105 Free SEO Resources

toolkitIf you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of time-saving tools and short cuts that can make life easier for digital marketers.

On a recent trip down the rabbit hole of online marketing blogs, I came across the a tidy collection of SEO resources collated by Amar Hussain of website broking company FE International.

Pitched as the ultimate toolkit for digital marketers, the collection is unique in that all of the resources are free. This is great news for marketers on a budget and ideal for my SEO students, many of whom are still in college or on low incomes.

Each of the resources are categorized along the following themes:

  • A/B Testing
  • Analytics
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Content
  • Diagnostic
  • Email
  • Infographics
  • Keyword Research
  • Link Research  / Link Building
  • Local SEO
  • Resources
  • SERP Tracking
  • Speed
  • Technical
  • Toolbars / Extensions
  • WordPress Plugins

While there are many tools in the list that I know well, I was pleasantly surprised to see a large number that I haven’t seen before and can add to my own toolkit. Of these, Optimizely, WordSmith and Five Second Test were the most exciting finds.


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The 2015 Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Table of SEO Success FactorsEarlier this month, the team over at Search Engine Land updated their brilliant Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors.

Now in it’s 3rd edition, the table is a fantastic SEO resource and one of the few items on my Ubuntu desktop that gets regular eyeball attention. Content is divided between on-page and off-page factors and clearly color-coded to make it visually intuitive, with relevancy weight ranging from -3 to +3.

The new edition references new factors of SEO importance including vertical search, Direct Answers and HTTPS, with mobile friendliness and structured data acquiring a relevancy weight increase in line with recent Google updates.

The idea behind the table is to highlight tasks within the SEO process and to act as a visual reminder about what is most important and what areas to focus on for clients.

Danny Sullivan describes the goal and philosophy of the table:

“Our goal with the Periodic Table Of SEO is to help publishers focus on the fundamentals needed to achieve success with search engine optimization. This means it’s not about trying to list all 200 Google ranking factors or detail Google’s 10,000 sub-factors. It’s not about trying to advise if keywords you want to rank for should go at the beginning of an HTML title tag or the end. It’s not about whether or not Facebook Likes are counted for ranking boosts.

Instead, the table is designed to broadly guide those new to or experienced with SEO into general areas of importance. Title tags are generally important. Think about making sure they’re descriptive. Social sharing is often generally seen as good for SEO. Aim for social shares, without worrying about the specific network.”

While not exactly a cheat-sheet, my SEO students at Search Engine College tell me it is their favorite resource for assignment preparation, so that’s a pretty good endorsement.

The Table can be downloaded as a PDF in large or condensed format, or you can grab the code to embed the infographic directly into your web site.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 40, 2014



Lots of very interesting tech and search news this week. A couple of game changers for those of us using search channels to market products and services.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Google AdWords Offers Ad Creatives at Scale for PPC by Jessica Lee at Search Engine Watch. This month, Google launched the ability for AdWords advertisers to create ads using custom parameters that you want inserted into your ads. Using a spreadsheet you pre-fill, the feature allows AdWords to retrieve product information that is most relevant to what each customer is searching for and dynamically insert it into your ad text.

2) New Panda Update Rolling Out, Google Takes Another Stand Against Thin Content by Matt Southern of Search Engine Journal. Earlier this week, an analyst at Google UK let slip that a new Panda update was in the process of being rolled out to the Google algorithm. Matt has the scoop on what you can expect from this update.

3) The Yahoo Directory – Once the Internet’s Most Important Search Engine – Is to Close by Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land. This news came as a bit of a shock. As someone whose job (for years) consisted of submitting client sites to the Yahoo Directory, it was an *end of an era* moment to hear the Directory would be closing down. I’m with Danny on this one – Yahoo has cruelly glossed over the closure of the Directory that started the entire company AKA “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web”. So long Yahoo Directory.

4) Want to Improve Your Blog’s Conversion Rates? 11 Tests to Try by Pamela Vaughan of HubSpot. In this post, Pamela shares some logical testing formulas for improving your blog’s conversion rate. Suggested items for testing include Click Through Rate, content balance, calls to action and publishing rate.

and finally…

5) 14 Conversion Rate Optimization Tools Every Expert Needs by Steven Macdonald of Search Engine Journal. This one does exactly what it says on the label. Steven has provided a handy list of tools for testing your conversion rate, conveniently categorized by topics such as Analytics, Research and Testing. Be sure to bookmark this one.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.


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10 Free Ways to Size Up Your Online Competition

Online competitionWhen it comes to marketing, we all like to keep a close eye on what our competitors are doing. Competitive intelligence essentially means understanding what’s happening in the world outside your business so you can be as competitive as possible.

Here are ten of my favorite tools for sizing up the online competition. All of these are either free of charge or have a free trial that you can take advantage of:

1) Ispionage – This is hands-down my favorite tool for gathering competitive intelligence. You can use it to view a nearly endless range of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) data, including your competitor’s monthly ad budget, SEO keywords, PPC keywords, cached ad copy, affiliate data, top competitors and social media mentions. All reports can be exported as a text file or Excel spreadsheet. Memberships start at USD 53 per month, but they also offer your first 5 reports free of charge, without the need to create an account.

2) Screaming Frog – The Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a small desktop program you can install on your PC, Mac or Linux machine which spiders websites from an SEO perspective. It fetches key onsite elements for SEO, presents them in tabs by type and allows you to filter for common SEO issues, or slice and dice the data how you see fit by exporting into Excel. It allows you to quickly analyse, audit and review a competitor’s site and is particulary good for analysing medium to large sites where manually checking every page would be extremely labour intensive. The tool is free to download and run, although if the site you are spidering has over 500 pages, you’ll need to upgrade to a licensed version for GBP 99 per year.

3) Raven Tools – The Research Central component of Raven Tools incorporates data from major online marketing authorities, including Majestic SEO, Moz and Google. You can compare SEO quality, backlink and analytics data for up to five websites from a single view in Research Central. In Raven’s Site Performance and Competitor Manager Reports, you can get a better grip on competitor performance, with side-by-side comparisons of your site and your top competitors. Whether you’re researching competitor’s websites or keywords for SEO, social media engagement, PPC or content marketing performance, Raven provides a plethora of data to analyze. They offer a 30 day free trial, for up to 2 users and 2 domains.

4) Domain Tools – Discover everything about a domain name, IP address or nameserver, including Whois data, who used to own it, how many times it has changed hands, what it’s being used for and what other DNS resources it is connected to, with this Internet-based service. Monthly membership starts at USD 49.95. The site offers a 7 day, fully operational free trial, but does require a credit card to confirm the free account.

5) URL Profiler – This one is desktop software which pulls in marketing research and domain data from various 3rd party sources. With tools for measuring detailed link metrics, SEO performance, analytics, PageRank, social engagement and content quality, URL Profiler is useful for web site audits and competitor site analysis. Available for Windows and Mac only, the software starts at GBP 99 per year and has a fully functioning 30 day free trial.

6) Open Site Explorer – Open Site Explorer is a backlink research tool on steroids, allowing you to download a detailed link profile for any web site. Using a custom-built link anchor index created by the clever team at Moz.com, you can use Open Site Explorer to research both your and competitors link profiles to help with intelligent and targeted link building. Open Site Explorer is free to use and you can compare up to 5 domains at once.

7) SEMRush – is a competitive research tool covering both paid and organic search results, adding data like keyword value and keyword volume to ranking data. The team at SEMRush collect massive amounts of SERP data for more than 100 million keywords and 70 million domains, including: AdWords ad copies and positions, organic positions for domains and landing URLs, search volumes, CPC, competition and number of results. In addition to tracking Google’s global search results, they also track Bing and a range of geographic-specific Google result sets. Pricing starts at USD 69.95 per month, but if you don’t mind entering your billing details, there is a 14 day free trial http://seobook.com/sem-rush-trial, courtesy of SEO Book.

8) Compete – Compete PRO is a Competitive Intelligence tool that helps you to monitor your online competition, benchmark your performance against your industry, and discover new business opportunities. It uses industry-wide competitive analysis to reveal keywords that are sending the most traffic to your competitors. Rather than scraping search results to track rankings like many similar tools, CompetePRO looks at US clickstream data from ISPs, a panel of users & those that have their toolbar installed. A Compete PRO free trial Includes unlimited access to all features available for the paid plan you selected for a period of 24 hours, but does require you to enter your billing details.

9) Keyword Spy – is pitched as a competitive keyword discovery tool, but it is much more than that. You can use it to find out how much your competitors are spending on AdWords and discover which combinations of keywords and advertising copy are working for them. It includes ad copy and affiliate intelligence data and covers US, UK, Australia and Canada. Pricing starts at USD 89.95 per month, but Keyword Spy also offers what they call a “lifetime free trial account”.

10) Mention – is a new approach to media and social monitoring for brands and competitors. You can use it to monitor millions of sources in 42 languages, including anything published on social networks, news sites, forums, blogs and web pages. Generate reports in PDF, XLS, CSV or TSV formats and export data to compare your site with your competitors. You can also access your reports from either PC, Mac or hand-held devices. Mention provides a 14 day free trial as well as a free Basic monthly plan for a single user.

In the Internet age, it’s easier than ever before to keep tabs on your competition. Now that you have these 10 tools to help you, there are no more excuses!

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Fast Five in Search – Week 29, 2014



If you’re a long term reader of this blog, you’ll know that I sometimes write articles for SiteProNews. Sometimes I’ll get a reader question here and I’m able to say “I just wrote an article about that topic” and point to the article over at SPN. But apart from the occasional Q&A reference, I’m not great at promoting my own articles.

So for today’s Fast Five, I thought I’d share with you the last 5 articles I wrote for SiteProNews.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) What to Blog About When You Have Nothing to Blog About – This article was inspired by the many, many webmasters who approach me about the difficulty they have finding topics to blog about. In this article, I bust the “blogger’s block” myth and show you just how easy it is to come up with topics for your company blog. I even suggest a range of topics to suit blogs in various industries.

2) Five Must-Have Spreadsheets for Online Marketing Professionals – A short piece that highlights five spreadsheet-based marketing tools that I use myself or recommend on a regular basis.

3) 11 Easy Ways to Build Editorial Links – Another article inspired by questions I get on this blog. This one talks about all the ways you can safely build incoming links to your site in the wake of Google Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird algorithm updates. This is a two part article, with Part Two over here.

4) A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Domaining – I wrote this article after my recent experience trying to sell a domain I’ve owned for over 10 years. It’s an introduction to the murky but profitable world of domain flipping and includes a detailed list of domaining resources.

and finally…

5) 20 Free Marketing eBooks You Need to Download Right Now – Trust me, you’ll want to bookmark this one. This article is a review of my favorite free eBooks and White Papers relating to marketing, categorized by theme. In the article, I’ve linked to the jump page from where you can access the PDF file for each freebie.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.


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