There are many facets to optimizing a web site for high rankings in search engines’ results.
- On page — what keywords you focus on and how you use those keywords
- What you do off page, for example, how you get other sites to link to your site
- Rank checking — how your site is ranking for selected keywords, and
- Competitive research — how your site is doing relative to competitive sites
are some of the SEO work that can be accomplished using specialized tools.
We start with keyword research, determining what keywords to highlight to bring qualified, relevant visitors to your site.
Keyword Research Tools
Generating and researching keywords related to a particular topic, web site, or keyword is a basic SEO practice, but a great place to start as you look to grow the organic traffic for your site.
It’s a way to make sure, for example, that you optimize for “lawyer” as well as “attorney,” since you may think of yourself as an attorney but prospective clients may be searching for “lawyer.” Here are a few of popular keyword research tools, free and paid.
Provided by Google for Adwords advertisers but available for anyone doing keyword research, giving you ideas of keywords related to your search terms and your site’s content. In general you want to look for terms with high search volume and low competition.
- Quickly expand your list of keywords with just a few seed terms
- Evaluate search volume and competition on a local, regional, national, or global level
While you do not need to be an Google AdWords customer to use this tool, more information is provided to those that are. Registering as an AdWords customer is free.
Google Trends helps you gauge which keywords are more likely to resonate with your clients by showing you “what the world is searching for” in Google. Compare several search terms by
1. Google search categories (i.e. “Shopping” vs. “Food & Drink”)
2. Regional interest – see what sub-regions and cities have the most interest in your search terms.
3. Seasonality – see what times of year searches for your category go up and down.
Ahrefs was originally know for its impressive index of backlinking data, but increasingly is becoming a great all-around SEO and Digital Marketing tool. Some would even argue that it’s the starting place for keyword research especially if you prefer to look for opportunities by analyzing competitor’s strategy and then work backwards with your content marketing strategy.
Learn more about how to complete a thorough competitor analysis with Ahrefs in this blog post.
WordTracker provides both a fee and paid keyword generating tool, as well as link building and strategizer tool. All paid tools are available for a 7-day trial, along with a 30-day money-back guarantee. The company also offers free newsletters and webinars; its keyword tool is widely known and recognized. Features include:
Lateral keyword suggestions –help you identify keyword markets that are closely related to your primary keywords, but often not considered by competitors compiling keyword lists.
Multi-search competition analysis – checks keyword use and competition not just in Google but also in less-visible, yet still viable, search engines such as Lycos, Altavista, Ask, Alltheweb, Yahoo and Bing.
Powered by and similar to WordTracker above, but this free tool provides a few more keywords and more information about them than the current WordTracker free tool.