that while they don’t have a ton of tools available yet, they plan on expanding and providing new tools or a new twist on tools that may exist elsewhere.
These are just a sampling of the free resources available on the web to help with the building and evaluation of your website. They can be a great starting place, and can help identify places where a site needs improvement but the tools aren’t necessarily a quick fix. Make sure that you look for the right information and match the analytics offered to the needs of the site.
Similarly, there are a lot of bad tools available online, and even some of the best tools can provide meaningless or misleading information if you don’t know what you’re looking at. So be sure that the tools you use provide the information you need to create a more effective site.
What are some of your favorite free SEO tools which are available online?
Julie Mason is the General Manager for Kellysearch.com, the comprehensive online buyers’ guide and vertical search engine, with more than two million company listings from over 155 countries world wide.