Let’s face it, not everyone has access or resources to employ the premium search engine marketing tools such as Hitwise and Omniture. However, the same type of results can be achieved using tools available to anyone at no cost. Working in an agency and with multiple campaigns, I actually find myself using the free tools more often than the premium tools by way of effectiveness and ease of use.
Below are 10 of what I consider the most useful free tools available. While there are many more free resources out there, these 10 (in no particular order) have generated the best results in terms of campaign performance and time efficiency. It’s important to mention that many of these tools have options to upgrade at a cost.
10. Spyfu: Spyfu provides competitive intelligence for keywords and ad copy. This is a great tool to identify any keyword gaps you might have with your competitors. There is a pro version, but the free version gives you the big picture overview.
9. Geo Keyword List Generator: This is a great tool for building out geo modified keyword list. Just add a zip code and radius and this tool will pull in all cities, zip codes and abbreviations of relevant geo in that area.
8. Typo Generator: Similar to the geo generator, but this tool quickly produces common misspellings and typos of the desired search term.
7. Niche Keyword Finder: This is a great resource to ensure your bases are covered with your keyword portfolio. This often picks up themes that would normally go unnoticed.
6. Keyword Mixer: A quick way to build out a long-tail keyword list.
5. MSN Ad Lab: A full range of tools ranging from audience intelligence to keyword research. I also recommend adding the free Excel plug in.
4. Compete: Very similar to Spyfu, but sometimes the results differ, so it’s best to reference both sources.
3. Ad Words Wrapper: This is a great tool for creating match types.
2. Keyword Map: Another keyword generation tool, but this will display the results visually and showcase areas of possible expansion.
1. Google: There are really 11 resources included in this one. Rather than going through each one individually, I’ve provided a little blurb about some of the ones used more frequently. I recommend using and researching all of these on your own though.
- Google Ad Words Editor – This is a great time saver for building and setting up huge campaigns.
- Google Website Optimizer – This tool allows you to test and optimize site content and design.
- Google Analytics – Provides much of what an expensive analytics package can for free.
- Google Insights for Search – A great keyword tool for determining seasonality and trends.
- Google Mobile Ad Preview Tool – Offers a quick way to see your ads on mobile devices.
- Other Google tools include: Google traffic estimator, Google Alerts, Google Trends, Google Ad Planner, Google URL Builder and most recently the competitive tools through the Ad Words dashboard.