I recently found the most incredible service to help me automate the mundanely exciting task of pinging backlinks, and like many of the tools and services I use in my Link Building campaigns, it is completely free.
This got me thinking about ALL the free tools/services/sites/resources that I use when I am building backlinks or doing SEO related tasks, and I realised there are quite a few. Here are 7 of my favourites, in an order that is logical to the process* you might follow when optimizing a site.
*Now THAT statement was an Oxymoron if ever I saw one
8 (and a bit) Free SEO Services that make Link Building Faster, Easier and Way More Fun
1: Conducting a Customer Survey
The most important aspect of SEO is the keyword selection you begin with. Of course these are just words and very short phrases here, hardly much help when trying to create content (the most important aspect of any well optimized page). Wouldn’t it be nice if you could find out what the customers are really asking, because then you could really come up with good content.
If you are offline and you need to know this then you conduct a survey. If you are online then you simply head to the Wordtracker Labs Keyword question tool , type in your keyphrase and voila -an instant list of content ideas and article titles.
2: Researching your Keywords.
Although I use and thoroughly recommend Market Samurai as the primary Keyword, Competition & Rank Tracking Tool, it is not free. The Google Keyword Research Tool however, is. It is also the tool I still rely on almost everyday – so to not include it here would be criminal.
Nearly all Keyword Research tools collect their data from Google so why not get that information straight from the horse’s mouth. I’m not going to start a how to guide on using this tool but here is one quick tip: Always use EXACT MATCH for the search results as only then will you get a true representation of how many people are searching for that keyword phrase.
3: What’s the Competition Up to?
There are hundreds of tools and services that will tell you everything you need to know about your competition, but when it comes to Free there really is not too much to choose from. Yahoo site explorer has even gone downhill lately, so unless you have Market Samurai or an equivalent tool what are you supposed to do?
You are supposed to go to OpenSiteExplorer.org because they are definitely a must have when it comes to kick ass SEO tools that are free.
Open Site Explorer will give you information regarding how many incoming links a page has, how many domains are linking in, the distribution of the keywords throughout those links -and much more!
Incredibly detailed and useful information, especially considering that it’s free. (You will need to register free with SEOMOZ if you want to run more than 3 queries in a day)
Research and directly compare your backlinks with competitors’ for intelligent and targeted link building. Identify your top pages and analyze anchor text.
*UPDATE- Check out a new Tool (not Free though) to Track Your Competition and my thoughts on it: My Backlink Profit Monster Review
4: Tracking How You Rank in the Search Engines.
Tracking Your Rank is probably the single most important thing you can do when building backlinks. Not doing so would be like driving blind and completely defeats the purpose of building links in the first place. As such there are a lot of different tools and services that you can use to track your rank, but being free – none are particularly good, except this one:
SEScout.com is a web based rank tracking service that provide a range of packages, all the way up to $100 a month which allows almost unlimited keyword tracking on unlimited domains. They also offer a free plan that gives you the ability to track up to 10 Keywords on 10 Different Domains, more than enough to start off.
Create a free account at SEScout and start tracking your rankings today!
5: Verifying a Backlink
Tired of Manually Checking 100’s of pages to Verify your Backlinks? We have all been there, you pay for a Backlinking Service and get a report with Thousands of URL’s. Let me guess, you manually check a random sample of 20 URL’s or so and leave it at that and assume you got what you paid for. Now you don’t even have to check the 20.
The Free Backlink Checker from Scrapebox is a downloadable file (no opt in required) that will manually check each and every link to make sure it is pointing back to your site.
6: Pinging Starting to Pong?
An important (and mind numbingly boring) part of link building is pinging the newly created link. A ping is basically a way of telling the search engines that you are there. We use it on our blog to tell Google we have a new post, and we do it to our backlinks so that Google knows they are there, crawls them and then (hopefully) indexes them.
I have always utilised the services of Pingomatic.com – a completely free site that allows you to ping your desired URL and Keyword/Title to all the major pinging services (the sites that then yell at the search engines to come take a look) and this is great when you only have one link that you wish to ping. But when you are building links in chunks of 100, 200 even 1000 at a time then there is no way you are going to spend all day cutting and pasting links into pingomatic.
This is why you need to check out Pingfarm.com
7. Finding Sites to Drop a Link (Comment) on.
This isn’t like your every day blog hopping where commenting on other blogs and building relationships with like minded individuals is an integral part of the process. This is niche marketing, and it’s ug – ly.
Sure I can go to Google and type in a bunch of various search strings to find a ‘KeywordLuv enabled blog on Cordless Drills or an edu or gov link in the DIY niche – but that just takes time and to be honest, I can’t remember the right search string half the time anyway. Luckily I don’t have to though
DropMyLink.com is a brilliant site that asks you to add your keyword of choice and then select from a drop down list what you want to look for. It’s basically a site that gives the Google Search String a WYSIWYG interface. Easy to use – and it works like a charm.
A Brand new tool which I have been using with great effect to find relevant blogs to comment on is LinxBot. Check it out for yourself – it is probably the best and most straight forward tool at finding places to leave a comment.
8. Finding Sites to Exchange Links With.
Whether or not you think that this is an effective method of building backlinks is up to you,(and quite frankly, hardly relevant to this post) but if you are interested in exchanging Links with other relevant sites then LinkMarket.net is the place to be.
Link Market is a completely free service that allows you to search for relevant sites to exchange links on. With over 160,000 link partners (registered users) and almost 6 and half million links exchanged to date it is the no. 1 resource/service for anyone looking to build relevant backlinks through link exchanges.
Other Free Tools and Resources to Help you ‘SEO’.
- Want to Get indexed in hours instead of days?
Submit your site to Google and give them a little nudge in the right direction
- Want to Search Google yet but keep getting your own country results by default?
Go to Google.com/ncr where the NCR stands for No Country Redirect, and get the true results straight from the mother ship.(Great way to see if you are really on page one yet)
- Want Instant information pertaining to rank, metrics, links and authority on any given web page?
Download the best Mozilla or Chrome extension for SEO – SEOQuake
- Want to Know which link are do follow and which ones are not?
Download the SEOMoz Toolbar and get your no follow links highlighted, your link metrics displayed and much much more.
- SEOMOZ make more than just the Toolbar and Open Site Explorer
Check out their list of available tools here (you will need to be registered – again this is free)
Please enjoy these completely free tools and resources and be sure to share this post so that as many people as possible can learn about them too.
As always, please share your thoughts in the comments below, and if you happen to use or know of any free Tools/Services that help you with your SEO, let us know.