A quick Google will give you tonnes of long lists of the best free SEO tools - but they normally take ages to go through and investigate each of the products, only to find paywalls, bad suggestions, or that the software paid to be listed there.
So this is a very short list of the best free SEO tools. I personally use every single one of these in our SEO work, so I can recommend them as useful, valuable, and free.
A classic for a reason. Ahrefs is one of the reasons I got my job at Noisy Little Monkey - I paid $7 for their full website audit and crawled our site, then used all of their super easy-to-read information to sound very knowledgeable in my interview.
I mention it on this free tools list because the free version is amazing too - you can get monthly updates on how your page is doing, new keywords, backlinks & referring pages. I’ve signed up to the regular emails that give us a quick-fire overall report on how our site is doing which is really helpful.
I list this first because their user interface is one of the friendliest to use, so if SEO tools stress you out, this is a good place to start.
Semrush is the Noisy Little Monkey team’s favourite SEO tool. It’s brilliant for keyword analytics and has recently added Keyword Intent indicators to its results - which was the hot topic at BrightonSEO this year. They’re the first platform to do this, which is one of many indicators that they’re one of the industry leaders.
Semrush’s free tools cover loads of different areas from backlinks to site crawls, and even include a feature that helps you structure blog content around a keyword, all for free. You can check out exactly what the free Semrush account offers here.
If you’re new to SEO and need a very easy-to-use interface, Screaming Frog may not be your first choice. That said, it’s an incredible tool and unlocks so much vital information for free and they’ve got some great tutorial videos to help you use it.
Screaming Frog does site crawls, so you can monitor how many images don’t have alt text, what’s 404ing, which pages are missing H2 tags, etc. Once you get the hang of what’s where, it’s pretty easy to use and is a cornerstone in our site audit process for clients.
Also - a handy tip for free content ideas: use Screaming Frog to crawl your competitors who are ranking higher than you. Checking out their H1 and H2 tags can help you identify keywords and content topics you might be missing.
Page speed is an increasingly important ranking factor on Google, so it’s worth building this indicator into your SEO efforts. One of the easiest and free ways to do this is using Google’s Page Speed Insights, which gives you a comprehensive report of key indicators like First Contentful Paint (FCP) or Time to Interactive.
It’s traffic-lighted for ease of use so you can get a quick and easy picture of how you’re doing. Google’s Page Speed Insights tool even suggests how to improve your site’s issues… though you’ll likely need a Developer to implement them!
This is a bit of a cheeky answer but hear me out. As a Marketer, you probably spend too much time trying to work out what is winning on Google and hack the rankings. But it’s easy to forget that you can see what’s going on just by Googling it!
If you’re doing keyword research, don’t forget to actually Google your keyword. You’ll be able to see the SERPs (Search Engine Result’s Pages) on offer, discover if the keyword is actually relevant to your content, and scrape the ‘People also search for’ section. It’s easy to get caught up in using tools all the time and forget that, sometimes, a few of the answers are right in front of you.
An example of the related searches Google gives you.
Try running these through Semrush to check for high volume.
This is such a great long-tail keyword tool and also a great option for getting a broader view of content topics and relevant searches within your chosen area. You just put in a keyword or phrase, and it shows you a spider map of related phrases and questions that people are searching for.
Answer the Public doesn’t always work for more obscure keywords, but generally it’s a good one to quickly check in case they have a couple of hidden gems.
I’d say this offering is one of the best badly-kept secrets in the SEO industry. Keywords in Sheets is an amazing Google Sheets template and script library, which includes offerings that autofill keywords for you, even categorising them by type. They have a wide selection of different templates and scripts so it’s worth checking out to see if they’ve automated a quick way of doing something you need.
They’re a little fiddly to get the hang of, but if you know what you’re doing they can save you a lot of time. You’re also going to have to take my word for it and just put in your email, because they don’t offer any visible explanation without it - but it’s definitely worth it if you want to supercharge your search term research.
And that’s all folks! If you think I’ve missed one that just has to be on here, tweet us at @NoisyMonkey and let us know. And if you’re looking for more easy ways to be better at your job, check out the 11 best newsletters to make you a better digital marketer here.